Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Wild Hunt � Is The First Amendment for Monotheists Only?

Just in case I was getting comfortable being a second-class citizen... (Patrick is also associated with Cherry Hill Seminary.) - sm

The Wild Hunt � Is The First Amendment for Monotheists Only?:

...modern Pagans aren’t guaranteed the same Constitutional rights and protections as Christian or monotheist citizens.

Devin Friedman: What I Learned From Speaking with Scott Roeder

Devin Friedman: What I Learned From Speaking with Scott Roeder:

It's a problem that's bigger than extremist pro-life elements or Bill O'Reilly. The problem is the thriving culture of manufacturing dehumanizing lies about people you disagree with, whether they are about Dr. George Tiller, or George W. Bush. It's dangerous. It's dangerous whether you say George Bush wanted to murder Iraqi children or Barack Obama is a secret terrorist who wants to use two married gay men to kill your grandmother. And it's incredibly dangerous for people in positions of authority or power to ratify insane, dehumanizing narratives about people.

Oh, yes. Click here for more of my thoughts on the link between political violence / terrorism and dehumanization.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Blog o’ Gnosis - 5th Annual Brigid Poetry Festival

Blog o’ Gnosis - 5th Annual Brigid Poetry Festival:

I had to go back to this post to find the earliest reference (Reya’s original blog post is lost in the mists) to the now Jan28moon annual Silent Poetry Reading in honor of Brigid (Saint or Goddess, as you prefer). And while the first invitation was for a single day’s blogging event, watching the misty full moon tonight got me thinking of a favorite line from a poem that I want to offer, so I will simply declare that this year’s event has begun!

Britain Yearly Meeting query from worship this week

So, this last First Day, I worshiped with Friends in Edinburgh, Scotland (at Central Edinburgh Quaker Meeting).

Each week, Friends in Britain read from the Advices and Queries. Here was this week's:

17. Do you respect that of God in everyone though it may be expressed in unfamiliar ways or be difficult to discern? Each of us has a particular experience of God and each must find the way to be true to it. When words are strange or disturbing to you, try to sense where they come from and what has nourished the lives of others. Listen patiently and seek the truth which other people's opinions may contain for you. Avoid hurtful criticism and provocative language. Do not allow the strength of your convictions to betray you into making statements or allegations that are unfair or untrue. Think it possible that you may be mistaken.

...which I rather resonated for me; and so I thought I'd share it.

Friends in Edinburgh were just lovely, and I'm delighted I had the chance to worship there; all the more so since it was a somewhat unexpected opportunity. (It's not like I make casual jaunts to Europe all the time... :) )

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Conference -- Journals to Blogosphere: Nurturing & Networking Quaker Writing in the 21st Century (Quakers Uniting in Publications)

From QUIP (Quakers Uniting in Publications):
2010 Quaker Writers' Conference & Annual Conference Registration Ready

Journals to Blogosphere

Nurturing & Networking Quaker Writing in the 21st Century

Featuring Quaker Youth Book Project Book Release Party
21-25 April 2010 • Quaker Hill Conference Center, Richmond, IN

QUIP invites Quaker authors and aspiring authors to a conference focusing on the ministry of the written word and how it prospers among us today. Network and worship with other Quaker writers, publishers, bloggers, editors, and journalists! Meet the members of the Youth Book Editorial Board and help them celebrate the release of QUIP’s second Youth Book, Spirit Rising: Young Quakers Speak, featuring writing and art from all over the Quaker world! Attend workshops, panels, interest groups and plenaries presented by leaders in the Friends publishing world.

For more information contact

Co-sponsored by Friends World Committee for Consultation(Section of the Americas), Barclay Press, Friends United Press, Pendle Hill, Earlham School of Religion & Friends General Conference


Monday, January 18, 2010

Cherry Hill Seminary � Witchful Thinking

A post about Cherry Hill Seminary from our colleague Jamie at Woolston-Steen Seminary, via our Executive Director, Holli S. Emore.

Cherry Hill Seminary � Witchful Thinking:

School is one of my biggest passions. I love it! Maybe it is because I’m dedicated to Athena, but I’ve been in school almost continuously since I was five. Education is important to me, but it also took me awhile to figure out what I was put on this earth for. I’m big on training and professionalism, which doesn’t bode well in Paganism, honestly. I dreamed of working in academia as someone who studied Paganism as a legitimate spiritual community and a source of knowledge. I wanted to professionalize our clergy so the community would have some real resources at their disposal, and could keep up with other religions. In particular, I wanted to see Pagan Chaplains in the military...

Imagine spending 70-90 semester hours in a religion that is not yours! ...

