Monday, October 31, 2005

sad, yet...

not completely unexpected.

Texas Pastor Electrocuted During Baptism - New York Times

really, people.

surprise: it's a scary man

Nomination Likely to Please G.O.P., but Not Some Democrats - New York Times

i hate to be right so often but the GOP makes it awfully easy, sometimes.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

off to church

a multicultural task force meeting then a luncheon to figure out if people of color are happy in the congregation.


i have a feeling this isn't going to be a very productive afternoon.

[update: i've been on this com'tee for about 18 months or two years and, true to the presbyterian church, it's taken a while to get anything past the supervising com'tee. can you believe it took us one year to fully explain what we meant by 'diversity'?

anyway, we were convened because there was some concern that this church of mine, i call it the Grey Lady, was too white. well, rich and white, and we weren't being responsive to the needs of some of the people we serve as well as our racial/ethnic congregants. so this sunday was a chance to check in with people and see if their needs were being met - not necessarily as brown people, but was there anything we need to be aware of? well, it was not a totally useless afternoon; the general consensus is that the Grey Lady has awesome programs, educational and social programs, the pastor's great and no one feels weird. but...

we can't help the fact that, geographically and demographically, the Grey Lady is very very white. WASPy white. the kind of white that you didn't know existed. the kind of white that, up until some years ago, still wore morning suits on sunday morning. but the community we serve is not white; it's black and brown and poor and we wonder how we can be more effective in our outreach. but...

the lay leaders and the pastors just don't get how white it is. or how rich. i mean, we know we're a well-to-do congregation; but the PTB don't quite understand the blindingly obvious class difference; why would a single mother living in cabrini join our church (though she takes our classes and her kids are tutored here) when there's a church, a perfectly good church, right in her neighborhood?

and we're conscious of that. we don't want to take away a community church just because we're feeling...weird that our congregation is overwhelmingly b/y/ch/uppie. but...

we're aware that more can be done to foster community - this is our charge, to create community. we would like to see our community more inclusive, more diverse, because we truly believe a diverse urban congregation is a strong congregation; but...

there is a need here at the Grey Lady; we spent a whole afternoon interviewing ourselves when the need isn't us; frankly i think the people of color who've joined this church are fine with it. we have no needs. we like it here. the issue is how to reach out to the folks in cabrini. and we don't talk with them enough to know what we can do.

let's throw it out there: how do you make a diverse christian community without being patronizing?]

Thursday, October 27, 2005

poor harriet: wrong (straw) man for the job

Miers Withdraws Nomination for Supreme Court - New York Times

Now that the burden of this woman has been lifted from the administration, how much you wanna bet a man, a very scary man – even scarier than poor mediocre harriet – will pop up and get the post, thus unifying the right, terrifying the left and basically screwing all of Creation in the process?

Hm? Any takers? Any?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Top Stories - The Olympian - Olympia, Washington

The 300-pound black bear was later captured and killed.

sigh. and yet another tragic victim of our war on drugs ...


i have no idea how i found this blog.

i've been reading it for the past two nights and i see my mom; i see my dad; i see a whole bunch of married christian couples.

the blog is an older one, but julia grey talks frankly about sex and marriage, how she and her husband retreated from divorce and mostly she talks to men about their wives: what their wives are likely thinking and feeling, why they're feeling it and why they aren't telling their husbands. it's fascinating to read the responses.

there's one woman who insists julia is crazy and neurotic for asking men to talk to their wives about desire but it's the reader's own anger that seeps through her sentences. there are men who rage at julia for daring to say wives don't owe their husbands sex on demand; there are men who write of their own sad relationships and even men who write about how wonderful their marriages are.

she talks about how disgust, disinterest, anger, aging, distraction - how all these things impact a sex life. it's like reading a sex manual from someone's hip, cool mom.

it's a really interesting, frank and truthful journal.

[edited for clarity.]

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Dating Jesus, pt 3: So Done

The experiment has failed.

I’ve lost the impetus to look for a progressive guy of faith – at least online. It’s clear the PGoF is as fictional as the unicorn or the centaur. If he exists, the PGoF already has a girlfriend/wife, doesn’t need a date or is so socially successful he doesn’t need online dating, or he’s busy with a rally, a march or the latest action directive from MoveOn. Hm.

Or, maybe I’ve just lost patience looking for the PGoF . Or, maybe all the ChurchGuy ickiness out there just skeeved me out. This is more likely.

