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Elizabeth T. Andrews
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~ For all seasons ~
Additional Tree House Connection (Columns.), Leaves (Full-length poems.), Twigs (Short poems or epigrams.) and/or Trees (Essays or musings.) will be posted here the first week of each month.
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The Tree House Connection
I Sing the Strength of Women
"I believe women possess one-half of the world's brains, creativity, insights, wisdom, problem-solving abilities, decision-making abilities, and the ability to implement loving, concerned solutions to local, national, and international situations."........ EA
I sing the strength of women. The unrecognized courage. Talents untapped. Wisdom unheralded. Uniqueness ignored. Spirituality discounted.
For over twenty years I have employed women, counseled women, motivated women, and helped women get into businesses of their own.
I have proclaimed their strength, wept when I couldn't get them to see that strength, and rejoiced when the doors to the back rooms of their minds swung open and the light of Self-recognition and personal power poured in.
I believe women possess one-half of the world's brains, creativity, insights, wisdom, problem-solving abilities, decision-making abilities, and the ability to implement loving, concerned solutions to local, national, and international situations.
I believe the average, stay-at-home mom who can potty train a two year old, run a home with finesse, and keep a husband happy has enough brains, and mettle to own and operate her own business.
I believe almost any legal secretary in town has enough brains and ideas to be governor of any state.
I believe every dedicated, good registered nurse has enough brains to become a doctor.
I believe many clergymen's wives, and most clergymen's female parishioners have enough brains and spiritual fortitude to build their own churches, and that they often asks themselves if a God of Love made women spiritually inferior to men.
I believe older women who served home and family long and well have enough brains to resolve the biggest political headache at city hall.
I know intelligent, caring men who are confused by "today's woman". What do you women want? they say to me. I don't know whether to open the car door, let her pay for her own lunch, or wait for her to ask me out. What do you women want, anyway?
What most women want these days, my brothers, is for men to start at the top and recognize that God didn't make any junk; that men do not have a male monopoly on a Sacred Source commonly called "God"; that women were not created spiritually inferior, intellectually unequal, subservient, silly, or downright stupid.
Today's Free Woman wants respect based on brains and not on bust-lines.
She wants the corporate glass ceiling shattered and she wants credit for her ideas and input into corporate problems and solutions.
Today's woman asks why you think you are supposed to take care of her since she is in good health and capable of taking care of herself. She asks also what it is you think you are protecting her from. She knows there are no bears in the back yard and no hostile natives looking for her scalp on the road to the super market.
Today's Free Woman sometimes suspects your pseudo-protection is a subconsciously camouflaged attempt to keep her from exercising her talents, Self-controlling her world, and realizing her dreams.
A strong, Free Woman will always set the men around her free. She'll free them from any sense of being responsible for her happiness, her well-being. She'll free them from out-dated gender games that would make of a good man a ridiculous---and often reluctant---Tarzan, and of an intelligent woman a cracker of coconuts, and a sweeper of jungle floors.
Any free Soul wants for others that which it demands for Itself; The right to exist without interference; to decide ones own destiny; to define God for ones self; to love, to live, to build and dreamas long as these things do not interfere in the rights and dreams of others.
We talk a lot about freedom these days, in America. We berate other countries for their violations of the rights of women and, granted, there are no laws in American that keep a woman from being president of the United States or president of her own corporation.
There is, however, a lingering, suffocating, invisible presence in America as deadly as the worst bio-chemical weapon. Its male name is power. Its female name is unexamined thinking. Its political name is inequality, and its spiritual name is anathema.
Elizabeth T. Andrews
The Tree House Connection
What really happened in Eden.
God created a garden and rested. God created man and rested. Then God created woman and since then neither God nor man has rested. (Author unknown).
The above is an old joke my father used to repeat and if you'll indulge me I'd like to set the record straight about what really happened in that garden.
Let's see now. God created the world and then he created a man called Adam and God plunked Adam down in a gorgeous garden to play and live happily ever after.
But Adam got cold when the snows came and he whined and told God he needed somebody to keep his bed warm and God said O.K. and he created a woman for Adam and her name was Bed Warmer.
Then Adam told God he didn't know how to cook and a hateful ol' snake bite him while he was picking apples and he needed a woman to pick all the apples because it didn't matter if she got bit by the snake 'cause God could make him another apple picker and he needed another woman to bake apple pies and God said O.K. and he took another handful of dirt and made Adam two more women ...one to pick the apples and fend off the snake, and another one to bake apple pies and for a little while all Adam had to do was just swing through the trees and play happily in the stream that ran through the garden.
