Saturday, June 19, 2010

Turn off your lights; Turn on your spirit

Arvol Looking Horse is a Souix chief who, like Barack Obama, calls for people of all nations to pray - but there are significant differences between his call to prayer and the one Barack delivered in his speech the other night.

Barack Obama's speech from the Oval Office the other night wasn't bad, as far as it went, and given that he's talking to a great nation of idiots, Barack can only go so far. His entire presidency so far reminds me of the scene in Idiocracy where the Narrator explains why no one in the future can understand English:

Unaware of what year it was, Joe wandered the streets desperate for help. But the English language had deteriorated into a hybrid of hillbilly, valleygirl, inner-city slang and various grunts. Joe was able to understand them, but when he spoke in an ordinary voice he sounded pompous and faggy to them. (IMDB)

When Barack Obama asks a nation to pray, he speaks to a nation of idiots.

And many of these idiots still wish the Confederacy had won the Civil War exactly like in the movie The C.S. A.

When Barack asks these people to pray, he might as well be asking them to jerk off because that Church is a place where they pay a preacher to feed their egos. Prayer is emotional masturbation. When they need additional stimulation to get off, they have their own porn stars:

Certainly it makes sense that in this troubled time, Barack Obama would tell Conservative Christian Right Wing Republicans to shut up and jerk off. Their way of thinking led to Joe Barton's Capital Hill Apology to BP on Thursday morning. G*d knows Joe Barton receives plenty of capital from the oil and gas industry.

Jerking off is all well and good, but it does not lead our country away from an attitude of individual entitlement toward connecting with our fellow humans in community. Arvol Looking Horse, on the other hand, has a more productive message.

In Arvol Looking Horse Speaks, he says "On June 21, shut off the electricity and let's pray."

Barack could have asked us to live without gas or electricity for just one day - or to buy nothing for just one day - while we reflect on how a consumer driven lifestyle has damaged our individual and collective spirit as well as the planet. He just asked us to have faith that something will work out, and to pray about it. Nice words, but in my mind, that's not doing anything. Arvol Looking Horse is asking us to do something while we're reflecting - turn off the electricity. Simple and Direct.

Maybe Arvol Looking Horse has more freedom to speak what is in his heart and mind than Barack Obama. Arvol Looking Horse doesn't have to balance the needs of the people against business interests, particularly when it comes to mineral rights since we Europeans made sure no indigenous peoples were left with any mineral rights. Looking Horse explains:
When the first non-Indian came to this land, our people said, 'What shall we call this man?' and they called him Wasicu . . . It means 'takes fat,' which we know today means the white brothers are taking fat off Mother Earth. Long ago, when the first nations lived on Turtle Island, through our prayers and ceremonies, we maintained harmony and peace, a way of life where there's no ending, no beginning.
It's everyday life for us that we hold Grandmother Earth sacred, we hold the trees and the plants, everything has a spirit. We need people to be really respectful for each other. The Great Spirit put us here all together. If we're going to survive, we need to have spirit and compassion.
As it happens, the Celtic world view was much the same back in the days before The Church called our ancestors witches and burned them. June 21 is summer solstice - a time to celebrate Mid Summer. I have a feeling that Barack Obama is happy for support from any corner these days, and pagans with peace pipes would suit him fine. Sadly, we're all surrounded by the kind of Christians who tie The Word to their wallets. Until somebody takes them to task, nothing will change, and from where I sit, a preacher leading that Church in prayer is leading a circle jerk.


Courtney said...

This post was really educational for me--thank you for writing! I was not familiar with Arvol Looking Horse. I am going to try to observe 6/21 the way he suggests--what a good idea.

And I agree with your point equating praying with jerking off; I do think it's like that with some people, which is why it can feel totally uncomfortable listening to others praying and talking about praying. (Not that I'm antimasturbation--it's just seems that when people talk about masturbation, they are more self-reflective, which is always nice!)

Lisa said...

This is so good. I'm glad you posted the link on twitter. The contrast between the two requests is perfect. I know so many people who claim to have this "personal connection" with god. It makes me sick. They want to talk about how god helps them as individuals, but then ask them to consider the common good and they draw a complete blank. The ones who really steam me are the ones who think that because they give to their church or volunteer on a mission to Appalachia, then they've done their part and shouldn't have to pay taxes. They want to do good, but only as they see it. Oy vey. Yes, they drive their SUVs on those public highways to get to church.

Sorry for the rant. I'm so tired of it.

Well done, you. Thank you for the information.

PENolan said...

