Waging Peace

Thanks to many of you who read here, the December issue of “The BeZine” with its special section “Waging Peace” went moderately viral with more visits and more shares through the whole diversity of social media than ever before. It did our hearts good. It was healing to see just how many people supported the ideas and ideals expressed in this special section. For those of you who missed “Waging Peace,” do your own heart good and check it out . . .

Waging Peace
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

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a story of faith, hope and love

IMG_1955I feel almost inclined to start this story with “once upon a time” since it feels that we began our adventure so long ago.  I started The Bardo Group (though it wasn’t titled that way to begin with) in 2011 as a way to encourage a sort of world without borders by having people from different cultures and religions come together to show what’s in their hearts and in doing so to demonstrate that with all our differences we have much in common: our dreams and hopes, our plans for children and grandchildren, our love of family, friends and the spiritual traditions we’ve chosen or into which we were born  . . . not to mention our love of sacred space as it is expressed in the arts and our concerns for peace, social justice and sustainability.

At one point I decided that it would be nice to have a sort of virtual Sunday service and invited Terri Stewart, a Methodist Minister, to be our “Sunday Chaplain.”  In 2008 she founded Beguine Again, an interfaith platform for clerics and spiritual teachers to offer daily solace and inspiration. I felt comfortable inviting Terri in because she didn’t want to convert anyone and seemed to appreciate the beauty and wisdom of traditions other than her own. She even incorporated the wisdom of other traditions in her rituals and writings. Terri supported our mission. She didn’t appear threatened by different opinions or beliefs.

A little over a year ago, I suggested we might throw our two efforts together, Beguine Again and The Bardo Group. I hoped that would ensure the continuation of the The Bardo Group and the wise, beautiful and valued work and ideals of our core team and guests, a group of earnest and talented poets, writers, story-tellers, essayists, artists, photographers and musicians.  Each is a strong advocate for a better – fair, peaceful and sustainable – world. Together they are a powerhouse.

Okay, yes!  I’m a bit biased.  I’ve only met one of our group in person and only talked by phone with Terri,  but I’ve read everyone’s work – their emails, messages, books, blogs and FB posts for years now.  We’ve been through deaths in families, births and birthdays, graduations, illness and recovery, major relocations, wars and gunfire, triumphs and failures. Two of our original contributors have died. I feel that our core team and our guests might be my next-door neighbors instead of residing in  Romania, England, Algeria, the Philippines, Israel, India, Greece, Bulgaria, the United States and other countries I’ve probably forgotten. We’ve featured work by people ranging in age – as near as I can guess – from 19 to nearly 90. They’ve been Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists and agnostics. The growth of our readership is slow but steady, loyal and just as diverse as our core team and guests.

So what did we do to facilitate this merger: At Beguine Again daily posts continued. That team joined The Bardo Group. We stopped posting daily on The Bardo Group site and started The BeZine, a monthly online publication with a fresh theme for each issue. Terri got a grant to establish a community website from the Pacific Northwest United Methodist Church. The website has been over a year in the works. Today, we unveil it.

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The site is designed to be a spiritual networking community.  Though it is an extended ministry of the Lake Washington United Methodist Church, this effort remains both interfaith and a labor of love.

The site is supported by donations, membership (paid membership is optional) and a generous grant from Pacific Northwest United Methodist Church, which funded the design and development of the site. The grant from the church ends on December 31, 2015. Donations and membership fees will support the cost of technical assistance, web hosting and so forth. Should there be any excess funds they will go to the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition, a Seattle nonprofit (also interfaith) founded by Terri under the aegis of the church. Coalition members provide assistance to incarcerated youth. No income is earned by anyone associated with Beguine Again, The Bardo Group, The BeZine or the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition.  All are labors of love.

The BeZine can still be conveniently and easily accessed either directly HERE or through BeguineAgain if you choose to become a member of the community.

Please check out the site. Any questions? Let us know … and do let us know what you think. Please be patient too.  The tech gremlins are still working behind the scenes.

