My tongue is in my hand…

Archive for the ‘worth’ Category

So, I’ve seen this  link passed around, where a doctor states that our problem as a country is not that we need health care reform, but that we have a culture crisis of people that think “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me”. He then follows that up with “life is really not that hard”. That line in and of itself reveals a good bit about the person behind this. Anyone who has the naivete to say this should not be patted on the back for spouting off his short sighted opinions. Not to mention there are plenty of explanations as to why someone on Medicaid has a cell phone (with, god forbid, an R&B ring tone) or new tennis shoes but can not afford their own health insurance.

First of all, a cell phone is no longer a luxury (and a ring tone is like $2.99, and who knows, maybe that song keeps the person’s spirits up, all for $2.99). Many people only have cell phones and do not have home phones. If you expect someone to orchestrate getting a job, childcare, and schooling, they need a phone to do so. Especially if they don’t have a car. Tennis shoes are also not a luxury. You have absolutely no idea what someone spent on their shoes, or if they were a gift. Nevertheless, shoes are a one time expense. Health insurance is expensive on a monthly basis (my cheap plan through work is 150$ a month for my daughter and I, without vision coverage), and not all jobs offer it, especially if you are working 2 part time jobs because neither company wants to pay benefits. Or if you make minimum wage ($7.25/hr) and live below the poverty line raising children and can’t afford to have it taken out of your measly check.

And just shut up about things like people’s fake nails, cigarettes, and beer. We all have our vices or our little ways we treat ourselves. If you really think that that extra 20$ will make a huge dent in their financial situation, you have no idea what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck your entire life, so just stop running your mouth. It’s important for our mental and emotional health as human beings (that’s right, people on welfare are human beings too) to do things to take care of ourselves and to have an indulgence or something that we enjoy or relieves stress for us. (Not that I think smoking is a great choice, but it could be worse).You can’t walk a tightrope all the time, even if the more fortunate think you should (because, by being poor, you’ve proven that you don’t deserve any of these things apparently).

Now beyond that, it still appalls me that there are people who don’t believe that health care is something we all have a right to have (like public education) and that it’s okay that it’s for-profit (unlike a public education, why is this okay?). That people think it should be earned, as if not everyone is worthy or worth health care (and as if it is not completely detrimental to our society to have people without health care). And that if you get help, you are relinquishing your rights to live as you want and you are opening your life to constant scrutiny, as if by accepting help, you have sold yourself to any and all taxpayers (even if you are also a taxpayer). And beyond this, what about all those people that can’t qualify for Medicaid or regular insurance? Too bad, so sad?

It must be nice to have your life so put together and unaffected by any misfortune that you can’t buy your way out of that you’ve got nothing else to do but criticize other people’s.

The fact that we have masses and masses of people with no apparent understanding of the concept of being part of a community, a society, a connected group of people whose well-being depends upon all others within that group is a culture crisis.

Guess what? The more poor, homeless, sick, needy people you have in your community, the worse off your community is. Walking around grunting about “your money” won’t improve your society. You being well-off does not benefit your society unless you utilize your resources to benefit your community. And guess what? You’ll only be safe in your little cocoon of “well-off” for so long before it all trickles up to you, or before you fall. At some point, the deterioration of your society will become a disadvantage to you. Is that the only time it matters?This is the culture crisis.

The problem is not that people think they can do nothing and have someone else take care of them, but that people can be so selfish, naive, and uninformed to think that’s really the case. Every group of people (race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, social class, etc) has a set of outliers that makes the whole group look bad, as the people that abuse the welfare system do for all those living below the poverty line. Why is it okay within our society to make such sweeping prejudice remarks and judgments about our fellow citizens? That is a culture crisis.

Oh, I know this is not the only group of people that are suffering from societal prejudice, as we all know there’s still ugly racism, sexism, homophobia and religious intolerance running rampant all over this country. And there’s the rest of our culture crisis right there.

