So many are confused by religion

Bird Droppings February 20, 2011
So many are confused by religion

But as I sit here today thinking and wondering about all that is I am recalling last night involved in a blog discussion on religion which was interesting. There are so many views and ideas many intellectualized and quantified and stratified. It seems everyone has their own view which in and of its self is good. The concept of faith is an individual thing. It has been some time since I walked several miles each morning with a good friend who at the time was in seminary discussing his views my views and classes he was taking in seminary at that time. There is a push in Georgia to include the Old and New Testament in public schools as a high school class and actually already a very structured guideline had been generated.
But how many teachers could teach it purely as literature, as a book, and not delve into faith and belief that will be the deciding factor. It would take an unbiased teacher to teach this course of study so as to not become a religion class and that is a difficult road. But then again why not offer the Qumran, Rig Vedas, and other considered holy texts in a similar course. Odds are great those will never come up in Georgia’s legislator.

“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.” The Definition of freedom of religion as per The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the 58 Member States of the United Nations General Assembly

Yet we persist in missionary work and trying to convert others. Not only here in the United States, but it seems almost biological that humans as a species want everyone to believe the same things. It must be engrained in our DNA which some believers would denies exists at all anyhow. So I went out in my back yard and sat meditating and thinking about the day ahead and seeing all the beginnings of leaves and dogwood flowers. My dog seems to like just sniffing along the porch might be chipmunks or voles again. I thought about our founding fathers many of whom contrary to popular believe were humanists and or deists.

“One of the embarrassing problems for the nineteenth-century champions of the Christian faith was the fact that NOT ONE of the first six presidents of the United States was a Christian. They were Deists.” THE ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, 1968, vol.2, p.420,

This is no attempt to dissuade thinking but in a time when religion is influencing our national direction more so than in many previous periods and often at the sake of science and of humanity as a whole and more often than not for profit and power. Cuts to the federal and even state budgets are not items to benefit the people but industry and profits. Amazing as we are using religion as the manipulative tool to pull it all together even preaching from local pulpits that global warming is a hoax. We need to look beyond the religiosity presented to where does this put us in ten years or twenty. We are increasing pollution and destroying wilderness more so than in any era of modern history and allowing companies to pollute more and big businesses to reap profits beyond wall streets expectations all at the expense of the majority of people.
I am not arguing religion it is a powerful tool for good as well but in the wrong hands and with the wrong motivations a weapon of destruction. As we sit posed to expand our wars one of the few things not cut in our budget arguments. Most people are not even aware I am sure corporate gurus at major industries world wide are chomping at the bit more cash flow from defense contracts, feeding troops (privatized), purifying water, selling gasoline to armies and providing reconstruction in a war zone price (Army auditors found a three hundred million dollar error based on a company having done nothing in terms of construction and already being paid). Peace is cheaper or maybe not good business.

“Every footstep is the journey. Every sight, every sound, every touch and taste and smell with which we are blessed is the journey. All of the colors before us are the journey, and we are the journey. May we always keep our feet on Mother Earth, our eyes and minds above the treetops, our spirit with the Greater Universal Spirit. And may we always walk the path of Good Medicine in harmony and balance, with a sense of humility, kindness, wonder, and respect for all living things as we follow the sacred trail of those who have come before us and those yet to come.” Dr. Michael Tlanusta Garrett, Walking on the Wind, 1998, is from the Eastern Band of Cherokee, he grew up on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in the mountains of western North Carolina. He holds a Ph.D. in counselor education and a M.Ed. in counseling and development.

Each day I wonder can we overcome all that ails our world and I ask each of you to please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird

Interconnectivity of all that is

Bird Droppings February 7, 2011
Interconnectivity of all that is

“Every footstep is the journey. Every sight, every sound, every touch and taste and smell with which we are blessed is the journey. All of the colors before us are the journey, and we are the journey. May we always keep our feet on Mother Earth, our eyes and minds above the treetops, our spirit with the Greater Universal Spirit? And may we always walk the path of Good Medicine in harmony and balance, with a sense of humility, kindness, wonder, and respect for all living things as we follow the sacred trail of those who have come before us and those yet to come.” Dr. Michael T. Garrett, Walking with the Wind, 1998

It has been nearly five years since I last heard Dr. Sutton speak. When I drove to Macon Georgia to hear him that time as I always do I watched as many details as I could driving down. I never know what pieces may fall into place for me at a later date or as it might be happening right this moment. I was going to listen to Dr. James Sutton, a psychologist from Texas who lectures around the country on Conduct Disorders and Oppositional Defiant Disorder which is quite a mouth full. I was in need of a recharge and some energizing. Occasionally we all need a break from the mundane even though so often I find vast amounts of material in the simple ordinary things of life. As I filled in my evaluation form as I left back six years ago the question stated; what did I gain from this course and I responded energy and revitalizing.

