SPIRITUALITY, FAIR TRADE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

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  • The Crest-Jewel of WisdomDateWed Nov 20, 2013 4:46 am
    Blog post by Ryan Ennis

    Actual text #1

    "I am burned by the hot flame of relentless life and torn by the winds of misery"

    I think most of us have felt this way at some point in our lives. Life seems to have a perpetual engine that doesn't stop for anyone and can be very relentless. For example, senior year there is an added element of finding a job that can at times feel overwhelming. The prospect of not only performing up to standard in school but also going to interviews and sending out applications can bring on serious stress. For me I find solace in my parents and my friends. I feel most stressed when I'm at the library on an island and my head is spinning with things I have to do in the upcoming weeks. However, when I get home and realize that everyone else is enduring the same process and talk it through it becomes a lot less taxing.
    Text #2
    "Sons and kin can pay a father's debts, but none but a man's self can set him free"

    This is true of everything in life. Material assets and girlfriends and status can create an illusion of success and happiness, however the true platform and root of happiness is finding a comfort and understanding of one's self. We tend to distract our minds from the lingering issue of self worth and self-importance. We are naturally a confused sole but with time and reflection we can find our true core meaning and true happiness. Therefore, we need to spend more time on the things that do affect core happiness like relationships and faith versus jobs and acquisitions. We need to define ourselves through our relationships and faith and not social status and wealth of currency.

  • The Jewelcrest of Wisdom/The Transformation of WorkDateWed Nov 20, 2013 4:13 am
    Blog post by Ryan Ennis

    Text #1
    "To transform one person is to begin the process of transforming many people. If our modern workplace is to become more humane, caring, and devoted to the well-being of people and less obsessed with the short-term efficiency and profit, then that larger transportation must begin one person at a time."

    This is an adept observation by Richmond. Instead of making an overarching suggestion to the system as a whole, she instead suggests to the individual to make the difference. Companies and Organizations are "a sum of all the parts." These parts are us and we are the ones that dictate change since the system is a product of us. If we each individually make a concerted effort to change the way we treat work and the mentality of "dog eat dog" then we can work to create a more fair and equitable system that benefits not only us but also our peers. Those that the system disregards and leaves in the abyss can then have an opportunity to contribute and support themselves. People are not all capable of pure genius or incredible responsibility but that doesn't mean they are useless. Our society has become to results driven and too based on social status and the acquisition of material goods and money. We need to see the possibility of change and take direct action at making it happen.

    Text #2
    "Most human suffering and injustice has its origins in desire- desire for wealth, power, security, safety and long life."

    This age old buddhist philosophy is so true and prevalent for contemporary western society. One of the shortcomings of education is that the way that our system is designed kids get educated for the sake of getting a cush job and acquiring capital. Therefore the end of the education train equals money. Kids a lot of times are not genuinely interested in the subject of their studies but rather the the money or status that the subject of their study will yield. Kids fail to follow their academic passions or beliefs in order to fit in and get a job that makes them feel elite or in line with their peers. Jobs on Wallstreet have insane demand and a surplus of qualified candidates. Meanwhile teaching jobs in inner city schools have deficit of qualified candidates and have to settle for teachers that aren't capable of the task at hand. A lot of times it takes more skills, especially people skills and makes more of an impact if one chose to be a teacher versus a corporate soldier. However, the reality is that people will choose money over passion and good will. A teacher who teaches in the nasty areas of New York City basically has to live in that nasty area. Whereas a Wall Streeter gets to live in a nice apartment in a safe nice community. This is a long standing issue that can only be changed by a systematic change led by people to reorganize the pay and social status of our jobs.

  • Packard, Building on Faith by Ryan EnnisDateWed Nov 13, 2013 4:22 am
    Blog post by Ryan Ennis

    Text #1
    "First, there is a focus on relationships and community. There is an emphasis on building relationships and partnerships and accruing a deep understanding of the surrounding community."

    Response #1
    This is a crucial element of providing community service. Often times there can be a disconnect between community service programs and the community. that's not to say they still aren't beneficial, it's just that programs are best when they have a pulse on what is going on in the community and what specific issues need to be addressed. The best way to do this is by relationship building. Building relationships with community leaders like religious heads, political figures, and store owners along with the citizens can help an organization become an incredible support system as well as a community builder. Building these relationships takes patience and serious effort. It is important gain the trust and respect of these leaders so that the organization can have a lasting impact as well as the ability to bring change that is supported by the community. Trinity seems to have a firm grasp of this concept which is allowing them to bring change to their community.

    Text #2
    "College entrance and completion statistics describe a generation of young men with very little chance of social mobility. An African-American boy in the ninth grade in the Boston schools has a 7 percent chance of graduating from college."

    Response #2
    The demographics of college students is unacceptably unequal compared to the demographics of our country. The government has failed to provide an educational system that gives everyone a fair chance. Public School endowments are based off of the town you live in's tax profit. therefore poor communities have less money to use and therefore worse teachers and resources. The government has attempted to help these communities out but there is still a staggering difference between upper class public schools and lower class public schools. Kids that are born in these lower class communities have to achieve at a higher rate and fight against a current of inequality. The kids in the upper class towns have the unequal privilege of a paveway to college. they have to actively screw up in order to not be able to attend college, whereas the lower class towned kids have to excel at a high margin above their classmates. This unequal system causes America to have an educational standstill where the upper class families stay rich and educated, while lower class families are poor and under-educated. This is unacceptable and needs to be changed.

