Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Quote of the Week

"When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic."
 -Dresden James

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

For Christ's Sake

The following is a guest post poem.

Jordan Michelle Blaylock is a writer, a storyteller, a poet, a mystic, a Gnostic, and a seeker. 

For Christ's sake!
People get angry over a cartoon dog dying, but are apathetic to animals being cruelly tortured..
Apathetic to the starving animals in the street and the abandoned ones that need homes
But, God forbid, a cartoon dog dies on a popular show and all hell breaks loose.
For Christ's sake!
People celebrate a day of thanksgiving, then turn around, fight and trample others for the name of a bargain
People praise Jesus, then turn around and go out to eat, while millions world wide are starving
People talk of the poor with pity while blaming them
"Are there no workhouses? Are there no prisons?"
For Christ's sake!
Politicians talk of cutting aid to the poor and needy
Politicians refuse to take cuts from themselves
Politicians eat caviar and drink the best wine and alcohol
While laughing up on Capitol Hill,
And proclaiming Jesus as Lord
For Christ's sake!
People support these politicians
In oppressing a part of the community for who they love
In taking from the poor and needy
All in the name of Jesus
Spouting personal responsibility for the poor
Saying the state owes them nothing
Ignoring how the nations will be judged..
"Whatever you do unto the least of your brothers and sisters, you do unto Me."
For Christ's sake!
Have we truly gotten so far lost
That it is more important to get a good deal
On an item that is made out of slave labor
On an item that is tested on a helpless animal
That it is more important to pay lower taxes?
So the rich can get richer
and the poor can get sick, starve, and die?
That we have to oppress a whole group of people
for who they love?
All in the name of Christ?
For Christ's sake..
Open your eyes and look with love
Look with compassion and see the Truth
This is not the way of Christ.
This is the way of evil
and we must turn from it
because all will be lost if we do not.
For Christ's sake..
Believers should stand with those of other faiths
Believers should not fear those who are different
but embrace them..
the poor and sick should be embraced..
Mercy and compassion shown to prisoners..
"What you do unto the least of your brothers and sisters, you do unto Me."
For Christ's sake..
"Beware of whom you entertain..
For it may be angels unseen."

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What the Gods Have Bestowed Upon Us

The Pursuit
I remember a late-night conversation with my friend once, as we sat in my '97 Astrovan (read: my house), drinking vanmade coffee and shoveling beans and salsa out of aluminum cans. I finished my large bite of hoborrito and looked out the dark window at a light on a distant hill. “I don't think I'm a Christian any more.”

He wasn't as surprised at my comment as I'd expected. He knew that I still held the teachings of the vagabond messiah as sacred. But he went on to tell me why, by rejecting Christianity, although I maybe wasn't rejecting Jesus, I was rejecting the community of other Christians. “I don't want to except myself from the Church,” he said. “I want to stand with my brothers and sisters as an equal, as someone they can relate to – even if they sometimes do things that I'm ashamed of.” We stayed up until about 3 AM discussing (more like monologuing - I don't think i said much after the initial statement) the necessity to identify with Christianity if I want to be able to encourage and have camaraderie with Christians. As he talked to me, I found myself falling in and out of sleep, as I'm known to do (narcoleptic confession). But after I finally hung and crawled into my precarious hammock and put out the solar lights, I suddenly wasn't sleepy anymore. I lay awake for some time thinking about what he'd said.

I saw his point. In fact, I saw it so clearly that I followed it to it's logical end. If the best way to relate to Christians is to be a Christian, then I want to be a Christian. If the best way to relate to Hindus is to be a Hindu, I want to be a Hindu. If the best way to relate to Buddhists is to be a Buddhist, I want to be a Buddhist.

I spent the next two years studying Hinduism, Native American and other indigenous peoples' Spirituality, and to a lesser extent, Buddhism and Jainism. I've introduced myself at different times as a Christian, a Buddhist, a Bhakti, a Christian Hindu, and an Earth child. There were periods of time that I'd meditate for several hours every day, fast several days a week, and I almost had the Bhagavad Gita permanently emblazoned on the whites of my eyes for all the time I'd spent poring over it while whispering "Om... Shanti. Shanti. Shanti." I'd put feathers in my hair and sing the Cherokee Morning Song at an ancient Native American red rock sanctuary for hours many mornings beneath Colorado's fiery sunrises.

