Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality:

The Real News Archive (Archive Home)

April, 2004

Friday, April 30, 2004

Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart (by Alice Walker) is a book populated with the kind of California New Age characters the state is known for, and they spend most of the book spouting New Age philosophy reminiscent of Carlos Casteneda's books of the 1970s.
The most exciting point in the book for me is when Kate goes into the Amazon for a swim after deciding "not to worry about piranhas or crocodiles, but to concentrate instead on her inner peacefulness." For an instant, I found myself hoping that a giant crocodile would jump up and she would have to wrestle with it for dear life.

~ ~ ~

Faith woven through canvas of `Rembrandt's Journey'

"He had a broad-stroke approach to religion," McCullagh said of Rembrandt. "He had an intensely human, very personal, deeply felt spirituality that was refined through the course of his career."

Museum-goers have until May 9 to tour the exposition titled "Rembrandt's Journey: Painter, Draftsman, Etcher," the first show in the U.S. to explore how the artist's prints relate to his paintings and drawings.

(The show) illustrates a shift in modern museum culture. Its emphasis on Rembrandt's religious themes rekindles a relationship between faith and art that curators, critics and art historians spent a century trying to separate.

"At the end of the 20th Century we're realizing that all these modern artists were doing religious stuff all the way along," said Brent Plate, an assistant professor of religion and the visual arts at Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth. "Museums and institutions, art historians and critics are waking up to the idea that we never did get rid of religion, and there's something interesting about this." -more-

~ ~ ~

Pope tells U.S. bishops to be holy, imitate poverty of Christ

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope John Paul II told U.S. bishops that their effectiveness as church leaders rests on an attitude of service and a witness of personal holiness.

That includes adopting a lifestyle that "imitates the poverty of Christ" so that the church can better identify with the struggles and suffering of the poor, he said.
The pope said the bishop's daily routine should be a "dynamic interplay of prayer and work." That should include prayer nourished by the Eucharist, in Mass and in eucharistic adoration; reading of the Scripture; contemplation; frequent recourse to the sacrament of penance; and celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours.

The pope said the bishop's spirituality must be closely linked to evangelical poverty. He recalled that at a recent Synod of Bishops he had urged bishops worldwide to show their attitude of service by adopting a lifestyle that imitates the poverty of Christ. -more-

~ ~ ~

Magnificent Journey on a Wing and a Prayer

Some travellers set out for such distant, unknown destinations that finding home again means pilgrimage to an almost mythical place. On January 14, 2004, a tropical frigate bird staggering in cold air at an unknown height--others of its kind have been clocked two kilometres up on the way to heaven--aimed itself at the only hard surface afloat in wind-whipped Hecate Strait.
The Queen of Prince Rupert's tilting foredeck was the last chance for a cold, tired frigate bird blown north from Hawaii or Mexico or some other warm-water/blue-sky place. These birds feed on the wing, gliding above the surface of smooth seas to pluck fish and squid, but their small, almost webless feet and low-oil feathers soon drenched to deadweight mean they do not land on water.

Imagine this bird weeping while the known world disappeared under its almost two-metre wing span, while its long hollow bones stretched into ceaseless winds with never a resting current, and its useless feet trembled, untucked, their minute weight only unneeded ballast dragging against lift. -more-

~ ~ ~

Raven Kaldera. I'm an FTM transgendered, intersexual shaman. My very presence is as an avatar of crossing boundaries. I am a walker between worlds, in many ways - the mundane and the spirit worlds, male and female, intersex and transgender, ancient paganism and modern life, and many others. My job is to show that the great chasm between these dualities can be bridged and crossed, and perhaps isn't even there at all. -more-

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Afloat in Mount Koya's spiritual sea

Special to The Japan Times

Mention Mount Koya, a highland in the north-central part of the Kii Peninsula in Wakayama Prefecture, and most people think immediately of the priest Kukai (774-835). Also known as Kobo Daishi, Kukai was the founder of the Shingon sect of esoteric Buddhism, and Mount Koya became the new sect's headquarters.

But an exhibition currently at Tokyo National Museum, titled "Kukai and Mount Koya," goes beyond a history lesson to immerse viewers in the sea of artworks that flowed into the vibrant Buddhist center. It's a powerful experience.
Photo: "Seated Statue of Kujaku- myo'o (Peacock Queen)" by Kaikei -more-

~ ~ ~

The American Indian Film Festival (Bellevue, Washington, U.S.A)

American Indians, who for hundreds of years have fought to preserve their culture and languages, are becoming more and more visible in the arts. Through novels, journalism, lecture and film, they are telling their stories and keeping their tribes in the public eye.

The American Indian Film Festival next week at Bellevue Community College will highlight some of that work, in an effort to both teach and preserve.

One featured speaker is Charlotte Black Elk, the great-granddaughter of Nicholas Black Elk, a visionary and healer whose life story was the subject of John Neihardt's 1932 novel "Black Elk Speaks."

Charlotte Black Elk lives on a Lakota reservation near Manderson, S.D. She's an attorney as well as a specialist who integrates science and spirituality to verify Native American oral tradition.

"I take tribal stories and use science to verify they are correct, geologically and biologically," she said. "For instance, we know our God is God because we can verify our legends, which have dinosaurs and amoebas and everything else." -more-

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Making Peace, By Gary Gach.

Maxine Hong Kingston’s long-anticipated The Fifth Book of Peace (T5BP) just might be the first masterpiece of the 21st Century, a marvelous model for the juicy potentiality of our new millennium. Until now peace has been seen as a mere hiatus between wars. Things change. In February 2003, massive spontaneous demonstrations broke out across the planet, preemptively decrying the war in Iraq as an interruption of peace. Unprecedented.

So T5BP is curious because, as its subject is peace, there’s next to nothing to compare it to. Our tendency is to emphasize the first half of the War and Peace equation. World literature abounds with classics about war, whereas instances of peace make us pause to consider what a rare bird it truly is.

Fittingly then, the book defies categorization, combining memoir, fiction and journalism, with each clearly delineated. The net effect calls into question not only division of genres but the very concept of separation. -

~ ~ ~

Festival of the Spirit preview (Maine, U.S.A.)

