“If your religion doesn’t grow corn, I don’t want to hear about it.” – Sun Bear
I’ve always liked that quote from Sun Bear. I’ve even seen it on a bumper sticker. Sun Bear created what he called a modern tribe, the Bear Tribe, with both Indians and non-Indians who were interested in self-reliance and living in a traditional tribal society.
After he died, the tribe scattered and the popular magazine, Many Smokes, was no more.
His famous quote arose from various people who would talk to him about their religion or philosophy, and he grew tired of the highly esoteric, New Age, mind-religions and beliefs. He felt that you should always question the beliefs you hold dear, and that these beliefs should sustain and support you. They should “grow corn.”
Sun Bear and his followers traveled around the U.S. and the world, sharing his teachings, a blend of traditional Native ideas and beliefs, as well as his modern spin on what it takes to live self-sufficiently, and “in balance.” He encountered many other beliefs and –isms, and philosophical concepts.
At their farm they produced their own food, built their buildings, and actually created the world they wanted to live in. I don’t know what specifically caused Sun Bear to make his pronouncement, but I suspect it was theabundance of cults and gurus back in the 70s and 80s where the followers ran around, selling trinkets and holy objects, doing their best to support the leaders, in the name of “doing God’s work.”
Another side to this quote is that we should not divorce our day-to-day life with our beliefs. We should apply the principles that we say we believe in towards the problems we face. We should apply what we believe even when it is inconvenient to do so.
So basically, Sun Bear is telling us that if your religion or philosophy or belief system is not practical, or productive, or useful on all levels, then he didn’t want to waste his time on it!