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March 26, 2009

Week #11 Reading Reflection Assignment

REMINDER: visit on April 2 by Pat Darling to talk about her experiences with contemporary Buddhist practice.

Due for full credit on April 2; due for "grace period" 1 point down on April 9.

These articles reflect a wide range of perspectives of American women who have embraced Buddhist practice. They move away from primary concerns of inclusion and battling sexism to more exploration of the value of Buddhist practice. Respond to the following prompts in your reading reflection:
-- What, on the whole, do these writers feel is the attraction of Buddhist practice to contemporary American women?
-- How can women be able to benefit from Buddhist practice in the face of ongoing social difficulties (sexism being one of them) that are part of the human dimension of any religious organization with thousands of years of tradition?
-- For you, what were some of the highlights or things you found interesting about Buddhism that you learned from these articles?
-- For the two African American women, bell hooks and Jan Willis, what do they articulate about how Buddhist practice is helpful to them in terms of their own traditions and their own situations as women of color in America? Do they have particular insights / concerns / unique experiences because of their situation as women of color?
-- What would you like to know more about regarding Buddhism? (If you get this posted before Pat Darling comes to talk to us on April 2, we can give her the questions you post.)

Week #11 Reading Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions for April 3, Buddhist Women On The Edge

1) bell hooks, p. 287, "Contemplation and Transformation"
** If you have a prior exposure to bell hooks or her writings as a feminist and African American activist, were you surprised to learn that she identifies as a Buddhist?
** What is your understanding of her assertion that "love is an active practice.....To commit to love is fundamentally to commit to life beyond dualism."
** Does your faith ask you to be in love with the universe (even the hard parts)?
** What brought bell hooks to Buddhism?
** What are some difficulties for African Americans who get involved with Buddhism?
** How does the culture of domination depend on dualism and victimhood?
** How does she explain the connection between suffering and love?
** How does she explain the transformative power of Buddhism (and its
capacity to create social/cultural "revolution"??

2) Pema Chodron, p. 293, "No Right, No Wrong"
** What did you make of Pema Chodron's moral ambiguity in regards to her relationship with her teacher Chogyam Trungpa and what most of us would identify as "immoral' behavior?
** Can one love and respect and be devoted to someone who doesn't keep ethical norms (without being hurt or compromised)?
** What is her advice to fellow students who find themselves being propositioned by someone "who loves women"?
** Are her eyes wide open on this issue? Again, how does she handle the ambiguity?
** What did you understand about groundlessness (the wisdom of insecurity is what another Buddhist teacher called it) and Pema's quest to "be free of habitual patterns.....which maintain a false sense of security which denies death." Is this an unusual desire? How does her teacher push her envelope?
** How does Pema define genuine compassion?
** Would you find her spiritual counseling or advice useful?

3) Jan Willis, p. 81, "Buddhism and Race."

** How does Jan combine "Baptist - Buddhism"? (In her autobiography, she goes into more detail about how the Baptist part still works for her. It's much like why Raenel Jones still goes to her mother's church, for comfort, for familiarity, and for the music).
** What is her critique of American Buddhist centers in regards to creating a comfort zone for people of color?
** What is her observation about why Nichiren Shoshu of America has had more success in attracting women of color (including Tina Turner) than other Buddhist centers?
** What does Jan Willis get from Buddhism? From teaching Buddhism in the academy?
** What is the deep knowledge that Willis reminds us that black people carry, and what experience does this knowledge come from?
** What wisdom and understanding do black people have to offer all people?

4) Thubten Chodron, p. 223, "Living as a Western Buddhist Nun"
** Have you ever had questions similar to the ones Thubten Chodreon asks on page 223? ** What did she find in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition that wasn't there for her in mainstream Western culture?
** How would you respond if it were your child that announced that he/she was being ordained as a Buddhist monk/nun? What was Thubten Chodron's lifestyle after ordination?
** What are some of the challenges of being a Western nun in the Tibetan tradition? Pay particular attention to these: not speaking Tibetan; being a woman in a male-dominated hierarchical religious institution; being an educated, assertive, active, initiating American rather than a demure, quiet Asian female monastic (please excuse the stereotype); living alone vs. living in community; having to work for livelihood; and dealing with gender discrimination.
** What does she finally conclude about maintaining options as Buddhism comes to the West?
** Did you find any advantages or benefits for the monastic life?

