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Sunday, July 27, 2014

"FATHERLESS" PREFACE - CHAPTER TWO: Freud, Wombs as Dollar Signs, and More NudgeNudgeWinkWink Dog Whistles

PREFACE:
The very first scene in James Dobson’s novel FATHERLESS involves a young man, Antonio Santos, being required to strip naked in front of an indifferent woman who reminds him of his mother.

(I am not a Freudian expert. This book makes me wish I was. I wonder if Dobson, with his 1960s PhD in Psychology, has just been waiting to fill a Christian book full of Freudian slips and symbolism.)

We discover Antonio, just 18, in the year 2041, deciding to euthanize himself for the better good – because he was not physically well (we haven't yet discovered what his specific ailment is) AND a second child – not a good combo in 2041. Antonio doesn’t want to be a burden on society and has taken the now legal way out of self-imposed euthanasia, or a “transition”, with the help of a bored nurse who doesn’t seem to care that much about him – much like his mother.

Right as he recieves the lethal dose, his mother bursts into the “transition clinic” room, and by a freak accident is fatally injured and dies attempting to stop him from euthanizing himself. Antonio slowly dies with the knowledge that maybe his mom wasn’t a cold-hearted bitch after all.

CHAPTER ONE:
We meet our main squeeze woman protagonist, Julia Davidson, who is a 2041 version of a successful journalist who is being forced to prove herself again to her chauvinist-lite male boss, Paul. (He likes to call her "Jewel".)

In a ‘scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ career move, Paul coerces her to write a piece on the suicide/accidental death of the son/mother. Antonio signed up to be euthanized a few days BEFORE he turned 18 which made his death illegal.  Antonio’s older brother, Jeremy, is suing the pants off the clinic who killed Antonio. Julia promises to contact the surviving brother and pursue a piece on the lawsuit.

First wink of the book comes from her boss. Chapter ends with her being privately appreciative of the male gaze by a total stranger.

You have No Idea how long and hard I searched to find a bearded man winking that was NOT Buddy Christ. Blogging is Hard Work!

CHAPTER TWO:
We meet Kevin Tolbert as he talks on the phone to his lifelong friend, Troy. Both Troy and Kevin are powerful men in the 2041 circles of Washington, DC. Much description is dedicated to how fond they are of each other since Troy first gave Kevin a playful “head rubbing”* in middle school. It was their favorite way of showing affection – as long as no one is watching.

Kevin “a handsome thirty-six years” blond is now an up-and-coming congressman and Troy a chief of Staff.  Kevin is married with three children.

This chapter is actually not about how great buddies Troy and Kevin are, though there is a lot of mutual fondness, male friendship, described within. Troy gives Kevin the heads up about the suicide/accidental death and we get the impression they are working on Something Important behind the scenes of this scenario.

But Kevin is pulled away by the 2041 Western State Caucus meeting which is currently headed by Congresswoman Nicole Florea – who is not impressed with Kevin, OR his winks (2nd wink of book – “one of many small habits that made Kevin easy to like.” Barf).

Florea is - well Dobson describes her as a bitch without using those words. She obviously feels threatened by Kevin: “Kevin’s youth and independence made her uneasy.

(AHWHOOOOGAH! AHWHOOOGAH! MISANDRY ALERT!!!!)

This meeting is about sharing confidential information from the 2040 Census – that lets everyone know that everyone is screwed much more than previously expected.  The population is aging and there are not enough workers to take care of all the old people… nor enough money to use as an incentive to make people have kids.

Doom and gloom.

But then Senator Franklin, much like “the legendarily upbeat Ronald Reagan” enters the room and gives all the people a pep talk. The chapter ends with Nicole Florea fuming at Kevin who is texting Troy how Franklin is saving the day.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:
A. I’m going to keep a Wink Tally for this book. It may seem minor –  as a woman I witness men wink ALL THE FUCKING TIME – to cover their ass, to flirt, to smooth things over passive-aggressively, to demean. For better or worse, winking is on my radar as more-often-than-not sexist behavior. 

B.  I have a bone to pick with men sci-fi writers, which now includes Dobson, who fail to imagine universes, especially future universes,  where women are not treated any differently than they are now.

B. Part2. The bad news from the 2040 Census is really about dollar signs. Children = Money. Women Produce Children which equals Money. Or in this case: Women are NOT producing Children which equals Lack of Money and the Whole World is Suffering because of the Selfishness of Women.

Getting ahead of myself – but that could be a good subtitle: Fatherless: The World Is Screwed Because Women are Too Selfish to Produce Kids.

C. Ronald Reagan?! Come on, Dobson. This is 2041.

D.  The first chapters reveal Julia to be a “past my prime thirty-four”-year-old-sometimes-sexually-active-unmarried woman. This is important to note. Dobson has no respect for that crowd. He also has a theory about that crowd/women – something about her lack of a Father. Tune-In.