In any case, I’ve stopped. The whole search was depressing and has made me think about a few things:

Is there really someone for everyone? The older I get, the less I believe this.

Is companionship a spiritual gift? If so, perhaps not everyone has it; many of the men I encountered make me think this…and my own aversion to them made me think this also.

Is God a bit of a killjoy? I mean, if we, as His creation, are hardwired for coupling (and I’m making an assumption there) does He couple us with only what is good for us? For instance, I’m sure a lot of the men I came across (even the few who emailed me) thought they could do me some good, and vice versa. After all, there were all those children to be nurtured and clothed. But that’s clearly not enough for me, or I’d have been married to a man in my father’s church back when I was in college.

So am I going against some ultimate God plan to be a godly woman by rejecting these men or by thinking they’re weird? Are men like these the broccoli women like me are supposed to eat instead of a bowl of yummy pudding?

Where is the freaking Christian pudding??

These aren't very serious thoughts. They're not big theological questions; they're church versions of 'where are all the good men'? Boring, I admit. Then again, so are churchguys. Why is the average churchguy so effing unappealing?

(And no, the answer is not I'm not spiritual enough to discern the average church guy's inner goodness. I've seen the inner goodness and it looks like oppression to me.)

Anyway, enough with the navel gazing. Back to dating plain old freaky progressive guys. So much simpler.

All God, All the Time

God is the clock-maker, the puppeteer, the author. God is the light, the mother, the wind across the sea, the breath in every set of lungs. God is the horizon. God is all of these things.

But what if God is none of them? What if every possible affirmation that can be made of God, even by the so-called religions of revelation, falls so far short of the truth of God as to be false? Who is the atheist then? The glib God-talk that infuses public discourse in contemporary America descends from an anthropomorphic habit of mind, dating to the Bible and beyond, that treats God like an intimate friend or well-known enemy, depending on the weather and the outcome of battles. But there is another strain in the Biblical tradition that insists on the radical otherness of God, an otherness so complete that even the use of the word ''God" as a name for this Other One is forbidden. According to this understanding, God is God precisely in escaping and transcending comprehension by human beings. This can seem to mean that God is simply unknowable. If so, humans are better off not bothering about it. Atheism, agnosticism, or childish anthropomorphism -- all the same.

But here is where it gets tricky. What if God's unknowability is the most illuminating profundity humans can know about God? That would mean that religious language, instead of opening into the absolute certitude on which all forms of triumphal superiority are based, would open into true modesty.

via The Revealer, a column by james carroll on the nature of God and whether we can know him.

it's thoughtful and touches on some things i've been thinking about now that i've stopped my christian dating experiment (more on that later.)

Friday, October 21, 2005

scribblingwoman: Gaining my religion

a very good post on teaching literature, religious texts and pedagogy here.

i know i've been posting a lot from other people this week. i'll write more over the weekend. meantime, scribbling woman has an excellent, erudite and good looking blog.

go look at her. go on. go!

school's back in: Philobiblon


can't get enough of feminist writing? wondering where all the feminists are? curious what feminists think? thinking all we need to do is get over it and have a baby? looking forward to a long weekend and have nothing to do?

then surf through these links at the first Feminist Carnival! i can't wait to dive in.

(the huge fundraiser is over; i did yoga in my hotel room wednesday night while watching a documentary about the blood rituals of the ancient maya and i think i pulled something; i'm so totally over Huge Fundraiser; and i had an extremely vivid, naughty dream about an ex-boy this morning that made me late for work. thanks for letting me share.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Alas, a blog: picking up some feminist slack

over here at National Non Profit, we're two days from our massive fundraiser and i'm braindead. i have to spend the night at the hotel tomorrow night so i can be ding-on-the-spot thursday morning so, instead of me ranting on about things that make the feminist world shudder, Alas, a blog has conveniently done it for me.


(check out jennie's letter about the crimes against God we commit when we allow our young women go to college.)

Monday, October 17, 2005

good to know our national priorities...

