Letters To The Editor: May-Jun 2004
Words and Innuendo
Dear Spirit of Change Editors,
I found Deborah Rose’s article “A Magdalene for the 21st Century” (Jan/Feb ’04) a nice tribute to the resurfacing of Mary’s true history, a history that may finally crack open a stubbornly locked door of sexism in the Christian faith forever.
Except for one thing. I cannot imagine a prostitute would look favorably on her words or innuendo. It is misogyny she asserts, that defrocked Mary in the Gospels as a spiritual leader among men and confidant/student of Jesus. Yet it is nothing other than misogyny that relegates this oldest profession to “the gutter,” and such practitioners to “sinful whore(s)” (Ms. Rose’s words). By resting her case on how low Mary has been placed by male history, Ms. Rose’s wanders dangerously into the patriarch’s own territory, gathering up all those in the sex industry into a disreputable bundle, devoid of any possible dignity and respect. Certainly not capable of being holy.
Perhaps this was just a careless choice of words. I would venture to say, however, that any revisionist 21st century history of Mary can be done perfectly well without scorning an entire profession made up primarily of women from all walks of life throughout history.
New Age Mythology
Judith Prebluba’s article “New Age Healing Mythology” (Mar/Apr ’04) was a breath of fresh air within a movement that is basically positive, but sometimes takes trendy tenets of pop psychology to absurd levels. Congratulations to Ms. Prebluba for having the courage to point out “the emperor has no clothes.”
The particular sacred cow of New Age pop psychology which she challenged — “you create your own reality” — merely dresses shame, blame and guilt in new clothes, thereby adding to a long history of abuse for “victims.” A correlary to the New Age tenet that we create our own reality, as Ms. Prebluba points out, is that “there are no victims.” This seems very similar to another New Age sacred cow, which posits “there is no evil.” These are both forms of denial. It is very likely true that on some level we chose and agreed to our roles, whether victim or victimizer. And it is certainly true that on the highest planes, there is no fundamental distinction between light and dark, good and evil. But on this plane, in these three dimensions, these polarities are very much real. To deny this one might as well deny that the distinction between male and female exists.
I would be the first to say the conscious ego personality should accept responsibility when the culpability rightly belongs there, but sometimes the reasons for things are not accessible or even comprehensible to our conscious minds. The explanations of shadow, projection and unintegrated aspects may often apply in explaining the appearances of either the blatant or the more subtle evil forces in our lives. At times we may be truly victimized by evil for which, by all present life evidence, we are undeserving. One may be reaping karma generated in another lifetime, for example. Sometimes we confront evil, not because of any culpability, but in order to transmute it into good for the betterment of all mankind (as did Jesus the Christ). Evil may be a divine gift that tests our goodness and spurs us on to develop greater dimensions of self. Finally, we may be targeted for attack by evil exactly because being of the Light we are most anathema to the forces of Darkness.
Thanks, Judith, for helping the New Age movement to transcend its glibness.
A Sundance Life
Since many readers of Spirit of Change are committed to spiritual, ecological and social issues I would like to bring their attention to a single issue which combines them all: the case of Leonard Peltier.
For more than 30 years Leonard, a citizen of the Anishinabe and Lakota Nations, has been falsely imprisoned for the murder of FBI agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams in a shootout at the Pine Ridge reservation on June 26, 1975. Since 1999 Leonard has been on the Amnesty International political prisoner list. Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and many others have petitioned for his immediate release. Now there is an international movement to nominate Mr. Peltier for the Noble Peace prize.
In his book, Prison Writings: My Life is My Sundance, Leonard tells his story, where his forgiveness and compassion also shine through. For three decades he has strongly urged his supporters to seek legal, peaceful and healing means to free him. In the preface to the book, former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark (not your usual fringe radical), points out the harm this injustice has caused the American legal system. Rather than rely on anything I have to say I urge readers to check out Leonard's book.
I also urge readers to write a brief, clear letter nominating Leonard Peltier for the Noble peace prize. Any person can nominate; a single letter to the Noble Institute can make a difference.
Please address letters to: The Norwegian Nobel Institute, Drammensveien 19, No-0255, Oslo, Norway. For more info go to http://www.freepeltier.org
Global Warming Up North
To the Editor,
My name is Paulossie and I’m from up north. That’s where my people come from, the Inuit, meaning “people” in my language. This is what I’ve seen of global warming. We used to have snow almost to the top of our roof, about seven to eight feet high. I could just walk right up to the roof when I was young, in the ’60s and early ’70s. We used to walk out the door and climb up on snow drifts about four to five feet high in front of our door. We were not able to see the trucks and cars by the road from our house.
In the ’70s we used to go camping and geese hunting in springtime. I remember in late May when my cousins came and got us and told us it was getting dangerous on the ice so we should be going back home soon. So we left our camp the next day and we followed the tracks that they took a couple of days earlier, and there was water already on the tracks. That’s how much we used to know the ice, and how safe it was to travel on. We knew how and when the ice froze in different areas, so we would know how safe it would be by springtime. In the fall, it would start to snow in September but the snow would not stick on the ground until October. The ice would freeze by the end of November. In springtime the snow would melt in the second week of May and the ice would break up in third to fourth week of May.
These days, the snow comes in September but does not stick on the ground until November. The ice doesn’t freeze until the third week of December. This is one month later! In springtime the snow melts in the end of April to the first or second week of May. The ice breaks in the second week of May, not the third or fourth week anymore. There are more losses of life and ski-doos due to more ice breaks. We don’t know the ice anymore and how safe or dangerous it is these days. I watch the Aboriginal People Network (APTN) channel about my people complaining about global warming, and they say we don’t have a voice in the world. Nor do the animals like polar bears that are most affected by global warming due to early ice breaks. The frozen land is getting soft, and the weather out at sea is unpredictable, whereas we used to know how the weather would be.
This is how I see our people, the way they are facing destruction. Our spirit, our physical abilities, our mental state of mind, our emotional attitudes toward ourselves and others, is negatively affected. We do not even know what we used to feel, or understand our old ways of life. We have the highest rate of suicide, HIV & AIDS, drugs, alcohol, sniffing gas and glue, child abuse, spousal abuse, etc. Most of my people don’t even know they are affected by this global warming. I don’t want the polar bears, my grandfather spirit, to be in cages in order to be saved. The way it is now, all living things are caged in by global warming. The way the ice freezes late or thaws early is not good for polar bears. They don’t eat enough seals to last for their winter fat and they die of starvation for food. I just wanted to add this to what Thom Hartmann wrote about global warming last issue in Spirit of Change.
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