Hello, First, I so appreciate and love On Being—thank you for this show!This was one of my least favorite shows—granted that the interview was prior to recent disasters that have taken place in Haiti, however, I kept waiting to hear from Mr. Bellegarde-Smith how the voudou spiritual odyssey can help to alleviate/address the very real poverty, hunger, and deprivation of the majority of Haitians. Even his post-interview comment seemed rather evasive as he talked about how the many who perished in Haiti were now in a better, next phase…where is the compassion and help for people living in Haiti in the here and now?
He came from a privileged background/family, and, from what I know of Haiti (granted, I'm not a scholar), and I would be curious what his view is on how the elite families of Haiti might address sufferings of fellow Haitians with tangible actions—economic empowerment, food security, equality, etc. Perhaps Mr. Bellegarde-Smith does address this in his actions or teachings but in the interview it seems that he rather concentrated on how uptight "white" religion and spirituality is . (Yes, I do think many European manifestations of religion are greatly disconnected from the body, but churches that do not have dancing or high vocalization can still be legitimate, transformational spiritual institutions. And, yes, while many African American churches can be said to be "joyful communities," there are deep deep problems of crime, violence, poverty, etc. within these communities.)
I don't mean to sound harsh about Mr. Bellegarde-Smith, I guess I was just left wanting to better understand how the spiritual or spirit guidance of voudou impact people's lives and how one lives—I didn't quite get this from him.
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