About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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Using the shoddiest, sleaziest material we have for the purpose of glorifying God is not very sound theology or even very good common sense. […] (In general, when you see a diminished seventh chord in a hymn, run.) And these chords are usually used in bad hymns in precisely the same order in which they occur in “Sweet Adeline.”
— Paul Hume (1956)

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Airplane Evangelization
published 22 March 2013 by Dr. Ronda Chervin


I made it safely for 2 weeks back East. On the way I had an amazing experience. I had a connection in Atlanta. Half the people got on the plane and then they announced that due to hail on the jetway, we had to wait before getting on the plane. Meanwhile the time of departure kept changing. The pilot actually visited us in the waiting area and apologized for the delay. That was surprising but not so far out. Later, when we got into the plane 3 hours later, we were told that there could be something wrong with the tail of the plane and that within the next half hour or so the maintenance would come and either the plane would be grounded or we would leave. Then, he added: “I am sorry my airline is very inefficient about handling such situations.”

Pondering this I started thinking that this was kind of risky for him to say. Suppose they told us we had to stay the night in a motel but since it was weather related we would have to pay. Someone could insist that since even the captain said it was inefficiency related the airline had to pay.

Ronda to Flight Attendant: I’d like to compliment the pilot on the way out on taking this risk because he seemed to care more about us being inconvenienced than about the reputation of the airline.

Attendant: Of course, he’s talk to you. He is that kind of man. (I could see the attendant admired him, also.)

With an hour or two to think up what I would say I wound up with this little speech:

“I teach seminarians ethics, and I want to tell them about the wonderful thing you just did, taking this risk… He looked mildly pleased and said thank you for telling him.

(He didn’t seem like a Catholic. Since I wear this large crucifix, a Catholic might have asked what seminary, but just the same I continued):

“Our new Pope, Francis, is doing the same kind of thing. Pope Paul VI said there’s no peace without justice. John Paul II says there’s no justice without transparency. I think Pope Francis is going to bring in transparency.”

And, “I am 75 and I was thinking this is the last misery delay I am going to go through. I am quitting travel. But because of what you did I thought “Heh, traveling I could meet wonderful people. So I’ll go Delta since they have pilots like you.”

He smiled and said “It’s Delta’s policy to be honest.”

I replied, “Well, I’ve been traveling for 45 years and this is the first time I ever heard such honesty.”

Besides this, the man next to me in the row was a very tired Mexican man. He wanted to sleep, not talk. But toward the end when he was awake in my halting Spanish I talked to him about his work in construction as a painter, about dedicated widows, and late vocation priests at the seminary, etc. He seemed pleased I talked to him.