Saturday, March 17, 2018

A Day to Celebrate the Survival of the Old Ways

St Patrick's Day – a very, very bizarre celebration indeed. A [a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop] who attempted to annihilate the Druids, who conducted exorcisms to banish the great Irish faery deity Aine, who told lies about the faery, who "drove out the snakes" (the Pagan ways), and who attempted to turn the great bright god Lugh into Lugh-chromain ("little stooping Lugh") which would become "lephrecaun."

I adore the Irish. I revere Ireland. I have that old blood singing within my veins. But this day is a day to celebrate the survival of the Old Ways despite what this "saint" represented and the cruel actions he took. Today, I wear the green, for the fae, for the Old Ways, for the shining ones and the deep love of the land. . . . A blessing on the survival of the Old Ways, and of the Truth emerging from the distortions of history.

Lucy Cavendish
via Facebook
March 17, 2018

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
At Hallowtide, Pagan Thoughts on Restoring Our World and Our Souls
Celebrating the Coming of the Sun and the Son
The Pagan Roots of All Saints Day
Advent: A "ChristoPagan" Perspective
Beltane: Celebrating the Sheer Exuberance of May
Beltane and the Reclaiming of Spirit
Beloved and Antlered
Integrating Cernunnos, "Archetype of Sensuality and the Instinctual World"
Gabriel Fauré's "ChristoPagan" Requiem
The Prayer Tree

Image: Source.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Celebrating Black Panther – Then and Now


Last weekend (March 10-11, 2018) filmmaker Ryan Coogler's Black Panther surpassed the billion-dollar mark at box offices worldwide.

Also last weekend, Black Panther earned the No. 1 box-office spot in the U.S. for the fourth week in a row. With Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time finishing in second place, this marked the first time that films by black directors have held the top two spots at the U.S. box office.

Right: Filmmakers Ryan Coogler and Ava DuVernay – November 2017. (Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

To celebrate all of these accomplishments I share (with added images and links) the following excerpt from Marvel Black Panther: The Ultimate Guide, one that provides an insightful history and heartfelt appreciation of the many writers and artists who have ensured that the character of the Black Panther has remained a relevant and trailblazing one for over fifty years. Enjoy!


The 1960s was a time of great change. The U.S. was experiencing a social, cultural, and political revolution as a new generation questioned old values and entrenched traditions, especially on the divisive issue of racial equality.

Introduced in the summer of 1966, the Black Panther was a genuinely radical concept and character, even by the standards of Marvel Comics. The fledgling U.S. comics publisher had fast established a reputation for challenging the status quo. And the Panther perfectly caught the mood of the times.

Here was a black Super Hero who faced the world on his own uncompromising terms. And as an African king ruling a country more culturally and technologically progressive than the U.S., the Black Panther easily matched his fellow costumed crusaders in power, competency, complexity, and resources. His success also paved the way for other black Marvel Super Heroes like the Falcon, Luke Cage, Black Goliath, and Blade.

Yet most exciting for readers of the Panther's fantastic adventures was the regular sight of a black role model winning against the odds for the benefit of everyone.

Black Panther has always been blessed with authors and artists of singular vision. Creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby imagined a powerful champion who could master any situation, while successor Roy Thomas used the hero's tenure with the Avengers to confront social issues making headlines across the U.S.

Philosophical scribe Don McGregor, alongside artistic collaborators Rich Buckler, Billy Graham, and Gene Colan, redefined the character for the modern era, breaking new ground when T'Challa finally landed his own series in 1973. Their epic run of politically charged tales took place in a fully realized fictional African kingdom, Wakanda, and featured an all-black cast of heroes, villains, and supporting players.

Later, under Christopher Priest, the Panther become scary and satirical, while successive writers such as Reginald Hudlin, David Liss, and, more recently, acclaimed journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, have reshaped T'Challa to suit changing times. These wordsmiths and the artists with whom they worked have made Black Panther relevant and trailblazing time and again.

