May I let my voice be a clarion call. I will use these words for justice. I will use these words for truth. And humour.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Dragons and Dove

Today I heard this song "Girl in the War" by Josh Ritter, on 91.3 while driving to pick up dinner.

I really like the imagery the lyrics call up.

from commenter Saltogurl: 

[regarding the Boynton Chapel in Door County, WI] in an archway, in front of the chapel one side there is a painting of Peter, on the other Paul.  Peter is holding two keys  one to the Kingdom, another to the chapel.  Above them, carved into the wood archway, is a dove and on each side of it dragons.  All I could think was a) "pretend the dove from above is a dragon and your feet are on fire".  I have never heard of a dragon next to a dove in any setting but apparently the dragon is a sign of protection in Norse mythology, and the dove is a sign of peace in a lot of western cultures.

See the post just before this one and the one about "the first death" and note that I've been in a state of confusion between wanting peace and preparing for war.   Still wondering where the war will play out, and if it's inside, when it will die down.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

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For Sixteen Years, My Dove Seeking for Peace

After first of three sessions.

This last year, during my chaplain residency / clinical pastoral experience, one thing I've been mulling over has been the meaning of the olive branch that the dove found in Noah's story.  When I was younger, and I got the third portion of my head tattoo with the last of ten birds -- golden eagle, peregrine falcon, albatross; crow, raven, hummingbird; bald eagle, wren, loon, and dove.  I asked the artist to put the dove right in front with the sunrise (and autonomically cried through the whole inking), but felt it was not appropriate at the time to have an olive branch in its beak, so left a little space to ink it in later, when the time was more appropriate.  I had a lot of work left to do.

During my CPE, it came to my attention that the olive branch was a symbol for divine power.  I've learned a lot about power this last year.  I've learned the difference between power over (forcing somebody to work on the agenda of the more powerful person), power alongside (assessing complementary skills and working collaboratively), and power under (providing strength and opportunity for another to more completely follow their own volitional path).  Given the US culture I was raised in, I had mainly only paid attention to the first kind of power, the power of battle, oppression, and suppression, in which the stronger is the victor and the weaker is the victim.  I felt freed when I learned of the second as a good pastoral stance, and I made up the third myself, because balanced-ternary is the way I roll, and because there are some people in the world with way too much power who rarely put it to good use themselves, and might actually like to give much of it away, thereby freeing themselves.

Now, here I am, taking a break from assembling my MFC packet, and taking in this interview with Phil Anselmo of Pantera.  I haven't been keeping up with his more recent projects, and while my musical tastes have changed, I still enjoy their older songs.  And while his personality is arrestingly unique, I've met at least two others with similar qualities during my time here.  

In any case, at the end of the interview in Part 4 at 12 minutes, 30 seconds, he says, 
"I'm not afraid to make friends, and I'm not afraid to extend my hand, first.  To walk up to people, extend an olive branch even…"

This, to me, is the meaning of my missing olive branch.  I haven't been ready to trust until maybe now.

The question foremost in my mind at this point is, "What kind of person extends an olive branch when most everybody else stands (at least partially unknowingly) with their swords drawn?"  I've been open and honest before, and have been through an emotional evisceration as people -- not understanding the context and framework I approached in -- applied their own, leaving me decontextualized.

In other words, am I actually returning from a hero's journey after finding dry land (peace and security) or have I found the ingredients for their formation?  Or am I just saying "peace, peace" when there is no peace?  And to help make this concrete (considering Joseph Campbell's diagram in the previous link) how have I atoned, and what was that atonement for anyway?

Moving beyond the narrative from within the narrative, like the hummingbird (which stands for Joy) in this story, I will just take control of myself, and do what I can.

lyrics: "If you crossed me, I'd shake your hand like a man, not a god." -F**king HostilePantera
colors: Had a dream of red, white and blue postage stamps with monkeys on them last night.  (As I said on my FB status update: "America, I've got your number.")
mood: Exhausted, frozen, thawing.
chant/prayer/mantra: Do. 

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

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Sunday, September 25, 2011


Excellent List of Demands for the #occupywallstreet Protest

Before we get too far into this post, I will say that I've been checking out some of the YouTube footage of the protests so far, and the thing most striking (since the police brutality is kind of expected in this culture nowadays) is the astounding amount of venom in the comments.  Two things come to mind: First, that there is a segment of our culture who have been highly brainwashed to believe that people who would protest against this paramount injustice are somehow subhuman and that the banks and corporations are still doing good things (or these commenters are paid plants with plenty of time for trolling and seeding disparaging opinions); and Second, that the protesters must be doing something right, as the vitriol usually increases in intensity when something important is being defended.