The seminary I work with, Woolston-Steen, doesn’t have an interest in getting accredited by the people the military would require (which seems fair, it’s their school!). But it means that their advanced degrees don’t mean anything outside of the religious community. Now that would be fine if we had more infrastructure like Pagan hospitals and churches where you could be sure to recoup your education investment and have a career. But we don’t. We live in the mainstream culture.

Recently, Cherry Hill Seminary, an online theological school for Pagans run out of South Carolina has decided to live in the mainstream culture. They are seeking accreditation through the Association of Theological Schools, which would mean that a degree from there would be considered legitimate in “the real world”. Accreditation is a long process, and should take 2-3 years if they keep at it, and it seems like they are well underway. And if the ATS doesn’t like the concessions they’ve made, then they’ll have to face M. Macha Nightmare! Good luck to them! She’s fierce! And she’s the head of the board of directors.

Click here to

Website issues

My website for bread and roses spiritual nurture on GooglePages,, is outdated but also broken, so I can't update it. :(

Unfortunately, I have not yet transferred everything over to my new website at GoogleSites,

Also unfortunately, while I can delete the old site, I can't update it to point folks to the new one.

So in the meantime, both are up, and I am very sorry for the inconvenience.

This American Life #374: "Somewhere Out There," Act Two, "Tom Girls"

I don't always listen to "This American Life," but it happened to be on when I got in the car after Meeting, and the segment was interesting, so I kept in on (even though I really wanted to be listening to Bruce Springsteen).

And, how I was both blindsided and rewarded by the second segment, "Tom Girls."

I'm curious -- anyone else who listened to it, how was it for you?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr; the music of the Civil Rights Movement; and Bruce Springsteen

Thirteen years ago, my Coven co-Priestess and I went to a training in non-violent intervention at Friends Center in Philadelphia on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, in honor of his life and work. (My experiences that day prompted me to start attending Meeting not long after, and I have been active in the RSoF ever since; but that's another blog post.)

So that training was in my mind during worship this morning...

During one Friend's message, "We Shall Overcome" started floating through my head. (Hers was a short message; the verses continued in my head.)

I found myself thinking of Bruce Springsteen's current work. Beloved Wife is a Springsteen fan, and I bought his "Live in Dublin" cd for her birthday last year after hearing a special about it on public radio. "Live in Dublin" takes the work of "We Shall Overcome: the Seeger Sessions" several steps further into certain kinds of traditional American music -- especially the music of the Civil Rights Movement. (Check out the playlist here.) I was so blown away by the performances I heard that even if Beloved Wife hadn't been a Springsteen fan, I'd've liked to have bought the album.

I know. You're thinking, "That white rocker from NJ is doing spirituals. Right. Ew." Trust me on this. If you just can't fathom it, pay attention to the rest of the musicians.

Part of what was coming to me in worship today was hearing people involved with "Live in Dublin" talk on the radio special about how important it is to bring this music to new generations. About how people who would never think to listen to it, who would never be exposed to it, are standing there at concerts next to people singing every word of every song -- sometimes, their own parents, and then going home and having conversations about it.

I'm grateful that Bruce Springsteen is bringing some of this music to folks who weren't there at the time or who didn't grow up with it. Not just the music, but what it's all about.

better sound, but not the cool video:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haitian earthquake relief

Looking to donate money to Haitian earthquake relief? There are lots of potential places to send your money. How do you know who does the most good?

It helps if you're familiar with the organization to which you're donating. I mean, truly familiar, not just familiar with their solicitation materials: you've been active with them, you're familiar with their financial reports, you've volunteered or worked for them, you have friends who are active with them. You feel confident that you know what they do with your money.

A number of people have told me they find Charity Navigator helpful. Click here for Charity Navigator's list of and assessment of groups responding to the crisis in Haiti. Charity Navigator adds:

Please also remember to follow our Tips for Giving in Times of Crisis and our guide for Protecting Yourself From Online Scams to help ensure that your gift gets to those who need it the most.

Religious groups do not always appear in Charity Navigator's lists, since their financial filing requirements are different than 501 (c) 3 s.

Click here for Charity Watch's list of and assessment of groups responding to the crisis in Haiti.

I am deliberately not including a list of charities here -- even though I easily could, based on the criteria I've outlined above, and even though I have strong opinions about several different relief organizations from my experience in humanitarian work. While I've been part of some good conversations on Facebook about different charities -- and thank you if you've been part of those -- I am pretty tired of the way this disaster has so quickly turned into fans of different charities plugging for those specific ones. I think it's actually quite important to think for yourself about this, and make up your own mind.

So here are some tools.