The fact that teens and children are committing suicide because they were bullied for being homosexual is a culture crisis. The fact that a “Christian” pastor was trying to lead a group of people to burn the Quran (and people were going to do it!) is a culture crisis. The fact that women are made to feel bad whether they are work or stay at home and dads are made to feel bad for staying home is a culture crisis. The fact that there is even an Arizona Immigration Bill SB1070 that people support is a culture crisis. The fact that we have people routinely believing sensationalized media stories that affect the way they treat others, act, and vote is a culture crisis. The fact that anyone believes socioeconomic status is an indicator of someone’s worth, including their own, is a culture crisis.  The fact that  the amount of millionaires in the U.S. rose while the amount of those living below the poverty line increased this year is a culture crisis. The fact that victims of sexual abuse have to validate that they weren’t “asking for it” is a culture crisis. The fact that in 1.5 million children are homeless in the U.S.  is a culture crisis. The fact that the U.S. has a grade D mental health system is a culture crisis.  These are culture crises. The fact that someone on Medicaid has new tennis shoes and an R&B ring tone on their cell phone is not a culture crisis. It’s actually none of your business.

I seriously hope that any of my friends or family that jump onto the kind of bandwagons that people like the doctor who wrote this little rant are driving are doing so due to lack of information, not because they are actually that selfish and naive. There is no way to grasp the full scope of someone’s life within one encounter and it’s an insult to your own intelligence to criticize the life or lifestyle decisions of someone you don’t even know.

If you don’t understand what’s so hard about becoming a U.S. citizen, then go find someone who’s trying to do this and stick with them through the whole process no matter how many years, setbacks, or roadblocks it takes. If you don’t understand how someone can need Medicaid and food stamps for an extended period of time, then get to know someone in that situation and watch them try to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and get to know the system that you’re criticizing- you may find yourself criticizing it for all new reasons. If you don’t understand how bullying could push someone to suicide, then find a group of people who hate you for what you are (white, tall, female, a dog lover, whatever) and let them spit hate speech at you on a daily basis. If you think people should not expose you to their religion, then don’t expose anyone to yours, ever, and if you slip up and mention something religious in a public place, I hope that everyone looks at you like you’re a terrorist.

Life is hard. You know what’s really not that hard though? Being a decent human being and caring about people are are different from you as if they were you or your loved ones (because you never know, one day it may be you or someone you love in a tough spot)- offering them compassion, tolerance, and support.

The fact that some people live differently than we do or make decisions we don’t agree with is not our culture crisis. The fact that we are a society that struggles with human decency and respect towards one another is.

So, I’m gonna get started on this now. I don’t want it to take me forever. I don’t want to obsess about it. I just want to say it.

First of all, after some internet research, I found an article/blog that was just what I was looking for regarding health care. I don’t really care about people’s crazy fanatical fears, nor do I care about anecdotes, or even, all the “scary, hidden aspects of the bill that will make us suffer F O R E V E R.” I just wanted a little data.

Like, what’s up with all these other industrialized countries that have been doing this whole universal health care thing for decades? How’s that working out? Seriously- how’s that working out?

Finally, I got some data (as mentioned and linked above), and feel happy. It basically says that though universal health care is  not perfect, neither is what the US has now,  and still, universal health care is a better use of our money and resources, given we manage to implement it well- maybe modeling it after other successful programs? Like, maybe some other country did something we can learn and grow from? Maybe? And, data shows: it will in all likelihood not be the END OF AMERICA!

So, aside from the data that made my search fruitful and facebook status worthy, I also got a great string of quotes from the comment section.

52: “You have omitted how much people pay in taxes for these entitlements”

Have you considered how much we pay NOW for the uninsured? Do you think that if a homeless person goes into the ER and receives treatment it is just free?

It seems to me that in a “Christian” country to allow multitudes to go without adequate healthcare for apparently the sole reason of wanting to avoid even the appearance of ‘socialism’ (i.e., purely ideological purposes) is immoral. Posted by: slpage | June 15, 2009 5:08 PM

53 #52, I find it amusing that you would be ok with stealing from your neighbor to pay for your health care. Government is not charity or compassion, it is force. Forcing your neighbor to pay for someones healthcare is not christian, it is theft. Posted by: frodo | June 29, 2009 10:12 PM
55 “Government is not charity or compassion, it is force. Forcing your neighbor to pay for someones healthcare is not christian, it is theft.”

