Showing posts with label Peter Dybing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peter Dybing. Show all posts

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Taking The First Step, The Activist At Home.





Activists shout from roof tops, lead emotional protests, confront government oppression, organize the mass feeding of the homeless, lobby Congress, confront animal shows for their treatment of their charges. Consistently those who engage are in our collective consciousness.

Within our faith communities we are urged to organize and implement actions that reflect our common vision of social justice.  Our leaders demonstrate passion in their efforts, we are inspired and join in seeking change in the world.

Let me, however, propose that the most effective activism springs not from our collective efforts but instead from our own first steps in confronting hatred, inequality, environmental destruction and economic disparity.

Simply stated,

Your actions in buying a meal for and sitting with a homeless person have a more profound effect on hunger, homelessness, and recognizing human dignity than all the committee meetings you may attend.

Your confrontation of hate speech you witness in the community will do more to eradicate bigotry than attending weekly Black Lives Matter marches ever will.

Your actions in announcing that you will not go to Sea World on your vacation will do more to save the whales than any dozen blog posts you may write on the subject.

Your decision to hire an individual with a criminal record will do more to stop the school to prison pipeline than all the petitions you may sign.

Your admonishment of someone you see littering will do more to save the environment than any vote you may cast to establish a recycling program.

Activism is about taking the first steps; engaging locally where we take some risk for our positions, where our actions help to establish new community ethics concerning social justice. These "First Steps" are the hard ones, we are alone, no committee of like minded individuals, no mass of protesters at our backs, no congregation of supporters, just you confronting that which offends your sense of social justice.

While all the collective actions listed above have great social value, it is our willingness to "Take the First Step" that establishes social justice as central to our identities, making us valuable and available to engage in broader action.

So today my friends I urge you to adjust your view of Social Justice, bring it a little closer, engage in your home, your work place, your community.  The first steps will be the hardest, attempting to skip them, however, only leads to hollow efforts at reform. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The UU Church and the Secret Pagans




It is a Sunday morning and my entire being is resistant to the situation I find my self in.  This Pagan who has circled thousands of times in celebration of divinity is sitting in a pew, row after row of individuals surround me.  I see a hymnal in front of me and all the memories of why I left organized religion flood back serving to further enhance the temptation to flee.

This Sunday morning I sit in respect for the local UU congregation that makes space for the CUPPS chapter I have joined.  It seems only right that I grant a measure of respect to those manifesting a space for my community to circle.  I have done hours of reading about the UU church and intellectually am in agreement with their ethics.

My Pagan identity is so strong that I wonder if this is the place for me, how can I engage in this service that looks and feels so much like that which I rejected in my youth?  As the service starts a chalice is lit and a song is referenced, I reach for the hymnal and am awash with memories of my youthful disconnect with divinity and meaning.

In this moment something happens, I focus on the words of the song and recognize the earth-based theology at its core. As the congregation sings, my hardened heart softens and I find my self singing , the sense of divinity is palpable, I am confused, here among the trappings of organized religion I am connected to divinity.

As the service progresses it is evident that the words spoken from the minister value diversity, compassion and social justice.  I am engaged, the sense that the Goddess is present is nearly ecstatic, and my confusion deepens.

As the service ends and I enjoy coffee and snacks with the membership, I am warmly greeted, informed of the many efforts the church is engaged in and made to feel welcome.

As I walk away I have one of the moments that I so cherish in my life, insight into my own preconceptions about religious identity flow from my core self.  The questions are profound.  For how many years have I excluded the worship practices of others from my personal practice?  Why has my engagement in interfaith activities always centered on “working with” people of other faiths instead of “worshiping with” those that simply call divinity by another name?

After a number of services I now feel part of this church, something I thought I would never say.  I cherish my Pagan circles but I will no longer see exclusivity of sacred space as a refuge but rather an artificial construct erected by my own desire to establish a self-limiting religious identity.  Secretly in my heart I consider the entire congregation I have joined as “Secret Pagans” embracing divinity with the same fervor and focus on social justice, as do I.  They simply have a different vocabulary for celebrating all that I hold sacred.

