Thursday, December 10, 2009

Continuing: Sunday, December 6 at the Parliament - "It's show time!"... my main program

(Note: This has been one of the most exhausting Parliaments I’ve attended. I think it’s due to a combination of the chaos-generated stress in preparing programs and the distances between program venues, accommodations, and dining facilities. I’ve always felt either on the run or on the spot. There is the added hassle that internet access is much rarer here than in the US. And when you find it its costs a bundle! The result has been that these reports were only set down as drafts each evening, and I am only now polishing them for posting several days later. I’m sorry that I’m probably missing a lot of the most important events: the conversations and connections that happened on the fly between programs. I have handfuls of business cards with follow-up notes scribbled on the back, but can’t right now remember enough of the conversations to include here in any meaningful way. Hopefully, as the long process of post-Parliament follow-up unfolds once we’re home, there’ll be more to post. Anyway…)

At 2:30pm, I presented “The Lost & Endangered Religions Project: Preserving the World’s Religious Diversity”.

I was almost late to my own presentation, as folks stopped me on my way across the multiple football fields that is the main lobby of the Parliament.

About 40-45 people were there for this presentation. The centrally broadcast PowerPoint system worked well, until the screen on podium crapped out midway through. I had to stand away from the podium microphones to see what was on the screen and I couldn’t use the built in pointer to point to anything.

I started by explaining that the lineup of presenters for this program had changed since the program guide was printed. Drs. Archana Venkatesan and Layne Little were on their way to India even as we spoke due to changes in their grants. Also, LERP had developed a partnership with the Iniciativa Indigena Global since submitting the program proposal, so IIG Director Raul Mamani was there to present with me (with Rachael Watcher translating).

I went through the story of the founding of LERP… In 1997-8, Anna and I were traveling in Eastern Turkey and had the opportunity to spend an evening with a village of Yezidis near Viransehir. The Yezidis are a religious minority in Turkey somewhat akin to Gnostics. In the course of learning about their religious traditions from the village elders, I asked about scriptures or religious texts. They told me that they had once had such texts – especially one called “the Black Book” – but that in their many forced resettlements they had been lost four generations before.

As it turned out, a Western comparative religionist – Isya Joseph – had collected these texts in the late 1800’s and published them in 1919. I had a copy of this book in my own library back home.

Upon our return home, I was able to make copies and give these sacred texts back to the Yezidi community.

I received a letter from the village headman – Ali – thanking me for the return of their scriptures and saying that if I returned, Elders from the surrounding villages would like to meet me.

(This is just a small example of how simple this process can be and of how the simplest cooperative act can have profound meaning for religious/ethnic communities around the world.)

This got me wondering…

How often have Western academics entered marginal cultures, collected their songs, stories, etc., returned home, written their dissertation, and left the collected data to sit in an archive somewhere? And how often has the collected traditional material subsequently died out or been lost in the community from which it was collected?

In early December 1999, the second Parliament of the World’s Religions in the 20th century met in Cape Town, South Africa.

For eight days, 7500 people (representing almost every religion on Earth) met, talked, attended programs (over 900!), and celebrated together. For three of those days, a smaller group of 300 of us – representing of religions and institutions of civil society – met in the Parliament Assembly.

The purpose of the Parliament Assembly in Cape Town was to discuss and approve a document titled “A Call to the World’s Guiding Institutions” and to develop interfaith service projects in which the religions of the world could work together to benefit humanity.

Remembering my experience with the Yezidis, I developed the idea for a service project called “the Lost & Endangered Religions Project”. (Unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t anticipate how crappy the acronym would sound on its own – “lurp” – so we try to avoid saying it.)

Discussions in the Assembly helped focus the Project’s goals…

* Serving marginal and endangered religious, spiritual, and indigenous communities around the world

* Helping them to preserve traditions that are in danger of being lost

* Restoring, where possible, traditions that have been lost, but have been preserved in the archives of academia

This idea was very popular at the Assembly and was singled out for presentation to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

Returning to the United States with a letter of endorsement from the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, I set about contacting appropriate individuals in the academic community, seeking support and advice.

Our first project – helping the Yezidi of Eastern Turkey – was already underway.