5) Rita Gross, p. 133, "Renunciation and Balance in American Buddhist Practice" >
** What kind of lifestyle actually promotes becoming an enlightened Buddha? (Buddhist theory says that we're all Buddhas in the making, that enlightenment is on a continuum, which places Shakyamuni Buddha as being fully enlightened---and that his enlightenment was attained over many, many lifetimes).
** Is it possible for lay people to experience the same level of realization as the monastics?
** In her "dissertation" on Renunciation (giving up) and Community (joining), how does family fare in Rita Gross' article? What obstacles to detachment and renunciation do immersion in work and family present? Why does she suggest denouncing "domesticity"? How might the fact that Rita Gross didn’t have children affect her thinking?
** Buddhist tradition takes Refuge in the Sangha, or the community. Why does Gross say the Buddhist community is not a place to provide security for the ego or a safe social environment? Then what is the purpose of this community? (To replace the family? To give unconditional love? Mutual admiration society?) How does renunciation fit into this community?
** As a feminist, Gross notes "the absolutely critical importance of relationships to spiritual well being." How is this insight similar to the other readings from this course? ** How can "Right Livelihood" help American Buddhists balance work, family, and community in pursuit of enlightenment?

Week #10 Discussion Café

Please post here by April 2 for full credit after reading posted Week #10 Reading Reflections.

- On-line class members: this is required for group learning credit.
- Everyone: feel free to add extra ideas, observations, and questions related to the reading on Buddhism.

March 19, 2009

Week #9 Discussion Café

Use this link to comment on class Reading Reflections for Week #9. You can also share any lingering thoughts you have about the book Weaving the Visions as we move on to a new topic.

Those unable to attend group discussion on March 19: you'll need to post something for your group learning points.
Everyone: feel free to add comments and observations.

Due date for full credit: March 26. Final "grace period" due date for partial credit: April 2.

Week #10 Reading Reflection Assignment

Week #10 Reading Reflection Prompts

Assigned articles are the specific articles referenced in the Discussion Questions for Week #10 - use the Discussion Questions to guide your critical reading. Then write your responses to the Reading Reflection prompts below and post them in the “comments” link at the bottom of this posting. Due for full credit: March 26. “Grace period” (one point down) deadline: April 2.

* What are the most interesting things you learned about women’s experiences of Buddhism in this first section of the book?
* What questions or puzzles do you have reading about contemporary American women’s experiences of Buddhism?
* What similarities did you see in the issues and experiences women wrote about in these articles compared to the issues and experiences from Christian or Jewish backgrounds that we read about in the first two books?
* Which women’s issues or experiences in these articles seem unique to Buddhist traditions and practices?

Reading Discussion Questions Week #10

Buddhist Women on the Edge - First Section

Please read the book's introductory remarks, and then read the chapters indicated below and prepare to discuss them next week. These questions are to guide your critical reading and to prepare for the written Reading Reflection assignment.

In the study of American Buddhism, "ethnic" and "convert" are the two main categories of American Buddhists. Ethnic Buddhists are immigrants or the descendents of Asian immigrants. Converts are dominant culture people who joined movements and practice groups which essentially are all of the Asian varieties of Buddhism: Japanese, Sri Lankan, Chinese, Tibetan, Thai, Vietnamese, etc. Sometimes they marry someone who is ethnic, but more often than not, they joined a Zen or Vipassana or Tibetan group which had its start in the 1960s.

Converts learned yoga, meditation and sometimes martial arts. They learned Asian cookery and medicine. They may have gone on week-end, three-week, or year long retreats for the purpose of achieving inner peace or the other motives of religious seekers.

In this book you will encounter converts to Vipassana or Theravadan (Sri Lanka and Burma) tradition, Mahayana (Japan, China, Vietnam) tradition, and Vajrayana (Tibetan) tradition. Some of these women have been all over the world; some found a Buddhist practice group in their own hometown. For more background information on Buddhism, see the new "Buddhism Resources" link on the upper-right directory list (be sure to 'refresh' your main page to see the new links).

As you read, please compare and contrast these women’s experiences with what we have read of feminism and Christianity or Judaism in the Plaskow and Christ books.

If you get confused about terms, please consult the Glossary in the back of the book, p. 305 – 308, and please remember that when one studies Buddhism and Zen, there are at least a half dozen languages that the terms are drawn from, so if you get confused, remember that it’s all part of “Beginner’s Mind."

1) Introduction
* How have Buddhist practice and philosophy helped the editor, Marianne Dresser, deal with uncomfortable and discouraging experiences with individuals and institutions in her adopted religion?
* What drove Marianne to seek “an authentic spiritual life" within Buddhism?
* Why is she uncomfortable with the human tendency to silence dissent and with unwillingness to look deeply into the social conditions of patriarchal religions?
* Why was it important for Marianne to represent diverse viewpoints in this book?

2) “Form, Emptiness" - p. 13 – 17
Sally Tisdale brings questions abour “is gender destiny" and “does gender make a difference".
* Why might women feel lonely and not have their relational needs met in a religion that fused with 13th C. Japanese feudal cultural and martial arts (classical Zen)? Where sitting practices and keeping silence is the norm? Where lineages and canonized leadership is always male?
* How can gender be illusion when a woman bleeds, goes through menopause, gives birth to children?
* What does Sally long for /call for in this essay?

3) “Sounds of Silence" - p. 19 – 36

Some Buddhist concepts/terms that Kate is incorporating into this essay:
** No-Self -- the Buddhist belief that a permanent self does not exist.
** Radical Empiricism – Buddha’s insistence that we need only believe our own (enlightened) experience, that Buddhists don’t have to take anything on faith or from dogma.
** Delusion – our ordinary mind which is caught in samsara (the suffering condition of the world).
** Mindfulness – that which cuts through the delusion.

* If the politics of Buddhism is the interconnection of all beings, how is Buddhist problem-solving different from that of the mainstream culture? (Do you see any similarities with the Christ article in Weaving the Visions?)
* What are the principles of “socially engaged Buddhism”?
* What do Buddhism and feminism have in common? (p. 22)
* How did Kate O’Neill get started on her meditation practice path? What was her first obstacle? (How does this relate to some of the statistics about women in this book?)
* Why is it important for Kate that feminist awareness inform her Buddhist practice?
(Does Kate’s lesbian feminist stance remind you of anyone else we have read?

4) “The Light of Outrage: Women, Anger and Buddhist Practice” - p. 51 – 56
* How does Anita Barrows explain the creative power of anger? Holy anger? Rage? Outrage? What is the Buddhist position on anger? How is this similar to Christian
teachings on anger? What are the implications for women’s experience?
* How are women acculturated in regards to expressing anger? How can anger be an empowerment rather than something to be denied?
* Who else have we met who expressed profound anger at the condition of her culture?

5) “Bowing, Not Scraping” - p. 57 – 67
* What kinds of cognitive dissonance does Katie Wheeler express about her adopted religion? What contradictions does she find in World Buddhism?
* How did Katie get on the Dharma path?
* What were some difficult places along that path as a nun in a Burmese order?
* Did you notice any similarities between Kathie’s Theravadan conversion and how she approached her latest conversion to Tibetan Buddhism?
* Why do Western women put up with subordination (and humiliation) in an Eastern religious context that they wouldn’t abide in their own culture?
* Is there any hope for change so that Dharma women have equality with men?