A note on the name: Beguine Again.  The original Beguine community was a Christian lay order in Europe that was active between the 13th and 16th century.  Terri chose the name “Because they worked outside the religious structure and were a safe place for vulnerable people.”

© 2015, article and photograph, Jamie Dedes; Beguine Again logo, copyright Beguine Again

The BeZine, Nov. 2015, Vol. 2, Issue 1, “At-risk Youth,” Table of Contents with Links

15 November 2015

paint-prints-of-youths-handsWelcome to our first issue that is focusing on at-risk youth. Our mission today in our topical section is to share stories and poems that cause us to think about youth in a different way. Who are at-risk youth? Where are they?

Often, they seem invisible to the world until they are splashed across the news in dramatic headlines. We can all remember the photos of dead children washing up on the seashore…refugees fleeing Syria. And in the US, just a few days ago, a young boy, age 8, killed a 1 year old. Why? Because he was the babysitter in charge and she would not stop crying. I am often appalled at the reactions we have to children with extreme behaviors. What skills do we expect an 8 year old to have?

Sigh.

And so, we, at The Bardo Group, have written of the children of the world that are marginalized and at-risk for a wide range of disasters. This is a special topic for me. I run the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition which provides chaplaincy and mentoring to incarcerated youth. I have included three pieces in this edition that are close to my heart. One, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani. This poem is the first one I wrote in reaction to the stories I heard in detention. I wanted to put the parents, and God, on trial. And so I did. I wasn’t happy with the answer I received! And yet, it gave me so much hope. The second piece, an essay titled Mentoring At-Risk Youth, tells you a little more directly about who I am and what I do. Last, is the poem, A True Story. You may guess that it is a true event and you would be correct! It happened this year and it made me very angry.

St. Augustine says, ““Hope has two beautiful daughters – their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.”

Hope, anger and courage have driven me to move through the pain and challenge of working with these particular youth.

A small collection from people I work with that all explore what it is like to work with incarcerated youth. They are all new to the BeZine so let’s give them a resounding welcome! Justin Almeida offers an essay, Finding Life in Detention. Lisa Ashley, MDIV, has a poem, at risk youth, that names what is really at risk when you work with youth in detention—your heart is at risk!  And Natasha Burrowes drops the mic in Untitled.

Closely related to Natasha’s discussion of who is really at risk is Charles Martin’s, at risk… It is a great question. Who is really at risk when we allow our children to be the victims of poverty, crime, and other forces? Is it really just the child? Or is there something larger?

Incarcerated youth, across the board, have increased rates of trauma when compared to other youth. The ACES test (Adverse Childhood Experiences) scores incarcerated youth as having a 92 out of 100. I think I would be a bowl of jello if I had that high of a trauma score. Christina Conroy explores living through a traumatic childhood in her autobiographical poem, Legacy. Also writing autobiographically is Kimberly Wilhelmina Floria in Validating Myself. It made my heart grow two more sizes! Also cracking my heart is Jamie Dedes’ Heading Home autobiographical poem regarding suicide. Sometimes, I wish I knew what that special something is that manages to give children resiliency. Heart breaking. Or I wish I had a magic wand that would right the world’s wrongs.

Also writing from experience is Trace Lara Hentz’s essay, Angel Turned Inside. Lara was introduced to us by Team Member Michael Watson and is new to these pages. Her essay explores the tragedy that was the movement westward in the US and the use of adoption as a weapon against American Indians and First Nations. I am aware of this tragic history because of my knowledge of church history which is horrifyingly replete with church support of taking children from their families and putting them into orphanages.

Knife Notes—a Poem, from Michael Dickel, explores the relationship between the past and the future for Joe. I am especially moved by the truthful reflection of how kids who are hurting treat each other.

“It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.” That is a quote from Washington state’s constitution. Unfortunately, we simply fail our children. John Antsie’s article, Education, Common Sense … and The Future, explores two simple things regarding education-one thing to change and one thing to hope for.

One thing that the youth I work with almost unanimously face is addiction issues. Jamie Dedespiece, scag dancing, explores in vivid, concise imagery the relationship between addiction and poverty.