 Today I embrace both may Pagan identity and my membership in the UU church. It has always been my belief that all paths lead to divinity, I was just never aware how walking more than one path at a time can so clarify the divine's intention to hold all humanity as sacred.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Police Violence And The Schism In Our Community





Recently I posted an opinion on a Face Book post that expressed my solidarity with the movement to hold police accountable for their actions. Immediately an individual responded that I should “preach elsewhere”.  The following thread made it clear that some in our community feel that of you advocate for police accountability you are anti police.

This line of logic tempts people to believe that if you support accountability you are one of the bad guys.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, I consider my position as pro police.  After viewing dozens of videos of police abusing restrained subjects who pose no threat, the very idea that confronting such behavior is “anti police” is misleading at best.

In my professional life I am often in the position of supervising a great group of federal officers, to a person they are professional, respectful and focused on the safety of the community. Opposing police violence is about supporting the great officers in our communities.  Daily, officers are faced with the toxic choice of supporting fellow officers who behave badly or loosing the respect of other officers for their choice to report abusive behavior.  This “thin blue line” ethic is destructive to other officers, our community and the overall reputation of police officers nation wide.

Each of us should guard against the kind of logic that urges us to disregard the facts in favor of an approach that blindly advocates for maintaining a system that is clearly in need of repair.  Answers are available, body cameras for police that have a 2-minute delay when turned off, support for officers who come foreword with reports of abuse and outside review boards that have no connection to involved departments are great places to start.

To those who oppose accountability I would say the same thing police officers say to suspects,” if you have done nothing wrong, there is nothing to fear from accountability.”

The current situation in which honest officers are afraid to report abuse must change.  When the day comes that dishonest officers are afraid of honest officers reporting them we will have established a policing system that reflects the values that our nation holds as important.

Today I stand in support of all the great police officers out there and will continue working towards the day when they have nothing to fear from a system that allows abusive officers to put them in situations that compromise their values.  It is my hope that, within our collective community, others will also acknowledge that what they are working towards is a day when interactions with the police stir no fear on the part of the community, only respect for the job they are doing.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Vicarious Trauma, Pagan Responders and the Nepal Disaster





Definition

"Vicarious trauma (VT) is a transformation in the self of a trauma worker or helper that results from empathic engagement with traumatized clients and their traumatic experiences. Its hallmark is disrupted spirituality, or a disruption in the trauma workers' perceived meaning and hope."

Over the past few days a small group of Pagan responders and other colleagues have been experiencing some dramatic reactions to the situation in Nepal. These reactions are directly tied to their experiences in disaster zones in the past. Simply stated we collectively share a level of empathy with the victims of this current disaster that transcends anything others are able to manifest.

Expressions on social media from those without these insights may rub us in the wrong way as we seek to help shape the communities response to this disaster. We know well the logistical, political and resourcing challenges that the disaster victims face. Our collective insights are based on having seen on the ground what works and what does not.  Pagan responders are not immune to hyper empathetic responses to events like these. Our insights can be very valuable at times like these, yet please understand that we have unique experiences that leave us with little tolerance for expressions that avoid direct support for the victims of this disaster.

Frankly, while as Pagans we value spiritual expressions that call for prayer, we also well know that what will make a difference is manifesting payers for the response, not prayers. With past direct exposure to the kind of suffering now taking place our hearts are broken by our inability to be there and bring our skill sets to the table. Perhaps one day our community will mature in such a way that we have a direct disaster response infrastructure. For now our collective hearts ache to take direct action.

Many have come forward asking about where to donate. While I have chosen to give money to a few organizations I have worked with in the past let me share some principles in giving.

1.  Small NGO's who were already on the ground prior to the disaster have established infrastructure enabling them to respond without having to establish complex logistical operations.

2. Very large NGO's generally have long response times due to their size. If you want to help now, giving to smaller organizations can insure your donation has a direct impact now.

3. Small villages away from the capital where there are few photo opportunities are in dramatic need of help. These communities do not provide NGO's with the ability to stir emotions among their supporters and as a result are most in need of help. Seek out those intending to provide responses to these communities.