As a member of the Board of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, I brought the Project to them and asked for their fiscal sponsorship. They agreed, and posted an article about the Project in their Spring 2003 online Newsletter. The article was read by the Director of the Interfaith Council of Lincoln, Nebraska, who knew that there were many Yezidi refugee families being served by his interfaith council. He asked if they had copies of the Black Book. They said “no” and were stunned that he was aware of a copy. Soon, this Yezidi scripture was restored to the community in Lincoln, Nebraska, as well. (BTW, the text can now be found online.)

For our next area of interest, we turned to my original research goal in Turkey in 1997, the ruins of Harran and related sites.

The city of Harran, in what is now southern Turkey, has always been a crossroads. As a center of translation from Greek and Latin into Arabic, it was the crossroad between antiquity and the modern age. As the Western end of the Silk Road, it was the crossroad between Asia & Europe, as well as the very volatile border between the Islamic world to the East & South and Byzantium & Christendom to the West & North.

In its 3000 year history, Harran has been ruled by Assyrians, Persians, Seleucids, Parthians, Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Arabs, and Mongols. It has been home to a remarkable variety of religious communities, including the indigenous cult of the Moon God, late antique Pagans, Sabians, Zoroastrians, Manichaeans, Mandaeans, Christians, and Muslims. Harran figures prominently in the scriptures of many of these faiths and they appear to have lived together at Harran in relative peace.

Harran occupies a special place in the intellectual history of the Western world. When Plato’s Academy in Athens was closed, its last teachers resettled and founded a new school at Harran that flourished up into the 11th century CE. When the Caliph Umar II founded the first Muslim university in the 8th century, he brought the last remaining scholars from Alexandria and installed them at Harran. The scholars and schools of Harran were instrumental in the translation, preservation, and transmission of Greek and Roman knowledge (especially Neoplatonism and Hermeticism) into the Islamic world and thence into the European Renaissance.

Harran was lost to the world in a unique way. In the 13th century, the Mongols conquered the area and decided that Harran was too much trouble to control, too remote to garrison, but too valuable to destroy. They arrived at an unusual and dramatic solution… They deported the populace of the city, walled up the city gates, and left it. There is no record of the city being destroyed, sacked, or burned. The space enclosed by the city walls gradually filled up with wind-blown dirt.

Given its significance for so many religious groups and fields of study, it is remarkable that Harran remains virtually untouched by both treasure-hunters and archaeologists.

Today, Harran stands at another crossroad, between its own preservation and its destruction resulting from a dam project on the Euphrates, the attendant irrigation, and local economic development. The Harranian plain has gone from being bone-dry for well over a thousand years to being so over-watered that the most serious health problem in the area is malaria. The site is above water, but the ruins – and the treasure trove of texts all archaeologists agree is waiting, will be underwater when the water-table rises. The city walls will act as a coffer dm for a while, but we only have about 15 years before one of the greatest storehouses of knowledge from the ancient world is irretrievably lost.

The Silk Road Working Group of the Caucasus and Central Asia Program and the Near Eastern Studies Dept of the University of California at Berkeley, in collaboration with the Lost & Endangered Religions Project and the Silk Road Foundation have been working together to raise awareness about the endangered nature of the site and hope to host an academic conference on Harran (and the related sites of Urfa/Edessa and Sumatar Harabesi) at some point in the near future,

“Harran: At the Crossroads” will bring together scholars working on the many facets of Harran’s history, focusing on the need for excavation and preservation of this unique, virtually unexplored, endangered site.

One of the sites related to Harran is the Harranian temple complex of Sumatar Harabesi. Just about 30 kilometers NE of Harran, in the Tek Tek mountains, is the small village of Yağmurlu, built over the ancient site of Sumatar. The bare hilltops are covered with 2nd century inscriptions in Syriac, carved with images of the Harranian Moon God “Sin”, and crowned with seven temples dedicated to the seven classical planets. Each temple is a different geometric shape.

For 50 years, the only available map of this site was a sketch map made in 1953 by Prof. J.B. Segal. The arrangement of the hills with planetary temples suggested astronomical alignments, but the sketch-map was too crude to be certain. Accordingly, a LERP team has made three visits to the site to map it more accurately with GPS and compass, resulting in a radically different map.

