Sunday, April 23, 2006

Why we should all opose Pinon Canyon expansion

I oppose the expansion of Pinon Canyon Army Base, and it's not just because of my pacifist leanings.

Yes, I do disagree with the idea that America, as the lone superpower in the the world is obliged to impose a global Pax Americana. And it is true that I don't think we need to increase spending on our military that is already seven times that of China, the second largest military spender. I don't buy the arguement that building a bigger, more leathal army is the key to eradicating global terrorism, or whipping out radical Islamists and I don't accept in the concepts that America should become the global police force, or that America can create democracies at the barrel of a gun. I have to admit my doubt that premptive, unilateral military agression will result in a safer world.

But if I believed that all of these things were good ideas, there would still powerful reasons, as a Las Animas County resident for me to oppose the expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuvers Site.

I understand that "nothing has been decided" about the future expansion of the facility, but it is pretty clear that something is being considered. And the "something" is big. The official, unofficial plan presented by the Army is a quadrupling of the current acreage. The unofficial, but official-looking map that was leaked and circulated at the the Cattlemen's Association meeting, indicates the possibility that the facility may ultimately expanded ten-fold, all the way to the Kansas and New Mexico borders.

Such an exansion would cost Las Animas county a lot. We would loose an endangered species, cattle ranchers. We would lose natural, archeaological and historical resouces as well. We would lose tax base. We would lose tourism dollars.

Would all of these lossed be off-set by gains? Would soldiers living or training at the facility start to spend money in Trinidad? Would they be given over-night passes to come and recreate in town? Would their families relocate to Trinidad? No.

They would convoy to the maneuvers site from Colorado Springs and return there just as soon as they were able. Even if there were a few soldiers permamently assigned to Pinon Canyon, they'd still do most of their shopping at the PX, if they have any sense.

The only benefit would be the short-term opportunities of construction activity as the expanded faciltiy is established, but even that would go mostly to outside contractors who would move into the area temporarily. That's what happened when the place was initially established.



I'm thinking of creating a series of paintings titled IRAQI ICONS. Images of the humans invoved in the war painted as modern icons. These are some of the ideas that I would like to embody in these paintings.

-The images will be types; not specific individuals. Some of the types that I would create include soldiers of different races, ages and genders, including those who have been disfigured and dismembered. Mullahs and Clarics, Iraqi women, children, including those who have been disfigured and dismembered, politicians and business people, terrorists and suicide bombers, child-fighters, journalists.
-Traditional icons are paintings of saints. Since I believe that we are saints, not because of our meritorium deeds or our individual perfection, but because of the grace of God, I consider all who have placed their trust in this grace to be santified by it. Jesus is the embodiment of divine grace. Every graced human is the embodiment of Christ; the sacrificial body, the suffering body, the glorified body. I do not believe that Christ's sacrifice was for those who would adopt a set of Christian doctrines, but rather for all humans.
-All human life is sacred; lives that we understand as well as lives that are mysteries to us. The lives of our loved ones, the lives of our neighbors, the lives of those in far distant cultures, lands and traditions, the lives of our enemies.
-Icons are objects of meditation that bring the one who venerates into intimate contact with the spirit represented by the icon. My icons will be created for the purpose, first of all of my own meditiation. As I create them I will pray to know and understand, to love and bless, to extend forgiveness, healing, appreciation and respect to those represented by the icon. I will also create them to be objects of meditation for others so that viewer may be brought into a deeper awareness of the santitiy of all human life.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Thoughts in the Tub

Long baths stimulate all sorts of ideas. This morning I had a couple.

First, I thought about Terre's concern with raising the consciousness of students. We could create a Learning Community with the idea of processesing consciousness-raising themes. I don't believe that education should be a cover for indoctrination, but it should not be a sterile environment either. We should present information and ideas and offer opportunities to process that information, and to respond to those ideas.

We could agree about a ciruculum that covers certain themes; God, Family, Love, Violence, Suffering etc.

