The Utter and Undeniable Need For Walls of Compassion. Still. by Karen Leslie Hernandez

This piece was already published – back on September 11, 2015. Yet, it’s still so relevant, I am sharing it again. Edited a bit, but the same sentiment, same message, same hope.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We build a lot of walls, especially when we are fearful, hateful, angry, and retaliatory.

There are personal walls, our own little “bubbles,” that give us the illusion of safety. Then we have bigger walls. Walls that our governments build. Walls to keep people in and walls to keep people out.

Current walls that come to mind are the Mexican-US Border Wall – you know, the one that Donald Trump loved and his minions chanted about … “Build that wall! Build that wall!” We have the Israeli-West Bank Separation Barrier-which has contributed to a drop of suicide bombings exponentially, but in the meantime, has cut off Palestinian livelihoods and led to the death of many who can’t get through the checkpoints in an emergency. Here in the US, we have “gated communities” – those communities that give a false sense of security to keep the “degenerates” out. No crime inside those walls, right? Right. We also have prison walls to keep people in. The prison industry is thriving here in the US and more walls need to be put up to incarcerate all the “offenders.” And who can forget the razer wire walls built in 2015, to keep Syrian refugees out of places such as Hungary.

Continue reading “The Utter and Undeniable Need For Walls of Compassion. Still. by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

The Religious Aspects of Star Trek: Discovery Season 1, by Ivy Helman.

I have been watching more television than usual.  Perhaps, the reader has too. Two weeks ago, while I was rewatching Star Trek: Discovery, I thought to myself, “wouldn’t it be nice if I could write something about this series?”  

After all, I want to acknowledge how grateful I am for the ways the series celebrates diversity with: women of color in leading roles; the normalization of gay relationships; and, in the latest season, the inclusion of non-binary and transgender identities. Not only that, it has strong female characters that are empowered, supported and mentored by each other and other crew members. I am also glad that it expresses ecological sustainability, the interconnectedness of life through the mycelial network, and the ethical treatment of animals.  Finally, I have appreciated the way this series questions violence and war.  Notably, it contends with the question: how does a united planetary organization committed to peace find itself in the midst of war?  The answer: war and violence are learned behaviors.  That has a very feminist ring to it, doesn’t it?

However, the show is not perfect.  It contradicts itself in one major area: Starfleet’s hierarchical ranks and the corresponding requirement to follow orders.  Captain Lorca in season 1 episode 3 reminds the crew that they are not part of a democracy.  Yet, the Federation preaches equality and freedom and often touts itself as utopian, where hunger, wants and needs no longer exist.     

Continue reading “The Religious Aspects of Star Trek: Discovery Season 1, by Ivy Helman.”

Sappy modern carols won’t cut it; Gritty Advent Hope is what we need this year. — by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

As we careen toward ever more terrifying surges in the Covid pandemic, with experts predicting apocalyptic catastrophes by Christmas time, I find myself reacting to the vast majority of modern Christmas songs, stories, movies, and cultural norms with increasing distaste. In these scary, painful weeks leading up to Christmas, my culture has very little to offer other than distraction and superficial jollity. Ho ho ho, Santa Claus is comin’ to town.

Distraction does help, a little. It’s addictive, of course. We turn more and more to social media, with its carefully designed dopamine boosts from each “like” and “love” reaction, each funny cat video, each smug political joke, to keep us from confronting the terror and trauma of our current reality. It’s a legitimate coping mechanism, a crutch that can be useful in many ways. Continue reading “Sappy modern carols won’t cut it; Gritty Advent Hope is what we need this year. — by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

Like Water Flowing Down a Mountain: Creating Lasting Change by Carolyn Lee Boyd

Carolyn Lee Boyd

As we strive to create a better future, we can look to our rich heritage of global goddess and heroine tales for insight into peaceful, creative, and effective means to achieve our goals. Let me introduce you to the delightful ancient story of two young Chinese heroines, Gum Lin and Loy Yi Lung.