6) “Watering the Garden with My Eyes Closed” - p. 163 – 170.
* Explain how the themes of this essay could be summarized as “opening the heart”and “how all boundaries/walls are artificial.”
* How did you react to Barbara Gates’ life situation? – fighting neighbors, breast cancer, feelings of inner violence, love of garden, concern for daughters, genocide in Bosnia……etc.

Buddhism resources in Minnesota

Buddhism Resources - Minnesota

List of Minnesota mindfulness groups posted through the Plum Village site (the site for Thich Nhat Hanh's group in France: www.plumvillage.org/ ). Note that women are involved in leadership for both groups.

Twin Cities Sangha/ Judith Lies
3043 47th Ave. S., Minneapolis 55406

Compassionate Ocean Dharma Center
Joen Snyder O'Neal and Michael O'Neal
3206 Holmes Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612)825-7658; meditate@oceandharma.org

* Twin Cities Vipassana Collective

* Minneapolis Shambala Center (North Minneapolis)

* Common Ground Center (south Minnepolis)

* And, of course, the larger and well-established Minnesota Zen Center:

Second Short Paper: Participation/Observation

Women & Religion Spring 2009
Short Paper #2 – Community Based Learning Project
Due Saturday, April 4 by Midnight – Word or RTF Document Attachment

We’ve read our text and had discussions (in person or on-line), all of which is classroom learning. For this assignment, we need to get out of the classroom and back into the world. The topic is Looking for Women’s Spirituality in the Twin Cities. You are being asked to go explore, analyze, and send in your report to share what you find.

Please choose a religious path that is different from your own background. In looking for resources, think more broadly than “church.” You may have to find women’s religious expression at a bookstore, art gallery, or ritual in someone’s home.

One approach to finding a resource is to talk to your friends or co-workers to see whether you could attend a service or event with them – or use the list below and the Web/e-mail updates that I’ll start putting out for you as a starting point. If you aren’t comfortable doing this kind of research alone, pair up with a classmate, or take a friend when you go to visit a new place.

Steps and stages:
A. Pick a topic / place to visit,
B. Find out when you can visit,
C. Commit to a time and show up,
D. PARTICIPATORY / OBSERVATION RESEARCH (record impressions right away)

Attend the service/event and participate in whatever is going on. This must be an event that communicates something about women’s experiences in religion/spirituality.

Notice the order of business, ritual, symbols, prayers, body language, gender roles, and audience participation. Notice where you are comfortable and the places where you are uncomfortable, how you are challenged, what you enjoyed. Record your observations in notes shortly after your observation. Ask your friend for their impressions. Does something stand out that reminds you of a point or experience discussed in our reading?

E. WRITING UP THE RESULTS. Your 3 page essay should include:
1. Describe the place that you visited – the physical space and who else was there,
2. Describe the religious aspects of what you observed (language, symbols, rituals, etc.),
3. Analyze your comfort level, how you were challenged, and
compare the experience with what your are familiar with,
4. Analyze in terms of what you have learned about women’s experience in religion and spirituality in through course readings and class discussion – does something stand out that reminds you of a point or experience discussed in our reading? How well does this setting / event support women’s leadership, involvement, full participation? What do you learn about women’s lives through this setting / event?

= = = = = = = = = = = =

Some events/opportunities that might work for you – though unfortunately quite a few are on Thursday evenings! I’ll keep looking for options.

Ongoing – former Amazon Bookstore, now True Colors Bookstsore – a feminist bookstore in south Minneapolis. 4755 Chicago Av S, Mpls, MN 55407 – 612-821-9630. Call to find a time when the owner Ruta Skujins is there and can talk to you about the history of the store.

Ongoing through March 27
NightLight / City Minneapolis / Place HCMC / Address 8th and Chicago Details / Inspire Arts of HCMC presents Artwork by Stephanie M Jones. Blue Building Lower Level Lobby / Start Date Friday, February 27, 2009 / End Date Friday, March 27, 2009 / Additional Information Blue Building Lower Level Lobby / Phone 612.873.2208.
Ongoing through May 24 : Changing Identity: Recent Works by Women Artists from Vietnam. This art exhibit “is the first major touring exhibition to feature Vietnamese women artists in the U.S. The exhibition explores the roles of women in Vietnamese society and challenges the stereotypes they face. By tracing the trajectories and life stories of ten artists working in a variety of media - painting, ink drawing, video performance, photography, and multimedia installations - Changing Identity reveals these women in their historical and social contexts as artists, as Vietnamese, and as individuals.” Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota. Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday ,10:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 A.M. to 5:00. Closed Mondays and major holidays. Exhibit is free; parking (below the museum at 333 E. River Road, Mpls) is $3/hour. Info: http://www.weisman.umn.edu/.

3/12 – Thursday, at 4:00 p.m. Author and poet, Elizabeth Haukaas, will discuss her book, Leap: Poems, at the University of Minnesota Bookstore in Coffman Memorial Union. “These poems focus on the hard subjects: a child’s life-threatening illness, a mother’s struggle with the serious illnesses of all her children, the ends of marriages, the deaths of lovers—but the poems are not grim. Leap resonates with life and survival, with richness of rhythm and language. At once narrative and lyric, they express the voice and experience of a poet who has lived fully—and is now fully engaging the tools of her craft. Haukaas will sign copies of her book following the discussion.”

3/14 Saturday - International Women's Day
The 14th Annual International Women's Day Celebration is presented by The Advocates for Human Rights and the Human Rights Program at the University of Minnesota. Keynote speakers are Fahima Vorgetts (right), a women's rights leader in Afghanistan, and Fionnuala Ni Aolain, a professor at the University of Minnesota and the University of Ulster in Belfast, Ireland. The day includes workshops, films and numerous information tables. Free. University of Minnesota Coffman Memorial Union, Minneapolis.
FFI: www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org

3/14 Saturday
Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival Presents: "The Secrets (Hasodot)" CityHopkins PlaceHopkins Mann Theater Address1118 Mainstreet Hopkins, MN 55343 DetailsNominated for eight Israeli Academy Awards, Hasodot is the story of a devout daughter of an ultra-Orthodox rabbi and her rebellious quest for individuality. Wary of marriage in an insular community, Naomi (Ania Bokstein) convinces her father to send her to an all-female Jewish seminary in the Israeli city of Safed, a center of Kabbalistic study. There she befriends a fellow free-spirited student, Michelle (Michal Shtamler). The girls encounter a mysterious, ailing foreigner with a disturbing past (Fanny Ardant). Attempting to purge the woman’s sins through mystical rituals, Naomi and Michelle begin a risky journey into forbidden realms. A complex examination of feminism and sexuality in a repressive religious culture, Hasodot is directed by the multi-award winning Avi Nesher (Turn Left at the End of the World). (Summary courtesy of Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, 2009) Director: Avi Nesher Israel, 2007 127 minutes Hebrew and French with Eng. subtitles Minnesota Premier Start DateSaturday, March 14, 2009 Start Time8:30 PM End Time11:00 PM FFI: http://www.mplsjff.org .

March 17-20 – Oprah Winfrey Presents: The Color Purple (Ordway theater, St. Paul – descriptions from Web site): “From Alice Walker's classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and the landmark film by Steven Spielberg comes a soul-stirring new musical. The Color Purple is an inspiring and unforgettable story of a woman who, through love, finds the strength to triumph over adversity and discover her unique voice in the world. With a moving book and a score featuring gospel, jazz, ragtime, and the blues, The Color Purple is ultimately a story of hope, a testament to the healing power of love, and a celebration of life.” – This is a touring production – a bit pricey (except for standing room only seats) but sounds exciting. Info: www.ordway.org. Tickets: http://www.ordway.org/performances/ . Box office: 651-224-4222.