Pretty soon Adam got bored and he told God he wanted to start his own business selling apples but he couldn't type or file and the glue in postage stamps burned his tongue and he couldn't figure out how to use a pencil sharpener.
And God said No problem, and he took some more dirt and made Adam a typist, a file clerk, a stamp licker, and a pencil sharpener and Adam started his own business.
All went well for awhile with the gals doing all the work and Adam happily counting all his money but one day Adam's bones started creaking and he said to God I need somekids to take care of me in my old age. All them women are getting old. I need some sweet young things for breeding purposes. and God said Fine.
And God scraped some more dirt out of the garden and made Adam three very young females and Adam got busy and the girls had him so many kids that everywhere he looked the garden was stacked with piles of dirty diapers.
So Adam told God he needed a woman who could do the laundry. And God sighed and said ... O.K., but I've run out of dirt. And Adam whined and said But Im desperate! Them dirty diapers are everywhere! The stench is terrible! Do something! And God said ...Well, O.K.
Not having any more dirt, God scooped up a handful of stardust and fashioned a woman out of it and set her down in front of Adam. And Adam took her by her hand and led her down to the creek where he had piled all the dirty diapers and Adam instructed her in the dubious art of beating the fig-leaf diapers gently on the rocks.
And the woman called Stardust put her hands on her hips and screeched ... Who in God's name do you think you are talking to! You have got to be kidding! You want those dirty leaves washed, go wash 'em yourself! And if you don't like washing dirty diapers stop fornicating all the time and you won't have so many! My mission in life is not to wash the mess out of your kid's diapers!
And Stardust went stomping up the hill and into Adams office building where she watched the robot-motions of all the women running the place and then she shouted ... What's the matter with you? Don't you know you can work half as hard in your own business and keep all the money?
And after about an hour of personal-power lecturing, the women shut all the machines down, turned off the lights, and followed Stardust out of the building. They found Bed Warmer and the apple picker and the pie baker and the women used for breeding purposes and they all went down the hill and found Adam squatted by the creek with his head in his hands muttering to himself.
And the Free Women told Adam they were taking over the garden and if he behaved they would give him a small corner of the garden down by the creek and he could be Head Diaper Washer and Chief Breeder because they needed more males to do all the tedious work the women didn't want to do anymore. And they assured Adam that if he would behave and take orders he would be well cared for all the rest of his life.
And Adam agreed because he knew there would never be another apple pie or warm bed if he didn't and as far as I know he is still there washing fig leaf diapers, gazing into the water, and trying to figure out what went wrong.
And God got very frustrated over the way the females were treating the males and he went to the other side of the moon and consulted with Venus who said ... I told you not to sprinkle that star dust with free-will, but you wouldn't listen and now you're stuck with the mess you've made.
And that's the true story of what really happened in what is known today as The Garden of Free Women.
Moral: Never fashion a woman out of stardust because if you do all h___ will break looose. She'll upset every apple cart and cause all the wheels of injustice to rust and she'll build new peach carts with bigger and better wheelsand when Venus calls God to see how the new gal is doing, God will say "She's given methe worst headache sinceI created the earth. I just took two aspirins. and I'm going to bed. Call me tomorrow."
Eliabeth T. Andrews
The Tree House Connection
A note from Elizabeth
The column Our Kind of Church was previously published on The American Report, a national digital newspaper. To my surprise, it was picked up and published on an Islamic web site and although i do not retrack one word of it I'd do think you should know I am not a member of any organized religious group, believing as I do that Truth is ever unfolding and cannot be labeled and boxed and that only individuals, not groups, can experience spirituality.
I write, teach, and practice One God. One World. One World Family.
Our Kind of Church
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- Guilty by association. Our own kind. Those of like mind. Credible identity yardsticks for who we are ... or mere words?
Does a vegetarian hang out with butchers and call them them best friends? Does an atheist go to lunch with the Pope of Rome? And when was the last time you saw a Muslim family at a picnic for Catholics?
Is presidential candidate Barack Obama guilty of reverse racism by a 20-year friendship with a hate-spewing "damn America" minister? And at what point did Obama's acknowledged "taught me my Christian faith" minister become "my former minister"?
