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Old 12-29-2005, 02:35 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram


You very nearly completely destroyed the concept of Hinduism with that statement. Are you aware just the extent to which that faith is syncretic? And considering it has a billion followers and spawned Buddhism as well, I would really be loathe to suggest that the merging of theistic forms results in something that is not "authentic."
I'm not challenging syncretism (my own faith is about as syncretic as they come), just that there are so many loopholes in Kwanzaa it makes me uncomfortable when people attribute it to native Africa. If people want to start new religions or spiritual celebrations, that cool with me, but I've always found that Kwanzaa was sloppily done. Why take a few traditions from here and there, infer a boatload of meaning outside of the original context, then throw in some language native to another part of the continent and call it a traditional West African practice? Like I said in my original post, I am genuinely confused about Kwanzaa, especially when people call it "traditional" and "universal", but apparently Jamila is not willing to discuss or clarify unless I first bow down and sing praises. I'm interested in discussing it, especially since unlike most popular religions and spiritual practices, Kwanzaa is so new we know exactly who, when, and where it originated.
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Old 12-29-2005, 03:03 PM   #17
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I think Kwanzaa's strength is that it gives millions of people a sense of identity and groundedness, important to people who got uprooted the way African Americans did. Yeah, the ties to classical African religion are a bit blurred, but they're not exactly non-existent. As for self-determination, I think this concept is completely non-existent in Catholicism, even more than it is in Protestantism, which values individuality a little more than we do. So that's a foreign language to me, but hey, some of the best people are foreigners.
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Old 12-29-2005, 04:20 PM   #18
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I guess I'm more of the school of thought that people who practice the traditions of Kwanzaa obviously get something from them that is positive. I don't celebrate it so why would I care whether or not their beliefs are grounded in this or that? Live and let live.
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Old 12-29-2005, 05:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
I guess I'm more of the school of thought that people who practice the traditions of Kwanzaa obviously get something from them that is positive. I don't celebrate it so why would I care whether or not their beliefs are grounded in this or that? Live and let live.
May I just say "thank you"?

As someone who was raised as a Catholic (even though my father was Jewish) and went to Catholic parochial education for twelve years, I find nothing in the basic principles of Kwanzaa which would conflict with Christianity (a lot of Protestant African-Americans observe Kwanzaa).

In fact, I think we honor our Christian God when we respect ourselves and value our ability to value our own abilities and uniqueness to define ourselves.

Thus, self-determination.
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Old 12-29-2005, 05:28 PM   #20
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Day #4

Ujimaa (Co-operative Economics)

OK - this is the hardest of all the concepts to explain and to relate to the way we live our lives in modern society.


Theoretically, co-operative economics would be based on some of the more idealistic theories that people would work together and share in the fruits of their labors together.

In ancient African villages, this was the only way that everyone could survive. And even in the South, after "emancipation" often African-Americans would have to pool their resources just to get by.

So, for more centuries than naught, co-operative economics was the only way that people could survive.

It's really only been in the last century that this idea has diminished in many people's experiences.

OK - nice history lesson.

But what's the relevance for today?

That's the harder part.

I think what I get out of this concept is the idea that there is strength in numbers. That we are greater when we work together rather than when we work alone.

When I think of Ujimaa, I think of a world where everyone has enough of what they need, a world where there is no extreme poverty, a world where people care enough about each other to share whatever they have which is extra with others who don't have as much.

That is what I perceive is the lesson for this principle for modern days.


Something I think we should all strive for.

tomorrow is one of my favorites:


Day #5


Nia (Porpose)
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Old 12-29-2005, 05:32 PM   #21
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actually, that's

Nia (Purpose)
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Old 12-29-2005, 07:17 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jamila

As someone who was raised as a Catholic (even though my father was Jewish) and went to Catholic parochial education for twelve years, I find nothing in the basic principles of Kwanzaa which would conflict with Christianity (a lot of Protestant African-Americans observe Kwanzaa).

In fact, I think we honor our Christian God when we respect ourselves and value our ability to value our own abilities and uniqueness to define ourselves.

Thus, self-determination.

Do you know how the Protestant Christians reconcile their Protestantism with Kwanzaa? Particularly the Protestant denominations that do not believe in freedom of the will/free will? It seems like it would be hard to believe in self-actualization without believing in free will. For myself, I suppose I could fit self-actualization/self-determination in the category of "freedom", which my favorite theologian Jonathan Edwards defines as seperate from "freedom of will". But I know that my acceptance of Edwards' theology usually puts me in the minority and most of my Protestant (Calvinist) acquaintances would hold that no freedom of will leaves no room for self-determination.

