Sometimes, being overwhelmed with guilt makes one unable to act. Other times, guilt manipulates and attempts to control. It might offer a sense of responsibility and concern. More often than not, guilt comes bundled in small doses of should-haves and could-haves.
For example, when you feel guilty for skipping exercise and instead lay in front of the television binge-watching your new favorite show. It’s not the end of the world, but you really should have gone and exercised. Or, when you feel bad for getting into a fight with a friend and saying something mean when you could have done otherwise. In general, I think there is such a thing as a healthy amount of guilt which spurs right actions, sincere apologies, forgiveness and knowledge of the good.
Jewish tradition generally agrees with me that a measured amount of guilt is often quite helpful. Guilt instructs us in right and wrong and guides us to be more responsible, more mature individuals. Indeed, it even clues us into a better understanding of G-d. Continue reading “On Guilt and G-d, the Parent by Ivy Helman.”
Ever since the election of You-Know-Who, I have been doing a lot of creative writing.
Ever since the election of You-Know-Who, I have been doing a lot of creative writing. Unlike academic publications, policy reports, or my dissertation, creative writing, much like my mentor Dr. Marie Cartier has written about, provided me with a needed escape from a world that seems to grow darker with each passing day. In college, I served as Poetry Editor for the Wisconsin Review, the oldest literary journal in Wisconsin. Continue reading “What I Believe (Post-2016) by John Erickson”
Today, I came up with a less patriarchal Garden of Eden story:
Endelyn (age 7): “When I think of my soul, in my name “fire-soul,” I think of a powerful wind.”
Me: “That makes sense, since one of the names in the Bible for God/ess is Ruach, which means “breath” or “wind”, but we call it the Holy Spirit. God/ess is also symbolized by the other elements: fire, air, and earth – like when she shaped Eve and Adam out of clay.”
Endelyn, “What? I don’t remember that story.”
Me: “Oh, ok, I’ll tell you.” ……
Here’s the part where I froze momentarily, thinking “how can I tell my children that misogynist failed mentor story? how? how?” <deep breath>
Continue reading “Garden of Eden Retold by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”
I was trying not to fidget as I sat on the hard, unforgiving walnut pew. It was a gorgeous summer day out, and I was locked inside breathing stale air and with nothing to look at but the dreary speaker, and, behind him, a life-sized, picture of a sweet-looking man about to be hung from nails driven through his hands. I was visiting my parents, who love to take me to church, and I just wasn’t able to say no.
As I sat I daydreamed about our indigenous European ancestors. They did “church” outdoors, in fragrant, airy forests with wild bluebells, warbling birds, and gentle breezes caressing their skin, ears and eyes. Instead of doing hard time on walnut benches, they got to dance, chant, hold hands and jump through fires.
Continue reading “The Grimm Brothers’ “The White Snake”: A Feminist’s “Adam & Eve”? by Jeri Studebaker”