Friday, June 20, 2014
The cool thing about blogging these days is that so few people actually read, I can pretty much say anything I please. Toss in two or three consecutive blogs where I mention the words “church” “Christian” and “Jesus” in close proximity and Viola! Reader Hanta Virus. They seize up and disappear in droves. Which leaves me with one or two who are too bored or feel too much pity for me to abandon ship. This blog therefore is for you.
So let me tell you about the day thus far. Dawning as it did with the resignation that I had to put on acceptable street clothes, lacquer the trim and be civilized for a meeting which was unfortunately held on my usual every other Friday off – thus blowing any opportunity for personal time, sanity or leg shaving totally out of the water. I’m still seething but authority is authority and I didn’t have permission to buck it, foaming as my soft mouth was at the application of such a gnarly bit.
I stopped at Blake’s to grab a couple of burritos as I am blessed with both spawn this week (elder spawn having had intimacy occur between a sharp object and a phalange at his employment – garnering him eight stitches and a surprise vacay) and I loathe cooking, then I attempted to at least rearrange the soap scum in the bathroom before my spawn and I went out for a movie (I think it’s the second time that’s ever happened. The Tamster doesn’t get out much for entertainment. It’s that whole acceptable clothing, lacquering up and being civilized on a day off thing.) On the way home in the car I attempted to get that damnable iridescent slick of “whythehellcantiseethroughthese” off my glasses and oh joy of joys, I am now down one nose piece. Yee ha. If I wasn’t already awkward, now my glasses hang even more crooked on my face. (And there are about 30,000 reasons why I really needed my glasses to last for about 16 more months)
So while the spawn were prepping for a promised nacho feast I decided to waste a few minutes trolling around on ye ole Facebook when what do I stumble upon? Some chatter about a Muslim in Texas who was offended by a neighbor’s display of the American Flag because it was threatening to Muslims. Oh the HORROR of seeing stars and stripes – on a cloth – and all of it was FLAPPING. I was flapped at once. I’m in therapy now. Are you kidding me? No wait. Are. You. Kidding. Four generations ago most of my family came from half way across the planet with nothing but a change of clothes. They didn’t have friends or family here. They didn’t have a scholarship or protected status. They didn’t have organizations to hold their snotty tissues and walk them through the cafeteria. They learned the language, adopted the laws and culture and became successful, law abidin’, tax payin, grateful Americans. Or they went back across the pond. Or they died in the process. Later some of them signed up and died for people they never knew in a war they didn’t choose. Some of them even LIED about their ages so they could go serve. Let me just ask this? Why are you even here in this country, benefiting from everything it has to offer if you are offended by the simple symbol of it displayed by one of its citizens as is that citizen’s right. It’s not like someone broke in – hog tied the person and tattoed a big ole stars and stripes on his soft underparts. That would be a threat. I certainly don’t want to offend anyone intentionally but this is no more stupid than if I were to go across the street and tell my Catholic Latino neighbor that his Mary of Guadalupe statue in his front yard is offensive and I feel threatened by it because I am a white female protestant who moved here 20 years after he paid for his property and put up his small reminder of his personal faith in his own yard. I am so threatened by that bit of plaster and paint. My entire way of life is in jeopardy.
I understand it may appear that my rant borders on some form of discrimination but consider the ramifications of this bit of what we might pass off as stupidity. It starts subtly enough. No displays of national pride. No flags. No stickers. Don’t offend anyone. And certainly for Christians – we are taught to turn the other cheek when we’re offended. We can still wear patriotic underwear. No one will know, right? So it’s only a little thing if we can’t pray in school because we can still do it silently. And why pledge allegiance to the Flag (oh and the republic for which it stands because who wants liberty and justice for all when the flag is so heinously offensive) Lets just chip away at any form of identity or ideology because you know what? If no one argues we all get along and that’s peace, huh. Sure. Only if you plan on scheduling that lobotomy because where we’re all headed you don’t need a frontal lobe.
