Saturday, June 27, 2009

ESL love and hate- amor y odio

I just read yet another vitriolic post on the always-vitriolic blog, Ichabod, the Glory has Departed. The author lives in Arizona, but he regularly bashes many of the Milwaukee churches at which I have worshipped over the years, and their pastors, and their coffee. I don't know what happened to this man to make him so hateful, but his writings always make me think of how Hitler got rejected by a Jewish art school.

Here is the particular
post that has me in a rage right now, in which Ichabod bashes my beloved ESL (English as a Second Language) program for which I volunteer. I love this program; I have volunteered approximately weekly for over three years. It has changed my life in a deep and meaningful way. Milwaukee has always been a city of immigrants (just ask John Gurda.): German, Polish, Italian; now African, Hmong, East Indian, Russian, and especially Latino. This is huge. As a health care worker, I see the need to learn Spanish to better serve our clientele, and I see the equal need for Latinos in the US to speak fluent English. Milwaukee is, has always been, a melting pot: culturally, linguistically, religiously, politically. It wasn't always comfortable, but I think we have a greater appreciation of one another's cultures than ever before. And it's beautiful. (I also love ethnic food, which Milwaukee has in abundance.)

Since Ichabod likely will not approve my disapproving comment, I paraphrased it here.

Beth is a wonderful woman with a true heart for Christian service. She TEACHES ENGLISH to struggling immigrants. There are devotions offered (not compulsory) after class in English and Spanish by Pastors and seminarians, and the students are welcomed to Sunday services. The language lesson has no religious component, unless it comes up in the conversation practice between volunteer and student- any topic could come up, in fact: it is conversation (in addition to grammar, vocabulary, etc) like you would have with a friend. In fact, you [Ichabod] would do well to see such faith in action that the dedicated volunteers demonstrate- it is stressed at every class that we do this out of love for our brothers and sisters from around the world. This program has changed my life. It has changed many people's lives.

I encourage you, whoever may be reading this, to find a way to serve others that suits your own interests, that will help you grow, that will help Milwaukee be an even better place. Whether that means picking up garbage from a park, sharing helpful information, writing letters to our elected officials; whatever that means to you, do it.


Steve said...

The guy has issues. Let it be. Don't absorb the hate.

mikemiller34 said...

Poop, indeed.