(April 27): On Thursday May 13 at 6:30 PM in the Friends Community Room at the Rockland Public Library, the film The Gift of Wanting will be screened as a preview to the upcoming Festival of the Spirit on May 20-23 at the Camden Opera House, Avena Institute and the Rockland Library. The 2004 Festival includes music, poetry, community discussion and Parabola Magazine’s Cinema of the Spirit series. The Rockland Library is a co-sponsor of the 2004 festival.

THE GIFT OF WANTING is a filmed dialogue with Adyashanti, teacher and author of The Impact of Awakening and My Secret is Silence. Filmed at a retreat in Santa Barbara, Adyashanti guides the viewer on an experiential inquiry into how traveling “from the head to the heart” reveals the hidden gift of wanting. -more-

~ ~ ~

The Big Nothing

PHILADELPHIA, ( — Opening Reception Friday April 30, 6-8pm; Walkthrough prior to reception, 5pm.

The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is pleased to announce “The Big Nothing,” a major group exhibition exploring themes of nothing and nothingness in contemporary art.
The void, the ineffable, the sublime, refusal, nihilism, zero—all are encompassed by “nothing.” ICA’s first floor gallery will trace a number of distinct takes on the idea. The vacuity or reproducability of consumer image culture can be seen in works by Roe Ethridge and Andy Warhol. Metaphysical nothings—from Zen to an updated American sublime—are evident in works by Jack Goldstein, Heavy Industries and Yayoi Kusama. Yet another section, with works by Louise Lawler, Jutta Koether, and others, conceives of nothing as a kind of refusal or negation. A fourth grouping will document art projects that have sought to close or empty the gallery space. This surprisingly recurrent gesture in contemporary art—Yves Klein, Robert Barry and Michael Asher have all made signature works by removing or displacing art from its normative contexts—will be showcased in photographs, announcement cards, press releases and other ephemera. -more-

~ ~ ~

Elder Hispanics share histories and wisdom

Sponsored by the local literary organization Nuestra Palabra and University of Texas Medical Branch, the "Nuestro Tiempo en Este Lugar" (Our History in This Place) project examines how the environment has changed physically and culturally for local Hispanics. A group of about eight senior citizens met weekly last fall at the Latino Learning Center on Polk Street to reminisce about horses, about the ranchos and about a world gone by. On Wednesday, their stories will culminate with a stage adaptation at the Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts center.

"We'll get an insight into history," Nuestra Palabra director Tony Diaz said. "They (the elders) still have a lot of wisdom to offer. In these modern times they may feel a little ignored, but we still need their values, their insight, their consejos (advice)."

~ ~ ~

Miso goes mainstream

Miso (MEE-soh) is a thick, salty paste of fermented soybeans and grains not unlike peanut butter in consistency. An integral component of Japanese cuisine, miso has been revered in Japan for centuries for its depth of flavor and purported curative properties. It wasn't until the 1960s that miso first gained shelf space at natural food co-ops in the United States. But in subsequent years, the paste has emerged on menus and cookbook pages in ways previously unimagined.

Its growing popularity is easily explained: No other single ingredient captures miso's many attributes. The chunky soy paste is often compared with aged Parmigiano for its saltiness, to demiglace for its depth of flavor, to butter for its richness, to wine for its layered complexity and to olive oil for its usefulness. Depending on the cook, miso is a flavor enhancer, curing agent, sauce thickener, fat substitute or culinary cure-all. It imparts instant oomph, whether it's in the hands of a traditional or nonconformist chef. -www.">link no longer working-

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Finding God in Whoville.

Since its release in February, "The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss" (Judson Press, $10 paperback) has sold more than 14,000 copies, and has headed into a second printing. It got a boost in early March, when Barnes & Noble featured it as part of a national celebration of Dr. Seuss' 100th birthday on March 2.

Dr. Seuss -- born Theodor Seuss Geisel -- died in 1991.

During his 15 years as a Methodist minister, Kemp often used Dr. Seuss' stories as illustrations in his sermons. For example, Horton the elephant, who keeps his promise to sit on a bird's egg until it hatches -- despite ridicule from those around him -- is a model of faithfulness, Kemp says.

"In the face of challenges, persecution, and ridicule," he writes, "Horton remains faithful `one hundred percent.' "

Each chapter focuses on a single Dr. Seuss book, and was condensed from Kemp's old sermons. "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back" becomes a story about the "restoring power of Jesus Christ." "Yertle the Turtle" a lesson about greed. "Green Eggs and Ham" a parable about embracing change and "The Sneetches," one about overcoming discrimination. -more-

~ ~ ~

Lance Armstrong is not only an idol for cycling enthusiasts, he's an almost spiritual guru for an army of cancer patients and survivors who've admired his approach to the deadly disease they share. To them, he's a winner 2,920 times over - the daily total of the eight years he's used since his diagnosis of testicular cancer to overcame his bad odds, to survive and thrive in the professional sport he loves. -more-

~ ~ ~

Dear Dr. Angelini,

I am a very spiritual person, but my husband, unfortunately, is not. I have been trying for years to help him see the value of following a spiritual path, but I have been mostly unsuccessful in my efforts. What would you recommend to help my husband see the value of spirituality? -more-

~ ~ ~

At the feet of the Master

KADAVULUDAN VAZHNDHAVARGAL — English original by Swami Chetanananda: Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai 600004. Rs. 100.

SPIRITUALITY IS not so much taught as caught. It is by sitting at the feet of the Guru, moving with him intimately, that an aspirant realises the nuances of spiritual life. This is beautifully illustrated by the saga of 31 lay disciples who found fulfilment through Sri Ramakrishna. The book under review is the Tamil version of Swami Chetanananda's They Lived with God.

These men and women came from different walks of life and the Master moulded each of them in a different way. He chastised the powerful proprietress of the Dakshineswar temple, Rani Rasmani, when he found her thinking of a pending law suit instead of contemplating the glories of the Divine Mother.

When he met starving people in a slum near Deoghar he insisted on his patron Mathurnath feeding them sumptuously before continuing his pilgrimage to Varanasi. This was the genesis of the dedicated service of fellow men and women for which the Ramakrishna Mission is now famous.

When Girish Chandra Gosh, the Shakespeare of the Bengali theatre, pleaded that he had committed all the crimes in the calendar and could not stick to any discipline, Sri Ramakrishna made him give the "power of attorney". Girish thought he could now lead a licentious life, but found to his surprise that the vision of the Master prevented him from even handling a cup of drink.