I say: BRING IT ON. I’m gonna go put my flag out. I’m gonna fly it every day. I am grateful for my rights and I am going to use them and keep using them because if I don’t, I forfeit them. Come on people. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. Old saying but still relevant. All things being equal means most of us loose what is precious to us to the raucous and verbose minority that is threatened or inconvenienced by anything that holds them to a standard. I’m going to come to your house, demand that you change your lifestyle to please me and you have no say. When we cave to the inane-ness of taking down our own flag in our own country because it is offensive – this is what we are allowing. Eventually we will give up all our rights in order to keep “peace” which isn’t peace at all but the total absence of free will. I for one, I am not going there without a fight. And unfortunately – we all may have that opportunity to fight for our freedoms if we continue to allow guests in our home to make the rules for us, for our children, for our future generations.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
If you’ve read me more than once you are probably painfully aware there are more than a few things that tend to chap my pale hide. Since I’ve been on a “God,wut?” tangent over the past couple of posts, I may as well continue. Sheep can get complacent, muzzle down in the pasture. Sometimes a dog like me needs to sneak up behind one…and bark. So here’s the list in no particular order.
1. “I’ll pray for you.” Yeah, that little phrase isn’t worth the exhalation of Co2 it takes to say it if isn’t followed up with immediate action. Its right up there with the dreaded “How are you” greeting (the conjoined churchy twin of the “blessed and highly favored” response. For the love of corn flakes if we can’t be honest in church with each other, where then can we be? As if the Big guy doesn’t know your whole existence is circling the toilet as you speak.) If you’re going to pray – grab that person in front of you by the hand and actually do it. Agree with them right there for whatever it is – from heat rash to total devastation. If you’re not gonna do it, don’t say it.
2. Any cutesy talk about angels, from “God took your child because he needed another”, to “Here is an angel to protect you.” Like anyone’s life and death deliverance was facilitated by some ringlet coiffed, suspiciously large domed, lute strumming, diaper or cloth draped toddler with gnat wings. War isn’t cute. If you’re invoking the power of something mighty created by the Almighty then represent the truth truthfully. Otherwise, you’re just about as effective as a Facebook meme. “What kind of angel do you need? Oh a sparkly one. That’ll fix the mess I’m in. Oh yay. Click, share.
3. Defending your position with gore. In the age of graphic prime time fodder like “Bones” “The Walking Dead” and let’s not forget “Fox News” your dismembered, High Def horror is, no matter how personally wrenching and true, but mundane fare for the masses, especially if it’s already dead. Starving, mangled and or otherwise seriously compromised by this thing called planet earth roulette isn’t much better. I know that sounds harsh but most of your audience probably takes in multiple murders, crime reports, and stories of nature’s brutality in the 22 minute span it takes them to slurp a boxed dinner and stare sallow eyed at the nightly news report. Peppered and mixed as that report is with commercials for class action law suits against pharmaceutical companies, and sex/mood/life enhancing products pedaled by other pharmaceutical companies. Death without the promise of life is hopeless and your efforts, though well intended only promote hopeless. It will take more effort and you won’t get as many little likes on your interweb post but show the victory. Better yet, get out there yourself and feed the hungry, clothe the naked and offer real help to parents and children who face fear you cannot imagine. While you’re working, if you must share your Instagram moment – try doing so without including a selfie. It isn’t about YOU anyway. It’s about them.
4. “I don’t need church, church people are hypocrites. I just need nature. That’s my church.” Hello. You’re a human. If you were perfect, you probably wouldn’t be sitting under that tree somewhere because you’d be making billions of dollars, curing cancer, and coming up with classroom desks that repel gum because you are perfect. Since you aren’t doing that, and you are sitting under that tree, you obviously didn’t pay much attention to the Creator that created the creation you’re using to avoid the creatures the Creator created you to buddy up with. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying creation and finding evidence of God in it but faith is multifaceted. Submission to others, assembling with believers, forgiving etc. is all part of it. We are all hypocrites and we all are commanded to forgive and to love everyone. Even the church folk you’re trying to avoid by sitting under that tree. Make the effort, find a body of believers, be teachable and be usable. Otherwise you can sit under that happy tree and all you will be is fertilizer.