Rape Up, While Murders Down in 2004

my body's a temple...oof

In New Yoga Classes, Poses and Prayer - New York Times

i blogged about this before: christians practicing yoga. now that i've been taking yoga at work for the past few weeks i don't see what the big deal is.

for the critics of people of faith doing yoga i have to ask: have you tried it? have you tried to do a sun salutation when you can't touch the floor, inhale deeply and put your right knee on the mat behind you while lifting your hands above your head at the same time?

because if you haven't, let me tell you something - it's effing hard.

people worried about the 'sinfulness' of yoga (because of some weird ideas about meditation) need to know that yoga is effing HARD. you're too busy trying to hold the pose, control your breathing, wondering why the backs of your knees are sweating and trying not to vomit to worry about letting satan in.

frankly, if anyone (christian or not) can scrape up a little time to concentrate on hinduistic thought or a jesus meditation in the middle of your cobra pose, good on ya.

you're clearly more flexible than i am.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Dating Jesus: “I would Allow you to speak your heart”

Humility is something I rarely feel. I feel it in church; I feel it in the presence of the less fortunate. I feel it while surfing Christian dating sites so, in a sense, my being humbled is perfectly logical.

I didn’t expect this feeling. I expected more of the same: faint distaste, disbelief, disappointment, yuckiness. The men are so palpably lonely.

i just wanted to be friends with a beautiful woman,someone to talk to.

They’re from all over: Iran, Bermuda, Auckland, India, Canada. (Incidentally, Canada has the cutest Christian guys online. Kudos to our northern neighbors!!) I suppose lonely knows no geographical boundary. There has been damage here; they all mention in some way wanting a woman who ‘knows how to love a man’; a woman who is honest; a woman who knows what it’s like to love honestly. Somewhere, there are women who left these men.

i would like to meet someone who is kind,someone who has a good sense of humor,someone who will treat a man the way he is suppose to be treated

And they’re taking care of children. This is what’s surprising to me: the number of divorces I’m seeing. I remember reading a statistic that says the Christian community has a divorce rate of 53%. That’s slightly higher than secular marriages.

Most have blank profiles, as if their desire is enough. And the desire pours from them like water bursting from a dam.

Hello, I would like to meet someone who is truly Godly and Faithful! You must also be athletic, slender, attractive, intelligent, fun, and be emotionally/mentally healthy! Do you like to travel? I want someone who will enjoy going to Paris, Rome or skiing! You need to be someone who takes care of themselves physically and spiritually! You needs to share similar Religious beliefs. Evangelical Christian who likes Praise & Worship Music! You have to love Kids! It would be nice if you have an interest in politics as I am very involved at times! You must believe in marriage for life and in giving and receiving Unconditional Love. Is there any women out there who still believe that intercourse is for after your wedding night? You must have good communications skills! Are you someone who loves to share their heart and just needs someone who loves to listen and open up their heart as well? I am not shy but if this is you drop me a note as perhaps I may never run across your profile? God bless!

It was so sad it almost put me off dating entirely – almost but not entirely. There is something humbling to look at the face of longing. These men are yearning for connection; they won’t find it from me but there’s someone out there who wants to live in their small towns, dream of Paris, Rome and go to bible study together. Their desire for human connection transforms these men from icky fundamentalist stereotype into …something else. Nothing grand or epic but at least more than a stereotype.

I’m not saying these men don’t need help; jeebus, do they need help. They need haircuts, teeth, lessons in romance and writing tips. But anything that moves me from making people into an invisible ‘type’ humbles me just a little.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

'God Bloggers' Head to National Conference

hey, did anyone go to this?

i'm curious what's happening out there in my dad's alma mater.
(that was really the school that convinced me not to go to a christian college.)

Friday, October 14, 2005

yankee, go home: chavez kicks out missionaries

BBC NEWS Americas Chavez moves against US preachers

on one hand, ok, it's your country; you can kick out whatever group you want.
on the other, i really would have liked to have heard what New Tribes had to say.

on one hand, who wants a replication of New World contact?
on the other, what if the indigenous folk didn't mind them?

i'd like to know what New Tribes has to say.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

the choir did it.

Church mayhem: Rogue choir, earlobe twisting - News -

back in the day of being a baptist, i was a tenor in my church choir. i loved singing in the choir, especially during revival time. during that time we'd bring in T-- a young pastor from another south central congregation but one who had his masters in music. it wasn't that we didn't have a choir director - we did. but she was a little tone deaf and couldn't bang on an ivory if it jumped up her dress.

