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Showing posts from December, 2014

Discernment and the Spiritual Activist, Part II: Stewardship

Previously in this series: Part I: Injustice Part II: Stewardship I got an email from a friend not very long ago, commenting on my own recent engagement with the work toward racial justice. “I see your inner warrior is still going full tilt,” she wrote, somewhat ruefully. “I’ve been staying out of this debate, she continued.  “It’s not because I deny racial inequalities.  It’s because… this is not my fight.” I’ve heard a lot of (white) people make the argument that they have no obligation to engage with racism, that they’re “not racist” and so their work is done, but that wasn’t what my friend was saying.  She wasn’t denying the importance of the work I had taken up, nor her need to remain open to engaging with it herself… should that become her work . Rather, she was making a case for the stewardship of her gifts. “Over the last couple of years,” she wrote,  “I’ve become more intentional with everything I do.  I have to choose where to put my energy.  I’m not ru

Stillness at Solstice

There are two ways to experience this time of year: as movement, and as stillness. The name this season’s holiday is given by Pagans reflects that duality.  Call it solstice; call it Yule.  One means the sun standing still… the other means wheel: the wheel of the sun, presumably, or the wheel of the year, turning and moving, changing all the time. And though we crown our tree with a burnished copper sun, and leave candles burning throughout the longest night to encourage its return, I realize that, for me, the most important aspect of this holiday is its quiet. My first Solstice as a Pagan, I was a new mother of an almost one-year-old girl.  Her father and I set up a tree–we put it in the pantry, behind a baby gate, to keep our daughter from pulling down the shiny lights and baubles.  I remember spending as much of the day as I could alone, outside as much as possible in the chilly Vermont wind.  It was a gray day, I remember, and when I came inside and turned off al

Discernment and the Spiritual Activist, Part I: Injustice

Part I: Injustice Ferguson Protest, NYC.  The All-Nite Images, 2014 . Race hatred is back in style.  Have you noticed?  And ever since August 9, 2014, when a teenager named Michael Brown was shot to death and left in the street for four and a half hours, I have been unable to look away from the train wreck that is modern American race relations. Modern American race relations.  And yet, it feels like 1968 all over again.  I can’t believe my eyes–and I can’t close them, either. What’s more, since I’m a writer and a very social human being, my friends haven’t been able to look away very much, either.  What I think, I write, and lately, I can’t stop thinking about how so many of us white people want to believe we live in a post-racial society, that we ourselves are “color blind,” and that it is enough for white Americans to “not be racist” in response to what we really don’t want to believe is systematic and violent oppression of black Americans by the very instit