Thursday March 19 - The Green M&M Project – 6:00-8:00 p.m. / City Minneapolis / Place Hope Community, Inc. / Address 611 E. Franklin Ave. / Details A reality-based examination of myths and messages about sex, power, and growing up male and female. / Discussion/workshop with The Aurora Center. / Phone 612-435-5045 / Email alena@hope-community.org / Web Address http://www.hope-community.org/.

Thursday March 26 Celebrating Our Voices – m 6:00-8:00 p.m. / City Minneapolis / Place Hope Community, Inc. / Address 611 E. Franklin Ave. / Details Performance by: Articulating Our Voices Now. Join us as we celebrate women’s history month with a performance by the young women of our community through dance, poetry, spoken word and song! / 612-435-5045 / Email alena@hope-community.org / Web Address http://www.hope-community.org/.

March 28 – Saturday – 7:00-9:00 p.m / Vernalia celebration, hosted by the Lodge of Our Lady of Celestial Fire / City Minneapolis / Place Eye of Horus Metaphysical Store / Address 2717 Lyndale Ave S., Mpls., MN 55408 / Details The Lodge of Our Lady of Celestial Fire will host an open Vernalia celebration. Please feel free join in this celebration of Spring. Donations to help cover costs are cheerfully accepted. / Email contact@eyeofhorus.biz / Web Address http://eyeofhorus.biz/calendar.

April 2 – Thursday – 7:00-9:00 p.m. – Book Release Party and Reading - Apprenticed to Hope: with Julie Neraas / City Saint Paul / Place Carondelet Center / Address 1890 Randoph Ave / Details Join Julie Neraas, author of Apprenticed to Hope: A Sourcebook for Challenging Times, who will read from her new book. A baffling illness inspired Julie to investigate psychology, theology, and poetry for a new definition of hope. She will talk about the nature of hope and how it differs from optimism, faith and wishing. / Phone 651-696-2788 / Email wisdomways@csjstpaul.org / Web Address www.wisdomwayscenter.org.

Metro Women's History Month - March Events

Mon 16
Violence Against Women: An Overview
Forty‐one percent of Metropolitan State’s female students have experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse—about double the national average. It’s time to do something about it. The dialogue begins with speakers who are victims’ advocates, police, staff from batterers’ programs and victims/ survivors.
Founders Hall
Reception Area
11:30 AM to 1 PM
Light Refreshments

Mon 23
Men’s Responsibility in Ending Domestic Violence against Women
Twenty‐three percent of male students at Metropolitan State report that they have attacked a partner physically or verbally. What is the responsibility of men to end violence against women? The program is a dialogue among former male perpetrators, treatment professionals, change agents and others.
Founders Hall
Reception Area
11:30 AM to 1 PM
Light Refreshments

Wed 25
Women’s Showcase
• Sandra Benitez – The Saving Grace of Stories (Noon ‐ 2 PM, Great Hall)
• Fashion Show (2 – 3 PM , Auditorium)
• Women Entrepreneur Expo (3 ‐ 4 PM, Founders Hall Reception Area)
New Main
Great Hall
Noon to 4 PM
Lunch provided

Tues 31
Images of Beauty: Perceptions and Portrayal of Asian Women in the Media
Dr. Mai Moua, founder of Leadership Paradigms, will facilitate an interactive lecture on perceptions of beauty from a cultural perspective, discuss how perceptions and images of Asian women serve as barriers to their success, and explore different strategies of thinking about Asian women.
Ecolab 302
4 – 6 PM
Light Refreshments
RSVP to EOD to lupe.sanchez@metrostate.edu or at 651‐793‐1270.
Persons with a disability who need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this event must call Disability Services at 651.793.1549 (voice) or 651.772.7687 (TTY) two weeks prior to event.


March 5, 2009

Week #9 Reading Reflection Assignment

After reading the assigned articles and reflecting on the reading discussion questions (to guide your critical reading), write the Reading Reflection responding to the following prompts. Due date for full credit: March 19. Final "grace period" due date for one point down: March 26.

