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I really believe that myths, fairy tales, religious stories and invented myth cycles all come from the same place inside us, the need for narrative, the need to make sense of our place in the world and the cosmos, to pin us in history, to make sense of our history and our future. but also to help us work out our emotions our personal connections, they are often human emotions writ large with broad brushstrokes, they become a vicarious way of dealing with and understanding our own life events.

one of the most memorable, powerful events of my life was when one of my lectures told me the Greek nightingale myth

philomela )

she was an excellent storyteller and she told it vividly and powerfully and it rocked my world, i was going through a hardcore healing phase at that point in my life and this story held so many truths for me, about the power of men to rape women and then silence them, about women supporting each other (and i think the servant woman is often overlooked in this story but to me she is the lynchpin, without her there would have been no transformation) about the use of art to reweave fractured wounded narratives, about the absolute necessity of reweaving fracture wounded narratives for transformation/healing to be able to happen. And at the end how everything doesn't get mended, how not everything is savable, but transformations and some measure of healing is possible

and it doesn't matter that it didn't happen, or that if some of it did happen, it didn't happen the way it is told, like it doesn't matter that there never was a hobbit called frodo who went on a long perilous journey, and that fiver and hazel never crossed the landscape I grew up to to find a safe place to live, it doesn't matter that red never walked through the forest to grandmas house. Going out on a limb here, I dont even think it matters weather Jesus did all the things he is said to have done, whether he actually rose from the dead physically or not. All these stories contain types of truths for me because they help make sense of my experience and emotions and give me frameworks to hang my own life naratives on. Truth in story telling is not the same as truth in history or science. Truth in story telling is about symbols and metaphors that resonate with us about having places to pour our pain and anxieties, having places that help us explain being human, having communal narratives that help us understand the shape of the world as we live in it


Apr. 27th, 2010 07:39 am
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I went away for the weekend with a bunch of people from church, and the most important thing I learnt was about balance, about balancing my life outside the church with my life within the church about balancing weaving the world, the secular communities I work and live in together with helping weave the church I belong together, because currently it's a tattered mess and it sure as hell needs weaving together

About balancing my actions, the things I do and feel passionate about with making space and time and silence to listen to god

I also realised that I'm still really ambivalent about church, about the idea of church about the Idea of church in the world i have knee jerk responses that come from growing up in whackjobsville, where I come from the only reason for the church interacting with people was to evangelise and even if they were doing something good the ulterior motive was evangelising and everything was seen as a failure if it didn't turn people into Christians

If my faith is important to me, and my church is important to me, if those things are as important to me as the other things in my life then I should be putting as much time care and effort into my faith and my church as I do the other things that are important in my life
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May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.
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The rise of industrialisation and the fact that the state religion is a specif brand of christianity, means that we are really disconnected from the land, unless we work it for a living or we actively choose a spiritual path that is land conscious and land honouring (and even then i think it often pans out as something more metaphorical than a practical. physical relationship with the land.)We don't wake with the dawn, we don't eat seasonally, we don't think about how what we use and what we waste effects the land.

Land has always been important to me. the house I grew up in backed on to farmland and nature reserves, so I grew up being intimately equated with life cycles and year cycles: when the fields were fertilized, when the lambs were born, when the sheep were shorn, when the crops were harvested, when the fruit fell from the trees, when the nests were built and the eggs were laid, when the caterpillars became butter flies,when the leaves turned to flame, the long stretch of cold dormant wintertime

I am made from the land I have lived in, the land I Have loved. My feet are made from chalk and flint. The waters from the Test, the Itchen, the Avon, the Towy and Swansea bay run through my bloodstream. I'm really sensitive to weather patterns, I can tell when its going to rain, snow or thunder, if its foggy in the mornings I know weather it will stay foggy all day or if it will burn off.

I think that whatever religion we are we all need to carry around with us an acute awareness that,regardless of our thoughts on the afterlife, that we come from the land and we go back to the land, and if we do not honour the land then we are not honouring our selves or those that come after us.

