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August 2007
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October 2007

The real reason there are high rates of black single motherhood

Mark J. Penn points out in his book, Microtrends, that there are 109 million straight adult women in America for 98 million straight adult men for a straight sex ratio of 53-47. However, this ratio is even worse in the black community where it starts out at 56 - 44 due to the high rates of death of black teenage boys, but due to the high incarceration rates of black men it moves the ratio to even greater disparity at 57 - 43. It appears that the fact that so many black women are single mothers has as much to due with societal structural issues as it does with any moral failure to support the traditional family structure. The simple fact is that there are not enough males around who are available to black women to marry and to participate in family life.

As long as black men keep getting killed and incarcerated, the black family will tend to be headed by females. And black men probably turn to crime because of low employment and consequent poverty. Lacking good male paternal role models the vicious cycle gets perpetruated. Perhaps if there were more good jobs for black young adults, they would marry, settle down, and stay out of crime and prison, and be there for their wives and children.

Rev. William G. Sinkford, President of Unitarian Universalist Association, calls for an end to the Iraq War

It is interesting that even thought President Bush tells the American people that God speaks to him and tells him what to do not all religious people share the same values or views as President Bush's God. It makes you wonder what God people are listening to or what God talks to whom. Rev. William G. Sinkford, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association thinks that the war in Iraq should end as do the majority of the people in the United States. Here is the statement on the UUA website:

On September 6, I faxed a message to every member of Congress telling them, "Not another dollar. Not another life." To make sure they heard me, I am headed to Capitol Hill with my colleague Rev. John H. Thomas, the United Church of Christ's General Minister and President. On October 10 we will be walking into your representatives' offices to tell them to end the war and I want to bring you with me!

I invite you to sign the petition below calling for an end to our reliance on violence as the first, rather than the last, resort and an end to the arrogant unilateralism of preemptive war. Join me in speaking truth to those who have run from it. Please sign this petition and add your voice to 25,000 other Unitarian Universalists who say that security is found in building beloved community, not by dominating others.

I signed the petition and ask that you do the same.

Link: UUA: 25,000 for Peace—Join Rev. Sinkford's Call to End the War.

Single women becoming larger and stronger voice in American life

Is it time for a female president? It just might be. Women are becoming, increasingly, a majority in American society in a number of social indicators. Consider the following:

Women outnumber men in college 57% to 43%,

Women outvoted men 54% to 46% in the 2004 Presidential election

Women outnumber men in professions life law, public relations, and journalism as well as teaching, social work, nursing. They are increasingly represented in medicine, engineering, accounting and other professions.

In 2005, singe women were the second largest group of home buyers after married couples and in 2005 they bought 1.5 million homes, twice as many as single men.

The number of single woman has almost doubled in the U.S. from 1970 to 2006.

I am reminded of Helen Reddy's song, "I am woman hear me roar in numbers too loud to ignore." As women with money, power, time and energy become a larger and larger factor in our society will we see a shift to what Riane Eisler calls the partnership rather than the dominator society?

I got a lot of this information from a new book entitled, Microtrends, by Mark J. Penn with E. Kinney Zalesne. I will be posting other articles dealing with topics covered in this book so I am making a new category today called Microtrends if you want to access all the articles based on this book.

Morning meditation - Be still and know that I am God

We must be open to the Tao, to the Holy Spirit, to our Higher Power, if we are to have any peace. Wind stirs the water and it becomes muddy and full of debris. When the water becomes calm, it settles and becomes clear. We need to settle and become receptive to our awareness of the transcendent instead of roiled and distracted by the turbulence in the external world.

In the spiritual life, we are aware of our need to be receptive, to simplify, to turn inward and shut off the distractions of daily life. Peace, equanimity, serenity comes from listening to the whispers of God not from business and strife created by competition and rushing from one source of stimulation to another. In Psalm 46:10 it says, "Be still, and know that I am God."

