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Give Up Cold Indifferent Heart for Lent says Pope + Ojai Mardi Gras Party for a Purpose

March 7, 2015


“Our heart grows cold,” wrote Pope Francis in the 2015 Lenten message. “As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well off. Today,

this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference.

It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront.”

It is much easier to fast from food or drink or sugar, but what about fasting from our indifference to others? Citing the Bible, Pope Francis wrote:

“If one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Cor 12:26)

Pope Francis connects the observation of Lent with being a “favourable time for letting Christ serve us so that we in turn may become more like him… there is no room for the indifference which so often seems to possess our hearts. For whoever is of Christ, belongs to one body, and in him we cannot be indifferent to one another. “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honoured, all the parts share its joy” (1 Cor 12:26).

Pope Francis argues that our churches should “become islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference!”

An article in Time Magazine quotes the early Christian mystic John Chrysostom as saying that fasting or other sacrifices during Lent that

“No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others…if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”

This article led me to the 2015 Lent message from Pope Francis.

The message of Pope Francis sounds a lot like the words of Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, shaman, healer, storyteller and carrier of the Qilaut (winddrum).

The greatest distance in the existence of Man is not from here to there nor from there to here. Nay, the greatest distance in the existence of Man is from his mind to his heart. Unless he conquers that distance he can never learn to soar like an eagle and realize his own immensity within.

An Eskimo-Kalaallit Elder whose family belongs to the traditional healers of the Far North from Kalaallit Nunaat, Greenland, Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq says that

Only by Melting the Ice in the Heart of Man does Man have a Chance to Change and begin using his vast Knowledge Wisely.

As I wrote in a paper for my MA in community, liberation, and ecopsychology at Pacifica Graduate School, melting the ice in our hearts is challenging because it is encapsulated in plastic. Read about the problem with plastic here and Chris Jordan’s Midway Project here and here.

What are you doing to confront the globalization of indifference? Can you give up this attitude? Can you care? What actions can you take to show that you care?

For my students, for their research paper, they will address a problem they see in their community and world. They will follow Freire’s notion of problem-posing education: they will name and describe a problem using research, they will research solutions, and then they will take action, and evaluate that action in their paper. They will work on this for the rest of the semester. To be successful, they will have to care –they must resist the culture of indifference. They (and we) must crack the plastic that keeps their hearts from melting.

“A heart which lets itself be pierced by the Spirit so as to bring love along the roads that lead to our brothers and sisters,” wrote Pope Francis.

Confronting this issue directly TODAY is the Ojai Mardi Gras Party which is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a “Back to the Future” theme.

Many think of Mardi Gras as an alcohol fueled excessive event pre-Lent where women show their breasts for beads.

But for 25 years in Ojai, this has been a party with a purpose– to help a family or individual with a medical need in honor of the woman who started it all, Lyle Mathews who died of cancer at the young age of 40. Marty1

The Ojai Mardi Gras Wake Up! Krewe will host the 25th Anniversary Mardi Gras celebration on Saturday, March 7th, from 7:30 pm till 1:00 am at the festively transformed Ojai Art Center.
Local art is on display in the gallery through the end of March but the Mardi Gras specific work comes down on Sunday after the 12 – 3 pm with Fais-Do-Do: Cajun Dance Party, a family oriented musical event with Cajun dance lessons and The Smitty West Zydeco Orchestra.  Admission: $5 adults, kids under 12 free. 
 Scrumptious Cajun cuisine and salubrious spirits available. Join in the costume contest, the traditional throwing of beads and of course the coronation of this year’s fabulous king and queen, Lanny and Rondia Kaufer.
On Saturday, an all-star band offers a unique mix of New Orleans, funk, soul, rock, Cajun dance music performed by some of Ojai’s world class musicians including “Jim Calire on Hammond B-3 Organ, accordion and sax, John Zeretzky, violins, theremin, percussion, and high spirits, Patricia Cardinali on guitar, vocals, percussion, leading the band with her saucy larger than life star power. George Friedenthal of Raw Silk fame will join in on keyboard with his funky R&B vocals that are sure to get the dancers trancing, Connie Early from the band Aquarius will be bringing her soulful vocals to add to this incredible lineup, Ron Seba will grace us on slide guitar, rhythm guitar, and gravelly vocals ala Dr. John, straight from the swamps of Louisiana. In the rhythm section we’ve got the smokin’ hot bass of Stan Taylor, Dave Stuart on the drums and wild man Burton Lang on congas and percussion.”

Tickets for Ojai Mardi Gras are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Advance tickets are available online @ and at the following locations: Ojai Coffee Roasting Co, Studio Sauvageau, Ojai Creates and Cardinali Bros. in Meiners Oaks. For more info please call the Ojai Mardi Gras Hotline (805) 646-7843. The Ojai Mardi Gras Wake-Up! Krewe is a California Public Benefit Non-Profit Organization. Proceeds of the Ball and Fais-Do-Do go to a local family or individual with a medical and/or financial need.


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