Episode 16 :: Alternative Rites of Passage

AngelaNPeteShow Notes

To LISTEN, click the player at the top or the bottom, or visit the Episode Index.

Treasury of Celebrations: Create Celebrations That Reflect Your Values and Don’t Cost the Earth, the last edition of the classic series Alternative Celebrations Catalogs.

Part 4. Rites of Passage, such as birthdays, anniversaries and funerals

Wedding Alternatives: Create Celebrations That Reflect Your Values and Don’t Cost the Earth (Angela and Pete, above, contributors to Wedding Alternatives Supplement)

Treasury Intro: SLW! podcast episode 4 (the need to simplify all our celebrations)

Rites of passage are rituals or celebrations that mark the passage of a person through the life cycle, from one stage to another, from one role or social position to another. In the pre-modern world, these rites served at least four functions: Safe passage | Moments of learning | Connection to community | Transformation experiences

The place of rites in modern society

Resist the pressures of the consumer society and observe the rites in ways that enable you to recover the renewing and maturing power they are intended to have by focusing on the following:

  • People, instead of the gifts and other paraphenalia used to aid or celebrate the transition.
  • Values and ideals, instead of mindlessly celebrating to anesthetize the person(s) to the trauma of transition.
  • Community, instead of the consumer culture’s narcissistic privatization of life transitions.
  • Change. Rites help people visualize the desired outcome of the passage and to see themselves on the other side — occasions of transformation.

Creating our own rituals

Although some of life is logical, much of life is not. Even when we are young we come to understand that life is full of mystery. Without rituals and ceremonies within our communities and families, we feel adrift and cannot understand why.

Overview of Rites of Passage (alphabetical, not chronological order)

NEW – Green Birthday Parties contributed by long-time friend and former board member Dick Webster from OH.

Wedding Alternatives, which also has been published as the Alternative Wedding Book includes:

The original version is available free online, including a more recent supplement. The book version, called The Alternative Wedding Book, is still in-print from Woodlake/NorthStone Publishing, BC, Canada.

It you think this resource may be out-of-date, read this testimonial for Alternative Wedding Book that I received in late 2013, signed Arizona Bride.

Inspired by Arizona Bride, we’ve added a line for Tithe in the Wedding Budget. The couple included 10% of their wedding budget as a charitable contribution for environmental causes.

She plans to continue giving the book to friends who are preparing to wed. By the way, it’s available free and complete as Wedding Alternatives at SimpleLivingWorks.org; also in Spanish as Nuestra Boda.

I hope you’ll find my blog Occupying the Flagstaff Bridal Fair both humorous and enlightening.

And I’ve added Meredith Gould’s helpful book Getting #Married: Using Social Media to Celebrate the Sacred to the Wedding Alternatives Supplement.

I hope that you can see the values of these free resources and will use them as needed, or even better, acquaint yourself with them now so that you’re prepared for your next event.

Mentions in This Episode


Laurel Gray’s new book, THE EVOLUTION OF A PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIAN: Making Dramatic Turnarounds Along Life’s Unpredictable Journey (a spiritual autobiography).

Link to my blog Fundamentalist ≠ Evangelical, explaining why I decline to call conservatives and fundamentalists “evangelicals.”

Another note from another friend. . .

Keep us posted whenever you play or mention my songs and we’ll help spread the word any way we can. Thanks for all you do for our Amazing Earth!! Blessings, Joyce EarthMama Rouse

EarthMama provides some of the theme music for this podcast. Hear her complete version of Simple Gifts on episode #2.

I’ve renewed a friendship with Paul Canavese and his spouse Ann Naffziger. They hosted Rita and me while we were on a speaking tour of Calif. Paul now operates GospelLiving.org and ThePastoralCenter.com. They contributed to the Supplement to Wedding Alternatives (see their wedding vows). And the LINK to the Travel Journal of that Calif. tour (scroll to POST #58).

Colleague Lee Van Ham of Jubilee Economics is progressing well with his new book Blinded by Progress, including his numerous interviews.

In addition to this podcast and its show notes, we post new SLW! blogs several times a week. We hope you’ll read and subscribe. This BLOG is the companion to our two-times-a-month podcast. The content is different, though the subject is the same. Click on blog at the top of the show notes for each episode.

You’re welcome to share your thoughts on these subjects. Email a message to Feedback AT SimpleLivingWorks DOT org.

Leave a comment on our Facebook page or on the SLW! blog.


In future episodes, you’ll hear from Vicki Robin, the co-author of the classic best-seller Your Money or Your Life. Her new book is Blessing the Hands that Feed Us. Also, preparing for Pentecost and Ordinary Time, and info about Alternative Summer Festivals.

