Plan for my Cleveland Browns

Here is my ideal offense for the Browns, minus individual plays. Please let me know what you think.

Close order drill

It is based upon a close-order drill and working on the flight deck of a carrier. It forces each defensive corner to study at least six tight-ends/wide receivers. It is also based upon smash mouthed football. Football is like chess. He controls the center four squares wins. The rooks/wide receivers go as deep as possible, consistent with the play to open up the run. The knights/tight ends play the short to intermediate-range passing attack.   The bishop/tail-back slashes his way through the center four squares. The queen/fullback forces his way through the defense. The King is of course the Quarterback.

Chess set
When the offense comes out of the huddle and to the line, they go into something akin to close order drill, or more precisely what happens on the flight deck of a modern carrier. My plan starts with three new players coming in on every play, two receivers, and a running back. There is no time for thinking about if your job is to enter the field, leave the field, or remain on the field. The transition must go as fast as if there nobody was entering the field at all. If you have been on the field for two plays or are on the strong side of the field, you are leaving the field. If you are on the weak side of the field, you leave the field. If you are on the specified grouping for entering the field, you are ready to go.

I would really like to see my plan used in an up-tempo, no-huddle offense, but people keep pointing out to, “ARTICLE 10. DEFENSIVE MATCHUPS FOLLOWING SUBSTITUTIONS. If a substitution is made by the offense, the offense shall not be permitted to snap the ball until the defense has been permitted to respond with its substitutions.” I believe that as long as the up-tempo offense gives the defense time to make adjustments, the rule would not apply. The advantage is in the psychology of forcing the defense to make those changes and the psychology of players being pulled out of the game for however long a time because they are not suited to that offense. Still, another argument against using up-tempo regularly is that it would offend the players, offense, and defense. As an adjustment to the original proposal, I bring back huddles.


Steve Spurrier

The closest thing to this offense and it has been run successfully was Steve Spurrier’s fun and gun offense at Florida. He used a stable of receivers, threw the ball to open up the run, and then used his running backs, in conjunction with the receivers to finish teams off. When the offense comes out of the huddle and to the line, they go into something akin to close order drill, or more precisely what happens on the flight deck of a modern carrier.

sign language

The greatest paradigm for the competition is the US military and the military is based upon discipline. Using the military as a paradigm has its advertising advantages too, just like having the Browns visit a school for the deaf to learn sign language and using their skills to promote close order drill.


There is no time for hitting people on the head with their own helmets, no time for being offsides, holding, or penalties. Hitting on the head

Like on a carrier flight deck, you are either disciplined and aware of everything going on,

on the field, or you work somewhere else because you got hurt. If high school dropouts making two grand a month can do it, I think college graduates making two grand an hour can do it. The below video shows the importance of discipline on a carrier flight deck. You must know what is going on everywhere or you could get hurt.

kc stadium

If you notice the noise level, The Kansas City Chief stadium has nothing on the everyday work station of an aviation tech on a carrier. You use hand signals or you don’t know what is going on. There is no quarterback counting cadence in this plan. When the center gives his signal, just like yellow-shirts on the carrier, he goes into position, and the internal count begins, just like in close order drill. This video gives an idea of how close order drill, using hand signals might work.


And you can have fun at it too.


Flowers on the wall

With this in mind, here is my rotation:


Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, OBJ, Jarvis Landry, Donovan People Jones.

Baker Mayfield, Kareem Hunt, Kolin Kapernick, Jarvis Landry, D P J, Austin Hooper.

Baker Mayfield, Kolin Kapernick, Nick Chubb, D P J, Austin Hooper, Harrison Bryant.

Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Austin Hooper, Harrison Bryant, OBJ.

Baker Mayfield, Kareem Hunt, David Njoku, Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Harrison Bryant, OBJ, Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper.

Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, D P J, OBJ, Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper.


Again, could something like this work? Please let me know.

The BBC and Basic Right and Wrong.

Article“As the impeachment trial underscored, Washington cannot even agree on what constitutes right and wrong.

So much of what has gone awry has been resident in the trial of Donald Trump. The partisan vitriol. The degradation of debate. The use of what were previously rarely used weapons – in this instance impeachment – to escalate America’s ceaseless political war.

This sorry saga has offered yet more proof that, far from being an aberration, the Trump era is a culmination.

The hyper-partisanship of Republicans and Democrats has been evident in the party-line votes to impeach and acquit.

Again, we have witnessed the negative statecraft of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who used parliamentary procedures to bar witnesses from even appearing in the trial – a case, historians may well conclude, of jurors actively obstructing justice.

In their rush to impeach Donald Trump, the Democrats also decided not to fight a lengthy court battle for the right to hear testimony from Bolton and other White House aides.”

So wrote Nick Bryant for the BBC.

At one time the nation really did have a clear notion of basic right and wrong.

declaration-of-independence“The separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them… We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Our Declaration of Independence mentions “Natural Law.” From where does Natural Law come?

Statue of liberty showing chains
The Statue of Liberty, showing the broken chains of our release from slavery

The Tzadik/charity/justice that comes from faith says, ‘Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will go up into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down) or ‘Who will go down into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.’ That is, the word of faith that we preach).” Romans 10:6-8.

