Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Government Class Today

I’ve had a little trouble coming up with words of wisdom and wit for this week. Just when I thought I could settle down enough for the spirit to move within me I realized that I still haven’t been paid for my last week with PDA. That sent me to sifting through all my papers which led me to cleaning off my desk then I caught a few notes I had scribbled down on scraps of paper which led me on several trips down the rabbit hole like Alice in Wonderland. The story ends with me sitting in the living room at 6 a.m. this morning reading the constitution.

Don’t ask me how I got there. I think it was something I heard on TV about the tenth amendment. Suffice it to say that I don’t have much for you today.

However, it does bring me to the question of how many average people understand what the constitution actually says. It’s really not too hard to understand if you take your time and read carefully. Certainly it’s not as complicated as the papers you have to sign to get a mammogram but, still, it could use some work. If we can get a guy like Eugene Peterson to put the Holy Bible into words you can understand why can’t we get someone to do that for the constitution for goodness sakes?

My friend Colleen O’Toole who managed the New Orleans camp with me for a few glorious weeks send me an email the other day asking me to send her a copy of the US News when it came out. It is supposed to have an article about “the proposed U S Public Service Academy” in it. Colleen is returning to the AmeriCorps after she leaves PDA. Well, she’s going to Costa Rico first but then she’s going to the AmeriCorps. I assumed the article she wanted had something to do with that. But, "no", she told me, it was a “piece of legislation” she had been following for a long time.

Now, how many 23 year-olds do you know who follow legislation? This is one of the things I find so delightful about this kid. That, plus our shared love for Mid-Eastern food. We can share an appetizer plate perfectly: She loves the hummus more than I do and I prefer the babaganouj, which she doesn’t. Together we make one perfect diner.

I’m still a little high from the election. Maybe now we’ll have more young people who feel a connection with public service. On one of my journeys into the rabbit hole yesterday I was looking for a contact for Nancy2. Her family wants to go to the Gulf to help with hurricane recovery over the Thanksgiving holidays. Their kids are in high school but PDA won’t let anyone under 18 in their camps. And I was able to find a link to UMCOR, the United Methodists version of PDA, and they don’t have any of those pesky rules about kids. In fact, the lady I talked to on the phone said “if we don’t get them before they’re 18 it gets harder to get them involved in mission work.”

I love it. And I love the idea of helping with the recovery over the Thanksgiving holiday. We looked into it ourselves but one of us (and I won’t say who) wasn’t excited about the idea of passing up a long weekend with eight pies in order to work his guts out and sleep on the floor with a bunch of strangers.

I love this idea of celebrating Thanksgiving with dynamic acts of Thanks in Action. I wish I had found this contact sooner so more people could plan their holiday. I’ll leave you with the information so you can make your own arrangements or pass the idea along to someone else. And if anyone out there understands the Tenth Amendment, please let me know.

UMCOR
Beverly Antilley
Volunteer Coordinator for Disaster Recovery-Southeast Texas
409-223-0118
b50wabit@sbcglobal.net
She even answers the phone herself.

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