Now, from a comment here (credit goes to Lloyd J Hart) in response to the the rhetorical post about "Our one demand"....
The above are good demands but they are not going to reinstate the living wage in America. Demands must also be easy for the public to get behind.
Public financing would be great but American elections are run at the county level where it is very easy to bribe elections supervisors to allow the theft of elections with electronic Jim Crow voting machines.
  • Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending "Freetrade" by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr.
  • Demand two: Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to wall st. investors.
  • Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.
  • Demand four: Free college education.
  • Demand five: Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand.
  • Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now.
  • Demand seven: One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America's nuclear power plants.
  • Demand eight: Racial and gender equal rights amendment.
  • Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.
  • Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.
  • Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the "Books." World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the "Books." And I don't mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period.
  • Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.
These demands will create so many jobs it will be completely impossible to fill them without an open borders policy.
by Lloyd J Hart
This is very radical.  It is also what must be done.  Right about now, much of the numbers that used to indicate how much money a person has have been manipulated by leveraging in the debt industry, and also by political corruption where $100k to members of the US congress turns into tens or hundreds of millions. 

At this point, it's impossible to tell how much money any person should have, also because the leverage and corruption has caused your average Joe Plumber's life savings to be cut by a third or a half in some cases.  We need to reconnect people to actual resources, and not gum up the system by means of all of the money (and supposed lack thereof).  There's plenty of money to go around.  

The problem is that the people with the MOST money are afraid that they're not going to keep all of it, or are not going to be able to gain more money fast enough, and so they're being very tight with it.  This includes banks, who are not loaning money out.  There's plenty of housing for everybody.  There's plenty of food for everybody.  There's plenty of clothes for everybody.  But apparently there's not enough money to actually purchase any of it.  

A caveman or alien who showed up on the scene would be bewildered by the state of this world.  They would walk into the grocery store and walk out with food to hand to the person begging outside.  They would cut the lock off the door of the foreclosed house and invite the homeless person in.  They would go into Macy's and grab carts of clothes and hand them to the people dressed in rags.  AND THE WORLD WOULD NOT END as a result of doing so!

Sadly, the radical solution above will not be entertained by those in power.  It will not be mentioned in the media, and it will be repressed until either there is no other option, or until it's too late.

BTW, I think his numbers of "one trillion" in points six and seven are a little high.  I think we could get the job kick-started well enough to be maintained with about five-hundred billion toward each.
lyrics: "The revolution starts now." by Steve Earle colors: Still red, white, and blue. mood: transparent. chant/prayer/mantra: There there be light. pax hominibus, agape to all, joel

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Friday, September 23, 2011


Zeitgeist Interview

"If I was an inventor, I would invent something not to make money off of it--that's a very sick, distorted idea--I would invent something to better the world, knowing that would come back to me and my own betterment. So that's a completely different value structure, and the best thing I can relate to you is the idea of a family--the idea of what it means to live in a family--and the respect that's mutual in a family where you're not tipping your mother every time she brings you something at the table. It's an entirely new value system orientation, and unfortunately, we have to undo the tremendous psychological distortion that's been created after centuries of this despotic system that is failing right in front of us, and will lead to simply more war, more poverty…." -Peter Joseph

I think we will see the appearance of de-monetized black holes where work still gets done as the monetary system dissolves within affinity groups until they grow. These will be cooperative corporate entities that will grow from the ground up, and provide for all their members' basic needs and their community needs. They will continue to merge until it goes global.

chant/prayer/mantra: We would be one.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

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Sunday, September 11, 2011


Using "The First Death" to Begin a War

The following quote is astoundingly important to my theology of war, and I hope to build it into an album or EP at some point if I can make the time:
“It is the first death which infects everyone with the feelings of being threatened,” wrote Elias Canetti. “It is impossible to overrate the part played by the first dead man in the kindling of wars. Rulers who want to unleash war know very well that they must procure or invent a first victim. It needs not be anyone of particular importance, and can even be someone quite unknown. Nothing matters except his death; and it must be believed that the enemy is responsible for this. Every possible cause of his death is suppressed except one: his membership of the group to which one belongs oneself.”
I'm hoping this war will be quick, like a one-match fire.  But it probably won't.  We'll see.
pax hominibus, agape to all, joel

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Saturday, September 10, 2011


Interesting video on sexual healing, with an extra Christian slant

. . lyrics: colors: mood: chant/prayer/mantra: pax hominibus, agape to all, joel

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Veruca Salt, Clutch, Old Style, and I Love You

This is just a little hokey vid I made a few minutes ago after imbibing some Irish Moss elixir of life this evening.  Just me saying Hi and how I feel about you.  I'm often the silent one, so the lack of my voice in this video should be no surprise.

Here's a live version of the song that is playing the background.  Veruca Salt rules!