Left: Art by John Romita Jr. (2018).

Fifty years after his comic book debut, the Black Panther made a dramatic entrance on the big screen in Captain America: Civil War. In 2018, he takes center stage in his own film [starring Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa/Black Panther]. It cements his place in the Marvel Universe as an enduring beacon of hope and the very epitome of a cool and capable modern hero.

– Don McGregor
Excerpted from Marvel Black Panther:
The Ultimate Guide

Above and below: Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa/Black Panther in Ryan Coogler's Black Panther (2018).


Following is a selection of images from Black Panther: Who Is the Black Panther? (Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition) by Reginald Hudlin, John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson, and Dean White. This edition also includes the Black Panther's historic first appearances in Fantastic Four #52-53 (1966) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and Black Panther and the Crew #1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Butch Guice. It also contains an appreciation by Reginald Hudlin, part of which reads as follows.

The Black Panther is the black Captain America. He's the embodiment of the ideals of a people. As Americans, we feel good when we read about Captain America because he reminds us of the potential of how good America can be, if, of course, we have the convictions to live by the principles the country was founded on. As a black person, the Black Panther should represent the fulfillment of the potential of the Motherland.

For a long time, the Black American equivalent of that ideal was represented by Sidney Poitier, a man who maintained his dignity even in degrading situations. But since the '80s, that ideal has shifted. In the post-integration, post-Reagan era, the new ideal is Spike Lee or Sean "Puffy" Combs, the artist/businessman hero who profits from his own cultural integrity. In other words, the man who has it all – the money, the politics and the cool and style of black culture.

What those celebrities named, along with Malcolm X, Miles Davis and Muhammad Ali, all have in common is the knowledge that the act of being a black man in white America is an inherent act of rebellion. They are willing to be bad@$$es. . . . I say all of this because the harder Panther is, the more appealing he is to both black AND white audiences.

– Reginald Hudlin
Excerpted from Black Panther:
Who Is the Black Panther?

– Art by Jack Kirby; text by Stan Lee.

– Art by John Romita Jr.; text by Reginald Hudlin (2018).

– Art by Esad Ribić (2018).

– Art by John Romita Jr.; text by Reginald Hudlin (2018).

Related Off-site Links:
Black Panther Roars to a Record $192M First Weekend at the Box Office – Kim Willi (USA Today, February 18, 2018).
5 Lessons from Black Panther That Can Save Our Lives – and Transform Black Politics – Frank Leon Roberts (Medium, February 16, 2018).
A Wrinkle in Time's Representation Is Just as Important as Black Panther – Donyae Coles (Wear Your Voice, February 19, 2018).

– Art by John Romita Jr..

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Important Cultural Moment That Is Black Panther
Season of the (Scarlet) Witch
One Divine Hammer
What the Vatican Can Learn from the X-Men
The New Superman: Not Necessarily Gay, But Definitely Queer

Monday, March 12, 2018

Quote of the Day

The moral convictions of many evangelical leaders [and many of their followers] have become a function of their partisan identification. This is not mere gullibility; it is utter corruption. Blinded by political tribalism and hatred for their political opponents, these leaders can’t see how they are undermining the causes to which they once dedicated their lives. Little remains of a distinctly Christian public witness.

As the prominent evangelical pastor Tim Keller – who is not a Trump loyalist – recently wrote in The New Yorker, "'Evangelical' used to denote people who claimed the high moral ground; now, in popular usage, the word is nearly synonymous with 'hypocrite.'"

. . . It is remarkable to hear religious leaders defend profanity, ridicule, and cruelty as hallmarks of authenticity and dismiss decency as a dead language. Whatever Trump’s policy legacy ends up being, his presidency has been a disaster in the realm of norms. It has coarsened our culture, given permission for bullying, complicated the moral formation of children, undermined standards of public integrity, and encouraged cynicism about the political enterprise. . . . For a package of political benefits, these evangelical leaders have associated the Christian faith with racism and nativism. They have associated the Christian faith with misogyny and the mocking of the disabled. They have associated the Christian faith with lawlessness, corruption, and routine deception. They have associated the Christian faith with moral confusion about the surpassing evils of white supremacy and neo-Nazism. The world is full of tragic choices and compromises. But for this man? For this cause?

– Michael Gerson
Excerpted from "Trump and the Evangelical Temptation"
The Atlantic
April 2018

Related Off-site Links:
Trump Evangelicals Have Sold Their Souls – Michael Gerson (The Washington Post, March 12, 2018).
What the Christian Right Sowed, Trump Reaped – Ed Kilgore (New York Magazine, March 12, 2018).
Evangelical Theologian to Evangelicals Supporting Trump: "Stop Defending the Indefensible" – Julia Manchester (The Hill, January 19, 2018).
White Evangelical Women, Core Supporters of Trump, Begin Tiptoeing Away – Michael Tackett (The New York Times, March 11, 2018).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – February 6, 2018
A Profoundly Troubling and Tragic Indictment
Global Condemnation for Trump's Latest Ignorant and Racist Comments
Hope in the Midst of Collapse
With Republicans at the Helm, It's the United States of Hypocrisy
Donald Trump: A View from Australia
Trump's America: Normalized White Supremacy and a Rising Tide of Racist Violence
Quote of the Day – April 6, 2017
Quote of the Day – March 26, 2017
On International Human Rights Day, Saying "No" to Donald Trump and His Fascist Agenda
Progressive Perspectives on the Election of Donald Trump
Election Eve Thoughts
Carrying It On
Progressive Perspectives on the Rise of Donald Trump
Trump's Playbook
Hope, History and Bernie Sanders

Image: Mark Wallheiser.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

In the Garden of Spirituality – Marianne Williamson

The Wild Reed’s series of reflections on religion and spirituality continues with an excerpt from Marianne Williamson's book Illuminata: Thoughts, Prayers, Rites of Passage (1994).

In this excerpt, Williamson explores the meaning of spiritual work, the purpose of meditation and prayer, the transforming power of Divine love, and how all of these can be connected to potentially change both our individual selves and all of humanity.


Spiritual work is not easy. It means the willingness to surrender feelings that seem, while we’re in them, like our defense against a greater pain. It means we surrender to God our perceptions of all things.

Spiritual values present a radical alternative to the world’s prevailing thought system.

We are renewed and cleansed as we receive the pure and vibrant energy transmissions being sent by God to heal us. This is the purpose of meditation and prayer, that we might open to receive God’s programs of redemption and resurrection. Divine love can penetrate the veils of worldly error. It changes our coding as planetary beings, imprinting us with God’s plans for our salvation and rebirth. We are graduating to a new level of awareness, and with it shall come a new sense of oneness with each other and with God. We can, through continued and sincere devotional practice, transmute the world of material form. We shall bring it into harmony with the structures of the living light. We shall live from that light and become that light. What lies before us will one day be known as the Great Transformation of the human race.

If we choose to remain with meaningless thoughts, preoccupied with meaningless things, then we will continue to experience meaningless patterns of existence. This will not change our coding or our potential, however. We have the choice, at every moment, to leave the world of death behind us and enter, through prayerfulness, the gates of heaven. There is a gate. It is not illusion or metaphor, but rather an energetic force field in which the thoughts of fear are transformed to love, the darkest nights illumined by dawn.

