That Estranged Crazy Uncle: Did He Room with M. Night Shyamalan at Overnight Camp?

Part 2      (You can find Part 1 here.)

There are a handful of liberal theologians who are applying an eco-theology lens to the Book of Revelation, stretching to find in the text inspiration for care of the earth, rather than its destruction. I was skeptical of this approach before reading some of this scholarship, but found pieces of it, particularly Barbara Rossing’s work, to be compelling and insightful.

Their conclusion can be summed up by saying that the god of Revelation does not seek to destroy the earth, but to rescue the earth from the powers that are doing the destroying and that are interfering with the culmination of creation’s fulfillment. Revelation 11:18 say, “The nations raged, but your wrath has come, and the time for…destroying those who destroy the earth” (emphasis mine). Rossing sees the plagues sent by god to wage destruction as part of the book’s liberating vision; she sees them not as punishments for sinners, but as nature participating in its own Imageliberation.

Which reminds me of one of my son’s favorite movies. It didn’t do so well in the box office, but The Happening (2008), by M. Night Shyamalan is the story of the earth resisting our destruction of it. This resistance comes in the form of trees creating a new pollen that is toxic to humans, disabling our biological self protection mechanism, causing us to kill ourselves in the most heinous of ways (see the lawnmower-eats-human image below). Not kill each other, but kill ourselves. (Yes, this is a horror movie and in 2008, my son was an early adolescent boy.)

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When I read the Book of Revelation, what I see is not the conservative/ fundamentalist rush to use up the earth so that the apocalypse, and with it, the new heaven, are at hand. When I read the Book of Revelation, I don’t see the text offering much inspiration for environmental activists who are trying to dissuade that bring-it-on point of view.

What I do see is that god and earth are once again (remember that whole Noah and the flood thing?), and perhaps finally, done with us humans – not just done with the humans of the Empire and its oppressive ways, but with all of humanity. God and the earth are joining forces to rid the planet of the cancer that is threatening the health and very survival of it.

In fact, what I think is that god is an oncologist, the earth is sick, and we humans…we are the cancer.

Consider this, just for a moment, before you disregard this interpretation. In Rev 8:6-13, there is the destruction by thirds of much of the earth. This is not unlike a surgeon who must first remove a cancerous tumor – not the whole organ or affected region, but a portion of it, before continuing the healing treatment.

Das Ausgießen der sieben Zornesschalen / Die ersten sechs Plagen, Offb 16,1-16;  Matthias Gerung, c. 1531

Das Ausgießen der sieben Zornesschalen / Die ersten sechs Plagen, Offb 16,1-16; Matthias Gerung, c. 1531

Then in Rev 16:1-21, the angels are told to pour out seven bowls of god’s wrath onto the earth. I think anyone who has experienced the fire of chemotherapy might consider calling that mean medicine god’s wrath, given how horrible one feels in its aftermath. We all have come to learn that the medicine that kills cancer is actually a poison, used carefully, desperately, and purposefully.

The purposeImage of chemotherapy is to extend the survival of someone – some person, sometimes a beloved pet. The purpose is to eradicate that which is killing a living creature. In the Book of Revelation, the purpose of these seven bowls is by using destructive forces, destroy that which is destroying the earth.

Given what is happening with climate change, I have found it impossible to not preach about the end of the world. The possibility is at hand. The latest United Nations reports tell us that there is no more prevention of climate change, just adaptation to what is, at this point, inevitable. Recycle that plastic grocery bag all you want or even ban them from use in your municipality, but really, we are talking about how to be human with each other on a climate constricted globe.

It is not an easy topic to preach. Part of my job as a minister is to preach hope and responsibility, justice and persistence. In case you didn’t notice, this vision of humanity as a cancer is not particularly hopeful. Rather than a source of hope, Revelation is a source of prophesy, which is supposed to have some dram of hope in it somewhere, though often clothed in other emotions like fear and atonement. A Biblical prophesy, in the Hebrew Bible or the Christian scriptures, though cloaked in language that speaks of the future, is always about the present. It is always a last line of rescue for a people headed towards doom.