Mahendra Nath Gupta (M) was toying with the idea of committing suicide when his accidental meeting with the Master turned him into a faithful recorder of Sri Ramakrishna's life in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, which is a spiritual treasure trove to millions today.

All these gems therefore call for careful study as they can tell us how to be in tune with the Infinite.

(This has been the entire article.)

~ ~ ~

George Schaller. Natural history filmmaker Cynthia Moses says that he "is one of my heroes because he not only is one of the greatest scientists of our generation but he also understands the poetry and spirituality found in nature."
He worries that the public isn't paying attention, isn't demanding any accountability, and to a certain extent, he points the finger of blame at his own brethren. Beginning 10 or 15 years ago, Schaller says, the conservation community began to frame the justification for conservation and saving species in monetary terms -- that nature had to pay its way. The argument was that healthy wild places made economic sense, a notion he rejects.

"Placing a dollar value on everything is a drastic change which I hold against big conservation organizations," he said. "Before, conservation was a moral issue, but words like `spiritual' or `moral' or `ethical' are gone from the vocabulary now."

They are not missing from Schaller's. Two years ago it was tracking the world's last Asiatic cheetahs in Iran, where there may be only 50 left in the wild. Last year, as he has on and off through many years, he hiked the pristine, if breathtakingly harsh and frigid Chang Tang plateau in Tibet, studying yak, antelope, and argali sheep. He has just returned from Bhutan. And this summer, he hopes to spend at least two months riding horseback through the most inaccessible reaches of Afghanistan, looking for Marco Polo sheep and snow leopards. -more-

Monday, April 26, 2004

Bison are blessed and participants make wishes at American Indian ceremony

In thankfulness and reverence, American Indians and onlookers converged Saturday on Wildlife Prairie State Park near Edwards (Illinois, U.S.A.) to take part in a sacred ritual, thanking Mother Earth and bison for their generosity and asking spiritual grandfathers to continue to provide this life-giving gift.
American Indians at the event stressed their respect for Mother Earth and compared their beliefs to those of Buddhists because both groups believe everything on earth has a message. -www.">link no longer working-

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Tibetan Buddhism in the West

The lamas, who had followed the Dalai Lama into exile in India, headed west. It was the Sixties, and the West, weary of what it knew about Christianity or Judaism, was ready to bow down to what it didn't know — spiritual practices of the East.

The timing was perfect, says writer Jeffrey Paine, whose new book Re-Enchantment explains how Tibetan Buddhism came to the West and how the lamas ushered in the greatest revolution in their religious history by adapting to western tastes.
And if the lamas could also help North Americans with their bruised psyches, all the better. The lamas, including the Dalai Lama, were astounded that westerners, so well educated, so at ease with engines, suffered from low self-esteem, says Paine. When they compared the two cultures, they concluded that the major difference between Tibetans and North Americans was that Tibetans liked themselves. -more-

Saturday, April 24, 2004

'Sun After Dark': Pico Iyer's revelatory journeys of the mind and spirit

...the sights he sees while rushing around are often offered less for their own sake than as jumping-off points for ruminations on why we leave home, and how we change and challenge ourselves when we do so.

Iyer's interest in the mystical fringes of religious experience, especially in Zen Buddhism, plays a role here. What he's after in travel, he confesses, is an instructive "dissolution of the self," such as Buddhist monks seek. Iyer just prefers to achieve it by covering thousands of air miles, rather than meditating for hours.
In Bolivia, he again finds "a poor country, yes, but one that did not look as if it ever expected to get rich" (unlike, he says, neighboring Peru and Argentina). Bolivia was where Iyer went after Sept. 11, 2001, "to get away from a world that was preoccupied with the war between the future and the past." The country's capital, La Paz, he writes, "seemed to sit outside all such ideas ... off in its own dimension." His wanderings in and around La Paz, combined with his memories of a visit he made there when in his late teens, result in one of the best pieces in the book. -more-

~ ~ ~

Biblical perspective on debt offered

Sunday, at the Ann Arbor Church of Christ, Diggs will teach an all-day class on getting and staying out of debt.

"My car drove better when it didn't have payments on it," said Diggs, a Nashville resident who teaches that heavy debt and "stuffaholism" can be a distraction from spirituality.

"Credit card and car debt are the great pains of the middle class," said Diggs. -more-

~ ~ ~

Ron Sexsmith is a man of many gifts. An uncommonly perceptive songwriter, Sexsmith applies distinctive lyrical insights to a wide range of daily experience, all delivered in a thick, sleepy sigh of a voice. He plays tasteful lead guitar and arranges his songs for maximum emotional effect. And he does it with humility -- nothing in his music announces itself, or has to. -more-

Friday, April 23, 2004

Washington Post and Hinduphobia by Rajiv Malhotra

"It is good that government corruption and corporate corruption have come under considerable public attention in the US. But academic corruption, the core issue that I have tried to examine for the past several years, remains largely ignored by the public. Just because this corruption trades not in conventional monetary terms but in terms of career advancements, book sales, political ideological promotion and evangelism does not make it any less harmful. The biases in the Post's article (as explained below) illustrate the further need to look into media corruption.  

"The key issues deserving examination in both cases are these: Who controls the discourse, how do they exert control over it, and what are its consequences?   "Government corruption in countries like India is often the result of a concentration of power over the control of commerce. Analogously, channels of knowledge distribution around the world are often controlled by vested interests, and I have highlighted this extensively in the case of knowledge about India and especially about Hinduism. A small subset of Western-controlled knowledge producers about India control the academic journals, conferences, grants, PhDs, appointments and award committees. If a similar control existed over commercial distribution channels, it would be grounds for anti-trust action against the monopolists." -more-

~ ~ ~

From hard rock stardom to an unlikely surrender

Canadian Lee Aaron has over two decades of international success in the music industry, starting in hard rock in the '80s and moving into jazz in the mid-'90s. She offers the following account of her dramatic spiritual transformation.
How did my life have meaning? My marriage was a disaster. Alcohol played centre stage there, and I, in a futile attempt to cope, had fallen into a pattern of popping pain killers daily.

