Ah, bliss. My mind was drawn in by the seductive image of the whirling dervish in Sy Safransky’s essay “Their Turn” [January 1995]. My spirit was beginning to ascend, leaving behind the physical, the old timeworn modes of thinking, the self-righteous clichés. My body whirled, my spirit was about to break free . . . then BAM! All spiritual aspirations abruptly ceased and the whirling turned into whining. The essay descended into damning those mean old conservatives who won a majority in the last U.S. election. It was just one more forum to tout the marvelous politically correct liberals and demonize American conservatives. Good grief.
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In “At Home in the World” [January 1995], Peter Matthiessen states that “the Bosnian Muslims and Serbs have been fighting for hundreds of years, and human nature hasn’t changed in forty thousand years.” His statement demonstrates both ignorance of, and unconscious longing for, the sacred feminine.
Bosnian Muslim and Serb men have been fighting for hundreds of years. But have the women been fighting? Since the beginning of the conflict, Serbian men have raped approximately sixty-four thousand Bosnian Muslim women as a matter of military policy.
Matthiessen also ignores the growing archaeological evidence that men’s culture of domination is a relatively recent development. Scholars such as Riane Eisler in The Chalice and the Blade, Marija Gimbutas in The Language of the Goddess, and Eleanor Gadon in The Once and Future Goddess strongly suggest that this pattern of domination is only five thousand years old, and that it was preceded by thirty-five thousand years of peaceful, creative, woman-centered society based not on aggression but on partnership.
Matthiessen later describes his creative process using a metaphor of female procreation, likening himself to a hen laying an egg. I wonder if he sees the irony.
Your magazine is overstuffed with men and needs a thundering horde of women writers to rush through it, let some fresh air in the house, and shout new ideas out the window. In a patriarchal society the men wear blinders and the women see the hurt.
You interview various preachers-on-the-mountain about how to save the world, but not one of them in the last four years has been a woman. Why don’t you interview a blazing feminist tree-hugger? You may be ignoring the very people who do know how to save the world. Many men have touted alternative therapies in your pages, but if you want to know what heals people, you should ask abuse survivors who have recovered. Why not have a forum for them?
And another thing: how come no one enjoys drugs in the stories you publish? Is this too socially unacceptable?
The computer beckons me to finish the brochures and the business-card orders, the bills and the taxes. But the December issue of The Sun that arrived with the morning mail beckons just a little more. I sink into the sofa and start reading. Just one story, one interview, one poem.
Nearly four hours later, I am still sitting on the sofa reading. I speculate on prayer and nonlocality with Larry Dossey, sob for the daughter in Elizabeth Brownrigg’s “Virginia Remembers the War,” reminisce about my work with Southeast Asian refugees through Alison Luterman’s “Love Class,” ponder Gene Zeiger’s elusive “little bit,” chortle and wince through Mark Wisniewski’s “How Lucky We Are,” and conclude by making a mental note to use the Bill Moyers quote from Sunbeams as part of my next Rotary Club invocation. I manage to wash one load of laundry and pick up my seven-year-old at school before beginning my workday at the computer. The Sun is a treasure and a connection to ideas not often found in my conservative, fundamentalist small town.
Fran Peavey’s “Us and Them” [November 1994] moved me. It reminded me of the painful moments that I used to suffer at the hands of my social-activist friends many years ago. “You’ve got to take a stand,” they would say, which usually meant that I had to see some other group as evil. I had a hard time explaining that the truth might not be as black and white as they thought.
Sometimes I like to say, “God takes no position, because God knows all positions.” Could it be that God is even working with the enemy to help our destiny unfold? If I recall correctly, God and the devil have a discussion at the beginning of the Book of Job, and poor Job gets tested to the limit. Was it good or bad that all this happened to him?