It was 8 years ago today that the name “Katrina” burned into our heads forever. At the time George W. Bush was President and he promised that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would respond. The response was horrific. A few months later I wrote a chronology based on news reports at the time. You can see that post at here.
As some of you know I’ve been writing this personal blog for almost 10 years now. It’s been fun, but lately I’ve been wanting to branch out into another area.
I left the world of Catholic priesthood 16 years ago, and there’s much I don’t miss, but I do miss preaching. Good preaching is hard work, but when it’s done well it’s a joy. Frankly I’ve lately been getting bored with what I’m hearing and I often found myself sitting in the pew thinking I could do better.
Challenge accepted. Last month I opened a blog post here; you can also access it by clicking on the link on the left titled “Tom’s Homilies.” I’d like to get a wider readership and that’s why I’m posting this. If you wish (and only if you wish) I can send you a copy of what I’ve written each week.
If this is something you’re interested in, please let me know. You can email me at email@example.com and I’ll anonymously include you in this list.
Just a few things about this:
• This is just for my own creative need to get something out. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone and there’s no hidden agenda. Mostly I want to get back into a world I miss.
• If you don’t want to receive it, you honestly won’t hurt my feelings. Just delete this email and I promise I won’t be keeping score.
• I try to do this a week in advance. A friend of mine suggested this because people who belong to a bible study or small church community may want to use this material in their discussions.
• I follow the Catholic lectionary; I understand that other Christian faiths follow much the same calendar. If you wonder why I’m choosing the readings I choose, it’s because I’m not the one who chose.
• If you are writing a homily, please understand that none of this is copyrighted. Feel free to use what you read (though it would be nice to credit me).
• Catholic Sunday homilies generally run about 8 to 10 minutes and that translates for me to be about 1500 words. The homilies I’ve done so far are shorter than that as I retrain my “homily muscles.” I expect to get up to the 1500 word range.
• Finally, as I’ve gone through my list I’ve thought of a number of people for whom I don’t have email addresses. If you think of someone who might be interested, by all means forward this email. A preacher preaches to everyone who shows up, and I have no desire to control my audience.
Last month I wrote about San Diego’s current mayor, Bob Filner. He was elected last November and has been in office since December. Previous to that he served in the U.S. House of Representatives. Beginning last month a cascade of women have accused him of sexual harassment and abuse. One of them, Irene McCormack Jackson filed a civil suit against the mayor.
On July 26th he called a news conference; many of us expected he would resign. Instead he admitted that some of his actions were “wrong” but denied charges of sexual harassment. He also said he was going to seek treatment for this, while maintaining his role as mayor. On July 30th the city council voted a resolution that the city would not cover his legal bills; Filner responded by saying it was the city’s fault because he had not received training in sexual harassment (oddly he appeared to know enough about it to deny guilt).
The beginning of this month he left his office, purportedly for treatment; he returned after one week, and then took some vacation time. He has not acted in his official capacity since the July 26th news conference.
Shortly after that conference a recall campaign was started. It requires over 100,000 signatures to be gathered in 39 days, the San Diego city clerk estimates that a recall election would cost the city between $3 million and $6 million.
In the last few days word has come out there Bob is looking for a deal. Most of us assume he will resign in return for a negotiated settlement of any lawsuits that the city would pay for. Most of us find that pretty distasteful, but it may be cheaper than the cost of a recall.
Bob should man up and do the right thing: admit what he did, resign, and suffer the consequences. Of course, if he were a real man, he wouldn’t have abused the women around him.
Last year Nancy was at a charity auction and placed the highest bid for an overnight at an animal rescue facility called Lions, Tigers, and Bears. Because of schedules we were not able to plan the overnight until earlier this month. It was amazing.
Nancy and I went with her sister Mary Kay and Mary Kay’s husband Chuck. The facility is located about 40 miles from us in Japatul Valley and we drove out there on Thursday afternoon. It’s a sanctuary for exotic animals who need a place to live. Sadly there is a demand in our country for ownership of animals who have no business being owned in substandard conditions. This facility was born in 2002: two Bengal Tigers in Texas were being neglected by their owner. He was persuaded to donate them to this facility. Once here, the female was found to be pregnant and she gave birth to two cubs on November 8, 2002.
Since then they have opened their doors to other exotic animals, and to us. They aren’t a zoo: they don’t buy, sell, trade, or breed animals. Their sole purpose is to rescue animals that have found their way to places where they can’t be cared for: roadside zoos, stupid rich people, and (let’s face it) stupid poor people. Also, some carnivores unwittingly intrude into suburban neighborhoods and would be killed. This facility will take them in and provide an excellent life for the rest of their lives.
We were there from Thursday night to Friday morning, and it was an enchanting experience. When we arrived we were greeted by Tina who enthusiastically showed us around the grounds and provided us the background and history of the exhibits. We knew we would be impressed by the animals, but we didn’t expect to be impressed with the place we were going to stay (Mary Kay asked us if we needed to bring sleeping bags). Our accommodations rivaled the best of any bed and breakfast. We were pampered well beyond our expectations.
Early Friday morning I woke up and walked around the exhibits. Conga, one of the leopards, saw me before I saw her and jumped in my direction. I wasn’t in any danger as there were two fences between us, but that was not my first thought. Advantage: Conga.
If you care about the plight of these magnificent animals, if you care about the welfare and future of lions, tigers, and bears, or if you just want to spend a night in a magical place, do not let this experience you by. Call now.