Horsefeathers. We are a society. We, as a society, decide to use our combined resources to provide certain services. If we, as a society, decide that healthcare should be one of those services, it is not theft anymore than universal policing is theft. If you choose not to support society, you are more than welcome to leave.

57 “I find it amusing that you would be ok with stealing from your neighbor to pay for your health care. Government is not charity or compassion, it is force. Forcing your neighbor to pay for someones healthcare is not christian, it is theft.”
Isn’t it odd that compassion must be forced on Christians?

May I suggest reading 1st John 3:17

– If you don’t have your Bible handy it reads thus:

“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? ”   Posted by: Drew L | July 5, 2009 12:45 PM

You’ve got to love anyone who can use the word “Horsefeathers” in any conversation, ever. That truly enhances the awesomeness of the quote. Commenter 55, we would be friends, I can tell. And commenter 57! Yes, America’s Christians are odd, aren’t they? Now, Commenter 52-thanks for provoking 53. This wouldn’t have been possible without you! 53, well, you know- at least you know where you stand (even if it is in some horsefeathery place) .

For the record, I do understand people feeling afraid. Fear and apprehension are normal when you embark on something that is new, that is big, that is kind of out of your control. So, regular uneasiness or even lack of knowledge I get, and I don’t mock. I’m not saying I understand or fully support everything about the bill. But it’s the over the top, selfish, self-righteous, loud, whiny, pessimists that jump to conclusions and make up “facts” that drive me insane.

Now, having ran my brain through that, I think I’ll end this here and pick it up again, as it’s already long enough, with all the quotes. And I wanted to write about the quotes, they made my night. So, I’ll build off this. Maybe tonight, maybe in the morning. (I don’t think I have more than 2 readers anyways ;P)

Everybody has a love story. Most of us have several. Not just a love with a person. But a story about love. What we love, why we love it, how we’ve been loved, what it does for us- this love. How it saves us, how it changes us. All our love stories take us places, bring us to people. Ultimately all our love stories coincide. All the love stories of time collide. I believe they collide, coincide, in the big love- God.

As I write that line, I think of atheists, I think of agnostics and I think…I’m sorry. I’m sorry that for whatever reason you have come to the conclusion you have, because God is incredible. This love is incredible. But it’s there, always, so should you ever dip your toes back in, I hope the water is warm enough to entice you to come in and be open again. I hope the people around you radiate the intoxicating, unconditional, empowering, encompassing, liberating love of God. Because it’s so intensely beautiful. Insanely intimate. Completely customized. It’s not a bunch of rainbows and flowers, but it is just a whole new level of living, and whole new experience of consciousness. I’m not talking about any church or religion. Just God. The love that is God and everything that does in a person.

So, back to the love story. I have love stories about boys, of course. I have love stories about friends, about family, about softball, about the farm, about my youth group, about the campground, about writing, about music, about chorus, about Caribou, about coffee, about jewelry, about work, about my child- about so so much. I know people who have love stories about cars, motorcycles, guitars, furniture, restaurants, trinkets, hobbies, books, movies, traveling. Anything you can think of, someone has a love story for it.

I think sometimes we don’t realize how much God cares about our love stories. But I believe sincerely that God cares about our love stories. Because they can all lead us to God. Love empowers us, validates us, encourages us, lifts us up, moves us forward, holds us together, opens us up. Because God and love are ultimately one in the same, the more we practice and learn of love, the closer we dwell with God. The more we develop our understanding and sense of love, the more we see God in our daily lives. God is as near as we allow. God is everywhere we look for God.

I’m not working off any theologies here. I’m just working off the light in me. The light around me. I’m just working off experience here. That’s really all there is, no matter what anyone else says. Everyone’s ultimate love story is between themselves and God. No one else could possibly understand all the intricacies of it. It is that intensely personal. We have to remember this. Our love story is ours. Other’s love story is theirs.

