Sunday, March 22, 2015

Random Stuff / Delurk Thread

Happy spring and World Poetry Day, readers. I know many of you come here looking for something fresh and leave empty-handed. My apologies. Below I've listed a few items that may tempt you to delurk and leave a comment, as the dialogue in the comment section is usually the best reading here. 

1. Ed has a new post about exodus stories. Many of us take non-linear paths out of the church, some with a loop or two back in, for various reasons. But the guy who returned to the LLC to party? That had me SMH, as the kids say, shaking my head! Did you leave and return, and if so, why?

2. Another reader forward this link to Post-Cult Trauma Syndrome. Perhaps you recognize some of these symptoms? (I often feel "out of it" but have accepted it as my normal!)

  • flashbacks to cult life
  • simplistic black-white thinking
  • sense of unreality
  • suggestibility, ie. automatic obedience responses to trigger-terms of the cult's loaded language or to innocent suggestions
  • disassociation (spacing out)
  • feeling "out of it"
  • "Stockholm Syndrome": knee-jerk impulses to defend the cult when it is criticized, even if the cult hurt the person
  • difficulty concentrating
  • incapacity to make decisions
  • hostility reactions, either toward anyone who criticizes the cult or toward the cult itself
  • mental confusion
  • low self-esteem
  • dread of running into a current cult-member by mistake
  • loss of a sense of how to carry out simple tasks
  • dread of being cursed or condemned by the cult
  • hang-overs of habitual cult behaviors like chanting
  • difficulty managing time
  • trouble holding down a job
3. If you happen to be in Stockholm in June, check out the International Cultic Studies Conference. Surely religious scholars in the birthplace of Laestadius will be eager to discuss his legacy? Or not. I think Laestadianism may be the Rodney Dangerfield of religions and cults.

4. Did you ever wonder if Laestadians are similar to Mennonites? Not enough, as I discovered in this hilarious memoir by a Mennonite who left, became a poet with a PhD, divorced her bisexual atheist husband, moved in with her parents, wrote a book and fell for an evangelical biker (with a nail necklace!) after concluding that "nice is better than smart," while exhibiting neither. She's very readable, if not always relatable, but you'll fall in love with her Mennonite mom, and may even get nostalgic for cabbage rolls or fruit soup, if not head coverings, patriarchy, intermarriage, or pat answers for complex questions. But Mennonites rock inclusion, apparently. Go figure.

5. And finally in celebration of the holiday, here's a dark little gem by one of my favorite poets, LOUISE GL√úCK.
All day I tried to distinguish
need from desire. Now, in the dark,
I feel only bitter sadness for us,
the builders, the planers of wood,
because I have been looking
steadily at these elms
and seen the process that creates
the writhing, stationary tree
is torment, and have understood
it will make no forms but twisted forms.
Life gets us twisted, yet we yearn for the linear. Silly us. 

Okay, that's enough from the peanut gallery; please leave a comment below and get the conversation started. Thanks!

Monday, March 09, 2015

Guest House

Happy spring, readers. To celebrate, here's a photo by my son and a poem by the Muslim mystic Jalal ad-Din Rumi, who in spite of having lived 800 years ago is the best-selling poet in the United States today. Enjoy!

Guest House
by Jalal ad-Din Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Monday, January 12, 2015

We and They

by Rudyard Kipling

Father and Mother, and Me,
Sister and Auntie say
All the people like us are We,
And every one else is They.
And They live over the sea,
While We live over the way,
But-would you believe it?
--They look upon We
As only a sort of They!

We eat pork and beef
With cow-horn-handled knives.
They who gobble Their rice off a leaf,
Are horrified out of Their lives;
While they who live up a tree,
And feast on grubs and clay,
(Isn't it scandalous? ) look upon We
As a simply disgusting They!

We shoot birds with a gun.
They stick lions with spears.
Their full-dress is un-.
We dress up to Our ears.
They like Their friends for tea.
We like Our friends to stay;
And, after all that, They look upon We
As an utterly ignorant They!

We eat kitcheny food.
We have doors that latch.
They drink milk or blood,
Under an open thatch.
We have Doctors to fee.
They have Wizards to pay.
And (impudent heathen!) They look upon We
As a quite impossible They!

All good people agree,
And all good people say,
All nice people, like Us, are We
And every one else is They:
But if you cross over the sea,
Instead of over the way,
You may end by (think of it!) looking on We
As only a sort of They!