Aug. 19th, 2010

de-friending, and DW codes

For those who have been reading and care, the cousin I was engaging on Facebook has sent me a note full of vitriol and the kind of fear-mongering peddled by FOX et al,  and apparently de-friendedblocked me.  (How can I tell?  I can't reply to her note, is that what it means?)
This makes me sad, because it just shows that there is neither respect nor listening happening. I don't have the tools or connection with her to attempt further reconciliation (and she obviously doesn't want it), so I'm going to try to let it go and concentrate on areas where I can change things.

And for anybody who is interested, I have Dreamwidth codes available. Drop me a line. I'll edit this post when they're gone.

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Aug. 18th, 2010

Top 5 Lists: Round 1: Politicians

So, [profile] forg asked me for my Top 5 Politicians.  Gee, don't start me off easy or anything.  ;)

I am going to place a few limits on this list, just for clarity and also because otherwise I would have gone crazy. These are currently or recently active politicians, within the last decade at least. You know that if I'd opened this up to the dead, Cicero would go right to the top, right?  Anyhow...  With the caveat that every politician I've ever heard of has at one point or another done something to piss me off, here's a list for you:

#1: Senfronia Thompson, rocking the Texas House of Representatives since 1972. She is the longest-serving woman, and longest-serving African-American in the Texas Legislature. She has been fighting the good fight on behalf of women, children, the disenfranchised, working Texans, etc for a while, and is a pretty inspiring speaker. She famously gave a blistering speech in opposition to the anti-same-sex marriage amendment, denouncing the measure as bigotry. You tell 'em, Senfronia!

The next two aren't really ranked one over the other. They are connected, and both are pretty cool.
#2: Antanas Mockus, mayor of Bogotá, twice - once 1995-1997 and once 2001-2003.
#3: Enrique Peñalosa, mayor of Bogotá, 1998-2001.
These two mayors were part of a tremendous change in urban living in Bogotá, and used creative and ground-breaking techniques to improve the city for all its residents.  They improved public safety, infrastructure, and traffic efficiency. Peñalosa was interviewed in Ode Magazine about the changes wrought in Bogotá and his work on city planning after his term in office.  (Both Peñalosa and Mockus considered a run for president. Mockus ran this year to a runoff with the eventual victor.) Mockus was a guest speaker at the DeLange Conference here on Rice campus when the topic was Transforming the Metropolis: Creating Sustainable and Humane Cities.

#4: Dennis Kucinich, the only presidential candidate I ever felt was worth my wholehearted support. He currently serves in the House of Representatives for Ohio and continues to be one of the few leaders in that body who show consistent integrity in their decisions.

#5: Barbara Boxer, serving in the Senate for California. She has a good record on many issues close to my heart.

Now that I've closed up the five, I just want to make another shout-out to Senfronia Thompson, because she is just that awesome.  Yay!

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Aug. 17th, 2010

and then there's Facebook

Ok, so remember what I said about dealing with the fact that people will disagree with me on things, but I should post anyway?
I posted to Facebook today about the Cordoba Initiative's Park 51 building, and linked to Olbermann's Special Comment about it, which my mother emailed me this morning.
My post:
"The continuing discrimination and hate-mongering is really starting to get me down. I ask my fellow seminarians (many of whom have worked with Imam Rauf, or been taught by him, as I was) for help dealing with my own grief and anger, and then figuring out how interfaith activism can help, not just in NYC but across the country, anywhere religious freedom is threatened."

And one of my cousins (a fellow minister and a Navy chaplain assigned to a Marine unit) posted that he was also saddened by the events.
One of my Seminary classmates posted an encouraging note.
And one of my other cousins wrote this:
"Kerri, Are you for a Mosque being built close to ground zero???? Those freaks need to build it in their own country, not ours!"

Now, leaving aside the fact that she's my relative and still misspells my name (It's pretty common, really - big family, not immediate relationship. I give everybody a pass because I can't remember everybody's spelling either. We shall ignore the fact that the correct spelling is plastered all over FB), this makes it worse.

