Café Community

New York Lands in Boise

December 3, 2019

“Dawn Whitson, a shelter resident making $12 an hour as a hotel receptionist, said she wanted to know why the city was spending potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight the suit instead of putting the money toward more shelter beds or homeless services.”

NYTimes

A decade-old legal fight shapes a mayoral race and offers the Supreme Court a chance to weigh in.

BOISE, Idaho — During a recent mayoral debate at a Boise homeless shelter, after disposing of icebreakers like the candidates’ favorite Metallica album, the moderator turned to something more contentious: a decade-old lawsuit, now a step away from the Supreme Court. The case, Boise v. Martin, is examining whether it’s a crime for someone to sleep outside when they have nowhere else to go.

The suit arose when a half-dozen homeless people claimed that local rules prohibiting camping on public property violated the Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment. The plaintiffs prevailed at the appellate level last year, putting the city at the center of a national debate on how to tackle homelessness. Now Boise — after hiring a powerhouse legal team that includes Theodore B. Olson and Theane Evangelis of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher — has asked the Supreme Court to take the case, a decision that could come within days.

Nobody at Interfaith Sanctuary, a shelter for 164 with bunk beds in neat rows, needed a primer. They had been talking about it for weeks. Before the debate, Dawn Whitson, a shelter resident making $12 an hour as a hotel receptionist, said she wanted to know why the city was spending potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight the suit instead of putting the money toward more shelter beds or homeless services.

In the course of the one-hour event organized by the shelter, the two candidates, competing in a runoff election on Tuesday, heard plenty more about the issue. One person said there was a misconception that all homeless people are drug addicts. A veteran said he had $771 left over from his disability check each month but couldn’t find a room for less than $500, and asked what he was supposed to do.

Even before the answers, everyone knew who the room was for. Lauren McLean, the City Council president and top vote-getter in an inconclusive November election, opposes the city’s quest for leeway in policing the homeless. She says the solution should come from tackling poverty.

“Each of us, no matter our situation, has to sleep,” she said. “We need more beds. We need to create homes for our residents.”

Her opponent, Mayor David Bieter, seeking his fifth term, was unapologetic about fighting the lawsuit, despite the shelter crowd. Echoing the position of various Western cities that support Boise’s stand, Mr. Bieter argued that the ability to issue citations for sleeping outside is a little-used but necessary tool to keep homelessness in check.

“I’m really concerned when I see Seattle or Portland or San Francisco,” he said. “I go there and I see a city that’s overwhelmed by the problem, and people tell me all the time, ‘Don’t allow us to be like those other cities.’”

On the surface, Boise, a city of about 230,000 whose modest downtown does little to obscure the mountain views, is an odd point of origin for such a debate. Its annual homeless counthas found about 50 to 100 unsheltered people for the past seven years. A drive around town turned up a handful of people sleeping outside, a far cry from the blocklong tent cities in California.

But the city’s decision to appeal Boise v. Martin has elevated homelessness to a focus of an increasingly ugly campaign. Third-party mailers have put Ms. McLean’s picture next to a homeless encampment with the words, “Lauren McLean’s Future Boise.” She recently posted on Facebook that someone in a pickup truck was putting tents and sleeping bags next to “McLean for Boise” yard signs.

The city’s relatively modest homeless problem is cited by both candidates to bolster their positions. Each is essentially campaigning on the idea that rapid growth needn’t produce streets of destitution as it has in California — but the two diverge on the role that law enforcement should play.

To Mr. Bieter, the homeless crises in Los Angeles and San Francisco prove that the city’s power to issue citations and shoo sleeping people off sidewalks is needed to prevent larger camps from forming.

Ms. McLean calls for a different approach. “I think other cities got to the point where it was too late,” she said in an interview. “So let’s say right now we’re actually going to get to work to prevent homelessness instead of hanging our hat on getting the right to ticket people.”

The road to the Supreme Court’s doorstep began in the office of Howard Belodoff, a Boise civil rights lawyer. In 2009, after a local shelter closed, Mr. Belodoff filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of six homeless men and women who had been cited for violating city ordinances that prohibit sleeping on public property. Most of the plaintiffs were prosecuted and pleaded guilty, with the exception of Robert Martin, whose case was dismissed.

Mr. Martin and the other plaintiffs subsequently filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the city’s ordinances. The case was litigated for several years before being appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Last year, in a decision that reverberated across the West Coast, the court ruled that it was unconstitutional to cite someone for sleeping outdoors if there wasn’t any shelter available.

