And welcome to PaganFM! here on WSCA-LP, 106.1 FM. Itís
midnight here, and Iím
So, The Democratic National Conference was this week. Barack Obama was officially nominated as the Democratic Candidate for President. Joe Biden was selected as his running mate. John McCain has selected Sarah Palin as his running mate.
The campaign rhetoric is taking off. As the campaigns really get going, personal attacks, exaggerations and willful ignorance, along with outright lies are on the rise. This brings to mind an interesting paradox: Sometimes the more you listen, the less you know.
Most of us like to hear people who reflect our own values and ideals. Weíre all too ready to believe what those who we agree with have to say about those we donít.
In this monthís issue of ďThe† QuestĒ, a magazine published by the
Theosophical Society, Gene Sager had an article called ďZen Tea and Catholic
EucharistĒ. Mr. Sager recalled an old adage in his article. ďHe
who knows only
The same is true of us who listen only to the rhetoric coming from those we agree with. If we donít listen to other viewpoints, and consider them, we really canít put even our own viewpoints into context.
Election years are times when passions flair. This year, perhaps more than others Iíve witnessed, seems to be bringing to the fore, issues of race, religion and our nationís standing in the world. Weíll hear how each candidate has the right answer, and how the other candidateís ideas would lead to ruin for our entire nation.
My hope, for all of us, as we work through the next few months is that weíll listen not just to those who can reinforce our own positions, but to those who have differing views as well. I hope that we can find something of value in what they have to say as well.
Sometimes thatís hard. Weíll hear things that we donít believe, things that we donít want to believe, and things that really tick us off.
But if we donít hear them, if we donít investigate what we
hear, and donít take the time to learn, we simply donít have complete
information. We donít really know
In any situation in our lives, no matter what it is that weíre trying to do, if we approach it with incomplete information, weíre simply not going to do the best job possible. If weíre making a cake and we miss the fact that the ingredients call for chocolate, we might still have a cake, but itís not going to be what we were looking for.
Likewise, if we make decisions about who weíll choose for president, and weíve only listened to one side of the discussion, while we have made a choice, if weíve not listened to the whole story, weíre really not making an informed decision. Voterís guides, and reports from biased news sources are probably not the best sources to hear what a candidate has to say. Seriously, if you want to know what a person has to say, listen to them.
Donít automatically assume that what you hear about a person is the truth; itís often not. So far Iíve heard that Senator McCain has psychological problems due to his treatment as a prisoner of war, and that Senator Obama is actually a Muslim. The first statement tries to tell us that if we elect Senator McCain, that weíll have an unstable president who could snap at any moment. The second tries to equate Senator Obama with terrorism.
Both of these are proved falsehoods, and are designed to play on your emotions rather than to provide you with any real information. In short, I guess itís up to us to use our own minds, to discern the truth, to find out all that we can, and to know what it is that we really want for our country. What are your values? Which candidates support your views? Which will support your views and aspirations for our country?
In case you havenít noticed, Iím a huge proponent of taking some responsibility for the direction of our country. The point is that our country, our civilization is what allows us to live our lives and to express our values. Our choice of leaders, our participation in the polling booths is our input into that process. If we donít choose a representative to make our views known, if weíre silent and donít let our representatives know our views, we, by our choosing, have no voice.
We do have a right to complain, but complaints only go so
far. Right now though, we have the opportunity to make dramatic choices about
which direction our country will go. Letís be educated and make wise decisions.
Letís learn about our candidates, whatever their party affiliation. Letís
Also this week, Iíve been thinking about how our lives so constantly change. We might see that things are going the wrong way, so we change them. Some of the people that I know have made some changes and wonder why their lives arenít immediately showing results. Why is it, for example, that when we recognize that for years, weíve been making unhealthy choices, either with drugs, alcohol, sex Ö whatever it might be, and decide to quit the unhealthy behaviors, that life isnít immediately perfect?
This might sound simple, but the truth is that the habits that we form and cultivate create patterns in our lives. Maybe we abandon a bad habit, but that doesnít mean that our life will simply and immediately change.
I know a number of people whoíve given up drugs or alcohol, but still have legal issues hanging over their heads. Their credit ratings are shot. Their families donít trust them. Life might begin to change when they give up the drugs or alcohol or whatever it is thatís controlling their lives, but thatís just a beginning.
People who suffer from cancer know that removal of a tumor is only part of the treatment in most cases. Afterwards, there might be radiation or chemo therapy. There might be physical therapy or rehabilitation.
When we decide to change something in our lives, that change is only the beginning. It takes a while to manifest the results of those changes. The wreckage we might have left behind isnít going to magically transform without effort. If weíve been dishonest, or untrustworthy, itís going to take a while for a good reputation to be rebuilt.
There are things that we can change overnight. We can choose to adopt a new spirituality, we can give up alcohol or drugs, we can decide to go green, but the universe and our lives have a certain inertia. If we make a change in our lives, things beyond our lives will begin to change, but it does take time.
I was trying to find out a bit more about Southern New Hampshire Pagan Pride this week, and the event listing thatís on Witchvox seems to be out of service Ö the web site listed there is no longer working, and the phone number is out as well. I checked out their moonfruit address, and thatís working. Iíll give that address out once again on the PaganFM Almanac.
Iíve also been in touch though with Eastern Massachusetts
Pagan Pride, which will be taking place in
Anyway, there are still changes happening here at PaganFM!
Iíve heard from the station management that some of our listeners would like to be able to access archived or podcast versions of the show. So, Iíll be trying to contact more of the musicians that are featured here, and to get permission from them to archive or podcast the shows that feature their music. The downside of this is that we might have fewer overall musicians, but it will make the program more available. If youíve got thoughts about this, let me know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tonight, Julia will be back with her Mystic Moment. That will be up right after our PaganFM! almanac.
In our Pagan Primer this week, weíll take a look at ritual and Sacred Space.
Coming up at 1:30, I had an opportunity to speak with Christopher Penczak this week. Weíll air that chat at 1:30.
If you want to get in touch with us here at the station, the number is 603-430-9722, or 430-WSCA
For now though, letís get to some music. In honor of the Gypsy Nomads who will be playing at Eastern Massachusetts Pagan Pride, here are a couple of their pieces featured on their MySpace page.
© 2008, Deirdre Hebert