At 37, I'd given up on the idea of ever having children, and had resigned myself to -- or, perhaps romanticized -- the idea that I would be a cool, childless old lady who painted, drank wine spritzers, recorded and toured occasionally like Marianne Faithful, and lived with a pack of nasty little lap dogs for love and protection. I even fooled myself into thinking that this was as good as life gets. What a dumb-ass I was. -more-

~ ~ ~

Monks have 'secret of life' lifestyle?

Columbia, MO, Apr. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers said they think the true secret of living a long, healthy and satisfying life might be found at a nearby monastery.

"Through a systematic review of the scientific literature, we found that individuals who regularly participate in organized religious activities live longer and healthier lives on average," said Daniel Longo, professor of family and community medicine at the University of Missouri in Columbia. "This effect may be more significant among those who have made a life-long commitment to a religious lifestyle in an organized religious community."

For example, Longo said, Trappist and Benedictine monks between 1900 and 1994 experienced a 12 percent lower mortality rate than the general population.
The lifestyle simply includes moderation, obedience, humility and respect for others. It also focuses on balance, along with spirituality, both of which are attitudes conducive to good health, Longo said. (This has been the entire article.)

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Belle Chasse Methodist offers weekend of fun
Thursday, April 22, 2004
By Jean Perret
Belle Chasse United Methodist Church members are gearing up for a good time this weekend and invite everyone to come by to share in the fun.

The weekend will kick off with a chicken barbecue on Saturday. This is the men's fund-raiser for summer camp scholarships and they will be keeping the coals burning from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This should be a great lunchtime idea even if your schedule is busy. They will be happy to do your fixings to go.

Sunday is another fun event. A tent service will begin at 11 a.m., the dress is casual and everyone can sing along with the "house band" which will be playing contemporary music and favorite hymns. The weather should be beautiful and the events offer a nice outing the whole family will enjoy. (This has been the entire article.)

~ ~ ~

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Is organic the future of farming? In its pure form, maybe not. But elements of the organic philosophy are starting to be deployed in mainstream agriculture. In this web focus, Nature's reporters analyse this trend, assess the extent of organic farming worldwide, and frame the questions on which its wider adoption will depend. -more-

Poets Die Young - U.S. Study
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Poets die young -- younger than novelists, playwrights and other writers, a U.S. researcher said on Wednesday.
Kaufman has also studied poets and mental illness.

"What I found was pretty consistent with the death finding actually, female poets were much more likely to suffer from mental illness (e.g., be hospitalized, commit suicide, attempt suicide) than any other kind of writer and more likely than other eminent women," he said.

"I've dubbed this the 'Sylvia Plath Effect."' -

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Book Review: Gita on the Green: The Mystical Tradition Behind Bagger Vance
Author: Steven J. Rosen.
The main thrust of the book is bhakti, consecrated devotion to the ideals of the Gita as passed to him by this tradition. And the work is sound and personal and contemporary. For this reason, Gita on the Green will be of use to those teaching Bhagavad-gita in academia. Rosen shows that the Gita can be explained in a contemporary context, using golf and a novel about golf to illuminate the Gita's teachings and philosophy. This will allow today's students an entrance into an otherwise difficult text. -more-

~ ~ ~

Dogville. It is unlikely there will be much fence-sitting when it comes to "Dogville," the first in what Danish director Lars von Trier plans as an allegorical trilogy about the United States. But while some people may object to its anti-Americanism -- a charge I think the movie lives up to -- more may simply find it pretentious and boring, its enforced artificiality less than artful. I'm on the other side: I found "Dogville" fascinating, nearly as powerful as Von Trier's "Dancer in the Dark" and as interesting for the faulty assumptions it makes as for the supposed truths it reveals. -more-

~ ~ ~

National Park Foundation is releasing its 2004 Proud Partner 'Best of the Parks' Picks -- a list of unique experiences that can only be found in America's National Parks. The 2004 Proud Partner 'Best of the Parks' Picks are: (Best Sunrise, Best Beach, etc.) -more-

~ ~ ~

Influence of sacred spaces.

Workshop examines influence of 'Sacred Spaces'

By DIANE HEILENMAN April 18, 2004
[email protected]
The Courier-Journal

How design affects behavior, specifically in the arena of spirituality, is the topic of a free talk and series of workshops offered by the American Institute of Architects and the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture April 26-28 in Columbus, Ind.

Columbus is noted for a significant mass of 20th-century architecture with a large complement of noted church designs. "Experiencing Sacred Spaces" is a three-day workshop that examines new research and documentation on connections between the built environment and brain activities that contribute to spiritual states.

Dr. Robert H. Schuller, former public director on the AIA National Board and spiritual leader at the architecturally significant Crystal Cathedral in California, gives the 8 p.m. keynote address at St. Peter's Lutheran Church, 719 Fifth St. Doors open at 7:15 p.m., and unclaimed seats will be available at 7:45 p.m.

Tickets are available only in person at the Columbus Area Visitors Center, 506 Fifth St. The center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (800) 468-6564. (This has been the entire article.)

~ ~ ~

Dade educator pens book on black men

A new book by Miami-Dade County School Board member Robert B. Ingram calls for a look at factors that adversely affect the black male psyche to minimize or eliminate what Ingram regards as a prevailing complacency that is increasing the criminalization, incarceration and death of black males.

The paperback book, A Black Man's Dilemma: Endangered or Endeared?, was published in collaboration with Hallandale Beach-based Aglob Publishers, founded by physician Anthony Eniola.

Ingram draws from his experience as a former police chief and former six-term mayor of Opa-locka to blend the study of history, folklore, allegory and spirituality.

A statement from Ingram's office quoted statistics showing the United States has more black men between ages 20 and 29 under the control of the nation's criminal justice system than the total number registered in U.S. colleges.

Such statistics led Ingram to conclude that black males are an ''endangered'' species in America. But he said he believes that the situation ``can be turned around.''

Ingram is a professor of criminal justice and assistant to the president for urban affairs at Florida Memorial College.

A Black Man's Dilemma: Endangered or Endeared? is available at Afro-In Books and Things, 5575 NW Seventh Ave. in Liberty City, phone 305-756-6107, and by order at Barnes & Noble.

(This has been the entire article.)

Monday, April 19, 2004

64% of the nation’s 128 million Internet users have done things online that relate to religious or spiritual matters.