Summarized from Merlin Stone’s Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood:  Gum Lin’s village was starving due to a drought. Even the bamboo she needed to make objects to sell had disappeared. Searching for bamboo on a nearby mountain, she found a lake, but a locked gate stopped its abundant waters from flowing down to the village. A dragon living in an underwater cave held the key. Gum Lin sang sweetly until the dragon’s daughter, Loy Yi Lung, arose from the depths and together they hatched a plan. They sang in unison to draw the dragon to the surface. While Loy Yi Lung continued her song and the dragon listened, Gum Lin swam to the cave where she encountered treasures she could easily steal for herself. She ignored them and found the key.  She unlocked the gate and the waters gently flowed down the mountain in a newly-made river, nourishing the rice and bamboo. In time, Loy Yi Lung moved to the village where she and Gum Lin happily sang at the edge of the water.

Continue reading “Like Water Flowing Down a Mountain: Creating Lasting Change by Carolyn Lee Boyd”

From Military Wife to Peacebuilder – Learning from the Greenham Common Peace Women by Karen Leslie Hernandez

There’s a pinnacle moment, I believe, when everyone’s path is laid before them. The funny thing about that, is that we usually don’t see that moment, until many years later. It is then, at that sudden moment of clarity, in that epiphany, that it all comes together.

My former husband was in the United States Air Force and from 1990-1992, we were stationed at RAF Greenham Common, in the United Kingdom. When we first received our orders, not even ten minutes after, other service members started to inform us: “You’re going to where all those crazy ass bitches are.” “You’re gonna have to deal with those dike peaceniks.” “Wait until you get a load of those nasty, dirty women. They live at the base, camp out there, never shower, stop the convoys – they’re disgusting pigs.” Continue reading “From Military Wife to Peacebuilder – Learning from the Greenham Common Peace Women by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

Gardening Through the Storm by Tallessyn Zawn Grenfell-Lee

I spend a lot of time thinking about gardens. I think there might be something to them.

It seems strange to talk about gardens during such an intense time. The crucible of injustice, laid so bare during the pandemic, is overflowing all around us in a volcanic eruption of protests and retaliation. And more and more, we understand how it’s all connected – poverty, violence, choking black men, choking women, a choking planet. All connected in a huge, toxic river of greed, fear, destruction, and death.

Continue reading “Gardening Through the Storm by Tallessyn Zawn Grenfell-Lee”

The Terrible-Horrible, Wonderful-Beautiful, Superbowl Halftime Show by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

A lof of people have been raving about the Superbowl Halftime show, and for good reasons.

A lot of people have been raging about the Superbowl Halftime show, and for good reasons.

[Please hang in there with me as I conduct a back and forth exercise in this blog post; try to read it all the way through.]

Two famous, talented women of color performed impressive, culturally rich songs and dances, and along with children of color, they denounced the racism and cruel policies of the current administration. In many ways, it was the most progressive, ethically compelling Halftime show in history.

That’s all wonderful. It’s so wonderful, that one might ask whether anything more should be said. Why bring negativity into such a fabulous, fantastic celebration of culture and denunciation of racism? Continue reading “The Terrible-Horrible, Wonderful-Beautiful, Superbowl Halftime Show by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

The Cuisine Cards by Laurie Goodhart

Suit of Tomatoes

With every wonderful, heart-wrenching, deeply researched, and inspiring  post I read on F.A.R., I feel less inclined to share my own somewhat out-of-step contributions to this world. Nevertheless, I keep reminding myself that they are the things that I do, and I do them because I feel compelled, and have consistently been compelled in those two specific directions — art and agriculture/wildcrafting — since childhood. Also, the paintings and prints are a product of my always thinking about and feeling into both feminism and spirituality, and the fruits of the intersection of the two. So here is another offering.

I’ve always had a fondness for the visual aspect of playing cards, and collect books on them. One image of an uncut sheet of cards printed in 1585 in Frankfurt, where the black and white cards were jammed in every which way on large sheets of paper, inspired the look of these four prints, The Cuisine Cards.

They are conceived as celebrating food and cultures from various parts of the world. The face cards are non-hierarchical in terms of rank and gender. The 10 is a Table of the suit’s food, then there are the Shaper, Mover, and Taster, who, although usually carrying on in a certain sequential order, each contribute equal value to the whole experience of eating food. Two suits have all female face cards and two all male.

Continue reading “The Cuisine Cards by Laurie Goodhart”

I’m That Trump Voter You Hate by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

There are people in my family who believe Christianity to be so inherently oppressive and harmful, that anyone who identifies as Christian is culpable for all of the harm done by all imperial colonization by Christian empires and nations, all harm done to Native Americans, to LGBTQ people, most slavery, racism, genocide, ecocide, and basically almost every problem the world has had for 2000 years.