We could gather writings and images related to the themes.

We could have writing students respond to students' visual works, and visual artists could respond to students' writings. This could be edited and published as a web site and perhaps as a printed document.

We could have an online discussion board for all participating classes to talk together.

We could have a monthly plenary session when all of the classes would meet together for food and discussion, or film, or presentation, or debate.

Another Tub thought- An editorial for A Christian fifth column. The majority of Christian are in a holding patern. They are not actively engaged with Christian Right. They are passively waiting in churches for an authenticly Christian social movement with which they can identify. They allow Right-wingers to speak as if, for them, but the reality is that there are many who disagree with the politicization of religion, and others who disagree with the distorted conservative interpretation of Christian values.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Why I'm not a pacifist

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I reject the way of violence. I don't believe that fighting and killing ones percieved enemies, (not to mention innocent non-combatants), is the Christian way to resolve international disputes any more that violence is the solution to family conflicts. Just as murder is not the way to settle personal differences, war is the not the way of the resolve international tension or eliminate global threats.

I especially disagree with pre-emptive war; attacking the enemy before the can attack you. This is the exact opposite of, "turn the other cheek."

But having said all that, I am not a pacifist. A pacifist ABSOLUTELY rejects violence. Any absolute rule governing behavior, regardless of the circumstances amounts to fundamentalism. I am not a fundamentalist. I am a thinking, felling, praying person who looks to my head, heart and spirit to discern the way to go in life. I have guiding principles, but I am not governed by absolute laws. I want to be governed instead by a living relationship with the Spirit of God.

Absolutizing any moral precept, including "Thou Shalt Not Kill" creates a power above and appart from the God that governs conduct.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Life as Art

It came to me in the night that I should attempt to live my life as a work of art. Art is from the earliest stages of a persons development, and from the earliest stages of the development of our species. It is self-evident that art is embedded into the core of our being as humans. One of the statements that I often hear from my students is, "Everything is art", or "Art is in the eye of the beholder." Faced with the difficult challenge of trying to define art they often take refuge in statements like these that allow them an avenue of escape."

There is a passage of scripture that refers to humanity as "God's work of art." I want to experiment with living my life as a work of art, approaching each day as a new canvas waiting to painted upon.

I'll start with a title for each day's creation, formulating a theme for each day as an artistic expression. A theme that will creatively express through my thoughts, words and deeds during the day.

Today I want to create a work of art titled, "Art is Magic." From the earliest expressions of artistic expression, art was understood to embody mysterious aspects of reality. It was understood to grasp and effect the world. In our modern world words and numbers have pretty much displaced art as our primary means of grasping and effecting the world around us. There are two problems with words; their specificity and their rationality. Words are well suited to the congnitive management of our left-brain functions. Art is a better means of grasping and effecting transcendent, intuitive and emotional, right-brain functions.

When I speak of Art as magic, I mean to use the word "magic" in a way that encompasses manipulation of external entities, adjustment of internal dynamics and the sacramental apprehension of transcendental reality.

Manipulation of exernal entities would include sympathetic magic such as Paleolithic hunting rituals, Voodoo or art used as propaganda to inspire patriotism.

Adjustment of internal dynamics would include art used as a psychological self-awareness tool such as art therapy.

Art as sacramental tool would include such things at liturgical art include votive statues and icons.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bent’s grave, Prison, Van Gogh, Joe T., Barn, up stream, no stranger, Dante

Las Animas, Motel, Loosing your Soul, Barn, Rivers Names, Gold, tierra incognita, winter in Boncarbo, Dinosaurs, petroglyphs, studying facts Purgatory, Transgression and Transcendence

Las Animas, Motel, Telling the Truth, Distortions of History

Las Animas, Motel,Walking Alone, Times of being alone

Las Animas, Motel, Pilgrimages, Shoes, first journey

Bents Fort, Blessing the Journey, Bent Brothers, Owl Woman, Ambiguous Native Americans