With “Thinking Continually of Those at Risk,” by Priscilla Galasso, you will be surprised at where she starts and where she finishes! She speaks a truth that resonates, “We can so easily provide food, shelter, and opportunity to our youth with the systems we have devised, but those systems have become mine fields where kids are sabotaged on the journey.”

Sometimes we attempt to sabotage journeys with needless judgment regarding what makes a real parent. John Nooney explores his experience of adoption and the sometimes senseless absorption of people asking, “Have you found your birth-mother?” in his essay, Some Thoughts on Adoption.

In my research of how to interrupt the school to prison pipeline, I have found two interesting statistics. One, children who miss 24+ days of Pre-K or Kindergarten are more likely to become incarcerated. And two, children who personally own five books of their own have better life outcomes than those who do not. I have also recently run across an article pointing towards the importance of librarians in achievement for children. Corina Ravenscraft points out the importance of libraries in These Hallowed Halls of Hope.” Libraries are, indeed, an oasis of peace in a concrete jungle.

One thing is trite but true, it does indeed, take a village to raise our children.

Thank you for moving through my rambling reflections with me. I hope that your heart is moved to consider how we support and work with those who are at-risk.

Shalom & Amen!
Terri Stewart

Theme: At-Risk Youth

Lead Features

Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani, Terri Stewart
Untitled, Natasha Burrowes
Validating Myself, Kimberly Wilhelmina Floria
at risk, Charles W. Martin

Poetry

Legacy, Christina Conroy
At-risk Youth, Lisa Ashley, MDIV
A True Story, Terri Stewart
Heading Home, Jamie Dedes
Knife Notes—a poem, Michael Dickel
scag dancing, Jamie Dedes

Essays/Features

Mentoring At-Risk Youth, Terri Stewart
Finding Life in Detention, Justin Almeida
Education, Common Sense … and The Future, John Antsie
These Hallowed Halls of Hope, Corina Ravenscraft
Thinking Continually of Those at Risk, Priscilla Galasso
A Teenager Who Fled Syria, NPR and World Vision
Rapid Re-Housing Best Available Crisis Intervention for Homeless Families and Youth, National Alliance to End Homelessness

Special Features: Adoption

November is National Adoption Month in the United States

Some Thoughts on Adoption and “real” parents v adoptive parents, John Nooney
Angel Turned Inside, The Fight for Native American Families, Trace Lara Hentz

General Interest

Poetry

How Can I Justify My Life If I Do Not Justify His Own?, K. A. Bryce
Second Light Network Celebrating Anthologies of Women Poets, Jamie Dedes

Photo Essay

Some Early Seasonal Cheer, Corina Ravenscraft

Photo Story

The Secret Object I Keep Hidden in My Underwear Drawer, Naomi Baltick

Essays

Deportment for the Soul, Sue Vincent

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BIOS WITH LINKS TO OTHER WORKS BY OUR CORE TEAM AND GUEST WRITERS

FOR UPDATES AND INSPIRATION “LIKE” OUR FACEBOOK PAGE, THE BARDO GROUP/BEGUINE AGAIN

MISSION STATEMENT

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, 15 Oct. 2015, First Anniversary Edition (Visual Arts), Table of Contents with Links

15 October 2015

Time does indeed fly and – almost unbelievably –  here we are publishing our first anniversary edition.  It’s been a lot of fun collaborating, batting around ideas, connecting with new contributors and producing a rather remarkable body of work over the course of the last twelve months.

