Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Not in your DNA

One of the most frequently asked questions we get at the School, whether from Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, or Muslims, is whether people of other religions can be Wiccan. The simplistic answer is "no". Someone who is an active practitioner in the precepts of Christianity and its avatar Jesus, for example, will have difficulty in adjusting to a system of multiple gods and goddesses. Ruthlessly simplified, this might be expressed as either/or. If you are a classic Hindu, you might be able to adjust more easily because in Hinduism revering multiple different deities is not only accepted; it is approved. Unfortunately, in recent years much of Hinduism has become mired in the same monotheistic thinking and petrified mindset that we find in Christianity and in Islam.
Thus within Hinduism, for example, we are now finding groups of Shivites who firmly believe that Shiva is the one and only true god. Conversely, we are finding that out there in the big wide world many people who profess themselves to be Christian are willing to discuss the idea that perhaps there are other god and goddess forces working in the world "outside Christ".
For many years we have deliberately avoided accepting those people who, it seemed to us, were too rigid in their theology to make good Wiccans. Not only in their theology, we hasten to add, but also in their lifestyle. All too often a rigid philosophy leads to a rigid attitude to life. This means that many people cannot enjoy the many-splendored thing we call life without feeling guilty or without rejecting happiness and pleasure as "sins" of the flesh. Of course you can examine (for example) Wicca without ever practicing it, as you might study high-school cheerleaders without ever leading a cheer.
Let us now imagine someone who gives lip service to a religion other than Wicca but who in fact is more than willing to revere many different gods and goddesses and willing to enjoy the pleasures that life offers them without feeling sinful. We believe now is the time for us to appeal to this huge volume of people who are searching. They are not going to throw off the shackles of the default religion inflicted on them during their early training until they realize that over the horizon there is something vastly better available to them, available just for the taking.
The Church and School of Wicca offers such an alternative path. If you are not rigidly committed to a single god or goddess concept, and can make your own moral/ethical judgments, it is time for you to think about investigating Wicca. Certainly without any danger you can investigate it. It's not contagious. As a federal judge declared, it is a genuine religion deserving of all the rights and duties of any other religion.
Despite all the wonderful research being done on DNA, no one has yet found a gene for Hinduism, for Christianity, for Islam, or for any other religion. All of the above are (for want of a better word) culturally inflicted.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mountaimtop Removal

It's 10 p.m. and the stars are out, and we're just about ready to meditate again. It's another beautiful night in beautiful West Virginia. I hear the train whistle that sounds about the same time every evening and several times during the night, signaling that another 100,000 tons of West Virginia mountaintop coal is being shipped to Norfolk, Virginia, for an overseas destination to power either European or Chinese steel-making plants. For the West Virginia coal being exported is of high quality: it is called mechanic quality, so pure that it is bid for around the world.
This afternoon we drove to our local state park, where we like to swim. Right now the countryside is purely beautiful. Spring has sprung and everything is green and lush. The deer have retired to the forest to hide out until winter; yet we can imagine them cropping the grass. We are truly fortunate in that we live in a part of the state which is based on limestone, so we don't have to fear the endangerment of our local streams with coal-mine fill (the "overburden") and we don't have to worry about monster machines stripping away the beauty and turning the local area into a moonscape--such a moonscape as we can see only 20 miles away over the mountain in the next county to the west.
When you hear someone urging support for the EPA and protection of our landscape, come here and see within an hour's drive what happens when the EPA's regulations are flouted and the coal companies bribe state and local officials to allow mountain-top removal.
The resulting pollution of air and water is creating tumors and fatal illnesses not just in the deer and the birds and the fish; human beings are falling prey to toxins released into the environment in the interest of coal-company profits. Those profits amount to sums that can buy nearly any elected official and any judge. Proud to be tax-payers? You bet we are.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Nation in crisis

Okay. So this nation's elected President has said he favors same-sex marriage. Oh, the spasms of squealing and gasping and sanctimonious whining at the thought! Oh, the posturing and the elbowing for camera angle, each poseur claiming, "I'm more outraged than he is! Vote for me, and I'll turn the U.S. into a theocracy for sure!"
What the heck, people? Optional is not mandatory. If there's a pizza restaurant out at the edge of town, and you don't like pizza, don't patronize the place. How complicated is that?
If you don't think same-sex marriage is a good idea, don't enter into one. If you think this nation is going straight to hell for having SSM available, tell it to your god. Sure, the nation is going to hell--but not because of SSM. Just look at what Congress is doing and has done; then make sure your passport is up to date.
Do you remember from your study of the Revolutionary War the anger summarized in the phrase.
                                                      Taxation without representation

It kicked off the Boston Tea Party and the revolution itself.

So today, if gay people pay taxes, surely they deserve the same freedom of choice, the same representation as the "straights" do ... or am I wrong?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

How Might a Rational, Responsible Adult Behave?

In all the to-ing and fro-ing and hanky-twisting over Obamacare and related topics ("Who's going to pay for what?" "Where's the money going to come from?") there's a deafening silence on the single topic that nobody--nobody--dares address; to wit,

"What are the responsibilities of the ultimate benefactee--the patient?"

I see people stuffing their faces--voluntarily, mind you--with all manner of toxic edibles and high-fructose corn syrup and factory meats, on the arrogant assumption that might be expressed this way:

"I'm entitled. I'm entitled to gorge my gut with these alleged foodstuffs. I'm entitled to break all my bones repeatedly in daredevil ‘sports'. I'm entitled to stay up all night in mindless partying. I'm entitled to abuse the body in all its parts in every way I can think of, thumbing my nose at sensible behavior, debauching it in a quest to contract the venereal disease du jour, disregarding every known fact about sensible, health-promoting nutrition. And I'm entitled to do all this at somebody else's expense. Then once I'm healed, I'm entitled to walk out the door of the hospital and start the same kind of behavior all over again."

In all the millions and billions and trillions of dollars pouring down the drain for medical care, I'm fool enough to believe that I bear some microscopic responsibility for my own state of health; that I owe it to myself and to the generations of my descendants who will still be paying for my recklessness in health matters to behave in an adult and responsible manner with regard to my health. Am I all alone here? Does any other being feel as I do: that we have a share in our own health outcomes? Let me hear from you.

Blessed Be. Yvonne