Perhaps I missed an explanation of that spin word "former" but it seemed to conveniently creep into his speeches these last few weeks. And please don't misunderstand me.
I like the man as much as I allow myself to like any glib, power-hungry politician. But, with the possible exception of Abe Lincoln, no aspiring, ambitious American politician ever made it to the top job in the world without lying through his teeth.
It doesn't come across as lying because all of them are proficient in 10 slippery ways to say "I'm as honest as the day is long." ... hoping no one notices the day is only 1,440 minutes long.
Are racism and reverse-racism alive and well in the United States?
Yes, but don't take my word for it. Drive across America on any Sunday morning, drop by several white churches and count the black faces. Visit some black churches and send me a dollar for every white face.
I'll collect the dollars and you and I can go on a vacation to the Isle of Lake Innisfree. But don't hold your breath. Ten dollars won't get us very far.
Nowhere, but nowhere, is a lack of true spirituality more in evidence than on any given Sunday morning in America. Onward Christians soldiers but make mine white. When the saints go marching in they'll all be black.
Father-Mother God, forgive us for we know not the contents of our one-color hearts.
What craziness is this that we judge individuals by something over which none of us have any control: the birth-colour of our skin?
What colour is God? What is the colour of a human heart? Does a conviction have a colour? Is faith black or white? Was Jesus an Oriental? Why do Caucasians need to believe he was Caucasian? Do black churches have crucifixes with a black Jesus hanging on them? Are we all guilty of making God in our own image? Is God a black man? A white woman?
I have spent an adult lifetime trying to get a fix on what part the fearful, arrogant individual ego plays in our choice of friends, our choice of spouses or lovers, our choice of a career, and the spiritually flawed choice of secretly thinking God is white, God is black, God is a Jew, Allah is a Muslim.
I'm convinced simple fear of all things different is the underlying cause of our disease called group-itis, but to date a definitive answer has escaped me and I have finally accepted my own arrogance in thinking a neutral universe owes me a box full of answers marked: "For Elizabeth. The whole truth and the only truth. Go tell it on the mountain."
However, I do suspect that Jesus didn't belong to a country club for Jews only. Or for whites only. Or blacks only. Or Islamics only. Or the other ceaseless sects by which we like to think we can be different, special, beloved children of a jealous God.
I am certain Jesus didn't drive a Mercedes. Nor did he bar atheists, Roman soldiers and citizens, whores, gambling men or lepers from his mountaintop lectures. He had no heavy diamond ring on one finger and he did not need somebody to kiss his hand, salute or bow to him in order to know who he was. All men were his brothers and all women his sisters.
He was - and, no doubt, is - made out of real god-ingredients: Eternal love. Ever-lasting light. Indestructible spirit.
I am also certain a $4 million church building, mosque, temple or glittering gold tent are not proof of any group's god-blessed spirituality.
In the first place, groups don't have a collective soul, and in a group of 500 no two individuals agree on the totality of whatever "truth" is espoused by that group. The latter makes a mockery of trying to reduce God down to a few "We believe ...." statements that pass as sacred sense.
Secondly, the idea that a Rev. Wright is responsible for your soul, my soul, or Barack Obama's soul is an exercise in spiritual buck passing. Individual spirituality is the one human experience that requires no experts, no grand guide books, no degrees in theology that attempt to insure the way through the valley of shadows. That journey is not walk-able by anyone but us and if we've courage enough it eventually leads to recognition, acceptance, gratitude and wonder for the finite experience of being human.
That Obama wants to be judged only on what he says and not on the groups and individuals he chooses to associate with is like asking us to accept him as a just-birthed soul who comes to the table with clean hands and a pure heart. None of us can meet that criteria.
Lie down with the pigs and you get up smelling like the pigs, my Ozark Mountain mama used to say. To which I would add, we all choose the mud holes that are warm and comforting, and we all want to hang out with the people most like ourselves in ideas, loves, hates, habits - and certainly our favourite colour of mud.
Let's play God for a second. Let's say you, as God, get up on a swell Sunday morning in heaven, yawn, stretch, look down on your handiwork, frown, and bellow "What crap is this? What are all those ridiculous children of mine doing huddled in small groups and separated by colour? What are all those stupid signs doing on my houses? They all say different things about the same thing: Me.
"What in Hades is going on here?" God continues. "Why are all those people wearing all those silly, hot headscarves and hot clothes in 120 degree weather? Do they fancy me cruel that I would ever suggest such a thing? Have I been asleep for a century or two? I certainly never made or authorized the mess children of the planet Earth have made of it."
