Hold It All

Philosophy/Poetics/Politics

Category: Gatherings

Share the Wealth with Lea Koesterer: 2017 Harvest in Occupied Palestine

My friend Mary Wuller told Lea to get in touch with me before she went on her trip to Palestine with Interfaith Peace Builders. We visited at Northwest Coffee in December, and I knew I wanted her to share with us some of her stories and reflections. –Mark

Because I am not an expert, I speak about my own experience traveling with Interfaith Peace Builders, and things that Palestinians themselves told me about their existence under the apartheid regime that exists under Israeli occupation. I gleaned background information from relevant books. Among others they are:

Lords of the Land: The War for Israel’s Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007, by Edit Zertal and Akiva Eldar.

The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine, by Ben Ehrenreich Read the rest of this entry »

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Share the Wealth with Savannah Sisk: Sunday 7 January 2018

“Lying on soft earth,
carried into sky by longing,
humans respond to stars
with questions. Why is the Universe
so vast? Why are we so small?

Call and response through the night.

My whole life I have sent
these questions into space. And
listened for response.”

From Stars by Margaret Wheatley

Join Savannah Sisk in a Share the Wealth that explores our spiritual questions, faith journeys, and religious identities. She will discuss her ever-evolving love/hate relationship with Jesus (which has on occasion meant reading a dozen books on Jesus from the library within a month), her passionate search for right living and community, and the presence of both dark nights and luminous mornings. Everyone will be invited to reflect on their own spiritual paths/big questions, and the personal/communal rituals that move us forward. Read the rest of this entry »

December 10 Sunday Share the Wealth with Andrew Wimmer: Reckoning with Torture

In November 2005, Stop Torture Now, a project of the Center for Theology and Social Analysis in St. Louis, delivered a Peoples’ Indictment against Aero Contractors and the commissioners of the Johnston County airport in North Carolina from which Aero operated extraordinary rendition flights to Guantanamo and CIA black sties. We dubbed Aero’s operation the Torture Taxi.

Watch for two minutes to get a sense of what Aero was involved in.

A dozen years later, and after sustained work by a dedicated group in North Carolina, The North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture held a two-day hearing before a board of commissioners with witnesses from around the world, including those who were rendered, psychologists, military interrogators, international legal investigators, and journalists.

Take a look at the NCCIT website to see the scope of their work.

The question on everyone’s mind and the one voiced repeatedly throughout the two days of hearings was “And now what do we do?” Read the rest of this entry »

Share the Wealth with Andrew Wimmer: Practicing Loving Kindness Meditation

I’m looking forward to talking with other meditators about my recent introduction to Loving Kindness Meditation as taught by Bahnte Vimalaramsi during a ten-day retreat at the Dhamma Sukah Meditation Center in southern Missouri. I began meditating in 1973 when I was introduced to Transcental Meditation and made what seemed like a natural transition to Centering Prayer (as taught by Basil Pennington and Thomas Keeting) during the twelve years I spent living as a Benedictine monk. I have continued with that form of meditation ever since, waxing and waning in my faithfulness to it over the years. On the first night of the retreat I was struck by two seemingly simple tweaks offered by Bahnte Vimalaramsi’s Loving Kindness method that led to a radical transformation for me. I’d like to share the merit of my experience with you. No background in Buddhism is needed, and the conversation will be quite practical.

Andrew Wimmer’s years as a Benedictine monk included time teaching seventh graders in St. Louis, working in a parish in Nicaragua, and pursuing doctoral studies in Boston. He taught courses in social justice and peacemaking at St. Louis University and has written about and organized nonviolent opposition to U.S. use of torture. He’s the father of two sons in their 20s and lives in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood.

Join us!
Sunday 29 October
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 pm
Andrew begins sharing at 6:45
At the home of Chris Wallach
5 E. Lake Road
Fenton, MO
63026

From Chris: Directions from Google will take you to the mailbox at the end of my gravel road. Follow the gravel. When you see a three car garage (my mother’s house) look to the right for a right turn. Follow that down to the bottom of the hill and you will arrive at my house.

Saturday 7 October– Share the Wealth with Laura Lapinski: The Films of Wes Anderson

Laura Lapinski, a graduate student in psychology at SIUE, is doing her Share the Wealth on film director Wes Anderson this Saturday. For those interested in joining us, here’s some background from Laura…

Wes Anderson is an American film writer and director. I find him truly unique and remarkable. His individual style is exclusive for a few reasons. One main difference is the cinematography style Anderson uses. To move from scene to scene, he transitions by actually moving the camera directly into the next scene. Its a simple thing yet so original. Wes Anderson movies are aggressively quirky. This is my one of my favorite things about them. The aesthetic involved in each film is similar and unmistakable. The films somehow give off a vintage and modern vibe at the same time.

To me the absolute best thing about Wes Andersons films are the characters. All of the protagonists and most of the supporting characters in any given Wes film are a work of genius. Every one being a specifically strange yet endearing person. These characters are so special and you can’t help but wish they were real and you could track them down. I have been asked many times how to categorize a Wes Anderson film and the truth is I can’t. They are simply in a caliber all their own. In my book, each film could fall into at least two or more genres. Below I have included some suggestions with examples of themes for perusing. You could choose to check one or multiple out before October although I highly recommend watching them all at some point in your life. Read the rest of this entry »

Share the Wealth with Carolina and Christina: A Glimpse into Two Cubana-Americana’s Stories

Carolina Dominguez from Miami and Christina Arrom from Chicago, are Cubana-Americanas who were influenced by the stories of their parents, but especially their grandparents’ lives in Cuba.

