Friday, September 19, 2008


Although a lot of people laugh at the old, What Would Jesus Do? thing, it is really not a bad way to examine an option. I would also ask, What would SakyaMuni Do?. Add your own favorite wise and or holy guy or girl. What would White Buffalo Calf Woman do? How about St Claire?
Anyway, many winters ago, when I was in seminary, studying the Gospels to beat the band, I got re-radicalized. I read about how the lillies of the field and the birds of the air were in better shape than us and how we shouldn't worry about what we eat or wear. Of course, JC was an apocalyptic preacher saying that the Kingdom of God was about to be ushered in before their very eyes. At least that's what it says in some parts of the Gospels. In another place however, he admonished everyone to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned. Short term actions or way to pattern a righteous life? And how about that lay not up gold and silver stuff. Man, did Christians ever toss that one out the window faster than a 16 year old boy can shtoop! So, if we aren't going to save up and we aren't going to worry about eats and threads, how we gonna survive? In the Book of Acts(Gospel of Luke part 2) the early Jewish followers "had nothing they called their own, but shared all things". In other words, they lived communally. The pattern didn't take, and of course Jesus didn't specifically say, 'form communes', but throughout the Christian writings are the calls to love one another and care for one another. And when Jesus described the life actions that got the sheep into the Kingdom, he didn't say,'pray for the sick and the hungry', he said, visit, feed, clothe. Pretty practical stuff. How best to care for one another? Through capitalistic consumerism and trickle down wealth right? I rather think not. I believe those early followers had it correct. You throw in your lot together, you actually share livelihoods and living spaces and clothing and food. And what you have left over, you give to them what aint got enough!
Is that going to get you into heaven? Who knows, if by heaven one means some ethereal after-life in the presence of the Great Mystery. Who cares? Wouldn't it be heavenly if we didn't have babies starving and people gouging out each other's throats for some crappy McMansion on a hill? A life of peace, sharing and enough for all- that sounds like the Kingdom to me. SO-how we gonna do this? More to come.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

the evill 3 C's

I have been reading Annie Proulx lately. If you have not read Shipping News, do so. It is one of the best works of fiction I have ever read. No wonder it won the Pulitzer. The language, the characters, the story-all amazingly transporting. Ultimately it is an uplifting story. One can not say the same for her short story collections, from which came the inspiration for the movie, Brokeback Mountain. Her Wyoming stories are unremittingly bleak. They are filled with amazing writing, word pictures, characters, stories but damned bleak!

One lesson I learn from great writers, over and over again, is how remarkably difficult it is to craft even a paragraph of excellent writing.

On to the trickster. What I have been learning in my few months as houseparent at a boarding school for Lakota children is that I am dismally unhappy working to prepare kids for a society I find repugnant. Our society, our culture, is devoted to consumerism, competition and conformity. The evil 3 C's. Actually, they aren't evil in the sense of conciously seeking to actively harm anyone. They are simply real life in the society in which we live. I have NEVER felt that this was my culture. Games should be for fun, not crushing the other team. How much more would we prosper if businesses worked to actually provide for the needs of all? Naieve, yes, and proudly so! Alien is exactly how I have always felt and in spite of my adaptability, life in this culture, capatalist, consumerist, competitive, has been weird(note my "C" theme?) I want out! I want to live with people who see that this mainstream culture is fucked up. I don't think that I can change the world on my own, but I hope I can find a way to live in a counter, let me say again, COUNTER cultural way and make my own little mark against the dehumanizing and grotesque distortion that is what we see in virtually every nook and cranny of our United States life. More on how I plan to do this later.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Trickster Stirring

In all of the American Indian truth stories that I know of there is a sometimes wise,
sometimes foolish and sometimes destructive 'trickster'. This figure is raven to some, coyote to many, Iktomi the spider to Lakota, but always wild and unpredictable. The trickster teaches in ways we often do not welcome. The trickster is at work in my heart and mind. I may not write for a while. I'll wait for trickster to finish.