While we were able to rule out astronomical alignments, in the process of making this new map, we discovered two previously unrecorded tombs, two previously unrecorded temples (in new geometric shapes: triangular and that of a vesica piscis), and two previously unrecorded Syriac inscriptions. We also discivered a magnetic anomaly that will probably lead to a buried meteor at the site. (This is all being prepared in a report for the Turkish Ministry of Monuments and the Museum in Urfa.)

LERP is also interested in helping the village of Turgut in SouthWest Turkey in its revival of the Hekatesia – the traditional festival of Hekate held at the full moon in September – in connection with the excavation and rec9onstruction of the nearby Temple of Hekate at Lagina.

It’s not always older religious traditions that are in danger of being lost. New religious movements are often unaware of the importance of their historical materials until it’s too late. After all, the founders of a tradition may not think their napkin jottings worth saving, but subsequent practitioners may be very interested a hundred years later.

Accordingly, the Lost & Endangered Religions Project is also interested in working with new religious movements to archive their historical material. One such project is the Wiccan History Project.

Focusing right now on the papers of Gerald B. Gardner – sometimes called “the father of the modern Witchcraft movement” – LERP works with existing collections of historical documents to make sure that digital copies are shared and archived in multiple locations so that material cannot be irretrievably lost by the loss of a single site. This collection includes some of the earliest texts of the modern Witchcraft movement, including illuminated manuscripts.

Turning further East, to Asia…

Recently, I made the acquaintance of Prof. Yang Fuquan of the Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences. He works with an indigenous people called the Naxi in Yunan Province in Southeastern China, bordering Tibet. They practice an indigenous religion very similar to the Bon practice of pre-Buddhist Tibet. In fact, Bon practitioners will make pilgrimage to Yunan to recover lore that has been lost in Tibet.

The Naxi have a form of writing that is probably the most purely pictorial on Earth. It is as if you “wrote” the story of Genesis by drawing an ocean, then land, then animals, then a man & woman, then a tree, then a woman & a snake. There are thousands and thousands of Naxi manuscripts – many preserved in institutions across Europe – but they are preserved as art objects. Without the living stories, their meaning is lost.

Prof. Yang and I, working with one of our academic advisors Dr. Gus diZerega, came up with a plan to collect these stories. We could distribute over a hundred low-cost cassette recorders in Yunan with instructions on how to gather stories from Elders. Each tape returned to LERP with an explanation of context and details of collection would (after copying and archiving) result in the return of the tape along with more blank tapes. This would turn many Yunan residents into “field-agents” for LERP, preserving their own culture. We have been frustrated by Chinese authorities who don’t want blank tapes imported into the area, but we are continuing our efforts and exploring digital recording options.

Dr. Layne Little and Archana Venkatesan, head LERP’s projects in South Asia, but I had to present on their behalf.

There are two main south India projects, which are both concerned with performance traditions.

The first project is centered in the small temple-village of Alvar Tirunagari, in deep south India. The site is an old one, attested to from at least the late 8th century as a sacred site. The Visnu temple was built up around the 15th century. With the building of the temple, an elaborate ritual culture also developed between the 11th and the 15th CE.

South India (indeed India in general) is known for the close relationships between texts and performance. Performance is one the keys ways of transmitting knowledge, especially of a religious/moral kind as well as a means of building communities. Most temples in south India supported multiple performance traditions. However, with the advent of colonialism and then in post-independent India, the change in the structures of patronage – from the patronage of landowners to patronage of the State – many of these traditions gradually faded away because of lack of financial support. In this transformation, many performers lost hereditary land, which was their main source of income.

The temple of Alvar Tirunagari is unique because it continues to support multiple performance traditions, all occur within a ritual context. Of course, some traditions at Alvar Tirunagari have died, and still others are very much in need of assistance.

Alvar Tirunagari has four main performance traditions, known as Araiyar Cevai, Kavi Pattu, Dasi Attam and Kattiyam.

Araiyar Cevai is the oldest of the performance traditions. It is a ritual service that involves singing and dancing as a means of interpreting sacred texts. Araiyar Cevai survives in only 3 temples today, and Alvar Tirunagari is one of them. There are two brothers—Nathamuni and Srinivasan —who perform this service. Meeting the Araiyar-s at Alvar Tirunagari was preceded by years of fieldwork and a close relationship with the Araiyars of another temple site called Srivillipatur.