Christianity has been notoriously bad at land honouring, partly because I think any religion that becomes a state religion is always used as a way to gain power and money and partly because of various interpretations of christianity as god being outside/away from the world and the rejection of the material world. I do think god is outside the world, but not in an off to the side looking on way. I believe god contains the universe inside herself

so that god not only made the system but is part of the system and everything we have, own, are is part of god.

somehow the phrase "of the world" came to mean sinful, unspiritual but from where I'm standing in this lifetime/incarnation/part of the circle our physicality is the most important part of who we are. Everything about us is mediated through our physicality so being physical beings is part of our spiritual experience.

I really think we as humans really need to connect back to the land, back to the year cycles. Even if we can only do that in small ways, even if we live in city sprawl we can grow window boxes, watch the sunrises and sunsets, maybe eat seasonally, take photographs of trees at intervals through the year so we become aware of how they change with the circle.

But we need to not romanticise the land either, surviving on the land and tending the land is hard work and the land doesn't care what happens to us. it is not our friend. it is not a benevolent entity. Viewing it as a benevolent mother goddess figure is far too simplistic. (As far as I know all cultures that have/had the idea of a mother/fertility goddess embeded in them, also had the same goddess as a war/chaos/destruction goddess.) But this is the land, it is the only thing we have and if we don't tend it, look after it listen to it, our spirituality, and with it, our humanity will be irevocably damaged.
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So there's a post over on [ profile] neurotheologythat says:

Between May 17 and June 28, 2009, groups of LGBT and allied people around the country will attend worship services at the church of their choice wearing a lapel button that reads “gay? fine by me.” For less formal churches we also have a t-shirt with this message. The lapel button (or t-shirt) serves as a conversation starter – opening dialogue with people in the church about faith, sexual orientation, and gender identity. When that visible act of courage is paired with adequate training, then transforming hearts and minds becomes a bona fide possibility. That’s why we’ve designed this web page, as well as a three-part teleconference course that covers the essentials of Nonviolent communication, Media talking points, and What both the Bible and science really say about homosexuality. Those training teleconferences will be held on April 19, April 26, and May 3 at 4pm CST and are open to all our volunteers for this project. We hope you will consider organizing a Sundays of Solidarity project in your area. It simply involves choosing a church in your area that could benefit from an SOS visit, using your contact list to recruit others to join you, attending the teleconference training sessions, and then organizing your group to take action on a date, time, and church location of your choosing.

The training starts in a few days, don't miss it! If you haven't signed up yet, visit to sign up.

and I actually think this is an outstandingly bad idea. Going into a community that you don't belong to and telling them that they are doing things wrong is just going to royally piss people of and entrench their positions. It is also going to make them feel attacked and so feel that they are righteous in their prejudice. This really, really isn't going to work.

I really firmly believe that you can only change communities from the inside, if you try to do it from the outside you trigger a siege mentality, which means it is up to me and people like me who are either queer Christians or Christians who are queer allies to change things in the church. its going to be a long haul and its going to be hard work, but we absolutely have a responsibility to do it.
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So much fuckwittery from the religious right.


more on this over at Feministe

you know I do believe there is a gathering storm and it will eventually blow across the Atlantic ocean.If it comes down to it and I am forced to take sides I will be standing with the Queers and not the Christians, not just because it's the right thing to do, but because I do have a dog in this fight. I can practice my faith privately, personally but I may not always be in a heterosexual relationship and people read me as lesbian all the damn time.
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so much of the discussions we have as left wing Christians are about what the religious right are doing. It's as if we define our selves in opposition to them. I think critiquing them is important as is just blowing of steam about the things they say and do that really bother us. And I think defending ourselves, those of other religions, and secular culture from them is really important but it shouldn't be central to our christianity. Our theological and political praxis should not be defined and set by the religious right. it should be defined by our interpretation of the gospels

But also maybe we could stand to interrogate and critique ourselves occasionally. the left wing christian movement is far from perfect and I kind of feel that a lot of the time instead of criticising the religious right we could be doing more productive things, we could find out what we are called to do, we could find out how we could work better amongst ourselves and with other left wing groups.

For myself I know I have a long way to go before I will be where god wants me to be, but I'm working on that. i really feel that community building is a really important part of left wing Christianity, not just christian community building but general community building. especially in these days people need people. i really feel the the commandment to love others as ourselves has practical applications that involves, within the best of our ability making sure people are, clothed, fed, housed and educated, and that we support them in whatever oppressions they are fighting against.

xposted places


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