Most of all, please understand as past Pagan disaster responders focus their attention on this issue; collectively our experiences lead us to be frustrated with social media, pictures of puppies and "which Rocky Horror Character are you" posts while we are seeking to focus the worlds attention on the suffering we know is happening. 

Our collective open hearts bleed for Nepal, we are unable to remove our thoughts from the disaster. If you have the desire to help, please give where you can, repost calls for action, help manifest a sustainable response that will save lives.  



Friday, April 24, 2015

Change Starts Right Here, In Our CUPPS Groups






Over the years I became very frustrated with my Wiccan path.  I loved the people, yet our ritual structures had become static with dogma induced scripted formats that ignored advancements in social awareness.  This frustration eventually led me to leave the Wiccan fold and develop a more inclusive practice.

Specifically my frustration surrounded the continual use of gender beaneries in ritual practice. Circle members would all acknowledge and support the developing culture of gender fluidity and at the same time all their rituals continued to follow binary outlines.

Last night at our local CUUPS planning meeting for our Beltane event a ritual script was presented that reflected a traditional Wiccan approach.  Quarters, God, Goddess and the Great Rite; briefly I suggested we add a simple acknowledgement of gender variations prior to the Great Rite part of the ritual.  It was a simple suggestion that was readily accepted by the group. It read something like this.

“While we acknowledge the divine value of all expressions of gender identity today we celebrate the Grate Rite”

It is as simple as that; acknowledgement goes a long way in sending a message of sacred regard to those who would otherwise see our ritual as exclusive.  There was no need to erase the ritual as written, only a simple and honest statement of acceptance.

This ability to bring social justice to the spiritual table is one of the things I love about CUUPS.  In my experience we seek first to adjust our own relationship within the context of the intersectional relationship between divinity and social justice.

So my fellow CUUPS members, is there a place in your local CUPPS group to stand for diversity?  Do you also experience the ability to influence unconscious habits towards greater inclusion?  I would really like to believe that my experience reflects a collective ethic in CUUPS and not a singular experience. Let me know, I really am interested in your opinions.


Friday, April 17, 2015

CUUPS is Pagan Lite, So Untrue!


Profound spiritual experiences nourish my ability to connect with divinity.  Over the years as a Pagan I have belonged to many organizations, identified with multiple traditions and participated with a diverse group of Pagans.  Generally my spiritual cup has been overflowing over the years.

Recently as I have engaged as a “new” CUUPS member my expectations have been exceeded.  Many have pontificated on CUUPS as “Pagan lite”, with no central belief system or required degree system they see CUUPS as a place for the less serious.

My experience has been exactly the opposite.  Within my CUPPS chapter there are people following multiple paths, our rituals together reflect a silent tenant of CUPPS, that all paths have value in seeking divinity. 

It is this ethic that demonstrates the beauty of the CUPPS organization. Individuals are able to dig deeper, explore more and experience divinity without the fear of running into one of the various walls of dogma constructed over the years by various Pagan belief systems.

It is this sacred regard for all paths that allows CUUPS members to transcend disagreement over belief and focus energy on divinity in all its’ blessed manifestations.

Becoming a CUUPS member has enabled this long time Pagan to refocus on the sacred within all paths, to see divinity in the footprints of those who travel paths very unlike my own.  To release the age-old issues around what we collectively believe and engage my spirit in what we do!

I am grateful for these deeper insights and value dearly the intensely deep experiences that have come my way since joining CUUPS!

In Her Service,

Peter Dybing




Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Parliament of the World's Religions, LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN!




Over the past few days I have been working on my proposed presentation for the Parliament of the Worlds Religions titled “Sacred Regard, Confronting Hate with Love, Compassion and Education”.  This process has driven me to consider what it is that the Parliament stands for and how I can contribute to these organizational values and ethics.

Simply stated my goal is to LISTEN!  This event provides a profound opportunity to engage with people of other faiths in respectful and compassion centered dialogue.  There can be no greater contribution to world peace than developing a deep and abiding understanding of other cultures and belief systems. 

This focus has led me to revise my proposed presentation many times with the goal of giving voice to participants experiences and view points. As challenging as manifesting a presentation which features interactive components can be, the revisions are well worth the effort.  It is my task to surrender control of the direction the presentation precedes and embrace the unique opportunity to engage with viewpoints arising from cultural contexts with which I have little experience.