“The separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them… We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Saint Paul, of course, quotes Deuteronomy 30:11-19. “This Mitzvah I give you today is not too wondrous or remote for you. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who will go up to the heavens to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” No, it is something very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it. “I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you, life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, Boker Chaim.”

To look for basic right and wrong, we need not look into a book, even the Bible, a book written three thousand years and eight thousand miles away, if you but look. Of the meaning of life, a Rabbi once said in the Jerusalem Post, “I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you, life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, Boker Chaim.”

What does “Life” mean? Deuteronomy and by extension Saint Paul tell us, “The answer lies in your heart. That is why dead baby pictures work so well for the fundamentalists and pictures of starving people work so well for charitable organizations. We know what life is. We have but to put our mental constructs aside and look.

When we look, the answer lies before us. “Life,” “Liberty,” and the “Pursuit of Happiness,” are synonymous terms. Life is striving to become what it already is. Life is striving. Where there is no liberty there is no striving and therefore no life.

This pic says it allBack to the Rabbi. Is the fetus a living thing? Does he or she strive to become what it already is? It strives to become a human being. He or she is clearly a living thing entitled to life.

Of his mother, is the mother a living thing? Does she strive to become who she already is as a human being? She is clearly a living thing entitled to life. What does, “Choose life!” mean for that person? It means helping her to be all the positive things she strives to become.

What of her spouse? Is he a living thing? Does he strive to become what he already is as a human being? He is clearly a living thing entitled to life. What does, “Choose life!” mean for that person? It means helping him to be all the positive things he strives to become.

Of Society, Saint Augustine compares a Republic to a hundred-piece orchestra, a group of a hundred men with a hundred instruments of different pitch, timber, and volume. Their purpose is to create harmony, music for God to hear. That is concord. Quoting Cicero, quoting Scipio, he goes on to say that a society of men “The people he defines as being not every assemblage or mob, but an assemblage associated by a common acknowledgment of law, and by a community of interests.” Saint Augustine City of God, Book 2 Chapter 21. He concludes that where this orchestra does not exist there is no Republic. When there is no concord, there is no people, only a mob.

So we read the end of Nick Bryant’ article, “On Tuesday night, we witnessed American polarisation play out in real-time. During the impeachment trial, it often seemed that the very idea – and ideals – of America was on the stand.  A broken politics, a broken democracy, a broken country.  Is the United States beyond the point of repair? Can the United States long exist in the state it is in? Clearly the answer begins with understanding basic right and wrong. When will we do so?

Driving in the snow

Hubble(1) Keep your foot off the gas. (Slowdown.)

(2) Keep your foot off the brake. (more on this later.)

(3) At the first wide spot on the road violate rules one and two. (You will lose control of your car but your car will tell you what it will do if you must do the same trick later. I hear it helps with the brakes too.)

(4) When starting from a stop, turtles do better on this stuff than jackrabbits. Allow your car to do the driving. Your mother the car really knows more about how to drive on this stuff than you do.

(5) If it is really cold out and the road is wet, the road is not wet. (Make pretend your tires are skates. (The black Ice Rule.) Also, see rule (6).

(6) This rule is best practiced on dry pavement and again in a parking lot. I need to tell you about my ’73 Chevette first. It was puke green and had some minor northern Ohio problems. I could spend hours telling you about them but only two problems relate to rule five. I was poor, so had no money to buy brake pads and they had worn out six months before. Also, I had also burned out the clutch. I had to get the car up to speed, sometimes 60 miles per hour, and stop the car going through the gears using only speed shifting, Now, to do this and get away with it there is no room for tailgating. You need far more room between you and the car in front of you. You need a lot more room. Now that I have a newer car, I learned the same rules apply for my Chevette as apply for driving in snow. When figuring out how much space to have between you and the car in front of you, ask if you could stop your car using only speed shifting. Allow your mother the car to stop itself, not your brakes. Practice this on dry pavement. It takes some getting used to. If you practice this throughout the year your gas mileage will go up, way up.

(7) You can drive a hundred miles an hour on snow and ice. Relax and follow rule (5), but remember, there are jackrabbits out there wearing human flesh (children) and full body armor, (trucks). You can’t turn or stop at that speed.

(8) Four-wheel drive is designed to get you out of the ditch. Use it for anything else and it will put you into the ditch.

Entering Reno(9) If you must put on chains to get someplace, you can do it tomorrow. Relax and listen to Ryan Canaday on KTVN Channel 2 to find out what the less informed are doing.

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary What it means to obey

Jess theses statement in LukeThe Gospel and the First reading for the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time involves the Shema. Shema means to hear and therefore to listen. Obey comes from the Latin form Ob Audio, which means to listen. Israel means to struggle with God and comes from Genesis 32:29.

The Name of God comes from Exodus 3:14, “God replied to Moses: I am who I am. This is what you will tell the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.”

As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead but of the living. Mark 12:26-27 quoting Exodus 3:6

“God of the living is in the Hebrew construct case. He is also the living God. He is the God who brings life understood in its grandest sense.

Our word, “God,” comes from two places and means largely the same thing. God comes from the Old High German got, German Gott, Old Norse guð, Gothic guþ),; perhaps from PIE *ghut- “that which is invoked” (source also of Old Church Slavonic zovo “to call,” Sanskrit huta- “invoked.”