I’ve written before about how in the face of all the brokenness of people’s lives, I’ve come to see life as art. As a massive work of art spanning all time and space. We can’t always see the beauty, but it’s a work in progress, and we are all part of the beauty, there is beauty in all the fragments, if we’re open to new kinds of beauty, if we’re open to love, we can begin to gather the beauty in our lives, in our own brokenness. We’ve got to look outside the boxes.

If we live in love, we carry light that makes it a little easier for us, and those around us, to believe, to catch glimpses of these things outside our initial line of sight-outside of those boxes.

If we decide to believe so, to see it as so, God gifts us all the time with lovely things for our love stories. Like a lover who knows all our quirky favorites and silly pleasures and goes out of their way to indulge us, we can see that God does the same. God is constantly courting us, if we pay attention, we will see it. If we let go of all the “supposed to’s” and just be for a while, just be, God will catch our eye. Because God is always there, always moving around us, offering us beauty and love.

God is also always allowing us the dignity of decision. God is always within reach, but there’s a distance between us that God leaves to us to decide to cross, and when, and how, and of course, how often- as we are always free to go where and when we choose.

Our ultimate lover is God. It is the epitome of all the love we’ve ever had or wanted. Everything we’ve sought, everything we’ve experienced- amplified to perfection. Our ultimate love story is the one we develop between ourselves and God.

We get excerpts of our stories and pass them out to others, read a column or two of theirs. We make cameos or play pivotal roles in the stories of those we encounter. We are all contributing editors to one another’s stories, though we all have our own, which we understand in a way no one else can. That’s why we each get our own story to put it all together in. It is constantly forming, never quite ready to go to print…It’s intimately ours and still a part of a larger work. The creative collaboration of all creation.

All our art, all our love, carefully rolled into one ultimate piece that we will one day get to look at, together, and revel in. The fulfillment of our efforts in life, in love. The fruition of determination and hope.

Isn’t that beautiful? Isn’t that a a story worth following? A project worth working on? Something to believe in? It is for me.

Art. Love. Hope. Promise. God. People. Stories. It’s all we’ve got. It’s all beautiful. It’s all worth it.

Feminism is…?

Rebecca West: I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat, or a prostitute.

[Feminism is] a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.  ~Pat Robertson (Oh, Dear God!)

Michele Le Doeuff: A feminist is a woman who does not allow anyone to think in her place.

Nobody will ever win the Battle of the Sexes.  There’s just too much fraternizing with the enemy.  ~Henry Kissinger

The thing is, this isn’t a battle we’re fighting against each other, or at least it shouldn’t be.

Gloria Steinem: This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution. Sex and race because they are easy and visible differences have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labour in which this system still depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism.

Men weren’t really the enemy – they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill.  ~Betty Friedan

Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.  ~Margaret Mead

If the Mead quote is true, and I do believe it is, perhaps through me, my father liberated himself a bit, because my Daddy- southern boy, son of a farmer, corporate company executive and business owner- is a Feminist.

I keep trying to pinpoint the first feminist statement my father made to me, just for a starting point, but it’s hard to do so, because it was constant…Perhaps one of the first was when, at his encouragement, my sister and I were playing on a soccer team as 2 of 3 females on the team. I was in second grade. I complained about playing with the boys, I said they were too rough. Daddy told me to get out there and be rough too! Show them what  girl can do! For the record, I was just really bad at soccer, and the subsequent sport I tried on a co-ed team- basketball, so I’m not sure how much I “showed them”. But I didn’t quit and I didn’t cry when I was smacked into or kicked in the shins. I got dirty and I got up. That’s what the boys did and that’s what my Daddy said I could do to. So I did. And I’m so glad I did.

When, in 6th grade, I said I wanted to be the first female president of the United States, my Dad said “You go girl!” (it was the early 90’s, you can’t really blame him for using that phrase 🙂

When I finally found a sport I could play (believe me, he wasn’t letting up till I tried them all), he co-coached my softball teams and in doing so opened up a world to me of competitive, hard working, don’t care if we get bruised up, loud, powerful girls.

Daddy said God may be a woman.

Daddy said I could kiss all the boys I want.

Daddy said I could do whatever I want.