Lisa, it's too bad their idea of good would result in locking most of us up in Jail.
Courtney: I'm going to leave on the refrigerator, but that's about it. I do my best reflective thinking by candle light anyway - but that's Goddess Worshippers for you ;)

Jaliya said...

Yes ... most of what we call "prayer" is simply the same old ME! ME! ME!

Since about 1980 I have taken in some excellent comedy via the prayerful gyrations of Ernest Angley, Jim & Tammy, Jimmy Swaggart, and other lacquered, polyestered Big Farts For The Lord. {Poor Jimmy -- he never had a clue that his brother Jerry Lee Lewis was the real preacher in the family ;-D } They are still hilarious to watch ... but when I consider what they have done and continue to do under their guises of "good" ...

I've heard it said that every prayer is ultimately a HELP ME! or a Thank You ...

I've got no religion but reverence for all that sustains us ... and I sure do agree with Jesus when he advises his followers to commune with their God alone and in quiet ...

On the other hand, I've been to a few Sunday services in the Caribbean. Now THAT'S some holy spirit! :-D The music alone is transporting ... but when you're amidst this give-it-all-up joy (and those harmonies!!), you have to surrender. Amen.

So there. Maybe if I do have a religion it's in there with all things hushed ... with music and voices praising Life from the bottom of their bellies ... with colours of Caribbean seas, skies and sands ... with cocoa-brown faces giving it all up for Love ... with writing, reading and conversation that threads through souls like silk.

End of sermon ;-D

P.S. Word verification = "blessebe" -- one letter away from "Blessed be"!

PENolan said...

Jaliya - I'll consider that a sign from the goddess ;)

Didn't you almost go to seminary?

I'm all over gratitude and nurturing the spirit - I just don't think those folks would recognize Jesus if he kicked them in the ass.

I'll stick with The Tao of Pooh

Jaliya said...

Yes, I almost went to seminary. I had a huge crush on two priests (one male, one female --> the first female priest I'd ever met) and remember sitting in my church rector's office, telling the two of them that I was "holier than ever now." Hah! I was 21 -- a child!

Now I'm just full o' holes ;-D

Agreed re: Jesus. They'd probably call the cops on him, saying there's a vagrant in the 'hood ...

Mr. Charleston said...

Great post Pat. Glad I had some small part in it.

The original Christian holy days coincided with the earth-based pagan ceremonies. It was only later that the church usurped them and made the original ceremonies anti-Christ. You can bet Jesus would have had nothing to do with it.

As to the idiocy of the American public, I think George Carlin pretty much summed it up in his monologues. There's no hope. Our greed-based culture is corrupt to the core. I am terribly fearful of what my children and grandchildren will face in the years ahead.

As for me, I'll try to stay as close to the earth as I can. My home and yard is a wildlife sanctuary in the middle of an urban/suburban green desert of pesticides and fertalizers. I'm too weak-kneed to turn off my air conditioner in 100 degree heat on the 21st however.

PENolan said...

Mr. C
We learned in Texas that the only way to survive comfortably in the summer without air conditioning is floating in a lake, spring or river with a cold beer.

Enjoy your garden.

Beach Bum said...

...we're all surrounded by the kind of Christians who tie The Word to their wallets.

I remember a time when the preacher at the church my grandparents attended when I was a child actually had to hold a real day job with him giving sermons on Sunday essentially for free.

The last church I went to here in Rightwingburg where I live now the preacher made well over one-hundred thousand a year, had a "company" supplied car, and expense account. Quite the difference to the point I thought the place was a surreal joke.

And many of these idiots still wish the Confederacy had won the Civil War exactly like in the movie.

I work with a hillbilly at night who every so often tries to draw me into some sort of conversation about his love for the Confederacy. The guy actually began to tear up one time talking about Jeff Davis.

Vancouver Voyeur said...

Change is coming to the radical right. I'm indoctrinating their children every chance I get. :-)

Liberality said...

When the first non-Indian came to this land, our people said, 'What shall we call this man?' and they called him Wasicu . . . It means 'takes fat,' which we know today means the white brothers are taking fat off Mother Earth.

Now that makes all kinds of sense. This used to be the land where "water runs out of a stick" it was so fertile and abundant. Now we just wreck entire ecosystems and yet can't stop using up the land, the water, and the air.

PENolan said...

Beach, All I can say is "Lord, have mercy!"

V.V. - Glad to hear it.
Liberality - He does make all kinds of sense. Too bad he doesn't Tweet ;)

Blog Archive