by: Joshua Stanton on March 4th, 2010 | Comments Off
On February 24, Rev. Paul Raushenbush issued a call for articles entitled “Dear Religious (and Sane) America” to inaugurate the launch of the Huffington Post’s new religion section. According to the article,
HuffPost Religion is dedicated to providing a provocative, respectful, and hopefully productive forum for addressing the ways in which religion intersects our personal, communal, national and international life. HuffPost Religion will demonstrate the vibrant diversity of religious traditions, perspectives and experiences that exist alongside and inform one another in America and throughout the world.
Huffington is clearly trying to expand its reach and become one of the big players in religion media, much as it already has in politics, popular culture, and even business. Based on initial responses to the section, it appears to be well on its way.
David R. Loy
David Loy is one of the most socially aware Buddhists that I am aware of. I don’t know that much about Buddhism, despite having various friends who are strong Buddhists. When I read Buddhist magazines, I find myself disappointed that there seems to be so little on social change as Buddhist practice and necessity. David Loy, who is Besl Professor of Ethics/Religion and Society at Xavier University in Cincinnati, is certainly a great exception (and I am not saying there aren’t many others out there, just that I am not aware of them). We have just posted at Tikkun Current Thinking a piece he has sent us about his response to Copenhagen. In it he calls climate change “the greatest threat ever to our species.” Some quotes:
The basic difficulty about responding to the “climate emergency” – and a host of related eco-crises such as desertification, and what is happening to the world’s oceans, and mass extinction (half of the earth’s plant and animal species may disappear by the end of this century) – is that climate change requires us to notice something we normally prefer to ignore or resist: that we are not separate from each other, but interdependent, and that we must therefore also assume responsibility for the well-being of each other…
In the past Western nations could use their technologies (including weapons, of course!) to dominate the rest of the world and exploit its resources, but suddenly we find ourselves in a new situation, where each nation is now directly dependent upon the good intentions of other nations, whether developed or undeveloped.
Red-and-white striped poles spring up in the vacant lot on my block every year, even before I’ve fully digested Thanksgiving dinner. Topped by floodlights, these oversized candy canes tower over the neighborhood, a blinding reminder that Christmas is coming. Next time I check, the tree sellers will have finished setting up shop there, erecting their bristling forest of dead pines under the dazzling lights.
Paired with the blitz of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” ads that tend to flood my inbox and mailbox, this surreal invasion of my neighborhood always makes me feel like Christmas is breathing down my neck.
How did the commemoration of a homeless baby’s birth turn into this garish and materialistic extravaganza? And how can we start to reel the consumerism back?
This is beautiful, well said and right on.
In one room, young Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, secular humanists, and others cluster in a circle to learn strategies for facilitating constructive interfaith discussions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Down the hall, more young people — bareheaded or wearing headscarves or kippot — crowd together to discuss multifaith intentional living communities, learn about the Baha’i faith, create videos about youth-led interfaith activism, and train to volunteer as advocates for undocumented immigrants.
Talk about a rich space for conversation.
All this happened during one morning of the Interfaith Youth Core‘s 2009 conference, which took place October 25-27 at Northwestern University, just north of Chicago. The conference brought high school and college students engaged in interfaith work together with religious leaders, politicians, and authors interested in interreligious cooperation. Speakers included Greg Epstein, the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard; Tikkun Daily blogger Joshua Stanton, who founded the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue; Rami Nashashibi, the inspiring director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network; Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who has worked with Tikkun to garner support for a Global Marshall Plan; and others.
“At a certain moment the canvas began to appear to one American painter after another as an arena in which to act. What was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event.” — Harold Rosenberg, art critic, who coined the term “Action Painting” in 1952 (later called Abstract Expressionism).
