Posts filed under ‘Chrisitanity’

The Best of the Web

"Works Progress Administration Project 19...

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I thought it was time to brag on some other writers and visionaries for a change. There are a lot of other great blogs out there that are doing creative things, making progressive statements, advocating for women, and featuring more important stories than Jesse James’ tragic breakup from Kat von D. I really thought that would last forever. I’m just devastated!

First off, there’s a great cartoon site that I found through WordPress, mostly because she was kind enough to click the “Like” button on one of my posts. The Adventures of Gyno-Star: Fighting the Forces of Evil & Male Chauvinism is a cartoon gem that gets updated twice weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays. The artist is supremely talented. Her superhero has a sidekick named Little Sappho, and together they fight nemeses like Stay at Home Mommy and Vlad Deferens. Clever fun, and the illustrations are fantastic!

At Rebuild the Dream you can sign a contract for a return to the American dream. Van Jones heads this campaign with the support of many other progressive organizations, most notably MoveOn.org. The idea is pretty simple. Start investing in America again. Update our infrastructure and invest in the future, create jobs to do this and hire Americans to fill the jobs.

What does that sound like? Why, if it weren’t for the green energy component, I think it sounds an awful lot like the Works Progress Administration. The WPA? You don’t say. The brainchild of FDR, a plan to bring us out of the Great Depression, improve our great nation, and feed our families, the WPA is still present in concrete and signs in small and large communities throughout the United States. How do we pay for this? By taxing the rich.

This brings me to another great website. Sometimes people, myself included, like to cast the rich in the role of villain in the deterioration of the American dream and the American economy. But that’s not entirely fair. There are some millionaires out there who are lobbying that their taxes need to be raised.

You can find those millionaires and billionaires on a great website called, Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength. These people are true patriots, and their message reminds me that with great wealth comes great privilege and with great privilege, great responsibility. These people incredibly, selflessly get that. They make me proud to be an American.

Speaking of being proud to be an American, some people make me proud to be a Christian as well. John Shore, whose blog I’ve championed before, had a great article about a woman named Kathy Baldock and how she came to form a non-profit called Canyonwalker Connections. Kathy had t-shirts made, and she attends gay functions like Pride parades and wears her t-shirt, offering an apology to any LGBT who’s been traumatized by the bigotry of churches who reject homosexuals.

Here’s a great video I found:

The video is a commentary on how household cleaning products are always marketed to women, using women almost exclusively to sell the products to women almost exclusively. The only exceptions I can think of to this are Orange Glo and Oxy Clean. Mr. Clean doesn’t count since he’s a fictional character who never actually cleans anything anyway. The Tidy-Bowl Man is a tugboat operator; he doesn’t clean anything.

What is marketed almost exclusively to men? Beer. How is it marketed to men? Using scantily clad beautiful women to imply that if only you drink enough beer women will want to have sex with you. Maybe if only the women drink enough beer they will forget that they have to do all of the cleaning and will want to have sex with you. Or, and here’s a novel concept: maybe if a man did his share of the chores around the house a woman might be inclined to have sex more often. Beer is optional.

I found this website by happy accident. Hugo Schwyzer is a Christian and a gender studies professor. He’s written many, many enlightening blog posts about issues relating to feminism and Christianity, including weighing in on the recent controversy over actor Doug Hutchison’s marriage to a 16-year-old child and SeekingArrangement.com’s pimping out of college girls. He writes about his views on porn and even cites Andrea Dworkin. He’s sharp, and he’s a pleasure to read.

Hugo Schwyzer also blogs on The Good Men Project. The Good Men Project bills itself as “a cerebral, new media alternative” to glossy men’s magazines. In other words, it’s the anti-Maxim. There are great articles on gender issues and relationship advice, and something for everyone. This website renews my good faith in men.

The Women’s Media Center is a non-profit that seeks to make women more visible and women’s voices more audible in all forms of contemporary media. Their website features a Sexism Watch. They sponsor conventions and leadership panels and encourage women to produce films and documentaries that tell women’s stories. They are fighting to see women represented more in the news and on political commentary shows. Check it out.

August 13, 2011 at 3:30 pm Leave a comment

Freedom Redux: This is Water

David Foster Wallace at the Hammer Museum in L...

Image via Wikipedia

So, that review was kind of snide and snarky. And I did like the book in one way, and that is that I thought that it was entertaining, even if it was only half-way original. I think Jonathan Franzen is definitely talented. So, I have some second thoughts.

