By LINDA GRANVILLE
DARK HOLY GROUND
A journey into activism to give voice to the voiceless and hope to the hopeless.
This is my personal journey from my early years. After the first chapter, this story begins with me living as a long term unemployed single parent with two children with different fathers, never being married. I was definitely on the bottom rung of society. I lived in the highest unemployed town in the UK with the demise of its Iron and Steel, Chemical and Shipbuilding industries, thus experiencing years of poverty and ostracisation. This is the story of how, supported by a strong Christian faith, I deeply analysed and navigated my way through it all, to an absolutely fulfilling life.
In the light of what’s happening in this chaotic world today, I feel moved to tell my story with all its different facets, because my main hope is that the reader will see the human face of the marginalised. Then, hopefully, gain a more compassionate understanding of all those who live on the margins of society. I hope the reader finds clues on how to make connections with people different from them, or to change the top down competitive economic system so all people are justly valued whether they were in paid work or out of paid work.
I invite the reader to pick any chapter and, if it resonates with you, to organise a zoom working group to discuss and explore any particular issue or let it inform the work you are already doing.
I acknowledge that every single one of us has our own unique experience from our own unique perspective waiting to be heard and learned from. This is simply my experience. I’d love to maybe one day hear and learn from yours.
Our Mantra was:
Don’t walk in front of me
I may not follow.
Don’t walk behind me
I may not lead.
Walk beside me
and be my friend.
From “Reflections” post below…
I believe subordination of any kind is intrinsically linked and bound up in the universal conditioning of how we perceive God to be, and that conditioning is man made and power based. The male language for God in most religions inevitably perpetuates women’s subordination across the world. God is love and love has no gender.
The world seems to be crucifying itself. But beyond crucifixion is the basic Christian belief of resurrection. Resurrection is not getting down off the cross and going back to the spot that put us there in the first place, putting tiny plasters on our wounds. It’s about sticking with the cross, standing where the seeming opposites intersect, learning from each, and then going beyond it into a new and better all inclusive way of be-ing.
As a woman of faith, I ask myself, could the same truly loving God that liberated me as a woman be the same God that perpetuates this and oppressive subordination of others across the world?
FEATURED POST FROM LINDA
Reflections of Palestine
Reflections of my visit to the Palestinian Territories.
I deeply resonate with a quote from Mary Daly’s book, ‘Beyond God the Father’
Why indeed must God be a noun?
Why not a verb, the most active and dynamic of all?
The human symbols for God may be intended to convey personality, but we fail to perceive that God is Be-ing.
That which it is over against is Non Be-ing.
Women (and I would argue any other subordinate group) who have travelled through their experience of Non Be-ing in the process of liberation, are able to perceive this because…
Our liberation consists of refusing to be ‘the other’ And asserts instead, “I am”, without making another the ‘other’.
- EARLY EXPERIENCE: Adventure, Abuse & Redemption
- MARKET CAPITALISM: Consequences & Solutions.
- WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE
- EXPERIENCE OF PREJUDICE: and ways to combat it.
- WORKING WITH THE HOMELESS
- FROM DEBT TO INTERFAITH WORK
- FROM SPIRITUAL RETREATS TO ACTION
- WORKING WITH SANCTUARY SEEKERS
- PASTORAL CYCLE / SEE JUDGE AND ACT
- RELIGION, HOMOPHOBIA AND FAITH
- LEARNINGS FROM SOUTH AFRICA
- AFTER RETIREMENT & CONCLUSION with reflections of my visit to the West Bank in the Palistinian Territories.
If you would like to get a download copy of DARK HOLY GROUND (the complete book) in a PDF format, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Chapter 1 - EARLY EXPERIENCE
Chapter 2 - MARKET CAPITALISM
CHAPTER 3 - WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE
CHAPTER 4 - EXPERIENCE OF PREJUDICE
Why the title ‘DARK HOLY GROUND’?
I was on a spiritual retreat with my local church congregation near a beautiful coastal village. We were asked to walk out alone around the neighbourhood in silence and find some ‘treasure’, then come back to the retreat house two hours later with our treasure and talk about why we had chosen it.
I found myself alone on a long sandy beach that stretched along the north Northumbrian coastline. However the beach was strangely empty without a pebble, a shell or any seaweed in sight. Where was my treasure? The only thing that did roll up from the crashing waves along the beach was lots of powdered black sea coal with a few small lumps here and there. I finally found a large lump of it, around five inches in diameter. I picked it up but immediately threw it away because it left dirty black stains on my clean white jacket. There was nothing else left, that I could see, to take back as treasure. I turned back and half reluctantly, picked it up again.
On taking the inconvenient trouble to examine it, I saw it was made up of six horizontal layers piled one on top of the other. My curiosity suddenly shot up because at that particular time I was going through exactly six serious negative incidents in my life piling up on me. As I was about to throw it away again, feeling this was nothing to do with ‘treasure’, I instinctively looked even closer. In-between each layer tiny crystals were forming. It suddenly struck me there and then that if this piece of black carbon had stayed under the dark ground long enough with all the pressure of the earth pressing hard down on it, these crystals wedged between the 6 layers would eventually turn to diamonds.
At the point of coming off that beach onto a concrete path with the sea coal still clasped tightly in my right hand, I came across a patch of beautiful bright yellow flowers and intermingled in them were exquisitely delicate, symmetrical flowers. This was the very moment that I first ever realised they were one and the same flower.
These bright smiling dandelions and the dark piece of dirty black coal had, at least, one thing in common. The dark coal was, at first, thrown away by me presuming it was worthless, without recognising the potential diamonds within it. Likewise, the now infamous dandelion is targeted world wide to be dug up and thrown away too, or burned as a useless weed because society, across the whole wide world, has condemned it to be so. We have forgotten that the dandelion, once dubbed the ‘queen of all plants’ holds multiple medicinal properties, The whole plant is edible and brought comfort to many. It has a long, long history of healing powers. It’s historical excellent reputation died when, in the Victorian Era, the rich upper classes introduced perfectly flat lush green grass lawns as the height of fashion. This rich man’s fashion sent the clumpy dandelion into unprecedented oblivion. Over the years as people began to try and emulate the rich upper classes like lemmings, a lot of the rest of society across the world followed suite, unfathomably even trickling down to the lower classes.
This observation of these two elements together became a very profound moment for me. The dandelion encouraged me to challenge a lifetime of introjected negative value statements that society had put onto me and others, as it so successfully did the dandelion.