• Referring to specific articles, how do these writers see religion/spirituality connecting with personal and social transformation?
• What social/political issues are these writers concerned with?
• What are the spiritual tools or approaches these writers suggest using in addressing personal and social transformation?
• From your experience, what are some of the reasons that women (and men) don’t connect spirituality in their efforts to improve or transform society, or remain in the status quo, even if they have problems with it?
• Are there points that these writers raise that you really resonate with? If so, why?
• Are there problems that you see with mixing religion or spirituality with political or social change activism (especially in view of the tradition in the United States of separating church and state)?

Week #9 Reading Discussion Questions

Weaving the Visions Part 4 - Transforming the World

This is the last section of this text, and it may challenge you in ways earlier sections haven't - with a call to personal transformation, a challenge to the status quo, and a vision of political engagement for social justice and environmental preservation. Read the chapters by Christ and Welch for interest as time permits.

1. Introduction: What will it take for non-Native folks to be transformed enough to embrace a 'give-away spirit'? (269-270)
-- Why has Christianity traditionally insisted on a heterosexual norm? (270-271)
-- How can 'liberation hermeneutics' (feminist study of the Bible) be healing for women who have experienced violence? (271)
-- How can ritual contribute to strengthening political action? (272)
-- How can non-Indians establish connections to the land as sacred? (273)

2. Ywahoo: What is the first step in becoming connected to the earth? (275)
-- How are women more connected to 'caretaker mind'? (276)
-- What are the three principles that lead to action, and how do they work? (277+)
-- Why is regular meditation important? (279)

3. Cannon: in what ways did Cannon experience a disconnect between the deep ethics of her community and the ethics of the dominant culture? (281-282)
-- What are some examples of Black women's 'moral wisdom'? (284+)
Why is Black women's literary tradition a valuable source of moral wisdom? (286-287)

4. Heyward: How are gay and lesbian people well situated to understand themselves as people who love, rather than finding identity in conventional gender terms? (294-295)
-- What is the connection between love and justice? (295+)
-- What does Heyward mean by 'rage and compassion . . . belong together'? (296)
-- What can happen when a person goes public with identity as gay or lesbian, in her experience? (298+)

5. Thistlethwaite: In seeking social change that eliminates violence against women, why is it important for women to do their own work of scriptural interpretation? (302+)
-- How has Christianity traditionally been part of the system perpetuating violence against women? (303)
-- How does Thistlethwaite answer the question, 'Why deal with the Bible at all'? (303+)
-- How can a new interpretation of the Bible aid women's healing? (304+)
-- What are some especially helpful Biblical themes? (306+)
-- How is it helpful for women to recognize the presence of women apostles in Jesus's community? (308+)

6. After reading Starhawk's description of rituals, especially the one she and her affinity group did as part of a protest against building a nuclear reactor, how can you imagine using rituals to energize, focus, and empower groups of people in service to social change that you would like to see? Be creative!

7. Sanchez: Why have many European and American people lost spiritual grounding? (343)
-- How was reconnecting to her tribal roots healing for Sanchez? (345+)
-- How can familiarity with the tribal traditions of the Americas be helpful to non-native folks? (346+) What can these traditions offer? (348+)
-- What values have become imprinted on tribal folks? (348+)
-- What is involved in creating 'non-Indian tribal communities'? What are some of the things groups of people can do to come together in this way? (350+)
-- What can individuals do on their own to awaken some spiritual connection to nature? (353)
-- Do you think these spiritual practices are helpful and appealing? Could they co-exist with other religious practices and affiliations? Are there concerns that this approach raises in your mind?

Week #8 Discussion Café

Discussion Café for Week #8 - Due date March 19; grace period due date March 26.

- On-line students: please read over the Week #8 Reading Reflections and respond by posting comments here.

- Classroom discussion students: feel free to add points or responses if you wish to.