Obama does nothing on Sunday morning that is not done by any individual attending an all-white or all-black church. He simply separates himself by colour, by culture, and by a deeply embedded, life-long fear of that which is different. His political problems lie in his inability to explain why he broke bread for 20 years with a despiser of white folks, a despiser of America ... the very country that allowed Wright to preach anti-Americanism without getting shot.
Why do we expect any politician to be more than we are?
I've spent a columnist's career trying to point out that titles and labels do not define the individual. "President" is not a holy word. "Senator" does not carry with it sacred omnipotence. "Governor" is just a word that defines a political position. It does not define the man wearing the label. If it did, New Yorkers would be knee-deep in sewer-slime.
President George W. Bush is just a pitifully dumb man who swung into the White House on his father's coattails and money and on the votes of a population that mistakes boyish charm for brains. Hillary Clinton is not unlike the woman two blocks down the street who longed to be a good lawyer, settled for the traditional, predictable role of chained women, and stood by her man who drinks at the pig trough of infidelity on a regular basis.
Should we, then, hold Obama accountable for directly embracing for many, many years the anti white-folks, damn-America messages flying under the flag of screwed-up religious attitudes?
You'd better believe it. And when we have demanded that accounting, let's take a broom with us to church next Sunday. Let's dare to walk to the podium in the middle of one more stale sermon and say "Excuse me. Why don't we practice what we preach, cancel today's repetitive lifeless nonsense and go across the street and worship with our black sisters and brothers? And after church, let's throw a get-acquainted picnic for the Muslims who go to that mosque on the corner.
"And tonight, instead of the usual blah, blah, blah, let's have a real, all-American meeting and talk about a many-coloured God, a multi-coloured society, and the sheer joy of living in a free society that affords us the delight of differences - to learn from, to embrace, and to enjoy."
AR Correspondent Elizabeth T. Andrews is based in Cartersville, Ga. Her Website www.treefamilyfoundation.com offers other columns and some of her poetry. You can reach Elizabeth at angels@treefamilyfoundation.
Copyright 2008 Joe Shea The American Reporter.
Gifts for You
A Scientist Prays
God, do you mind if I look and I find
Your face in all faces, a sameness in races
and your power in the power of my mind?
Do you mind if today we cancel the prayers
and I go to my neighbor and Friend
and tell her I found by watching the ground
that ants have no concept of sin?
Do you mind if my church is the life that I live
if it's lived in a loving way
and the hymn that I sing is the joy I bring
to my brother who passes this way?
Do you mind if the wind as it touches my skin
becomes Your touch to me
and the love that we share for the rose in my hair
makes us one ... You, the rose, and me?
Do you mind if You are the light of the star
that I saw from my window just now
and the frog in that tree sounds god-like to me.
Do you mind if I sing and not bow?
God, do you mind?
Elizabeth T. Andrews
TWIGS for your tea
Greatest human failing: Unexamined thinking.
Second greatest failing: Resolving differences with violence.
All great truths are simple.
"Love one another."
does not require a Masters Degree in Psychology.
Let us judge no-one
until we have climbed the mountains of their life ...
climbed them with greater grace, arrived at the top,
and can look down and say "Now I understand."
Elizabeth T. Andrews
To shade you while you ponder the grandeur of one majestic oak leaf.
~ Individuality ~
Individuality: What we do with the hand our parents dealt us.
Individuality: Beyond the genetics and programming, that we call Self stands up, stretches, and says I choose my choices, plan my plans, claim my frogs (faults), and earn my accolades.
Individuality: Discarding the groupie coat.
Individuality: Self as Something new under the Sun.
Individuality: New ways of looking at old ways.
Individuality: To write the unwritten poem, paint the unpainted picture, sing the unsung song.
Individuality: A lifetime dedicated to counting the stars in the sky.
Individuality: Where you leave off and I begin.
Individuality: What we give back to That Which Creates.
Individuality: Self as Shaper, maker of magic or mayhem.
Elizabeth T. Andrews
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The Tree Family
Elizabeth T. Andrews is a former newspaper columnist for The Orlando Sentinel, The Rome News-Tribune, Rome, Georgia, and several other daily and weekly newspapers. Her work is featured in our Lily Tree Creations and is brought to you by Tree House Publishing. www.treefamilyfoundation.com.
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