Even if the date rape was clichéd, I still recognize that the reason that it may feel clichéd is that is so true to life. After all, I wrote my own post that was somewhat similar to a Lifetime movie, only it wasn’t fiction, it was from my very own damn life.

[https://gooseberrybush.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/monster-at-the-picnic-table/]

It’s not just a cliché, it’s also my life.

In addition to that cliché there was also the love triangle between the “nice” guy and the “sexy” guy, as if nice can’t also be sexy. It struck me, after reading the book and then also reading interviews and biographies of Jonathan Franzen, that perhaps this book was somewhat personal. Richard and Walter are stand-ins for someone else, and that someone else is Jonathan Franzen and David Foster Wallace.

Even though Franzen is the bigger environmentalist and the bird watcher and probably the less flashy of the two, and even though Wallace superficially resembles Richard, with his greater charisma and physical beauty and tobacco chew, I think that Walter and Richard are actually just dual aspects of Franzen’s personality. It’s Franzen against Franzen.

Also, if anyone is Walter, the more spiritual one, the kinder one, the more worthy one, it’s Wallace, who couldn’t possibly hurt a fly other than himself, if it weren’t for the one fact of his suicide. Wallace was the “churchgoer,” the one with the reputation as the “nice” guy, and yet it was Wallace, and not Franzen, who hanged himself on his own porch for his wife to find his body. Maybe not so selfless a death as David Foster Wallace would have wished for himself, if he had been in his right mind at the time.

It strikes me that Walter’s eventual forgiveness of Patty, and, by implication, Richard, is Franzen’s final tribute to his friend David Foster Wallace. And with this act, his overvalued novel is somewhat redeemed and maybe even worthy of half of the superfluous over-the-top “critical” literary views, if the idea was to transcend the selfish and self involved characters of his Seinfeldian universe, with this one final act of grace.

It occurs to me that  the repitition of the word and the ideology of “freedom” in David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech and the fact that Jonathan Franzen’s novel is titled, Freedom are no coincidence.

July 28, 2011 at 1:55 am Leave a comment

Who Is Innocent?

Anti-Death Penalty crusader Sister Helen Prejean

Image via Wikipedia

People like Pete DeGraaf anger me, people who are so narrow-minded as to see only their own viewpoint on any given subject and to be wholly convinced that their side is the righteous one. Smart people know that there are two sides to every war. Which side is the “good” one is sometimes a random designation made decades later by history books and determined in large part by military might and strategy.

I like to think that if I were ever pregnant as the result of a rape that I would give birth to that baby. I do think that would be the right thing to do, but to be told that I have no choice in the matter and to have a pregnancy from a rape be equated with the inconvenience of a flat tire or paying for life insurance…just goes to show you that DeGraaf thinks that being raped is one of those inevitabilities of life that a woman should be prepared for. It sickens me that anyone with so little empathy or compassion for women would dare to call himself a representative of Christ. Somewhere in Heaven, God is vomiting right now.

The thing that I find the saddest about people like DeGraaf is that when you ask them why they are so vehemently opposed to choice, they always mention, of course, that abortion is murder. They say that they are opposed to any taking of life that’s not done by God. They believe in the sanctity of life. And you ask them about assisted suicide. The answer they give seems consistent. But ask them about the death penalty or ask them about war…you’ll get a very different answer.

I don’t want to get into the particulars of a debate about war and the ethics of war. I don’t have enough time to address it in this blog post except to say that “this” war (Iraq & Afghanistan) on “terrorism” is not anymore ethical than the one we lost in Vietnam. This is to say…that it isn’t. We have no business being there. And yet a guy like DeGraaf I can say with absolute certainty, supports the “War on Terrorism” and would question my very patriotism for daring to examine America’s real motivations.

I’m also certain that a guy like DeGraaf backs the death penalty. I haven’t spent any time looking at his website or his voting record, and yet I can tell you with absolute certainty, that DeGraaf believes in the death penalty as if there were Bible verses that support it. That’s ‘cause I’m psychic like that…either that or DeGraaf is a walking, breathing, talking caricature of a certain cretin of American zombies who think alike about everything.

Okay. There are Bible verses that seemingly support the death penalty. I’ll give you that. But there are Bible verses that seem to support slavery as well. I’ve got a brain. I can think. And when a man who says abortion is murder and says that he believes in the “sanctity of all life” also supports the death penalty and the War For Our Gas Tanks, then I call Bullshit! I call Hypocrite!