My mannequin is insane.  
It's automatic -- electrocuted in the rain. As a warning in the storm in the morning
In a gadda da vida...

colors: a pallet with avocado yellow and avocado green, and the colors of port-wine cheese.
mood: resistive and struggling.
chant/prayer/mantra: a prayer for serenity, courage, and wisdom. pax hominibus, agape to all, joel

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Friday, September 9, 2011


Carved Ivory Sculpture

I believe its not wrong to want one, as long as you're willing to wait until the elephant dies naturally AND you're willing to let somebody carve you up and use yr skull and femurs for art.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Fwd: American Jobs Act

text msg from Obama for America: 

President Obama will present the American Jobs Act tonight at 7pm ET.  Remind everybody to watch; forward this message. 
I am hoping that this is where he tells us that the exec branch has squirreled away hundreds of billions from the bank bailouts to put toward actuals jobs.  But not holding my breath.)

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Saturday, September 3, 2011


Pay attention to birds.

I invite u to.

This picture was taken in front of Oakland city hall.

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Series title: (this is) not my time to shine. It's your time to shine.

Outshine me. This way.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Scissors-cross in the sky before the light goes out.


Use Hosts File to Block Malware, Page-Jacking, and other Nefarious Web Stuff

. . lyrics: colors: mood: chant/prayer/mantra: pax hominibus, agape to all, joel

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Thursday, September 1, 2011


this is the inner world that informs me

I just used a six-letter word in church when my phone fizzucked izzup as I was chimping pictures, in order to post them on facebook and on this blog.  "Dizzammizzit!!" just fell naturally out of my mouth, fortunately not loud enough that anybody heard me.  I am here at the back of a quarter-full sanctuary at St's Peter & Paul, about an hour after myself and a onie full of chocoloupe got my bake on--good stuff!

i did yoga in the pews.  i was alternating between: a) activating my muscles dynamically in static yoga poses;  b) stretching and using the seat of the pews to massage my upper hamstrings, and the pewtops to massage around my shoulder blades, and my lower ribs and abdomen; c) gathering myself for prayerful moments; and d) writing personal notes on an old bulletin.

there were some teachers and administrators from the church school up front giving a presentation to the students' parents explaining their program, including how important it was that the students take their studies and their homework seriously, and are always on time with their assignments.  overall their pedagogical approach appeared to have a good ethic, well punctuated by giving students 10-15 minutes at the end of each class period to get started on their assignments, for the purposes of momentum and assistance from the teacher.

for the most part, none of the parents really looked back and noticed me, though i think the presenters sitting up front did, though i was trying to minimize myself as a distraction for them.  for me, it was an exercise in exploring boundaries and values.  i think churches should be open to all and are vastly underused resources.  having found a new use for pews presented me with an opportunity to move into my enneagram-8 space, from my usual 5 position.  i don't believe i would do this during a regular worship service unless the service were geared toward stretching and yoga (maybe that will be an avenue for me to pursue in my own ministry one day, maybe not).

anyway, after they were done, sister celine came over and said they'd be closing up so everyone had to go.  i asked her if i could go into the candle rooms.  i went into each of them and cast a spell to bring god's love-light down into those rooms like streams of a waterfall.  i think i made her nervous.

in order to be in good interpersonal relations with her, i probably should've checked out my assumptions, but i didn't.  i had to ask her her name three times before i had it memorized.  we talked about the church a little and about our plans.  i don't know if we were having the same conversation however.  she was feeling compelled by some force to close down the sanctuary area, and i didn't know what it was, i couldn't discern what it was, and i didn't ask to check it out with her.  that would've required asking her if she wanted to be in dialog with me.  gosh, i sound like mister spock all of a sudden....

(me, with warm toasty smile, and non-anxious) "hello sister, how are you?"

"good, thank you.  we're going to be closing down now that the meeting's over, so i'm going to have to ask you to head toward the exit."

(standing up) "okay.  thank you for letting me do my yoga and stretching here.  this is a very nice church you have here.  the architecture is wonderful.  i wish i could spend more time here to get to know the building and the community, but i'm going to be moving to pittsburgh in a couple weeks.  my name's joel."

"excuse me?"

"i said 'my name's joel.'"

"oh, i'm sister celine."

i could've said:

"excuse me, sister celine, if you will, i would have dialog with you."


"i was sensing just now that my presence might be making you uncomfortable, but without checking in with you, that's just my assumption.  i am wondering what this might be about. when you came to approach me a minute ago, what was your feeling and your intent?"

instead i just said "thanks for letting me do my yoga thing, do you mind if i go into the candle rooms for a minute," and thought to myself that i was a freak in her eyes and those of her fellow teachers.  eh....

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