UU Women and Religion

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Belonging Values – Modern Morphing Replay

HelenPopenoe2010Walhonding Road, at the end of my street, is my pre-dawn destination for not-so-regular walks. Why? The urban symbolism of what I experience there gives my day’s work, usually for social change, much inspiration. It reminds me that sustainability is at the heart of any workable action plan. It reminds me to endure without giving way to power-over circumstances that can control my “balance”, “expressiveness,” “playfulness” and “openess to spirit.” (Note – all words in quotes come from a “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven” resource, Carol Lee Flinders’ Rebalancing the World’s Belonging Values list.)

I seek to live with others in the pre-patriarchal forager ways (a redux for today’s needs.) It can be achieved by partnering with consensus decision making that employs complementarity, “mutuality” and “inclusiveness,” “generosity”, “deliberateness”, “egalitarianism”, “non-violent conflict resolution” (or management), and “self-restraint.” For my additional spiritual guidance, my Walhonding Road experience sparks awe-filled awareness of my “connection with the land”, my “empathic relationship to animals”, and to be a helpful inhabitant in my part of Earth’s biosphere, supporting healthy growth in the natural world (“custodial conservatism” which includes the motto, “What you have, you share.”)

These days many factors are often involved in making decisions, so that “ordinary deductive reasoning processes aren’t equal to the task.” So, with “affinity for alternative modes of knowing”, I try “to allow intuitive wisdom to come to the surface.” (Flinders quotes, again, to complete the Belonging Values list) All the Occupy consciousness raising brings a different national dialogue to the surface.

Walhonding Road ends at the top of a hill looking East toward Washington, D.C.’s Occupy movement’s communal living that’s across from the White House, and another on Freedom Plaza. With that hilltop view, I have the deep knowing that my life is coinciding with the beginnings of widespread awakening to reformulate a healthy definition of globalization. This is an important time for gathering critical mass to face the reality of inequality. From the reporting in the Washington Post, I conclude that Occupy's D.C. camps are these protestors’ building of community through applying The Belonging Values. I believe they are seeking to live peacefully out of the inborn natural human urge for interdependence. It demonstrates an innate longing for harmonious togetherness.

David Korten, author of the international bestseller, When Corporations Rule the World and author of another “Cakes…” resource, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, predicted the bottom-up rising of everyday people in such a protest as the Occupy movement now shows the world. He sharply contrasts patriarchal assumptions about the human condition and our human nature saying “The dominator narrative defines the limited possibilities of the immature consciousness. The partnership narrative defines the far larger possibilities of the mature consciousness….We are blocked from realizing our positive potential, not by our nature, but rather by the social dynamics of Empire.”

“Cakes…” author, Shirley Ranck, describes this bottom-up prediction, “David Korten builds on [Riane] Eisler’s hypothesis of an early era of partnership and peace. He argues persuasively that today human beings are about to make a great turn toward community and away from domination.” I feel the quest, now, for us who are fortunate enough to belong to the “haves” is to engage in modeling Flinders’ motto, “What you have, you share.” We have to help get the message out about the realities of those in our country struggling simply to survive. It’s a large number; we know. They are women and the minorities who know the trials of oppression and being down on luck, many in the middle class who need lifting up due to having returned to the U.S. as veterans, or lost careers and long-term jobs due to the economy, those who are being under-employed in low-paying jobs, and those who are just starting out, young, often educated, but with no full time work experience yet. Korten gives us a list of what to use for modeling Earth Community now. Not only here, but globally, he believes global corporations drain away from communities their life energy.

He describes this list as “the many initiatives aimed at growing corporate-free economies that mimic healthy ecosystems. These initiatives range from ‘buy local’ campaigns and efforts to rebuild local food systems based on independent family farms, to efforts to eliminate corporate subsidies, stop the intrusion of big-box stores, hold corporations accountable for harms committed, and reform corporate chartering.” (Note: I relate this chartering to the first chapters of his “Cakes…” resource book when he describes our original beginnings for the formation of our country’s governance.) The list continues “There are groups that encourage humane animal husbandry and sustainable agriculture, seek to abolish factory farms and ban genetically modified seeds, promote green business, introduce sustainable community-based forestry-management practices, and work to roll back the use of toxic chemicals. Other groups are working to strengthen the protection of worker rights, raise the minimum, wage, advance worker ownership, increase socially responsible investing, and promote other fiscal and regulatory measures that improve economic justice and encourage environmental responsibility.”

Korten points out a conclusion of psychologist Carol Gilligan from her research on girls’ and women’s moral development - “women are more inclined toward partnership models of organization.” Korten believes feminine leadership with its “commonly unassuming networking style” is fueling the wave for the transition to an Earth Community. “Perhaps the most significant single contribution to the cultural turning of the past fifty years has been a spreading rejection by women of Empire’s definition of their social roles. The re-ascendance of women [redux phenomenon] may be one of the most significant human social developments of the past five thousand years.

What does the end of Walhonding Road give me? -a glorious experience of the sunrise! Spiritually most important for me, more than the flaming chalice, is the UU Women and Religion sunrise we chose as our symbol in 1996. My morning walk’s reward of this inspiration thrills me with its meaning as related to the Occupy movement. The golden brightness gradually lights up all the communication wiring positioned along the hill’s street toward the sun. It symbolizes the social networking that’s so prevalent a tool for Occupy. The dew-laden wires shimmer in a fuzzy and quivering String Theory way of interconnectivity. With the new day’s sunshine warming my back, I return home. The spring in my step is one of hope. I know I have no excuse for inaction.

P.S. Rev. Terrence Ellen said, October 28 on the Standing on the Side of Love website, “In the Washington, D.C. area, four UU congregations mobilized themselves to feed Freedom Plaza for four evenings last week. Reston, Arlington, Fairfax and Rockville each took a night, receiving a rousing ovation at a recent gathering of faith communities looking for ways to be of support to Occupy D.C. …Democracy is indeed breaking out here as it did in the Arab Spring. The oligarchs may be different, but the response is the same.”