Losing My Religion for Equality…by Jimmy Carter

Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.

I HAVE been a practicing Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries.

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.

In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.

The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us. The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.

It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices – as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.

I understand, however, why many political leaders can be reluctant about stepping into this minefield. Religion, and tradition, are powerful and sensitive areas to challenge. But my fellow Elders and I, who come from many faiths and backgrounds, no longer need to worry about winning votes or avoiding controversy – and we are deeply committed to challenging injustice wherever we see it.

The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by former South African president Nelson Mandela, who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. We have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights and have recently published a statement that declares: “The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable.”

We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasise the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world’s major faiths share.

The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place – and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence – than eternal truths. Similar biblical excerpts could be found to support the approval of slavery and the timid acquiescence to oppressive rulers.

I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn’t until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions – all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.

OBSERVER

Jimmy Carter was president of the United States from 1977 to 1981.

Copyright © 2013 Fairfax Media

Via: Women’s Press

My Muse & Me ~ A Feminine Expression

My dear friend Guru Kirn Kaur from New Mexico, took up her brush and has been lost to this passion since brush stroke and painted merged on canvas. An innately creative woman, this expression has awakened the creative muse within her in a way she has not experienced before and she is in LOVE!
Shiloh Sophia McCloud is an amazing artist and teaches workshops guiding women into a place of expression which is deeply moving, healing and expressive. The art created is rich and overflowing with beautifully invoking and evoking images from the soul, deeply healing the feminine in us all.
Guru Kirn mentioned that many of the pieces in the video were created by women who had never painted before. What amazing potential we all have sitting within the well of our creativity.
Take time to sit back and be present with the parade of feminine images presented through this video. The music is beautiful and the artwork stunning. A meditative break in the midst of your day. Enjoy.

Divine Mother ~ A Mothers Blessing

Divine Mother ~ A Mothers Blessing, Part III of the Divine Feminine Sacred Goddess Series.

Creating these videos are a time consuming labor of love, often taking months to gather and sort through images, including only those which truly express the particular energy I want to have resonate from the piece in alignment with the Sacred. The music is Mothers Blessing from Liberation’s Door by Snatam Kaur. It is very beautiful and invokes a heart essence of love and more love.

I Create Therefore I Am

If you are a regular reader of my blog you know I am relentless is stirring the creative juices; inciting, inviting, inspiring. Creation is the core of existence and the expression of Infinity. Creativity and artistry surround us everyday from the air we breathe, to the cloth we wear, the sound within our hearing… Creativity is our innate gift and birthright from the embrace of Divinity. We are creation and so we inherently create. We create from how we experience ourselves in the world and beyond the world. Creativity is exciting as it is in relation to our earthly life yet lives beyond time and space and takes us into our infinite self. Creativity is alive with a pulse and purpose released through the collaboration between ourselves and the creative muses which exist as sources of provocation and inspiration. Creativity is organic, elemental, soul inspired, ultimate expression, purposeful ~ purposeless, for the sheer love of the creation.

Artistic expression is the pure form of creativity in motion. Sometimes it is grand, sometimes it is small. Always it is grand, always it is small. We create in our hearts eye, our minds eye before we ever embark upon the outward expression. Art begins in a humble and bold gesture of translating the internal into the external. It is a journey of articulation from vision to tangibility. When completed it will travel a path of its own, as it rides its own scope, its own wave through the collective conscious and unconscious. There is no standard of judgment as art is…period. It is art when we prepare a cup of tea and it is art when we take medium to hand.

We are art, so be Art. As within, so without, the inside and the outside are the same. We are creativity and so therefore art and creativity surround us as well.  We co-operate in the great stewardship of abundance. None are exempt. Art and creativity are not respecters of persons, places or things. And hear this ~ Pure artistic expression is not classist, elitist, gender driven or economically motivated, nor does it bow or bend to powers which be, suffer suppression, acquiesce or defer to an authority outside of ourselves for it is the heart, the true voice of the individual and that cannot be touched no matter what circumstances one may live or what is done to the manifested expression. And once it is envisioned, once it enters the creative course, the heart, mind and expression of even one individual, it is then part of the whole. Once it is whispered, enters dreamtime, drops as a tear into the river of creative nectar, is exhaled on the breath, spoken in prayer and carried upon the current, it becomes. It blossoms forth and its seeds are scattered in the wind to land within the hearts and minds of those with “ears to hears and eyes to see”. Art restores; When broken create collages; mosaics. When whole revel in freedom. Use your senses, be boundless and limitless. Be your soul.

Art heals, balances, provokes. Be inspired. Be the master of your own creations, your own expression. Nothing is static, merge in the course of creative flow. Awaken and grow your creative self. Express your perspective ~ Be brave, Be bold, Hold your own spirit. Participate, elevate, ignite.

Top 20 Characteristics of Soul Artistry:

1. Love of adventure.
2. Willingness to step into the unknown.
3. Desire for discovery.
4. Non-attachment to outcome.
5. Willingness to get lost.
6. Receptivity to get found.
7. Sense of humor.
8. Delight in sharing the process.
9. Capacity to stay present.
10. Acceptance of the unknown.
11. Devotion to trusting the process.
12. Disregard for approval or disapproval.
13. Self-permission to learn 1-12 over a lifetime.
14. Self-compassion.
15. Longing to bring harmony and beauty out of chaos.
16. Attitude of the alchemist: curious about impossibilities becoming possibilities.
17. Tenacity in staying true to what matters most to heart and soul, no matter what.
18. Capacity to begin anew when the ego says “why bother.”
19. Refusal to stay permanently discouraged.
20. Joy through playful surrender and creative collaboration.

*Top 20 Characteristics of Soul Artistry excerpted via Huffington Post from:

The Soul of an Artist: Top 20 Characteristics to Invoke Your GPS  by Dr Cara Baker

The Power of Music ~ Can I Get A Witness!!

Take a little time out today to sing, dance, turn up the volume; make a happy noise, put a little tap in your step, feel the love, share the love and wing-up your soul! That’s right, don’t delay, put a smile in your heart and Go…

 

Smiles on the Metro

 

Music is The Sound of My soul

 

One World ~ Let’s Give Some Love Away

 

~Also a shout out to wimp.com another great source for innovative and delightful videos.