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One rainy day, we shut down the World Economic Forum.

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I have some paradoxical beliefs in regard to religion: I support secularism, but at the same time I support religion. I am aware of the ways that spiritual and religious stories can become manipulative, in justifying a political agenda, or in creating political apathy. I believe religion is still very important, and not necessarily a reactionary force in society. Religion enables both the handing on of culture through generations, and provides a ritualistic framework with which to engage with the divine.

I understand that religion is often a barrier to culture being handed down- in that Christian missionaries still continue to try to convert indigenous people to their religion. I support the actions of Hugo Chavez in banishing one big Christian missionary group from the Venezuelan Amazon recently. Christianity's zeal to covert (sorry- convert) people makes it the most imperialist religion.

However I still belong to that tradition. For me, the Judeo Christian Scriptures, interpreted through the prism of the Catholic tradition provides the stories and images and rituals that stay with me- eg the image of the cross as a sign of redemption through massive sacrifice...

I think that religious pluralism, and inter-religious dialogue, animates society a lot, and I think that any religious tradition you are born into or otherwise can be an avenue to greater awareness. In many spiritualities, there are deep insights that can be gained upon reflection. Paradoxes are one vehicle for this: eg you need to know emptiness in order to know wholeness.

Studying poetry is in some ways equivalent. There is something very transformative about understanding the themes of a text.

Fundamentalism and Fear: An article I wrote in honi soit about students and opus dei- backed catholic groups.

Below is an extract from Starhawk's writing. Starhawk is a Pagan activist from the US, and I can really relate to her earth-based spirituality:


Declaration of the Four Sacred Things

from the start of Starhawk's science-fiction book "The Fifth Sacred Thing" 1993

The earth is a living, conscious being. In company with cultures of many different times and places, we name these things as sacred: air, fire, water and earth.

Whether we see them as the breath, energy, blood, and body of the Mother, or as the blessed gifts of a Creator, or as symbols of the interconnected systems that sustain life, we know that nothing can live without them.

To call these things sacred is to say that they have a value beyond their usefulness for human ends, that they themselves become the standards by which our acts, our economics, our laws, and our purposes must be judged. No one has the right to appropriate them or profit from them at the expense of others. Any government that fails to protect them forfeits its legitimacy.

All people, all living things, are part of the earth life, and so are sacred. No one of us stands higher or lower than any other. Only justice can assure balance: only ecological balance can sustain freedom. Only in freedom can that fifth sacred thing we call spirit flourish in its full diversity.

To honour the sacred is to create conditions in which nourishment, sustenance, habitat, knowledge, freedom, and beauty can thrive. To honour the sacred is to make love possible.

To this we dedicate our curiosity, our will, our courage, our silences, and our voices. To this we dedicate our lives.


New Internationalist currently has an edition on things carried out in the name of God, which is pretty interesting. The projection of religion onto a fundamentalist political canvas is explored in this article: At war with the spirit of Islam from The Ecologist.

A recent article about the pope for vibewire.net

God is an asymptote

Relevant Links to my experiences of spirituality

The (US) Network of Spiritual Progressives

Catholic Worker Movement

Jesus Radicals

Young Christian Workers, Sydney

International Movement of Catholic Students, Australia - our former community that was destroyed when it was stacked out by consevatives.

Catholic Student Network -the network of people who are committed to the principles of the former IMCSA.

The people who stacked out the IMCSA meeting

ACMICA (Australian Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs)- Minh's project, that's going along steadily...

All-India Catholic University students Federation- These amazing people hosted the "Pedagogy with the Marginalised" Conference that I attended in 2001.

Catholic Earthcare Australia-A project that has got a lot of people excited, and that I've been involved in somewhat.

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At the "All-India Catholic University students Federation" IMCS Asia Pacific Conference-Chennai 2001

Here are some links to progressive religious sites- will add more soon.

Pilgrim Storyteller- Donna Mulhearn's site. Donna is doing amazing work as a humanitarian and human shield in Palestine and Iraq, bringing back important stories to Australia for us to learn from, as well as exposing our own contribution to the machinery of war- in her actions in the spirit of the Ploughshares at the Pine Gap spy base in Alice Springs.

Catalyst for Renewal

Church Mouse- St Vincents Parish, Redfern- A parish formerly of Fr Ted Kennedy, made up of misfits, dissenters, ordinary Catholics, who were allotted some very conservative Neocatechumenate priests by George Pell.

Australian Reforming Catholics

International Young Christian Workers

Fellowship of Reconciliation, USA

National Catholic Reporter, USA.

Iona Community, UK- This is a very interesting ecumenical Christian community, committed to nonviolence in a very deep way, that extends to activism such as disarmament etc.

www.sabeel.org- Palestinian Liberation Theology

See the Wikipedia entry for Liberation Theology.

International Jesuit Network for Development

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