Nearly two-thirds of the adults who use the Internet in the United States have used the Internet for faith-related matters. That represents nearly 82 million Americans. Among the most popular and important spiritually-related online activities:

38% of the 128 million Internet users have sent and received email with spiritual content.
35% have sent or received online greeting cards related to religious holidays.
32% have gone online to read news accounts of religious events and affairs.
21% have sought information about how to celebrate religious holidays.
17% have looked for information about where they could attend religious services. -more-

~ ~ ~

BOSTON – It was not a new pair of sneakers that helped Danny Dreyer get ready for Monday's Boston Marathon, but a T'ai Chi master named George Xu who hangs out most afternoons in the park. Mr. Dreyer, an ultramarathoner who covers 50 miles in about six hours, found Mr. Xu performing the glacially paced martial art by San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. Xu told Dreyer to return to him in 30 days, at which point he mysteriously pronounced him "ready to begin."
Now, when he talks about his running style, Dreyer quotes Lao Tzu. He uses terms like "mindfulness practice" and "the power of chi" (pronounced chee). -more-

~ ~ ~

NOBODY can escape the overwhelming power of The Great Wave. Since it was designed more than 170 years ago, this spectacular Japanese print has become the most familiar image in Far Eastern art.

Katsushika Hokusai, the man who created it, produced an archetypal image that speaks directly to our own nascent century. And on BBC Two this Saturday, the fascination of this prodigious image is trenchantly explored.
The Great Wave is the work of an old man, forced to fight his way out of destitution. -more-

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Step into one of Intae Kim’s luscious dune photographs, and you enter a world of timeless shifting sands, searing heat, buffeting winds, and the relentless power of time sculpting our world.

"There is utopia, in the desert.

I can be free from all the nervousness of mundane life

I engulf myself in the beauty of nature

I regain the happiness that I have lost.

I feel cleansed and life starts anew." -more-

~ ~ ~

Jazz: Playing and Praying

Ten years after walking away from jazz to find deeper meaning in her life, pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams released “Mary Lou Williams Presents: Black Christ of the Andes.” Now the album, first released in 1964, is slated for a May re-release.

Her spiritual quest led Williams, who grew up in a black church in Kansas City, to convert to Catholicism, which later prompted her to say, “I figure now when I play, it can be counted as a prayer.” Williams died in 1981.

Williams' work is part of a long tradition of jazz artists' exploring spirituality and faith in their music, says Jay Hoggard, a vibraphonist and music professor at Wesleyan University in Hartford, Conn. -more-

Friday, April 16, 2004

Berners-Lee wins inaugural technology prize. Inventor of the World Wide Web awarded $1.2 million Millennium Technology Prize. -more-

~ ~ ~

Wright wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Opening himself with raw honesty, Franz Wright has transformed private grief and spiritual yearnings into poetry of redemptive beauty.

From local poet P.J. Thurston to editor David Daniel, the 51-year-old Waltham resident is respected, practically revered, as a craftsman and artist of exemplary power.

Wright vaulted into international prominence Monday, earning the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, joining his father, the late James Wright, as the only father and son to win that esteemed prize for poetry.

"I believe very strongly in the power of true poetry to lift us up out of ourselves and our private problems, and allow us to participate in something higher, something beyond the merely personal. All true art does that." -more-

~ ~ ~

Tibetan monks biking to Canada stop in Carlisle

PAMILLA SAYLOR Associated Press

BOILING SPRINGS, Pa. - Rain isn't high on the list of preferred weather conditions for most bicyclists. But while pouring rain certainly soaked the band of cyclists riding Monday to reach Boiling Springs, the weather is secondary to this group.

The 14 Tibetan men and a Canadian husband-and-wife team are on a mission to raise awareness of the plight of Tibet, a mountainous Asian land that has been controlled by the Chinese government since 1949. The Dalai Lama, who is both the spiritual leader and head of the Tibetan government, was forced into exile a decade later. -more-

~ ~ ~

Gospel Movies Reveal Myth And Society. Whereas The Fighting Temptations portrayed black religious culture as Sunday morning Dance Fever, the Coens' have consistently examined its often ignored complexities.
The Coens ... look at spirituality with the inquisitive point of view of satirists who perceive the ironies in their characters' moral struggle. In this way The Ladykillers shows uncommon respect for black gospel culture. -more-

~ ~ ~

African shells are said to have been strung 75,000 years ago and mark start of symbolic thinking

In a handful of pierced seashells found in a South African cave, scientists believe that they have discovered the world's oldest known jewelry and the earliest reliable evidence of creative symbolic thought at work.
"The find is riveting," said archeologist Sally McBrearty at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, who studies prehistoric tools and human evolution.

The beads "scream out symbolic behavior," she said. "It is the expression of identity, of selfhood, of aesthetics." -more-

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Holy waters: a trip up the Narmada River. Approximately 30 internationals and Indians signed up for the weeklong tour organized by the National Alliance of People’s Movements, a coalition of more than 200 Indian grass-roots organizations engaged in anti-development struggles. Our itinerary included two days along the Narmada River with the anti-dam movement, the Narmada Bachao Andolan, and its charismatic leader, Medha Patkar.
Only the photographers and filmmakers among us braved disembarking at Domkhedi, our first stop. The black gooey silt along the shoreline made the short trek up the bank almost impossible. Last summer, Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Shobha, a young village woman, got trapped in the Domkhedi’s silt and drowned. On the morning we visited, the hillside hamlet looked like a scene from National Geographic. A bullock meandered in a distant field. A man spread small silver fish in the sun to dry. Women, their children clustered around them, finished a harvest. There was a remarkable lightness about the place. No vehicles. No heavy machinery. No piles of nonbiodegradable trash. You could whisk away the whole village in half an afternoon. And yet, the inhabitants of Domkhedi cling to this patch of earth with a tenacity seen only among people who already live on the rim. -more-

~ ~ ~

When the dominant, belligerent baboons vanished, a new culture took over

Among a troop of savanna baboons in Kenya, a terrible outbreak of tuberculosis 20 years ago selectively killed off the biggest, nastiest and most despotic males, setting the stage for a social and behavioral transformation unlike any seen in this notoriously truculent primate.

In a study appearing today in the journal PloS Biology (online at, researchers describe the drastic temperamental and tonal shift that occurred in a troop of 62 baboons when its most belligerent members vanished from the scene. -more-

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Music for the stressed soul, By Josh Shaffer

Ask most spiritual people what they like in music and they'll tell you that God has pretty broad tastes.