In August, Boise formally asked the Supreme Court to hear the case. While the Ninth Circuit has described its decision as “narrow,” the city’s petition portrays it as anything but, using words like “vast,” “far-reaching” and “catastrophic” to depict a picture of mass confusion and lawlessness arising from the court’s ruling. The filing goes on to say that the Ninth Circuit’s ruling could also imperil a host of other public health laws “such as those prohibiting public defecation and urination.”

“Public encampments, now protected by the Constitution under the Ninth Circuit’s decision, have spawned crime and violence, incubated disease and created environmental hazards that threaten the lives and well-being both of those living on the streets and the public at large,” it declares.

In an interview, Ms. Evangelis, from Gibson Dunn, said: “I don’t think that fighting for someone’s right to live and die in squalor is helping.”

In response, lawyers for the plaintiffs, quoting an earlier Ninth Circuit decision, argue that the court’s ruling in the Boise case merely “reflects the ought-to-be uncontroversial principle that a person may not be charged with a crime for engaging in activity that is simply ‘a universal and unavoidable consequence of being human.’”

Dozens of cities have filed briefs backing Boise’s position, saying that they are confused as to how broadly the Ninth Circuit ruling applies and that the decision has impeded enforcement of basic health and safety laws. In some cases, the cities contend, the decision has actually made it harder to build housing meant for the homeless.

Among Boise’s allies is Los Angeles, which has passed more than $1 billion in bonds for permanent supportive housing but has found steep neighborhood resistance. Mike Feuer, the Los Angeles city attorney, said the Ninth Circuit decision raised as many questions as it answered. For instance, to determine whether or not is in compliance with the ruling, does the city have to constantly count how many beds there are and compare it to the homeless population? Can Los Angeles prohibit sleeping in sensitive locations, such as next to new homeless shelters?

“The language, rather than citing clear principles where constitutional questions are at stake, makes local jurisdictions vulnerable to lawsuits as they struggle to achieve a balance between the legitimate rights and interests of homeless people and the legitimate rights and interests of other residents and businesses,” he said.

Whatever happens in the Boise mayor’s race, Boise v. Martin is far enough along that its fate now rests with the Supreme Court: Even if she is elected mayor, Ms. McLean said, she has no plans to withdraw from the case. “The case is moving forward — that ship has sailed,” she said. “I just still maintain that we can do this without ticketing folks and moving them into the criminal justice system, which will make it harder to find shelter, home and work.”

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Richard Blanco

My sense of place — I have — it’s not quite a theory, but the way I’ve been thinking about it lately as an engineer — that everything has a physical landscape, an emotional landscape, and a natural landscape. And I think the way those three things combine form our sense of place and belonging and connection. -Richard blanco

“…what happens to our imagination about these humans when we use the word “immigrant” or “refugee” or, what I’m so aware of now, is what the word “migrant” has done. I think that language makes an abstraction of people and creates an ability for us to separate.” -Krista Tippett

‘As a longtime civil engineer by day and a poet by night, Cuban American writer Richard Blanco has straddled the many ways a sense of place merges with human emotion to form the meaning of home and belonging. In 2013, he became the fifth poet to read at a presidential inauguration (he was also the youngest and the first immigrant). The thoughtfulness, elegance, and humor of Blanco’s poetry and his person captivated the crowd for this live conversation at the Chautauqua Institution.’

Richard Blanco practiced civil engineering for more than 20 years. He is now an associate professor of creative writing at his alma mater, Florida International University. His books of non-fiction and poetry include Looking for the Gulf Motel and, most recently, How to Love a Country.

 

Richard Blanco — How to Love a Country

THE POTENTIAL OF CITIZENS’ ASSEMBLIES

October 16, 2019

Democracy is supposed to be a system of ruling ‘by the people, for the people’, but representative democracy (democracy as it is practised in most of the west) actively and repeatedly keeps ‘the people’ out of the decision-making process.

Journalist Patrick Chalmers, an expert on political structures, looks to Athens – the birthplace of this modern, failing system – to find a better solution in citizens’ assemblies. 