When you get into a debate with one of these people they inevitably mention that it’s a question of innocence. An unborn baby is innocent. A convicted murderer is not. A jihadist is not. But how do we determine innocence? An unborn baby that’s the product of incest ruins the life and future of a 9 year old girl who’s been raped by her father. That’s not the baby’s fault, or is it? If you hurt someone by accident, then have you hurt them less than if you did it by malicious intent?

I’m not trying to call into question the innocence of an unborn baby. Not seriously. But the people who are working to take away a woman’s choice are saying that pregnancies that result from rape or incest are only 10% or less of total unplanned pregnancies. Some estimates claim 1% or less. They want to take away a woman’s right to choose because less than 1% of unplanned pregnancies are the result of rape. What if 1% of people on death row are innocent? How does DeGraaf feel about the death penalty then?

I’ve read recently about some people who are making some headway towards eradicating the death penalty. One of them is Danalynn Recer, a mitigator in Houston, Texas. She was written up in The New Yorker. The work she’s doing involves presenting mitigating circumstances to juries in the penalty phases of capital murder cases. Simply put, she makes the perpetrators seem like human beings. She tells their life stories leading up to their monstrous crimes.

In addition to the work of mitigators, the death penalty has taken some hits recently because of The Innocence Project. The Innocence Project is a non-profit group based out of New York City that has worked with convicted men across the United States to use DNA evidence in order to exonerate innocent men who were wrongfully imprisoned. In many cases it has prevented innocent men from being executed.

I used to be staunchly opposed to the death penalty. I’m a little more open minded recently. You might ask why. And I would say Osama bin Laden. While I absolutely feel that the Christian response at someone’s death is not to take to the streets and rejoice, I realize that I didn’t think there was anything wrong with killing him. One of bin Laden’s sons and some of the more bleeding heart liberal of my countrymen have come forward with questions on why we didn’t take bin Laden into custody and put him on trial.

And I know why…because it’s pointless. He’s the mastermind behind 9/11. He’s taken credit for it. And even if he were to receive a trial…where would it be held? How would he receive a fair trial? Where would we find a “jury of his peers” beyond a terrorist training camp in some rural Pakistani village, and then…would justice prevail?

So, what I will say about the death penalty is this, that like with abortion, I believe that it should be safe, legal and extremely rare. Maybe in the case of the death penalty, I should say humane, legal and extremely rare. Most European nations and developed countries no longer practice the death penalty. These other countries tend to have significantly lower rates of violent crime than the United States does.

And so, I think that we need to realize that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent. Maybe something about it satisfies our need for vengeance. An eye for an eye. But what most people don’t realize about that particular Bible quote is that it was not a prescription for violence but rather a limitation that was meant to instill a sense of fairness. You take my eye, I take your eye – not, rather, you take my eye, and I take your eye, your house, and your entire flock of goats. It was a restriction on the inevitable escalation of violence.

Something about our society perpetuates violence. We need to take a good, hard look at just what that is. And maybe, in the meantime, we should limit death penalty cases to extreme cases of genocide, mass murder, war crimes, and treason.

If you’re interested in learning more about the death penalty in the United States, then I recommended the websites I’ve linked to as well as the following movies, books, and television programs:

Dead Man Walking by Sister Helen Prejean, as well as the movie of the same name that was based on the book.

I Want to Live – the 1958 tearjerker based on the real-life story of Barbara Graham boasts an over-the-top performance by Susan Hayward. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 100% Fresh rating.

Death Be Not Proud – This is a 2005 episode of the David E. Kelley produced Boston Legal. In the episode, James Spader’s Alan Shore travels to Texas to try a capital murder case. Kerry Washington guest stars.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112818/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0530516/usercomments

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/i_want_to_live/

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/05/09/110509fa_fact_toobin

http://www.innocenceproject.org/

June 4, 2011 at 8:02 pm 7 comments

The Message in Easter

[ C ] Caravaggio - Martha and Mary Magdalene (...

Image by centralasian via Flickr

Matthew 28:1-10After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (NIV)

This Sunday I celebrated Easter at church. It was great. The Mr. Brewsters and I went to MCC in Austin. It’s the second time I’ve been. Lots of churches in Austin claim to be inclusive, but this one may be the first where I’ve actually seen gay and lesbian couples and transgenders free and welcome to worship. They are comfortable here, and it’s a loving, affirming environment.