I had never in my life felt more alive than I did during this season. I felt like I was walking on clouds. When some friends sat me down and informed me that I was actually starting to walk like a ballerina, I had to try to look more natural. When someone would ask me for advice, I would pause for a few seconds, make a stern face, and speak in breathy, pithy rhymes, pretending I was some mystical sage of olde. I envisioned the day that I could move to the snowy mountains of the Himalayas and meditate twenty-four hours a day, naked but not cold, unfed but not hungry, satisfied as a sloth until this mortal flesh passed away and I became wholly united with The Great Atman, Jesus, YHWH, Allah, the universe.

I had figured out the secret to personal happiness. That much is certain. I lacked nothing, I wanted for nothing. But it was all internal. It was all in my own thoughts, my own personal experience. These ideas were Beautiful, and they were outstandingly personally enriching, but they were inaccessible to all who couldn't see inside my mind, or smoke from my homemade recycled trash pipes (if you're from Colorado, you'll understand).

One of my greatest critiques of atheism is that it's a belief system of privilege, wholly unfathomable and undesirable to those who haven't spent their lives in the halls of universities or under the tutelage of wealthy capitalists. But I found myself having a religion which was probably equally unfathomable to those who were caught in the wage slavery system or the third-world agricultural prison, and barely had enough time to put food on the table, take care of their family, and still get sufficient sleep. They didn't have time to meditate naked in quiet streams or pore over ancient scriptures, but instead found themselves meditating on the mercilessly slow punch-out clock, only to go home and pore over unpayable bills and eviction notices.

I'd love to live in a time where I needn't have a care in the world. I'd love to be spend the rest of my life in such an accelerated and dreamy state, focusing on the Life inside of me. But what of those who haven't been afforded the same opportunities that I have? Shall I forsake them to focus on my own spirituality?

In Search of a Relatable Spirituality

 We all must ask ourselves how our belief systems might affect those around us. We must be willing to give up some of destructive and alienating beliefs such as those of an angry god, or an eternal hellfire. Sacrifice some of our impractical beliefs such as either of the extremes of abstinence from all carnal pleasures or the posh, comfortable lifestyle of the West, both of which are completely inaccessible to the majority of the world. Give less credence to some of our lofty and unfathomable beliefs such as excessively deep and celestial theologies and philosophies which have no pragmatic application to all the other beings which live in, on, or around this hurtling rock, Earth.

For those of us who find ourselves with white skin, two-car garages, Macbooks, sprawling green lawns, pristine churches, shiny automobiles, or even refrigerators with cold-water and ice dispensers, it can quickly become easy to develop religious and philosophical worldviews which relate only to that minute sliver of human population which can afford such affluent beliefs and heady doctrines.

But what if our gifts are not given only to bless ourselves? What if the gods have bestowed upon us these conveniences not so that we could bask in our removed and more perfect world, but so that we could instead share with those who haven't been given the same opportunities or choices that we have? (I realize that it has little to do with 'the gods' and more to do with exploitation and thievery, but that's for another discussion.) What if we didn't spend our precious time and energy developing self-enriching religion while the world around us perishes into a very real and present hell, but instead we spent our time developing Earth-enriching philosophies? What if we could dream of a God who came not just to save our personal soul, but to save the souls of our human sisters and brothers and, dare i say it, even our non-human brothers and sisters? What would that look like?

It would probably look something like the ideas proposed by political theorists, activists, and revolutionaries of recent history, in that it would start with practical and tactical doctrines and manifestos on how to set free the oppressed (and the oppressors) in our own families, cities, and national parks. It might involve the destruction of some dark and destructive demons such as Capitalism, Patriarchy, White Supremacy, or the smaller ones such as Goldman-Sachs, Walmart, Monsanto, and The United States Military.

 It will definitely involve dreaming of a heaven. But unlike the religions most of us have known prior, the dream will preclude the construction of that heaven. No longer will we be content to talk and dream of Big Rock Candy Mountain (read: Heaven). But we will start assembling this heaven, starting with the equalization of wealth, equalization of power, release of both economic and political prisoners, and mutual respect and Love for all beings.

Can we dream of a religion which includes insects, mountains, and elephants? Inuit, Turk, and American? Felon, pastor, indigenous medicine man, and rice farmer? I believe we can. I believe that's the only thing we can afford to believe in anymore.

"Then you will know what Love has done with you,
what Love has bestowed upon you,
what Love demands from you."
                                  - Krishna

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Quote of the Week

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."
 - Anatole France

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Radical or Revolutionary?

