Monday, March 31st

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Happy Monday, Front Porchers, and happy birthdays to Renée Descartes, JS Bach, Joseph Haydn, Nikolai Gogol, Octavio Paz, Cesar Chavez, and Al Gore. We’d like to give a big “thank you” to Jesse Sublett for sharing his story last Friday, and to everyone who came to listen. This week, we’ve got the Rev. Bill Wigmore, who is a priest and addiction expert, speaking at Autobiographies of Redemption. If you liked Jesse, you should definitely check out Bill.

In lieu of any writing, here’s a video of Selena, who was killed on this day in 1995. Go ahead and dance along. We’re not here to judge.

 

Monday, March 24th

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Happy Monday, Front Porchers, and thank you all so much. We raised $8,390 through Amplify Austin, which will be matched by an anonymous donor. Every one of you who gave is our hero. To celebrate, we’re going to continue with our scheduled programming. Hooray! On Friday, our series Autobiographies of Redemption continues with Jesse Sublett. Maybe you know him as the bassist for the Skunks, who helped found the Austin punk scene in the seventies. Maybe you know him as a rock-and-roll mystery novelist. But however you know him, you don’t want to miss his story.

Speaking of major stories, it was thirty-four years ago today that Archbishop Óscar Romero was assassinated while celebrating Mass in a hospital chapel in San Salvador. Archbishop Romero was an outspoken critic of the political violence and corruption of El Salvador during the 1970s. Although he began his ecclesiastic career as a moderate conservative, he adapted his views to better fit his setting, breaking decades of the Church’s silent approbation of the strong-arm tactics used by El Salvador’s government and allying himself with (but never joining) the liberation theology movement. While his extraordinary courage in the face of institutional menace made him famous, his courage in the face of change is just as commendable: when faced with an appalling situation, he did not simply do as his predecessors had done and withdraw from the arena. He investigated the repression, thought about it, and changed himself to better meet the challenge with which he was presented. The Vatican has begun the process of canonizing him, but a more fitting remembrance would be to face the facts and change oneself, as he did, to better serve the good and the true.

Monday, March 3rd

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Amplify Austin_UFCU_LogoHappy Monday, Front Porchers, and Happy Texas Independence Day. We’ve got quite a month lined up for you. On Thursday the 13th, we’re hosting a special SXSW edition of Actually Unplugged. On Friday the 14th, we’ll begin our weekly Lenten series Stories of Redemption, in which a prominent community member will tell a true story about losing and finding important things. Our first storyteller will be Jared Dunten. Then, Parable picks back up on Sunday the 16th; we’ve got a surprise guest lined up, and maybe, if you keep an eye on this space, we’ll even let you know who. On Thursday the 20th, Actually Unplugged will resume its normal course, this time with the almost unfairly talented Darden Smith. Stories of Redemption picks back up on Friday the 21st with Paul Reed, then again on Friday the 28th with Jesse Sublett, and on into April with Bill Wigmore on Friday the 4th before concluding on Friday the 11th with Angie Cross. We’ve also got a major fundraising drive at the end of the month through Amplify Austin, so stay posted for more information on that as well.

It seems fitting, on this one hundred and seventy-eighth anniversary of Texas’ declaration of independence from Mexico, to remember that a conflict of independence doesn’t lead to freedom for everyone. After all, Texas (and the United States) maintained sizable slave populations. Rebellions and petty wars continued well into nationhood, and it was people at the bottom and on the edges who bore the brunt of the suffering. Even now, Syria is undergoing the largest displacement of people since the Holocaust. Ukraine has exploded in violence, and Venezuela simmers, ripe to follow suit. While the focus will be on the leaders of the various factions in those states, take a moment to think not just of the fighters, the commanders and the ideologues, but also the people trapped in their homes by the fighting. Think of the confused, the unsure, the unbrave, who live under death’s wings,  meaningful life and work out of reach until forces beyond their control allow. Regardless of political persuasion, these are the casualties of independence.