Monday, July 13, 2009


I posted over a month ago, about my belief in a group called Pax Christi, at my other blog, "Practice What You Peace.". I will reprint it here, with the following additions of recognition, for these members: Joe Goode, our fearless moderator, who along with Sr. Sally White, coordinates the agenda for each once-a-month meeting. His wife, Mary Jean is well-schooled in the art of peacemaking. Just last year, she & her loving husband made a trip to Austria to be present for the consideration of Franz Jaegerstetter to become a saint, via Beatification, in the Roman Catholic Church. The Church was so wrong when it did not support the painful choices Franz made, during WWII. Franz chose NOT to fight for Hitler, and was admonished by everyone--including the heirarchy of the Church. He was told to "..think of [his] family; fight for country..", etc.
But that despicable wrong(the Church demonizing him, for not fighting!!) may finally be corrected, with the recognition of Franz as a peacemaker who said he would "never kill" as it was against Catholic-Christian teaching.
Franz was beheaded by Nazis --at his home--as punishment for his refusal to join the war effort, and fight for Hitler.
Fr. Bob Cushing is no longer available in-person at St. Jude Pax Christi, but he was instrumental in garnering enthusiasm for our group. Fr. Bob's travels to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 2005--60 years after we bombed them--to offer apology and love for the Japanese people was documented, and we(PCSJ) were treated to a program he presented us with, in fall, 2005. Fr. Bob has since moved, where he is in charge of the parish of St. Theresa of Liseuix in south Georgia.
Maggie Winfrey, a teacher for young children, is an artist at inspiring others. Tim Spruill and David Richardson are both servants for social justice. Tim does so with pro-bono work as an attorney; David serves the homeless and other disenfranchised in his communities(he recently relocated to Florida).
I am fortunate--and very grateful-- to have all these folks in my life.

Here's the original post:

Last night, I was thrilled to be surrounded by fellow-Catholic-Christians who do what I call "practicing what they peace." The aura of inclusiveness is astounding, from the opening prayer(We use prayers based on saints, we have done prayers from Jewish texts, etc.) to the song we ended the evening with(last night, a favorite song of mine:"And They'll Know We Are Christans By Our Love").
What occured in-between the prayer, and the song? First, we share "peace moments"--moments where we feel a renewal of spirit, of harmony, of peace--in our lives.
Sr. Sally White, the most progressive, authentic person you'll ever meet, and our sponsor/moderator, spoke(nearly in tears) of how excited she is, seeing President Obama elected, and hearing him speak. She recalled the days(daze) of riding on buses as a child(she is a white person), when she cried while witnessing "the way the bus drivers treated our brothers and sisters"(she was referring, of course, to the mid-1950's-1960's, when it was so common to see Black Americans forced to the "back of the bus", being degraded, called names, etc.). We were all moved by her memories.We discussed some upcoming events(check back in a few weeks; I'll have interesting news on a famous peace activist who may be visiting us, in March of next year(2010)!!).Then lovely Stephanie, one of our newer members, gave a book report(each month, we select a book which will support our spiritual growth).Fr. Ken, who has been with our group less than a year, is genuine and kind, and he possesses an acerbic wit. He often speaks of priests he's known who are, in his words, "brilliant"--many are well-known authors of philosophical works and spiritual doctrines-- and he recommends their books. Many of these same men have left the Roman Catholic Church "to marry, and have a family", which Fr. Ken seemed to understand(something many Catholics might want to work on--the concept of being "understanding").He also strongly urges inclusiveness for all gay people, and he advocates, always, for peace . I'm in awe of this man.We also welcomed a brand-new member to our group, Patrick D., who came from very faraway to meet with us. Given the traffic in Atlanta, that's really saying something. Welcome, Patrick, to a spiritual home known as Pax Christi, St. Jude(PCSJ). Pax Christi is the organization; St. Jude's(the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes) is the chapter.It's easy to find fault with "organized religion", and maybe especially the Roman Catholic Church(with its' obvious misogyny(no women(yet!) officially allowed to be priests), "official" non-recognition of LGBTQ people, and the rule created about 820 years ago(long after the Church was established) that dictated priests no longer had a choice to marry(!), but instead had to remain single.But Pax Christi is in service to what I feel in my heart is the true meaning of being what Christ asked us to be:followers of Him.
Many of us are fearful of the word "Christian", because unfortunately, there are an awful lot of scary folks throwing the word around, and they seem to have missed the most important message Jesus--the "Christ", carried: Love.
Pax Christi ignites love in my heart. I feel tears in my eyes, and my breath catches, even as I type this.Why, you say?Because I have seen Love--the Love that Christ spoke of--when I am around these people. These people who support me: Lisa Allender, the writer/actress, the out bisexual, the happily married woman, the dog-owner, the A-theist for some 17 years.
Late last year(in 2008)when I was terribly ill, and headed for the hospital, I received not only a beautiful card--filled with kind thoughts, and a reminder that they were all praying for me, and had a special Mass said for me--but also a check(no one is terribly "wealthy" in our group), to help out with my expenses. I had never asked for any help, and felt awkward accepting any(but I did). It's risky to even mention this, as all these people are too humble to want "credit" for helping. But they deserve credit.They support me, they love me, and I see that love radiate from each and every one of them.I'm very grateful to have them.If you're reading this, and you're touched by any thing I've said here, and you think, well, I don't want to be "labeled" a Catholic, or even a Christian, I say to you:Click on the links, below, to Pax Christi, anyway. In five minutes, you might have your heart opened to Peace & Social Justice in a huge way.You don't have to "be" anything, or anyone, except yourself.At Pax Christi, we have room for everyone who wants to be of service. Because when you spend Love, you never have a deficit, only a surplus.Invest your time in Pax Christi--unlike the current world economic situation, you'll reap huge returns on this!

Peace, kids.


Georg said...

Bonjour Lisa,

Never heard about Franz J├Ągerstetter. He was certainly a courageous person but a saint?

There were hundreds of people everywhere who refused military service in Germany during WW2 and had to pay for this, like, for instance, all those Jehova's Witnesses.


Lisa Allender said...

Hi Georg--
of course Franz was not the only one who refused service under threat of being killed. But he knew he faced CERTAIN DEATH and still refused. There is much more to his life than just that. I'll detail more in an upcoming post.
The Jehovah's Witnesses do indeed abstain from fighting, as they are true pacifists--they will not fight under any military, under any circumstances.

Michelle said...

What a lovely post with very heartfelt and open sentiments. Thank you.

Lisa Allender said...

Michelle--Hi there, Welcome and thank you for your comments, and for visiting!

Rhiannon said...

This was an incredible heartfelt post Lisa. I do hope your doing better and improved in your health issues. I know how those "Things" go I really do.

The historical story of Franz made me rather tearful. Knowing what he was doing and facing and yet to be courageouslys strong regardless at completel risk. It just goes to show that the catholic church and many other religions do "follow like sheep" even when they know what they "follow" is wrong and horrible.

Thank you for sharing this writing from your other blog with us. I'm very glad I got to read it and educate myself once again in another area I am not familar with.

Love and Blessings,


Rhiannon said...

Oops! I would like to make a correction. I meant "Complete" risk. My darn dyslexia is always doing this to me with my spelling getting a bit mixed up with some words.


David said...

Wow. Excellent post, Lisa!

Lisa Allender said...

Rhiannon--We understood you!
David--Why, thank you. Please visit again.