So many of the Hebrew Bible’s prophets, even with their doom and gloom, offered the solution of repentance to get back in god’s good graces. The Book of Revelation demands that we stop accommodating Babylon. In its day, Babylon was the Roman Empire. In our day, it is insatiable material consumption (particularly, but not solely, in developing and industrialized nations). John’s prophetic solution echoes what modern-day environmental activists, climate scientists, and everyday thoughtful people say: stop exploiting the earth and maybe, just maybe, we can get out of this whole mess alive.

I am not sure that we can do it. I am not sure that we humans, across the globe, cooperating across our constructed high walls and barriers of nationhood and class, can stop our rapacious consumption of the earth’s resources. Or that we can do it before the earth’s survival is truly past the tipping point as a life-giving planet.  I’m thinking that Hosea and Jeremiah and Moses and Micah and Isaiah — maybe they weren’t too confident, either.

Maybe that’s the nature of the prophetic voice: speak the truth, not because you have hope, but in order to create it.

Or maybe it is time for the trees to develop pollen that kills their killers, spread on the breeze that touches the air we humans breathe. Maybe it is time for the divine oncologist to remove the tumor and let loose the chemotherapy in hopes of eradicating the cancer so that the patient can be healed.

Maybe the crazy uncle is making sense, after all.Image

 

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That Estranged Crazy Uncle: What to Do When He Comes to Dinner?

Part 1

The Book of Revelation is the estranged crazy uncle of the Christian Bible.

The one who is never invited to family get-togethers, but still somehow shows up. When he does show up, you silently pray not to have to sit next to him at the dinner table, because he smells like sulfur and never has anything positive to say, mostly muttering about the end of the world and punishment due to many. He’s a creepy outcast, but he always seems to have groupies of one sort or another, usually people who are even creepier than he is.

ImageThe Book of Revelation is rarely preached in church worship. Most people’s exposure to it, even observant Christians, is based on popular culture rather than the text itself. Even really smart, well-educated folks associate it with the Rapture, even though it’s never mentioned in that text. (The only Biblical reference to some rapture-like event wherein an elect few are raised up to heaven in their birthday suits takes place in the 1 Thessalonians.)

If the god of the Hebrew Bible is wrathful, then the god of Revelation is wrathful on steroids. Times three. This is no kindly Jesus who teaches, heals, and every now & then puts corrupt religious leaders in their place. This is Jesus, the slain Lamb wielding a sword as his tongue and directs the total destruction of the earth.

It’s not destruction of the earth not by flood, wherein the receding waters allows for re-population of creation and hope. Oh, no. This is Armageddon destruction where a whole new world, or at least a New Jerusalem, must descend from the heavens because everything else has been decimated. Times three? Maybe times seven.

I have just finished a semester’s course on this text with its 11,983[1] words. Despite myself, I have developed an appreciation that I did not have before. Its images, though horribly violent, are well-crafted and thought-out. There is a complex internal logic that I admire. There is the mark of the author’s literary talent, even if the theology is impossible to stomach.  I have also developed a scholarly affection for some of the more radical theologians who write about it (Tina Pippin, Stephen Moore, Barbara Rossing).

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Historically speaking, the text barely made it into the New Testament in the first place, making the cut despite centuries-long opposition. Talk about irony: the man who wrote it created the Christian foundation for heresy by naming internal enemies in the newly emerging church and was himself considered a heretic by those against inclusion of the Revelation of John. In the end, it made it because it had a powerful backer, Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, who, towards the end of the 4th century C.E., found it to be a useful tool to strengthen the false binary of orthodoxy and heresy. He, and others, wielded the Book of Revelation as a weapon against ideological enemies to turn alternate views of Christianity into heretical ones.

So not only is it ironic that the author that helped established the category of Christian heresy was considered by many to be a heretic, it is ironic that this text that kinda barely made it into the Christian scriptural canon is one of the most widely recognized (even if it’s a distortion) parts of the Bible in pop culture. Four horsemen of the Apocalypse? Yep, that’s the Book of Revelation. Iron Maiden’s number one hit song, Number of the Beast? Yep. Television show Sons of Anarchy, season six, episode nine? Yep. American Dad’s episode entitled, “Rapture’s Delight” which is Book of Revelation, but gets the rapture part wrong (likely nearly everybody). The Battle of Armageddon: yep, it’s there, too. The whole concept of the Anti-Christ? Like the rapture, it’s falsely attributed to the Book of Revelation, but folks sure seem recognize that term.

ImageToo easily has this text attracted the attention of psychotic, anti-social people with violent tendencies (think David Koresh in Waco, TX). It’s not because they are misinterpreting the text. It seems to have been written by just such a person. The traces of his suffering and pathology have survived these nearly two millennia, giving life to violent apocalyptic visions throughout the centuries and into modern times.

As my fellow students in class are too aware, I have struggled all semester to find the relevance of this particular part of Christian scripture to my Unitarian Universalist ministry. When I mention to my UU colleagues that I am taking a semester-long course in this single text, their jaws drop (and not in envy).

Yet, part of my ministry is to heal brokenness, and in particular, to heal brokenness caused by religion. Revelation has got that going for it: it has caused a messload of damage. Some people use it as justification against environmental activism and against care for the earth, because they see the destruction of the earth as a precursor of the arrival of the New Heaven.

So let’s sit down to dinner and invite our uncle to join us.  We know he’s not the best company, but he’s living on the edge and that generally means there is something interesting about to happen.  Part two of this series (next post) will address what, if anything, the crazy uncle has to say makes sense, especially about saving our beloved planet?

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[1] This is actually the number of words in the KJV and I have been reading the NSRV, but the number is probably in the same ballpark.

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Thresholds & Entrances (sermon-audio)

Thresholds & Entrances II

This is the audio version of this written version.

Delivered at the Universalist Church in West Hartford, CT on April 13, 2014.

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Thresholds & Entrances: Metaphorical Musings on Palm Sunday (sermon)

delivered at the Universalist Church of West Hartford, CT

Reading One by Rumi

“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don’t go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don’t go back to sleep!”

 

Reading Two            On Turning Ten by Billy Collins

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I’m coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light–
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.

 

The Sermon (and audio version is at this link).

Enter, rejoice and come in. // Open your ears to the song. // Open your hearts everyone. // Don’t be afraid of some change.

I don’t know if this is true for you or not, but when I survey my life so far, it’s mostly only in the looking back that I notice what I would call thresholds, or entrances into new space, new phases, new energies in my life. Sometimes I am graced with the awareness of some big change happening just before it does, or just as it does, but that’s the exception, rather than the rule.

I’m pretty sure that the little boy in the Billy Collins poem, though keenly aware, is not opening his ears to the song of turning ten and he certainly does not have his heart open to what is about to come upon him. I must admit that I am familiar with the reticence and gloom of that young boy, the don’t-drag-me-into-it and the pouty-face of I-don’t-wanna:

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

I am going to venture and say that if this poem is autobiographical, then it is likely that it is autobiographical fiction with a strong dose of revisionist history. Familiar not so much with Billy Collins the person as I am with Billy Collins the poet and his gift for inhabiting fictional characters to make poignancy come alive, my guess is that this ten-year-old boy is more likely a fifty (or sixty)-year-old looking back.

Perhaps like some of you, I don’t necessarily see the big changes, and certainly not the little thresholds, coming. When I first met the children who would become “my” children, I did not know it. I thought they were just two confused – terrified, really – foster children, two and nearly four years old, who were going to come to live at my house for a few months. But after two-and-a-half years, some of it living with me, some of it living with their birth mother, then surprisingly, pleasantly, triumphantly, back with me fo-eva and eva as my then-little now-daughter called it – finally, I got it. We had entered a new time in our lives.

Today is Palm Sunday and according to the story, this is the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. Here it is, described by Mark in his gospel (11:1-11):

11 When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!10     Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 11 Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

There were actually two entrances that day. There was the peasant procession, with Jesus at its front and there was the military procession, with Pontius Pilate at its head. This was no mere coincidence, but the wily brilliance of the liberator prophet whose presence and declaration of the kingdom of God was a political statement that the occupying force of Rome was no legitimate power. Jesus’ entrance, on a donkey, surrounded by the people, rather than as part of an ostentatious military entourage was a comment on authentic power and true authority. It was a threshold into a new time and new truth and an entrance that was impossible for the people or the Roman authorities to ignore (for both good and for ill).

Psychic or spiritual thresholds are not known for their grand entrances, their parades with prophets at the head of them, palms and coats laid at the feet. Spiritual thresholds are not even necessarily known by their size.

They are known, I think, by their quality. It’s almost as if the air is different. An electricity? An intensity? A vibration? Certainly, it’s invisible to the naked eye, but it’s there, the change, the shift, the entrance, ready to be sensed and engaged. In his book on blessings, the late John O’Donohue, at one time a Catholic priest, describes thresholds beautifully:

A threshold is not a simple boundary; it is a frontier that divides two different territories, rhythms, and atmospheres. Indeed, it is a lovely testimony to the fullness and integrity of an experience of a stage of life that it intensifies toward the end into a real frontier that cannot be crossed without the heart being passionately engaged and woken up. At this threshold, a great complexity of emotion comes alive: confusion, fear, excitement, sadness, hope.

This is clearly not all strawberries and cream, not just palm fronds of celebration and hope. Two territories, one that welcomes (or at least pulls us in) and one that we must bid adieu. One that we must leave behind. I loved becoming a mother, I can’t imagine living my life without the wonderful and troubling things I have experienced, and yet, I had to leave much behind, some of which I could have guessed at and some of which I did not realize, could not realize.

Thresholds aren’t always some kind of shift from one linear moment to the next, one linear developmental stage in our lives to the next. Sometimes, in fact, often, spiritual thresholds are what the Celtic tradition calls thin places. Protestant theologian Marcus Borg tells us that thin places are

places where the boundary between the two levels becomes very soft, porous, permeable.  Thin places are where the veil momentarily lifts, and we behold God,

the Sacred, that which is Greater than We Are all around us and if we are lucky, if we are fortunate, if we are blessed, not just around us, but within us.

Yes. sometimes thresholds are internal: a closed heart opening. A closed heart breaking open. A broken heart mending. Though not always, broken hearts – grief, trauma, pain, disease – can be a threshold, an entrance into a thin place.

The story of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem on that day was a joyful occasion, hence our first hymn today: enter, rejoice and come in. A declaration of good intentions, of that which should be celebrated and shouted from the hillsides and street corners. Today will be a joyful day.

And yet the fourth stanza of that song reminds us that such thresholds consist of leaving one place and entering into another, often-unknown place. Don’t be afraid of some change. Easier sung than done.

Change does not come easy for most of us. We often would rather stay with the old than risk the new. In fact, that’s one of the gems of wisdom that comes to us from the Passover story: some would rather stay in the land of Pharaoh, than risk going out into the unknown. Yet even our hearts, fearful as they sometimes are, can be surprised by a deep change that arrives out of the blue, unbidden, but nonetheless present. In the words of John O’Donohue

We find ourselves crossing some new threshold we had never anticipated. Like spring secretly at work within the heart of winter, below the surface of our lives huge changes are in fermentation. We never suspect a thing. Then when the grip of some long-enduring winter mentality begins to loosen, we find ourselves vulnerable to a flourish of possibility and we are suddenly negotiating the challenge of a threshold.

What to do about this resistance, this discomfort? Even if we wanted to, we can’t banish thresholds from life. It just doesn’t work that way (and I’m thankful for that, even in the face of painful thresholds, painful entrances and exits). How do we get through these times in our lives where it’s not a joyful parade?

One answer is that we honor the impulse to gather together. That we, in fact, not just honor it, but nurture it, grow it, celebrate it, embody it. We gather together, with intention, with compassion, with an abiding inclusion that breaks open closed hearts and heals deeply broken ones.   This impulse to gather is becoming radically counter-cultural, as fewer people join civic and religious institutions, yet gathering remains one of the few salves we have amid the harsh realities life offers.