An Athenian remedy: the rise, fall and possible rebirth of democracy

Aside from clashes between police and protestors, Athenians that summer held people’s assemblies, mass gatherings of strangers talking together in public spaces. These assemblies were what first brought Sagris to Syntagma Square with her mother Tatiana Skanatovits, an actress and assembly organiser. Daily meetings in front of parliament saw people tell their stories of crisis, debate alternatives, and decide on assembly actions.

The economic crisis triggered a well-documented political crisis, the irony of which is not lost on those from the country that gave the world democracy

“If we are talking about democracy, I believe that right now I’m not living in a democratic regime, so I don’t see why I should participate in a process like this,” he said the day before the ballot. “It hurts me deep in the soul to say that, but after 30 years I will not vote.”

For Aristotle, whether states were oligarchic or democratic was deeply ingrained in their ways of working – the politics of structure itself. He believed that cities that chose their office holders, jurors and judges by lottery were democratic and that those using elections were oligarchic – that’s Greek for government of, by, and for the few.

Citizens’ assemblies are happening everywhere from Australia to Canada, Bolivia to France.

The need to build trust and broad interest are also key. After decades of political apathy and the erosion of trust in elected representatives, citizens need faith in their own capacity to shape policy. And that of their peers. Knowing what examples of self-governance have worked, and how, certainly helps.

PATRICK CHALMERS

https://thecorrespondent.com/70/an-athenian-remedy-the-rise-fall-and-possible-rebirth-of-democracy/308046970-e7748531

Death Doulas

 

VICE

by Anne Bokma

The following is an excerpt from ‘My Year of Living Spiritually’ by Anne Bokma, published by Douglas & McIntyre.

The boomer generation is creating a death boom. Five thousand of us die every day in the U.S. In Canada, 235,000 people over age 60 die every year. Most of us want to die at home, in our sleep or surrounded by loved ones, but about 75 percent of us will die in a hospital or long-term care setting, often hooked up to feeding tubes and ventilators, tended to by strangers. We are watching our aging parents die this way, and we don’t like it one bit. Just as our demographic had an outsized influence on the civil and equal rights movements, we’re now at the forefront of a death acceptance movement that’s transforming the topic of dying from taboo to a normal part of life. We’re seeing the rise of death cafes, green cemeteries, home burials and legislation for medically assisted dying. Death is our last great spiritual experience. We want it to be meaningful, and we want as much control over it as possible.

Death Over Dinner is another initiative. Participants are encouraged to gather friends and family to break bread and talk about what constitutes a good death—and a good life. Death Over Dinner was founded five years ago by entrepreneur Michael Hebb, and since then 200,000 dinners have been hosted in 30 countries. “The way we die in Western society is broken,” Hebb said in an interview with the Guardian. “I had a hunch that open conversation about our end-of-life wishes could be the most impactful thing we could do to heal that system and to heal the way we die. We are death-illiterate, and when we don’t discuss death, we are not empowered to make decisions.”

As a death doula, Rochelle Martin teaches people how to become comfortable with death. And as an emergency room nurse, she’s had a lot more experience with death than any of the guests around my dining room table. Our dinner has a Last Supper feel: twelve of us are gathered together and the menu includes fish, loaves of bread and plenty of wine. There’s lots of laughter, despite the seriousness of the topic, and a certain lightheartedness too—I’ve ordered a cake in the shape of a tombstone from a local bakery and placed a plastic skull at each place setting with the guest’s name written in Magic Marker on the forehead. Six tea lights glow in the black candelabra that serves as the centrepiece. In Eucharistic fashion, we eat and we remember. Martin facilitates the discussion, encouraging us to go around the table and share a significant death we’ve experienced.

[full article]

https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/ne89px/how-boomers-are-planning-to-die?utm_source=vicetwitterus

Community Radio

October 3, 2019

Community Broadcaster: Community Radio Needs You

Ernesto Aguilar

You can feel that crispness in the air. However, it is not just autumn. This time of year also brings the start of on-air fundraising season for community and noncommercial radio.

If you are a donor to or listener of your local community radio station, there is a good chance you are already aware of your area outlet’s endeavors. Check social media and you are likely to see an appeal to contribute today. When you tune in, you may hear a brief spot seeking phone volunteers or assistance with the pledge drive. Or maybe you even got a letter in the mail, reminding you of all the wonderful programming you enjoy and why your donation matters so much.

If you are not a regular community media consumer, you’ve probably heard of pledge drives at least. From parodiesto tote bag references, noncommercial radio and television fundraising is just part of the media fabric. Even while there may be a disconnect as to why it is done, you just won’t find many people who have never heard of pledge drive, even if they have not given during one.

