Talking Stick and Spirituality LO20220

Bill Braun (
Fri, 18 Dec 1998 06:27:55 -0500

Replying to LO20200 --

For some reason, it was Marilee's paragraph below that finally triggered
the "aha" insight. I went back and reread Bill Harris's thoughts followed
by a reread of Jim Wiegel's comments and (as they say) finally got it - at
least hope I did.

I think it is a fair assumption that I (from a Catholic and Protestant set
of beliefs and customs) will never understand Native American, Muslim or
Buddhist (as examples) beliefs to the degree that I would be regarded as
having earned "the right" to use their customs in a different setting
(i.e., the talking stick in the board room).

Does this mean that customs remain forever locked within their historic
origins? Or is the example of using the microphone (as a replacement for
the talking stick) the way customs cross boundaries? At the same time the
microphone seems to avoid the perils of offending the peoples whose custom
is being imitated, it seems to also remove some of the deeper significance
(the difference between the talking stick and the microphone - the
transition from custom to pure tool) that could make the use of the
practice even more effective.

Is there any middle ground?

Bill Braun

>I was delighted by Bill Harris's analogy of using christain sacrament of
>communion as one might use the talking stick . It was exactly the analogy
>I thought of when reading Bill Braun's query. Because many of us come
>from the Christian tradition, we recognize quickly that the larger meaning
>of communion can be missed, even damaged, if one uses for a 'quick fix" or
>as Bill H. says so well, to demonstrate "how this novel ceremony gave them
>a feeling of a common bond"


Bill Braun <>

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>