Etymology of GodThe root word for “God in Hebrew means to point. It is that which one points to as the entity which saved them from their enemies, who carried them to their goals. On the negative side, El is who we point to in cursing, blaming them for our failures.

Seder plate small
Jesus’ last Supper recalls what it means to suffer, to be imperfect, to make mistakes.

“Listen, Israel.” This is not a simple allowing of sounds to enter our ears. It means meditation, contemplation. God addresses this with those who struggle with him, the scrub cattle of the earth who lead hard lives. It is for those who struggle to understand him and why their lives are the way they are.

The one who is who he is, in Hebrew tradition called The Name, Ha Shem, or Adonai, the leader, LORD, is the El in the plural/superlative sense. He is the one we point to, not the government, not our employer, not ourselves, nor our neighbors, or our spouse, or even our parents as children.

Some rabbis argue that “Other Gods,” is in the construct case so can be translated as the gods of others as in the gods who are others. If we come to Mass to be seen by others or do good works to be seen by others, they are our gods.

God is One. We can’t trust our one God or the Pantheon of Market, Militarism, and Money, the God of Mercury, Mars, and Moneto Juno. God is our ultimate goal and all else gets in the way.

“Love the one who is, the one you point to for salvation with all your hearts, with all your animate being, and with all your measure.” In the Hebrew Hearts is in the plural and your is in the singular. We all have multiple hearts, multiple inclinations. Hebrew speaks of the inclination to the satisfying and the rotten. Christians speak of having God’s image within us, his inclination within us, and Original Sin. Our mortal drives are not intrinsically evil, Freud would have us know; it is how we use them.

St. Francis and the leperHebrew for Father is Abba. The Hebrew for the one who comes the one we welcome into our lives is Ha Bah.  The Hebrew word for love is A Ha Bah. The second section of Shema tells us to welcome into our lives the one who is, with all our hearts, with our good inclinations and our evil ones. If we have many faults, we struggle with God often. We are Israel! Hebrew also speaks of the Baal Teshuvah, the Master of Penance. We, like the younger son in the Prodigal Son story, know what it is like to err. We are better than the angels because we know and they do not. Following AAs Twelve Steps, we work to bring that salvation to others.

What is the difference between Nephesh, animate being, soul, and blood? Leviticus 17:11, and 14. “Since the life of the flesh/Bashar/Gospel is in the blood.” “The life of all flesh is its blood. I have told the Israelites: You shall not consume the blood of any flesh. Since the life of all flesh is its blood, anyone who consumes it shall be cut off.”

Pro-lifeEvery animal with blood in it has life, from conception to the grave. Blood is the only organ touching every other organ. Blood is also the only organ that moves. “Living Water,” is flowing, moving water. The more something moves, the more life it has. The more vibrant and vivacious something is, the more life it has. The more blood moves through the body, caused by a more rapidly beating heart, the more life it has. God is the God of life, wanting all to have the maximum of himself, Life.

If we measure who we are by our wealth, and Americans do, God calls us to love him with our wealth. If we pride ourselves on our strength and the strength of our military, God calls us to love him with that. If we are patriotic, God calls him to love him with our patriotism, to vote for life for all people.

Words of InstitutionSo, what do we give someone who already literally already has everything? We respect what is his. God already owns everything. That means a real concern for our planet, for climate change, and the welfare of all that is around us. In particular, that means a real concern for Life. God is the God of Life, the Living God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:46 that as we treat the least of us we treat God. That means seeing the potentiality in all life and striving to help all people fulfill that potentiality. One is not more or less alive on either side of the vaginal tube. To vote for the lesser of two evils is to vote for evil.

A century ago, Pope Pius X whose picture is on our mural at St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral, called us to Catholic Action and that means working to have candidates who support Catholic Social Teaching. Having nobody to vote for is not an excuse. We have had a century to recruit the seventy plus thousand students graduating from Catholic Universities each year, develop them in the faith, fund their political campaigns, and get them elected. We clearly have not. What we really need is a synod to get ourselves started again so we can do the job. As Martin Luther King Jr. said in his I Have a Dream Speech, “Now is the time for action.”



Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Jesus told blind man, “Go your way; Lech Lech ah your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way. Gospel for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time.Jesus heals the blind man

Jesus tells the blind man to go his own way and the blind man follows him. He didn’t here the command to go his own way?

Now the Name told Abram, “Go out of your country, and from your kin, and from your father’s house, unto the land that I will show you.” Genesis 12:1

The Gospel really begins with Mark 10: 45. “The Son of man also came not to be served/dwelled with, but to dwell with, to serve, to attend, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Jericho is Hebrew for the moon. Tam can mean to things. If it comes from the Greek it means value. Bar Timaeus could mean Son of Value. If it comes from the Hebrew, more likely, it means completeness and therefore perfection, innocence, or simplicity. When referring to Jacob and Esau Genesis calls Jacob Tam. He is the opposite of his brother, staying home, and studying the traditions of his family.

The Gospel refers to Jesus in two ways. Jesus Ben Nazareth and Jesus Ben David. Jesus means salvation. Ben means both “Son” and “To build.” One builds a home; one builds a son and a daughter until they are adults. “Nazareth means to guard or to bloom. In the Psalms of Salomon King Solomon says “Dodi Li U Ani Low.” “My beloved is to me and I am to him. “Dodi” “David” means beloved and romantic love.

