Category Archives: Religion & Spirit

Religion & Spirit

Robert Bly, Poet Who Gave Rise to a Men’s Movement, Dies at 94 – The New York Times

His most famous, and most controversial, work was “Iron John,” which made the case that American men had grown soft and feminized. It made him a cultural phenomenon

By Robert D. McFadden, Nov. 22, 2021

Robert Bly in 1975. He was a prolific poet, essayist and translator and had been a galvanizing force in the antiwar movement of the Vietnam era. Credit…Gerard Malanga

Robert Bly, the Minnesota poet, author and translator who articulated the solitude of landscapes, galvanized protests against the Vietnam War and started a controversial men’s movement with a best seller that called for a restoration of primal male audacity, died on Sunday at his home in Minneapolis.

He was 94. The death was confirmed by his wife, Ruth Bly. From the sheer volume of his output — more than 50 books of poetry, translations of European and Latin American writers, and nonfiction commentaries on literature, gender roles and social ills, as well as poetry magazines he edited for decades — one might imagine a recluse holed up in a North Woods cabin.

And Mr. Bly did live for many years in a small town in Minnesota, immersing himself in the poetry of silent fields and snowy woodlands.

Source: Robert Bly, Poet Who Gave Rise to a Men’s Movement, Dies at 94 – The New York Times

This library lets you borrow people instead of books. It just may help bridge our bitter divisions – CNN

By John Blake, CNN, Updated 7:14 AM ET, Sun November 14, 2021

Two women — one Muslim, one not — talk at a Human Library event in London in 2018.

(CNN)On a rainy spring morning in Muncie, Indiana, a White, middle-aged, conservative woman met a transgender woman for a date.

It did not start well. The transgender woman was waiting at a table when the other woman showed up. She stood up and extended her hand. The other woman refused to take it.

“I want you to know I’m a conservative Christian,” she said, still standing. “I’m a liberal Christian,” the transgender woman replied. “Let’s talk.”

Their rendezvous was supposed to last about 30 minutes. But the conversation was so engrossing for both that it lasted an hour.

It ended with the conservative woman rising from her seat to give the other woman a hug.”Thank you,” she said. “This has been wonderful.”

This improbable meeting came courtesy of the Human Library, a nonprofit learning platform that allows people to borrow people instead of books. But not just any people. Every “human book” from this library represents a group that faces prejudice or stigmas because of their lifestyle, ethnicity, beliefs, or disability. A human book can be an alcoholic, for example, or a Muslim, or a homeless person, or someone who was sexually abused.The Human Library stages in-person and online events where “difficult questions are expected, appreciated, and answered.” Organizers says they’re trying to encourage people to “unjudge” a book by its cover.

Source: This library lets you borrow people instead of books. It just may help bridge our bitter divisions – CNN

What American Christians Hear at Church | The New Yorker

Drawing on newly ubiquitous online services, Pew has tried to catalogue the subject matter of contemporary sermons.

By Casey Cep, October 7, 2021

Illustration by Daniel Liévano

“Now that I have preached about a dozen sermons I find I am repeating myself,” a young minister wrote despairingly in his diary in 1915.

He was barely out of school and only a few months into his first call, at Bethel Evangelical Church in Detroit. “The few ideas that I had worked into sermons at the seminary have all been used, and now what?”

It would be fourteen years before anyone else read those words, published under the title “Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic.”

It would take even longer for their author, Reinhold Niebuhr, to become one of the best-known theologians in the country, famous for works such as “The Irony of American History” and “The Nature and Destiny of Man.”

Source: What American Christians Hear at Church | The New Yorker

Monarch butterflies are being wiped out. These combat veterans are trying to save them | NBC News

Guardian Grange looks to provide a safety net for veterans while teaching them about conservation, sustainability and regenerative agriculture.

Sept. 25, 2021, 3:00 AM PDT / Updated Sept. 25, 2021, 6:08 AM PDT
By Denise Chow

Sebastian Schell, Joe Sarapochillo, former Navy SEAL Mark Matzeldelaflor and Ole Schell on Ole’s ranch in Bolinas, Calif., on Sept. 12. Part of the 206-acre ranch is dedicated to a butterfly preserve.Clara Mokri for NBC News

When Mark Matzeldelaflor left the military more than a decade ago, he spent years searching for something that filled him with the same sense of purpose as being a Navy SEAL.

After serving a couple tours in Iraq, including as an elite sniper, he returned home and took up odd jobs — “just wandering and doing random stuff to make some money to pay the rent,” he said. Then, on a whim, he said that he tried “magic mushrooms” for the first time with a friend and that the psychedelic awakened in him a new resolve.

“I just reconnected to nature and my past, where I was like a kid in the woods,” Matzeldelaflor said. “And I realized there’s so much healing in being outside in nature, getting your hands in the dirt and doing good work.”

. . .

One of the organization’s first major initiatives is to help construct a preserve for Western monarch butterflies, a pollinator species that has been pushed to the brink of extinction in recent years due to habitat loss, pesticide use and climate change.

Source: Monarch butterflies are being wiped out. These combat veterans are trying to save them.

The Villages is a retirement ‘paradise’ — so why is that a problem? – MarketWatch

More older adults realize that intergenerational connections are not just valuable for them but for their communities and country.

By Paul Irving, Last Updated: Sept. 25, 2021 at 8:17 a.m. ET, First Published: Sept. 21, 2021 at 4:58 a.m. ET

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org.

Residents watch presidential election returns at an Election Night party organized by a group called Villagers for Trump.
AFP/Getty Images

The Villages, a master-planned retirement community in central Florida, is the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the U.S., we learned from the 2020 Census.

In a demographically changing and urbanizing America, this predominantly white, politically conservative stronghold bucked the trend as retirees lured by warm winters and pastel-hued homes surrounded by golf carts and pickleball courts, flocked in.

We are all free to choose how and where we want to live, of course, and new housing solutions for the rapidly growing population of older Americans are needed.

But, to be honest, if communities like the Villages represent the future of aging, please count me, and many of us, out.

Source: The Villages is a retirement ‘paradise’ — so why is that a problem? – MarketWatch

Television Networks Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 – Variety

By Selome Hailu, https://variety.com/author/smhailu1/

Sep 3, 2021 4:41pm PT

Library of Congress/Carol M. Highsmith

https://anchor.fm/drweb/embed/episodes/Television-Networks-Commemorate-the-20th-Anniversary-of-911–Variety-e170a73/a-a1ptln

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The nation has continued to process the terrorist event over the past two decades in many ways, including through television specials, documentaries and dramatized retellings.

On and before the anniversary, networks will air content unpacking the politics of the event, commemorating the victims, speaking with the survivors and more. Read a full list of 9/11 programming below. (More programming will be added to the list as networks announce titles.)

Twin Towers, Photo by Thomas Svensson on Pexels.com

Editor’s Note: Highly recommended, “9/11: One Day in America” (National Geographic and Hulu, currently streaming)

Source: Television Networks Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 – Variety