Theirs is not an unusual view. I encounter this view regularly here in the Northeast US, though most people assign the blame to religion in general. For parts of my family, Christianity is the true evil because it was so popular, and thus the religion most commonly tied to violent and oppressive political leaders and structures.

I also encounter this attitude from feminists, quite frequently. According to many feminists, I am everything that is anti-feminist and misogynist… precisely, solely because I am Christian.

Continue reading “I’m That Trump Voter You Hate by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

The Berlin Wall—what did the US learn? by Marie Cartier

I am writing this from Berlin. I am here for two weeks for the ALMS conference entitled, “Queering Memory.” Berlin is a city of such memory. You walk the streets and there are small brass plaques in the sidewalk in front of you memorializing Jews that were deported who lived in the residence. Everywhere there is memory of war, and hope.

For me, perhaps the most visible symbol is the wall. The Berlin wall was in place from 1961-1989. When it fell, the East Side which had been closed off for decades, burst into freedom, as evidenced by the images on the east side of the wall, at the East Side Gallery – an open air mural gallery painted directly on that side of the wall.

Continue reading “The Berlin Wall—what did the US learn? by Marie Cartier”

The Sound of Silence: a mother’s day reflection 2019 by Sara Wright

Here in the high desert it has been raining off and on for the last few days. A giant puddle sits in the driveway and all the trees range in color from subtle shades of sage to emerald. Fringed Chamisa, spun gold and salmon wildflowers are bent low but stems are luminescent. Seedlings are sprouting in unlikely places.

I can’t think of a better mother’s day present for the desert than these ongoing cloud-bursts that are nourishing the earth with water and minerals from the sky. I am profoundly grateful for this year’s spring greening.

The earth is experiencing a sense of renewal. I wish I could say the same for me with respect to mothering and mother’s day. I cross this cyclic threshold with the same feelings of dread and grief that overpower me each year. Neither of my children acknowledge me as the mother who once loved them so fiercely, but oh so imperfectly in her own confusion and despair.

I was such a young wife, barely twenty when I became pregnant with my first child. Two years later I was a mother of two sons. Within five years I was divorced and on my own.

Although I tried to repair the damage as soon as I was able, neither child was willing to join me. I desperately suggested counseling – many times. As adolescents and young adults both Chris and later David, responded with chilling silence and apparent indifference to every frantic attempt I made to bridge the gap.

Continue reading “The Sound of Silence: a mother’s day reflection 2019 by Sara Wright”

Seared by Vietnam by Carol P. Christ

Warning: This post discusses and includes images of the violence of war. 

Recently I have been binge-watching the American comedy-drama series This Is Us. I am of the same generation as Jack and Rebecca, the parents of the triplets, but I didn’t think much about that connection during the first two seasons. The middle class father works-mother stays home family and the “father knows best” story line seemed like a throwback to the generation of my parents. Though everyone was supposed to have loved him, I didn’t like Jack, and I didn’t identify with Rebecca. The children’s lives seemed much more interesting to me, and I resented it when the flashbacks to the parents’ lives began to take over the script.

When the plot turned to Jack’s experiences in Vietnam, I fast-forwarded. “Been there, done that,” I said to myself, “I don’t need to see it again.” But eventually I realized I had to watch some of the scenes of the Vietnam War or I would not be able to follow the plot. Continue reading “Seared by Vietnam by Carol P. Christ”

Listen more. Talk Less. Tread Lightly. By Karen Leslie Hernandez

Illegal. Nazi. Migrant. Refugee. N****r. Terrorist.

Heard of read any of these descriptions recently? I have. A lot.

It seems that now more than ever, communication is breaking down. Name calling and labeling – which many times incites violence – seems to be a norm, especially here in the United States. As a peacebuilder, I’m consistently perplexed about this and I wonder how, or if, this lack of civil communication will shift to a more positive vibe. The air is frenetic with intolerance. The question is, What can we do about it – as individuals and collectively? Continue reading “Listen more. Talk Less. Tread Lightly. By Karen Leslie Hernandez”

Lessons from Shofetim by Ivy Helman.