This is a good start, but it is not quite enough. Breaking isolation by gathering: yes. Doing it with intention and in fact, shared intention: even better. Yet this can be done in a secular setting and done well.

As a religious community, our contribution is to shape that intention towards spiritually-grounded rituals. When our church year has noticeable shifts in how it congregates, markers at the start of a new church year and markers at the end do well by us. For some UU communities that may means flower communion in the spring and water communion in fall. Of course, we are also talking wedding ceremonies and memorial services.

Child dedications for children born or brought into families in the name of love and rites of passages the note coming of age. Bridging ceremonies when our youth leave the nurturing shelter of our RE program and step into a wider world of choice and swaying winds that blow them away from congregational life.

The joyous occasion that is marked by Name change affirmation ceremonies for trans* members of our faith family. Or when tragedy shakes the community to the core of its being and we call out, together, for comfort and justice.

Rituals for beginnings of relationships to be sure, but also don’t forget to mark the threshold of endings – divorces, when a minister or Director of Religious Education ends their service with a congregation. Rituals belong here, too.

Or perhaps already on your mind and in your plans: rituals to mark the return of a minister from sabbatical.

These are all thresholds in our church life that call out to us to be sure that we pay attention and ease the passage through the embodiment of ritual. John O’Donohue says that it is crucial to clothe thresholds:

It is wise in your own life to be able to recognize and acknowledge the key thresholds: to take your time; to feel all the varieties of presence that accrue there; to listen inward with complete attention until you hear the inner voice calling you forward. The time has come to cross. (O’Donohue)

As we cross the threshold of this holy house into the holy world in just a few minutes or after fellowship at coffee hour, let us take the spirit of the hymn we just sang and the one we are about to sing into the wide world, owning it as our joy and responsibility that we will endeavor to keep hate out and hold love in and our lives will be a song of peace for all lands, all peoples.

Let us remember to listen Rumi’s words that the breezes at dawn have secrets to help us cross the doorsill where two worlds touch. At this threshold of great complexity where emotions comes alive, let us pray and aspire that as we pass through such thresholds, as we encounter thin places, we do so with humility, with appreciation, and with awe, recognizing the invitation and promise.

Amen. Blessed be.

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Bibliography

Borg, Marcus. The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith.

O’Donohue, John. A Book of Blessings.

“On Turning Ten,” by Billy Collins, in Sailing Around the Room: New and Selected Poems

 

 

 

 

 

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On Death: Four Noble Truths and a Metta Prayer

Another death.

Two, actually.

One is the death of a UU ministerial colleague, the Reverend Georgette Wonders, whom I had never met. Stories of her life and sudden, unexpected death, the sorrow of those who knew and loved her, are flooding my Facebook page. May her family, friends, and congregation find comfort in the relief of her suffering and in companionship, may they find ways to shine her light though her life has ended.

The other is someone I knew in high school. Not well, and at this point in our lives, not at all. He took his own life, which is a very hard thing.  Harder still because it was just about a year ago that I found myself writing about another high school peer, someone I did know, who also committed suicide. May his family, friends, colleagues find comfort that he is at peace; may they keep his memory and spirit alive in the stories they tell and re-tell.

Of course, there were many more deaths recently. Famous people. Edmond Harjo, a member of the Seminole Nation and one of the last surviving members of the windtalkers. The actor, Mickey Rooney. Jonathan Schell, author of The Fate of the Earth, which haunted my gloom-filled adolescent years with the nightmare of nuclear armageddon.

And not so famous people. People in the town where I live, people in the town where you live, people on the other side of the planet and all locales in-between. Dead.

Not to mention people I love who are in clinical trials to banish cancer from their bodies, people I love who are diminished both in body and mind by dementia, people whom I love who are skirting the edges of psychic pain, tipping too close to the edge.

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These are the four noble truths that started off the whole Buddhist adventure.