– Marianne Williamson
Excerpted from Illuminata: Thoughts, Prayers, Rites of Passage
pp. 59-60

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
In the Garden of Spirituality – Judy Cannato
In the Garden of Spirituality – Richard Rohr
In the Garden of Spirituality – Beatrice Bruteau
In the Garden of Spirituality – Ilia Delio
Andrew Harvey on Radical, Divine Passion in Action
Divine Connection
Michael Morwood on the Divine Connection (Part I)
Michael Morwood on the Divine Connection (Part II)
Michael Morwood on the Divine Connection (Part III)
Prayer and the Experience of God in an Ever-Unfolding Universe
Called to the Field of Compassion
A Return to the Spirit
Beltane and the Reclaiming of Spirit
Remembering and Honoring Dorothy Olinger

Opening image: Michael J. Bayly (Sydney, Australia, September 2017).
Image of Marianne Williamson: Elisabeth Granli.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Quote of the Day

Don’t listen to people who say that God hates you, rejects you or condemns you, simply for being LGBT. That’s false, and it doesn’t deserve one moment of your attention. Center yourself instead on God’s compassionate love for you and look for signs of it outside and inside.

– James Martin, S.J.
Excerpted from "Spiritual Insights for LGBT Catholics"
March 7, 2018

Related Off-site Links:
Have Catholic Theologians Been Too Quiet About Fr. James Martin’s Building a Bridge? – Robert Shine (Bondings 2.0, March 5, 2018).
Catholic-LGBTQ Dialogue: "Catholic Theology Today Has Much Listening to Do" – But Where? When? How? – William D. Lindsey (Bilgrimage, March 5, 2018).
Is the Catholic Church Becoming More or Less Accepting of LGBT People? – Francis DeBernardo (Bondings 2.0, February 19, 2018).
The Bridge-Building Metaphor, the LGBTQ Community, and the Catholic Church: You Want to Build a Bridge to THAT?! – William D. Lindsey (Bilgrimage, February 21, 2018).
Fr. James Martin Responds to Vatican Official’s Critique of New Book on LGBT Issues – Robert Shine (Bondings 2.0, September 7, 2017).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Trusting God's Generous Invitation
Remembering and Reclaiming a Wise, Spacious, and Holy Understanding of Homosexuality
Same-Sex Desires: "Immanent and Essential Traits Transcending Time and Culture"
Our Lives as LGBTQI People: "Garments Grown in Love"
LGBT Catholics Celebrate Being "Wonderfully Made"
Catholics Make Their Voices Heard on LGBTQ Issues
Our Catholic "Stonewall Moment"
Spirituality and the Gay Experience
Gay People and the Spiritual Life
The Challenge to Be Ourselves
The Gifts of Homosexuality
Sister Teresa Forcades on Queer Theology
Getting It Right
The Many Manifestations of God's Loving Embrace
An Erotic Encounter with the Divine
Never Say It Is Not God
Knowing What to Do, Knowing Why to Stay
Beyond the Hierarchy
Vessels of the Holy
The Journal of James Curtis

Image: Brenden Sanborn.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Remembering Dusty

Most of the queer boy bands of contemporary rock music, as well as such androgynous or sexually ambiguous women performers as Annie Lennox, Allison Moyet, Chrissie Hynde, and even Madonna, demonstrate the musical, visual or aesthetic influence of Dusty Springfield, one of the first women in rock who dared to "strike a pose."

– Patricia Juliana Smith
Excerpted from The Queer Sixties
(Routledge, 1999)

[Dusty died] on March 2, 1999, only six weeks away from what would have been [her] sixtieth birthday – but Dusty had always said she didn't want to turn sixty.

Dusty had missed seeing her induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame by a few weeks, but she lived long enough to receive her OBE, which was delivered to her a few weeks earlier at the Royal Marsden Hospital. . . . Her status as a national icon seemed cemented,
after a career that had included a long stretch when she had fled from her country, and the announcement of her death was greeted be wall-to-wall media coverage and an outpouring of public sadness.

. . . [At Dusty's funeral] after describing the ups and downs of Dusty's life, stretching back to their days together with the Lana Sisters, Riss Chantelle looked wistful, and said with simple poignancy, "You know, she did have a lovely voice."