29662350_10155723099993089_8391051315166448776_oThis is the first part of a series of reflections on the weekly Torah portions.  For those of you unfamiliar with Judaism, we read the Torah in sections.  There are 52 parshot (or portions), one parshah (portion) is read each week (most often during Shabbat morning services).  It is common for rabbis, prayer leaders or someone of the congregation to offer reflections on the week’s parshah at Shabbat services.

The parshah for this week is Shofetim.  It is Devarim/Deuteronomy 16:18 – 21:9 and will be read this Shabbat, 18 August.  Shofetim discusses a range of topics: setting up of a system of judges to make important decisions for Israel; the entitlements of the Levites; the rules of warfare; the importance of justice and just governments; and the acknowledgment of G-d as the true and highest Judge.  It also warns Israel against false prophets and practices of idolatry.  Shofetim contains a number of well-known verses including ‘justice, justice you shall pursue…(16:18),’ and notorious punishments like “…a tooth for a tooth; an eye for an eye…(19:21)”  Continue reading “Lessons from Shofetim by Ivy Helman.”

A Nurturing Environment is Not a Luxury by Lache S.

There are two tarot card decks that have accompanied me on my trip overseas this summer: Alana Fairchild’s Rumi Oracle and Lee Bursten’s Tarot of Dreams. In recent readings, I have been presented with messages of place, thus the topic of my post.

But first, Seneca, Stoic philosopher born around the time of Jesus, cautions that people traveling to escape their difficulties are sometimes no better when they have arrived to a distant land because they have not become rid of themselves. Likewise, zen philosophy suggests that it is not our circumstances that matter so much as the peace and calm we create in our inner landscape. Nhat Thich Hanh or Ram Dass or Pema Chödrön (maybe all 3) have a metaphor for the tumultuous ocean – that the sea is often rocky, but it is always calm in the deep beneath. Yet, I see all this as a reminder to be mindful about the added layers of suffering we can create and advice for difficult times when we can’t leave yet. Regardless, I think any wisdom cannot discount the need for a nurturing, healing space when at all possible.

Continue reading “A Nurturing Environment is Not a Luxury by Lache S.”

I Dated an American Sniper by Karen Leslie Hernandez

“Happy Memorial Day!”
Did you hear that this past Monday? I find this “celebration” confusing. Memorial Day isn’t a celebration, it’s a remembrance. It’s about more than BBQ’s and parades. It’s about honoring those who’ve died while serving our country.
I always struggle with days that celebrate the passing of someone or a group of people, especially Memorial Day. As a former Air Force spouse turned Pacifist, I’ve spent time in conflict zones and with the work I have done with those who’ve lived through conflict, I know that war, and the violence that comes with it, is not something to ever be elevated in any way. I understand that Memorial Day is to honor those who died serving our country, yet, it is celebrated in the  strangest of ways. Especially because those who have died in combat, most likely suffered a death we can only imagine, yet, have no real grasp of.

Continue reading “I Dated an American Sniper by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

Is God Breathing? by Karen Leslie Hernandez

Another mass shooting. Syria. #MeToo. Hunger. Animal extinction. Iraq. Climate change. Deportation. Slavery. Central African Republic. Hate crimes. Rape. Animal cruelty. Oppression. Accidental nuclear war alerts. Homeless encampments. “Illegal immigrants.” Afghanistan. More mass shootings. Sex robots. Trafficking. Russian bots. Racism. Police brutality. Myanmar. Child abuse. Prostitution. Torture. Poverty. The war in Chicago. The privatization of water. Patriarchy. Prison industry. Islamophobia. Migrants.

This is our world. And I can’t breathe.

I often wonder – is God breathing? Does God care anymore? Does She wonder why we can’t stop harming each other? Has She given up on us? I certainly wouldn’t blame her.

As I sit writing this, the world outside continues. As we awake to more news that numbs us to the every day atrocities we commit upon each other, I believe, inside each and every one of us, we are screaming. We want out. We want this to stop. We are scared. We can’t breathe.

But, we don’t know how to stop. So we keep moving. We keep going. Because that’s what humans do. We keep hoping. We wonder how much time the universe will give us. Will we get a break? Will something or someone finally stop us? Are we even deserving of the chance after chance we continually receive – to get it right?

Are we worthy of saving?

