Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cautions for religious exploration

Twenty years ago, when I was first researching Wicca and the neo-pagan movement, it seemed as though every site had articles about how to find a teacher, and cautions about what to avoid in a group.

Somewhere between then and now, the conversations suggested that all the warnings were doing more harm than good. Most neo-pagan groups are doing well to "herd cats," they aren't attempting to forge a group-thinking cult.

However, I've read some articles recently regarding ISIS recruiting, that suggest a few cautions are in fact in order.

One of the classic neo-pagan resources was developed by Isaac Bonewits. He calls it the "Advanced Bonewits' Cult Danger Evaluation Form," or ABCDEF. Here's one link to the form, many copies exist on the interwebz.

Also on the more new-agey side of the house, there is a very old book, Chop Wood, Carry Water: A Guide to Finding Spiritual Fulfillment in Everyday Life. In particular, they quote Ram Dass' "How to Keep Perspective Along the Path," and Daniel Goleman's "Things to be Wary of when Shopping the Spiritual Supermarket."

Cult tactics often take a page from the same #AbuserDynamics, isolating people from their friends, discouraging them from talking with other people, asking you to keep secrets. Know the red flags of people who do not have your best interests at heart.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ten Years Ago...

I plan to continue the series on Biblical Patriarchy, as my time and the topic allow.

Meanwhile, I'm beginning another series, about events ten years ago. In the macro picture, I'll discuss hurricanes: Katrina, Rita, evacuation, rebuilding. On my social media (Twitter, Facebook), I will try to center articles by & about those directly affected. Accounts of people from New Orleans, the Bridge incident, that sort of thing. I won't self-promote my posts.

Here, on my own blog, I have processing of my own to do, as the macro level affected the micro.

Ten years ago, about this month, my grandfather's health was failing. Some aspect of his medical situation put him in a nursing home, and the extended family was encouraged to come in small groups to spend time with him.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Exceptionalism or Behind the Curve?

I remember growing up thinking that the United States was the best.

And then I remember reading, in history class, how the United States was one of the last Western countries to abolish slavery. I further learned, on reading Anna Karenina in Russian Literature, that at about the same time as the U.S. Civil War, the Russians also were discussing "the matter of the serfs." Emancipation and the ending of slavery was (and remains) a global movement, not isolated to any one country.

As I'm reading the books I bought while on retreat, I find myself thinking about the United States, Catholicism, and Protestant denominations. Specifically, about how Catholicism is a global religion, while both Unitarian Universalism and the United Church of Christ seem to be United Statesian denominations (both include global outreach, groups like the UU Service Committee and a similar UCC organization).

I begin to wonder if this Americentric religious thought leads to the Americentric perspectives on social issues. Which makes me wonder if it was my Catholic education that taught me to look at abolition as a more global phenomenon, not limited to the Civil War era.

There are several other issues that I've considered over the years, that also show European leadership while the U.S. drags its feet.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Taking Time

Two weekends ago, we kicked off the 23rd Season of the Huntsville Feminist Chorus with our annual retreat at Sacred Heart Monastery in Cullman, AL.

The mission of the Chorus is to open hearts and minds through song.

This begins my sixth season with these wonderful women. The songs we sing bring me strength, not only to get through my own day / week / phase, but also fuels my activism, reviewing the literature and promoting women in STEM, women in leadership, GLBT rights, intersectional representation in general.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Music Monday: Gender & Song

On the drive back from GenCon, my iPod randomizer played two songs back-to-back

The first was The Doubleclicks, "Nothing to Prove."

Friday, August 7, 2015

GenCon 2015

The drawback to changing companies, is that I had to start over with Paid Time Off. So while my husband and son headed up to Indianapolis on Saturday for a full week with Grandma, I put in three days at the office before following their tracks.

I got to Indianapolis about 1 pm on Thursday, had lunch with my husband, son, and mother-in-law, and then hubby and I checked in to our hotel. He and our son had gone over to GenCon in the morning, so they had his badge and sons wristband. They also had an update on the time and cost of finding parking.

City Bus

We elected to get an IndyGo day pass for the busline from our hotel to downtown.  The route ran every 30 minutes. One ticket cost $1.75, but an all-day pass for that route was only $4. Parking downtown started at $6, if you could find that, and quickly went up from there.

The major drawback to the bus, was that the last bus on our route left downtown about 8:30 pm. GenCon has events that go until 3 am. I'm not as young as I used to be, but I could still game to about midnight or 1 am, if I had the chance. Maybe next year we'll look for a hotel in walking distance of the Convention Center.

With the Kid

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Reminiscing about Family, Gaming, and Indiana

This post is not my GenCon 2015 trip report. With luck, I'll get that written to post on Friday.

Instead, this is background. History, reminiscing.

On gaming...