It doesn't matter much to the creator of the universe if you sing a Bach cantata or a string of nonsense syllables, as long as the heart is pure.

During the first week of daylight-saving time, it's not so much the heart but the body and spirit that need a boost.

Here, an amateur inspirational spin-doctor offers uplifting musical suggestions for any time of the day. -more-

~ ~ ~

Our friend Rex Redhouse is gone, but not forgotten. An incredible cross section of the community turned out to say goodbye. Old and young, black, brown, yellow, red and white - each came to celebrate the gifts he left behind during his 84 years in this life.

Mr. Redhouse, as our family has always called him, epitomized the gentle man. It has been said that one can learn a lot about someone on a camping trip. Living across the street from this quiet, yet colorful figure for some 26 years also taught us a great deal.

Our two boys knew him their entire lives. More than a few times, they retrieved an errant basketball from his yard. Though a man of few words, he always had a friendly greeting, whether at the mailbox, or anyplace else we happened to meet. -more-

~ ~ ~

24-year-old honcho of Conscious Alliance is more into swapping one kind of hunger for another -- the appetite for music and art, and the desperate craving for, well, food.
Working with rock bands and festival promoters nationwide, Conscious Alliance trades concert-goers original rock art posters for foodstuffs which (Justin) Baker then distributes to the Indian reservations that constitute some of America's most poverty-stricken counties. "This is emergency food as we see it," Baker says. "There is so much aid that we send out of the country when there is so much needed right here at home . . . People in Boulder [Colorado] don't realize that six hours away [in Pine Ridge, South Dakota] is a straight-up third world country." -more-

Monday, April 12, 2004

In China, a Buddhist settlement struggles with officialdom

SERTAR, China — The young Chinese monk had traveled more than a thousand miles to study with Buddhist teachers here. He had built a crude cabin in the mountains, and made it his home. But then police decided to force him to leave, part of a campaign to control a sprawling religious settlement in this remote Tibetan region in Sichuan province.
"There are so many people here," said the young monk, Ji, who asked to be identified only by his surname. "How can the police make me leave if they can't find me?"

His expulsion and quick return to Larung Gar, one of the world's most influential centers for the study of Tibetan Buddhism, was a small twist in a profound conflict now unfolding in China. -more- Photo: The Larung Gar settlement grew into China's largest monastic community, with as many as 10,000 residents, before the ruling Communist Party began trying to control it and to expel settlers in the late 1990s.

~ ~ ~

Plant lover turned empty plot into vegetable bonanza for San Mateo shelter.

By David Burger, STAFF WRITER

SAN MATEO -- Alaine Weber and two other volunteers meet every weekend next to the Samaritan House, tending to a garden that helps feed the more than 350 people who come to the homeless shelter every day.

"I'm not an employee of the Samaritan House," said Weber as she knelt on the ground Saturday, planting lettuce seedlings on raised beds of compost covered with straw. "I'm just a gardener. -more-

~ ~ ~

Bracing for the boom when boomers retire. "This idea of retirement is different now," said Sandra Kulesza, 52, of Chandler. "We're not just waiting to die, we're starting a whole new way of life."
"This baby boomer move into retirement will establish a new paradigm about what retirement should be about and what retirement homes should be offering."

He said the boomers will challenge the cities and expect them to offer different programs. But he doesn't know what form those programs will take.

"Cities are going to have to figure it out," he said. "Therein lies the excitement." -more-

~ ~ ~

Returning to the origins of American ballet

To many critics, "Serenade" embodied the way Balanchine's approach would differ from that of classical ballet choreographers. Rather than focus on a particular story or plot line, Balanchine allowed his dancers to shape his choreography. Historians say the ballet begins with 17 female dancers because that was the number of dancers who showed up for rehearsal on the day he began working on "Serenade."

"It's dance for the sake of dancing," said Purchase College junior Allison Anich, 20, one of Saturday's performers.

"It's almost spiritual, the experience I had dancing it, and I think it's true for most people who have danced it," said Bettijane Sills, the Purchase Dance Corps' director.

~ ~ ~

Resonant Renaissance: Moscow Easter Festival Celebrates Russia's Reborn Tradition of Bell-Ringing
By Ira Iosebashvili
The Moscow Times (via AP) - 9-15 April 2004

A vibrant, rhythmic sound will reverberate over the usual din of urban life this week, as Moscow's churches and monasteries ring their bells for the annual Easter Week celebration. Despite decades of silence under the Soviet government, Russia's bells — and the traditions that surround them — are still going strong.

"Slowly but surely, the old ways are returning," said Viktor Sharikov, head of the Bell Center, a school for bell ringers located in the Cathedral of Saint Sofia of God's Wisdom, one of the oldest churches in Moscow. "We see more and more churches putting up bells, more and more people who want to become bell ringers." -more-

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Change or death

In the third decade of lying in bed, gravely depressed Beach Boy Brian Wilson discovered that his ceiling fan had the capacity to change the direction of its spin.

Never before had he felt so alive.

"Blue, blue windows behind the stars, yellow moon on the rise," Neil Young nostalgically recalls the scenes of past times that "leave us helpless, helpless, helpless."

The flux of life is at times nauseating, and we tenaciously take hold of certain sentiments and pursuits as our Dramamine. Admiration and love, the pursuit of truth and the pursuit of art - among numerous other virtues - all harbor us from the tempests of change. -more-

Friday, April 9, 2004

'Priest and poet' Father Tom dies

ONE of Sheffield's best-loved and longest-serving Catholic priests has died at the age of 87 – after 53 years of active ministry.

Father Thomas Keegan was priest of St William's Church, Ecclesall Road, Greystones, for 36 years and only retired when he reached the age of 80 in 1996.

Before taking his post in Sheffield he had worked in Hoyland, near Barnsley, and in churches across West Yorkshire.

'Father Tom', as he was known affectionately in his later years, was born to Irish parents in Cape Town, South Africa, in the middle of the First World War, in May 1916.

He moved to Ireland when he was nine and to Yorkshire in 1947, four years after his ordination to the priesthood.

Father Tom, who lived following his retirement in the Sisters of Mercy gate lodge to Mylnhurst School on Button Hill, was posted to St William's in 1960 and immediately took to Sheffield and its people.

