Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Blog Has Moved

Hi Friends,

I have moved my blog to the following web address:

Recent posts include:  The Myth of Redemptive Violence, Hope in the Face of Violence, and Light in this Present Darkness.

This blog site has been discontinued, so find me there.

Blessings and Peace in this New Year.


Monday, December 10, 2012

When the Music Plays I Just Want to Move

I stand corrected. In my last blog post I quoted some videos circulating on the Internet of these two dancers claiming that they are grandmother and grandson. In reality, this is Sarah (Paddy) Jones at age 75 and her dance teacher Nico. That was in 2009.

Still, pretty awesome. And fun.

Today Paddy is 78 and, according to Wikipedia, they are still competing at Salsa congresses around the world. After winning one competition, she said, "I'm living proof age is no barrier. When the music plays I just want to move."

Amen to that. For me, dance is a metaphor for following the leading of the Spirit. In life, as in Salsa, "When the music plays I just want to move." I do my best to follow the Lead, trusting that practice, intuition, and spontaneity will carry me through.

If I Can't Dance

Emma Goldman said, "If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution."  That's how I feel.  I love to dance, especially Salsa.  Dance is such a wonderful way to express bodily joy.  It's a perfect celebration of incarnation, as children of Spirit, children of Earth. 

This video of a 92-year old grandma dancing Salsa with her grandson says it all.  If I keep dancing, who knows?  With God all things are possible.  Keep dancing.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Celebrating in Ways that Bring Joy

There are many ways to celebrate the coming of the light in this dark season of the year, including the Winter Solstice, Hanukah, Kwanza, and Christmas.  Christmas is supposedly a Christian holiday, but the orgy of consumption that accompanies this holiday in the United States makes that questionable.  How ironic it is that people celebrate the birth of a poor baby born in a stable (as the story goes) by spending billions on "stuff" that will ultimately end up in overflowing landfills.  However, Christian or not, many are swept along by the dominant media message:  "Buy gifts for your loved ones to show them how much they are loved and how precious they are."  The pressure can be hard to resist.

This may not present a problem for those who practice a Christianity that is conformed to consumer culture, but for those who seek to follow Jesus it challenges us with one of his core teachings:  "You cannot serve both God and mammon." Mammon:  wealth, riches, money, stuff.   

If you haven't yet watched Annie Leonard's "The Story of Stuff," now is the time.  This 20 minute, easy to watch animation, will inoculate you against unrestrained consumerism during this holiday season. The sequels are also great. 

The Commercialization of Christmas challenges people of every spiritual tradition to resist cultural accommodation, practice integrity, and celebrate in ways that bring joy. I personally love going to Christmas concerts and street fairs, watching my grandkids in the Christmas pageant and the Nutcracker, singing Christmas Carols, having meals with my beautiful extended family, organizing crafts for the Sunday School children, spending an evening at Hospitality House (our local rotating homeless shelter), reaching out to a family in need, putting cedar branches and nativity scenes in our window sills, decorating a tiny living tree that we'll plant outside after Christmas.  

I plan, with God's help, to weigh my gift-giving choices well.  I hope to not find myself walking vacant-eyed down aisles of plastic toys.  

The organization "Alternatives for Simple Living" has a Treasury of Celebrations with some great ideas of ways to celebrate the different holidays, including Advent and Christmas.  Scroll down the page at their website to find out more: 

May you experience and share the true gifts of peace, joy, and love during this season.