Standing barefoot atop a long, white strip of paper laid out on the ground, the artist holds a mop-sized paintbrush dipped in black paint. She quiets her mind, remembering everything and then letting it go, her whole life, the entirety of existence. She surrenders to the moment. She lowers brush to paper and makes her mark, a single, swift, dynamic black stroke across the length of the massive page. Finally trading the black brush for red she lashes out again, a single shriek of red amidst the vivacious black, a splatter of blood upon the earth.
by: Charles Gelman on October 16th, 2009 | Comments Off
Today at The Immanent Frame, Professors Robbie Barnett, Cameron David Warner, Carole Ann McGranahan, and Edward Friedman respond to our questions about President Obama’s recent decision to postpone meeting with the Dalai Lama until after his upcoming summit with Chinese head of state Hu Jintao:
What does Obama’s decision say about his strategy regarding the protection of human rights and the competing demands of geopolitical gamesmanship? What do the decision and the strong reactions it has provoked say about the Dalai Lama’s authority as both a religious and a political leader? How does the intrinsic duality of his position play out on the international stage?
Read the responses here.
I’ve been thinking recently of Buddha Park, which Diana and I visited in Laos almost five years ago. There are ways it seems less bizarre now than it did at the time, and ways in which it seems even stranger. I guess some explanation is needed. (And since a picture is still worth over 900 words (the exchange rate has dropped slightly with the advent of digital cameras) visit the Buddha Park page in Tikkun Daily’s art gallery!)
Buddha Park (more formally known as Xieng Khuan) is one of two sculpture parks created by Bunleua, an apostate Buddhist monk who created his own religion, a syncretic blend of Buddhism and Hinduism. Both Buddha Park, built in 1958, and Sala Keoku, created in 1977, (I saw it in 1988, just across the Mekong river in Thailand) feature giant concrete sculptures of major and minor Hindu and Buddhist deities, interspersed with more than a few pinches of surrealism. At the entrance of Buddha Park there’s a giant three-story pumpkin, with three floors representing hell, earth, and heaven. One walks in through the demon mouth, and follows a spiral staircase to the top, past an interior sculpture garden featuring (amongst much else) the demons and gods grinding the milk of immortality from Mount Meru on the back of the giant turtle on which the world rests.
From the top of the Great Pumpkin you look out over the park, which is about the size of two football fields. There’s a giant reclining Buddha down one side, and a tower of Hindu Deities (Shiva, Durga, etc) at the other end. Lots of beautiful flower shrubs growing between the 200+ other sculptures … some recognizable, some (a three-headed elephant? A split-tailed alligator whose tail supports the world?) not. It’s really one of those places that is a whole lot like nothing you’ve ever seen. Even being there, it was hard to believe.
by: Dave Belden on October 6th, 2009 | Comments Off
From Barbara Bash’s beautiful blog True Nature. Barbara is a Buddhist, a calligrapher, artist and writer of children’s books and of a memoir of a year’s quest for connection with spirit and nature which is destined to be a classic. It’s worth going to her blog just to see what happens to this picture of the tips of the corn. I am tempted to say that if you are short of a present for a special person this Christmas Chanukah Kwanzaa Solstice, you might want to look at that memoir, but we are four hours away from putting an issue to Tikkun to bed in which we are promoting the idea of giving people home made things and services you can perform…. Barbara was a neighbor and dear friend of ours back in the Hudson Valley before we moved to Berkeley so I could work on Tikkun. We miss her!
Craig Kielburger and the Dalai Lama at We Day Vancouver
Imagine thousands and thousands of teens and tweens in a gigantic auditorium, leaping out of their seats, screaming, applauding wildly…… Is it a Jonas Brothers concert? Hannah Montana? Nope – those kids were going nuts at the We Day gathering in Vancouver as Free the Children founder Craig Kielburger introduced the Dalai Lama to talk about how kids could change the world. If you needed just a bit of hope that the next generation was ready to build a better world than the one we have created, this was the perfect boost. And, if you want to take part in this revolution, you’re not too old to join in. The name “We Day” comes from the idea that it is time to turn the “Me” into “We.”