In the end my goal for the presentation mirrors my hopes for the entire event. Seeking mutual understanding and respect for the incredibility diverse expressions of divinity around the world. I am committed to not huddling with others Pagans during the Parliament, but instead engaging in a sacred process of learning about and embracing divinity in a plethora of manifestations.

In short, I intend to listen!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

No Guide Book For Pagan Elders





With much discourse occurring in the community about ageism, Elders and young Pagan Leaders conversations can be divisive.  It is important to consider that our Elders are the first generation manifesting an “Elder ethic” in our community.  As a group they are expected to know when to transition to the status of “Wise Elder” and leave community leadership to a younger generation.

These highly respected individuals are blazing a new trail, as the first generation to face these issues, en-mass; there are no reference points for them to follow in achieving these transitions.  They are protective of the organizations they have built and concerned that new Pagan leaders do not have the institutional background to fully embrace what is needed to insure the survival of what has been manifested by their generation.

Complicating matters is a new generation of what can be seen as ‘Generational Pagans, raised on the very ethics these Elders established, this generation is on fire.  New leaders are well educated and burning with a desire to manifest changes that will allow our community to embrace change in a way that make sure the community thrives well into the future.

Instead of establishing a dialectic, lets support our Elders and New Leaders in their struggle to transition leadership in our community. Respect Elders for their wisdom and at the same time expect that they will engage in a succession planning process that ensures that emerging leaders are allowed to drive discourse in our community towards advancements in tolerance, compassion and social changes that will benefit all of us.

If I say pro youth and you hear anti elder, examine your reaction!

If I express support for Elders and you see it as resistance to change, examine your reaction!

All generations have so much to offer; instead of a struggle for the heart of Pagondom, lets manifest a future together in mutual respect!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rethinking Our Choices, The Prison Industrial Complex





Much has been written about the school to prison pipeline.  Incarceration rates in our nation establish America as one of least free nations in the world.  When crime happens people have to decide to call the police or not.  The question I wish to pose here is; should there not be other options?  Must we support a system that is destructive to our collective culture in order to respond to individuals breaking social norms?

Story after story posted online over the past few months make it clear that calling the police can result in un-necessary escalation and can place even the caller at risk of being the victim of police excess. Individuals in the Trans Gendered community know well the fear that calling the police manifests. When they do so, they place themselves at risk of being arrested or beaten.

What would happen if communities manifested other options?  Collective community action to hold accountable perpetrators, engaging their families, friends and employers in plans to hold them accountable for their actions.

What would happen if communities established response teams for victims that would hold them safe from further violence, provide emotional support and help them receive emotional and financial compensation from those who victimized them?

What would happen if communities created programs that focused on restorative justice instead of punitive punishment?  Establishing a framework of community involvement that discards the ethic of “mind your own business?

It is clear that by only having a choice to call the police or not we are not serving our communities well, only supporting the perpetuation of a system that oppresses members of our community, victims and perpetrators alike.

So lets consider community based options, real solutions that manifest change beyond the destructive roles of the helpless victim and the demonized offender.

Lets have real choices that go beyond activating a system that is oppressive in its’ very nature!


Friday, March 6, 2015

On Being Kind To The Invisible, Seeing The Homeless




Yesterday I dropped by a donut shop and bought donuts for the staff I work with, no big deal, just being part of the group. Having time on my hands before work I also stopped to shop for a pair of boots for the coming season. As I got out of my car I noticed a group of 15 or so homeless individuals sitting under a shelter in a near by park.

In the moment, I decided to take the donuts over to them, surly they would appreciate them more than my co-workers. Let me state I work in a Detox unit during the winter, so the idea of noticing these individuals is no great surprise for me. The thing is, I sat and spent about fifteen minutes enjoying conversation and eating donuts. I was enriched and amazed that they kept saying how people drop by “stuff” all the time but never stay and interact, never really want to know who they are.