This season, the-Why-You-Should-Give is very important.

With all the conversation around news deserts, community radio nationwide fulfills a valuable role in the civic life of cities and towns everywhere. Music, arts, news, ideas and culture all find a place on community media in service to the greater mission of education. Your local station can only do this with your financial contributions.

Every state in the next 18 months will see major races for local, state and federal office as well as a list of referenda that may reshape communities for years to come. Community radio is there, providing coverage of, and sometimes hosting, candidate debates. Stations team up with city leaders for voter education and registration. These outlets cover the issues that matter to voters. Yet the coverage struggles to happen without listener support.

And lastly, community media creates opportunity in the local economy. Whether it may be through sharing a local music scene, collaborating with local businesses or making a city a better, more interesting place to live, stations create jobs, spur industry and enhance the quality of life everywhere. Think about it. When you think of Seattle, you probably are reminded of its iconic radio stations. When a fledging music scene is taking off, community radio may be the first place local bands and live event dates get heard. And surely no discerning music fan would ever deny that taste-making radio raises a town’s hip factor. Tis word of mouth means visitors, good word-of-mouth, and ultimately dollars locally.

Every community radio station needs financial support. A recent National Federation of Community Broadcasters survey indicates many community radio stations work with thin margins. This includes many having a small staff and few reserves. Given how far these mighty stations stretch dollars, the fact so many stations provide communities such unique programming and bold coverage is a minor miracle, frankly. However, the deep regard many community stations have for audience donations should hint at how much appreciate your help.

On-air fundraising is a time when listeners like you can ensure the voices you value and media you hope for in our vibrant democracy can have greater resonance. There is no better time than this lovely fall to be a first-time or repeat donor to a community radio station.

 https://kdpifm.org

Just click on the ‘donate’ button!


 

 

5B~5Signs

September 29, 2019

 

The 5B Suicide Prevention Alliance is offering “Know the Five Signs” presentations throughout the Wood River Valley to educate the community on recognizing the signs of emotional suffering and how to connect people to resources.

The 5B Suicide Prevention Alliance is comprised of Blaine County citizens and organizations working to prevent suicide and to build a culture of awareness, understanding, acceptance, and action around our community’s mental well-being.

These approximately 45-minute presentations are designed to build the community’s understanding of the many ways that suicide impacts our friends, families, clients, co-workers, and neighbors.

According to changedirection.org, we are at a crossroads when it comes to how our society addresses mental health:

“We know that one in five of our citizens has a diagnosable mental health condition, and that more Americans are expected to die this year by suicide than in car accidents. While many of us are comfortable acknowledging publicly our physical suffering, for which we almost always seek help, many more of us privately experience mental suffering, for which we almost never reach out.”

“The training was both meaningful and useful,” said Mary Williams, director of Healthy Living at the Wood River Community YMCA. “Having open dialogue about this issue helps us recognize and assist our colleagues and members who might be struggling with their mental health. I wholeheartedly recommend this training to other community businesses and nonprofits.”

eyeonsunvalley.com

For more information, visit https://nami-wrv.org/5balliance/. Or contact Erin Pfaeffle at 208-727-8734 or pfaeffle@slhs.org or Laurie Strand at 208-578-5443… lstrand@blaineschools.org.

 

Generation to Generation

Rilke.

I would rather sense you

as the earth senses you.

In my ripening 

ripens

what you are.

 

No miracles, please.

Just let your laws

become clearer

from generation to generation.

Thomas Merton.

You train your eye, and your vision lusts after color. You train your ear, and you long for delightful sounds. You delight in doing good, and your natural kindest is blown out of shape. You delight in righteousness, and you become righteous beyond all reason. You overdo liturgy, and you turn into a ham actor. Overdo your love of music, and you play corn. Love of wisdom leads to wise contriving. Love of knowledge leads to faultfinding.

When the delights become a religion, how can you control them?

Chuang Tzu, who wrote in the fourth and third centuries B.C., is the chief authentic historical spokesman for Taoism.

Reminded today…

September 25, 2019

September 1, 1939

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism’s face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
“I will be true to the wife,
I’ll concentrate more on my work,”
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the deaf,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

-W.H. Auden, 1907-1973

“September 1, 1939″ is a poem by W.H. Auden written on the occasion of the outbreak of World War II. It was first published in The New Republic issue of 18 October 1939, and was first published in book form in Auden’s collection Another Time”

Make of us a garland.