And if you comment, please don't plug a specific organization, okay? Thanks.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Friend George Willoughby

George Willoughby died January 5th in the wee smalls. He died at home, surrounded by family and love. George was 95.

Lillian died just under a year ago. (Click here and here for more.)

There is so much I could say about George that none of the few things I could put here seem appropriate. I am honored to have called him Friend and friend, I will miss him, and I celebrate his life.

George's Memorial will be Saturday, February 6th from 2-5 pm at Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, 1515 Cherry Street.

Blessed be.

Miep Gies, the Last of Those Who Hid Anne Frank, Dies at 100 - Obituary (Obit) -

For Jewish families everywhere, the question, "If the killing started again, would I know a Gentile family to shelter us / our children?" is never an unreasonable one. I celebrate and honor the life of Miep Gies. - sm

Miep Gies, the Last of Those Who Hid Anne Frank, Dies at 100 - Obituary (Obit) -

“I am not a hero,” Mrs. Gies wrote in her memoir, “Anne Frank Remembered,” published in 1987. “I stand at the end of the long, long line of good Dutch people who did what I did and more — much more — during those dark and terrible times years ago, but always like yesterday in the heart of those of us who bear witness.”

Mrs. Gies sought no accolades for joining with her husband and three others in hiding Anne Frank, her father, mother and older sister and four other Dutch Jews for 25 months in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. But she came to be viewed as a courageous figure when her role in sheltering Anne Frank was revealed with the publication of her memoir. She then traveled the world while in her 80s, speaking against intolerance.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Some Fear Kan. Ruling May Spur Abortion Violence -

Some Fear Kan. Ruling May Spur Abortion Violence -

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- On a balmy Sunday morning, Scott Roeder got up from a pew at Reformation Lutheran Church at the start of services and walked to the foyer, where two ushers were chatting around a table. Wordlessly, he pressed the barrel of a .22-caliber handgun to the forehead of Dr. George Tiller, one of the ushers, and pulled the trigger.

As his premeditated, first-degree murder trial begins Wednesday, no one -- not even Roeder himself -- disputes that he killed one of the nation's few late-term abortion providers.

But what had been expected to be an open-and-shut murder trial was upended Friday when a judge decided to let Roeder argue he should be convicted of voluntary manslaughter because he believed the May 31 slaying would save unborn children. Suddenly, the case has taken on a new significance that has galvanized both sides of the nation's abortion debate.


A Silly Poor Gospel: Freedom Friends - the State of the Church

A Silly Poor Gospel: Freedom Friends - the State of the Church:

The State of the Church
Freedom Friends Church
For the Year 2009

To Friends Everywhere:...

The Conservative Case For Gay Marriage -

This is a powerful article. h/t Dominus.

Blessed be, and my gratitude to Ted Olsen.

- sm

The Conservative Case For Gay Marriage -
Marriage is a civil bond in this country as well as, in some (but hardly all) cases, a religious sacrament. It is a relationship recognized by governments as providing a privileged and respected status, entitled to the state's support and benefits... Where the state has accorded official sanction to a relationship and provided special benefits to those who enter into that relationship, our courts have insisted that withholding that status requires powerful justifications and may not be arbitrarily denied...

Conservatives and liberals alike need to come together on principles that surely unite us. Certainly, we can agree on the value of strong families, lasting domestic relationships, and communities populated by persons with recognized and sanctioned bonds to one another... Even those whose religious convictions preclude endorsement of what they may perceive as an unacceptable "lifestyle" should recognize that disapproval should not warrant stigmatization and unequal treatment...

And, while our Constitution guarantees the freedom to exercise our individual religious convictions, it equally prohibits us from forcing our beliefs on others. I do not believe that our society can ever live up to the promise of equality, and the fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, until we stop invidious discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

If we are born heterosexual, it is not unusual for us to perceive those who are born homosexual as aberrational and threatening. Many religions and much of our social culture have reinforced those impulses. Too often, that has led to prejudice, hostility, and discrimination. The antidote is understanding, and reason. We once tolerated laws throughout this nation that prohibited marriage between persons of different races... It seems inconceivable today that only 40 years ago there were places in this country where a black woman could not legally marry a white man. And it was only 50 years ago that 17 states mandated segregated public education—until the Supreme Court unanimously struck down that practice in Brown v. Board of Education. Most Americans are proud of these decisions and the fact that the discriminatory state laws that spawned them have been discredited. I am convinced that Americans will be equally proud when we no longer discriminate against gays and lesbians and welcome them into our society...