– Karen Bartlett
Excerpted from Dusty: An Intimate Portrait of a Musical Legend
(Robson Press, 2014)

Related Off-site Links:
Woman of Repute – My (archived) website dedicated to the life and music of Dusty Springfield.
Let's Talk Dusty – An online forum.
Dusty Springfield: Soul Sister of the Swinging Sixties – Adrian Mullen (The Westmorland Gazette, February 11, 2018).
Sensual Sound of Dusty Springfield Is Set for the Stage – Joanna Davis (Dorset Echo, February 12, 2018).
Dusty's Moving Stage Biopic Will Open Your Eyes – Natalie Aldred (Henley Standard, February 26, 2018).
Dusty Springfield, Reluctant Queen of Blue-Eyed Soul – Jack Hamilton (Lit Hub, March 3, 2017).

For more of Dusty at The Wild Reed, see:
Soul Deep
Celebrating Dusty (2017)
Celebrating Dusty (2013)
Dusty Springfield: Queer Icon
Remembering Dusty (2009)
Remembering Dusty – 11 Years On
Remembering Dusty – 14 Years On
The Other "Born This Way"
Time and the River
Remembering a Great Soul Singer
A Song and Challenge for 2012
The Sound of Two Decades Colliding

Opening meme: Carole Gibson (featuring a 1967 photograph of Dusty from her second BBC television series).

Image at right: A portrait of Dusty from 1985, two years before her collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys and the resulting international hit song, "What Have I Done to Deserve This." (Photographer unknown)

Monday, February 26, 2018

A New Day

Compassionate Creator,
Thank you for this new day,
its beauty, light, and possibilities.
Thank you for the chance to begin again,
free from the limitations of yesterday.

Today may I be reborn.
May I become more fully
a reflection of your radiance
and an embodiment
of your transforming love.

Give me strength and compassion.
Show me the light within myself and others.
Help me recognize the good that is available everywhere.

May I be, this day, an instrument
of love and healing.
Lead me in your ways
so that I may know life in abundance.
Ground me in a constant awareness of your presence
so that I may know and embody
your peace, wisdom, and courage.


Adapted by Michael Bayly from a prayer by Marianne Williamson
in her book, Illuminata: Thoughts, Prayers, Rites of Passage (1994)

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Move Us, Loving God
Prayer of the Week – August 1, 2016
Prayer of the Week – August 3, 2015
Prayer and the Experience of God in an Ever-Unfolding Universe
The Prayer Tree

Images: Michael Bayly.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Signs of the Times . . .

Eight editorial cartoons addressing
the destructive power of the NRA
and the latest movement that's risen
to challenge it.