In May, I plan to start a series called Tony  & Shane UNCUT – the complete 3-1/2 hour straight talk between Tony Campolo and Shane Caliborne about simple living and global justice. Parts of that dialog became the DVD “Simply Enough,” which has been re-issued by World Vision Canada as “Choose Justice.”

For hard copies of Alternatives’ resources at nominal cost, contact ELCA Archives contact info, 321 Bonnie Lane, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 * (847) 690-9410 * archives@elca.org

Mentions Last Episode

Cecile Andrews | CecileAndrews.com
Champion of Simplicity and Community Conversation Circles

A community educator, Cecile is active in the transition movement in the United States.  She’s the author of The Circle of Simplicity: Return to the Good Life (1998) | Slow is Beautiful: New Visions of Community, Leisure and Joie de Vivre (2006) | Less is More: Embracing Simplicity for a Healthy Planet, a Caring Economy and Lasting Happiness (2009) | NEW! Living Room RevolutionA Handbook for Conversation, Community and the Common Good (2013)

To LISTEN, visit the Episode Index.

NorthWest Earth Institute

Shareable.net about a sharing economy | New Dream Community Action Kit: Guide to Sharing

Simplicity-Matters.org | My Travel Journal to D.C./Maryland. Scroll down to Post #198 to see their happy faces and comments.

Champions of Simple Living Today | I interview John De Graaf, producer and author of Affluenza, on TheCommonGoodPodcast.com.

RELATED: Reimagining America: An Evening with Gus Speth & Juliet Schor | Speth and Schor discuss innovations in collaborative consumption, ways the sharing economy is changing our country, and opportunities to define a new American Dream.

Helpful Articles on SPRING Festivals

(We talked about Lent and Easter (April 20) – in Episode #13.)

Mentions in Recent Episodes

Themes/Seasons: Alternatives’ Collections IndexAdvent/Christmas/Epiphany | Lent/Easter | Other Seasons | Anytime/Non-Seasonal | Music | Art | Audio | Video | Spanish | Living More with Less

Lent/Easter10 Tips for a Simpler, More Meaningful Easter | Article/ART Index: Easter | Bulletin Inserts are indexed in Articles by season. | En Español (all) | Lenten Calendars and 40-Day Guides - For the current liturgical cycle (A), use #6, 9, 12, 15, or 18. Some are not based on a cycle and can be used any year. | Sing Justice! Do Justice! New Songs & Hymns to Familiar & New Tunes: Lent/Easter, e.g. #19 | Spirit of Simplicity: Quotes and Art for Simpler Living and Global Justice ( Foreword by Cecile Andrews | Introduction | How to Use This Collection | QUOTES | ART )

Share your thoughts on this podcast and this episode. Email Feedback AT SimpleLivingWorks DOT org [or SimpleLivingWorks AT yahoo DOT com or SimpleLivingWorks2 AT gmail DOT com], leave a message on our Facebook page or on the SLW! blog.

To learn more about SLW! – our MISSION, for example — listen to episodes #1 and 2. We produce a half-hour podcast twice a month, to educate and inspire you, your family and your congregation or group. We blog several times a week.

Like SLW! on Facebook. | Follow us on Twitter. | Read & subscribe to the SLW! blog. |  Follow us on Pinterest.

To LISTEN, click the player at the top or the bottom. To SUBSCRIBE to email notices, click Comments below, then check  

SUBSCRIBE for free through iTunesStitcher.com or your favorite podcast service. Please rate us in iTunes and leave a review. Send us your email address to receive the free monthly SLW! eNews. Remember to like us on Facebook. Urge your friends to do the same.

Episode Index: #1-3: Getting Acquainted | #4-5: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle | #6-11: Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? | #12: Living More with Less UPDATED | #13: Let’s Get Ready for a Simpler Lent & Easter | #14: Simple Living 101 + Social Media BONUS | #15: author Cecile Andrews | #16: Alternative Rites of Passage

Peace, Gerald “Jerry” Iversen, Chief SLW! Activist

Click ABOUT for Music and Cover Art Credits.

*GRAPHIC: Angela and Pete, contributors to Wedding Alternatives Supplement

We do not solicit or accept donations, nor do we sell anything. All our resources and services are free of charge. We’re an all-volunteer organization. Instead, we urge Alternative Giving. Give away 25% of what you spent last year on all celebrations – Christmas, birthdays, etc. — to local, national and international causes.

Copyright: Creative Commons non-commercial attribution share-alike license.

*Treasury of Celebrations: published by Northstone, a division of Wood Lake Publications, BC, Canada, best known for its Seasons of the Spirit curriculum.

3 thoughts on “Episode 16 :: Alternative Rites of Passage

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