Friday, September 9, 2016

Via Walter Kirn / FB: The story from Standing Rock

Walter Kirn

Listen. This is important. It will affect you, though you may not know it yet. Tonight on North Dakota's Cannon Ball River, near its convergence with the Missouri, on a wide, grassy meadow ringed by sloping hills and lit by scores of smoky orange campfires, hundreds or maybe thousands of Native people who have not come together in this way for well over a century have gathered, along with supporters from many backgrounds, to sing and drum and pray for the protection of the earth and water. It is not a romantic or fanciful event but an earnest and passionate spiritual intervention by people for whom spirit and matter are not separate categories at all but a living, interpenetrating unity. 

Their immediate concern is with a pipeline capable of fouling the local waters with toxic oil from the nearby fracking fields. Their larger concern is with a mad philosophy that pits human beings against their natural home for vain and temporary benefits. Against this pipeline and this philosophy they have arrayed the powers of tradition, family, community, magic, music, prophecy, and simple human courage. 

Will they prevail? They will, they must, and they are certain of it, though in what fashion or on what schedule they don't yet fully know. You are with them even if you don't think so because they are battling for life itself.

Does that sound lofty? Let me bring it down some. The camp is electric tonight. A stream of vehicles with yellow headlights clogs the entry road. Smoke is everywhere, creating a spectral geometry of softened angles and misty silhouettes. Down the hill from me, half a mile to my right, an amplified rapper is exhorting a crowd to stand strong in its convictions. In front of me, at the same distance, a drummer is beating a steady, insistent rhythm accompanied by a rising and falling chant. The stars are crackling in the cold black sky. I have been many places as a reporter, to great political conventions, important congresses of leaders, championship sports events, and somber public memorials, but never have I felt such power, such energy. I am not even sure what year it is right now. 

Tomorrow a judge will rule in the pipeline matter, giving the people massed around these fires a victory or a defeat or some muddy combination of the two. Their leaders have urged them in the sternest tones not to be enraged if disappointed. Violence will not be tolerated. And despair will not be tolerated. That is because however the ruling goes, something abiding has been accomplished here: The unification of a hundred nations in a refreshed sense of relevance and purpose. They were divided, these people, and then conquered. Sickness and hunger and material poverty were some of the results. They might never have recovered, never have regained their footing, never have reasserted their common vitality. But they did, they prevailed. Their family is intact. 

Spirituality. In the culture I'm from it's something you slot in to a busy, hectic, willful life. You go to church. You take a yoga class. You climb into bed with an inspiring book. These people approach the spirit differently. They live inside it all day long, and then in their dreams, and then when they wake up. It is how they say hello and how they eat and how they walk across a road. There is nothing else but spirit for them. It has made them more than a little out of step with us. It hasn't added to their bank accounts. It wasn't a route to success as we define it. It didn't make them famous on TV.
It has only made them indomitable, I've noticed.

And that is the news. The story from Standing Rock.

Via Sri Prem Baba: Flor do dia - Flor del día- Flower of the day - 09/09/2016

“Muitos confundem egoísmo com amor. Uma coisa é você estar com alguém porque é bom estar próximo, porque existe uma sinergia, uma afinidade, e a energia de ambos cresce nesse encontro. Outra coisa é estar com alguém porque você acredita que será feliz através dessa pessoa; porque espera receber dela alguma coisa. Nesse caso, você não quer alguém para amar, você quer é alguém para atender às suas necessidades e expectativas. Isso chama-se egoísmo.”

“Muchos confunden egoísmo con amor. Una cosa es que estés con alguien porque es bueno estar cerca, porque existe una sinergia, una afinidad, y la energía de ambos crece en ese encuentro. Otra cosa es estar con alguien porque crees que serás feliz a través de esa persona; porque esperas recibir alguna cosa de ella. En ese caso, no quieres alguien para amar, quieres alguien para atender tus necesidades y expectativas. Eso se llama egoísmo.”

“Many confuse selfishness with love. It’s one thing to be with someone because it is good to be together, because there is a synergistic affinity, and a positive energy grows for both in this union. It’s another thing to be with someone because you believe you will find happiness through this person, because you think you will get something from him or her in return. In this case, you don’t want someone to love. You want someone to attend to your needs and expectations. This is what is known as selfishness.”

Via BuzzFeed : Australia’s Second Biggest Church Says It’s OK To Vote “Yes” On Marriage Equality

In the letter, Freier differentiates between types of marriage, saying that if civil marriage is amended to include same-sex couples, the church can still reserve its definition of marriage as between a man and a women.

“We can still stand for and offer holy matrimony between a man and a woman as a sacred ordinance given by God, while accepting that the state has endorsed a wider view of marriage,” he wrote.
In the 2011 census, 17% of Australians identified themselves as Anglicans – second to 25% who are Catholic.

Freier also noted that Anglicans are not uniform in their positions on same-sex marriage, and gave the green light for people to land on either side of the debate.

“Individual Anglicans have adopted a variety of positions taken in good conscience based on their Christian understanding of the principles and issues, and this is right and proper,” he wrote.

Freier said he personally welcomed the plebiscite, but feared a divisive debate, and called for more pastoral sensitivity towards LGBT people in the church.

“I am very concerned that the discussion does not become harsh or vilifying – on either side, for it is not only Christians who have sometimes failed on this score,” he said.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

The president of the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA), Stuart McMillan, told BuzzFeed News the church would not take part in the plebiscite campaign as it has been engaged in an internal discussion on marriage theology since 2012.

The Uniting Church is Australia’s third largest, encompassing 5% of the population, and currently defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

“As we are engaged in our own discernment process, we will not be formally involved with other groups lobbying on the marriage issue,” McMillan said.

Instead, the church’s involvement will consist of “resources for respectful conversations on marriage” available on the UCA website.

“Uniting Church ministers and members are free to express personal opinions or take part in campaigns in the course of the national debate, so as long as they are clear that they are expressing personal views and not speaking on behalf of the Uniting Church,” McMillan added.

McMillan published a blog on Friday urging church members to remain graceful throughout the marriage debate.

“It is easy to harm each other with careless words. So we should all choose ours carefully,” he said.

“We are committed to being an inclusive Church that embraces LGBTIQ people as full members and to culturally appropriate discussion about relationships and marriage across our diversity.”
Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Contact Lane Sainty at

Via Daily Dharma / September 9, 2016: The Power of Madness

The people who have been through the harshest conditions—and survived—have the greatest potential to transform the madness of their lives. . . . if they can take that madness, claim it, and stand on top of its incredible energy, they can transform it into power.

—Vinny Ferraro, "The Heartful Dodger"