Jan. 21st, 2011

Card of the Day: The Builder

Today work was fun but busy, which seems to be about par for the course these days. I really need to get out of the office to eat lunch, especially once the weather warms a bit.
I've finished all my Netflix DVDs of Fringe and have to wait a few days now for more. I am a little less than halfway through the first season now, and it's great.

I have been trying to get going on this ficlet for my challenge, and may have figured out a way into it. I drew cards for it, but first the Card of the Day:
The Builder, Gaian Tarot )
Aw, man, this one is so awesome and yet so much a rebuke, in some ways. Or perhaps I'm too hard on myself. The Builder is the card about sustainability, environmentally responsible development, and co-operative living. This card represents a power and authority over one's own life and place that allows one to choose wisely for the future.
I recycle. :P That's about it, really, when it comes to very practical things. And I probably don't do that enough. I try not to buy rayon, or bamboo fabric, or chemical cleaners, or things with excessive packaging, but sometimes I do all of those things. And it's hard to imagine that my choices will impact the larger picture, especially when there are places all over the world that are suffering from a disturbing lack of clean drinking water.
In any case, my own hang-ups about lifestyle aside, the builder is also about building a responsible and compassionate life, and being aware of the great truth of the universe: we aren't, any of us, alone. No one acts in a vacuum. Everything we say, or do, or type, changes the world.
I used to write poetry about that - how breathing displaced molecules that would otherwise have been moving with their own inertia and that changed everything - when I was in the midst of my greatest spiritual crisis, and stopped believing in an immortal soul. Crazy the way images and ideas carry such great reminders of the past. I can even think of the sidewalk in Astoria, Queens that I walked down while composing that poem in my head.
Sometimes it's really hard to remember that, but I think it's important to get these reminders every so often. And to be gentle with myself when I think I've fallen short.

I just had an idea for my story (the original one, not the fanfic, although I may have a clue for that one, too). Gone writing, be back later.
If anybody on gmail wants to ping me, feel free. I miss my writers' chats.

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/474254.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

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."
and
"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.

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/451464.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

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