15 December 2015
When we planned this issue we planned to focus on “The Hero’s Journey.” We have done that, but events this past month also led to a spontaneous eleventh-hour addition, a special section, Waging Peace. Thank you to Rabbi Gershon Steinberg-Caudill, Rev. Ben Meyers, Father Daniel Sormani, C.S. Sp., Sophia Ali-Khan, the Unitarian Universalists of the San Francisco Bay/Peninsula, Michael Dickel, the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi and to Carla Prater, the assistant director of Buddhist Global Relief for her help.
Rabbi SteinBerg-Caudill is a Jewish teacher who espouses a Jewish Spirituality and Universalist teaching for the future brotherhood of all people. When I wrote to him about this effort he reminded me of what surely should be foremost in our minds and hearts:
“The Hebrew word for PEACE – שלום – does not imply a lack of strife. It implies instead WHOLENESS, COMPLETION. If one is in a state of peace, he can still be whole in a time of chaos.”
Rev. Meyers of the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo also counsels inner peace with his You are the promise … the one … the hope. Rev. Meyers says:
“I understand and often share the ‘urge of urgency’ over the peacefulness of peace. But this I also know: We live at the intersection of action and reflection.”
Father Sormani, a Spiritan priest (a Catholic) who has lived and worked in Algeria and Dubai and is now teaching theology at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philipines, asks What Have We Done that People Can Pick-up Weapons and Kill. Father Dan says:
“We have become our own worst enemy. Whenever we separate the world into ‘them’ and ‘us’, whenever we accept blind generalizations and cease to see a unique individual before us, whenever we forget we are all victims of carefully orchestrated deceit and deception for wealth and power, the force of darkness wins. Bullets will never win this struggle, only the heart and mind will.”
The Unitarian Universalist clerics of the San Francisco Bay/Peninsula share their open letter – With Faith in Love Beyond All Beliefs – encouraging the support of Muslims in our communities.
Lest you’ve missed Sofia Ali-Khan‘s letter, Dear Non-Muslim Allies, which has been making the rounds on Facebook and was also recently picked up by some mainstream media, we’ve included it here.
We’ve also included a video recitation of Tunisian poet Anis Chouchéne‘s profoundly moving poem against racism and fanaticism. Chouchène speaks directly to radical Islam … but I think you’ll agree that he ultimately speaks to all of us in our fear and ignorance.
“Peace we keep an eye on/while it packs its bags/to abandon our lands, little by little …”
Chouchène concludes as Father Dan does, that we must be able to see the individual.
Michael Dickel‘s poem Mosquitoes (excerpt from his chapbook, War Surrounds Us) is included. The poem starts out with Israelis and Palestinians crossing the artificial lines that divide to offer one another condolences on the deaths of their children. This is a favored poem of mine, especially so because The Bardo Group Bequines was formed to – in effect – cross boarders. Our mission statement is HERE. Michael spins the poem on to show how we are manipulated by the propaganda machine. Michael Dickel, Father Dan and Bkikkhu Bodhi are of a mind on this.
We’ve included a short video presentation on the seven steps to peace developed by peace activist, Rabbi Marc Gopin. Director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution (CRDC) and co-owner of MEJDI, “a peace tourism business that embraces the multiple narratives of indigenous peoples.”
The Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi is Buddhist monk in the Theravada tradition, an author and teacher. He is the founder of Buddhist Global Relief. With permission, we offer his 2015 talk given at the New Year’s Interfaith Prayer Service, Chuang Yen Monastery. In the same spirit as Rabbi SteinBerg Cadhill and Rev. Ben Meyer, Bhikkhu Bodhi says:
“Real peace is not simply the absence of violent conflict but a state of harmony: harmony between people; harmony between humanity and nature; and harmony within ourselves. Without harmony, the seeds of conflict and violence will always be ready to sprout.“
Bhikku Bodhi goes on to analyze the obstacles to achieving world peace, the prerequisites of peace, and the means to realizing these goals.
So here we are attempting to untie the ropes that bind us … certainly a hero’s journey … unchosen as hero’s journeys often are. Under our themed section, we explore the journey in its many manifestations – in its parts and in its whole – with features, fiction, memoir, and poems by John Anstie, James Cawles, Michael Dickel, Priscilla Galasso, Joseph Hesch, Charlie Martin, Corina Ravenscraft, Colin Stewart and Terri Stewart. Under “more light” – we can always use that, eh? – we have photo-stories from Naomi Baltuck, a poem from Brain Crandall and an essay from Michael Watson.
Last week we unveiled our new community website thanks to long and hard work by Terri Stewart and generous funding by the Pacific Northwest United Methodist Church. You can read all about it HERE. You can visit it HERE. Please enjoy but also be patient, the tech gremlins are still at work. This site is set-up (both design and intention) to facilitate more participation with and among readers.
On behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines and in the spirit of love and community, Jamie Dedes, Managing Editor
Thanks to poet and artist K. A. Brice (Mirror Obscura) for our fabulous December header.
Table of Contents with Links
An Interfaith Exploration
You are the promise . . . the one . . . the hope, Rev. Ben Meyers, Unitarian Universalist cleric
What Have We Done That People Can Pick Up Weapons and Kill?, Fr. Daniel Sormani, C.S.Sp., Catholic Priest
With Faith In Love Beyond All Beliefs, an open letter, Unitarian Universalist clerics
Dear Non-Muslim Allies, Sofia Ali-Khan, Muslim activist for understanding
Peace Be Upon You, شوشان – سلام عليكم, Tunisian poet, Anis Chouchène, Muslim
Mosquitoes, American-Israeli poet, Michael Dickel, Jewish
Peace Steps: One Man’s Journey Into the Heart of His Enemies, Rabbi Mark Gopin, Jewish
Waging Peace, Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi, Buddhist
The Hero’s Journey
When a Hero Needs A Hero
I think I need a hero, Colin Stewart
Mankind: The Modern Mystery and Myth, Priscilla Galasso
The Hero’s Journey and the Void Within: Poetics for Change, Michael Dickel
Hero Worship, a poem, Michael Dickel
Sailing with Ulysses, James R. Cowles
Who Cries for Icarus?, Joseph Hesch
We’re Still Here, Michael Watson
Our Community Site: Beguine Again
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Back Issues Archive
October/November 2014, First Issue
December 2014, Preparation
January 2015, The Divine Feminine
February 2015, Abundance/Lack of Abundance
March 2015, Renewal
April 2015, interNational Poetry Month
May 2015, Storytelling
June 2015, Diversity
July 2015, Imagination and the Critical Spirit
August 2015, Music
September 2015, Poverty (100TPC)
100,000 Poets for Change, 2015 Event
October 2015, Visual Arts (First Anniversary Issue)
The BeZine, Volume 2, Issue 1, Nov. 2015 (At-risk Youth)