Related Off-site Links:
More Kids Are Dead – Charles P. Pierce (Esquire, February 15, 2018).
Days After High School Shooting, Florida House Votes Against Ban on Assault Rifles – Associated Press via PBS Newshour (February 20, 2018).
Shooting Survivor Calls NRA "Child Murderers" – CNN (February 19, 2018).
A Spreading Movement? How Florida School Shooting Survivors Are Inspiring Other Students to Demand Gun Control – Matt Pearce (The Los Angeles Times, February 20, 2018).
How the Survivors of Parkland Began the Never Again Movement – Emily Witt (The New Yorker, February 19, 2018).
The Spring Awakening of the Stoneman Douglas Theatre Kids – Michael Schulman (The New Yorker, February 23, 2018).
America's Youth Become America's Conscience on Gun Violence – Rachel Maddow (MSNBC, February 22, 2018).
The NRA Just Became the Enemy of a Generation of Younger Americans – Dean Obeidallah (The Daily Kos, February 23, 2018).
CNN’s Town Hall on Guns and the Unmaking of Marco Rubio – Evan Osnos (The New Yorker, February 22, 2018).
NRA Head Breaks Silence to Attack Gun Control Advocates: "They Hate Individual Freedom" – David Smith (The Guardian, February 22, 2018).
Michael Moore: "The NRA Is a Terrorist Organization" – Tracy Lee (Newsweek via Yahoo! News, February 23, 2018).
Right-wing Media Uses Parkland Shooting as Conspiracy Fodder – Michael M. Grynbaumfe (The New York Times, February 20, 2018).
The Right-wing Sliming of Douglas High Students Can’t Be Ignored. It’s Too Disgusting for That – Margaret Sullivan (The Washington Post, February 21, 2018).
Trump Insists on Arming Teachers Despite Lack of Evidence It Would Stop Shootings – Amanda Holpuch (The Guardian, February 22, 2018).
Businesses Are Fleeing the NRA in Wake of Parkland School Shooting – Cody Fenwick, (Alternet via Salon, February 23, 2018).
Here Are All the Brands That Have Cut Ties with the NRA Following Gun-control Activists' Boycotts – Kate Taylor and Leanna Garfield (Business Insider, February 23, 2018).
Trump Aides Confess: He Only Hears the NRA – Asawin Suebsaeng (The Daily Beast, February 22, 2018).
Men Are Responsible for Mass Shootings: How Toxic Masculinity Is Killing Us – Jennifer Wright (Harper's Bazaar, February 16, 2018).
Poll: Support for Gun Control Hits Record High – Dartunorro Clark (NBC News, February 20, 2018).
12 Tweets on Gun Violence and Mental Health That Everyone Should Read – Lindsay Holmes (The Huffington Post, February 23, 2018).
More Than 17 Cartoons About the Shootings That'll Make You Cry, Cringe, Call a (February 20, 2018).
This Single Cartoon About School Shootings Is Breaking People's Hearts – Samantha Schmidt (The Washington Post, February 20, 2018).
We Need to Talk About Black Lives and Gun Violence After the Florida Shooting – Sarah Ruiz-Grossman (The Huffington Post, February 22, 2018).
Black Teens Have Been Fighting for Gun Reform for Years – Lincoln Anthony Blades (Teen Vogue, February 23, 2018).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Social Roots of Yet Another American Tragedy
Something to Think About – December 14, 2012
Quote of the Day – December 15, 2012
“I Pray, I Pray”
Prayer of the Week – June 19, 2016
Quote of the Day – October 2, 2017
Quote of the Day – February 17, 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

In Minneapolis, a Snowy February Friday

Earlier today the Star Tribune's Paul Douglas wrote the following about last night's (and tomorrow's) snowfall.

Storms spinning up in late February and March have different characteristics than low pressure systems in January. A higher sun angle and milder temperatures tends to keep freeways wet and slushy, unlike January, when roads are snow-covered and icy. Snow is wetter, heavier, slushier; with a higher water content. Better for snowball fights (and heart attacks).

Be careful out there this morning as the flakes subside. We have about 24 hours to catch our breath and scrape away the snow, before the second storm arrives. Another 4-7 inches of snow may fall late Saturday, bringing the total from both storms up close to a foot at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. By Sunday many towns will be snowier than average, for the first time all winter. That's good news, considering western Minnesota is too dry; we need moisture for spring planting.

As of Thursday [yesterday] snowfall in the Twin Cities was 31.8", or 7.7" less than average, to date (running 30-year average). After last night's snow and what's to come on Saturday I have a hunch we may be a couple inches snowier than average by Sunday. Just a gut call.

Saturday: More snow than last night? Models all seem to suggest a bigger snow accumulation for the PM hours Saturday. Plowable, and if we do wind up with 7-8" possibly the second biggest snowfall of the winter, to date.

NEXT: A New Day

Related Off-site Links:
Ready for Round Two? Six to Nine Inches of Snow Expected Saturday Night -- Tim Harlow (Star Tribune, February 23, 2018).
Saturday Snow Blitz on the Way -- Paul Huttner (MPR News, February 23, 2018).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Winter of Content
Winter Beauty
Winter Light
Winter Storm (2016)
Winter Storm (2012)
Shadows and Light
Winter . . . Within and Beyond

Images: Michael J. Bayly.