Americans who believe in the words of the Declaration of Independence, in Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, in the 14th Amendment, and in the Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and equal dignity before the law cannot sit by while this wrong continues. This is not a conservative or liberal issue; it is an American one, and it is time that we, as Americans, embraced it.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Two obituaries for Mary Daly

Two good obituaries of pioneer Mary Daly. - sm

Mary Daly, pioneering feminist who tussled with BC, dies at 81:

Fiercely and playfully -- often at the same time -- Mary Daly used words to challenge the basic precepts of the Catholic Church and Boston College, where she was on the faculty for more than 30 years.

Dr. Daly emerged as a major voice in the burgeoning women's movement with her first book, "The Church and the Second Sex," published in 1968, and "Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation," which appeared five years later. That accomplishment was viewed, then and now, as all the more significant because she wrote and taught at a Jesuit college.

"She was a great trained philosopher, theologian, and poet, and she used all of those tools to demolish patriarchy -- or any idea that domination is natural -- in its most defended place, which is religion," said Gloria Steinem.

Mary Daly, a Leader in Feminist Theology, Dies at 81 - Obituary (Obit) -
Mary Daly, a prominent feminist theologian who made worldwide headlines a decade ago after she retired from Boston College rather than admit men to some of her classes, died on Sunday in Gardner, Mass. She was 81 and had lived for many years in Newton Centre, Mass.

A friend, Linda Barufaldi, confirmed the death, saying Professor Daly had been in declining health recently.

A self-described “radical lesbian feminist,” Professor Daly maintained a long, often uneasy relationship with Boston College, the Jesuit institution where she had taught theology since the 1960s.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Feminazery: I’m wearing a silky leopard-print pushup number with apricot lace trim and peepholes

Feminazery: I’m wearing a silky leopard-print pushup number with apricot lace trim and peepholes

Call me a humourless Feminazi if you like, but this email is not about raising awareness of breast cancer. It's about using a disease that has a devasting impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people as a spurious justification for discussing saucy undies. It's about women trying to show that they're uninhibited and up for a laugh by inviting their friends to speculate about them in their underwear rather than to think about them as sentient, intelligent human beings. It's about women objectifying themselves. And for anyone who believes that the updates are really only for us gals I'd invite you to compare the number of updates saying "red satin w little bows" with the number saying "grey cotton (orig. white), straps frayed, bought Bhs 2001".

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Challenging writing

I have a couple of pieces I've been working on writing. With one of them, I'm wrestling to find the right words to describe a particular experience. With another, I'm having a hard time because it means talking about something I know many Friends don't want to hear about, but where I feel I must share the truth of my experience, as well as my perspective on it.

This prompts me to check back in with myself: who am I writing for?

It's so tempting -- for many writers and bloggers, not just me -- to want to write something brilliant and witty that will convince someone who disagrees passionately and in a knee-jerk way to think honestly and critically and then change their mind. It's also tempting to want to write rants that one thinks people who agree with one will support whole-heartedly and that will shame other people into the aforementioned critical-thinking-and-mind-change.

Ahem. Back to reality.

Do I really want to write for/to either of those groups?

I found myself thinking about a controversial issue I was part of last year in my Meeting, and how my Meeting handled it. Who was I talking with, and how, and why? People whose positions were dramatically different than mine (or the position they thought I had)? People whose positions supported mine (or the position they thought I had)?

Actually, neither. The deepest conversations I had were with people who weren't sure what they thought or how they, and we, were led. Who had some ideas, some knee-jerk reactions, some real questions, and some honest curiosity, but who were in the middle of those two extremes. Which, honestly, is where I think most of us hang out most of the time; we just don't shout the loudest.

And I realized, the people I most enjoy interacting with in the comments on this blog are people whose perspectives are just enough different from mine that I learn something new from our interactions. Either from what they (you?) share directly, or from what I learn about myself in articulating responses.

So who am I writing for?

In terms of "why am I writing," I am writing for myself and for the Goddess -- out of a sense of leading and a sense of integrity.

In terms of "who do I want to read what I write," I guess I am writing for people who will get something out of what I write, whether I ever know about it or not. Some new thought, understanding, insight, question, perspective, laugh, doubt, validation...

Thinking about it in terms of worship, and ministry, I am reminded (again!) that what matters is not whether I can tell if I'm successful, but that I have been faithful. We might have no clue at all why we're prompted to stand and deliver a particular message in Meeting for Worship, or who on Earth needed to hear it, but that doesn't matter: what matters is that we were faithful and stood and delivered it. With ministry, what matters is that I show up, with an open heart, and am present.

So, going back to the pieces I am writing... If what matters is that I am faithful, how does that shape what I write in that second piece, in particular? I think it comes back to speaking my truth, plainly.

It will be interesting to find out.