Safe to say we are all grateful to be able to make a contribution – modest as it may be – to peace and understanding.  We are grateful too for the readers who make this work worthwhile. We’re especially grateful to those readers who participated in 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC) this year.  Thank you! More on that soon.  Meanwhile … for our anniversary issue, the theme is Visual Arts: Shape, Color, Movement and Meaning …

00da8d_12fd11dad3344c89888ab297ac2fd005.jpg_srb_p_826_551_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srbThe American graphic designer, Milton Glaser, has said that art is “terribly important” as a survival mechanism, as a means of cultural survival. Good art, he says, “makes us attentive.”  It inspires us to re-engage with what we think something or some circumstance is and see it for what it truly is. It seems our poets have decided to comment on art by using it as inspiration for poetry. Not surprising that. In the light of Glaser’s words, I think this “appropriation” of art for poetry helps to make an even stronger statement of culture and values and moves us closer to the truing of our vision.  “Why ask art into life at all,” asks poet Jane Hirschfeld, “if not to be transformed and enlarged by its presence and mysterious means?”

And so this month we present diverse works of art largely commented upon in poem – ekphrastic or otherwise – or used as a jumping off point and moved into new directions. In some cases the art is the poet’s own photographs or digital art.

New to our pages this month is professional photographer Donatella D’Angello with a set of poems in both Italian and English (translations in collaboration with Michael Dickel) as well as with her photographs, which inspired the poet in Michael.  Our wonderful cover photo (the header) is courtesy of Donatella.  You can enjoy more of her work HERE. Michael tells me “the photos are as shot in the camera. She borrows techniques the Futurists used for motion-studies of long exposures (and subdued lighting, often) and moves into and within the frame (or has her subjects move, but I used all self-portraits in the post).”

Italy stars in three pieces. Two are by Michael Watson who shares photographs and meditations from a trip to Italy. The third is a piece by Michael Dickel on his trip to Salerno this past June for the 100TPC summit.

We are also pleased to introduce Professor Aprilia Zank.  Aprilia is a photographer, poet and literature professor who coordinated the National Beat Festival in Munich this year. We hope to share more of her work here in the future.

We start with the graphics produced around the world to promote 100TPC and move on to Priscilla Galasso’s “Art, Time and Love,” which is as thoughtful and characteristically provocative as her work always is.  You’ll find two of Naomi Baltuck’s wonderful photo-stories, artwork by Corina Ravenscraft, and a flash fiction piece by Liliana Negoi … All alongside the aforementioned wealth of poems. Enjoy … Let us know what you think.

On behalf of The Bardo Group and Beguine Again and in the spirit of peace and community,

Jamie Dedes

THEME

VISUAL ARTS: SHAPE, COLOR, MOVEMENT, MEANING

Design Art: 100TPC Posters

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Posters are followed by some photographs of Mimes for Change in Egypt and then Michael Rothenberg’s flag to welcome refugees. (These are not the same posters that we displayed in a slideshow on the blog.)

Lead Features

Art, Time and Love, Priscilla Galasso
~ A Dragon’s Day ~, Corina Ravenscraft
An Autumn Photo from Spring, Michael Dickel
Salerno Like a Painting, Michael Dickel
Regretting Its Death by Drowning, Jamie Dedes

Fiction

bonds, Liliana Negoi

Poetry

Parallel Worlds, John Anstie
Decline, John Anstie
Battle Horse, John Anstie
Three Poems (Italian and English), Donatella D’Angello (translations with Michael Dickel)
her power leaps, Jamie Dedes
Cassandra, Jamie Dedes
A dream walker hands you the door, Michael Dickel
White Angel Feathers, Michael Dickel (with photographs by Donatella D’Angello
Framed, Joseph Hesch
Fields of Lavender, Joseph Hesch
a beautiful enigma, Charles W. Martin
war’s cold night, Charles W. Martin
Not That I Really Know, Charles W. Martin

GENERAL INTEREST

Essay

the land remembers, Michael Watson
Cinque Terra, Michael Watson

Photo-Story

Two Subjects (and one important thing to remember), Naomi Baltuck
Turning Night into Day, Naomi Baltuck

Special Feature

Imagine the Beats (Readings, Photography, Music), Munich, German, Aprilia Zank

BIOS WITH LINKS TO OTHER WORKS BY OUR CORE TEAM AND GUEST WRITERS

FOR UPDATES AND INSPIRATION “LIKE” OUR FACEBOOK PAGE, THE BARDO GROUP/BEGUINE AGAIN

MISSION STATEMENT

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