5. Fighting a social firestorm phenomenon with peashooter scripture tidbits. Yes, the Word of God on the tongue of His people is one of the most powerful weapons of mass destruction in the universe but wielded at a nonbeliever can be as effective as swatting a wasp nest with your Tinkerbell wand. If you are so consumed with passion that you MUST engage the minions with your defense of all that is good and true – go for the kill shot with a weapon they can’t block. Don’t take on De Grasse Tyson’s number one fan with your stock excerpt from Genesis. Do your homework. Find an expert. There is a dancing plethora of really smart Christians out there in every field from neurobiology to quantum physics. Educators and thesis brandishing peeps with doctorates. Scientists who love science and love God and can articulate a truth without flame wars or financial support from Kirk Cameron. Find one of them. Post a link. Walk away. You’d better serve creation by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and comforting the comfortless than by vehemently pontificating your position on creation, anyway.
6. Misrepresentation of God’s people by random acts of stupidity and or sheer ignorance. This includes those of you Taitboys bumping, ichthys flaunting, stick family sporting holy highway rollers who drive like you’re three laps back in the Indie 500. I bump Taitboys too. Often. I also pay attention in traffic. God gave you a big ole frontal lobe. Use it. This category also includes passionate peeps who suffer from all manner of lapses in things like proper spelling, wild swings in position “Oh glory I just love Jesus I am so blessed yada yada yada to I am just a miserable worm undeserving of existence.” Don’t ride the fence. Don’t be lukewarm and don’t be afraid to rejoice but wow. If your written skills are abysmal – stick to warm fuzzy memes, ok? Lolcatese is only cute-ish if plastered under the furry visage of some domestic feline. Paired with a human speaking of the most high God? No. God uses real people for real action and so does the enemy but sometimes we face plant all by our little selves because we don’t watch where we put our big flat feet. Unless you like the taste of toenails – you must employ smarter tactics than your adversary or at least engage your audience if that is your only goal.
Rest assured I’ve engaged in pretty much every lapse of reason, inadvertent display of character flaws and flat out stupidity induced myopia listed above and more. I’ve judged, I’ve ridiculed and I misrepresent – often. That’s why I come to you now – friend Christian. Take it from a girl who has “Epic fail” written in India ink on her forehead most days. Talking the talk is a waste of breath if you aren’t living the life. God is a gentleman. He won’t call you names. He won’t even send a sheep dog to nip your woolly errant hide. I do that of my own volition because I love you and I want you to succeed. You can’t be perfect – but we all can be better.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
“Ron’s not really your Dad,” Mom said it flatly, like she’d asked me to pass the salt at the dinner table. “Only reason I married Ron was to get out of Howard City. You remember George, he’s your real dad. ” - (Where Wings Come from - TL Boehm)
I’ve been turning those words in the soft soil of my heart for over twenty years. That simple statement that erased half of my known identity and created a hole in my soul called “fatherless.” Whatever genetic truth exists unseen beneath my skin my simple reality is that the man who raised me left this earth without ever definitively defending his position and the man now accused of contributing to creation of said offspring has never fully placed me in the position of “eldest daughter.” Whatever demons my mom exercised by speaking those words – I cannot blame her for my response. Whatever fear, lack or personal shame my “father” has or had over my existence – I cannot assuage. I can only tell you – whoever you are who will listen – that the wound is still fresh, the pain is real and there is no salve or platitude that eases the ache. I am not angry but I am a little broken.