August 31, 2019

Rilke:

We are not poor. We are just without riches,

we who have no will no world:

marked with the marks of the latest anxiety, disfigured, stripped of leaves.

 

Around us swirls the dust of the cities,

the garbage clings to us.

We are shunned as if contaminated,

thrown away like broken pots, like bones,

like last year’s calendar.

 

And yet if our Earth needed to

she could weave us together like roses

and make of us a garland.

 

For each being is cleaner than washed stones

and endlessly yours, and like an animal

who knows already in its first blind moments

its need for one thing only…

 

to let ourselves be poor like that…as we truly are.

 

-The Book of Hours III,16


“…a discovery that respects the hiddenness and in communicability of each one’s personal secret, while paying tribute to his presence in the common celebration.”

-Thomas Merton, Seasons of Celebration

 

 

 

 

Interspiritual Mysticism

August 9, 2019

‘Each of us brings a lifetime of experiences to this moment, our perspectives colored by our individual history. No one is worthier than another. Relaxing, I can simply let everyone be, knowing we’re all doing the best we can where we are now.’

Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation:

Now this new epistemology is emerging all over the world and in all denominations and religions. I pray it will thrive and grow so we can heal the planet’s suffering before we’ve done irreparable damage.

Episcopal priest and friend Matthew Fox writes:

The crises we find ourselves in as a species require that as a species we shake up all our institutions—including our religious ones—and reinvent them. Change is necessary for our survival, and we often turn to the mystics at critical times like this. Jung said: “Only the mystics bring creativity into religion.” [1] Jesus was a mystic shaking up his religion and the Roman empire; Buddha was a mystic who shook up the prevailing Hinduism of his day; Gandhi was a mystic shaking up Hinduism and challenging the British Empire; and Martin Luther King, Jr. shook up his tradition and America’s segregationist society. The mystics walk their talk and talk (often in memorable poetic phraseology) their walk. [2]

How do we find the path forward? Howard Thurman (1900–1981), a mystic who sought to make peace between religions and founded the first major interracial, interfaith church in the United States, urged people to “listen for the sound of the genuine.” Read these excerpts from one of Thurman’s talks several times to fully appreciate it:

There is something in everyone of you that waits, listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself and if you can not hear it, you will never find whatever it is for which you are searching and if you hear it and then do not follow it, it was better that you had never been born. . . .

Sometimes there is so much traffic going on in your minds, so many different kinds of signals . . . and you are buffeted by these and in the midst of all of this you have got to find out what your name is. Who are you? . . .

Now there is something in everybody that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in other people. . . . I must wait and listen for the sound of the genuine in you. . . .

Now if I hear the sound of the genuine in me and if you hear the sound of the genuine in you it is possible for me to go down in me and come up in you. So that when I look at myself through your eyes having made that pilgrimage, I see in me what you see in me and the wall that separates and divides will disappear and we will become one because the sound of the genuine makes the same music. [3]


[1] C. G. Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis: An Inquiry into the Separation and Synthesis of Psychic Opposites in Alchemy, trans. R. F. C. Hull (Pantheon Books: 1963), 375.

[2] Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations (New World Library: 2011), 2-3. Learn more about Fox and his daily online reflections at dailymeditationswithmatthewfox.org.

[3] Howard Thurman, “The Sound of the Genuine,” Baccalaureate Address, Spelman College (May 4, 1980). Text edited by Jo Moore Stewart, Spelman Messenger, vol. 96, no. 4 (Summer 1980), 14-15. Digital version available at http://digitalcommons.auctr.edu/scmessenger/546/.  

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent Books: 2019), 205.


Fr. Richard Rohr on his porch‘Fr. Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fr. Richard’s teaching is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy—practices of contemplation and self-emptying, expressing itself in radical compassion, particularly for the socially marginalized.’

Hailey, Idaho ArborFest 2019

May 19, 2019

Audio clip features Hailey’s Tree Committee (HTC) proclamation given by city council president Martha Burke and HTC chair Linda Ries. For additional photos from Hailey’s ArborFest Saturday, May 18th, visit Dayle’s Community Cafe on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Dayles-Community-Cafe-1412473502400633/

 

 

Dialogue, Common Sense, and We the People

May 17, 2019

Idaho Matters/Fri. May 17th: deep & necessary dialogue dive on civil discourse with Keith Allred, ED for the Institute, advisory board members Walt Minnick & former Gov. Butch Otter. If you missed it, listen tonight at 8, or follow audio links.

