If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.
For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, William Blake
Faith! In the discussions here you won’t find consistent perspective or theology. You will find faith explored in its many manifestations, religious and otherwise. You’ll find it both shaken and unshakable and in things of the spirit, in nature and humanity, in intuition and in self and family. Unity here is not in things creedal but in the shared values of peace, sustainability and social justice and for many of us – implicitly – in ultimate salvation through artistic expression.
Unitarian Universalist Minister, Rev. Ben Meyers, starts us with an appeal to religions to give their prayers and vigils legs, to befriend one another into the groundswell of local social justice initiatives that ultimately help to inform and bolster global efforts toward equity, justice and peace.This couldn’t be more appropriate as The BeZine “went to press” amid news reports of yet more violence.
You will find our usual diversity represented: skepticism and atheism, the three Abrahamic traditions, shamanism, and the mystical perspectives of Buddhism, Hinduism and Sufism.
Our special selection of lead features and poems are by: shamanic practitioner and psychotherapist, Michael Watson; resident skeptic, James R. Cowles; the always engaging and level-headed analyst, Priscilla Galasso; the fallen altar boy, poet Joe Hesch; professional story-teller and photographer, Naomi Baltuck; our renaissance man in Sheffield, John Anstie; and university librarian, poet and artist, Corina Ravenscraft, on the ultimate triumph of the Universe.
Speaking from positions of their unshakable religious faith are: Algerian poet, Imen Benyoub, on the spiritual joys and family and community connection she finds in the holy tradition of Ramadan; Catholic Theologian, Fr. Daniel S Sormani, theology professor at Ateneo de Manila University, warmly writes about lessons learned from the homely life of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and our gentle Italian literary contributor, Mendes Biondo, tells of inspiration from the Bishop of Hippo Regius (current Annaba, Algeria), St. Augustine. Imen and Mendes are our two student contributors.
Two of our contributors allude to child sexual abuse but a third, Terri Muuss, addresses it head-on and in depth. These are experiences that may strengthen faith in self, though that doesn’t come without pain and work. Terri is featured this month in our popular “Getting to Know You” section.
Our July poetry collection covers matters spiritual, emotional and environmental with excerpts from published collections by Zine regulars: Matt Pasca, Terri Muuss, Myra Schneider, Silva Merjanian and Michael Dickel, contributing editor to The BeZine. With joy we welcome back two lights: German poet, photographer and educator, Dr. Aprilia Zank and English poet, Patricia Leighton.
New to our pages in this issue are:
- Connie Spearing who writes of finally “seeing” her Irish grandmother with the accidental discovery of her family’s history during and after World War 1.
- Sandra Renew’s s poetry expresses her opinions on the state of the world. She wonders who sleeps at night? Who is lucky enough to live in safety and peace?
- Anca Mihaela Bruma, citizen of world, educated in Rumania, is a poet who writes spiritual autobiography. Anca wanted to incorporate some lovely music and art into her posts. Due to copyrights in one case (Dorina Costras’ art) and technical incompetence (mine) in the other, we are unable to share Dorina’s paintings or Anca’s soundcloud recordings. However you can view Dorina’s work HERE. You can listen to Anca on soundcloud HERE.
One last word: DON’T FORGET TO SAVE THE DATE … Saturday, 24 September 2016 is The BeZine’s 100,000 Poets for Change, an event which we host virtually. This event is part of an important annual arts initiative for global solidarity and peace, social justice and sustainability. Reader participation is invited and encouraged. This is a good time to share your work in the service of a worthy cause. As is our tradition, all submissions will be archived here and at Standford University. Instructions for participation will be provided on our blog that day with Michael Dickel serving as Master of Ceremonies. Between Michael and me, the event will run from morning in Israel to midnight in California. The theme this year is Environment/Environmental Justice. More detail HERE.
Now, come friends. Read. Nourish yourselves at our table …
In the spirit of peace, love and community
and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,
Founding and Managing Editor
The World in Vigil, by Rev. Ben Meyers
THEME: FAITH IN ALL THINGS SEEN and UNSEEN
Knowing, Michael Watson
Varieties of Faith – Rational and Religous, James R. Cowles
Faith Means Making Choices, Priscilla Galasso
A Perfect World, Naomi Baltuck
Falling But Willing, Joseph Hesch
The Pine Cone Project, John Anstie
Regarding Faith, Corina Ravenscraft
A Month of Light, Imen Benyoub
The Blessed Mother: She Reminds Me of Who I Am and Who I Should Be, Fr. Daniel S. Sormani, C.S.Sp.
A Little Story of Faith, Mendes Biondo
NOTIONS OF THE SACRED: Poetry as Spritual Practice, Jamie Dedes
The Grandmother I Didn’t See, Connie Spearing
Speculative Flash Fiction
Moshe’s House in Space, Michael Dickle
Unidos en Cristo, a poem in English y en español, Jamie Dedes
And the Village Still Sings for Taha Muhammad Ali, Patricia Leighton
Coverage, Silva Merjanian
Bring all those who are led astray out of the desert, Sandra Renew
3 a.m., Myra Schneider
prayer for shadows, Aprilia Zank
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
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Access to the biographies of our core team, contributing writers and guest writers is in the blogroll where you can also find links to archived issues of The BeZine (currently in the process of updating), our Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines.