pandora_parrot: (me)
Ouch. That subject is going to earn me some negative attention.

And for that, I'm sorry.

Wow, let me do my best to do damage control on that before I even launch into my essay.

I respect everyone's choices to believe what they want to believe. And I also will not get on anyone's case about what they believe. I also acknowledge that I don't know everything, and there are things I might not know or understand. I also think there's a lot of value in many religious activities, behaviors, social steps, and I don't oppose all aspects of religion.

*breathes* Okay. Let's try to dig into this.

Read more... )
pandora_parrot: (Default)
There have been some great articles up lately on the connection of Burning Man and white privilege.

This article is the first one I found on the topic, discussing a "Go Native!" rave party thing that was appropriating native american culture and imagery. Some local native american activists found out about it and apparently spent four hours lecturing the burners at their party.

Feministing put up an article also discussing the topic, with a link to one feminist's experience at Burning Man the year before.

Some really powerful stuff there. I worry sometimes about how much white privilege seeps into burner and hippie culture. Like, I've purchased some really pretty outfits from a store that sells Himalayan clothing to local new agers and stuff. Are we blending cultural expressions or just fetishizing that "eastern" look and displaying it because that's the trendy thing for new-agers, ravers, hippies, and burners?

Reading these articles, I'm struck with a sense that there has been little thought given to these issues in many of the circles that I run in. People randomly adopt religious iconography, language, and philosophy from various cultures without stopping to think about what that means... I do it too, really.

I have always felt that building my own spiritual practice by hodge-podging a bunch of practices together is the right thing to do for me. Similarly, I feel that I like the idea of borrowing from various cultures to create my own image and iconography. But I need to stop and think about the implications of this and the way that my white privilege plays into my actions.

What are the subconscious influences that result from my white privilege and how does that play into my use of the imagery and philosophies of other cultures? How can I avoid disrespecting, fetishizing, or further marginalizing non-white people in my personal actions, especially as they connect to being a new-age hippie burner type? Ultimately, I think more dialog is necessary. I personally know that *I* have a lot to learn about this, as I don't really understand much about the greater power struggles going on, my own personal contributions to these particular systems of oppression, etc. I'm ignorant on these topics and need to learn.
pandora_parrot: (pagan)
Most people divide religious beliefs into two discrete categories: One set of religions is GOOD and TRUE, and the other set is BAD and FALSE. Whatever gods, ritual, or what-have-you that the GOOD religions have are the REAL gods, rituals, or what-have-you, and whatever is in the BAD religions is false. There are actually many ways that people execute this division.

Read more... )

Honor

Jan. 16th, 2009 02:09 pm
pandora_parrot: (pagan)
Today, my heart was gladdened as I received the honor of a new goddess that only rewards those who do not believe in any gods. Period. This, of course, does not at all contradict the fact that I am quite the pluralistic polytheist. Hail Eris!

In other news, I'm considering the ways in which the Flying Spaghetti Monster might fit into my personal pantheon.
pandora_parrot: (pagan)
Happy Solstice everyone!

It's the darkest night of the year for those of us in the northern hemisphere. For many people, this is a time to reflect on the darkness in your life. In this time, we focus on the coming light, celebrating the return of the sun tomorrow morning. Within our lives, we think about the future and the hope of things to come.

I think this is an awesome thing to think about in this time. There's all this crap and shit in our lives, and we sometimes lose sight of the fact that these things are only temporary. If you think about it, whenever you're depressed or upset, you feel as though you've always been like that. By thinking about the message of Yule, we might remember that we're just in a dark place for now, but in time, the wheel of fate will turn and we will once again reside in the light. In this time we shout against the darkness and defy it, saying boldly that we shall not be consumed by this long night, and in the morning, we shall be reborn in light.

There is something that's been going through my mind a lot lately, though. The focus of Yuletide is very much on the coming light. It's on the bright, shiny, and happy things that are coming. It's focused on our shout against darkness. But I have a great deal of respect for the darkness. On some level, I don't want to forget to honor that darkness for itself.

