Seeds of Hope: Part Two by Beth Bartlett

You can read part 1 here.

The patenting of seeds[i] has made the thousands-year-old practice of seed saving illegal, as is the sharing of seeds from farmer to farmer. The most notorious case is that of Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser, whose canola crops were contaminated with Roundup Ready canola pollen blown into his fields from neighboring corporate farms. When Monsanto trespassed onto his fields, took samples, and found Roundup Ready canola plants mixed in with Schmeiser’s own canola plants, they sued him for violation of patents. Ultimately, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled in favor of Monsanto, but also ruled that Schmeiser owed Monsanto nothing.

In my own city, seed sharing became an issue when in 2013 our local library decided to start a seed library. The project was begun with great hopes that patrons could check out seeds for their home gardens, with the understanding that they would save a portion of their seeds and return these to the library for next year’s use. [ii] Project leaders hoped this would preserve locally adapted seed varieties. Unfortunately, after the seed library came to the public’s attention, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture informed the library that they were in violation of a Minnesota statute that prohibited the exchange of non-commercial seeds. [iii] Library Manager Carla Powers commented, “ . . . the law went so far as to make it illegal for gardeners to exchange a handful of seeds with one another.”[iv] But this did not end the library’s efforts.  Several ally organizations[v] stepped up to create an amendment to the statute that exempted the exchange of non-commercial seeds from testing, labeling and licensing laws. This inspired a state-wide effort to change the law, which was successfully accomplished in that year’s legislative session.[vi]

Continue reading “Seeds of Hope: Part Two by Beth Bartlett”

Despite Hollywood’s Activism, the Oscars are still White by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

AnjeanetteActivism and Politics have had a complex relationship with Hollywood. Now more than ever actors, directors, and many more associated with the media industry are using their voices, their positions, and their money to causes, political parties, and movements. More and more groups and reports are being generated stating the power of positive representation and even of the necessity of forward progress. Yet, despite the pressure and call for action, there still is heavy resistance, which can be most clearly seen during award season. Continue reading “Despite Hollywood’s Activism, the Oscars are still White by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

Hamilton Part 1 – “History Has Its Eyes on You” by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

AnjeanetteHamilton The Musical, the newest sensation to hit Broadway is sweeping the nation. It is being touted as a fresh new way to produce a Broadway play, introducing hip hop and rap into the lexicon of musicals. From the very beginnings, Hamilton has been turning heads, moving mountains, and making waves. Its unorthodox lyrics and beats help to give life to key American historical figures. The sick beats of the music are only part of why Hamilton is storming the nation. Of the 10 principle cast members, only one is a white male (in the role of mad King George). Hamilton is a racially diverse cast; one that is very rare amongst the streets of Broadway. Black and Latino actors play key American figures like Hamilton, Washington, Jefferson, Burr, and Madison.

Continue reading “Hamilton Part 1 – “History Has Its Eyes on You” by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

Sense8: The Show No One is Talking About, But Everyone Needs to Watch by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

AnjeanetteNetflix released a new Sci-Fi drama series called Sense8 in June. This original series was created, written, and produced by Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix) partnered with J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5) to bring to life a world where certain humans were born with the ability to communicate and share through a mental link with other humans. They wanted to attempt to do something that had never been done before in TV, to change the “vocabulary for television production”* , the same way The Matrix became a major influence for action movies.** One of the main goals decided on was exploring the relationship between empathy and evolution in the human race.

The way Sense8 explores empathy and evolution is in the eight main characters, or sensates. All eight span the globe: culturally, religiously, and economically: Sun, Nomi, Riley, Kala, Will, Wolfgang, Lito, and Capheus. Continue reading “Sense8: The Show No One is Talking About, But Everyone Needs to Watch by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

This “Diversity” Thing by Esther Nelson


I find a whole lot of hoopla swirling around this thing we call “diversity.”  By and large, these days people readily admit to being “for” diversity.  A former colleague of mine, though, became exasperated with the trite, mechanical way many people rally around the concept, claiming to be firmly planted in the “diversity camp.”  He would say, “Diversity?  How can you be against it?  It just is.”

So, what do we mean when we say we are “for” diversity?  I think, at least in part, we are saying we want to see the variety of genders, races, ethnicities, and classes living in our communities permeate every aspect of our institutions.  People’s “particularities”–their background (education, sex/gender, race, ethnicity, dis/abilities, and class)–shape and color their perspectives.  By incorporating the wide swath of humanity into the public sphere, making room for everybody to contribute to society what is uniquely theirs, not only enriches us, but makes for a more equitable world.  After all, when your voice is “heard” and when you see yourself reflected in the wider culture (legal rulings, the arts, economic policies), you are less likely to feel disenfranchised.

Continue reading “This “Diversity” Thing by Esther Nelson”

Witch’s Night In by Kate Brunner

Kate BrunnerThere is doctrine. There is tradition, liturgy, scripture, & exegesis.

And then sometimes, there is simply real life.