Of course, he rallied against things like short shorts (he usually lost) and driving late at night (lost again). I mean, feminist or not, he is my Dad, there are some things he has to oppose 😉

My advice to the women’s clubs of America is to raise more hell and fewer dahlias.  ~James McNeill Whistler

Sometimes, (or often) I’d get hyped up and on a role about some injustice and Daddy would shout from his corner “Alright Feminazi!” Usually followed by “You go girl!” Feminazi was a nickname he made up for me, jokingly, when I was out of my head raging against whatever I was raging against and stomping my feet around.  I would say, part of effective feminism (or effective anything), is being able to laugh at yourself and not take things too seriously all the time.

He also would strut his 6’3 farm boy frame around the house and tell us to “Flaunt it if we got it” (he claims he was channeling his grandma Pearl) He wanted me to know how to be a woman, a full out woman. And he wanted me to know I could be pretty, smart, and strong all at the same time.

“Scratch most feminists and underneath there is a woman who longs to be a sex object.  The difference is that is not all she wants to be.”  ~Betty Rollin

The other day my daughter,  Natalie, saw a policeman and claimed that that’s what she wanted to be. She then said, “but I have to be a man”. I laughed and said, nope baby, you can be a policewoman, and then introduced her to a policewoman. She probably won’t remember that, but for me, it’s just the beginning.

We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.  ~Gloria Steinem

To quote my Daddy, the feminist “The only thing stopping you is your mind, don’t let your mind defeat you.” I will feed Natalie feminism, because feminism is simply the idea that woman are equals to men, deserving no special treatment nor discrimination. In this way, all children should be told this, this message is for everyone.

“We’ve got a generation now who were born with semiequality. They don’t know how it was before, so they think, this isn’t too bad. We’re working. We have our attache’ cases and our three piece suits. I get very disgusted with the younger generation of women. We had a torch to pass, and they are just sitting there. They don’t realize it can be taken away. Things are going to have to get worse before they join in fighting the battle.” Erma Bombeck

This quote reminds me that we owe our best efforts at equality not only for our present and future, but also to honor those who’ve gone before us. When I was engaged and planning my wedding, the older ladies in my church kept coming up to me, holding my hands, asking if I was still going to college- their eyes imploring me to say yes. I had never considered not going to college, but the mix of fear and hope in their eyes reminded me how big a deal it was, to not have homemaking and factory work as my only option. I think, sometimes, because we were born into this “semiequality” that we take for granted how recent the victories occurred, and how hard they were fought for. And I think, sometimes we forget that we’re not there yet. We’re further along, but we’re not there yet.

Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, a good mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-dressed, well-groomed, and unaggressive.  ~Marya Mannes

Marlo Thomas: One of the things about equality is not just that you be treated equally to a man, but that you treat yourself equally to the way you treat a man.

As always, equality is not just about one gender, one race, one religion. It’s about all of us, we’re all in this together. And if we do it right, the advancing of others can advance us all, not take anything away from any of us, but instead, give something to humanity as a whole. Liberate us all.

I am working for the time when unqualified blacks, browns, and women join the unqualified men in running our government.  ~Cissy Farenthold

And it’s not just this, but also that anyone making an effort to play a productive role in society, in any way, is respected in their role, with equal respect given to each role, as each role plays a crucial part in the functioning of our communities as a whole.

So, thanks Dad. Thanks for all the ways you allowed me no special treatment or discrimination. To do anything else would have been a disservice to me and anyone I have, or will, encounter along my life.

I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want.  If that makes me a bitch, okay.  ~Madonna Ciccone

There has always been this one passage in the Bible that I just can not be okay with. More than that, something within me rages at the words in defiance every single time I hear them. Nothing fills me with righteous indignation more.

So, here we go: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husband in every thing.”  Ephesians 5:22-24

Ew, no. I will never fully submit myself a huMAN of any kind (doesn’t that border on idolatry?). And, in case anyone missed the memo- I, even as a woman, have direct line to God (ever since the crucifixion, you know?). And God talks to me, lives in me, guides me. I don’t need any PERSON to be my head. I’ve got my own head! People are crazy, even the most well intentioned, and we shouldn’t submit completely to a person. That’s asking for serious T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

Can we inspire, sharpen, and and hold one another accountable though? Absolutely. But I don’t think any PERSON needs to believe they are head of another PERSON.