T-- was great. we were like the tone deaf nuns in 'sister act' until T-- came along; under his hand we actually sounded like a real gospel choir. (then he later fell under some scandal and, well, T-- is now just a sad man who perhaps should have told his wife he was "on the down low."

uh, i mean, gay.)

but while it was great singing in the choir it wasn't always great having one around. i don't know about anyone else's church traditions, but in the black church, if you want to put your finger on the source of gossip, backbiting, machiavellian machinations and rotating coup d'etat, then put your finger on the choir. i've never seen a bunch of folks get so fussy about who got which solo, who was on/off key, who got to sing the pastor's favorite songs, whatever.

you never hear about this stuff happening with the methodists or the episcopalians, you know? i mean, my presbyterian church choir is fabulous. they sing things like 'the planets'. it's kind of hard to get really jazzed with shaker songs, you know?

it's when my choir tries to do gospel or 'spirituals' that they make me squirm in my seat and want to run screaming down michigan avenue. don't get me wrong: i'm all for cross-cultural expressions. but if you don't know how to sing like a gospel choir, for the love of all the black folk in your congregation, please don't do it. it's bad.

for his part, dad always had a tight rein on the choir - just two songs during a service and that was it. (ideal conditions for his famous 90 minute sermons...) but the day he had to sit my godmother down because she was running the choir like her own banana republic - that was classic. she never forgave him for that.

but at least he never had to call the cops on us.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

why women should support one another: a speech

via my favorite academic bitch, here's a speech from an academic about why women in higher education need to network with one another - from tenured profs, all the way to the department assistant.

on a larger field it's a speech about why it's important for women communities to support one another. we don't need to support one another because we're weak but to allow one another to be strong. it's sad to say that in most male dominated fields, a woman's strength is the last thing anyone wants to see.

in the corporate spaces i've inhabited, especially lately, i've seen how utterly fierce a woman can be - in meetings, in negotiations, in evaluations. basically, anywhere a man can be in corporate america, i've seen women occupy those spaces and dominate them. but is that strength welcome, though a man's strength would be virtually unquestioned? not necessarily. and because of that perceived threat, or oddity, there are still some spaces that remain outside of our reach.

i don't know if we are used to using our strength so overtly; i am. i mean, now i am, and it's all because the ex-EVP of a major us corporation showed me how. she forced me to network, to take meetings, to knock on other womens' doors, to belly up to the table and say "this is what i want and i'd like to get your counsel on how to get there." because of her nudge i have this job and i have multiplied my contacts to other organizations and other women who value the same things i do. i no longer wholly believe in the myth of Hard Work that says if you work hard enough you'll get rewarded. if you work hard enough, most likely, you're about to get taken advantage of. it's not enough to just work hard and hope someone recognizes you. you have to put that hard work to work.

all that is to say - get out there. join some boards; throw your business card around; ask the name of that assistant who always seems to know her shit (btw, she knows hers and her boss'); volunteer for an event; go to that lame industry lunch. get to know the other women in your city or town.

you'll never know just how strong a group of women can be.

funny; that's what lewinsky said...

MoJo Blog: "These guys are bullies"

boo-frickin'-hoo, white house aides.
i seem to remember a certain ken starr who certainly stirred some things up during a little thing called whitewater.

suck it up.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Bush Works to Reassure G.O.P. Over Nominee for Supreme Court - New York Times

Mr. Specter said that did not mean he would go easy on Ms. Miers at the hearings. "Absolutely not. It would be a disservice to the selection process and to her," he said. "She's got to win her wings."

earn her wings...

just so we're clear that the brouhaha about miers isn't (shh) sexism, let's just see if anyone else earned their wings:

john roberts, chief justice of the united states. wing earner?
george w. bush, president of the united states. wing earner?
michael brown, FEMA ex-director. wing earner?
dick cheney, vice president of the united states. wing earner?

i'm drawing a blank on more winged men; somebody help me out.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Dating Jesus: “I have two years of collage”

Fusion 101

Big Church

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to finding a progressive ChurchGuy. Really. I was thinking that maybe I was too hard on church guys and wasn’t giving them a fair deal. Besides, I’ve met (sorta) all these cool people here, so if cool people are coming here then there have to be more out there, right? Especially in Chicago – home of the indie … whatever.

But I’m not going to meet any cute hip guy at my church. Love the old Gray Dame but the men here look like they stepped out of a Brooks Brothers catalog. And the only person at church who makes me break into an inappropriate sweat is the one-armed guy in the choir. Grrr…he’s so yummy. Impenetrable like a fortress, but yummy. (And he’s a really cool guy – devout, funny, faithful and can wear the color pink really well. And the one arm –it gives all the women I know naughty thoughts.)