   This piece was inspired by a friend of mine who made a comment in which she said I was such a radical. I wasn't sure what I thought about that, so after contemplating it for a while I asked myself, Radical or Revolutionary?
  I'm sure if your reading this then at one time or another you've considered yourself one of the above. To many this term would be synonymous, yet to others these two words are worlds apart. This may all unknowingly be a game of semantics being played in my head, but I'm going to invite you to play the game with me as well. That being said, I would like to examine this from the inside out and outside in, sharing my own thoughts on this and as well as those of the public at large
    The radicals of the late 18th century America, along with some planters would for the most part be the same people who started the American revolution (quite a combination). Going further back in English tradition to the time of the Civil war, we again see the emergence of these so called "Radicals" spreading their propaganda of one oppressor over another. In both of these we do see revolution as opposed to simply radicalism but really all that changed were the masters or the titles of those who rule. Now fast forward to the America of the Vietnam era. What do we see? We see a lot of radicals yet very few revolutionaries.
In each of these cases we see people who are called radicals trying to change things within the system. Now sure, the American Revolution threw off the crown; however, it kept all the trappings of a superior-minded racist society hellbent on exploiting the "savages". Not to mention taking full advantage of the poor white immigrant who was dazzled by the false vision of the colonies. The point is that the system did not change!
   Another problem that I see come about when using the term radical is the picture that it commonly paints for the common person. Now I have never been too concerned with what people think about me but sometimes when you use some words you are already handcuffing yourself to an image that is misunderstood or simply not true. For the average working person here in the States, when they think of a radical they envision some slacker with a sign who should be at work instead of pushing their ideas on honest hardworking people. Obviously this is a misunderstanding but this is the reality which we have to work with. Quite honestly I'm not so sure I want to be associated with "activist culture" I don't want to be put inside a tidy little box. Needless to say I admire anyone with the courage and intrepidity to publicly stand up for what they believe in; however, it often appears that those activists who usher forth from the left accept with hungry hearts and empty minds any cause that may come along the way. This is a definite problem for me because frankly I don't agree with everything they say. The same people who gather their forces, descend upon one location then switch signs to go down the road to take another cause to task, using the same catch-phrases with slight variation in which they sound like little more than puppets, does not sound like a person engaged in an action if their own freewill!
   We must think for ourselves using the tenets of eternal wisdom when handling these issues, and not just follow along either because it is expected of us or because it's what "radicals" do or for fear of being ostracized by the activist community! If you have pondered these thing and searched your soul, then sure go right ahead and make a stand for what you believe, but for the love of reason let's just not follow blindly!
  The same can be said of those "radicals" that come from the right. Even though this is a relatively new phenomenon due to the advent of President Obama and the ruling Democratic party, they are becoming a factor nonetheless. They really are no better. They pretty much follow the same mode of operation as the above mentioned, they just have a different set of causes to follow. Notice I said "set of causes" because that's what is demanded on the "radical" either to the left or the right. You must fall in line with your thoughts and conform strictly to the side that you have chosen or face anathema or exclusion from the side of radicalism you have chosen!               
   I for one, will be my own person. I will chose my own beliefs. I will not fall in line like an automaton and if some find that reprehensible to their tiny and insignificant mind, I must struggle to find pity for them. Yet pity them I must!
This has been my experience with most radicals. Of course this doesn't have to be true every time but more often than not it seems to be the case. Perhaps the problem is that I espouse the Individual within the context of the commune and I welcome views of every stripe. Or perhaps I'm too firmly entrenched in the middle ground for my own good! Nevertheless let us move on.
     Now in the case of  a revolutionary, the idea is to destroy the previous system. Not to dilly-dally about with the old system, merely putting window dressing on a house that is burning down around them. Not to play footsie with the powers that be which have grown fat by sucking on the bones of those outside the sacred halls of power! Perhaps and even likely the revolution should salvage some of the respected and ancient life ways and beliefs ( not as the communists did and completely attempt to break from the past, which I believe if one looks closely, was one of the reasons for 20th century communism's collapse), but abolishing exploitation and organized violence by those who have placed  themselves in a place of authority. 
    A new problem arises though when you use the term revolutionary. People have been conditioned to view a revolutionary as an idealist with a gun or a bomb, spouting off violent cliched slogans like a broken record. The revolution I am talking of is one that starts within the self and then through the example of fearless self-sacrifice in the face of overwhelming odds inspires other to join in. The individual is the tree and from its growing and withstanding the elements and time it flourishes and grows strong. The the roots spread out, seedlings fall and from what was once only one, now you a multitude, a wall of trees forming a forces breaking the power and trends of a prevailing wind.
  A revolutionary doesn't need a weapon in the normally conceived usage of the word. The power of  love and reason make the atomic bomb a weak and irrelevant thing. In a short piece I recently wrote I up lifted peaceful revolutionaries like Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Aung San Suu Kyi, as models of virtue (though each were flawed as most of us humans), for we of the gentle revolution who are despised by both the powers that be and many of our allies who believe in violence. But how can a few guns defeat a first world power? How can acts of terror in a potential police state have an effect that will bring about the end we seek. In fact, the reactionary forces tend to enforce the worst elements of a police state in situations such as these. Though Gandhi claimed that non-violence was not a tool for the weak I believe it can and must be adapted to the circumstances of the 21st century. It is also well known and has been demonstrated that violence only brings more violence. So why do we keep trying to use it? It is nigh impossible to have lasting and effective change by spreading the disease of violent dystrophy and calling it revolution!
     It is so true that between the subverted media and a culture hate that is force-fed patriotism and militarism from the first time they step into a public school, the odds of freeing ones self let alone others seems rather slim. But regardless of how minuet the possibility of a non-violent revolution of non-cooperation may be I still declare that it is the modern worlds only hope!
    So what is it to be radical or revolutionary? The question still stands, do you want to work, hands tied by preconceived notions and simplistic minds unable to work outside the box? On the left the socialists can't get out of their own way with a legion of bureaucrats filling nonsensical positions, fostering a nanny-state mentality. Or an alleged democracy which, as Ben Franklin said, is "two wolves and a sheep deciding on dinner". Where we elect overlords who are controlled by capital and are clueless to the will of the people. Or, as in Marxism where the "committee of the people" actually turn into an oligarchy or nepotism draped in communistic revolutionary slogans. This is not revolution, this is the status quo!