After Carolina served with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps for two years in Belize City she moved to Chicago to study social work and work at an all girls high school. “Growing up in Miami allowed me to taste their stories and almost feel like I was in La Havana. However, leaving Miami and living in Italy and Central America allowed me to see how other people viewed Fidel Castro and the new relations between the U.S and Cuba. Working at both a geriatric urology center in the pulse of Little Havana and a poetry organization once back from Belize allowed me to witness the stories of patients who lived the exile, the Mariel Exodus and the title ‘Peter Pan kid.’ In attempt to understand and document this close history of my family I began to write poetry to try and delve into what being Cuban meant to me. Writing poetry about the stories I heard opened me up to write about my own story.”

Christina served with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in San Antonio, Texas. She Read the rest of this entry »

Share the Wealth with Rhodi Celaj and Kestrel Smoot: Fernweh!

Fernweh (Noun)
Wanderlust means the desire to travel. Fernweh elevates that urge to a need; The opposite of homesickness.

I was once told that one of the most valuable things people can do in life is travel to a place they are unfamiliar with and get lost. By doing so, one has the ability to explore and discover things for themselves that they would have never noticed if their eyes were glued to a map.

Today we will listen to Rhodi and Kestrel as they share stories of how they got “lost” during their study abroad experiences in order to delve deeper into the culture and country they were living in.

Rhodi Celaj is a third year Accounting and Financial Services major. In the Spring of 2017, she studied at the Richmond American International University in London. Rhodi likes to travel and try different foods from around the world. Rhodi plans to use her experience from learning about other cultures and promote and integrate the value of diversity in the workplace in her future career.

Kestrel Smoot is a junior Pre-Occupational Therapy (Psychology)/ International Studies double major at Maryville University. She studied abroad for a semester at Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, eating pizza, going on walks and taking pictures.

Join us!
Sunday 17 September
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.
Kestrel and Rhodi begin sharing at 6:45
At the home of Lina, Sandra, Sarah, and Kine
Pine 15 (one of the Hilltop Apartments)
On the campus of Maryville University

Shoreditch, located in east London, is filled with culture in all aspects whether it’s street art or food. All you need when you are in Shoreditch is the desire to wander and explore.

Share the Wealth with Nicole McLaughlin: How Medical School Has Made Me Healthier – Wellness, Unity and Gratitude

Nicole is a second year medical student at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, a medical program well-known for its curricular changes and focus on wellness that serve to improve students’ mental health during their four years. Prior to beginning medical school, Nicole imagined the toughest years of her life, as many of us do before beginning a stressful, grueling challenge. She imagined sleeping minimally, overwhelming competitiveness with her fellow students, loss of human contact and a survival mentality. Instead, she is happy to share quite the opposite, and feels that she is the healthiest and happiest she has ever been.

In this Share the Wealth, we will explore the themes of wellness, unity and gratitude and while Nicole will explore these topics in her experiences with medicine and health, she hopes to lay the foundation for deeper reflection outside of the realm of medical education and health care professions. She is grateful for the muses, mantras, and inspirations that have served her in medical school thus far. They not only inform the type of physician she aspires to be, but more globally, the person she hopes to be. Read the rest of this entry »

Coming Soon: Share the Wealth with Laura Lapinski: The Films of Wes Anderson

Laura Lapinski, a graduate student in psychology at SIUE, is doing her Share the Wealth on film director Wes Anderson on Sunday 8 October. For those interested in joining us, here’s some background from Laura…

Wes Anderson is an American film writer and director. I find him truly unique and remarkable. His individual style is exclusive for a few reasons. One main difference is the cinematography style Anderson uses. To move from scene to scene, he transitions by actually moving the camera directly into the next scene. Its a simple thing yet so original. Wes Anderson movies are aggressively quirky. This is my one of my favorite things about them. The aesthetic involved in each film is similar and unmistakable. The films somehow give off a vintage and modern vibe at the same time.

To me the absolute best thing about Wes Andersons films are the characters. All of the protagonists and most of the supporting characters in any given Wes film are a work of genius. Every one being a specifically strange yet endearing person. These characters are so special and you can’t help but wish they were real and you could track them down. I have been asked many times how to categorize a Wes Anderson film and the truth is I can’t. They are simply in a caliber all their own. In my book, each film could fall into at least two or more genres. Below I have included some suggestions with examples of themes for perusing. You could choose to check one or multiple out before October although I highly recommend watching them all at some point in your life. Read the rest of this entry »

Share the Wealth with Mary Shannon: Practicing Radical Empathy

My work with Casa de Salud has offered me a unique perspective on the St. Louis healthcare system. Through stories of my time with Casa, we will explore the barriers to healthcare that many St. Louisans face, the local systems that make it harder for some folks to be or stay healthy, and the notion of radical empathy.

Mary Shannon graduated from Saint Louis University in 2014, where she studied political science, international studies, and Spanish. After graduation, Mary moved to Nicaragua, working with the non-profit Global Brigades for a year. Mary has since returned to St. Louis and now works for Casa de Salud, a non-profit health clinic that serves the uninsured and under-insured foreign-born communities in the region.

Join us
Sunday 13 August
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.
Please bring something to share
Mary begins sharing at 6:45
At the home of Julia Brucks
2819A Shenandoah
Saint Louis, MO
63104

Mary studied with me in a SLU freshman  Crossroads  Honors class in spring 2011.  It has been a delight to keep in touch with and be inspired by her the last several years.