Since I can remember, there’s been a conflict in the Middle East. In fact, the conflict in the Middle East surpasses any of our living memories and is engrained in the beautiful, Middle Eastern culture more than I think we, or even those who live there, will ever understand. The conflict between Israel and Palestine is a protracted conflict – meaning the people there only understand violence and retaliatory behavior, as that is what they have always…Continue
Added by Karen Leslie Hernandez on December 13, 2012 at 6:58pm — No Comments
Every once in a while, maybe even once in a lifetime, someone comes into your life, unexpectedly, and changes it forever. That happened to me in the Fall of 2001.
By this time, I had already gone back to school with my ultimate destination being theological school. A friend of mine was already in school at Boston University School of Theology and was taking a class with Elie Wiesel. When she told me this I simply asked if I could come and sit in on class with her as a guest.…Continue
Added by Karen Leslie Hernandez on May 1, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments
Ever been followed in TJ Maxx because you are not white? I have. Ever been told, “You aren’t Mexican, you are too light. You must be Spanish?” I have. Ever have your former in-laws complain about all the “stupid Mexicans” they encounter? I have. Ever have someone tell you, “Well, you are light-skinned, not like those dark-skinned Mexicans coming over the border – for all I care, they can all die out there?” I have.
The racism I have faced took me a while to understand. I first faced…Continue
People think that a high school drop out, drops out because they get pregnant, or they use drugs, or they lack intelligence, or they are lazy. The fact is, that kids drop out of high school for various reasons, but mostly, I believe kids drop out of high school because they lack hope. I know this, because I am a high school drop out.
As a teenager, I was one angry young woman. I had a tumultuous childhood, growing up in an abusive, neglectful home, with a mom who left in seventh…Continue
Added by Karen Leslie Hernandez on March 5, 2012 at 6:21am — No Comments
I think I was called a long time ago. When I was ten years old, I remember sitting in the car with my childhood friend Susan and her mom before Mass, and out of the blue I blurted, “I am afraid I am going to be a nun.” Susan’s mom laughed and asked, “Why are you afraid of becoming a nun?” “Because, then I can’t have children,” I bluntly stated. Although a life of piety and prayer doesn’t sound all that bad to me now, as it did then, the reality is that I felt God nudging me a very, very long…Continue
Added by Karen Leslie Hernandez on February 27, 2012 at 6:02am — No Comments
Last week I received a phone call from a random, unkown person. When I picked up the phone, this fellow asked, “Is this Karen Leslie Hernandez?” I happily replied, “Yes, it is,” and he proceeded to say the following (and I am paraphrasing as best I can remember because after the first comment, my mind was reeling): “You are a Muslim-loving b-tch. Your whorish theology is an insult to my religion. You are not a Christian, but a pathetic excuse for what you call yourself.” At that…Continue
Added by Karen Leslie Hernandez on January 31, 2012 at 9:40am — No Comments
In the New Year, I always find myself reflecting on past experiences and if they mean anything to me today. I am coming to the realization that many of life’s experiences that have come my way are just for me; to make me a better person, to help me think differently, and to let me view the world through a more creative lens. It is difficult to pass on those experiences and more, sometimes I wonder if it is necessary to pass on what I carry from those experiences. I am the person who…Continue
Added by Karen Leslie Hernandez on January 12, 2012 at 6:05pm — No Comments
I am not sure if it is the Catholic in me, or the United Methodist in me, or the Mom in me, or the woman in me, but one person I feel does not receive the recognition she deserves at Christmas is, of course, Mary. Also, another aspect of this story that I am fascinated with is the Christian-Muslim understanding of not only the birth of Jesus, but of his early years.
Mary was in her teenage to young adult years when the angel, Gabriel, appeared to her and told her that God would bless…Continue
Added by Karen Leslie Hernandez on December 25, 2011 at 1:09pm — No Comments
This is Part III of The Media My Daughter Witnessed series illustrating the effect of the media on my daughter, as well as on humans in general. This piece focuses on violence in entertainment media.
One of my biggest complaints when it comes to entertainment media is the violence that immerses the viewer so deeply that it is ingrained in us as “normal” and inherent to us as human beings.
As a theologian that concentrates on religious fundamentalism…Continue
This is Part II of The Media My Daughter Witnessed series illustrating the effect of the media on my daughter and in this piece, on women in general.
I am not a female dog, or any other kind of animal, nor do I want to be considered a monster. I am a woman—flesh and blood, human, intelligent, witty, fantastic, and definitely not a derogatory name of any sort.