      Or... shall we smash the system and start over? Like Vishnu trampling upon reality with his fateful dance so the world can be refreshed and renewed. Or like the ancient Jewish people time and time again rebuilding their world because of repeated failures in the eyes of their Lord. Just as in the natural world the seed grows, then the plant is formed, then it refurbishes the world with new life as it dies. This is how we should see and live out the revolution! If not, we will be stuck in an endless battle of repetition in which the few control the many by one way or another. It is a sad and pitiful state!
As we have seen in the past the powers that be will relent from time to time to placate the populace and to make us think that we have made a difference. This is a deception and I cry out with the breath of my soul:
Friends! Comrades! Be not satisfied with the systems of this world which have been proven failures. Let us tear it down and start anew!  
May the Spirits bless and Long Live Anarchy!
by Steven R. Cebula - poet, anarchist and student of truth

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Dying Flame

The following is a guest post from a different Jordan, based on The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen.

Jordan Michelle Blaylock is a writer, a storyteller, a poet, a mystic, a Gnostic, and a seeker. 

Quietly, within silence
Soft footsteps fall
In the cold snowy night
as the wind blows with all of her might
A child walks, holding matches close to her breast.

She reaches a dark alley, and stands shivering,
Unable to hold the matches still
She prays and prays
That he doesn't find her
Otherwise he will make her sorely pay
For not coming home.

The cold seeps into her bones
She slowly freezes
Huddled in her ragged cloak
The air harsh and choking
Still lighting matches
Staring into the flame...

She closes her eyes and falls asleep
To awake in another world
Where she will be safe and kept warm
Where there will be no harm..

The Messiah smiles down at her
Holding her close
Whispering that she is now home
Her heart leaps in joy
and she hugs him tightly..

In the morning,
They find her with no warning
Lips blue, ice upon her eyelashes
But a smile upon her face
As she has found peace and safety
At long last.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Quote of the Week

People get mad at me for these views [anti-American government opinions]. They say, "If you don't like this country, why don't you get out of it?" And I say, "Because I don't want to be victimized by its foreign policy."
       - Barry Crimmins

Friday, January 3, 2014

Cold is your love

Cold is your love
Eyes like the moon
Laugh like a soft rain
Hidden, as the heart of a mountain

and craven
is love's stain

Vainglorious dance, like a fountain
Binding with heavy chains
Elusive as the shadowy moon
Cold, Cold, Cold
Is your love