Jesus calls Bar Timaeus. This calling is another word pregnant with meaning. The Latin is “Vocare” from which derive our word, “Vocation.” When we read the readings at Mass, the Hebrew word is again Car ah. It is proclamation an inviting to live the events, again, for the first time. moon

In our Gospel Jesus stands on the lifeless moon. The previous verse tells us this story is about his serving and not being served. A blind man, the son of Simplicity comes to Jesus screaming through the crowd for mercy. In Hebrew Mercy comes from the same word as Womb. He screams for a compassion only a mother can know for her children.

In Jewish liturgy where one sits is very important. The Rabbi, knowing the most, sits in the center. The further out one goes the less one knows and the less pure they are. The blind man begins the liturgy with a call for mercy, compassion. Jesus, Salvation, comes, bringing the fresh blooming of new life. People being who people are, then and now, try to stop the outcasts from receiving salvation. It is for the middle-class and not the outcasts.

Jesus does not simply ask for the crowd to call the man to come over to him, but uses that vocare. He invites Bar Timaeus the same way God invites Abraham. Lech Lech ah. It is not to instant gratification, wealth and riches. It is not to being Tam. He started with that. It is to leave those things and to leave modern day Basra, where Abram started, and to leave his family, everything he holds dear and to head out into the unknown.

The sheep of his flockIn Hebrew, seeing Rah, is related to being part of the flock, Rah, spelled differently. It is to be part of God’s flock and to proclaim salvation, Jesus to others. It is to a called life of mercy, being a womb for others, proclaiming how he was saved to others. It is being a son of love to others.

One last key word in the passage is faith. Faith and truth are the same word in Hebrew. True faith heals, not Jesus, according to the passage. Jesus brings faith and truth together. He brings us into contact with truth, reality, others, being in touch with others needs, seeing the world in its totality. The blind man then follows Jesus by going out into the desert as Abraham did. Are we up to the same calling?

The Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time and the American Revolution

Seder plate smallFor the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time the Gospel and the second reading carry the main message. Luke’s version, properly translated, holds the key to the passage. “Who is greater: the one seated at table or the one who serves? Is it not the one seated at table? I am among you as the one who serves.”

That last question seems out of context with the conclusion and there is a reason. It implies the one sitting at table, the ruler, is the greater.

Koine Greek has no punctuation or word order to its grammar. The passage could just as well translate, “Who is greater: the one seated at table or the one who serves? It is not the one seated at table! I am among you as the one who serves.”

Chapter 1 verse 10 of the Ethics of the Fathers says, “Love work, loath mastery over others, and avoid intimacy with the government.” This comes from the cultural background from which Jesus lived and taught. A saying from this culture is, “Whosoever acquires a Jewish slave has acquired himself a master.”

James and John the sons of Zebedee ask, “Grant to us to sit, one on your right hand, and one on your left, in your glory/Chabod/importance.” The important one, the one with glory and honor is not the one sitting at table. Rulers throughout history found this out the hard way. Mary Antoinette and King Louis lost their heads over it as did Maximilien Robespierre when his grew too big.

King GeorgeKing George was right in the taxes he raised on the colonies. Someone had to pay for the French and Indian War. Up until the time of the Revolution the British were known for their hands-off approach to the colonies who largely governed themselves. King George saw himself as the important one. When a bunch of drunks threw tea into the sea, King George thought he had enough. He called the venerated Benjamin Franklin, at that point an advocate of the King and told him off, in public. Ben Franklin became an advocate of the Revolution.

The British saw the white man as God’s gift to humanity, the important race. Born in Liverpool, Robert Morris a Founding Father of the United States financed the American Revolution, oversaw the striking of the first coins of the United States, and signed the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, and the United States Constitution. During the war the combined expenditures of Robert Morris towards the American Revolution and subsequent events would be in excess of $15,575,000,000 today not including materials and ships and the balance of the colonist would contribute $800,000. Along with Alexander Hamilton and Albert Gallatin, he is one of the founders of the American financial system. Did we notice how Morris was from Liverpool. He was Irish, not British. The Revolution was as much about Irish rights denied by the British as it was about taxes.

Friendly Sons of St. PatrickMorris was an honorary member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick as was George Washington. This organization had five Revolutionary War generals as members and a commodore who was also an employee of Robert Morris. His head grew too big and he died in poverty, his house being used to plan the Crossing of the Delaware, and the Battle of Trenton.

Thinking you are the master race or the master nation has negative consequences. The British ended slavery in 1833 without an American Revolution. If the U.S. had not left the British empire, slavery here would have ended in 1833. The Native Americans sided with the British in the Revolution. The British promised a limit on westward expansion. If the American Revolution had not happened, Native American Nations might be prospering and not living on reservations. The U.S. with all its economic power would have entered WWI and WWII when Britain did. Think of the lives lost because King George was so full of himself.

This brings us to the first reading, “The NAME was pleased to crush him in infirmity. If he gives his life as an offering for deviation, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the NAME shall be accomplished through him. Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; through his suffering, my servant shall justify any, and their guilt he shall bear.”