“A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I walked in the room Dr. Sutton who I met several years previous in a similar seminar and who has been on my list emailing since that time announced as I came in the room, “Let me introduce the premiere educational philosopher Frank Bird.” I think my hat size went up three notches. As we went into the day pieces fell in place with ideas and thoughts jotted down on bits of paper and class notes. Several illustrations used were referring to puzzle pieces which fit right into my thinking. I have had an affinity for the concept of life being a puzzle for some time and the comments lent well to that thinking. A friend from my own school had attended the course with her husband and coincidentally another friend from many years ago was in attendance now a teacher in a nearby county. As I thought of why each person was there was it advertising sent out by the sponsoring group, myself an email from Dr. Sutton and then others through word of mouth.

“The journey is not ‘somewhere over there’ or ‘some other time.’ It is with us right here and right now. It is a part of us in everything that we do and everything that we are. What we perceive as our “pot of gold” may in fact be something very different when and if we find the end of the rainbow. What if the rainbow has no end? What if it is a circle that wraps itself gently around Earth in a continuous cycle of energy?” Dr. Michael T. Garrett, Walking with the Wind, 1998

Over the years reading Michael Garrett and his father J. T. Garrett the concept of interconnectivity, which is such a big word flows through their writing as it does in most Native American philosophy. As I went to lunch nearly six years ago we discussed children federal guidelines and spirituality. The discussion wandering about between parents seeking help and my own listening and observing it seemed I was gathering far more than I was sending out. I was given a slip of paper with a similar story to one I used recently about a family pet being put to sleep. Sitting back in the class listening to other teachers and their views gave me ideas on how to deal with and not deal with students I see each day. A little trick from that day that turns out to have a several thousand year old proverb attached to it. When trying to get a child who is defiant to do something offer options. You want three things done offer five. You only get three out five but you only wanted three. Offer ten and the child responds even better amazing thinking that they got one over they only answered three of ten. As I sat down this morning I found this thought.

“If one has to jump a stream and knows how wide it is, he will not jump. If he does not know how wide it is, he will jump, and six times out of ten he will make it.” Persian Proverb

So often in education especially in today’s test driven society students are failing because that score is out there. The teachers and students strive for that score. As I drove to Macon so many years ago I was thinking about all the what ifs. What if we tested students coming into school and placed that number on the table as point A and then test at the end of ninth, tenth , eleventh and twelfth grades all points on the graph now we have a true picture of learning with this child not an arbitrary SCORE stuck out in no where land. What if we evaluated the growth of information rather than what information is available at the end of the journey? I would really rather know what a student learned along the way than what they knew at the end. That would give me a far better idea of what was really learned but this is only me.

“Life is about the journey not the destination” Steven Tyler, Aerosmith

I find it funny as I think back to the day I first saw this quote of all the interconnections, those pieces that seemingly are meaningless at one point in life find significance and meaning when all the pieces slowly fall into place. So often it is difficult to see what is forming in a jig saw puzzle when you only have the corner pieces or a few side pieces set in place. The true image does not come into view till more is in place. But each piece while on its own really just a piece of a puzzle is needed to complete the whole.

“As we walk, all of our ancestors walk with us. As we dance, all of our ancestors dance the Sacred Dance. Each step that we place is an important one. All of our relatives are walking with us, speaking through us like the many colors of the rainbow. Listen and you will hear their steps, their voices, their colors. Listen, and you will hear your spirit calling upon all our relations, and you will feel their energy. Our spirit is an extension of them and they are an extension of us. Our spirit connects us with the memories of all that has gone before us, all that is, and all that will be. Our spirit connects us with all of our relations in the Circle of Life. Listen, and you will hear Water speaking, Wind dancing, Sun smiling, the heartbeat of Mother Earth pulsing beneath our feet.” Dr. Michael T. Garrett, Walking with the Wind, 1998

The interconnectivity of life as I was thinking back to that drive to Macon and a conference and to when I had been sitting at lunch discussing a trip to Stillwater Oklahoma which I would never have made had I not been in the sheep business. But the point I recall and borrow on is a side trip to Fort Sill and Geronimo’s grave site not the fact I was in Lawton Oklahoma looking for show lambs for 4H projects. It is the pieces of that journey that are significant not the destination. I am sure as I glean through my thoughts today and tomorrow other bits and pieces will come up. Pieces I may not even be aware of as of yet so please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird