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Showing posts from March, 2008

The Presence in the Midst (Peter)

I’ve been reading Will Taber and Liz Opp talking about corporate vs. individual worship, and I’m seeing a few things a little more clearly as a result. I think I’m seeing (better) what I look like through other eyes, and I think I’m understanding (better) what the forces are that are “corrosive to community”—what the liberal problem is and how it relates to—but is not the same—as my problem. First of all, Will and Liz both talk about something that seems to be a very common concern among Quakers—that we are, as Will says, “afraid to discuss religious beliefs because we do not want to infringe on anyone’s individualism.” Where does this fear come from? It comes from our history of conquest and imperialism. Native Americans are not afraid to discuss their spirituality. Buddhists are not afraid to discuss their spirituality. Because nobody (at least nobody in America—I can’t speak for Buddhists in Asia) is going to think that they’re trying to lay their spiritual trip on anyone el

Telling the 900-pound Gorilla Where not to Sit

Having read the news at The Wild Hunt of Amazon's heavy-handed bullying of small-house publishers, I had to do something. I know many of my readers will already have made the decision not to buy from Amazon, based on our support for small bookstores. I guess I've always figured that my book-buying budget was big enough to support an entire industry anyhow! But this latest move is too much for my conscience. I'm going cold turkey on Amazon, at least until and unless they abandon their monopolistic moves on small POD efforts. Here's the "Dear John" letter I just sent them. Feel like sending one of your own ? I'd encourage it--it's easy. Tell 'em Cat sent ya. Feel like being part of a Blog Swarm ? Given how many books most readers of this blog read, I'd guess the message will get through. Leave a comment if you write to them or blog on the subject. Let's see if we can get that 900-pound gorilla to quit standing on our collective

A Crack Runs Through It

I'm sad now. I'm sad, but it's more complex than that. I'm still at my school, and I just ran into a favorite student from years past, one who enlisted early in the National Guard. She's just completed basic training, and she came back to say hello, wearing her uniform. I saw her, and my heart did a funny little hiccup thing, and I gave her a big hug. Had I realized before how small she is, how delicate? Standing there in uniform, a big smile on her face, so proud of her passage to adulthood. And I'm proud, too, dammit, because I know this child, and I know that she's done this difficult and--especially now--dangerous thing for the best and most idealistic reasons in the world. She is a young person of honor, and courage, and integrity, and that is exactly why she's in the military. Of course I'm afraid for her. I'm afraid for her in all the obvious ways, and in the less obvious ways, too, that come from having a bone-deep belief that war ca

Pride in my Daughter

So, this is yet another in a series of recent "shameless plug" blog posts. Yet once again, I can't apologize. I've just read the most recent entry in my daughter's blog, Brain Clutter , and I'm impressed (and proud). I mean, she's smart, she's artistic, she's gifted and takes the art of photography seriously. All of those are reasons to feel that happy mama feeling. But it's the quality of moral discernment in her writing, added to all the rest, that makes me feel a little bit awed to have played a part in launching this human into the world. In an examination of the distinctions we make between art photography and photojournalism, she writes, How can a photo taken to raise social consciousness have intrinsic artistic value? Its value is related to the issue, the subjects, and whether it accomplishes it's goal, which is usually to outrage society into action. Art may outrage at first, but it is gradually accepted because we believe tha

Journaling before meeting: Lost, evil, faith, and G*d (Peter)

Cat’s been watching the third season of Lost . I pop in once in a while to watch an episode or a scene, but it pisses me off too much to enjoy. Season one had that wonderful sense of mystery and awe, season two was about starting to solve the mystery, and it was only OK, but in season three there is very little going on except psychological torture. The things we don’t understand aren’t mystery; they’re dysfunction. I find myself thinking, if I were there, the only sensible course of action would be to grab a weapon and take out as many of “the others” as I could before they killed me. And I don’t enjoy feeling that way, so I’m not watching the show. Cat has a very different reaction to the situations in the show. Since none of the characters understand what’s really going on or why, she’d follow the principle of, “When in doubt, do the right thing.” Violence in immediate self-defense is acceptable, but violence directed at an enemy you don’t understand won’t work becaus

Affluenza and a No-Cheating Book Meme

This one has been making the rounds in both the Quaker and the Pagan world... Normally, I would place a meme on The Back Page --that being why I created it. But since Cosette of Pandora's Bazaar not only tagged me , but named Quaker Pagan Reflections itself in her own Book Meme post, that would probably be cheating. And, in any case, the book that is immediately to hand is one I've got a few thoughts about worth the sharing. So, for those of you not yet hit with this particular pyramid scheme of the blogosphere, the meme goes like this: 1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages). 2. Open the book to page 123. 3. Find the fifth sentence. 4. Post the next three sentences. 5. Tag five people. (My tags are at the bottom of the page, for enquiring minds.) Right. So, the book I had nearest at hand is one I've only begun dipping into--it was a gift from my daughter , who actually picked it up for free on a book exchange she found via the Web: the bestsell