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JULY/AUGUST 1999



 

The Movie-Go-Round

The Dreamlife of Angels is one of those quintessentially beautiful French vision of rugged street life, blended with quiet, spiritual realism. Sorry, no mega-explosions or Hollywood ending, but a treat to the eyes, the mind and the heart!

Saving Private Ryan is the All Quiet on the Western Front for our power-mad world. Every one of us who imagines himself as some kind of a war-lover should be required to go watch it. Want to glorify the battlefield? Run out and see it right now! There's enough realistic mayhem and earthly hell in this film to cure all but the most incorrigible fascist freaks among us of romanticizing the reality of violence. Yes, you will come out feeling shell-shocked, but your mind will be clearer, your soul will be purer.

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace shamelessly exploits the glory of an hyper-global trade war in a galaxy maybe not so far away, even as it satirizes the mechanistic, totalitarian "dark side". It's a war-going toyland made extremely believable, a fantastic fairy-tale myth. Heroically wonderful, really.

Oh, by the way, I watched The Counterfeit Contessa with Tea Leoni on a small set at work the other night. At first I judged it to be too clever for its own good, but at some point I just decided to go along with it to see where it would lead. And the outcome is really delightful, a life-fulfilling, death-defying experience of self-discovery. From this viewing, I learned that it's best to suspend critical judgment of a movie and look at it from its own frame of reference.

Ten Things I Hate About You is my favorite movie of recent times. It swings right along with the power-vibes of Seattle's rock music scene, tracking along with the momentous adventures of some very audacious teenagers in a very "NOW" High School. All of it is good -- and instructive, too, with regard to deciding who to be -- the very best for me was the rooftop pop-rock version of Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me" by a great girl singer and her group. For that alone, I'd go back to see it again.

--Bill Joyner (6-10-99)

 

Funny Times
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We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that inner strength may raise a man above his outward fate. Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

--Victor Frankl (in Man's Search for Meaning)
 


My feeling about God is that God is a total mystery, and that's it.
--Corita Kent

 


Expecting something for nothing is the most popular form of hope.
--Arnold Glasow

 


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
--Romans 15:13

 


Are we living in the last days?
Frankly, I don't know, nor does anyone else
with certainty.
But we do know that the earth,
this precious blue- green place 
that we call home,
is becoming seriously warmer.
And we do know that we have the power
and are in the process
of using that power
to destroy this paradise of creation.
It would be all too convenient
to take ourselves off the hook
with the smug assurance
that it's all in God's hands,
so we can leave it up to Him.
Overwhelming evidence
suggests that God
is leaving it up
to us!

 

1210 E. M.L. King Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33603
Email: wmnf@wmnf.org
 

Yesterday, wandering along a railroad spur line, I glimpsed a surprising sight. All summer long, nourished by a few clods of earth on a boxcar roof, a sunflower had been growing. At last, the car had been remembered. A train was being made up, the boxcar with its swaying rooftop inhabitant was coupled in. The engine tooted and slowly, with nodding dignity, my plant began to travel.

Throughout the summer I had watched it grow but never troubled it. Now it lingered and bowed a trifle toward me as the winds began to touch it. A light not quite the sunlight of this earth was touching the flower, or perhaps it was the watering of my aging eye -- who knows? The plant would not long survive its journey, but the flower seeds were autumn-brown. At every jolt for miles they would drop along the embankment. They were travelers -- travelers like Ishmael, (the narrator of Moby Dick) and myself, outlasting all fierce pursuits and destined to re-emerge into future autumns. Like Ishmael, I thought, they will speak with the voice of the one true agent: "I only am escaped to tell thee."

--Loren Eiseley

Overpopulation won't go away
By Georgie Anne Geyer
Washington

Population is becoming the pivotal center to the question of whether societies can develop.

 

It's not working. For years people who where against family planning could argue, and hope and pretend, and weave tales about the glories of open grasslands in Kazakhstan as an answer to the world's population problem - and some people listened.

But now, in a sudden rush of new information about both population pressures and the Earth's sheer sustainability, we can clearly see how foolishly self-destructive that approach has been and continues to be.

As we approach this much-vaunted millennium, we have to realize that, as a new report from the Population Reference Bureau put it, "In the history of the world, no century can match the population growth of the one now coming to an end,. We entered the 20th century with less than 2 billion people, and we leave it with more than 6 billion."

Great efforts at a family planning through female education (the term "population control" is now considered too strong) supposedly began at the U.N. summit meeting in Cairo five years ago. But they have largely failed because they were simply too little. Meanwhile, U.S. funding for contraception was cut way back because of anti-abortion opposition.

But now the whole population problem, across the board, is becoming the pivotal center to the question of whether societies can develop and provide decent lives for their peoples, or whether they will doom themselves to the internal conflict and chaos that overpopulation inevitably brings.

From the recently published "Beyond Malthus: Sixteen Dimensions of the Population Problem," issued by Worldwatch Institute and its president, Lester R. Brown: "Tragically, the world is dividing into two parts: One where population growth is slowing as fertility falls, and one where population growth is slowing as mortality rises." That means that, without intelligent strategies to slow population growth in over-populated countries, "one-third of humanity could slide into a demographic black hole," without sufficient water or cropland.

We know which countries these are. For instance: Nigeria's population is projected to rise from 122 million today to 339 million in 2050. Pakistan's projected growth will be from 148 million today to 357 million by 2050. All such countries will outrun the capacity of the world to feed them, much less feed themselves.

