Category Archives: social justice

Father Sky, Mother Earth

I’ve just started reading Rev. Matthew Fox’s book The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, and, thus far, it has been excellent.  I have been a fan of Fr. Fox since I read some of his work on the medieval mystic Meister Eckhart.  Fox’s spiritual journey is one that I can relate to in some ways, at least at a surface level.  He is a former Catholic priest who was investigated by Cardinal Ratzinger (the erstwhile Pope Benedict XVI) who was at the time the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the modern successor of the Inquisition.  Ratzinger determined that Fox’s works were dangerous and dismissed him as a “feminist theologian,” as though that were something to be ashamed of.  Fox’s censure for his theological ideas, coupled with his coming out as gay, led to him leaving the Roman Catholic Church and becoming an Episcopal priest.

The “Sacred Masculine” that Fox is looking to awaken is not to be confused with the macho, sometimes sad0-masochistic version of masculinity that so many of us have experienced or even acted out in our lives.  This masculinity is one that is in all of us, whether male or female, girl or boy, woman or man and is a force for creativity and nurturance in its own right.  Fox warns, rightly, against taking masculine or feminine archetypes as “literal,” i.e., thinking that only men can draw on masculine archetypes or access sacred masculinity – that is false.

The book begins by tracing 10 ancient masculine archetypes, reconsidering them in the light of new scientific discoveries, particularly in the field of cosmology.  The only one I’ve read so far is the Father Sky archetype. This archetype speaks to how we relate to the larger universe out there, including the sun, the moon, the stars.  Science in the modern world largely killed off the conception of the universe as a living, breathing reality, reducing it to a mechanistic, cold, impersonal place that can only be understood by mathematical calculations.

Fox, however, sees a new turn in science and cosmology in the so-called postmodern world.  Father Sky has become relevant again as we have increasingly grown to understand the ever-changing, creative processes of the universe.  As Fox says, “New stars are themselves being born every fifteen seconds, while others are dying.  And supernovas, galaxies, and human beings join in this great dance. We drink in the universe, which is not static but constantly evolving and unfolding.”  Father Sky is alive again!

Bokeh wednesday (2590257896)

It’s important to note that Father Sky and Mother Earth are nothing without each other, and we cannot exist without both of them. There is a sacred marriage between them and between these archetypal forces within each of us.  Reclaiming the archetypes and metaphors of the ancients in the light of new discoveries helps us to re-enchant our world, creating a story where we belong to one another and to the greater cosmos.  This is not about forgetting our individuality, but it’s about seeing how we all fit into a cosmos and bring our own talents and perspectives to this sacred marriage.  Yes, the Earth and Sky and Stars are for us, but we are for them, too.  You are for me, and I am for you. We often forget that second part.  We want the “take” part, but we don’t like to “give.”

Father Sky and Mother Earth remind us that the world is not ours to manipulate and control.  It is our place to bring our special gifts – our reason, our intelligence, our individuality, our abilities to build community and create beauty – to this cosmos.  What a wonderful opportunity and responsibility!

Mother Earth by Fernando Garci¦üa Aguilar

Edit:  I found this wonderful Maori work of art depicting Father Sky (Ranginui) and Mother Earth (Papatuanuku) in their tight embrace before being separated.

WahineTane

Another wonderful depiction can be seen here:  https://flic.kr/p/suRR.

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Filed under Art of Living, Ecology, social justice, Spirit

Books not Bombs

Doesn’t it always seem like there is always a lot of money for bombs and tanks and jets, but we just can’t afford things like libraries, schools, healthcare, etc.?

Der Drumpfer is not the first to do this kind of thing, but his attempt is egregiously bad and ambitious.

Trump’s Budget Proposal Eliminates Funding For IMLS, NEA, NEH, CPB, and More

Take heart…at least we’ll have some new ruins to explore if Der Drumpfer has his way.

abandoned library

Addendum — apparently other folks have already used my title, which I was borrowing from Food Not Bombs. I like this particular button:

books_not_bombs_scottish_independence_cat_badge_pinback_button-rbf982be9b95f404984b1498b36f10ff8_x7j12_8byvr_324

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Filed under libraries, social justice, Uncategorized

Healthcare and the Gospel

A lot has already been said about the Republicans’ so-called “replacement” of the Affordable Care Act, and a lot more will be said in the coming days and weeks.  While I have long believed that we made an error by not pushing harder for Medicare-For-All or Single-Payer insurance, the ACA achieved a lot of good, despite its flaws.  Whatever your political affiliation, you should stand up for preserving and improving the ACA or demand a Medicare-For-All replacement.  The GOP plan is wicked.  Seriously.  It is a sin.

Here are a few must-read and must-view resources on the issue.

  • The Reverend Matthew Fox’s open letter to Paul Ryan should be required reading for all politicians who claim to follow the Gospel on the one hand and do the bidding of the uber wealthy on the other.  Here’s a taste:
    • Meanwhile, until you and your party pay attention at last to these basic issues, I as a Christian priest and theologian can only conclude that you are not at all a Catholic or a Christian but just one more hypocrite flaunting your bogus religion on your sleeve to garner more votes and stay in a cushy job while you sell your soul to the Koch brothers and other Wall Street misers.  People who don’t have a clue about the “weightier matters of the Law—justice, compassion, good faith!” (Mt. 23:23) that Jesus preached, and who could not care less.

  • Robert David Sullivan of America magazine explores how the AHCA (the GOP plan) fails to meet the basic standards of Catholic social teaching, and it also provides some salient statistics that everyone should know:
    • Just as disturbing as the details of the plan is the rhetoric used to justify cutting health care for the most needy. Mr. Ryan calls his bill “an act of mercy,” even though the most comfortable will benefit the most, in the form of both tax cuts and tax credits. He seems scandalized by the notion that “The people who are healthy pay for the people who are sick,” though that is not only the whole point of insurance but also a bedrock of a compassionate society. One congressman, arguing for the elimination of requirements that all health insurance cover certain treatment, complains about having to help pay for prenatal care—a far cry from a truly pro-life position.

  • John Oliver brilliantly skewered the AHCA last Sunday. This is a must-watch.  It’s entertaining, but it provides a tremendous amount of information compared to most news coverage.  John is a national treasure. For real.
  • Reuters reports that major medical associations are rejecting the AHCA.
    • The AMA, which supported Obamacare, said the replacement of income-based subsidies with age-based tax credits to help people buy insurance would make coverage more expensive, if not out of reach, for poor and sick Americans.

  • Even people who hated the ACA (“Obamacare”) hate this bill and say it “won’t work.”
    • The only plausible goal this bill achieves is letting Republicans say they repealed and replaced Obamacare. If that’s the real motivation, then Republicans have mistaken their slogan for the goals their slogan was meant to serve. Republicans wanted to repeal and replace Obamacare because, in theory, they had something better — something people would like more, and that would achieve their goals of cutting costs and creating a real market in health insurance.

      But that’s not what they have here.

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Filed under politics, social justice, Spirit