Why am I am on my soapbox? 'Tis the season to shop and I thought about shopping at Victoria’s…Continue
I am a great mom. My life as a mother is rewarding, educational, and at times, messy. I realized as my daughter, Katy, matured, the more mistakes I made, the more I learned, and the more I realized that there is no such thing as a “perfect” mother. By trial and error I learned what I did as a mom that was good and bad. Personally, I feel the worst thing I did as a mom was expose my daughter to the media and its many forms – that being news, advertising, and entertainment.
Added by Karen Leslie Hernandez on December 15, 2011 at 2:00pm — No Comments
I am working in downtown Boston again. My workplace is great and I really love that I walk through the oldest park in America every morning. What I don't love seeing are the homeless men and women who make Boston Common their home. I find it difficult to understand why there are homeless people in the first place in America, but that is another topic for another time.
A few weekends ago I helped out at one of the many homeless shelters here in Boston, which I try to do occasionally.…Continue
Added by Karen Leslie Hernandez on November 18, 2011 at 8:58am — No Comments
I have a good amount to write in regard to 9/11 and how that day formed me, informed me, and changed me, but, here today, I want to write only a few points that I feel are worth noting.
If 9/11 taught me anything, it is to have faith in humanity. If 9/11 taught me anything, it is to think outside the box, to ask questions, to seek a deeper understanding. If 9/11 taught me anything, it is to challenge my own faith within myself. If 9/11 taught me anything, it is how to be a better…Continue
Added by Karen Leslie Hernandez on September 8, 2011 at 9:03am — No Comments
As people return from vacation and I peruse Facebook to check out their photos, I also notice a phenomenon that until recently didn’t bother me. Pictures of food. Pretty food. Gross food. Interesting looking food—you name it, you can view it. I have to say that I am guilty of this as well. I haven’t done it recently, but I did once take a picture of my favorite burrito at La Taqueria in the Mission in San Francisco, because it is that good.
Yet this year these pictures I…Continue
Do we dare have the audacity to hope for change in our very conflicted world? To create change? To make change? To expect change? To allow change?
Yes, I believe we do.
The Gaza bound flotilla from the United States, The Audacity of Hope, is stalled in Greece right now and has for over a week. In fact, Greece is blocking ten ships in the flotilla from sailing on to Gaza. With activists on board such as award-winning author, Alice Walker (…Continue
Three words - Harold Camping & Rapture: Sound familiar?
Last Saturday, May 21, 2011, as 6PM neared in all the time zones around the world, Facebook and cell phones were on fire with people asking and writing, “You still there?” to “No one raptured here…yet.”
There are no definitive numbers out there on how many true followers Harold Camping had, or still has, but it is certain that he convinced many that indeed, May 21, 2011, was the beginning of the end. People sold their…Continue
Last week, human rights activist Vittorio Arrigoni was murdered in Gaza.
Found strangled in an abandoned home, Vittorio was an outspoken humanitarian and peacemaker since arriving in Gaza in 2009 on a flotilla carrying food and medical supplies. Aside from working alongside other non-violent direct action (NVDA) folks, Vittorio also accompanied fishermen on their boats as they sailed the sometimes-uncertain coastal waters off the Gaza strip. His presence was more a witness than…Continue
I can say with complete honesty that I am not mean.
In fact, I haven’t a mean bone in my body. So, why then, do I sometimes do mean things? Why do I sometimes surround myself with negative thoughts about something or someone? Is it because I am human and I have human emotions? Do I hate? No. Can I be catty and petty? Yes. Is the excuse that I am human and will behave as humans do, a cop out?
On this Ash Wednesday as I enter the Lenten season, I am reflecting quite a bit on my…Continue
Added by Karen Leslie Hernandez on March 13, 2011 at 5:01am — No Comments
Do you ever feel like you are on the right road, that you are making the right choice, and then, BAM! – you realize, you’re not? Yes, that just happened to me, again. I was hoping for a traveling fellowship that, if awarded, would have sent me to Nigeria, Jordan, Palestine, and Afghanistan. In my field of study, this would have enhanced my future work immensely. I would have learned from Muslim women in Afghanistan, Iraqi refugees in Jordan, non-violent direct…Continue
Added by Karen Leslie Hernandez on February 12, 2011 at 9:42am — No Comments
I support and believe in the Palestinians—their right to inhabit the land they live on and have lived on for many, many years, and I support their plight. Does this make me Anti-Semitic?
After Israel attacked Gaza in December of 2008, I had a deep need to go over to the Middle East and learn first hand about the situation. I could have read more books on the conflict, but I believe experiential education is the most informative way to the truth. So, in March of 2009, I traveled…Continue