Yet while those voices who complacently repeat that we need not fear a population explosion continue to lull people, another recent publication, "God's Last Offer: Negotiating for a Sustainable Future," shows how intricately, and dangerously, the world's environment and population are interconnected: The unsustainable consumption of resources is so drastic that the net forested area of the world is shrinking by the size of two football fields every second. (All while population growth in the neediest countries - the poorest one-third of humanity - is going through the roof.)

Some leading thinkers on population and the movement of peoples even think mankind could overpopulate itself into extinction through overcrowding. The respected and iconoclastic scholar Garrett Hardin provocatively argues in his just-published "The Ostrich Factor: Our Population Myopia" that, since mankind refuses seriously to engage in "volunteer population control," it will have to turn to a far less desirable "democratic coercion" or "mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon" to limit growth. A limitless world, he argues is the stuff of daydreams that soon turn into nightmares.

The fact is that we know now what works in developing peoples and countries to limit population growth: a reasonably non-corrupt representative government, appropriate forms of economic freedom, a just legal system, a wise diversification of economic resources and income, a high investment in education, women's rights AND family planning.

A prime example: Arab Tunisia on the northern coast of Africa had 4 million people in 1957 when it gained independence from France, with a strong family planning program, it now has 9 million people and is one of the fastest-developing countries in the world.

Its neighbor, Algeria, also had about 4 million in 1957; today it has 30 million people and is ensnared in seemingly endless civil war and chaos. There are many such examples.

Indeed, what more and more serious environmentalists and thinkers are seeing is that, once countries are caught in the explosive levels of population growth of a Nigeria, Pakistan or Algeria, they can't develop beyond the stage of hopeless conflict.

It's time for those people who are pushing for more and more population growth - and who refuse to see the clear warning signals - to simply admit that they don't really care if others stay in poverty, ignorance and chaos. Because in fact; that is what they are really saying.
UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE

 

 

Paradoxically, the ability to be alone is the condition for the ability to love.

--Erich Fromme (in The Art of Love, p. 112)

 


Love is ... a power which breaks through the walls (of separation), which unites him with others; love makes (one) overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet it permits him to be himself, to retain his integrity. In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.

--Erich Fromme (in The Art of Love, p. 20)

 


If you neglect your work, you
will dislike it, if you do it well, you will enjoy it.

--Sidney Smith

 


You can't be beautiful and hate.
--Bess Myerson

 


"A world in which everyone will be in touch needs people in touch with themselves."
--George Leonard
 


"...other seeds fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold."
--Jesus in Mark 4:8


Life says to go on!
Love says to go on. Forsake your cloudy room. go for a quick walk around the neighborhood. that's what I'd say right about now. And as for the deeper things, don't worry, it's all going to be all right.
BJ

 

 

 

 the ground work doesn't show till one day ----
 


 

Hi Bill,
A couple of month's ago I remember the Seed Catalog included an essay by you about individuality,. It came at a time when coursework was crazy so I didn't jot down any note to you then, but it got me thing. I have felt at times very strongly about the importance of being comfortable with oneself and even to the point of having that be the top criteria for some kind of personal happiness. A combination of being (relatively) newly married and taking courses about human development in the context of relationships has lately shifted my thinking somewhat. It struck me reading your essay that it didn't talk about the importance of cultivating certain parts of yourself in relationship to others. it almost seems to me that none of us are ever really alone, even the loners, the lonely or the aloof define themselves in terms of their lack of relationships and interpret other people in terms of how they behave in relationship to others. It really is delightful to get your Seed Catalog - a happy reminder of Sarasota days. I've been questioning the meaning of considering the self outside of the context of relationships.


Best,
Juliane


 

What is meant by the phrase, "CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS."?

Some would say that it means Christ paid a ransom of his own life to appease an angry, implacable God -- and that if we fail to accept this, we'll go straight to hell. The old story of conversion by coercion. But, of course, we are forever re-creating religion in the image of our own ideology. So here's what I think about it.

Let's accept, first of all, that what is said about being "born in sin" is divinely true -- in Paul Tillich's understanding of sin as "separation." We are separated at birth, separated from the most primal source of our own being. And that is no sin. But our choice to become and remain isolated & closed off from others is perhaps the original and abiding sin of our species. Reunion is our true destiny & purpose, not separation and spiritual death.

Christ died for our sins AND because of them. He died because of the essential brokeness, division and exclusion afflicting the human race like some fatal disease. And he died for our sins by demonstrating through his own flesh and blood, in the worst imaginable circumstances, that there is a way to transcend human self-alienation. That way is RECONCILIATION! Reconciliation begins on the cross where Jesus says of his tormentors, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."

Divine acceptance is self-acceptance. Receiving divine forgiveness from ourselves, realizing that we are perpetually accepted by the very "ground of all being," Terrible, irretrievable mistakes have been and will be made, but we learn and we do what love and life say for us to do -- we go on!

--Bill Joyner (6-10-99)


 


The Seed Catalog
William T. Joyner, Editor
THE SEED CATALOG is available by mail for an annual suggested donation of $5.00
-- or any expression of interest. I try to do at least 8 issues a year. Thanks for tuning in!
--Bill Joyner / P.O. Box 3411 / Sarasota, FL 34230

 

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