Today, the Institute is creating 50 advisory boards to be positioned in each state. Idaho is the first state to establish such a board.

Forner Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, right, joins with Keith Allred, center, and Walt Minnick in a campaign to bring civil discourse back to politics in Idaho. Photo: 

“Joining forces to tackle the incivility and partisanship plaguing national politics.”

Idaho Statesman

BY CYNTHIA SEWELL

Tired of political incivility? So are Butch Otter & Walt Minnick, and they hope you can help

Keith Allred , who challenged Butch Otter for governor in the 2010 election, is the new director of The National Institute for Civil Discourse, which was formed following the 2011 shooting of then-U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords. The organization’s mission addressing the incivility and dysfunction in American life, and repairing American democracy.

“Part of what has gone wrong, as the parties become more polarized, is they are not picking issues in D.C. right now for the sake of solving them, they are trying to find the best club to beat up on each other with,” Allred said.

“If we are holding our breath waiting for the two parties to solve this current civility crisis, we are going to be disappointed,” he added.

Allred sees the solution: The American people to step up.

https://www.idahostatesman.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article230399129.html

“An unprecedented partisan rift between the major political parties makes our efforts to move past partisanship more important than ever.”

For general interest and to get involved individually, or as community, follow the link: https://www.commonsenseamerican.org

Hailey, Idaho’s New Town Square Development

April 30, 2019

Courthouse Location

#1

#2

#3

#4

Library Location

#1

#2

#3

#4

Developers: BYLA Landscape Architects, Ketchum & Lyon Landscape Architects, Sun Valley

https://www.haileycityhall.org/planning/documents/2019TownSquarePublicOutreachTimeline.pdf

Developers and the city combined comments from previous workshops focused on vision, amenities and activities. Discussion continues at the next P&Z meeting, Mon., May 6th, at 5:30. For landscape designs, four at each location.

 

Stations of the Cross, a metaphor.

April 17, 2019

Notre Dame Cathedral, April 16th, 2019

Many films depict the crucifixion of Jesus and the torture he endured by the Romans before his execution at a well-traveled crossroads in Jerusalem. I have read various accounts about the Stations of his walk to the place of his crucifixion, yet I had not participated in the Stations personally either prayerfully or mindfully until this Holly Week, 2019. During the recent meditation at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Hailey, Idaho, with Mother Lea Colvill, the Stations were revealed personally to me, mindfully, as metaphors for life. The traditional Stations are:

  1. Jesus is condemned to death
  2. Jesus carries his cross
  3. Jesus falls the first time
  4. Jesus meets his mother
  5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross
  6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
  7. Jesus falls the second time
  8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus falls a third time
  10. Jesus is stripped
  11. Jesus is nailed to the cross
  12. Jesus dies on the cross
  13. The body of Jesus is taken down from the cross
  14. Jesus is laid in the tomb

Consider…

  1. Resolved
  2. Road of life’s suffering
  3. In life we stumble
  4. Embracing our Earthly beginning
  5. Assistance from friendships and relationships
  6. Empathy ♡
  7. Will we stand again?
  8. ‘7 times down, 8 times up’ (Buddha) 📿
  9. Matriarchy and suffering yet to come
  10. Can I endure this?
  11. Non-attachment…release from Earthly materialism
  12. Intense suffering and pain
  13. R E L E A S E
  14. Transition begins…”Resurrection is the moment of enlightenment.” [Elaine Pagels, 1979]

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin [a missing of the mark] that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. -Hebrews 12:1


“I am grateful to be surrounded with a great cloud of witnesses, past and present. I love that I am welcomed and encouraged to sit with those who will both comfort and challenge me. I want to hear sermons that cause discomfort and move me out of my comfort zone in faith. I want to see God’s power at work, where the gifts of the Spirit are ignited and shine brightly. I want to finish the race well, inspired by trailblazers with whom I have shared space during this life. I want to continuously pray for those behind me and for those in front of me, so that my life and witness might cheer others on to the finish line.” [Forward Day by Day]

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible. -Christopher Reeve

The Divine could only intend good and abundance for Its creation, and we need to know that Its nature is forever flowing into everything we do. -Ernest Holmes