I'm not trying to pick a fight, I just want to be able to discuss Kwanzaa without having to accept it entirely as gospel truth at the same time. I'm finding bits and pieces that just don't fit, which is why I'm having trouble with it's supposed "universalism". I don't see how the questions I've asked so far are so offensive....yes I'm skeptical, but I can't move beyond that if no one's open to proving me wrong or pointing me in the right direction.....
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Old 12-29-2005, 08:04 PM   #23
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Jamila, I think putting this information out there is a good idea as probably a lot of white people may not know exactly what Kwanzaa is. I have many African-American friends and only some observe Kwanzaa so I just figure it's not that big of a deal to the ones who don't celebrate it. When I asked one of my friends who does observe it what it means, she said it was just something they did in addition to Christmas....so really no description was given.
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Old 12-29-2005, 08:34 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic



Do you know how the Protestant Christians reconcile their Protestantism with Kwanzaa? Particularly the Protestant denominations that do not believe in freedom of the will/free will? It seems like it would be hard to believe in self-actualization without believing in free will. For myself, I suppose I could fit self-actualization/self-determination in the category of "freedom", which my favorite theologian Jonathan Edwards defines as seperate from "freedom of will". But I know that my acceptance of Edwards' theology usually puts me in the minority and most of my Protestant (Calvinist) acquaintances would hold that no freedom of will leaves no room for self-determination.

I'm not trying to pick a fight, I just want to be able to discuss Kwanzaa without having to accept it entirely as gospel truth at the same time. I'm finding bits and pieces that just don't fit, which is why I'm having trouble with it's supposed "universalism". I don't see how the questions I've asked so far are so offensive....yes I'm skeptical, but I can't move beyond that if no one's open to proving me wrong or pointing me in the right direction.....
I would start another thread to discuss it. I am not sure this is thre thread to.
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Old 12-29-2005, 11:46 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by MsGiggles
Jamila, I think putting this information out there is a good idea as probably a lot of white people may not know exactly what Kwanzaa is. I have many African-American friends and only some observe Kwanzaa so I just figure it's not that big of a deal to the ones who don't celebrate it. When I asked one of my friends who does observe it what it means, she said it was just something they did in addition to Christmas....so really no description was given.
Thank you, MsGiggles, for your well-reasoned response.

There really isn't any reason to get all bent out of shape about anything in this thread.

This thread doesn't attack anyone or demand anything of anyone, so if anyone isn't enjoying this thread I would ask why they are here?

Why would you want to be in a thread that isn't making you happy?

It doesn't make any sense.

I'll continue this thread until Kwanzaa is over because enough people have either posted in this thread or emailed me saying they are appreciating this thread and feel that it is helpful to them and please not to cave in to criticism.

I appreciate their support but I am confident enough in myself that I no longer cave into undue and unnecessary pressure.

Please enjoy your Christmas Season in the Spirit of Love, Peace and Harmony.
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Old 12-30-2005, 11:00 PM   #26
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Alright - one of my favorite principles!


Day #5

Nia (Purpose)


This is always the most meaningful day of the seven for me during Kwanzaa. Because the principle discussed today is the foundation upon which the other six rest.

Nia (Purpose) is the principle to reflect upon today and this principle is meaningful EVERY day of the year!

WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE?

Do you have a good idea of what your purpose is in life or are you still searching?

Is your purpose in life to help others, to speak well of others and to live your life in a positive way that will help to fulfill our first principle (Umoja)?

Or is your purpose more self-oriented and self-serving?

Difficult questions to answer - but very important ones.


Because the purposes you have in life determine your actions and your satisfaction (or lack of) with life.

What do you want out of life? What are you living for? What are the compromises that you're willing to make in order to fulfill your purposes in life?


These are big questions for a very important principle.

Because if we choose negative purposes in life, we will end up hurting ourselves and others.

But if we choose positive purposes in life, we will be happy as we make others happy.

So, it's up to you, my friends.

What will be the purposes in your life which will guide your actions and your thoughts?

Will they be positive or negative? Only you can say.

Today, this fifth day of Kwanzaa, we are asked to contemplate the way that we live our lives and the purposes that we ascribe to our lives to see if we are really happy and contented with who we are and for what we stand for.


tomorrow Day#6


Kuumba (Creativity)
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Old 12-31-2005, 02:00 AM   #27
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nice thread
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Old 12-31-2005, 09:15 PM   #28
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Day #6

Kuumba (Creativity)

Everyone is born with an innate ability to achieve in some area of life.

And what we do with our innate creativity is our offering to Life (and to God).

WHERE DOES YOUR CREATIVITY LIE?

Do you excel in the Arts - can you create masterpieces of music, painting, dance or with the written/verbal arts?

Do you excel in sports?

Or do you excel in some other area - in business, in school or in volunteering to help others in your community?

Whatever you do or wherever you excel in using your creativity, you can use that creativity to uplift others and honor the Creative Force that made you.

So the challenge for us on this day when we think about the various ways in which we can express our creativity is:


AM I USING MY CREATIVITY NEGATIVELY OR POSITIVELY?

Am I expressing my creativity in a way that others can benefit or am I expressing my creativity in a way to solely serve my own individual purposes?

As my creativity was given to me by Life, it is imperative upon me to shows my thanks for the gift of my creativity by trying to find more ways to use my creativity for the betterment of all humankind.

A very important Principle.


tomorrow #7

Imani (Faith)
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Old 12-31-2005, 09:17 PM   #29
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Glad you like it, For Honor.
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Old 01-01-2006, 01:12 AM   #30
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Thank you so much for making this thread. Although I would be lying if I said I was religious, I'm very interested in finding out about the different beliefs and expressions of faith people have. I'm attracted to ideas like Kwanzaa after reading this. (Or at least the way I've interpreted these ideas from your posts.)
I love the non-descriminatory aspect of it that if not present (in my opinion) can corrupt even the best meanings of religions/beliefs.
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