Therein lies the rub, the homeless are invisible. Sure well meaning progressive people provide gestures of support in an effort to sooth their place of privilege in the world, but it is striking how rarely such actions lead to real meaningful interactions with the homeless population.

It is natural of course, for our brains to not want to wallow in the unfortunate, to really see the suffering that surrounds us, to attempt to screen out that which makes us uncomfortable. Yet such a process devalues human beings that are as much an expression of the divine as the friends I so cherish.

Imagine, if you will, being so marginalized by society that the only real interaction you have with broader society is expressions of pity and or charity. Sit for a moment in the place of the individual that society treats as if they have nothing to offer; experience being reduced to a sad statistic. Now consider how profoundly such a situation could affect your ability to move forward in life, how being invisible in public discourse could led you to doubt yourself in every way.

So today my call is for the homeless. Not for feeding them, not for housing them, not for providing resources, but for something more profound, providing human kindness.  Let’s open our eyes, make friends, and really get to know those among us that our culture considers invisible. Lets take a seat in the park and discuss, laugh, encourage, and recognize the divinity and self worth of those most in need of the compassion that our beliefs encourage us to express.

So today I issue a challenge with a simple question: Do you even know the name of a homeless person in your community?  If you don't, maybe it is time you do! 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Rejecting The Culture of Respectability, New Pagan Leadership


It has been a tumultuous few weeks in the evolution of our collective Pagan community, discussions about multiple uncomfortable issues have been processed both online and in local face to face conversations.  What strikes me most profoundly about these conversations is the incredible eloquence, insight and collective clarity of vision of what many have been calling “Young Pagans” 

Let me just briefly mention that this label of “Young Pagans” is, in my opinion, a misnomer.  Clearly when we are discussing these individuals it is our Elder centric culture that labels everyone under 45 as “young leaders”.  

Over and over I have witnessed “Elders” explain the realities of a diverse group of Pagan micro communities to these “Young Pagans” seeking change.  Essentially, the impression I get is of an established community defending what they have built and seeking to stave off the reality that it is these new Pagan Leaders that are manifesting real change that will ensure the flourishing of our collective communities.

These “new leaders” speak their truth directly; they have little concern for what Jason Thomas Pitzl, calls the “Culture of Respectability” that has manifested in our community. Their actions reflect the fact that a static community will enter a period of entropy if it does not continue to manifest positive social change, a sense of collective community and direct honest confrontation of the issues that infect our collective tribes.

Frankly, I am impressed with their passion, their willingness to proclaim an enlightened viewpoint with out regard to who it might offend.  These so-called “Young Pagans” are the Pagan movement; they have transcended the accomplishments and structures built by the proceeding generation.

 Our communities' Eders laid the foundations of their work, something they all deserve respect for.  Today however, these same Elders seem unable to embrace the reality that they carry many attitudes and ideas that if allowed to prevail will begin to eat away at the very community they so cherish.

Simply stated, the views, ideas and actions that I most respect in our community are all coming from this new generation of Pagans who will not tolerate a community which bases its’ actions on a culture of respectability. The widespread ethic of “play nice” that resulted from the “witch wars” that occurred during the formative years of our community has become an insidious barrier to real discussion and the evolution of our community.

While I am always cautious to engage the word “leaders”, I do believe that the current people who I respect  the most for their leadership abilities are from these emerging generations.  It seems to me that it is time for established Elders to pass the responsibility of leadership to these individuals and stop framing them as “young leaders”.  They are the best of us, willing and able to take our community into a future that is more inclusive and reflective of our Pagan values.

We need our Elders for their wisdom, knowledge and temperance. They command our respect, yet the time comes when actively steering our community into the future should be left to those who have a clearer view of the future rather than the past.

It is my intent to focus what limited voice I have on ensuring that these passionate, focused and effective Pagans are encouraged to continue steering our community forward in the direction of their collective vision of a healthy, dynamic and inclusive community

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

COVENANT OF THE GODDESS, IN DEFENCE OF LOCAL COUNCILS






Over the past few weeks I have witnessed the demonization of Covenant of the Goddess as a result of the epic fail of the National Board’s response the the #BlackLivesMatter movement.  The discourse has degenerated into the use of a broad brush painting the organization as racist, I am saddened and disgusted that our community seems unable to hold accountable those who failed in their leadership rolls while painting the many great members of CoG with the same broad brush.