Continue reading “Is God Breathing? by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

Bans are Bandages not Solutions by Ivy Helman

meandmini1I’m heartbroken by yet another shooting in the United States.  I want to believe that all humans are, deep-down, intrinsically good.  I want to trust humans to act in the best interests of others.  I want peace between and inside human beings.  I want animals to be cared for, respected and deemed inherently valuable.  I want humanity to live in harmony with nature.  And, I want human societies that are just, equal and fair.

Even though I’m certain this world is achievable, it does not exist.  In fact, it often feels like we take one step forward, but something changes and we go back again.  This type of existence is no way to live.  In fact, Las Vegas was yet another example of how our way of life is worse than that.  It’s quite literally killing us.  And, I’m beyond any sort of ability to articulate just how upset I am. Continue reading “Bans are Bandages not Solutions by Ivy Helman”

When Community Eclipses Polarity by Kate Brunner

I recently accepted a new position at my local public library and yesterday the duties of that position happened to include staffing our library’s Eclipse Viewing Party. From about 10am to 1pm, I answered countless questions about the eclipse, helped people of all ages make pinhole projection viewers out of everything from cardstock to saltine crackers, loaded & reloaded NASA’s footage that we live streamed on the big screen, & handed out moon pies. And, of course, encouraged the couple hundred folks who had descended on our little library to be good neighbors and share the fifty pairs of NASA-approved eclipse glasses we’d managed to get our hands on the week prior.

The eclipse was stunning. We were able to experience the temperature drop, the change in the quality of light, and a safe view of the peak of the eclipse, which was at about 80% here in the Four Corners area. But what really struck me about the experience was the spirit of community I witnessed.

Image courtesy of NASA/GSFC/CI Lab

Folks shared eclipse glasses with each other freely, passing them around beyond the friends or family they had come with to people they didn’t necessarily even know. “Did you get to take a look?” was a phrase I heard everywhere I went as I wove through the crowd, helping wherever I was needed. “Here, use these and then pass them on.” Kids broke moon pies together, splitting them into pieces to share with those who hadn’t snagged one before we ran out of those as well. People spotted shadows of the eclipse naturally projected onto the ground or on one gentleman’s white cowboy hat by the sun’s light as it passed between tree leaves and happily showed each other. Elders taught children they didn’t know how to use their pinhole projectors just like they did when they were young. Everyone cheerfully & excitedly helped each other get a different perspective on this moment in time in order to better appreciate the ever-shifting relationship between our Earth, Moon, & Sun.   Continue reading “When Community Eclipses Polarity by Kate Brunner”

In This Fractured World, I Will Not Remain Silent by Karen Leslie Hernandez

karen hernandezThe recent killing of 17 year old Nabra Hassanen is on my mind. Not only was she killed—brutally beaten with a baseball bat—but it is thought that she was raped, too. Twice. During Ramadan. By an undocumented Latino from El Salvador.

It is said to be a case of “road rage.” I am having a difficult time believing this. Maybe this man was drunk. Maybe he was angry at his partner. Maybe it was a hate crime. Maybe we’ll never know the whole truth.

What matters, however, is that Nabra—a young woman, black, and a Muslim—was killed. Do not tell me, or anyone, that these three aspects were not factors in her death. That her death had nothing to do with her being a person of color. Or that her death had nothing to do with her wearing an identifying, religious headscarf. Or that her death had nothing to do with misogyny. Because it did. All of it did. Continue reading “In This Fractured World, I Will Not Remain Silent by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

Is Evil Winning? by Michele Stopera Freyhauf

If you are li15036682_10154709860681591_8947505383481702342_nke me, today (and most days lately) it is difficult to be positive in a world that seems so full of hate.  In fact, I struggled with a topic to write about because, in all honesty, it is hard to see the greener grass from where I sit – with all of the hatred spilling out in neighborhoods, churches, schools, and college campuses – even between family and friends.  As I scrolled through Facebook, I came across a video and was struck by its message – we must be relentless in our kindness otherwise evil will win.

“Relentless” is a word that currently echoes through the United States –on both sides of the aisle.  We have been relentless in raising our voice – writing, calling, e-mailing, visiting, marching – expressing our unhappiness with the current President and all that is happening in the White House.

Instead of struggling to find the words, I share  the video and offer a transcript.

