I Shall Be Their Voice
by Mark Stewart
For the dogs boiled alive in Korea
For the dolphins eviscerated in Japan
For the whales hunted by the Norwegians
For the bulls stabbed to death in Spain
For the donkeys worked to death in Nepal
For the foxes and the badgers torn apart in England
For the elephants maimed and shackled in India
For the bears and the bison and the wolves shot in America
For the seal calves clubbed to death in Canada and Iceland
For the rabbits skinned alive in China
For the kittens and puppies starving in Serbia
For all the animals in labs, in zoos, in factory farms and in circuses
For every animal on the Earth that has to endure the cruel silence of human indifference
I shall be their voice
The Iraq War began 12 years ago this week on March 19, 2003.
With America leading false charges regarding the immanent threat posed by alleged weapons of mass destruction, the United States invaded another nation.
This ongoing violence is deeply embedded into the psyche and culture of an entire generation of American children:
*best estimates of between 500,000 and 1.4 million Iraqi civilian are dead
*4,486 American soldiers are dead
*32,021 American soldiers are wounded
*Unknown number of soldiers returning with traumatic brain injuries from IED’s
*18 American veterans suicide a day on average
*Iraq War has cost the USA $2.2 trillion dollars which looks like this: $2,200,000,000.00
*Iraq War perpetrated unprecedented violations of the principles of American democracy and integrity of international law
*the psychological & ethical tolls the war has cost our national image in the global community
In addition to these economic and moral costs, the Veterans Administration is pervasively slow and perpetually under-serves our armed forces. The immediate and ready availability of abundant war “surplus” (which you paid for) has lead to the militarization of local police departments (and its not just in large cities). We’ve employed the successful methods of marketing/advertising to orchestrate language spins like “collateral damage” to sanitize the catastrophic destruction and death of war.
The big picture multifaceted costs of the Iraq War continue to shape our society as a culture of violence for us…and our kids.
But collectively we don’t talk it. This conversation doesn’t happen.
I’m ashamed that the color of a dress, TMZ gossip and March Madness are our chatter.
Talk of violence and war…having conversations in our heads and our hearts…among families and friends…is what sacred activism sounds like as it emerges.
These dialogues are the responsibility of religious people in general and spiritual people in particular.
What we consider as Sacred affects these discussion. God matters regarding our perceptions of violence.
Please make no mistake. I honor all American soldiers and sincerely consider our wounded warriors to be some of my personal heroes.
They demonstrate a profound courage that I do not possess.
But my prayers and mediation; reading and thinking; study and ministry…show me that human rights; equality of gender, race and sexual orientation; violence; ecology and economic disparity…these need to be the interfaith agenda inviting all religious paths to provide sustainable solutions.
I won’t stop searching every day for inspiration, hope and moments of compassion and forgiveness (which is the mission of my ministry) or reporting bits of good news. But as my intuitive sense of the urgency of sacred activism evolves, I need to express my growing belief that violence and its pervasive manifestations are a spiritual emergency demanding my attention.
Regardless of our individual spiritual opinions, we are the architects of our own experience.
From thoughts and feelings, beliefs and judgments, we create our meanings from limited perspectives.
We have control over life’s influences.
There are always choices. You are infinitely more powerful than you realize.
Conjure your vision and hold your purpose.
Plan knowing that life is change. It’a all process. Flow.
Believe in yourself.
Practice patience, moderation and concentration. Ask questions.
Find the resources that you need. Ask for help along the way. Share.
Beware fear, greed, narcissism and drama. Recognize opportunities disguised as loss.
Be open to moments of love and compassion. Accept and tolerate.
Forgive mistakes. Release anything or anyone rotting, decayed or superfluous.
Wander with awe, respect and dignity for all. You are not alone.
All is one. One is all. Unify.
You can change. You are resilient. Hope.
Know for sure you’ve only two choices: be the solution or be the problem.
Volumes are written about the contemporary rise of the Sacred Feminine – a cross-cultural, trans-religious movement that honors the female… as Goddess and Universal Mother (think: Isis, Aphrodite, Shakti, Eve, Virgin Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, etc).
I’m suggesting there’s also a new masculinity paradigm that’s emerging. While its origins are spiritual… its manifestations can be seen, heard and felt from prophets of our times… our artists and our mystics.
Think about it.
I believe the new Divine Masculine is beginning to be widely embraced by most women in search of a mate (as opposed to a sex partner). I’ll also contend that this same emerging norm excites some more avante-garde men; terrorizes other more traditional insecure men…however, still the majority of American men are blind, deaf and numb to who they are and who they might yet become. I am not sure that’s the case for European or South American men…but this might all be changing.
As I remember back, it seems like I’ve honored the rise of the Sacred Feminine since I was a boy smack in the middle of the tumultuous 1960’s…in the days of mass protests and angry rioting when millions of Americans took to the streets demanding change – in civil rights, Vietnam and for America’s poor (those days before Fox News, smart phones and social media).
Now my maturity has shown me that my parents raised me to respect women. As women are empowered to be who they are and speak their truth… men need to catch up. This is the stuff of a cultural revolution that goes vastly beyond whether we are ready for a female President or women priests.
Its important to note that my contention that the Sacred Masculine is emerging does not in anyway dilute, cloud or adulterate the Sacred Feminine. No… indeed, I sense that it’s the Sacred Feminine that has conceived, nurtured and birthed the very possibility that a new Sacred Masculine paradigm might emerge. Mothers are transforming our culture…perhaps they always have.
My sense is that the rise of the Divine Masculine will have a profound affect on gender roles beyond male and female, sexual orientation beyond heterosexual and homosexual, economic models beyond competition and cooperation and family cultural units beyond male fathers, female mothers – frankly well beyond who marries who – yes… even what marriage will or won’t look like or mean (e.g polyamory).
The emergence of a new Divine Masculinity should not be confused with the black and white, more traditional moral absolutes of right and wrong. No. The Divine Masculine is not concerned with telling men how to behave. This new focus is gray… very blended. As always, it will take time for ethics to catch up (e.g. medical ethics still playing catch up with the right to die, 3 parent embryos and stem cell research).
Take a moment to look…listen…feel…the new emerging masculine paradigm. Do you see it? Can you hear it? Have you felt it?
I’ll suggest that the rise of the Divine Masculine is connected with the ways some mothers are choosing to raise their sons. Food for thought.
2 more thoughts from my meditation for your consideration:
Moms, please reconsider sending your sons off to war. Might there be other more creative ways for young men to serve and protect? (This being said… I am first to admit that we have witnessed enormous evolutionary gains by allowing women and homosexual people to be warriors). Moms could raise peacemakers.
Secondly, perhaps its time to reconsider the whole pink and blue mystique. Maybe the color purple has more to offer than we thought? Imagine a world in which boys are completely free to play house…and girls are encourage to master STEM courses.
This topic will be a recurring blog theme as it reflects many of the energies of my ministry right now. As always, I welcome your feedback. While I recognize its nontraditional focus, people that I minister to are teaching me that the “status quo” is spontaneously readjusting.
Whether we talk gender roles, our spectra of sexual orientation/sexual behaviors or coexisting in community, with other sentient beings in sync with our environment – we are all one and its ALL interconnected.