“I choose peace. Then I make a conscious decision to lean into hope. In the dark times, hope gives me a reason to believe in the light. There’s a blessing somewhere in this problem. Hanging on to hope fosters optimism for a positive outcome, which feels lots better than fear and despair. So I look for what’s right instead of what’s wrong, gratitude instead of angst. As I think about the situation, the vibration of my new perspective is noticed and acted upon by a universe that is alive and attuned to my every choice. Hope is creative. My hope becomes a bridge to peace. I can walk in nature…watch the sunset…talk with a friend. Hope creates a space where solutions can appear and peace can return.” -Rev. Jane Beach

“…if ye shall say unto this mountain, be though removed, and be cast into the sea; it shall be done. -Matthew 21:21

Power, greed, patriarchy, decisiveness, ugliness, violence…these are are the mountain that will be cast to the sea.

“Our lives and experiences may well be likened to a river. If we stay on the bank of a river and watch it flow by, we become aware that the river never changes but that its content is always new. By analogy, we might say the purposeful dynamic quality of life within us never changes, but the content of our experience of living never remains the same.” -Ernest Holmes

“The need to step into what we fear and, in so doing, disperse its hold on us is powerfully brought to life by a moment in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. After searching everywhere within reason and memory for the Holy Grail, Jones stands on an enormous precipice, a deep chasm before him, the Grail waiting on the other side. His father, wounded and depending on the Grail to heal, cries out possible interpretations of the clues Jones has been given to reach the Grail.

After what seems all lifetime of inner debate and escalating fear, she dares, against everything she knows, to step into the void above the chasm, and as she does, an enormous stone foundation appears beneath her feet, a bridge that was there all along. This is a moment of risk and trust, a wisdom moment that repeats itself in our lives in both small and large ways.

Over and over, the cup we need to drink from, the ancient every healing cup of wholeness waits beyond some deep chasm we are afraid to cross. Often we are driven to the edge by the cries and clues of elders and loved ones, only to find that nothing makes sense, that there seems nowhere to go. And the the atom of the risk begins to replay itself in those brought to the edge. Beginning with risk and landing in trust reveals a foundation that was there all along, but which is only made visible by our risk to think and see in ways and our trust to step into what we fear.” -Mark Nepo

Then the Migdalah stood up, greeted them all and, raising her right hand, said to her brethren, ‘Only from the truth I tell you, do not weep and do not grieve or be irresolute, for his grace and that of the one who sent him will be entirely with you and will protect you. But rather, let us praise his greatness, for he has prepared us and made us truly human.’

-The Gospel of the Beloved Companion, p. 113

The Marsh Girl

April 13, 2019

“Yet in reality, she was only an abandoned child, a little girl surviving on her own in a swamp, hungry and cold, but we didn’t help her. Except for one of her only friends, Jumpin’, not one of our churches or community groups offered her food or clothes. Instead, we labeled and rejected her because we thought was was different. But, ladies and gentlemen, did we exclude Miss Clark because she was different, or was she different because we excluded her? If we had taken her in as one of our own, I think that is what she would be today, If we had fed, clothed, and loved her, invited her into our churches and homes, we wouldn’t be prejudiced against her.”

-Delia Owens

 

‘Spiritual questions are more important now than ever.’ -Harari

April 9, 2019

Fr. Richard Rohr: ‘My colleague and Episcopal priest Cynthia Bourgeault writes about this in her book The Meaning of Mary Magdalene:’

Today, within the mainstream of Christian sacramental practice we have indeed forgotten much of what our wisdom forebears once knew. Most Christians are still familiar with anointing only in its most stark and literal form, as the sacrament of “extreme unction,” administered shortly before physical death. While the ceremonial use of anointing for healing is on the increase (and this is a positive trend), even within these healing circles most people are unaware of the tightly interwoven threads that connect this action, through Mary Magdalene, to redemptive love and rebirth into fullness of being. They would be astonished to discover that anointing has not only something but everything to do with bridal mysticism and that it is not physical death but “dying before you die” that is its primary field of reference. To reclaim anointing in its original context would make it the sacramental centerpiece of a whole new vision of Christianity based on spiritual transformation and the alchemy of love. 

Center for Action and Contemplation

March 28-31

‘The quantum, the subatomic, the elemental, and the very minerals of the earth.

The very waters that fall upon the earth, run through our rivers, our bodies, and fill our oceans.

