02 August 2009

Just in from tonight's radio show. Good stuff...good music, good interview, good friend hanging out in the studio. That all got my creative juices flowing a bit. On the drive home I had some thoughts I will share.

Today I celebrated Lammas with friends. We made little vegetable people and creatures and put them out in the garden. It was sweet. One of my friends offered to me the thought that with every difficult thing about the world that I share in company, maybe I could share something I am appreciating. Great idea. I struggle daily with finding balance in my emotional relationship with the "ills of the world" as it were. I practice daily, deliberately, turning away from the endless grief I can feel about what's happening on Earth. Some days I do it more effectively than others.

Reflecting on that I thought, hmm, what if countries made a point of celebrating the aspects of each other's cultures that they find appreciable. Back a step. Every culture, every country, does some particular things well, beautifully even. Perhaps, together, we are all the pieces of a puzzle. In order to put the puzzle together and find a sense of wholeness for our species, which I think we need in order to change our relationship with Earth, we need to identify the aspects of each other's cultures that we can love, honor, appreciate, celebrate. There will always be the differences which we don't feel loving about, but so what. We've been focusing on those already for a long time. Each country could select another country, maybe one they have an especially difficult relationship with, and celebrate them. We could have Iran Appreciation month, and learn about the aspects of Iranian culture and history that we can appreciate.

The other thing I was thinking about is the shooting that happened in Tel Aviv in a gay youth center. I hope Israeli's take this opportunity to re-evaluate the amount of power that is held by extremists in the country, religious and otherwise. A minority of Israeli's wield a disproportionate amount of power due to the religious nature of Israel's self-concept as manifest by the government in persons and in deeds. Israel functions as a theocracy in some critical ways, most if not all of which actually diminish Israel and Judaism, just as the extremist Christians in the US exemplify the opposite of what their deity taught by behaving hatefully, just as some of the applications of extremist Islam has made the world fear Muslims. Events like this, the murder of Dr. Tiller, the murder of Matthew Shepard, all acts committed by religious extremists, are a wake up call to all of our societies. Religious extremism is not healthy. In the throes of a fundamentalist religious ideological fervor, people do terrible things. This has been demonstrated over and over through history in every society. It's time to "get it." Religious fanaticism is a sign of an unhealthy society, and is itself unhealthy for society.

I am all for spirituality and awareness and people practicing whatever they want, but when people cross the line from choosing for themselves to choosing for others, no. That cannot be tolerated in a civil society.

My heart goes out to the family of the two teenagers killed in Tel Aviv, and to the families and friends of all the people who have lost loved ones to violence. That's a lot of people in this world.

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