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Blog of the Grateful Bear

ramblings of a freelance panentheist {"all things are in God, and God is in all things"} . . . musings on Emergent spirituality, powerlifting, LGBTQueer issues, contemplative prayer, mysticism, cats, music, healing, and more. I like my coffee and my existentialism dark-roasted.

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Location: Marietta, Georgia, United States

I'm an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), in private practice in Marietta, Georgia. My writings on queer spirituality have been published in Whosoever and several other magazines. I live in a house-in-the-woods (Bear's Hermitage) in Marietta with Leonidas (Lenny) and Guy, Mighty Warrior Cats, and way too many books.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Lohasians: “Modern Day Bohemians”

Yet another label: “Lohasian” comes from the acronym LOHAS, “Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability,” used by marketers to describe “modern day bohemians” – those of us who care about spirituality, healthy living, and the environment. Beliefnet has a feature article, “Are You Lohasian?” along with a “Lohasian List” of causes, gurus, books, spiritual practices, etc. Two of the Lohasian “spiritual mottos” on the list are actually on the back of my bumper sticker-laden truck: “My religion is loving-kindness” (a quote from the Dalai Lama) and “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”

Beliefnet also has a self-scoring quiz, “How Lohasian Are You?” My score was 18, which means I’m Lohasian. My score would have been higher, except for the question about what gets me going in the morning – my answer was coffee, rather than green tea or pranayama. Also, I use Splenda rather than agave nectar. (OK, I don’t actually know what agave nectar is.)

One of the questions on the quiz was “Which singer is most likely on your iPod?” The options were Aretha Franklin, Krishna Das, Garth Brooks, Jewel, and Deva Premal. One of these singers is actually on my iPod. Guess which one.

Test: Are You Truly Erudite?

I took the online test “Are You Truly Erudite?” and here’s how I scored:

“True English Nerd”
Not only do you know your subjects from your objects and your definite from your indefinite articles, but you’ve got quite a handle on the literature and the history of the language as well. Huzzah, and well done! The English snobs of Boston salute you.

Take the “Are You Truly Erudite?” Test

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Grateful Bear on Podcast

My essay “No Longer Judge: Jesus as Healer” is featured on the new podcast (“Godcast”) from Whosoever.

To download the podcast as an mp3, click here. For info on how to subscribe to the podcast using iTunes or iPodder, click here.

“No Longer Judge: Jesus as Healer” originally appeared in Visionary, the newsletter of Gay Spirit Visions (the Winter 2005 issue, page 5).

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Mary as Goddess

“The best argument against ‘Da Vinci's’ premise might be that, in the realm of symbols, the Feminine has never been absent from Christianity. Christian doctrine or practice might try to subordinate women, but Christian imagery has always celebrated her birth-giving, life-giving power. The figure of Mary, mother of Jesus, already incorporates much of the ancient imagery of the Goddess. She is Queen of Heaven, often depicted with a robe of blue studded with stars. She stands on the moon: Is she triumphing over it or emerging from it? A serpent lies at her feet – is she conquering it as the symbol of evil, or is she rooted in the regenerative power of the snake, who sheds its skin and is renewed? Pregnant, or holding her divine child on her lap, or grieving over his dead body, she becomes the primeval Goddess as Mother.”

~ from Starhawk’s review of The Da Vinci Code at Beliefnet

Also on Beliefnet:
Bishop John Shelby Spong found the movie boring but agrees with its assertion that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Grateful Updates

Counseling Practice: Many thanks to all of you who posted comments here and sent emails of support about my new counseling practice. I had four clients (court-ordered evaluations) my first week of business, and I have more appointments scheduled for tomorrow and next week. A great beginning! It’s wonderful to know that I’m being supported by prayer from people I know in person as well as people I know through the internet. I am truly a grateful bear.

Lost Gospels: I’m also getting a lot of positive feedback about my latest article, The Lost Gospels of Judas and Thomas: A Tale of Two Gnostics. My friend Carl McColman and I will be teaching a four-week class in Atlanta this summer about the Lost Gospels and The Da Vinci Code. I’ll post more details here in a few weeks.

Springtime: Fellow blogger Brad Landry has posted some great photos of the cardinal nest outside his office window, at POMOnks (the May 10th entry, “For the Birds”). And cyberfriend Meredith has some beautiful and thought-provoking posts about her trip to Tibet at Graceful Presence.

Animal Intelligence: Here at home, Kato the mystical cat is keeping a close eye on the cardinals, finches, and bluejays who come to the birdfeeder on our porch. The other morning Kato didn’t return to the apartment when I called him, so I had to leave him locked outside while I went to the office. (Now that we live in an apartment, we don’t have a cat door, so I usually let him out for a while in the mornings and then again when I come home from work.) So the following morning, before he went out, he removed the palm branch (which I had brought home from the Palm Sunday service at church) from the coffee table and placed it in the open doorway of the sliding glass door, exactly halfway inside the apartment and halfway out. A clear sign that I was not to close the sliding glass door while he was out!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Grocery Store Gnostics

Seen at Kroger this afternoon: The Gospel of Judas, on sale alongside The Da Vinci Code.

Honey, could you stop at the grocery store and pick up a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, and an ancient dualistic gnostic gospel?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Traditional Values

From Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac for today . . .

It's the birthday of Gary Snyder, born in San Francisco (1930). He started out as one of the Beat writers of the 1950s. In 1956 he left the San Francisco Beat scene and went to Japan. He spent most of the next twelve years in a monastery, studying Buddhism.

Gary Snyder said, “As a poet I hold the most archaic values on earth. They go back to the Neolithic: the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe.”

Earth Verse
by Gary Snyder

Wide enough to keep you looking
Opening enough to keep you moving
Dry enough to to keep you honest
Prickly enough to make you tough
Green enough to go on living
Old enough to give you dreams

For All
by Gary Snyder

Ah to be alive
on a mid-September morn
fording a stream
barefoot, pants rolled up,
holding boots, pack on,
sunshine, ice in the shallows,
northern rockies.

Rustle and shimmer of icy creek waters
stones turn underfoot, small and hard as toes
cold nose dripping
singing inside
creek music, heart music,
smell of sun on gravel.

I pledge allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the soil
of Turtle Island,
and to the beings who thereon dwell
one ecosystem
in diversity
under the sun
With joyful interpenetration for all.

Free mp3 download of a Gary Snyder poetry reading in Paris, December 6, 2002: Mountains & Rivers Without End

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bear Takes Leap of Faith

I’ve just taken a leap of faith and opened a counseling office in Canton, Georgia. My practice will initially focus on pre-trial and court-related assessments, but I will also be doing individual counseling for spiritual and personal growth issues. I saw my first two clients on Monday, so I’m excited – but I've never been in business “on my own” before, so I’m also nervous.

I haven’t left my salaried job, but I’ve cut it back to 3 days a week, so I can devote time and energy to developing my own practice.

I’d deeply appreciate it if you keep me and my fledgling practice in your prayers.

bearhugs ~