Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Contact With the Condor

For some time I have been in casual contact with the gentleman who writes below.  We have been sharing our cultural wisdom, traditions and ritual, he of his people and I of the Wicca.  In response to a request for stories from the URI which I have posted elsewhere,  He writes his story below.  I share it because it is one which we can all relate to, I think.  In his own words:


Many centurys ago about 5 centurys the europen man get arrived to the Abia-Yala and introduced some diferents things, for example the another kind of thinking and  living.
All the people and indigenous nations looked for in the teaching of the old people the news way for to live in this situation.
The "ancestral circle of elders" , which was the principal place for the comunity said an important mesagge for the young people, " this times are the moment for to change our look and is the moment when the natural life and the comunity life are going to sleep under one dream which is goinig to preserv for a lot centurys, but in one moment when our Mather Earth wake up us again it will be the new PACHAKUTY( The new time for us).
The meeting of the Condor and the Eagle is going to give the sign of this moment.
When the Condor and the Eagle are flying again we are living free again too."

This story or legend was told for the olders to the young people in this olds times.
But in this contmporary times in the divers countrys in latin America there are many young indigenous who are working for the new"Pachakuty" the new change. It is the moment for all the people in the World  for building one new style of life. The dialogue between the young people and the elders is the natural way. The Mather Earth teached us it.

Cosmic Comunity is our style of life and it is our way. We believe in it.

                                         Por arriva corre el agua
                                         por abajo la piedrita,
                                         y yo solamente quiero
                                         s eguir tu curso de color y mirar al Sol.

Ambassador from Latin America.
Cosmic Comunity CC
Espacio de Estudios y Recuperación de la Cosmovisión Indígena
E.E.R.C.I "

This poem translates as      Above the Eagle soars
                                                      The stone beneath
                                                      And all I wish
                                                      Is to follow your colorful path and see
                                                      the Sun.

This is a poetic rather than literal translation and I would welcome other thoughts and words.
Respectfully submitted,
R Watcher

Friday, August 27, 2010

"Rich Kids, Poor Kids: Same Stress, Different Packages"

Today I attended an MIC clergy luncheon at which the speaker, Don Carney, addressed the problems of Marin County teens, rich and poor. (Contrary to the impression some readers may have that Marin, because it is one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S., has no poor people, it does. And just like in other regions, the ranks of the less privileged are expanding while the middle class is shrinking.)

The speaker shows an obvious passion about the work he does with youth. He spoke mainly about youth courts in the U.S. today, and more specifically about the Marin County Youth Court, run by the YMCA and the Marin County Superior Court and the California Administrative Office of the Courts. Only a few years ago there were about 70 youth courts in the country and now there are 1,350.

Youth who have admitted guilt to a misdemeanor are eligible for this program, which focuses on the principle of restorative justice. In adversarial cases, the offender is prosecuted and defended by youth attorneys, before a youth jury. An adult judge presides and a youth bailiff supervises the process, with adult caseworker support for the youth and his or her family. If the offender completes the program within three months, he or she leaves with no juvenile record. The focus is on healing the harm done to the victim, the community, and the perpetrator.

Mandatory aspects include serving two to five times as a juror, providing 10 to 80 hours of community service, and taking a prevention class. Discretionary sentences imposed by the youth jury include restitution to the victim, letters of apology, reflective essays, anger management class, theft awareness class, drug education class, prevention class, additional counseling, and mentoring.

Seventy percent of the kids in youth court are from white, upper middle class families, and 90% of the offenses involve substance abuse. The pressures on kids to achieve often unrealistic goals contribute to their stress levels. Family dynamics add to the pressure and confusion. Marin has the high rate of binge drinking for both teens and adult, and pot smoking is twice the national average. The good news is that youth involvement in AA is enormous, some arising from sentences imposed in youth court.

Kids with what are known as "surplus assets" do not present like less privileged kids do. High achievers can be as drugged and drunk as lower achievers. Underneath are substance and family issues. He cited Madeline Levine's book, The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids. Dr. Levine is a clinical psychologist here in Marin.

Mr. Carney also showed a TV news feature about the Marin Youth Court and recommended a documentary film called "Race to Nowhere: The Dark Side of American's Achievement Culture," made by Vicki Abeles.

A third resource he recommended was Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers, by Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D., and Gabor Maté, M.D.

The emphasis on cooperative education rather than competitive education that the youth court espouses can lead to lowered stress for teens. Mr. Carney said that we need alternatives to suspension for students who violate school rules. He said this leads to dropping out of school, when in fact the practice really pushes the kids out of the system. He believes the system should bear the onus, not the kid. As an example, he cited a good student found carrying a Swiss Army knife in his pack. With a zero tolerance policy in effect, this student was sent to a program with chronic offenders. He also said it's not helpful to mix middle school offenders with high school offenders. Whether an offender is put with peers or peers and older teens, the fact that he or she is in any kind of punitive environment leads to more alienation and the potential for greater offenses.

The irrefutable value of youth courts shows in the recidivism rate of kids who've gone through this process: 13% nationally and only 5% in Marin.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Among the more compelling upcoming events announced at this luncheon:

  • International Day of Peace on September 21, 2010, celebrated at Peace Pole at Dominican University, sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael. This year they will be adding a fifth plaque in the language of the Coast Miwok, the original human inhabitants of this area (see Big Time). I'm hoping to participate in this, as I did in 2007 when my friend Sister Marion chaired the Sisters' Social Justice Committee.
Respectfully submitted,
M. Macha NightMare
Interfaith Representative

Thursday, August 19, 2010

CoG Interfaith Rep elected Officer of regional interfaith organization

Last Tuesday, at a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio (www.interfaith-presidio.org), we elected Board Officers.  I was elected Secretary of the Board.  This will be my 11th term as Secretary, so I guess I'm doing something right. ;-)

Serving as Secretary has so far included serving on the Program Committee, on the Transition Committee (overseeing our search for a new Director), on the Community Initiatives Advisory Committee (overseeing the management of the funds we have already raised in our $7 million renovation campaign), and ongoing meetings with our architects (Page & Turnbull - www.page-turnbull.com) and with the Presidio Trust (www.presidio.gov/trust).  The ICP is committee-rich and somehow I seem to end up on almost all of them!  This is why I have at least one meeting a week with the ICP.  Interfaith can certainly keep you busy.

The ICP is one of only a handful of regional interfaith organizations (made up of local interfaith councils et al.), and the only one with a Pagan on its Board.  It has always welcomed Pagan participation, hosts the annual "People of the Earth" event for Neopagans, immigrant Pagans and Indigenous practitioners, and is even redesigning its landscaping to be more welcoming and useful for the needs of Earth Religions.  As always, I highly recommend checking out the ICP's Bay Area Interfaith Connect calendar, with interfaith events happening all over the nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area (www.interfaithpresidio.org/icpnewsevents.cfm).

Blessed Be,
Don Frew
National Interfaith Representative

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Parliament of the World's Religions accepting interns - posted by Michelle

The Council is currently seeking individuals with a passion for the interfaith movement for a Fall 2010 semester internship. Click here to learn more about this exciting opportunity.