I have lived most of my life within darkness. I've been sick and detached from my own heart, and struggling to find my life amidst shadows of dreams of what I want to be. But throughout that entire time, I've always focused on the coming light. I've always dreamt of the bright futures that I was sure were just around the corner.

It made me ill. Something was wrong about it. Because... I only ever really began to overcome my darkness and depression when I accepted the darkness for what it was. When I embraced it and let it be, instead of trying to focus on changing it into light. I became a fan of the darkness and celebrated it, and in so doing, I overcame it.

Huh... I wonder if this is something akin to what Lao Tzu describes as "wu wei," "doing without doing." Only by embracing the true darkness of what I am can I move closer to the light?
pandora_parrot: (Default)
Found via [livejournal.com profile] labelleizzy

This guy's story is pretty incredible:



He runs his own Christian outreach program to bring "the love of God" to all sorts of people. Given my experiences with Christianity, I find myself a bit concerned about this guy's message, as I worry about the hate it might contain. But putting that aside for the moment, his seems to be a powerful message of overcoming obstacles and trying over and over again. It's a good message for people to hear, I think.

There are many different ways that a person can respond to hardship. You can become emotionally calloused. You can become depressed and withdrawn. You can commit suicide. And then there's another path, where you overcome your hardships to live a normal life. Or even go further and live an extraordinary life. People that overcome these troubles seem to me to be capable of handling virtually anything life throws at them. They are emotionally strong, courageous, and willing to keep trying and trying and trying to accomplish the things they want to accomplish. Nothing can stop them, when they put their mind to it.

I think it is pretty neat how Nick is trying to use his story to help others find that sort of strength within themselves. I just hope he doesn't have the hate memes attached to it that I see all too often with Christians.
pandora_parrot: (Default)
Note, this entry was originally published on my old blog back in 2004. I have ported it here for completion.

And didn't Jesus kick some major ass for this?
pandora_parrot: (Default)
Note, this entry was originally published on my old blog back in 2004. I have ported it here for completion.

I'm not one for pointing out positive things very often. Dunno why. But since most of my family and friends are Christians, I thought I'd put this note here for them:

Today, my father-in-law set up a visit to nursing home. He got his entire nuclear family, Kelly and I, and a few others to come and "minister" to the nursing home people. This entailed singing Christmas Carols, playing music, and reading bible stories to the elderly patrons of the home.

This is the sort of thing that I wish was more prevalent in Christianity in general. THIS is the good that Christianity needs to find. Not legislating against the ability of people to marry their loved ones, but going out there and making someone's day better. I pray to the Goddess that someday Christians realize that this is more in concert with their deity's New Testament actions than the other stuff they do.
pandora_parrot: (Default)
Note, this entry was originally published on my old blog back in 2004. I have ported it here for completion.

As usual, I am stunned and amazed by some people ignorance. If we ever let the boundary between church and state fall, allowing christianity to be be the religion of the land, we really would be a christian version of Iran. Check out this site for some specific examples of the murder, rape, genocide, etc. that the fundamentalist Christians would make biblically enforced law should they get absolute power over our government. If you want more help imagining what it might be like, read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

I am all for most mainstream Christian ideals being used as a guide for governmental action. I'm talking about ideas espoused by Jesus as found in the beatitudes, or in his myriad parables. Ideas such as forgiveness, turning the other cheek, loving your enemy, loving your neighbor, etc. These are good values that most of the great religions have held throughout history. Although Christianity seems unique in its emphasis on humility. What I have a problem with is the form of christianity being put forth by the so-called "Christian Right," or the "Fundamentalist Christians." This article should give you a good idea of what I'm talking about with regards to this. Unfortunately, this sect of christianity seems more interested in judging their neighbors than loving them. I am completely and utterly convinced that Jesus would have been very upset that his name was being used to stop things like same-sex marriage. He probably would have done another smack-down session on those people trying to merge church and state ("Give unto Ceaser what is Ceaser's.") And I have absolutely no doubt that he would have been very disappointed about the wars carried out in his name, such as the Crusades and the war in Iraq.

And to all those that read this, keep my father in law in your thoughts/prayers/meditations today. He's in for surgery. :(

Despite all of this, I'm very happy! Only 1 month till we move into our new house!!!! Yay!

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