Let me be clear, I am a huge supporter of many of the Local Councils of CoG. Over the years,  I have developed a deep respect for the work the Local Councils and their members do.  The idea that they are responsible for the insensitive and hurtful statements of the National Board is unreasonable and toxic to our community.

Admittedly, the National Boards actions in engaging in censorship and attacking their critics contributed to this problem.  When they chose to paint the criticisms as an attack on the entire covenant many bought their position and framed the issue as having to do with the entire membership.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I urge the community to examine their response to this situation and continue to support the work of the local councils; their efforts in interfaith, feeding the hungry and fighting for social justice deserve our respect, not a broad brush stroke coating them with the stain of the actions of others.

The very idea that half a dozen members of the National Board of this revered organization could be so clueless as to the state of social justice in our nation that they could make such a statement is alarming.  The National First Officer and the Public Information Officer are the voices of the national board, they failed, they are responsible and they should resign.  Lets hold those accountable as having a responsibility to take the consequences for there actions.

I would like to believe that Pagans have the insight to see the nuances of this situation.  The craft is about personal responsibility, not burning entire organizations at the stake due to the actions of the few.

As a national solitary,  I recently let my membership in CoG expire, the National Board is responsible for representing me as a member of CoG and I did not feel their actions reflected my values.  Had I been a member of a Local Council, where all the great work of the covenant takes place,  I would have remained a member of  CoG.

For years many respected Elders of CoG have explained to me that they do not become involved in national CoG due to the political infighting and back room deals that take place. I myself, over the past four years adhered to this ethic, it was my personal moral failing that I did so.  If I am a member of an organization I have a responsibility to attempt to change things, I did not and I regret it, as I am sure other Elders in the community do also.

Here is wishing that collectively the great group of Local Councils of CoG have the courage to retake the leadership of this storied Pagan organization, I wish them luck in their endeavor.

#Black Lives Matter

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pagan Consensus And The Tyranny Of The Minority





Recent events within the Pagan community have driven me to examine the structure of Pagan organizations and how these configurations tend to affect the ability of those participating to embrace social justice in the wider community.

It has been a general principle in our community that organizations embracing the governing model of consensus are seeking to hear the voices of everyone, honoring their views and finding a way to move forward with the approval of all involved.

In the case of small organizations or groups that have the ability for everyone to meet face-to-face the model works well and expresses our collective desire to honor each participants individual relationship with the divine.

In the case of large organizations, however, the process can be usurped by small groups of people seeking control and undo influence.  Organizational leaders are left with the reality that the views of fringe groups within the membership are able to derail progress and leave the organization Mora bound, unable to represent the views of the vast majority of the membership.

Peace at all costs becomes the mantra of these organizations.  Servant leaders of these groups are left to defend organizational lack of action as an “acceptable” consequence of the consensus process.  Even more, individuals who have the resources to attend national meetings develop undue influence over the group, while hiding under the cover of representing those not present via a paperwork process that pretends that all have a voice.

Individuals with years of investment in the organizational culture use past consensus decisions as powerful weapons to bludgeon those seeking change with.  They somehow have come to believe that past decisions, during a time of different circumstances, are sacrosanct statements reflecting some divine insight.

The position that all behavior, all lack of action is somehow justified by institutional history and past consensus becomes toxic to the organizations ability to move forward. Essentially, a TYRANNY OF THE MINORITY is established.

As we move forward as a community, it is my hope that organizations will examine these issues.  There is a place for consensus, in small regional groups that have the ability to truly discuss issues with everyone present.  Yet, as a community we must be willing to examine what is not working and manifest a process that does not embolden those expressing adverse discrimination to take hold of our cherished institutions.

There are many great people doing great work in our national organizations. The call here is not to trash our systems of organization but be willing to examine where they are broken in the light of day, with transparency and compassion.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Selma’s LBJ, A Metaphor For You And Me





The recent uproar over the portrayal of Lyndon Johnson in the movie Selma is quite enlightening.  Staffers at the LBK Presidential Library are defending the former presidents reputation as a hero of civil rights.  Their objection surrounds the movie painting LBJ as a reluctant ally at best.