Simons mother in lawThose who have not suffered do not know what it means to suffer. That is why God crushes in infirmity. It is through infirmity that we see the light. The Jewish community has its Baal of Teshuva, or Master of Penance. This person, because he suffered for his faults is said to be master even over the angels. He is greater than the angels and all others he meets. Why? Because he knows what it means to err and how easy it is to err. He is meek and humble, always contrite, watching his step to make sure he does not err again.

What of those of us who have never really suffered. In our Mass’s Anamnesis we die with Jesus and we rise with him. We sit at Gethsemane and walk with him, denying him three times, recalling how easy it is to do. “I knew the great teacher, not this guy who made claims about destroying the temple, for God’s sake.” Through the Anamnesis we become Baal Teshuva liturgically, if we pay attention to Gospel and readings.

Jesus heals the blind manLet us therefore always remember who is the greater, “It is not the one seated at table.” It is the one who serves. Who is important, Mary Antoinette and King Louis, easily replaced by Maximilien Robespierre who was easily replaced by Napoleon, who was in turn easily replaced by others, or the people planting the potatoes for the Irish to eat or the wheat for the French of the Revolution to eat, sparing Europe the 19th and 20th century of constant war. Without the meek and humble worker, nobody eats. That is what Jesus tells us today.

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jess theses statement in LukeThe Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” He replied, “What did Moses command you?”

From the Sermon on the Mount.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.

Jesus replies, “What did Moses command you?” Torah does not change. Torah is both written and unwritten tradition. The teaching on divorce doesn’t change.

Great Assembly

What is the passage context? We are in a room with a large gathering of scholars and they ask Jesus his opinion on a key Torah passage. The passage is like our gun control issue.

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The pro-gun nuts recite the second part of the passage but forget the first part.

We read the Ten Commandments, reciting the last six but forget the first four.

The passage reads, “When a man takes a wife, and marries her, if she finds no favor in his eyes because he found nakedness in her, he shall write her a bill of divorcement….”

The rabbis debated the meaning of “nakedness.” The school Jesus seems to quote defines nakedness as finding her naked with someone else. The other school focuses on “she finds no favor in his eyes,” and argues he can divorce her for no reason at all.

Father Ron Olson
God wants shepherds, not legal experts

“Because of the hardness of your hearts, he wrote you this Mitzvah. From the beginning, ‘God made them male and female. A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ They are no longer two but one flesh/Bashar.

“Who is “Your” of “Your hearts?” Only scholars are present. “Your” must refer to them. They want hardness of heart, to read the Torah as lawyers. Jesus wants softness of heart, to read the passage of elders/counselors of the people.

The Hebrew for Gospel and for Flesh is Bashar. A man leaves his father and mother and joins to his wife, and the two shall become one Bashar/ succulent message/Gospel.’ They are no longer two but one Bashar/succulent message/Gospel.

It is not possible to be one Gospel, one succulent message when fighting. The Gospel is clear in saying our Blessed Virgin Mary was no older than twelve and a half years old when she married Joseph. Joseph was probably not much older. One thing we can count on teen agers to do is fight about petty things. Most couples married at about the same age as Mary and Joseph.

What keeps the couple from fighting? Extended family! A toddler escapes the house and runs across the street to the park… An uncle sees the act. What does he do? Blame the mother and tell her husband about it? If he’s smart and an elder of the community he investigates and finds the door does not have childproof deadbolts on the doors. He installs them and extended family expense, immediately, and worries about cost recovery later.

Word gets out that husband and wife are fighting. What does uncle do? He arrives with his wife and an uncle and aunt from the other family. They give sage advice on how they resolved their issues and one uncle advises, “Next time you have an issue, you get one of your aunts to referee this. Gills and Morses don’t fight like this. We have certain customs. Not hitting women is one of those customs. Not arguing is another. Talking things through rationally is a custom we both share. Could give a shit what your final decision is but following the Ethics of the Fathers, You come to us both perceived to be guilty, misunderstanding the situation, and you will both leave innocent, having re-established your marital bond.”

I can hear an uncle of the first-century saying, “No! You are not divorcing this girl because the eggs are a little greasy. Marriage is sacred. I’ll send Mildred over and show her how to cook eggs the way you like them. Now get you head out your ass and build that crochet stand she wants. If you forgot, come here, I’ll show you.”

Another rule, at least of the Gills and after investigation also of the Morse clan is that there is nothing the other guy can do that justifies bad behavior on the part of Gill or Morse clan members. “The other guy does it too? I’m not talking to the other guy; I’m talking to you and we don’t do those things. It is not our custom! Bend over!”

558680_4898175579913_954615946_nIn his homily, Bishop Calvo took great pains in stating how in first-century culture all property was transferred through the husband to his sons so it stayed in the extended family. The negative aspect of this rule is that if he evicts his spouse, she has no property and no way of acquiring any, other than marrying another.

Bishop Calvo than spent the bulk of his homily discussing how Jesus contemns the hardness of heart of a husband, also a teenager likely, who would discharge another human being to adultery or destitution.

One irony of this Pro-Life Sunday is that a second pervert joined the ranks of the Supreme Court the day before, yesterday. The rule of both coming in guilty, misunderstanding the situation, and leaving innocent, reconciled was not followed.

It is also hardness of heart to listen to women sharing rapes and near rapes in their past and to say they must have lied because the person listening to the charge likes the accuser. The standard excuses are always used, she must have done something to deserve it, reference the remarks about how there is nothing the other guy can do to justify bad behavior on the part of Gills or Morses.  She must have been paid to say this. How much do you need to pay a person with a doctorate to ruin her career and face perjury charges later? The ears and the eyes close and the rape culture continues.

Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick stood by their accusations against Brett Kavanaugh. Misinformation propagated by conservative so-call news sites including conservative Catholic ones claim a single witness came forward who knows or knew Mrs. Ford and doubted her story. Torah is clear in stating a person is convicted on the basis of two or three witnesses. Mr. Kavanaugh had three accusers. Mrs. Ford had only one. These conservative news sites also claim Mrs. Swetnick withdrew her claims, also not true. Conservatives claim we should trust conservative news agencies we know have lied in favor of Mr. Kavanaugh and not trust three witnesses who claim he is guilty.

Supporting this man means you support the culture of death and politics over truth. It is just that simple. Support him before, during, or after attending a so-called pro-life rally and I don’t know what the rally is about and don’t participate. Bad behavior has consequences. If you don’t know what you support, I most certainly don’t.

statue-of-liberty-chainsThis writer actually heard a nun take this position just moments after the Bishop gave his homily in favor of the Me Too Movement and supporting women making these claims. She was completely blind to how the homily related to the Supreme Court case. As a result of her and people like her, we now have two known perverts on the Supreme Court, one confirmed in the month trying to bring awareness to sexual abuse.

This case has clear ramifications. I, an adult white male who has been bullied on the job and who found his stories not believed because he reported supervisor’s find the ramifications scary. Don’t report abuse because of the hardness of heart on the part of conservatives. They won’t believe you anyway. The best option is to put up with the abuse and find work elsewhere. There is no room for Bashar, being one flesh, part of the one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, under these conditions. There is no room for sharing the Good News when your life has been deprived of the Good News by the conservatives. We then listen to them argue pro-life and can only say, “Sick Joke! If I believe that one, will you tell me another one?”

Sometimes we must make up our minds, do we support life and God, or do we support politics? As for me and my house, we serve God. We support the image of God in each and every person; we support life, and that includes the life of Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick, and the millions of those like her, and me. Doing otherwise shows a severe hardness of heart. Again, when we show this hardness of heart those of us who have been abused must ask if we as Catholics support the culture of death or the culture of life.

Instead of this disaster we should be saying, “Americans don’t abuse other Americans. Americans don’t abuse, period. Americans remember what it was like to be oppressed in the land your Europe, in the sweatshops of the 19th century and the plantations of the south. Americans remember what it was to be lied to and about. They don’t share vicious gossip about those bringing negative reports, their life experiences. They investigate and find the truth. Americans take pains to make sure people do not suffer, or they used to. My, how things have changed.

Our synod had two problem categories. How does a sixty-two-year-old liberal and a forty something conservative define two key terms in the categories, “Family,” and “Priest.” Per conservative doctrine, family is one husband, one wife, God, and the children. For a sixty-two-years-old liberal, family includes the children’s children, grand-children… “Nation” is Latin meaning a people born together by common heritage. Extended family includes the entire nation.

“Priest” is Greek for, “Presbyterian/elder.” It ultimately comes from “Cohen,” any appointed official. Hierarch or Hierarchy is the Greek for the high priest. We use the term for secular leaders. Catholic Catechism 1539 “The chosen people was constituted by God as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Exodus 19:6.

LibertyWe are all priests, all sent out as husband and wife to bring Bashar, the succulent message to all God’s children. Those in the room with Jesus ask for a debate on the legal definition of “Naked.” Jesus argues, ‘You are all counselors, tasked with guiding young people in developing their families to be Bashar, bringing the Gospel, the Good News, the succulent message of love to each other and to their children.” Two people living in close proximity to each other always have differences. Each divorce represents a failure on the part of elders and priests, in fixing these differences. Get off the legal bullshit and serve the community,” Jesus says. Do we support the culture of death with divorce, bullying and the excuses that go with it, or do we support the culture of life.

The Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jess theses statement in LukeThe first reading begins with a statement about the prophet hearing.” Being deaf and mute in the Gospels appear together; Jesus heals the deafness first and the muteness healing comes along for the ride.

Hastings’ Dictionary of the New Testament in its article under Deaf and Dumb argues, the Gospel writers use the same Greek term interchangeably for both deaf and dumb.

Along the way, Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They replied, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, others one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Christ.” The Son of Man must suffer greatly, be rejected by the presbyters/priests, the chief priests/Hierarchs and the scribes/grammarians, be killed, and rise after three days. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him… You think not as God, but as humans.”

St. Francis and the leperWhy bring up a prediction of his passion right after Peter acknowledges Jesus as the Christ? I have two faults that are major in my communication, being wordy, and academic when a personal approach is called for. I was not allowed to attend the past Synod, why what I learned over the past decades is not open for discussion at Bible Study, and why the diocesan director of faith formation said there was no place for me in the Catholic Church.  I identify with Peter and Paul, worse at it than Peter. The people give human examples.  Peter/the leader, gives an academic one; Jesus is the Messiah, a title.

Father Abbot had a conversation with Deacon Peter. Father asked, “Who do the people say I am?” Deacon replied, “Some say you are St. Augustine, some Thomas Aquinas, others a great preacher.” Father Abbot asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Deacon replied, “You are the anointed of this parish, Vicar General of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Reno.