Also, this is a true Christian church. The theology is sound. It’s not all over the map. It’s not new age. It’s not read Eckhart Tolle and the Dalai Lama and Deepak Chopra and believe whatever you want to believe like the Luby’s Cafeteria of theology — but neither is it dogmatic. And it seems to get the emphasis of Christianity just right. It’s about the love, the faith. We can debate and overthink the miracle of Christ until we suck all the joy right out of it, and that doesn’t make us any different from the atheists.

About a week ago a young man who writes his own very funny blog left a comment on a post of mine about Early Christianity, and he noticed that I seem to be concerned with women’s issues. He asked me to expound upon the significance of Jesus’ appearing to the women on Easter. And I think I’m ready to address that issue now.

First off, one of the things we know about Jesus and his ministry is that he was chiefly concerned with the “little people,” if you will. He ministered to people that his society shunned. In some cases these people were truly corrupt individuals and in other cases they were just people who were needlessly suffering.

Regardless of whether the person’s status in society was of his own making or simply a byproduct of blind misfortune, Jesus ministered to them all. He shook hands and broke bread with tax collectors and lepers and prostitutes.  If He were on this earth ministering today, He would be ministering to the gays and the transgender and the homeless and the crack addicts and AIDS victims and, yes, the prostitutes. Some things never change. Jesus said that the last shall be first and the first shall be last.

Women, in Jesus’ time, as they still are in many Asian and African and Latin American countries, were considered to be second-class citizens. Actually, that’s a fallacy. They were literally considered property, like cattle or children. That Jesus ministered to women and that some of his most faithful disciples were female should come as no surprise. They might not be listed in our Bibles as one of the twelve “chosen” apostles, but make no mistake that Mary and Martha and Mary Magdalene were just as devoted to Jesus as any of the men. In fact, the women did not deny Jesus after His death; it was the men who did that.

On the morning that our Lord rose from the dead and the angel rolled away the stone, the women were coming to attend to Him.  This was woman’s work, preparing a body for burial. There is irony in the fact that the first eyewitnesses to the resurrection were women. This is because women in those times were not considered to be reliable witnesses. They could not give testimony in a court of law; it would not have been accepted.

This explains why, when the women obeyed the command of the angel and went to tell Jesus’ disciples that he was alive, they initially refused to believe. In fact, they would not believe the resurrection until they saw the empty tomb for themselves. And one of them would withhold his faith until he was able to literally poke a finger through the Lord’s wounds. But the women, faced with a rolled stone, an empty tomb, and an angel, believed. They didn’t question it. They didn’t ask for proof. They didn’t ask the angel how he pulled off that trick. When the angel offered a wholly implausible, insane explanation, they accepted the word of the angel without question.

God is the master architect. Don’t mistakenly think that the women coming upon the Lord’s empty tomb was by happenstance. The women were meant to be the bearers of the Good News, the most important and defining brick in the mosaic of our faith, the resurrection that is definitive proof of our salvation. What an honor, if you think about it. The last shall be first.

April 26, 2011 at 11:38 pm 1 comment

Anti-Semitism Rears Its Ugly Head…Again

Westborough Baptists Picketing a Jewish Commun...

Image via Wikipedia

Four recent stories in the media are seemingly unconnected, but I beg to differ. I see a thread running through each.

Story #1: Charlie Sheen rants against the producer of Two and a Half Men, calling him Chaim Levine. Charles Levine is Chuck Lorre’s birth name, and, yes, he is Jewish. What it has to do with his disagreement with Sheen is precisely nothing. Sheen claims he’s not anti-Semitic, but I beg to differ.

If Sheen’s point is to call out Chuck Lorre on his hypocrisy with a name change to something less ethnic, then I think we need to see Charlie Sheen credited as Carlos Estevez from now on. Anybody wanna take a bet on whether or not that’s going to happen?

I think it’s strange that amongst the celebrities who have called to offer Sheen their support, Mel Gibson’s name is mentioned prominently. Do you think it’s because Mel understands the pain of being mislabeled as a Jew hater? No, I don’t, either.

Story #2: John Galliano is a fashion designer for the Dior house. He’s a British man who wears a strangely Hitleresque mustache. He was filmed making racist remarks against Jews in a French café.

Soon after this exchange hit the web, Natalie Portman, who is proudly of Jewish heritage and represents Dior, makes a public statement against Galliano. Dior fires him promptly thereafter, as they should have.

Story #3: At about the same time, Julian Assange makes a statement that Wikileaks is being attacked by a “Jewish conspiracy.” This is interesting, if only because it shows Julian Assange has a screw loose and that he’s also an anti-Semite. I find it interesting that the rape charges he’s facing are from two women in Sweden, where anti-Semitism is very much alive and well and perhaps even “trendy.”