The Chalice and The Blade, the book

Fertility_goddess Feminist friends recommended Riane Eisler's book, The Chalice and The Blade, to me way back in the 80s when it first came out and I never got around to reading it. Somewhere I got a copy of the audiobook version and I listened to the book last week.

Eisler goes way back in human history and develops a theory of earlier societies which she says were matriarchal and worshiped the feminine goddess instead of the patriarchal dominating god we have today. She juxtaposes what she calls the dominator model of society where brute male force dominates women and people who are weaker with the partnership model where women and men were equals. She creates an attractive scenario and selects information from archeology, anthropology, myth, art, economics and politics to make her case. Her selective interpretation of some data has opened her model up for criticism, but nonetheless it provides a constructive, hopeful, and helpful view of how things might have been and how they could be better in the future.

Her book is well worth reading or listening to. I recommend it.

Morning meditation - Learning how to love one another

Whether we are aware of it or not we constantly choose between love and fear. Fear comes up in the form of greediness and attack. We always want more, and more, and more, and we see ourselves in competition with others for material things, for attention, for pleasure. The irony is that true satisfaction and serenity in life, happiness if you will, comes from giving not from getting. We live in a society that constantly insists that we pursue getting because we are driven by profit, the bottom line, and we have made it our utlimate yardstick, our ultimate goal, our God.

We no longer, as a society, concern ourselves with the common good, the social benefit or even justice but rather with the accumulation of material wealth and power.

However, it is in the joining together, sharing, connecting with others for common cause and benefit that we as individuals as well as community grow and develop and become happy. It is indeed countercultural to realize that happiness and well being comes from giving not from getting, from sharing not from hoarding, from loving not from defensiveness and arrogance.

In the spiritual life, we become aware of the paradoxes of life. We are willing to be "fools for Christ", and we love the laughing Buddha, the holy fool Nasrudin.

I learned from the Unitarian Universalists that you don't have to believe alike to love alike. Mulla Nasrudin was asked one day, "Nasrudin, is your religion orthodox?" and Nasrudin said, "It all depends on which bunch of heretics is in power."

In the spiritual life, we look beyond power, beyond fear, and strive to discern justice, truth, and love. At the time of the early Christian communities, it was said that non christians would marvel and say, "Look how they love one another." Wouldn't it be great if the whole world became like that and we all learned to love one another?

Quote of the day

"Two terms in office is plenty...and for some people, too many."

Stephen Gaskin, An Outlaw In My Heart, p. 47

"For may politicians, they have made holding office no longer public service, but a career."


Quote of the day

"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life, as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed."

Brooker T. Washington

"He was born on third base."


Doing business the old fashion way when a person's word still means something

Storycorps200 I love NPR's StoryCorps series. These are real stories told by real people and it has helped restore my faith in human kind. It has reminded me that the important things that happen in life happen between every day people who are kind to each other. One such story is the story about Cronig's Market and the relationship which developed between Robbie Cronig and Stever Bernier. It would be a far different world if people operated this way every where.

Robbie Cronig took over his father and uncle's market, Cronig's Market, on Martha's Vineyard which had been started in 1917. After working at the store his whole life he sold it to Stever Bernier who had worked at the store for years. It was sold on a handshake something very rare these days. Here is part of what it says on the StoryCorps web site:

Bernier says that shortly after he met Cronig, they discussed him buying the store.

"You slapped the keys in my hand and you said, 'Someday you're going to own this place,'" Bernier recalls.

"It was wonderful because [Bernier] was exactly what I wanted to take over the business and no way in the world could I refuse," Cronig says. "I didn't ask for a nickel down. I didn't ask for any paper, anything. And he was the most honest man I've ever done business with, ever."

"One of those nights, we shook hands and closed the deal," Bernier says. "There was no negotiations, there was no bickering, there was no nonsense — we just shook hands, nodded with approval and that was it. The deal was done."

To listen to Steve and Robbie tell their story click on the link below. The story is short, maybe 4 minutes or so. It is well worth the listen.

Link: NPR : A Martha's Vineyard Institution Changes Hands.