Father Abbot replied, “I have stage four renal cancer. Cysts grow inside my kidneys and are large. I suffer sharp pains constantly, along with in my liver, my spleen, and into my lungs where it metastasized and I feel great pain. I will be dead in six months.” Deacon rebuked him.

Simons mother in lawJesus looks for a personal response. Father John Bain called this a shared “Life Experience.” He looks for a response speaking of finding Jesus while fishing, healing his mother from a fever, the emotion of the healings, traumatic encounters with the hierarchs, the elders, and the grammarians, hearing Torah in a new and more personal way… Peter gives none of this.

Jesus expects the promise of prayers for help in dealing with this, a life experience of shared compassion. Peter gives none of this. We are only told of a rebuke. There is no mention of a pregnant pause. This is the great clown, Peter, Charles Wayne, Francis Augustine Gill, with diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of the brain, engaging mouth before putting brain in gear. This is Peter, Charles Wayne, Francis Augustine Gill thinking only of himself and how he will deal with life with no Jesus/Father Abbot around. This is how humans think.

Father Ron Olson.jpgIn the section immediately, preceding Jesus heals a blind man. The first time the blind man reports everyone looks like walking trees. The word for “Trees” and “Counselors” is “Eights.” Everyone looks like codgy, stodgy men. The second time “his sight was restored and he saw everything distinctly.” He saw people in all their humanity. This is how God sees.

A chapter earlier Mark mentions the healing of the deaf man. His hearing returns first and he speaks. Let us pray that I somehow learn to hear and to see, not the outside, but the inside, be like Father Ron Olson who thinks as God, always looking for the heart, able to look past the academics and the wordiness and to see the real person striving to connect. Let us learn to hear and see Jesus in our neighbor, striving, for a personal relationship with one big life experience from cradle to the grave.

Why the Priest Shortage and Why Another Scandal


Our Gospel reading speaks to both our shortage of priests and the priest scandals of the present and past. First, it must be noted that some six and thirty years ago a Pastor Ken Denneke asked me to consider the religious vocation. This is the reason I learned to play piano and studied Philosophy in college. After completing that Bachelor-of-Arts and a year of graduate school in counseling, in preparation for seminary, the church changed its mind. Such is my life story.

This is not the reason I mention Pastor Ken Denneke. Pastor Ken was a married Lutheran minister. He left ministry to go into dentistry or something because his wife did not want to be parish first lady. He left ministry because he was married.

As I studied group dynamics I learned a powerful but obvious point. The same football teams and for that matter the same in other sports and organizations tend to do well year after year, regardless of who the players are. Change the system structure and the powerful teams become human again. Look at our first reading.

The wilderness and the parched land exult; the desert rejoices and blooms. As the rose it blooms abundantly, and rejoices with joyful song. The weight of the Lebanon is given to it, the splendor of the Carmel/vineyard and Sharon/ the Ishar/upright will see the weight of the NAME, the splendor of our God.

It is the wilderness and the parched among us who God calls to ministry to the rejoicing and the blooming. The passage speaks of the Lebanon. Without the “The” the passage refers to the state of Lebanon. With the “The” it refers to the color, “white.” White refers to the purification of the temple and therefore the temple, our Cathedral. The first reading then refers to Carmel, the vineyard of souls, the Sharon of the Upright.  

100_3846Deuteronomy 17:15 tells us, “Set over you a melech/messenger whom the NAME, your God, chooses. Someone from among your own kindred you may set over you as messenger; Do not set over you a man of distinction, who is no kin of yours.”

As best as I could find, this is the makeup of our priests. Protestant pastors are no different. Most responding ordinands (59 percent) completed college before entering the seminary. When we add the majors of Theology, Liberal Arts, Business, Science/Math and Engineering we have 75% of our college graduates.

Most of our ordinands are not coming from the wilderness and the parched among us but from those who can afford that college degree. Caucasian/European American /white ordinands are over-represented among responding ordinands, relative to their proportion of the U.S. adult Catholic population, while Hispanics/Latinos are under-represented.

Again, we have evidence that we are pulling from the middle-class, the established folk and not from the wilderness and the parched like Deuteronomy and our first reading demand.

Ordinands in 2016 are slightly more likely than other U.S. Catholics to have attended a Catholic elementary school. In a 2008 national poll conducted by CARA 42 percent of U.S. adult Catholics report having attended a Catholic elementary school, compared to 45 percent of ordinands who have done so. Ordinands are also more likely than other U.S. Catholics to have attended a Catholic high school (41 percent of ordinands, compared to 22 percent of U.S. adult Catholics), and much more likely to have attended a Catholic college (41 percent of ordinands, compared to just 7 percent of U.S. adult Catholics).

Catholic colleges are even more expensive than secular ones. We are not recruiting priests who are like us, nor are we recruiting priests who come from the wilderness, the desert, the parched land.

Think of Jesus’ parable of the sower. Over half of our priests were in education before, or business executives, accountants, computers, medicine, engineering, law, or government. We try to recruit priests from the seed that fell in the weeds and wonder at our failure.

The priests who sequestered themselves in their rectories? I suspect these are the priests who burned for companionship and acted on that desire in less than appropriate ways. Catch them before they start and if we can’t do that, at least get them into the public where we can see their behavior early and get them out of the ministry before they hurt our children.

Pope Francis UNWho recruited our priests? Number one is our priests. Then comes friends, parishioners, relatives, teachers, and our catechists. We got them active in church life early. They were in the Catholic youth group, alter servers, lectors, Extraordinary ministers, and catechists. This means our priests were out and among the people. They came to coffee and doughnuts, participated in adult and youth ministries, in particular of the wilderness, the parched land, and the deserted. They attended Eucharistic adoration, prayed the rosary, probably with a priest, and attended Bible studies, which we have far too little of.

When we recruit the right priests the eyes of the blind to God’s calling will be opened, the ears of the deaf cleared. In each healing of the deaf and mute, the deaf are always healed first. One must hear before he can speak. In the nativity, Zechariah does not believe so Gabriel makes him mute. He can’t hear the message so all he speaks comes out as gibberish. The lame, the outcast among us will listen to the voice of other outcasts when we recruit them. They can speak to the outcast in ways priests born and raised in established homes cannot. They can bring hope to the outcast, causing them to bloom in ways priests born into established homes cannot. They can relate to the hopelessness in ways priests who have never experienced hopelessness cannot.

Then it will be said of our Gospel reading, “He ordered them not to tell anyone. The more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” We will have more ordinands than we have schools to hold them and teachers to teach them. Until then, we wait.

Epiphany 2018

Jess theses statement in LukeI teach you the traditions and precedents as the NAME, my God, has commanded me, that you may observe them in the land you are entering to possess. Do them carefully, for this is your wisdom and discernment in the sight of the peoples, who will hear of all these traditions and say, “This great nation is truly a wise and discerning people.” What great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the NAME, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him? What great nation has traditions and precedents that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today?… the NAME spoke to you from the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of the words, but saw no form; there was only a voice. He proclaimed to you his brit, which he commanded you to keep: the Asher words, which he wrote on two stone tablets. At that time the NAME charged me to teach you the traditions and precedents for you to observe in the land you are about to cross into and possess. Deuteronomy 4:5-13

menorahSee, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the NAME shines, and over you appears his importance. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses. First Reading for Epiphany

He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Beth lehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the Navy: And you, Beth lehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.” Gospel for Epiphany

All the readings for Epiphany concern the same thing, if we read the words in the original language, Hebrew and Aramaic. First, the Ten Mitzvah which come in Deuteronomy 5. Deuteronomy 4 speaks about them as the Asher Mitzvah. Asher, spelled with a “Y” means “ten.” The same word, spelled with an “A” means “Happy.” If one reads the ten commandments in Deuteronomy 5, one will find as many as 15 command statements, depending upon where one starts looking.

The Ten WordsRead Asher as meaning Happy. If we do and we follow the commandments to make sure everyone is happy, we will be a wise and discerning people. God will be close to us and people will speak of us as having the closest God, the only true God with us. When God is with us, darkness may cover the earth our first reading says. The NAME, God, will shine upon us and give us his light, the light which tells us to care for other people. People will come to us for that light, a light that produces a society of no poverty, no crime, nobody in want, no violence.

It’s interesting how the first commandment in the Jewish count is, “Remember, I am God your almighty who rescued you from the land of oppression, the land of menial labor.” Remember what it was like to be there and remember your rescue. If we truly do this, it will hurt us when we see others suffer. To avoid our own pain, we will get that knot in our gut and do something.

Seder plate smallWe will be too busy stopping the suffering of others, to kill, steal, kidnap, give false witness or desire what belongs to others. What of desire as being the force that drives the economy? The root is to stop others suffering. Trade that benefits all does not cause suffering. Compare that with Communism, Capitalism, and Anarchism, all of which exploit others for personal gain. The Ten Commandments are not in any of these so called economic systems.

Many point out how most Christians can’t name all of the Ten Commandments. Generally, we can only mention the last six. The story of the Rich Young Man in the Gospels is an example of this. The rich young man remembers the last five, then remembers command number 4. Jesus brings him back to the first four. If we start here, we can forget the last six, for the reason already stated. In following the first one, we naturally follow all the others.

ThanksgivingWe’re Christians. We start with Beth Lechem, our house of bread in the land of Judah, thanksgiving. That is our Eucharist, which also means thanksgiving, where we find our salvation in a piece of bread, the baby Jesus laying in a feeding trough. We all get the same sized loaf of bread in the Eucharist, and if we desire, the same sized sip of wine. We follow Jesus, and that means all have adequate food, clothing, shelter, transportation (we remember the Blessed Virgin’s walking the hundred miles to Jerusalem and to Nazareth), healthcare, that is what Jesus did most of the time, and education, what he did the rest of his time.

We make no excuses for not providing any of these. We don’t say, let the church do it, most only give a percent and a half of their income to charity, and we don’t say, let the government do it. Government tends to be too big. We listen to Jesus’ great commandment, to love God with all of our hearts, with all of our animate being, and with all of our measure. If we’re patriotic, that means using our government to do those things. If we really care for the poor, when we see people hungry, we do something. When we see private charities asking for donations for these causes, we contribute. That includes the church.

The question for this Epiphany is, “Are we like the wise men bringing our full measure, or are we like Herod, who would kill the babe in the name of promoting his own interests.