When Layne and Archana visited Alvar Tirunagari in 2005, the Araiyars entrusted them with a palm leaf manuscript that recorded their entire ritual repertoire. These texts are etched into the surface of the leaf with a sharp stylus that and are then smeared with soot which makes the characters visible. The original manuscript was in the Grantha script which many today cannot read and the Manipravala language which makes comprehension difficult for modern practitioners. (Grantha was created for texts in Tamil & Sanskrit, since each language contains sounds for which the other does not have symbols.)

The Araiyars asked that this manuscript be conserved, digitized and transcribed into modern Tamil (and Sanskrit). Under the auspices of LERP, and the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Institute of Indian Studies, the transcription and digitizing was completed in 2007 with the help of the French Institute of Pondicherry. This required that the manuscript first be cleaned and then photographed. The manuscript, along with digital copies and hard copies were returned to the Araiyars in 2008 and they were able to use the hard copies for the first time instead of the fragile palm leaf palm leaf during the main festival of December 2008.

It’s important to stress that the Lost & Endangered Religions Project didn’t do this to publish the manuscript or make these materials available for public use, but to let this community decide what to be done with their own manuscript that would best serve their tradition.

It should be noted that this approach makes it difficult to receive grants as almost all fellowships and endowments require publication of all research data and results.

Another important tradition at Alvar Tirunagari is the Dasi Attam tradition performed by the Nattuvanar. He is a musician, who sings songs unique to this temple. About 50 years ago, female dancers would have accompanied him, but they do not do so any longer. At Alvar Tirunagari, there is only one Nattuvanar left. His name is Natarajan. While his deceased brother knew a the full repertoire of 108 songs, Natarajan remembers only 37. When Layne and Archana met him in 2005 he did not have any one who could take over the performance. However, when we spoke to him at length about the value of his traditions, it made an impact. His nephew Kannan took up learning the songs, and now helps him in the performance.

Last year Archana was consulting with a senior scholar at the École française d'Extrême-Orient in Pondicherry with whom she has worked for years on Sri Vaisnava manuscripts. When she mentioned the work in Alvar Tirunagari, the senior scholar suddenly remembered that the Ecole did have a large collection of manuscripts from Alvar Tirunagari that had remained uncatalogued for more than 50 years. Examining them, Archana discovered a palm leaf manuscript containing all 108 of the original Dasi Attam songs of Nattuvanar. Layne and Archana are on their way to Pondicherry as we speak to make arrangements to have these songs digitized, transcribed and returned to Natarajan.

(In the interests of time, we had to skip over the third and fourth performance traditions at Alvar Tirunagari: Kavi Pattu (Poet’s Song) & Kattiyam. Both will be discussed on our website.)

One of the saddest stories in the history of performance traditions in south India has to do with hereditary female performers known as Devadasis.

Traditionally, Devadasis did not get married, but lived in matrilocal, matrifocal and matrilineal homes. They were dancers and singers, who performed ritual tasks in the temple as well as performing in the contexts of royal courts and many public venues. Many of them were dedicated to the temple deity at a young age in a ceremony where the taali (a yellow cord) was tied about their necks as a groom would do around the neck of his young bride. Devadasis were thought to embody the power of auspiciousness called saubhagya, and thus could wave the pot-lamp (kumbha-dipa) in an act of removing the “evil-eye” (drsti) from the deity and from other human beings. This practice, called “aarati” is the most commonly performed rite seen in Hindu temples today.

These women occupied a special place in south Indian communities, as they were regarded as eternally auspicious (because, being wedded to a god, they could never be widowed). ‘Dedication’ involved a ceremony called pottukkattutal (“tying of the pottu”) in which a girl would have a “marriage” cord tied around her neck. These types of rituals “fulfilled” the social need for a rite of passage (that of marriage), and marked the woman’s lifestyle as distinct from that of householding women. Some devadasis served a similar ritual and performative function in the royal courts and were symbolically married to the sword of the king.

However, because of “social purity” and reform movements in the early twentieth century, devadasis were labeled as “temple prostitutes” and their lifestyle was criminalized in the year 1947, the same year that India achieved independence from colonial rule.

Today devadasis live in dire circumstances in rural South India. They have been denied many fundamental rights, including that of citizenship in the nation. Many had to sell their temple jewelry and eventually become the prostitutes they were labeled as just to survive.

