Askese

eremoBei der Askese, wie auch bei der freiwilligen Armut, geht es nicht um den schmerzhaften Verzicht oder beabsichtigtes Leiden, sondern einfach um eine Haltung des Schaffens von Raum für das Wesentliche.

Asceticism

Asceticism, as well as voluntary poverty, are not about painful relinquishment or intentional suffering, but simply about an attitude of creating space for the essential.

En route – Philadelphia

A Better Yukon for All – the governmental strategy for social inclusion and poverty reduction

A critical review by Othmar F. Arnold

(All mentioned documents are linked directly to the original source.)

The preamble to the new strategy document outlines very nicely what a better Yukon for all means: “A socially inclusive society is one where all people feel valued, their differences are respected, and their basic needs are met so they can live with dignity. It is a society where everyone has the opportunity to participate and to have their voice heard.’ (p. 8) And it continues with deep insight about social exclusion: it “is the result of barriers in the social, economic, political and cultural systems” (p. 8).

In the introduction, the scope of the strategy is presented as a guideline to social policy development; or in other words, how government will facilitate a way of meaningfully living together. From the research the government conducted, it concluded that service delivery and access to services appear the main reasons for the fact that some people in the Yukon do not feel included. Furthermore, “poverty is one of the most obvious factors contributing to social exclusion, but social exclusion also stems from and is exacerbated by inadequate education, housing, health, social participation, employment and access to services (p. 8)”.

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A Better Yukon for All – a new strategy paper

The Government of Yukon has recently released its long-awaited

Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Strategy

It has been in the works for a while and there were several delays in releasing the document. But I am glad that it has finally seen the light. The entire strategy document can be downloaded from the following page: A Better Yukon. On the same page, the government released the 2010 background research report: Dimensions of Social Inclusion and Exclusion.

A socially inclusive society is one where all people feel valued, differences are respected and basic needs are met so they can live with dignity. Barriers in social, economic, political and cultural systems can prevent people from being part of their community. Everyone is affected by social exclusion and poverty, and everyone plays a role in finding solutions.

Vision

A Yukon where social exclusion and poverty are eliminated, diversity is celebrated, and all Yukoners have the opportunity to prosper and participate to their full potential, free from prejudice and discrimination.

The strategy document provides guiding principles, goals, and a commitment to measure success.

Evidence of Homelessness in Whitehorse: abandoned camp along the Yukon River
Evidence of Homelessness in Whitehorse: abandoned camp along the Yukon River

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Feast Day: Othmar

für eine deutsche Version: Namenstag: Othmar

Today I am going to tell you a story of a gifted little boy born on the shores of Lake Constance. He grew up in a place where he would speak an Alamannic German at home and Latin in more formal settings. He was born into a privileged family: He got the chance to go to school at an early age. The intent was to groom him for service in the royal administration. For his postsecondary education he is being sent abroad where people speak Romansch. There he lives in a palace with the family of a powerful mentor. After he mastered the sciences, he continued to study theology and became a priest.

The young man wanted to return to the shores of Lake Constance, but his mentor had a strategic placement for him in mind. He served for a number of years as parish priest and gained a reputation for compassionate service and his special attention for the marginalized. Eventually, he got called by an even more powerful landlord to establish a monastery in the woods of the Steinach valley. The local ruler secured a royal order to do so, and thus to establish a cultural and religious defence post on the margins of competing jurisdictions.

Abbot Otmar (photo source: http://www.santiebeati.it)

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Don’t waste your time!

I was brought up with the mantra don’t waste your time. My parents were quite insistent that their children make the most of their time (and definitely not waste theirs). Only now do I realize that this attitude was not something purely utilitarian – a way to make it out of misery and to the top. It actually has biblical roots:

Make best use of the time, because the days are evil. Eph 5:16 (ESV)

For my parents’ and grandparents’ generation making most of their time seemed to have worked. They all have roots in an agrarian lifestyle – something that for the most part excluded options in life, and was equally associated with a good measure of back-breaking labour, servitude, misery and poverty. But they overcame the burden thereof and created for themselves a much more comfortable worldly existence.

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