I don’t care that the next part says  “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it.” Eph 5:25, because the next part says “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” Eph 5:26.

I’m sorry, no. No MAN can cleanse me! He’s going to be busy enough with his own self, as we all should be. To me, this passage has always implied that a woman is less godly than a man and needs a man to reach her ultimate best. That, is also a mentality that is asking for T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Even if the man does as he “should”, it still makes the woman out to be the lesser of the two. I can’t be okay with that.

People then say “Well, the point of it all  is in this verse-“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.” Eph 5:28. Yeaaaa, that’s nice. But I’m pretty sure the whole love others as yourself thing was already covered earlier on (“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:12) so I don’t buy that the whole point of that passage was that men love their wives as themselves. Because if that was all there was to it, then that is all that would be said.

This is where I intellectually understand that the Bible was assembled by men. God-lead, but still- men. And we can never fully escape our personal perspective, influenced by gender, among other things. I’m a writer, I’ve been inspired to write things I never had in my head on my own, but even as a vessel, traces of me come through. I also understand that the church, as an institution, was created and designed by men (again, God-lead, but still, men). And I understand that the church is an institution. That religion is not faith and vice versa.

The last thing women need in this world is to wait for a man to lead them or love them. I’m not men bashing, I’m being realistic. We all have to love and look out for one another, but we also all have to ultimately take responsibility for our lives and our relationship with God. We are individuals, even in marriage.

Why in the world would one person need to “lead” the other, particularly based on gender? Why is it not a 50/50 split (possibly focusing on personal strengths and weaknesses within the couple)?  Instead of women holding back our selves to submit to other mere mortals, why don’t we all work on loving God (and submitting to God) enough to love ourselves to love each other the very best we can? In this, I believe we do, through our love in God, submit ourselves to many things, but never to be less than another. How would it be effective to love others as we love ourselves if we consider ourselves less…

Why does this passage exist? I know there are plenty of things in the Old Testament that we put aside because with the Resurrection, there is new life, new law, but this is New Testament. So, what’s up?

The thing that got me going on this today was this article:

Weighty Words on the Meaning of a Husband’s Headship

August 5, 2009  |  By: John Piper |  Category: Commentary

What follows is one of the greatest reasons for a man to get married and stay married: not the rapturous flame of eros, but the refining fires of holiness.

No relationship is more clearly commanded to model the death of Christ. No relationship is more costly—in both senses of that word (painful and precious).

This quote comes from one of C. S. Lewis’s last books, published in 1960, The Four Loves. In it we hear the wise fruit of a lifetime.

The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. He is to love her as Christ loved the church—read on—and gave his life for her (Ephesians 5:25).

This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion; whose wife receives most and gives least, is most unworthy of him, is—in her own mere nature—least lovable. For the church has no beauty but what the bridegroom gives her; he does not find, but makes her, lovely.

The chrism [anointing, consecration] of this terrible coronation is to be seen not in the joys of any man’s marriage but in its sorrows, in the sickness and sufferings of a good wife or the faults of the bad one, in his unwearying (never paraded) care or his inexhaustible forgiveness: forgiveness, not acquiescence.

As Christ sees in the flawed, proud, fanatical or lukewarm Church on earth that bride who will one day be without spot or wrinkle, and labors to produce the latter, so the husband whose headship is Christ-like (and he is allowed no other sort) never despairs. He is a King Cophetua who after twenty years still hopes that the beggar-girl will one day learn to speak the truth and wash behind her ears. (105-106)

I have read this several times over, giving myself time to think about it, trying to see why the person who posted the link (who I like and respect) likes this article, and trying to process, not react. I don’t know if I’m there yet (though I am asking them: I know they find this useful/inspiring and I really want to see their perspective, or try).