With their deaths, may these worthy beings have found a path out of their suffering. Sometimes, this is the only comfort we can find in senseless loss.

 

 

 

 

 

For those of us still living in dukkha, living in this world with its brilliance and pain, for however much longer, this prayer:

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Stuck to You Like Bad Packaging Tape: Shame-based Sex Ed

(This post was inspired by an informative Facebook post by one of the awesomest Religious Educators in the UU faith movement eva…)

Take a quick look at this video by clicking here. (it’s a 3:22 long). Be prepared to be horrified.

Thing is, this sexuality educator, if that’s what her formal title is, has mad skills at building rapport, using humor, being a little edgy with adolescents but not crossing boundaries. If screen grabI were a teenager, I would listen to her instead of zone out.  Or at least multi-task with my phone and her presentation. Despite the purple fringe.

So she has educator-style going on, but her substance is killer. Seriously, killer.  As in killer of respect for women, as in killer of respect for gender equality, as in killer of those kids’ spirits and lives who don’t follow her heteronormative assumptions.

Really? Women can’t bond if they have too many sexual encounters before they decide (if they doREALLY_SNL_AIGflv-1) to settle down? But men can?

Plus, she’s carrying around all the DNA from all her past boyfriends ~ and their skin cells to boot. How gross is that? Apparently, she forgot how to bathe after losing her virginity?

And isn’t that just a bit homoerotic for the last guy’s DNA to be bonded to the next guy’s? Better watch out for that possibility.

According to Evie Blad, who wrote this great piece on the state of sex ed in our country, that video clip above reflects a

lesson is part of the W.A.I.T. Training materials created by the Denver-based Center for Relationship Education (W.A.I.T. stands for Why Am I Tempted?). Joneen Mackenzie, a nurse by training and the organization’s founder, said in a phone interview that her team works with focus groups to constantly revise and update its prevention curriculum to make sure it is effectively communicating with teens. The tape illustration is optional for teachers who use W.A.I.T. Training, and it is not intended to promote a sense of shame, Mackenzie said.

This is why Our Whole Lives (OWL) Sexuality Education — the secular or the faith-based version — is so important, is such an important presence in the world. Because sh*t like this is being taught. Whole-heartedly, apparently, and without much sense of balance or self awareness.

OWL is also necessary because of limitations placed on very creative, wonderful sexuality educators who are trying to get around the narrow confines place on them. Watch this and be inspired by the creativity and persistence:

Thank you, Sanford Johnson, for your creativity.  Thank you for not caring if I am using a dress shoe or wearing athletic shoes.  And yes, if I am going to engage in a shoe-related activity, I don’t want any sweat to fall out.  For realz.

I’d like to say that unskillful sexuality education happens in those states that are the usual suspects, the places where politically and religiously conservative energies hold sway over public and education policy. But I just learned from that friend who inspired this post, a respected sexuality educator that even in my very blue state of Massachusetts, there is no requirement for sex ed, for education about HIV, or what sex ed is provided need not be “medically accurate.”

What up with that, MA?

from HuffingtonPost

from HuffingtonPost

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“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not the fish they are after” – Thoreau

irrevspeckay:

Here is the latest blog post from my college friend, Mark Green, whose brave witness to life inspires me.

Originally posted on moosevt:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x12spb_talking-heads-once-in-a-lifetime_music

“Not all who wander are lost” – J.R.R Tolkien

When I was around twelve or thirteen, I placed a map of Alaska from an issue of National Geographic next to my bed. Pinned through the dark scores between the faux walnut paneling, the map, along with that issue became a dreamscape of grizzly bears, vast terrain, soaring snow-capped peaks, and salmon-filled rivers. I imagined planes equipped with pontoons landing on remote lakes or planes with skis gliding onto the frozen tundra. I had delved into what became one of my most memorable books during those formative years, John McPhee’s Coming into the Country. I knew then that I wanted to become a bush pilot. Reading his other books equally captivated and inspired but this one left me hungry. I’ve always been hungry. And restless. And now with another lightning bolt hurled my way (damned you Zeus give me a…

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