The author Stieg Larsson spent a considerable part of his journalistic energies towards exposing neo-Nazis in his home country. Perhaps Assange’s comments are designed to prejudice a Swedish jury into being sympathetic towards him on rape charges. He didn’t rape anyone. Can’t you see it’s all just a Jewish conspiracy?

Story #4: The Roman Catholic Pope Benedict releases a book that reiterates the official position of the Roman Catholic Church since sometime in the 1960s. For the last half century, the official stance of the Roman Catholic Church has been that the Jews did not kill Jesus. Read my lips. The Jews did not kill Jesus. Jesus was not killed by the Jews.

Did you notice how repetitive that is? Good. Then you got my point. Why is this making the news right now? It’s not a controversial position. Unlike the Pope’s recent remarks about sexual activity and condoms, it’s nothing new.

I know that there are a lot of people who aren’t even anti-Semitic who get really tired of being reminded of the Holocaust. They deny the Holocaust or they downplay it or they simply don’t want to be burdened with having to remember something so unpleasant, something that didn’t happen to them, something they didn’t live through.

But it’s important to remember the Holocaust so that we don’t repeat it. Persecution of a race or a religion is nothing new. Prejudice is nothing new. But the inhumanity of men towards men that was displayed in the Holocaust is without parallel in human history.

Just as easily as the Jews can be made the scapegoats for the entire human race, so can blue eyed people or fat people or short people or any other arbitrary minority that we can hate. Remember that when you harbor prejudice and hatred for someone, when you repeat stereotypes or make so-called harmless jokes about the Pollacks, you are demeaning a whole class of people. You are opening the door for another Holocaust.

These four stories being on the heels of one another in the news is not entirely coincidental. People who believe in love and equality need to stand up and be heard. Westboro Baptist Church has a court-approved right to stand up and shout hatred. Stand up and shout love. I’m convinced that if everyone who believes racism and bigotry has no place in our world would stand up and shout that we’d drown out the voices of all these idiot Sheens, Gallianos, Gibsons, and Assanges. Make sure your voice is heard.

http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/brad_hirschfield/2011/03/pope_benedict_xvi_julian_assan.html

March 3, 2011 at 12:30 am 1 comment

The Cure for Vague Ennui

happy valentine's day

Image by mugley via Flickr

There is a man at my new workplace who is all heart. Whenever I am playing my self-pity tape in my head, he always says something to put my life in perspective. I might be thinking internally about how little money I’m making or how none of my dreams will ever come true, and he will tell me the story of a friend of his whose daughter died from schleroderma. Or he’ll mention that he saw a homeless man outside the donut shop across the street. He had to nudge the guy ‘cause he was passed out drunk, and he thought the man might have actually died.

One of the Mr. Brewsters told me the other day that one of my former coworkers is getting a divorce. They seemed like such a happy couple, and they have a daughter who is very near Punky’s age. Turns out that the wife got caught drunk driving…because she ran over someone’s child and killed the kid. She refused to go to counseling or get any help to resolve her issues with alcohol abuse, and now a kid is dead, and a marriage is over as well.

I might make very little money, and I might not have health insurance. I might not drive a Prius. I might never make a significant professional contribution of any kind and spend every day of the rest of my life as a glorified secretary, barely getting by, paycheck to paycheck, hand to mouth, nose to the proverbial grindstone and any other hackneyed cliché you’d care to add. But when I hear stories like the ones above I know that I am blessed.

I know that whenever I am spending a lot of time playing the self-pity tape that my worldview has become very small. My worldview, in essence, is all about me. It’s important to be in communion with other people. One of the posts I wrote on Jesus was commented on by a Muslim gentleman from Pakistan, and we’ve struck up a little email friendship. He mentioned in one of his emails that people in Pakistan live much simpler lives. They live together with their extended families.

Children aren’t expected to be financially independent, and many families live with the husband’s parents, even after babies are born. People in Pakistan don’t purchase homes on credit. They prefer, instead, to save money over a lifetime and use their inheritance when their parents die in order to purchase a home. Old folks don’t go live in a “home;” they live at home. Their families care for them. The concept of any institutionalized care setting is just so foreign for them, and they wouldn’t want it. They like to care for their own loved ones.