For those of you who speak into my life or perhaps into the lives of others who are staring down the smoking barrel of similar chaos trying to decide if the burn is simply indicative of being winged or mortally injured, your words, though well-meant, are the soul stinging equivalent of slapping a fresh tattoo. “Your father is the man who raised you.” “God is a father to the fatherless.” “What about so and so who was adopted, the product of rape, parents in jail – it could be worse…” I’m not arguing any of those points – but my reality is that I am one living breathing human who only wants to crawl up into the lap of her papa and feel real arms around me and feel against my cheek the strong heartbeat of a spirit in sync with mine. The only words that would matter would be those gently spoken from the lips of Truth: “my daughter. I love you.” To know beyond doubt that the empty place in my soul – the place called “fatherless” is filled. Instead, I am here, without shelter, without protection. With the expectation from those who might comfort me that I am a grown woman of God and should already be able to speak the scattered pieces back in line because I know I must command the mountain to move. Have you forgotten the foundational manifestation of love? Did you skip the words “He gave….” Am I so unlovable that contact would cause you to vomit in sheer disgust? Or is it that platitudes don’t require an investment of flesh. Lip service, even with God is just that. If the words from your tongue conveyed the love of a benevolent Father I would be swept away by the joy. Instead, here I am once again playing the part of Tammy the terrible warning. Don’t talk. DO.
I’m not angry and I’m not picking at anyone in particular. My intent is only to serve as counsel that even though the person in front of you may be a full grown Christian, or a prickly cactus – or both – that does not exempt their basic need for comfort. I do not discount the power of God’s word – but in the heat of battle – for me it will be the touch of another soldier and the words “Fall back. I’ll cover you.” We all battle something and sometimes we all need that very real, very physical manifestation of God with skin on at our side.
PS: if you are a family member, before you pick up a phone or a rope – please read carefully what I’ve said and what I say now. I place no blame on anyone but myself for my personal feelings regarding this situation or any situation in my life. I don’t hate you. I’m not mad at you and I’m not slandering you. Whatever peace you follow is yours and this is all I want for any of us. Peace. This post isn’t a callout about you. It is an admonition for those who may read and may consider themselves Christians. That is all it is.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Perhaps it’s self-induced sleep deprivation, or roundy round responsibilities boredom, or maybe it’s simply that the chili was so much more exciting “in theory” and the gelatinous red reality in my lunch bowl puts my dendrites in “anywhere but here” mode, but whatever the reason, I’m off on a tangent today.
Three hours of sleep kills filters and linear thought and it will be a struggle to keep this little lamentation going forward but it is that same disturbance in the force that compels me to write in the first place. The skips and blips in the sequencing make sense even though you aren’t up in my head. I hope you are able to connect the dots.
I read the writing of a beautiful soul today. Her name is Kate and I’ve known her for all of my “interwebs social network sojourn” and like so many writers she is passionate, capricious and pretty much unaware of the sheer talent residing between brain and fingertips. She reminded me that I long to tell stories. It’s deeper than a simple passion to create fiction, to transport a soul to a stellar place for a moment or a day. It is beyond my worth or identity as one person on the planet. There is a deeper burn at my core to connect those dots into something beyond now.
My little genealogy habit, maligned by my family and fueled by those heinous shaky leaves, is simply another expression of who I am as writer. It isn’t so much DOB, DOD get ‘er done click mcfamily as it is the story of the life rediscovered. How sad that a legacy becomes a few scribbled lines on the back of a grimey data sheet, or a tic mark on a census. I want to know why your mother’s name is nowhere to be found in the remnant electrical ghost of you. I want to know about your twin sisters, the ones that came state side with you – and then disappeared from the scant information I’ve found on the family.
I live in a community where families are still saturated in cultural identities they brought with them four hundred years ago. Yet I, for all my alacrity with technology and my ferreting skills can’t prove the identity of a maternal great grandparent. It disturbs my heart that someone’s little girl, someone’s mother is reduced to a simple granite marker. And so I continue to search. There is always that hope that I will find the story, the human, the life that mattered. And to be blunt – maybe I will find the arc in the storyline to prove that I matter as well.
We are story tellers for so many reasons. Perhaps you are the voice of those who no longer have the opportunity to speak. Write the story, then. No matter how simple it may be now, give it a generation to cure appropriately. It could be priceless for someone else. You may never know the end result and that’s ok. Just write it down…and do it now.