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Reflections in the Silver Cup

BOOKS ON THE JOURNEY VI

BOOKS ON THE JOURNEY VI
A Final Assortment



Starting off with titles that are mentioned in the epigraphs of To Drink from the Silver Cup. The epigraph for the entire book, “You cannot disown what is yours. Flung out, there is always the return, the reckoning … perhaps the reconciliation. There is always the return. And the wound will take you there. It is a blood-trail.” This is from Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? which, by the way, is what Jeanette’s mother, whom she always refers to as Mrs. Winterson, said to her regarding her decision to live as the lesbian she is. I guess an epigraph for a book should encapsulate the book, and this one pretty much does, so one could ask why I bothered to write it. As I’ve often said, and then elaborated on at readings, “Because I had to.” (from the front material)

The Prologue, entitled “Leaving: 1964” has its own epigraph from Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel: “…a stone, a leaf, a door…O lost, and by the wind grieved…” It’s little wonder that I connected so powerfully with Look Homeward, Angel that for years I called it my favorite book. Certainly there was the prose poetry, a literary phenomenon on which I once wrote a paper. But it was more the theme of loss and Read More 
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BOOK REVIEW

Recognition, Responsibility, Reconstruction, Reparation:
A Review of Native Americans, the Mainline Church, and the Quest for Interracial Justice

by Anna Redsand





A rectangular pit lined with dressed stones stands on a low hill in Toadlena, New Mexico, near the center of the Navajo Nation. The pit comprises the basement and foundation of what had, years earlier, been my missionary family’s home. The pit is half-filled with charred timbers, a bathtub, a sink, and the rusted remains of a coal furnace. Sometime after my family moved away, the house burned to the ground. Investigators said the fire was started intentionally. It wasn’t the first time. Two other houses we had lived in had fallen to arson, never while my family lived in them, but when missionaries who followed my father did. I have always wondered if these events were pained attempts to redress wrongs—cultural genocide aided and abetted by missionaries’ actions in a land that did not belong to us.

It was from this context and its many implications that, as I read David Phillips Hansen’s Native Americans, the Mainline Church, and the Quest for Interracial Justice, I flagged lines and paragraphs in the book until its text block looked like Read More 
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BOOKS ON THE JOURNEY V

BOOKS ON THE JOURNEY V
Sorting Things out in Later Adulthood



Spirituality and religion may have flowed out of me like so much water out of a pitcher, but as I quoted her in To Drink from the Silver Cup, Jeanette Winterson wrote of herself in Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? “If you are raised on the Bible, you don’t just walk away, whatever anyone says.” Winterson, a well known British lesbian author whose adoptive mother raised her to be a fundamentalist preacher and missionary, wrote this to explain the fact that today, perhaps forty years after leaving her church, she still reads a good deal of spiritual material. It was that way for me, too, after leaving the church. Even while I denied my spiritual nature, I continued to read, in order to attempt to reconcile who I was (a lesbian among other things), with who I’d been raised to be—like Winterson, raised on the Bible. One place I looked was in the stories of how others had made peace with their religious roots, Winterson’s books being among them. I loved her story for its irreverent, brave humor in the face of a world turned upside down because she chose Read More 
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YOU KNEW I WAS A SNAKE

YOU KNEW I WAS A SNAKE:
A RESPONSE TO THE "NASHVILLE STATEMENT"



It’s an old story: A man was out for a walk and found a snake by the side of the road, near dead from exposure. Feeling compassion for a fellow creature, he picked up the snake and put it inside his shirt to warm it. As the snake warmed up, the man felt it begin to rustle around next to his skin, and then he felt a sharp and deep stab in his chest, just above his heart. As the man lay dying, he asked the snake, “Why did you bite me? I was kind to you.” The snake answered, “You knew I was a snake when you picked me up.”

And now a disclaimer: I have not read the “Nashville Statement,” and I don’t intend to. I have read enough summaries of it to know that I am dealing with a snake I have met many times before. A snake that has bitten me a few times over. A snake I have miraculously Read More 
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