May. 8th, 2011

On Mother's Day

Every year for Mother's Day, this is the hope I post. Once again, here it is. 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.

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/487287.html. comments posted to original post.

Nov. 11th, 2010

it all happened again and again and again and again

On this Day of Remembrance, two songs by Eric Bogle about the First World War, lest we forget:





A couple of quick hits:

10 Hard Truths About War for Veterans' Day and Every Other Day

For Desperate or Troubled Veterans There are Options and Resources

Pop-out from this article, because my family has been touched by this issue and others like it:
The VA offers a wide range of mental health services. In addition, and perhaps most important, the Veterans Administration also offers suicide prevention services.

If you or a family member or friend is in trouble, you can call 1-800-273-8255 any time of the day or night. Trained, caring professionals will be there to help.


If you're a US citizen you might also consider calling or writing your Senators or Representative and urging them to fund the VA and veterans' support programs. The Congressional Switchboard is a toll-free call: 800-828-0498.

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/463930.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.

May. 31st, 2010

Memorial Day

When I was a kid, my family took part in quite a few memorials and tributes to Vietnam Veterans, often involving the Moving Wall. I remember one year, here in Houston at Hermann Park, they came to set up the wall, and my brother and I were part of a team doing a special job. We had a swathe of grass by the reflection pool roped off, and inside the ropes we planted one mini American flag for every name on the Wall.

There were a lot of flags.

I saw the Moving Wall many times before I ever got to Washington, DC to see the full-sized version. I heard a lot of stories. I listened more than once to the recitation of names. It was a very formal sort of mourning even as it was completely chaotic, almost a fairground atmosphere with food and tents and educational displays. Being around veterans, growing up with the Vietnam Veterans' movement all around me, from television shows to holidays to vacation trips to the tales of family and friends, it's impossible to forget that I owe a debt of gratitude to those men and women.

So here it is Memorial Day, and my thoughts return to the men and women who serve and have served. Those who died, and those who came home. I continue to dream of peace, of the day when no man or woman need sacrifice, but until then we can only do the best we can.

Sometime before this weekend, at military cemeteries across the country, volunteers and groundskeepers went out to place an American flag on each grave.

There are a lot of flags. 

Thank you for your service.

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/446750.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

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.


This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/444897.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

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