The plants, the trees, all living and growing networks that root into this earth.

The animals in our skies, in our oceans, on the land, all creatures great and small.

Human beings: every race, nationality, status, equality, or gender–ALL human bodies.

The angels and the spirits, those that move in the unseen realms and in other dimensions.

The great planetary bodies, the galaxies, and the whole cosmic mystery.’

God loves things by becoming them. -Richard Rohr

No despair of our can alter the reality of things, nor stain the joy of the cosmic dance, which is always there.

-Thomas Merton, 1915-1968

Your religion is not the church you belong to, but the cosmos you live inside of.

-G.K. Cheserton

“Once we know that the entire physical world around us, all of creation, is both eh hiding place and revelation place for God, this world becomes home, safe, enchanted, offering grace to any who look deeply. I call that kind of deep and cals seeing ‘contemplation.'”

-Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ

“Have I not told you that I am in the spirit as the spirit is in me? It is man who sees only poverty, for he sees with the eyes of the master of the world. But where man sees poverty, the spirit sees only abundance. What the spirit sees, I see, and what I see the spirit sees, and what the spirit sees, is.” -The Gospel of Thomas

For Richard Rohr, there are six simple claims that order the fullness of his finest book “The Universal Christ: How A Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe.”

  1. Christ is not Jesus’ last name. It’s a word used by the ancients to talk about the anointed one, and the Reality and flow of love in the universe found from the very beginning of time.
  2. We might then “accept being accepted”– that we are fully loved and embraced as we are, not because of who we are or what we do.
  3. See Christ in every thing. And not just fun, ecstatic parts of life — but in the depths of grief and pain as well.
  4. Start with original goodness. Why do Christians so often talk about “original sin?” It’s not even in the Bible. And in fact, the Bible starts with a story about how every thing and every one is good, good, good, and very good.
  5. Love is the meaning — it’s the underlying energy that powers the universe and available to each and every one of us as a divine flow.
  6. And, a sacred wholeness, which includes even the negative aspects of life’s way — typified in the Christian story as the cross.

“Jesus of the People”, artist Janet McKenzie

https://www.janetmckenzie.com

The Christ Mystery is indeed “the way, the truth, and the life,” but this is not about a religion or group one can join (which is how we have heard it), but rather a mystery of Incarnation that can be experienced by all, and in a million different ways.

-Richard Rohr, Oneing

“I think New Mexico was the greatest experience from the outside world that I have every had.” -D.H. Lawrence

“If these kids are the future, our future is bright.”

April 1, 2019

One Stone/Boise, Idaho

‘Rise: Voice of a New Generation captures the story of One Stone, a one-of-a-kind, student-led high school in Boise, Idaho, that is reinventing education and changing the balance of power to put students in charge of their own learning. Follow the story of one of the only schools in the country run by students who are exploring a new way forward where their voices shape the future of education and the world.’

It’s exciting to see how this documentary authentically captures our voices as well as this moment in One Stone’s history.

— Lili Serio, One Stone Learner

Trailer:

https://onestone.org/rise-voice-of-a-new-generation

 

It must.

March 26, 2019

New Zealand, you teach us.

March 23, 2019

Birthplace: Earth
Race: Human
Politics: Freedom
Religion: Love

[Memorial sign in Christchurch.]

[Photo: Camino De Santiago 2014]

For Our Country:

God of the southern sea

and of these islands,

of Maori, Pakeha,

and of all who dwell in our land;

we give you thanks and praise fo our country,

and for what we have achieved together.

Increase our trust in one another;

strengthen our quest for justice,

and bring us to unity and a common purpose.

You have made us of one blood;

make us also of one mind.

A New Zealand Prayer Book [1989]

 

 

 

Dangerous Ambiguities

February 10, 2019

“As a nation, we have begun to float off into a moral void, and all the sermons of all the priests in the country (if they preach at all) are not going to help much. We have got to the point where the promulgation of any kind of moral standard automatically releases an anti-moral response in a whole lot of people. It is not with them, above all, that I am concerned, but with the ‘good’ people, the right-thinking people, who stick to principle, all right, except where it conflicts with the chance to make money. It seems to me that there are very dangerous ambiguities about our democracy it its actual present condition. I wonder to what extent our ideals are now a front for organized selfishness and systematic irresponsibility. If our affluence society every breaks down and the facade is taken away, what are we going to have left?”

1961

Thomas Merton, Seeds of Destruction

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