There is the precious gift of spending time engaged in deep communication with everyday women living spiritual lives the best they can while also caring for families, pursuing careers, celebrating victories, mourning sorrows, and some days, just doing the best they can to remember to breathe in and out from the first buzz of the alarm clock till the moment their heads hit the pillow at the end of a very long day. Continue reading “Witch’s Night In by Kate Brunner”

Grasping for Truth, Arriving at Wisdom by Leanne Dedrick

“Quite apart from explicit religious belief, every time that a human being succeeds in making an effort of attention with the sole idea of increasing [her] grasp of truth, [she] acquires a greater aptitude for grasping it, even if [her] efforts produce no visible fruit.”  Simone Weil, Waiting For God

I think and write a lot about ‘truth.’ I love truth and I hate truth. I love truth for its security, for its comfort, for its ease at organizing thoughts and feelings and, of course, for its honesty. Relationships are never simple however, and I find that all the reasons I love truth are also the reasons I hate truth. This dichotomy speaks also to the relationship I have with myself; one woman in two worlds, or in other words, an ordinary woman and a philosopher of religion.

Truth is fundamentally tricky in its deceptive simplicity. There are three basic ways the dictionary describes the word truth. The first has to do with a quality – the quality or state of being true. The second references fact – that which is in line with reality. The third becomes more problematic; it includes the language of belief – a fact or belief accepted as true. Continue reading “Grasping for Truth, Arriving at Wisdom by Leanne Dedrick”

Goddess Communities in Australia by Patricia Rose

Australia has a very diverse and rapidly expanding number of people for whom the Goddess, however She is understood, is significant. The 2006 census revealed that there were over 30,000 Pagans or followers of other earth-based religious traditions in Australia and, given the way in which religions are classified in the census, this is undoubtedly a serious underestimation. We await the findings of the 2011 census with great interest.

Prior to European settlement in Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples followed their own rich spiritual beliefs, which were based on the forces of nature, a reverence for the land and its creatures, and the influence of ancestral spiritual beings. Recently, non-indigenous Australians have become increasingly interested in the indigenous connection to the land and indigenous spirituality.

While it is important not to appropriate indigenous culture, Goddess women and men in Australia are keen to express their spirituality in ways that are relevant to this land and to the Australian culture. We recognize the need to become more attuned to the ways of Australia, to her seasons and her natural cycles, and we can learn from the experiences of indigenous peoples, garnered from millennia of living on and with this land. Continue reading “Goddess Communities in Australia by Patricia Rose”

Getting Tenure, Part II: On Being the First of My Kind by Grace Yia-Hei Kao

“I am honored to be the first person of Taiwanese heritage, and first Asian American woman, to have earned tenure at CST.”

I’ve recently recounted how it took a village for me to complete the rite of passage known as tenure review. I want to reflect now on the significance of my having become the first Asian American woman (n.b., third Asian American of any gender), and first person of Taiwanese descent to have earned tenure at my institution.

My first thought upon realizing those statistics was something like:  “Wow−what an honor!”

But my second thought has been more like:  “Really?  How is it possible that simply being a newly tenured Asian American who is neither Korean nor male would be enough for me to make institutional history?”   Continue reading “Getting Tenure, Part II: On Being the First of My Kind by Grace Yia-Hei Kao”

Learning Language By Annie Wells

This post is written in conjunction with the Feminist Ethics Course Dialogue project sponsored by Claremont School of Theology in the Claremont Lincoln University Consortium,  Claremont Graduate University, and directed by Grace Yia-Hei Kao.

Annie Wells is a 3rd year MDiv student at CST. Once a newspaper photographer, she is now studying to become a chaplain. To see her work from the banana plantations in Nicaragua use this link and click on the picture of bananas next to the text entitled “Pesticides.”

I have been learning to speak Spanish for years. Sometimes Spanish speakers can understand me. Sometimes I don’t come close to saying what I mean to say. Sometimes when I’m trying to speak Spanish I cannot remember one word in Spanish or English. But I remember clearly the woman who inspired me to learn and for her I will keep trying until I die.  Continue reading “Learning Language By Annie Wells”

On the Murders in Norway: The Need for a Multicultural Vision By Starhawk

The following is a guest post written by Starhawk, lifelong activist in peace and global justice movements, a leader in the feminist and earth-based spirituality movements, and author or coauthor of ten books, including The Spiral Dance, The Fifth Sacred Thing, Webs of Power: Notes from the Global Uprising, and her latest, The Last Wild Witch.

Cross posted at Dirt Worship.

This summer has been a whirlwind of teaching permaculture and working on making a movie from my novel, The Fifth Sacred Thing.  But a few days ago I took a break to attend a performance of Guys and Dolls put on by SF Arts Education, in which my fifteen-year old Goddess-child Kore was singing and dancing. SF Arts Ed runs a wonderful program where students from middle schools and high schools put on Broadway musicals, complete with singing, dancing, and a full jazz orchestra.  We had balcony seats behind the stage, so I was looking down on these bright and beautiful young people of all different backgrounds and ancestry, reflecting the multicultural nature of San Francisco itself.   They are a talented bunch, but I also know how hard they work, how much time they rehearse and the discipline they develop.  What a gift it is to have such wonderful youth growing up in our city! Continue reading “On the Murders in Norway: The Need for a Multicultural Vision By Starhawk”

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