If we really examine the man and his motivations we can see that he possessed great insight and vast blind spots in terms of racial justice.  He stood as the leader of this nation reflecting the values that white Americans held at the time. 

It is in this honest assessment that we can see our selves; as white Americans we have accomplished much in recognizing the abhorrent affects of racism.  Yet, this is not where we started.  Just as in this most recent portrayal, we have gradually evolved in our understanding of how insidious prejudice can be.

As we move forward we embrace an ever-expanding concept of social justice, spurred on by our exposure to the inequities in our world.  For those of us over forty, for example, can we honestly say that our views and understanding of transgender rights have remained static over the last 20 years?  For most, the answer is clearly NO. We have moved from ignorance of the issue, to acknowledgement and beyond to embracing social change via activism.

The real issue with the LBJ portrayal is that unconsciously we desire to believe the myth that a white man was a hero of the civil rights movement.  Was he? well kind of, but he did not start as a hero, he had to be confronted, informed and challenged.  There in is the rub; all of us need to be willing to confront our attitudes, ideas and actions if we are to manifest social justice in our time.

Those seeking a white wash of LBJ into an instigator of the civil rights movement are unconsciously expressing a desire to reframe history into a box that white privilege fits into.   I admire LBJ for his ability to evolve his views and take action once he understood the magnitude of the situation.  He evolved, may we all follow his example and continue to do so also.   The attempted reframing of the discussion of the movie to be about the actions of a white President instead of the bravery of the people of Selma and MKL is distasteful at best. Yet there are lessons about our own privilege to be gleaned from the conversation.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Very Merry Christmas, Pagans Included!




In Denver the gray clouds are rolling in, there is a calm preceding the impending storm.  At my in-laws home all is draped in the festive colors of the season. Voices are seemingly hushed in deference to the holiday.  Aromas swirl around me as we prepare for the coming meal.  The faces of extended family yet to arrive manifest an inner smile.  I am comforted in my memories of holidays past.  There are a plethora of sweat emotional visions that emerge from my unconscious, I am awash in the tradition of my ancestors and I find myself in the Christmas Sprit.

Yes, I am through and through a Pagan, yet in this day,  I find a spiritual silence and inner calm that emerges at no other time of the year.  A brief trip to the gas station reminds me of the absence of the bustle of everyday life.  On empty streets the few cars move with suppressed urgency as if the occupants are moving towards the sure embrace of love, joy and peace.

If it is the energy of the Christians’ Christ that manages to urge our culture to suspend the mad rush that is life; then I am grateful to their Christ beyond words.  The sense that humanity is taking a day off from all the conflict, debate and turmoil comforts me; It enriches me with the hope that one day the blessed people of the earth will come together and evolve past the lines that divide us.

So today, I am grateful for my Christian friends who welcome me as I participate in the spirit of the day. The spiritual energy of millions focused on family, joy and love cannot be ignored.  While our beliefs differ I am in awe of the peaceful energy raised on this day.

So yes I am wishing you a merry Christmas and inviting all my Pagan friends to bathe in the spirit of your holiday, we are blessed!


Friday, December 19, 2014

Solstice Greetings To My Readers World Wide!


Happy Winter Solstice, in darkness may you cherish the light that burns inside your heart!




Glad vintersolhverv, I mørke kan du værner om lys, der brænder inde i dit hjerte!



Щасливий день зимового сонцестояння, В темряві може ви дорожите світло, яке горить у вашому серці!



的冬至在黑暗中你可以珍惜你的心里面的光



Glückliche Winter-Sonnenwende, Bei Dunkelheit können Sie das Licht, das in deinem Herzen brennt schätzen!



Szczęśliwa Przesilenie zimowe, W ciemności można kochać światło, które płonie w twoim sercu!



Счастливый день зимнего солнцестояния, В темноте может вы дорожите свет, который горит в вашем сердце!



Solstice d'hiver heureux, Dans l'obscurité peut te chérir la lumière qui brûle dans votre cœur!