Bents Fort, Segregation, Art Shows, Mexico

Tour, On the road , 1840 Peace Conference, Borderline, Conference between the Cheyenne and the Comanche,Gambling, Indian Casinos

Tour Boggsville Amache

Confluence Being Strange Bent’s Kids, Magpie, Guerrier, Jack Smith, Fort Lyons, Caron’s Grave

Confluence Living by Rivers Lilly Creek, St. Joe, Christiana Creek, The Elkhart, Lara,

Bent’s Grave Committing Terrorist Acts Chivington, Black Kettle, Soule

Bent Correctional Imprisoning the Enemy Amache, Fort Marian, Trinidad, POWs, Ledger drawings

Boggsville Making Women Invisible Amache, Josephina Carson, Rumalda Boggs,

Highland Canal Hiking Alone Storm, water, Phone

Alkali Canyon Doing a Pilgrimage Walking

Salt Canyon Making a Mark Celtic, Early Negev, Cowboy

Vogel Canyon Making Progress Stage coaches, Wild Bill, Sr. Blandina

Nine Mile Valley Being Fruitful The importance of water, fertility, childlessness

Higbee Cemetery Being a Hero Kit Carson

Penitente Canyon Paying Penance Penance, The Mission

Withers Canyon Observing Ebert

Picketwire Canyon Three Million Years of Time Dinosaur Tracks, Strata, Patination, Process Theology

Delores Mission Settling Down Owning land

Rourke Ranch Riding the Range A.R. Mitchell, Real, Romantic

Painted Canyon Hiding Away Martin Bowden, Making My Mark

Lost Canyon Being Lost Hell, Purgatory, Ultimate Reconciliation, Virgil, Beatrice

Pinon Canyon Uncovering Secrets Black Helicopters, Nuclear Waste, 911

Pipeline, Gauging Station

Trinchera Cave Differing Chase, Dicks

Below Perea Canyon Taming wild animals Fox, The wild man within

Bent’s Purgatory Ranch Fighting the Devil Garrard, Failure to integrate, integrity

Model Creating Community Amity, Cokedale, Drop City

Drop City Missing the Hippies Being Counter Cultural

POW Camp Loving the enemy Abu Grab, Dad’s

Studio Being Married Third reality, Beatrice, Lori joins me, walking together

River Walk Keeping a Distance Segregation of Ulliberri’s party, Gay Rights

Simpson’s Rest Living and Dying Large Simpson, Carson, Bent Graves, living wills

Kit Carson Statue Mythic Heros Reality vs. Myth

Downtown, Holy Trinity Making Women Visible Biber, Blandina, Mother Jones, Kerrie Nations, Black Woman

TSJC Teaching and Learning WPA, long-term investment in people, active learning

Trinidad Dam Owning the River? Marker, SFT, Controlling Nature, Floods, Water rights

Cokedale Owning the Labor? Cheap resources, Cheap labor, Unions, Riley Canyon, my land

Longs Canyon Who owns the water? Pentitente graves, suffering, Wildlife, Methane, surface rights.

Mitchell’s Ranch, YWAM Opening and Closing Artists and Missionaries

Terceo, South Fork Owning the Land? Mines, CFI, King Coal, Stonewall war, Ted Turner; Vermejo

BarNI Ranch, Middle Fork Marian Russell

Potato Patch, North Fork Finding the Source Head Waters, Drawing from the source

Spanish Peaks Venerating the Earth Grandote, Pilgrimage, Worshipping the Earth. Mothering, not having children

Bristlecones Surviving Twisted lives, endurance

Sangre de Cristos Bearing Witness Salvation, Co-creative, Magic, Universalism

Monday, January 30, 2006

I want to spend a half hour per day writing here. I also want to:

Get up at 5:30 and do stretching exercises (L)
Pray from 6:00 to 6:30 (S)
Write from 6:30 to 7:00 themes for book or class (T)
Walk for a half hour per day (L)
Do artwork 20 hours per week (A)