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March 20, 1998     The Message
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March 20, 1998
 

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana A moment of truth quently, recently, is a "senior moment." That&apos;s a description of a momentary lapse into forgetfulness---the kind of thing that happens when you walk into the kitchen and then wonder what you came in for. If that is a senior moment, then I guess an appro- priate description of another recent experience might be a "philosopher's moment." A "philosopher's moment", is a sudden dawning of a truth, the kind of thing that smacks you in the forehead if you don't do it yourself with your own hand. It happened to me while I was going through a stack of mail. One item caught my attention: "World's 25 Best Cameras" is what the headline said on the front page of a magazine. The headline was in yellow, which stood out clearly over a background picture of camera bodies and lenses. I paged through the magazinequickly, but I found no article on the world's best cameras. As a last resort, I looked for a table of contents--and found none. The magazine pages were mostly advertise- ments--and soon, I began to realize that the advertise- ments were all for the same line of photographic prod- ucts. Back to the front page I went, and there I discov- zine was a picture of another magazine. The "World's 25 Best Cameras" were in the magazine that was in the" picture, not the magazine I had in my hand. It was then that I remembered a story told by the philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard. He asked his listeners to imagine that they were looking into a store window, at a busy spot in a bustling city -- and in the window was a sign that read, "For Sale." A person who would go into that prime business location to try to buy the store building would be disappointed, though -- because that store was in the business of selling signs A philosopher's moment! Even the things you see with your own eyes are not always "true." I find myself in the uncomfortable position, asking the same question as did Pontius Pilate. What is truth? g. g. Store windows and magazine covers quickly fall away from importance once we begin to consider the truth that is found in the gospel message of Jesus Christ. "How do we know that you are the Messiah?" some of his contemporaries asked Jesus. That is to say, how can you prove this? Show us some proof of this truth. Jesus replies that the blind see, the lame walk and the poor have the good news preached to them. That .H answer is perhaps, what ian moment." Our certainty that Jesus human experience that Jesus vation made to the People of God who made them. What are the signs of your your family's? Talk with family or friends How do others in our are Christians? Are the signs we see ir signs others see in us always "true?, Take the time to bring the truth of ty to another family or individual. someone see, or to walk, or to of salvation. Take a good look at your own people of other races, colors or Take the time to distinguish outside of a person and the child overcome a stereotype example. Take the time to know the person, and make a difference. Experts turning to faith-based groups to fix social could use mediating institu- tions  not-for-profit and faith- based.--'in order to look at building up communities from the inside out." Goldsmith spoke March "12 at the Columbus Law School of The Catholic University of America on "Providing Social Services: The Role of Church and Synagogue in the Post-Wel- fare State." A week earlier, the Rev. Dr. Lewis M. Anthony, senior pastor at Metropolitan Wesley AME Zion Church in inner-city Wash- ington, addressed a gathering at Washington National Cathedral. The event -- "Partners in Com- passion: Social Work and Social Ministry"  was sponsored by the National Association of Social Workers. Faulty social policy and declining economic resources play a part in the social disloca- tions felt across the country, he said. "But, more importantly and transcendently, these problems. .. are primarily spiritual things." They arise, he said, from the inability of people of whatever race or ethnicity, "to be able to answer the four existential ques- tions that all people must answer: Who am I? Why am t here? Now that I am here, how do I relate to the world in which I'm found? And when I'm dead what will be my legacy and what will be my future?" Spiritual confusion has led children "to define themselves totally by extrinsica he said. And if they, along w00th the poor and marginalized, are to have any hope it is going to come from people "engaged in social work because this is the passion of their life" and from people of faith who have a heightened understanding of their responsi- bilities. Capt. John R. Cheydleur, social services secretary for the Salvation Army in 11 northeast- ern states and Puerto Rico, also addressed the cathedral sympo- sium The official, who has oversight responsibilities for 2,700 Salva- tion Army social service pro- grams, described a new "charac- ter basis model" that he plans.to implement. Instead of looking at the poor and marginalized from the standpoint of their weaknesses or problems, he said, this model recognizes that "each of these people has developed character strengths out of the very strug- gles in which he or she has been engaged." To provide what Cheydleur called "focused respect," Salva- tion Army staff and volunteers will examine -- with individual clients -- the sum total of that person's past experiences and decisions, present behavioral and perceptual style, and avail- able strengths for the future. He said using this tool will help "develop a common ground, where social and religious work- ers can join together for the ben- efit of those we serve." Finding common ground has been a key component in Indi- anapolis, according to Gold- smith. He saidcity officials there looked at nonprofit and faith- based groups in three areas the congruence of values between these groups and gov- ernment policies, especially regarding work and marriage; how they develop social capital and create connecledness in their communities; and how they Comments about this column prleing@cfm.org or the Christian Family Box 272, Ames, iowa 50010.  n't want to be E.J. Dioruae,:: senior faJloW ; Institution, .... Goldsmith "great [ cal these "There sion that these the basic that P basic not stamps or'. Dionne basics a mayors crime, tion. But citizenS. respond sensitively to people in don't a nonbureaucratic way. that causes Those ideas were then applied nization in fiyeproblem areas: neighbor- one of its hood development, crime, edu- cation, work and rebuilding families. "We are trying to be as explic- itly supportive of neighborhood and faith-based activities as pos- sible," said Goldsmith. The Front Porch Alliance has brokered about 500 relationships between neighborhood activists and the city, he said. Ten church- es are maintaining 29 city parks, he noted. Other churches turned a crack house into housing for elderly members and an aban- doned lot into a recreation-area. The city also asked faith-based organizations to mentor juvenile offenders and manage people from difficult circumstances into jobs, he said. And the city has supported a private voucher program that Goldsmith said has made Catholic inner-city schools "the public schools of choice." He acknowledged there are difficult issues in moving from what once was government hos- tility to faith-based groups into that partnerships with them. "The role of government is a trinity' bit schizophrenic," he said, "that fives we want to be supportive but we don't want to supplant and we Confirmation at Predous BI March 22, 11 a.m. EST. St. Meinrad Alumni Dinner, St day, March 22, 5 p.m. EST. Diocesan Finance Council i Wednesday, March 25, 4 p.m. CST. USCC Commission on Certification Detroit, Thursday, March 26.-28. By NANCY HARTNAGEL Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) Exierts on the delivery of social services increasingly view faith- based entities as viable alterna- tives to public agencies. Speakers at two Washington panels said one reason for an expanded role for churches, syn- agogues and other religious groups is that the social prob- lems of the nation are  at root spiritual problems. Mayor Stephen Goldsmith of Indianapolis said his city's prob- lems -- crime, an enormous number of fatherless households and teen-age pregnancies, ero- sion of the work ethic  "are value-related problems that are not solved by government inter- vention." As part of downsizing and privatization efforts, the mayor said, "We looked at how we Evansville, IN 47711 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville PtChed weeldy except. laatweeltinDecember by  Catholic Press of Evarvitle ................................... P',R.U. .................................. P  Addre all xmwnta'C<ations to P.O. Box 4169. Evansvi, tN 47724-0169 Subscriplion rate: $18.50 pet year copy Price: $.50 Emil as oc marine at  post o m mmde+ IN 4Tt01. Puicn  3800. lImam,: [un' POI:) Jon' , Io O(f ol