Friend Pauline Carbery said: "The bishop said at his funeral that with Father Tom a cup of tea meant everything. "It meant 'you're welcome', 'nice to see you', 'come on in' and 'sit down'. And I think that summed him up really - the immense warmth of the man.

"He became very well-known in the Ecclesall area and never wanted to move from St William's.
"He loved South Yorkshire and was very involved in Sheffield and with Catholicism in the county as a whole.

"He loved the people and nothing was ever too much trouble, particularly when people were ill or experiencing difficulties."

Father Keegan's interests included poetry, nature and the seasons, history, music and art.
Mrs Carbery said: "His love of poetry and nature were central to his whole spirituality. He has left a hole – his life also impacted on so many other people's."

Father Keegan's funeral was led by the Catholic Bishop of Sheffield, Rt Rev John Rawsthorne, at St William's Church. Fr Keegan was buried in Rathwire, Mullingar, County Westmeath.

09 April 2004

~ ~ ~

Iowa Senate honors Meskwaki 'code talkers'

By CHARLOTTE EBY, Courier Des Moines Bureau

DES MOINES --- They were called "code talkers," credited with saving the lives of countless American soldiers during World War II by transmitting messages in their Native American languages.

But eight members of the Meskwaki tribe in Tama County who served as either code talkers or scouts have been overlooked for Congressional Medals of Honor while their Navajo counterparts have been singled out for awards.

The Iowa Senate passed a resolution Wednesday urging the U.S. Congress to recognize the Meskwaki tribe's contribution to the war effort.

The Meskwakis were among soldiers from more than 18 tribes who used their native languages to transmit vital information about the location of enemy troops during World War I and World War II. -

~ ~ ~

Disney Plans Earth Day IMAX Release of 'Sacred Planet'. Jon Long's goal is to show people parts of the world that may be gone soon. A snowboarder, mountain biker and windsurfer, he has found that his sports skills helped him as he trekked to remote parts of Thailand, Borneo, New Zealand, Africa and more for his Disney-produced movie "Sacred Planet."

~ ~ ~

Cherry Blossom Time

It also seems more fitting to ponder the cherry blossom in relative solitude: It is, after all, a plant that exudes a quiet, almost sacred grace with its dark silhouette and confetti flowers. Pooler is drawn to the arboretum collections by other powers, not least the reality that all these trees, barely tapped for their genetic traits, have the power to furnish new cherry varieties for generations to come. This month marks the centennial of the first plantings of Japanese cherry trees in the United States.

There are more than 3,700 trees in the Tidal Basin, the Washington Monument grounds and other nearby areas, consisting mostly of four different trees: the early-flowering weeping Higan; the luminescent light pink Yoshino; the more densely clustered pink Akebono; and the heavily double pink Kwanzan. As stunning as these are, they represent a small slice of the cherry pie. -more-

Thursday, April 8, 2004

Jesus broke bread and shared wine with his disciples, immortalizing his body and blood and continuing a tradition of spirituality centered on food and drink.

Throughout his life, he used food in allegories to teach lessons. Whenever he performed a miracle with food, he also fed followers a message.
He shared meals with sinners and brought marginal people into the center through meals, added Father Michael G. Witczak, rector and professor of liturgical studies at the Archdiocese's St. Francis Seminary.

The first thing Jesus did after calling the despised tax collector Matthew to be a disciple was to share a meal with him, Witczak said.

"At one basic level, people ate at these meals," Witczak said. "But there were moments for teaching. The dominant theme is reconciliation." -more-

~ ~ ~

Priest may be forming breakaway church. A Catholic priest, who was transferred two years ago after delivering a vulgar Easter homily advocating the ordination of women and married men, may be starting a breakaway church, Catholic officials said yesterday.
"We believe that the only requirement for membership in Christ Hope Church is a desire to grow along the Spiritual lines of selfless love as expressed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ." -more- His website:

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

A Brief History of Hawking. For the first time, cosmologist Stephen Hawking, a notoriously private man, has collaborated on a film of his extraordinarily eventful life
I want people to see past the iconic image of Stephen Hawking - of a frail man in a wheelchair - to see the phenomenal drive that made him turn that diagnosis into a spur for radical, revolutionary thought, and move forward into a future that he didn't know he had. -more-

Monday, April 5, 2004

"The danger is within ourselves: It is mediocrity." --Abbas

Refusing to bow before the tyrannies of modern-day photojournalism, with its 24 hour newscoverage and tight deadlines, Abbas insists on taking his time, spending up to several months on a shoot, which is generally part of a bigger project.
"My photography is a reflection, which comes to life in action and leads to meditation," he explains. "Spontaneity - the suspended moment - intervenes during action, in theviewfinder. A reflection on the subject precedes it. A meditation on finality follows it, and it is here, during this exalting and fragile moment, that the real photographic writing develops: sequencing the images.

"For this reason a writer's spirit is necessary to this enterprise. Isn't photography 'writing with light?' But with the difference that while the writer possesses his word, the photographer is himself, possessed by his photo, by the limit of the real which he must transcend so as not to become its prisoner." -more-

~ ~ ~

Edith Stein, as Teacher of Liturgical Spirituality: Interview With Carmelite Father Jesús Castellano Cervera

Q: According to Edith Stein, what is Eucharistic spirituality?

Father Castellano Cervera: Something as simple as living, as a vital answer, before the awareness of the gift that the Eucharist implies: to respond with prayer before thePresence, before the Most Holy Eucharist, and at daily Mass; to respond with gratitude, for the gift of Communion, to the One who nourishes us with his flesh and blood "as a mother her child"; to respond to the Eucharistic sacrifice by accepting the gift and making life a spiritual offering.

It is a spirituality that is nourished, in Edith Stein, with example and witness; that is illuminated with teaching and initiation in the riches of the mystery, which passes little by little into life and customs until it becomes a Eucharistic existence that pervades the whole being and living. -more-

Sunday, April 4, 2004

New Documentary: Stone Reader. Mark Moskowitz is the kind of reader any novelist would kill for. He not only obsesses over books: the way they look, the way they smell, the details of their dustjackets. He's also the kind of guy who would spend years of his life trying to track down an obscure author whose book he -- and just about no one else on the face of the earth -- read and enjoyed. That's the quest of Moskowitz's documentary Stone Reader, a delightful film about a literary mystery that's far more engaging and suspenseful than it has any right to be. -more-

Saturday, April 3, 2004

It's basic to the spiritual journey to recognize that we react to a world of our own invention, both within and without. As long as we do so, we are ensnared by our own imaginations and prejudices, and who among us escapes the trap? It is helpful, however, to recognize the problem.