Saride Manikyam was the last devadasi to be dedicated at the Madanagopalasvami Temple,at Ballipadu, Andhra Pradesh. I showed a more recent picture of her and an older one in which she is wearing a matisar, a nine-yard sari worn in the orthodox Brahmin manner, to perform dance and music during the nityapuja at Ballipadu, indicating the high esteem in which she was held when the role of the devadsasi was a valued one.

I also showed images of another devadasi, Maddulla Janakamma, showing hand gestures used in the dances of the devadasis. These hand gestures are called rati-mudras, and were erased from the high-caste appropriations of the devadasi dance that occurred in the twentieth century.

In 1929, the Madras Legislative Assembly passed a Bill that would ban the pottu-tying ceremony in these communities.

In 1947, the Bill was made into an Act and was expanded to criminalize dancing and the waving of the pot-lamp by devadasis. The “symbolic marriage” of the devadasis was outlawed and with it, these women lost their temple rights and their rights to their land.

By 1956, the Act was amended to outlaw any kind of public performance of music and dance by any woman related to these communities (not just women who underwent the pottu ceremony). The devadasis could therefore no longer perform their repertoire, and they could not teach it either. The few remaining dancers fell into destitution and then prostitution.

To add insult to injury, the dance of the devadasis were appropriated by upper caste women, even while the women were marginalized. Their dance was cleaned up, and recast as a spiritual, national art form, its origins forgotten or denied.

Many of the surviving devadasis huddled together in small communities in the “red-light” districts of the cities. Professor Davesh Soneji of McGill University has spent the past 15 years working with the communities of these women, in order to record their repertoire and their life stories. Along with Hari Krishnan, his collaborator, who is a dancer, he has meticulously recorded and learned the repertoire of the last surviving Dasis.

In 2003, along with Hari Krishnan he began the Mangala Initiative, a non-profit organization to help support these communities of women. Mangala is a service organization partnered with the Lost and Endangered Religions Project to do this work in South India.

Finally, we turned to South America…

I introduced Raul and let him explain, through Rachael, about the Iniciativa Indigena Global.

The IIG is a network of indigenous practitioners from indigenous groups all over Latin America:

* Aymara from Bolivia
* Candomble from Brazil
* Guarani from Brazil
* Kolla from Argentina
* Kuna from Panama
* Mapuche from Chile
* Maya from Guatemala
* Quechua from Peru

We stress “indigenous practitioners” because there are many efforts underway to preserve indigenous cultures and languages, but few focused on preserving indigenous spirituality. This is partly because those indigenous people who convert to Christianity usually end up wealthier and more educated, and so are most likely to make connections with Western interfaith networks. Such indigenous representatives often have less interest in preserving indigenous spirituality. IIG is stepping in to fill this gap. After being formed in Latin America as an initiative of the United Religions Initiative, the IIUG grew and developed infrastructure. Now, in partnership with LERP, it wants o reach out to indigenous practitioners around the world. Connections have already been made with indigenous practitioners representing:

* Acjachemen from the U.S.
* Dalit from India
* Heathen from the U.S.
* Hindu from India, the U.K. & the U.S.
* Lenape from the U.S.
* Maori from New Zealand
* Mohawk from the U.S.
* Sami from Norway & Sweden
* Shinto from Japan & the U.S.
* Taoist from the U.S.
* Wicca from Canada & the U.S.
* Yuin from Australia

Raul told the story of the IIG through meetings in Quito, Ecuador in 2000, Oaxtepec, Mexico, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2002, Ayacucho, Peru in 2004, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil in 2008, and Cusco, Peru in 2009. The 2009 meeting included a ritual observance at Machu Picchu for the UN’s International Day of Peace on the Equinox (Spring, in the southern hemisphere). (Rowan Fairgrove and I attended the meeting in Rio de Janeiro, while Rachael and I attended the meetings in Ayacucho, Foz, and Cusco.)