The imagery just disgusts me. Why is this inspiring? It makes the woman sound dirty, unworthy, ugly, etc and marriage is related to a crucifixion but is also the only thing that makes the woman lovely. That’s not inspiring! That’s horrible!  I get that it is calling men to be holier, and to give of themselves (right, isn’t that the “point”?), but at what cost? At the cost of viewing women (their wives) and marriage as something to bear, something to endure? It sounds pious to me. I mean, we all know it’s called the “long haul” for a reason, but that’s just depressing. Why would anyone want to be married, or close to God, reading this?

I know Christians are called to die to their “selves”, but our “selves” are also created by and cherished by God. We have to be careful with this…without trying to sound too conspiracy theorist here- religions are often institutions of social control…We have to be careful with religion and faith. With things we are “supposed to do”…

And where is the advice for women? Just submit? Is that it? Lame. Or are we to just assume they mean the same for us? (to bear our marriage and husband like a dirty crucifixion through which we will gain our holiness? And, don’t we already HAVE our holiness- through Christ’s crucifixion?) Was it they just didn’t have gender neutral language back in the day?

If so, I still find in unappealing and disgusting.  It’s just not a visualization I am moved to action by. There’s nothing motivating about it for me.

Where’s the love? Where’s the inherent worth and beauty we (ALL of us) have as beings created by God?

Why are guilt trips, scare tactics, rule-focused sacrificial, and generally unappealing (and ego-tripping?) visuals used in Christianity? WHY?????

Where’s this stuff?

Love. Faith. Freedom. Courage. Grace. Mercy. Love. Joy. Hope. Promise. Strength. Rest. Forgiveness. Acceptance. Adoration. Worth. Love. Freely Giving. Unconditional. Intense. Consuming. Love.

Isn’t life itself hard enough? Don’t we need to focus on the good stuff? Doesn’t everything fall into place with love (meaning works and action will follow the commitment and acceptance of love)? Is that too touchy-feely-liberal- hippie-ish?

I don’t know that it’s so much the ultimate concept that is being presented that bothers me so much as it is the language that is being used…but there are some fundamental issues I think I have with all of it as well…I know I sound like my mind’s made up. To be honest, it kind of is. That doesn’t mean I can’t hear out dissenting perspectives, and keep thinking about it. I like thinking. It’s good for me. So, if you can help me understand the article as inspiring, or even, how the passage in Ephesians is truly relevant to male/female relationships now, I’m interested. I’m not saying it’ll change my mind, I’m just saying, I like all the info I can get, from all the sources I can get it. In case it matters:  I’m more likely to actually consider input that is not regurgitation, but more someone’s true perspective to which much thought has been given and processing has occurred.

…and I’m off the soapbox for now.

This is what I wrote down, word for word, during a sermon. That’s why it may or may not make sense. I just wanted it recorded, mainly for myself, (but also for anyone who likes to read my streams of consciousness…:) there’s some things I want to revisit.

Magnification, magnificence.

Clear eyes:

all the colors



of light.

Vessel. Love Life, Be Brave. Time- precious, peace, patience, courage, Free. Hymn, Piano, Puritan. Native, Pilgrim. Gypsy: Spiritualist. Bare Bones Belief. Tragedy vs. Comedy. Belly of the Whale. Joy is a choice. Unexpected deliverance, Truth. No fear, you have plenty of time here. Called apart. Everlasting arms. Catacombs. Three Days. Heart of the Earth, there is coming a day. Hope vs. Desperation. Crosses to wings. overwhelmed? pray. No guilt. Everything has meaning. Quotable lyrics. Music. What have I to fear or dread? My life is in you. Cemetery, history. You can’t screw this up. Everything is as it should be. Get there. You will get there, God will get you there, one way or another. It’s not enough if just I’m okay. Vessel.

Love, Joy, Peace; Wisdom, Clarity, Courage, Belief

Through various first hand sources, I have gathered entertaining information regarding the latest ministry efforts of two sister churches. Well, to be honest, they aren’t sister churches, they are a split off of one church, but they should be (could be!) sister churches, so I, because I can, will refer to them as such. I will refer to one as home base church (hbc), and one as grass roots church (grc). Those are my personal nicknames for them. You do not have to like them. You, in fact, do not have to read this at all 🙂

So, home base church had Vacation Bible School (VBS) this week. In case, unlike me, you do not live in the Bible Belt and have no idea what VBS is, it’s basically Sunday School on Prozac. If you don’t know what Sunday School is, you should just use context clues. It’s like school, on Sunday…and it’s at church, so it’s about church, the Bible, etc.