Americans have record levels of depression and mental health issues and obesity. We have the greatest material abundance of any nation in the world, and yet we are still unhappy. I think it’s because we’re a lonely nation. We are a nation of people who need people who don’t spend time with people. We are preoccupied with our own thoughts, our own careers, our own obsessions and issues and our own vague ennui. Americans are obsessed with independence when we should really be thinking about our interdependence.

It comes from our own constant navel gazing. I’m writing this from a Starbucks where there are approximately twenty people. Of those twenty people, very few of them are actually interacting with each other. Most of us are lost in our laptops and iPhone screens and books, a large room filled with people who are not paying any attention to each other.

I was pissing and moaning about Valentine’s Day the other day when one of the Mr. Brewsters said to me, “Well, what you do is you pick someone who’s in the same boat that you are, and you do something nice for her. Buy someone a card or candy and flowers and make someone happy.” And I thought, well, that’s so profound, why didn’t I think of that? The reason, of course, is because I wasn’t thinking about anyone but my own damn self. Oh, whoa is me, destined to be alone forever. Yeah, if you think like that, you will be.

This morning I went to a new church, and I sat down next to a giant yellow Labrador who smelled like wet dog. Yes, the dog attends church, which I think is a good sign that I might be in the right place. I hate going to a new church. It’s always so intimidating. But it’s important to be a part of something bigger than myself. And while you can pray and worship in solitude, the Bible clearly says that wherever two or more are gathered in Jesus’ name, he will be with them. There’s a reason why other people are meant to be involved.

January 30, 2011 at 8:12 pm 1 comment

The Knitting Club

So, this weekend I took my granny squares and met up with a group of people who meet every other week at the Central Market to knit and crochet. I now have 97 out of 100 granny squares completed. When I get done with the 100 squares I have to crochet a black border around each one and then sew them together. I anticipate that I may be done sometime between now and the year 3000.

I wasn’t sure what I expected out of the group exactly, maybe a bunch of old biddies or a group of soccer moms. Neither was true. It was a pretty large group. There must have been at lease eight or nine people there. There were even two men.

We looked at pattern books and ate cookies and worked on our projects and talked. The lady who sat on my right was a technical writer who lived within walking distance of my house. The one on my left was a crochet guru who worked for a library. The woman directly across from me was from Oklahoma, and she teaches composition and rhetoric at a local university. The woman to her left was a former high school English teacher and a former Christian educator. And the two men were mos. Could the group have been more tailored made for moi? I don’t see how.

We talked about the news, its quality or lack thereof. The tech writer and I talked about the zoning plans for our respective neighborhoods and how sad it was that the area was destined to be Downtown: The Sequel. This means that it’ll be all vertical multi-use with outrageously high rents. In twenty years, they’ll have stripped this neighborhood of its poor and its minorities as well as its character. It will be homogenized, pasteurized, pristine, pretty, progressive, and predominantly white. It’ll also be pricey. I was glad that someone else besides me found that sad.

The tech writer was an African American woman, and when the subject of marriage and children came up, and I said that I thought marriage and children were both wonderful things but that I was tired of being made to feel less of a woman if I didn’t experience them, she said something profound. She said, “I have two grown children and a grandbaby. I’ve been married and divorced twice. All I ever wanted to be was That Girl. You know, like Marlo Thomas. Just a cute little career girl with a steady boyfriend.” Funny how you never think about the grass being greener.

We talked about writing and reading. We talked about grammar and novels. The meeting started at 2 and didn’t break up until nearly 5. Afterward, I went to the Mr. Brewsters for enchiladas and to see baby Punky.

I had intended to try a new church this weekend, but I didn’t get my nerve up and procrastinated instead, staying in bed under the covers and reading issues of The New Yorker. However, I did go to the church building on Sunday afternoon and drive by the outside so I would know how to get there for next week. I consider that progress.

I think I found a church that might fit with my particular brand of theology. I think I found some place where they might not think of homosexuality as a sin and where gays might be welcome to worship without being given the cold shoulder or the love the sinner speech. It’s small, and it’s close. The website talks about their commitment to service.

I like the Presbyterian church my landlords go to except that it’s all money. They pour most of their resources into buildings and programs designed to fill the needs of the church members and very little money comparatively into service and missions. Austin Stone is committed to missions, and they’re close now. I like the people who worship there, but that church is a member of the Southern Baptist Conference. I’m going to be pretty diametrically opposed to some of their theology. Plus, I’m pretty certain you’ll never see any gay or lesbian couples filling the pews at either of those churches.

January 26, 2011 at 1:05 pm Leave a comment

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