Raul explained that the IIG is dedicated to “the preservation & sharing of the values of
an indigenous “cosmovision”, including:

* Reciprocidad ( “Reciprocity” )

* Naturalidad ( a dynamic sense of “living in harmony with Nature” that includes, but goes beyond, ecological awareness )

* Equidad ( “balance, fairness, harmony, & justice” )

Raul described some of the planned projects of the IIG, including:

* Providing cameras & recorders to indigenous practitioners for the recording of their own traditions (an application of our project originally planned for the Naxi).
* Development of a website for global indigenous networking (which is underway).
* Facilitation of the sale of traditional medicines to benefit traditional communities.
* Cooperative efforts to preserve sacred sites and access to them, including the idea of employing and empowering “Indigenous Custodians”, much as has been done with Uluru in Australia.

Before we went to Q & A, I pointed out that one of our Academic Advisors – Rev. Andrew J. Kille – was in the audience and that another – the Ven. Dr. Heng Sure – was attending this Parliament. I also, as one always must, explained how folks can donate to LERP. Donations designated for “LERP” may be made to our fiscal sponsor: “Interfaith Center at the Presidio” ( You can donate online. While unrestricted donations are appreciated, you can always specify that you want a donation to go to a particular project and that is then the only place it can be used. If you give us your email, we can update you on developments, or you can go to

I had cut the program way short, fearing it would go way over, but we ended up ending with a comfortable margin and the Q & A became a lively discussion of methodology, suggestions for projects, and appreciation for the work. I was glad that both URI Director Charles Gibbs and ICP Director Paul Chaffee were their, as I had learned much from them on the importance of building relationships in this kind of work and this gave me an opportunity to thank them publicly. Lots of folks wanted to know how we fund this work and I explained that (so far) it was all out of our own pockets, with the very kind help of one private donor.

One person in the audience was David Busch, a reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Network. He told me that LERP’s story was the most inspiring one he had heard at this Parliament and asked if he could interview me later. We arranged a time on the last day of the conference.

Folks hung around so long to talk and ask more questions that there was no chance of making it to another program in the next time-slot.

Accordingly, I kept schmoozing and gradually made my way to my next scheduled meeting. While it might seem odd that it could take almost two hours to cross a building, you haven’t reckoned with the sheep size of the Melbourne Exhibition Hall or the ease with which one can get roped into conversations when you know hundreds of the people attended an event and haven’t seen many of them face-to-face for 5 years.


Around 6:30pm, folks started assembling at the prearranged coordinates to have a dinner meeting of United Religions Initiative folks involved in the ongoing process of creating a Wisdom & Vision Council in the URI. The Wisdom & Vision Council was proposed as a way to sustain engagement with the URI by former Trustees and Board Members with the goal of maintaining the institutional memory of the URI (Wisdom) and looking at the long-term needs of the organization in a way that the Global Council, who is focused on the day-to-day administration of the URI, can’t (Vision). The W&V Council is also envisioned as a pool to tap to be counselors, mediators, ambassadors, etc., as needed by the Global Council.

URI Global Council Chair Yoland Trevino, URI Director Charles Gibbs, W&V Council interim coordinators Kay Lindahl & myself, and presumptive W&V Council member Raul Mamani all went across the street to what is supposed o be the largest Casino in the southern hemisphere. There was a nice and quiet Chinese restaurant – Lucky Chan – where we could meet and talk (the only place nearby that wasn’t a food court). We had a pleasant dinner discussion about the progress of the W&V Council. The Global Council had just appointed the second Trustee liaison we needed to be an official Advisory Committee to the Global Council. Now, when we got home, Kay and I would start the process of contacting former Trustees and Board members to assess their level of interest and engagement.

Raul and Yoland brought up that, early on, we had discussed the idea of a “Wisdom Council” consisting of revered spiritual elders in the many faith traditions to whom we might turn for guidance. Charles, Kay, and I said that we still thought that identifying such individuals and seeking such advice this was a good thing, but that it should be done informally and as needed. The creation of a standing body with such a title would result in the same problems the Parliament had when it had an Assembly of the World’s Religious and Spiritual Leaders: 1) Too many people saying “How come so-and-so is in and I’m not?”, and 2) Too many people wanting to be part of it for the title only, and not to actually do any work or be of real assistance. We all hoped for the day when humanity could be enlightened enough to abandon such petty concerns (but if we reach that day, will we need a Wisdom Council?).

There. Bit by bit and byte by byte, I’m getting more & more caught up.

You know, that is actually a better affirmation for my life than “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better” could ever be. ;-)

Blessed Be,
Don Frew
National Interfaith Representative

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