This is the culture of fear, the knee-jerk reaction against something we don't understand, the price of ignorance.  And it makes me so ANGRY.  And then it also makes me so SAD.  And I don't deal well with either of those emotions. ANGER makes me snippy and want to bang things and shout a lot. SORROW makes me curl up and cry, and that doesn't actually happen very often, that I do that snail-curl. It also makes me FRUSTRATED. Because how can I change someone's mind about this when it becomes so confrontational? How can I share the deeply spiritual and loving nature of the Muslims I know, the tolerance taught by Imam Rauf, the inclusiveness and understanding of the New Seminary, when I am so caught up in these negative emotions? That's no place from which to start teaching or talking.

I hope my responses didn't come off as completely crazed:
"As an interfaith minister, [Cousin], I am aware that Islam DOES NOT equal terrorism, anymore than Evangelical Christianity equals Terrorism or Conservative Judaism equals Terrorism. That kind of ridiculous blanket condemnation of an ENTIRE PEOPLE is a step on a slippery slope to exactly the kind of horror that the American colonists were fleeing in the first place."
"Also, I hate to break it to you (not), but the folks who are building and would be using this community center are American citizens. THIS is their country."

But aaaaaaargh. How can we create a community of tolerance and love? Give me some ideas, please. I feel totally powerless, and this is just the top-level news-worthy problem.  How many other places of worship and community (Mosques, but also maybe Hindu temples, or Druid groves, or Pagan spaces, or metaphysical meeting places) are being denied in other places, but won't ever make the news?
Slippery slope, indeed.

Edited to remove cousin's name, oops.
ETA: I have now calmed down somewhat, despite further infuriating posts, and folks who are interested in this issue may also be interested in this article, it's quite good: Ground Zero mosque as Wedge Issue: Muslims vs "real" Americans.

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Aug. 2nd, 2010

in which I blather more

a) Toddlers are hilarious.  Lando's biggest thrill when I visited was to have me sit in the armchair, then he would go to the other end of the room, start shrieking, and run run run run to throw himself onto my lap. I flipped him upside down, then, of course, which only made the game better.  And then he'd do it all again. And again.  And again.  ;)  Ah, to be two.

b) Lughnasadh was nice. Jon grilled and we had a tremendous harvest meal. It was a lovely day, indeed.

c) I've been seeing a lot of stories cross my feed and sometimes my flist about the proposed Cordoba House in NYC. It boggles my mind that there is so much negative press about it, in fact. And since it's crossed my flist and feed so many times, I just thought that I might give it some screen time. It's an idea that I first heard mentioned when I was in Seminary in New York, by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf himself. Imam Feisal was our lecturer in Islam and leader in a zikr. He is a wonderful teacher and inspiring leader. It is tremendously exciting to see the Cordoba Project reaching the point of having a building, a community center, in New York. 

d) I spent a large part of Sunday sewing. Good grief, there was a lot of sewing.  It takes me a lot longer than I think it will to cut and sew strips, but I eventually shaved a few minutes off each step by not ironing the seams between every step.

e) Still enjoying Sherlock from the BBC, but The Blind Banker was not as good as A Study in Pink. I was a bit disappointed by certain character developments, but on the whole it was still entertaining. spoilers ahoy ) Despite this, I will keep tuning in. (Plus the fanfic is choice.)

f) I have a few really exciting art projects on the horizon. I am trying to figure out what project to work on for this semester's studio course. Fandom deadlines for the most part preclude using any of those projects, but one never knows.

g) I think that's it for now.  I'm sure there are plenty of other things I could blather about - in fact, I was thinking of blathering about a few in more detail, but I'm not sure if a public forum is the best way...  one of the topics is religion, the other is crafty projects. (They will doubtless at times intersect.) Does anybody want to follow that kind of blather?

Good night!

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May. 9th, 2010

Mother's Day for peace

Every year for Mother's Day, this is the hope I post. Let us make of  today and everyday a remembrance and an ongoing labor toward peace and  tolerance.

Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation, written  in 1870:

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of  tears!

Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions  decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us,  reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not  be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them  of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be  trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of the devastated  Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The  sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe  out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often  forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women  now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of  counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and  commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other  as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be  appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the  earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance  of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of  international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

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July 2014




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