As a retired pastor, I fear those who lift up Scriptures to masquerade as their own prejudices and fears. The Bible lacks the consistency to stand any test of ultimate truth, and that is hardly its purpose. To use Scriptures to repress people one does not agree with is of the same mentality as wanting a constitutional amendment to focus on a minority in order to suppress them. Both are reckless and unworthy of a compassionate and free people.

Many are now lifting up the Bible to prove that God does not want loving people of the same sex to enjoy the privileges of marriage, though an argument might be mounted on biblical grounds that marriage is a spiritual union of two people who are dedicated each to the other. Or not. -more-

~ ~ ~

Running feeds Texas seminarian's body, mind, spirit. AUSTIN, Texas - In what he dubs his "Mother Teresa Run," Roger Joslin looks for the divine in the faces of everyone he meets. When "Running With Alms," the Austin seminarian takes along a few dollars to help those in need.

In Joslin's view, a spiritual experience - even an encounter with God - is as likely to occur along a wooded trail as in a church, synagogue or mosque.

The 52-year-old master of divinity student at Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest relates his experiences in the book "Running the Spiritual Path: A Runner's Guide to Breathing, Meditating and Exploring the Prayerful Dimension of the Sport."

"Intentions play a very significant role in it," he said in a recent interview.

"Before I go for a run, if I'm driving, I'll turn off the radio on the way, so I can begin to prepare for the run," he said. "When I'm putting on my T-shirt and my shorts, I'm going to do it very methodically, very consciously, in the same way that a priest might put on his vestments in preparation for celebration of Mass." -more-

~ ~ ~

Zen and the Art of Homemade Gefilte Fish. Neither my mother nor any of my grandmothers had felt the need to initiate me into the gefilte fish sorority, even though I know they all had this experience. After trying it myself for the first time, I think I may have a good idea why they decided not to pass on this tradition. I went in with blind and irrational optimism after watching the instructor at a cooking class make it look so easy.

If you haven’t seen the short film “Gefilte Fish” directed by Karen Silverstein, check it out of your favorite film library. It’s a hilarious documentary in which three generations of women talk about making gefilte fish. -more-

~ ~ ~

Activism. Standing outside the National Black United Front building as evening approaches, community activist Kofi Taharka is on friendly ground.

Earlier this week, Taharka, who was advocating the study of reparations for descendants of slaves, was ejected from a Houston City Council meeting by six police officers after refusing to yield the podium.
"I feel like this is a calling as strong as any calling. I feel like service to your people is the highest form of spirituality," he says. "We will do some things that other people aren't going to do. We will kick the doors so others can walk in the door."
"You've got to do something with yourself or you are not fulfilling your obligation," Taharka says. "I'm just part of a collective effort." -more-

Friday, April 2, 2004

United Methodists pay homage to African Americans who stayed. "There is nothing that talks about the blacks who remained and continued to give leadership in the church," Talbert explained. "We are hoping collect information on those who stayed that will be added to the history of blacks in Methodism."

The Rev. Vincent Harris, president of Black Methodists for Church Renewal, noted that those who stayed "were led by faith that God would not leave or forsake them as they fought for inclusion, equality and justice. They deserve all the honor, respect and gratitude we can offer for their tumultuous journey." Harris said the service should serve as a "clarion call for a spiritual transformation and conversion" in all the church, but especially in the black church.

~ ~ ~

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring (Not rated)

Director: Kim Ki-duk. With Kim Ki-duk, Oh Young-soo, Kim Young-min, Kim Jong-ho. (103 min.)

Set mainly at a Korean monastery floating in a lake, the five episodes in this seasonal drama show an aging monk tutoring a child in fundamental moral values, losing him to the temptations of the world, and giving up his earthly existence when he feels the time has come. Kim's movie conjures a sense of spiritual discipline as suspenseful as it is stunning to watch and exhilarating to contemplate. In Korean with English subtitles. (This has been the entire article.) Visit the beautiful, descriptive, and graphically rich movie website.

Thursday, April 1, 2004

Cesar Chavez Remembered. With tears streaming down her face, van Veenendaal sat at her dining room table Tuesday reminiscing about her years working with Chavez to “liberate” farm workers. ... “And it is truly, truly, truly the best experience I’ve ever had in my life,” she said. “It was a spiritual journey for me. I really loved him. We all did.”

Van Veenendaal joins others in Northern Nevada who celebrate Chavez’ birthday today. He was born March 31, 1927. ... Similar to Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, Chavez used nonviolent tactics such as boycotts, fasts and strikes to bring national attention to the unsafe working conditions and low pay of farm workers. He pressed for laws permitting farm workers to organize a union. -
Lorraine Ramirez van Veenendall stands under a poster depicting Cesar Chavez and Robert Kennedy she received as a birthday present.

~ ~ ~

Life of Pi, Yann Martel's vivid tale of an Indian boy who survives a shipwreck, then spends months in a lifeboat with a Royal Bengal tiger, is the 2004 OneBookAZ selection. Older teenagers and adults around the state are being encouraged this month to read and discuss the book. ... "Every single subject is in there - botany, religion, spirituality, zoology . . . psychology, philosophy, every 'ology.' You could talk about it forever. -more-

~ ~ ~

Anniversary of Marvin Gaye's death. But what ultimately turned me onto Gaye was a live radio interview he did on the late, legendary New York City radio jock Frankie Crocker's Hollywood Live program. What I heard was a soft-spoken, articulate, thoughtful and spiritually grounded black man, who provided a context for me to deal with my own shyness, soft-spokeness and spirituality.

In his new book Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye, Michael Eric Dyson also recalls the impact that Gaye's music had on him as a boy growing up in the same Detroit where Gaye first made his mark. Dyson writes, "In my teen years, Marvin's songs, especially "Inner City Blues," fed my hunger for social justice. It also helped me to grasp my ghetto roots, much as Claude Brown's forceful Manchild in the Promised Land helped me to understand young black men trapped by social neglect." -more-