Continue reading “Is Evil Winning? by Michele Stopera Freyhauf”

Blessed Are They by Barbara Ardinger

Barbara ArdingerThere has been so much hate on display in the world so far in the 21st century that it’s easy to fall into despair. Not only are there wars in the Middle East, beginning with the Bush-Cheney invasion of Iraq, passing through the general failure of the Arab Spring, and continuing into the work of sociopathic terrorists of the so-called Islamic State, but we have also seen a multitude of murders in the U.S. I’m almost afraid to turn on the news! We have insane, mostly young, men who buy guns and ammunition and invade movie theaters, churches, hair salons, regional centers, and schools. We have murders of black men by (usually) white police, then the murder of police by an angry black man, and then more murders. As some protesters are now saying, “All lives matter.” Right on!

PeacemakersLet’s turn off the news for a little while. Let’s set aside our devices and all those pesky social media. Instead, let’s consider one of the best known (and, alas, probably most ignored) teachings of Jesus—the Sermon on the Mount as given in the Gospel of Matthew. I especially like the Beatitudes (verses 3-12): Continue reading “Blessed Are They by Barbara Ardinger”

Today, I am 50. And I Know Jack-Diddly Squat by Karen Leslie Hernandez

karen hernandezYou’d think after all these years I would know, right? I would be sure. I could walk comfortably, touting that I am certain, as so many others my age do. The reality is however, I still don’t know. I am very unsure. I am incredibly uncertain.

At 50, I think I have more questions now than ever before. Many times I have moments of panic that challenge what I feel deeply and truly. Moments that challenge my faith and my very understanding of my own existence. Moments where I lose faith in humanity, in my friends, in my family, and in myself.

Yet, maybe that is where the wisdom is. Because if I pretended to never be afraid or uncertain, I would never challenge what I think I know. I would sit, uncomfortably, in unauthentic belief. What a pity that would be.

What am I really thinking…? Continue reading “Today, I am 50. And I Know Jack-Diddly Squat by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

A Crisis of Faith-We’re Not Listening by Karen Hernandez

karen hernandezOrlando. Syria. Sandy Hook. Belgium. Somalia. Ethiopia. Venezuela. Paris.

After the shooting in Orlando I was numb. In fact, every time a mass shooting occurs now, I am numb. I think we all feel that way, but we all handle it in various ways. Within hours, there are blog posts, articles, and news pieces. People explode on social media with memes, arguments, and debates. There’s a whole lot of projection, a whole lot of persecution, and a mess of ideologies. Yet, what have I noted that is lacking? The ability to listen.

It seems Omar Mateen was gay. No one will ever know for sure. Lovers have come forward, information was found on his computer and phone that points to him being gay, yet, it is all speculation. Mateen didn’t just attack a gay nightclub because he was homophobic. It seems his inner demons ate away at his soul. The fact that he was Muslim on top of that, which, if you follow the doctrine, forbids homosexuality, obviously lent to his actions that fateful night.

Let’s say Mateen was gay. His faith dictated to him that he couldn’t be. He struggled. He prayed. He married two women. Then, he killed 49 people.

Yet, what people aren’t seeing is the real crisis here. We’re not listening. Continue reading “A Crisis of Faith-We’re Not Listening by Karen Hernandez”

(((Israel))) by Ivy Helman

me hugging treeThe BBC just ran a story about white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups targeting Jews by signaling each other to their presence on various social media sites through the use of (((this symbol))).  Of course, this is all based on the assumption that a “typically” Jewish last name signifies the bearer is also Jewish.  Through a Google app (since removed) that could recognize patterns such as ((())), these Jewish people began to receive anti-Semitic comments.  There has been a general outcry of disgust among Jews and other minority groups as to the problematic targeting of Jews in this fashion.

The same cannot be said about the BDS movement and people’s willingness to call it out for what it is.  This to me is hypocritical!  According to its website, the BDS movement, or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, seeks to end what it understands to be the colonialism, apartheid and oppression of Palestinians in Israel through various financial, commercial and international means.  It accuses Israel of human rights violations, genocide, ethnic cleansing and other war crimes as well as illegal occupation (of the Palestinian lands, not just the occupied territories). Continue reading “(((Israel))) by Ivy Helman”

A Theology of Indifference – What Have We Become? by Karen Hernandez

karen hernandezSay his name – Bashar al-Assad. From my research and understanding, as President, Assad is most responsible for Syria’s devastation. Yes, there are many other players, but, Assad holds a special place. Responsible for making sure the first shots were fired at peaceful Arab Spring protesters, to using chemical weapons on his own people, he is one bad dude.

