zine, [zeen] noun. 1. abbr. of fanzine; 2. any amateurly-published periodical. Oxford Reference


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Christian New Age Quarterly

Christian New Age Quarterly

Christian New Age Quarterly
Winter ‘09, spring ‘10, summer ‘10, autumn ‘10
$3.50 ppd
PO Box 276
Clifton, NJ 07015-0276

As the title suggests these are essays and stories centered on the Christian religion and New Age philosophies. When I got these in my mailbox I was a little taken aback. I am used to getting punk rock, anarchist, and weird art zines in the mail. This is the first time I’ve gotten anything like this and I wasn’t sure what to make of it. My initial instinct was to write it off as religious garbage, kick out a few Marx and Sam Clemens quotes, and call it a day. But after reading these journals, I found myself surprisingly engaged and interested. These are very well written essays that explore many of the current national issues with regards to religion and politics in a way that doesn’t come across preachy. One of the standout essays for me was from the Autumn ’10 issue where the editor, Catherine, explores the issue of a mosque being built near ground zero, correlating it with the essential American ideal of freedom, and how hypocritical and misguided the bible-thumping quran-burners are. I don’t want a mosque built there either, but nor do I want a church or religious temple of any kind built there. I would prefer instead the money be spent on secular community centers, boys & girls clubs, or a used bookstore. That being said, I do think that Muslims have the right to build it anywhere they want in America. This is the kind of internal dialogue that the Christian New Age Quarterly sparked in me while reading them.

What Jack had to say...

A well meaning but ultimately innocuous publication. The subtitle is "a bridge supporting dialogue." On page one the editor remarks that CNAQ's main purpose is interfaith dialogue. I've been writing reviews of this publication for a while now, and honestly, I've been exposed to more interfaith dialogue while cutting class and smoking weed in high school. It irks me because I would love to read a good zine on this topic. In Catherine's defense, I know that being an editor is a thankless job, and it's difficult to get quality, on-topic writing, but we live in a world of such diversity that I can't believe that the voices aren't out there.

The meat of this issue centers around 9/11, hate, and intolerance. As a Muslim, I appreciate the intent of sanity and solidarity, but I think it is misguided to romanticize ANYTHING about 9/11. I agree that this atrocity brought out the most noble acts of courage and self sacrifice human beings are capable of; and I agree that it is a good thing to choose to dwell on that rather than fan the flames of hate and blame. However, the very real need for healing, (which includes coming to terms with the reality of the tragedy,) is ultimately done a disservice when false meaning is ascribed. A very evil thing happened. Period. The only meaning existed in the minds of the insane/evil individuals who committed it. It had nothing to do with America, God, Islam, or anything else. I'm reminded of of what Yoko Ono said after the murder of John Lennon; it was something to the effect that John had been a soldier in the war against insanity, and in the end, he was a causality of insanity. I believe that applies here as well. There is no meaning in the crime beyond that insanity/evil. Additionally, to even hint at ascribing anything remotely "American" to the out-pour of humanity that arose is misguided as well. Yes, it is ironic that our ideals of tolerance have been challenged by attack from those who hate us for our tolerance, (if in fact that is true;) but that's the extent of it. Linking humanity with Americanism, as much as it makes us feel better, dilutes the truth. Diluting the truth is counterproductive, whether it comes from the hate mongers or from the peace makers. Diluting the truth does not foster healing, it pushes it farther from our reach.

Again, I appreciate the intention, and make these statements in deepest reverence for all who lost and suffered on 9/11.


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