  • Downward MobilityDateTue Nov 05, 2013 5:20 am
    Forum post by Ryan Ennis. Topic: Downward Mobility

    Text #1
    "The principal life strategy is "upward mobility" toward the goal of "success."
    While some can never rise high enough on the slippery ladder,
    others can rest content with a modicum of.~~ecurity. But no individual
    can change the rules of the game. Even when.they act with good will,
    upwardly mobile individuals participate in wider, ambiguous processes."

    We live in a society that places a large emphasis on the ability for people to succeed no matter what background they come from. However, we haven't made close to enough of an effort to make this statement true. People that grow up in poor neighborhoods with poor public education and often times absent parental figures are disabled from the beginning. Sure there are the rare few that have the talent and motivation to give their children a better more secure upbringing than they had, but they are the exception to the norm. I've mentioned in class before that I had the blessing of growing up in a great home with great parents and great education and this offered me the ability to take risks and have a security blanket to fall back onto. The scary part about that is that I don't know if I would have been able to go to college and make the relationships I've been able to do if it were my fortunate circumstances growing up. It's difficult to maintain a positive attitude on life when society doesn't ofer you the ability to fairly grow. It's tough to learn in an environment where you're schools don't have the proper funding to educate in a civil setting. It's difficult when you're surrounded by crime and poor influences. Therefore the only solution is to change the system that has caused this unfair unequal distribution of resources. I'm not necessarily saying that Capitalism needs to be overhauled, it just needs to have its teeth brushed.

    Text #2
    "A sense of being accepted ourselves enables us to recognize the
    humanity of our neighbor, especially the outcast. That shakes the
    foundations of a world divided into important and unimportant people."

    This notion of understanding and accepting other people no matter of their personal or economic differences is crucial to a better society. I think we often, especially in America, band-aid the surface of our societal issues without focusing on the cause and root of those issues. For example, there has long been an issue of mental illness in America that has been thrown under the rug. We fail to embrace people as mentally-handicapped or mentally-ill but instead treat them as if they have control over their actions and thoughts. One of the large parts of this issue is personal fear that one will be judged or discriminated against if they are known to be mentally ill. People don't want to be diagnosed with mental illnesses because of the stigma that is associated with being depressed or mentally handicapped. These people are far too often ostracized on the fringes of society and left to feel isolated and alone. We need to make efforts as a society to be more open-minded and accepting to people of all sizes shapes and forms. We need to see beyond ourselves so that society can not only be better for us but also as a whole.



  • Monsenor: the Last Days of Archbishop Romero DateWed Oct 02, 2013 3:38 am

    Text #1: "There were the mothers, wives, and children of those assasinated"

    Archbishop Romero's quest to support and back up the underpriveleged and overlooked lower class of El Salvador is truly inspiring. It's one thing to join a movement that is ongoing and popular, however it is entirely different to stand up as one man against the corrupt political and social leaders of El Salvador and not waver when it comes to principle and reason. The movie made me reflect on how little I take for granted and how lucky I am to be able to live in America. While we're unhappy with having to go to class and Sodexo cafateria food there are people across the world that deal with the inability to eat any food or drink any water. I think it's important to shape our perspectives on a global scale so that we can realize the privileges and opportunities afforded to us.

    Text #2 "This spiral of violence since we know they have the power to stop it."

    Secondly it is unreal how far some people will go to acquire money or social status. People in every country have killed, ruined lives, sold drugs, and orchestrated murders in order to rise in society through the acquisition of currency and/or social and political status. I think it is important that we acknowledge the gravity of this issue and take steps globally to improve not only our economies but also our character and moral fiber.

  • "Fair Trade Using our Purchasing Power for Justice and Hope" was a very enlightening article. My main concern about fair trade before Professor Combellick's class started was that fair trade could in some ways create an unbalanced lazy market however when I read the foot note that Fair Trade isn't charity it was very assuring. The fact that it's a holistic approach geared towards creating an honest fair market that doesn't empower corporations and rich individuals. I completely agree with empowering and helping to develop developing countries that don't have enough resources to support the world. I think every spirtuality or religion is centered around service and unselfishness. I feel it is our duty as privileged college students to use our resources to not only better ourselves but also others.
    The other section of the article that stood out to me was Psalm 104 and how it asks us to view what God has created as a celebration and to refresh ourselves with the memory of God's grace. This is so true as it pertains to the current state of America. I think in some ways we live in the entitlement generation that feels as though a house and dinner on the table is a given and not a gift. I think we need to take time out of our day to realize how awesome our life is and how lucky we are to have it. Some of the happiest people in the world are the poorest because they respect and value the little things that we take for granted.

  • Introductory sessionDateWed Sep 11, 2013 2:59 am
    Forum post by Ryan Ennis. Topic: Introductory session

    Last class was very interesting for me since my knowledge of Fair Trade is very limited. I enjoyed the handcrafting justice segment because it allowed me to get a real life look into the struggles and injustices of every day life in under-developed countries. I'm excited to learn more about Fair Trade and Spirituality and develop an informed opinion.

Content created by Ryan Ennis
posts: 4
place: Bronx, NY
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