Yet, what perplexes me is that people love him. In fact, they adore him. How do I know? I follow the Syrian Presidency on Instagram. Yes, the Syrian Presidency has an Instagram account. How can a man that is responsible for the deaths of millions have an Instagram account? Continue reading “A Theology of Indifference – What Have We Become? by Karen Hernandez”

Feminist Grace – Leading to the Why and the How by Karen Leslie Hernandez

me writingOn the occasion of my first post as a new regular contributor to FAR, I decided to share with you my ponderings on my stance as a feminist and what that means to me.

I’m a staunch feminist. However, that doesn’t mean I have hatred for men, or, have a deep-seated desire for men to drop off the face of the planet. Honestly, I like men.

Yet, I have known men to exert violent behavior, be arrogant in the workplace, get paid more than women in almost all fields, harass and cat call women as they walk down the street, and, in the theological context, exercise patriarchal privilege often.

My work as a theologian has taken me many places. I’ve worked side by side with some of the most oppressed women in the world in the Slums of Mumbai, India, and I’ve sat and listened to women that have lived through conflict in Africa and the Middle East. I have also made sure to connect with men around the world and all too often I’ve found myself sitting, as not the only Christian woman in the room, but the only woman, holding my own, listening, and understanding. Continue reading “Feminist Grace – Leading to the Why and the How by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

Can You Imagine a Society of Peace? by Carol P. Christ

Carol Molivos by Andrea Sarris 2As war and the fruits of war, including hatred and the desire for vengeance, threaten our human community, I take this opportunity republish a vision of a Society of Peace. If we cannot imagine a Society of Peace, we will never be able to create one. Can you imagine that:

As a child, you would not have to fight with your sisters or brothers for your father’s or your mother’s attention. You would not have one mother but many as you would be raised in a large extended family. Both girls and boys would be equally loved and cherished by their mothers and grandmothers and by their uncles and great-uncles. Both girls and boys would know that they would always have a place in the maternal clan. As a boy or a girl you would never have to “separate from” or “reject” your mother in order to “prove yourself as an individual” or in order to “grow up.” You could grow up without severing the bond with the ones who first loved you and first cared for you.

You would be raised in a large family with sisters and brothers and cousins, all of whom you would consider your siblings. You would never feel lonely. You would not be taught to compete with your siblings. You would never be hit by or hit others, because violent behaviors would not be considered appropriate in families. Continue reading “Can You Imagine a Society of Peace? by Carol P. Christ”

Drowning in the Flood of Migrants and Refugees by Ellen Boneparth

ellen boneparthOn June 22, 2015 Carol Christ translated an article on the refugee crisis in Greece for her FAR blog. I have been visiting Carol in Lesbos this September and have been observing the crisis close at hand.  This blog describes what Carol and I have witnessed and our reactions.


It’s one thing to read about the flood of migrants and refugees to Greece and another thing to see it.

I have been in Lesbos for ten days this past September and have been stunned by the mass of humanity trying to escape war and destruction in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Continue reading “Drowning in the Flood of Migrants and Refugees by Ellen Boneparth”

The Utter and Undeniable Need For Walls of Compassion by Karen Leslie Hernandez

karenFor all souls who died on, because of, and since 9/11 …

We build a lot of walls, especially when we are fearful, hateful, angry, and retaliatory.

There are personal walls, our own little “bubbles,” that give us the illusion of safety. Then we have bigger walls. Walls that our governments build. Walls to keep people in, and walls to keep people out.

Current walls that come to mind are the Mexican-US Border Wall – you know, that one that Donald Trump loves – because it keeps all those rapists out. We have the Israeli-West Bank Separation Barrier-which has contributed to the drop of suicide bombing exponentially, but, in the meantime, has cut off Palestinian livelihoods, and led to the death of many who can’t get through the checkpoints in an emergency. Here in the US we have “gated communities” – those communities that give a false sense of security to keep the “degenerates” out. No crime inside those walls, right? Right. We also have prison walls to keep people in. The prison industry is thriving here in the US and more walls need to be put up to incarcerate all the “offenders.”  And, now, we have a new wall, just finalized on August 29, in Hungary – a razor wire wall to keep fleeing refugees from Syria, out. Continue reading “The Utter and Undeniable Need For Walls of Compassion by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

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