The Plan: I have particular tastes, which make finding someone … particular so very hard to do when you leave it up to chance. I mean, I’m not just going to bump into a nice, naughty hottie Christian guy on the Grand bus, you know? You need a plan. You need a strategy. So I decided to go online. How hard could it be? I’ve tried it before and it worked like a charm. (Boy did it.) Online Christian dating should be just as easy; we all speak the same language! Though I could have started with the regular dating sites to find the progressive the more important thing was the Christian part. I sort of want to concentrate on that right now. Find the Christian, fill in the progressive and add the naughty. See? Not so hard.

The Reality: Dear sweet baby jesus. They’re so boring. And weird! Jeebus, the kind of weird that, if you were sitting next to them at a dinner party, you’d stab your eyes out with a fork. Bankers, post office workers, praise leaders, IT technicians, musicians, single fathers, divorced dads, widowers, teachers, missionaries (taking back Nepal for Jesus!), military guys, ad execs…why are they all SO boring?

They like boring women:
‘Ideally a woman with strong Christian principles who puts Christ above all things in her life. Someone who is emotionally stable, comfortable expressing herself---her desires, disappointments, expectations.’

‘Kind, caring, giving, cares about people’

‘You love going to church, and serving there. I'm at church at least three days a week, almost every week of the year. I'm a small guy, so you're a small lady.’

They want to go on dates at boring places:
‘Probably a nice, quiet restaurant, or some other quiet public place.’

‘I like to spend my leisure time with sports activities, but I love to do so many things’

‘During worship at church.’

They display all the personality and imagination of a robot:
‘I am passionate about my faith, first and foremost. Then music and theater. I also love the visual arts, but I'm not as knowledgable in that area. I am open to any questions you may have : )’

[an emoticon!]

Or maybe they just don’t know when to shut. up.:
‘You should be able to have fun doing anything or nothing. Example; go bike riding for a couple hours; then, go home to get ready to play golf; next, eat and maybe watch a movie; finally, if time permits, go to a friends to play games (cards or board - not bored - games) or go swimming (obviously if weather permits). You must like to go motorcycle riding, at least a little bit. When weather isn't agreeable, that's kinda often around here, we can talk or watch movies or visit family or friends. Yes, I do like to just sit and talk; but I'm a good listener.’

These are all guys MY AGE – and they sound like my dad! Actually, no – my dad’s waaay cooler than this!

It’s not the weird church language that’s freaking me out (though it’s weird they demand to know how you characterize your faith right off the bat. That’s totally personal, dude.) It’s not the bizarre church sub-culture thing that’s making me skeeved out. Not entirely, anyway.

It’s the blankness I see – I have NO idea what any of these guys are really like. They all sound alike, like the same things, want the same things, live the same way (or say they do) but I honestly don’t get a sense of WHO they are. There’s just a big hole where a personality is supposed to be. Except that they all seem to wear the face of a happy shiny Jesus mask. I think that’s weird – a sub culture of men who seem to be cut from the same holy cloth. What's behind the mask? No one is happy shiny Jesus all the time; if you are, you are lying or are on some kind of serious meds.

Would it be more spiritual of me to ask that God make me like bland men? (shudder)
Or is it wrong that I like men who have better writing skills? (that makes me a snob, doesn’t it.)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 | What Part of "Wait Until Marriage" Don't You Understand! | 2005-09-28 | News & Features | Infiltrator | What Part of "Wait Until Marriage" Don't You Understand! | 2005-09-28

i have thoughts on this, but i'm at work and it made me laugh so hard i have to recover. so look for my thoughts later tonight.

(yes, the guy is not exactly christian-friendly, but his experience at the conference is hilarious. so familiar...)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

handmaiden's tale: far-fetched? not in indiana

THIS is ... (sputter) incredible! absolutely incredible!

this CANNOT be constitutional! omg. i can't tell you the freaky alleys my mind is walking down right now because of this news.

do the words unethical, unconstitutional, invasive, wrong, bio-fascist and none of your business mean anything to a wingnutter?

next obssession: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe How to Tell if The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a Christian Film -- Page 1

ok, kittens.
dust off those books and get to reading. there'll be a quiz later.
(i haven't read TLTWatW since i was a girl.)

Monday, October 03, 2005

we're doomed.

let me get this straight:
the highest court in the LAND and you pick someone who's NEVER been a judge!!

(and who says republicans don't believe in affirmative action? oh, right, it's not affirmative action - it's 'loyalty.')