I’ll tell you right now that the selling points of VBS are whatever theme-based decorations, snacks, and songs you have. This year’s theme for HBC was a camping one, and the set up was awesome. A lot of effort was made- and it shows. The sanctuary stage really looked like a mountain campsite. Good job guys! The snacks were also awesome (so I’ve been told), and the music had “music videos” with kids doing the dance moves (which all the kids 7+ seemed to really enjoy and try to emulate).

Their adventure happened Tuesday night (night 3) when during a thunderstorm, the power went out and stayed out leaving all the kids (including toddlers and babies) and however many adults, to make their way by cell phone light for the next 45 min or so, waiting for parents to pick up the kids. Too bad they gave out mini flashlights for all the “campers” to take home the night before! It’s been reported that some campers had to leave their pizza rolls in mid-bite due to the power outage, and the pastor’s son apparently RE-FUSED to abandon his goldfish snack. No sir, he said. I believe grandpa had to step in. After the screaming subsided, there was apparently an impressive sing-a-long. You can’t keep a good VBS down.

Tonight was the wrap up, where all the campers got to show off for mom/dad/grandma/grandpa, etc. My personal favorite things were: a certain child who rolled around and I think, did flips on stage while everyone else tried hard to sing and follow the motions, a certain other child who was so completely hyped up about performance that when there were not set motions, he was throwing punches in the air and jumping around like he was about to kickbox (watch out devil, he’s ready to rumble!), and a certain teenager, who I know of as an outdoorsman, who had been helping out and apparently knew all the motions and dance moves and stood by the stage demonstrating for the kids. When I asked him about this later, he confessed that it was his secret talent. Looks like the cat’s out of the bag now! Don’t you think So You Think You Can Dance could use an outdoorsy guy? 😉

Grass Roots Church had and outreach project this week (Wednesday night). In preparation for this event, my oldest friend reported that she was attacked by fire ants while putting out flyers in the community, to which she said: “Are you freakin’ kidding me? I’m doing God’s work here!” The fact that she talks to ants that bite her is one of the very things I love so dearly about her J

So, the project was to go into a nearby community that is very needy and pass out nonperishables and a hotdog meal. The flyers that my dear friend sacrificed her little flip flopped feat for were apparently blown away (probably in the same storm that knocked out HBC’s power). So, no one knew they were coming. It was reported that an inebriated fellow told them quite colorfully to remove themselves from the premises upon which they stood. He apparently did this with enough vigor for one mom to put her kids away in the car…Yay! Jesus loves you!

Also, a man I know of as a Sunday School Teacher and Deacon apparently was packing some heat, just in case. This is all well and good, but I can’t for the life of me imagine him pulling a weapon, ever, for any circumstances. Now, I could see him frying you up some eggs and bacon at an all church breakfast, and reciting some Max Lucado, but brandishing a weapon? Hard to imagine.  I suppose he has a secret side of him as well J

The outreach turned out just fine, around 60 hotdog meals were given out, with some people coming back for 2nds and 3rds. I’m assuming much of the nonperishables found good homes as well. This is one of many out in the community-free food-no strings attached events/outreaches that this group has done in this community and I hope it’s getting the point across…love. There is love, big love, God’s love.

In keeping with that train of thought, back to HBC. I’ve got to say, watching the kids up there on stage made me think of what a good thing it is, to get in front of a bunch of people and know that even if you roll around, miss your cue, kickbox, or even get it just right, you are loved, praised, and embraced just the same. Because that’s love. That’s God’s love.

And that’s what both churches are doing their best to do, within their communities, and in their own ways- love.

One thing though, HBC: I get that pixie sticks are cheap and stuff, but really? Goodie bags with sugar sticks? I guess that’s what we get for letting you take the kids 5 nights in a row 😉

UPDATE: You know what the end of VBS treats were at GRC? A massive pixie stick.

Oh yea, God has a sense of humor.