Saturday, October 10, 2020

I Could Be Wrong

T Bone Burnett, a person
that helps me un-deceive
myself over and over
That title represents what for me is a first step towards shattering self-deception.  I've found that when spoken from the heart without resentment or sarcasm, those words can open doors into new worlds.  

But even if I cannot attain that state of mind, sometimes well crafted art can disarm my defense mechanisms and bring the ways I lie to myself into the light so I can surrender them as the nonsense that they are.

I can honestly say that no single recording artist has done that for me down through the decades more than James Henry (aka T Bone) Burnett.  I have listened intently to hundreds of artists so that is no small claim.  You probably know his work as a producer which is prolific, his fingerprints are all over American music for the past 30 years (click here to see what I mean).

I was about twenty-two years old in 1986 when I found myself putting the new vinyl LP of 'Truth Decay' on my buddy's record player.  I had bought the album that week because of a review I'd read and something in the lyrics more than the style had worked their way into my soul in that short time; I was hoping others in the room would hear it and affirm that  'Indescribable Wow' I felt in my gut.

The power of love can make a blind man see
Can bring a man to his knees
The power of love can make a sultan grieve
Can make a skeptic believe
The power of love is south of south
And scorches out all the doubt
The power of love is the name of names
And burns away all the pain
The power of love can make a gangster cry
Can make a loser try
The power of love can make a strong man weak
Can make a bigot meek

The next year 'The Talking Animals' was released and my world was changed again.  The mule kick of 'The Wild Truth' hit me squarely in the chest.  I started writing T Bone lyrics on everything, my lunch box, scraps of paper, box lids, anywhere people might see them and maybe affirm that they too saw this man's gift of eloquence in conveying raw truth.  

Are we supposed to take all this 
greed and fear and hatred seriously? 
It's like watching dust settle 
It never changes
It's too consistent

Mercy is not consistent it's like the wind
It goes where it will. 
Mercy is comic, and it's the only
Thing worth taking seriously

I need the wild truth

I don't know how to make any choices anymore I mean
Who do I vote for? I get the feeling that as soon as
Something appears in the paper it ceases to be true

The 1992 release 'The Criminal Under My Own Hat' was no different.  It was brimming over with amazing vignettes that pierced the soul and stripped away pretensions.

Which leads me to this latest work of art by Mr. Burnett which he released rather unconventionally through as one of their 'included' titles that is free to download for anyone with an active Audible subscription.  'The Confederacy: Truth and Reconciliation' alternates pieces of an essay written and read by T Bone with twelve of his songs he hand picked to say some of the same things from the right brain.  This alternating of poetic prose and songs about self-deception and delusion had a powerful effect on me.

A transcription of the entire work can be found online by clicking here.  It is definitely worth reflecting upon for those that don't have access to Audible, or for those that do, it may help to read along as they listen.  Just clicking on the embedded links in the document vastly increased my literacy in our nation's history, lessons I never received as a kid in school.

I'm hoping to discuss this work with some of my friends and family.  It may just be a way to detox from some of the insanity that is going on in our world right now and move forward with love and hope.  It may even facilitate authentic civil discourse for some who can say these four words and really mean them:






Friday, October 9, 2020

Human Fraternity

My friend Beth wrote the blog below.  I received her permission this morning to repost it for those that visit here and might not think to visit it in it's original form that you can see by clicking here.  It is introducing Papa Francesco's latest treatise on Human Fraternity.  I am looking forward to digging into that tome in the coming weeks.  Thank's Beth for your enthusiastic response to it which is contagious.  

Blessings everyone!


Human Fraternity

Friday, October 9


The themes in today’s readings, beginning with the prophet Abraham saying, ‘through you shall all the nations be blessed’ and the Alleluia, ‘I will draw all to myself, says the Lord’,  have been pulling me to Pope Francis’ new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti.    

Why? The subtitle of the document, Fraternity and Social Friendship, ring true in my heart, just as it did during my first reading of the Gospel. ‘Whoever is not with me is against me, whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Lk 11:23

The Grand Imam, Ahmed el-Tayeb and Pope Francis signed a document in February of 2019 on human fraternity and world peace. The Grand Imam described this joint document as: “… a document that invites all persons who have faith in God and faith in human fraternity to unite and work together so that it may serve as a guide for future generations to advance a culture of mutual respect in the awareness of the great divine grace that makes all human beings brothers and sisters.”

Fratelli Tutti is a document that needs to be read slowly to allow yourself to go deeper into the familiar story of the Good Samaritan, which is the framework of Pope Francis’ writing. John Carr, Director of Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at GU wrote a summary of the Twelve Themes on Sunday and Georgetown University held a forum on the encyclical on Monday.

The Alleluia acclamation today states: ‘I will draw all to myself, says the Lord.’ I believe this is what Pope Francis calls us to throughout Fratelli Tutti. The relationships we have with all of humanity and creation are sacred and entrusted to us through the Divine.

This recurring theme delights my Franciscan heart and soul. Click on the links above, read the documents, and find what is yours to do. Pray with me the words of Pope Francis as we begin this journey and necessary work.

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.

Help us to recognize the evil latent in a communication that does not build communion.

Help us to remove the venom from our judgements.

Help us to speak about others as our brothers and sisters.

You are faithful and trustworthy; may our words be seeds of goodness for the world:

where there is shouting, let us practice listening;

where there is confusion, let us inspire harmony;

where there is ambiguity, let us bring clarity;

where there is exclusion, let us offer solidarity;

where there is sensationalism, let us use sobriety;

where there is superficiality, let us raise real questions;

where there is prejudice, let us awaken trust;

where there is hostility, let us bring respect;

where there is falsehood, let us bring truth.  Amen.

Contact the author

Beth Price is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She brings a unique depth of experience to the group due to her time spent in education, parish ministries, sales and the service industry over the last 25 yrs. She is a practicing spiritual director as well as a Secular Franciscan (OFS). Beth is quick to offer a laugh, a prayer or smile to all she comes in contact with. Reach her here


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