E.  From the Preface through Chapter Two Dobson gives a demeaning hat-tip to an upsurge in Latino Evangelicals. He can’t deny where there is growth there in the fundagelical circles, but he #1 – Kills off mother/son duo with last name of Santos in Preface; #2 – Creates a woman by name of “Monica Garcia” to be main rival of white woman journalist in Chapter Two; #3 – Goes out of his way to describe how the most awesome man to grace the pages so far is blond with Germanic last name origins (Tolbert) in Chapter Three whose main adversary so far is a powerful woman with the last name of Florea – which either could be a swipe at communism (if he intended it to be of Romanian descent) – or version of Flores.

F.  Dobson is blond. I’ve yet to decide if I think this book is a thinly-veiled autobiography for Dobson. I’m not ready to embrace that theory rumbling around in my head but the way he so ardently describes the powerful Washington circles and male friendship, I will look closer into his own 1960s-1980s Washington dabbling.

G.  Euthanasia? We have plenty of time to go into the ReligiousRight fear-mongering of 'death panels'. It is a central part of this book.

_________________
Do I read too much into this by pointing out names, hints of Freudian phallic-worship/fears, color of hair, putting #WomenAgainstFeminism thoughts in the heads of unmarried, childless characters?

Ahhh. Nope.

From my experience, Christians rely on symbolism, allegory, morality tales like no other. It made my English Lit classes too easy. Thankfully I haven’t taken to attempting to "interpret" the initials of the character names he has used so far.

Next blog post will cover the next two chapters. Smaller bites are needed for you to be able to digest the beauty of this masterpiece. We have all the time in the world. Hope you’re along for the ride.


*"head rubbing" - Jesus, Dobson. You make this TOO Easy.

 Who are your favorite Christian Fiction authors and titles?


Sunday, July 20, 2014

MAGIC IS ALIVE: Buffy and Leonard Save the Day

"Old friend, you may kneel as you read this, for now I come to the sweet burden of my argument. I did not know what I had to tell you, but now I am sure. All my speeches were preface to this, all my exercises but a clearing of my throat. I confess I tortured you but only to draw your attention to this. I confess I betrayed you but only to tap your shoulder. In our kisses and sucks, this, ancient darling, I meant to whisper."     - Leonard Cohen -    "Beautiful Losers" paragraph prefacing passage below turned to music by Buffy Saint-Marie.
This song, God is Alive, Magic is Afoot, was one of my favorites back in college - and Buffy Sainte-Marie was/is one of my favorite singer-songwriter musicians. The same college roommate who introduced me to Cat Stevens introduced me to Buffy. This roommate also took me to see Buffy live in the early 2000s - one of the few live concert moments for which I will be eternally grateful.

The song lyrics came to mind as I was thinking out loud on Twitter while reading Phillip Jenkins' 2010 book "Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 Years."

 (a subtitle after my own heart)

Leonard Cohen has inspired much of my writing and artistic desires... so much so that I use his lyrics as my username all over the web. I loved his novel "Beautiful Losers" which I read soon after dumping Jesus. Cohen is a 20th Century mystic - if I may say so - and many other wonderful sensual things - but he has always spoken to the mystic in me the way other poets don't.

To discover the lyrics of the Buffy song in Cohen's prosed poetry book - was - Delicious.

So now - I'm triple fisting, juggling, balancing, dropping, stopping and starting back up again three books that create a trifecta of Christian patriarchy, doctrine, myth, and intrigue:
I could not have planned this trifecta if I had tried.

"This I mean to whisper to my mind. This I mean to laugh with in my mind. This I mean my mind to serve till service is but Magic moving throught the world, and mind itself is Magic coursing through the flesh, and flesh itself is Magic dancing on a clock, and time itself the Magic Length of G-d."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

DOBSON'S AUTHOR'S NOTE: Spiritual Warfare and Dog Whistles

Since FATHERLESS (2013) is co-written with Kurt Bruner, the “Author’s Note” may be the ONLY thing James Dobson actually wrote by himself. But let’s not quibble about the true authorship of a Book (ahem).

I wish I could quote the entire thing and observe the unhinging of jaw to the floor.

Or hear your laugh.

“A happy home is the highest expression of God’s image on earth. And there are forces working to destroy that image, not all of them visible to human eyes. Marriage and parenthood echo heaven, something hell can’t abide.”

In a page and a half, Dobson mentions those invisible forces five times. 
  1.  “…forces working to destroy that image, not all of them visible to human eyes."
  2. “…unwittingly confronting forces much darker than I knew.
  3. “I don’t pretend to comprehend what occurs in the unseen realm”
  4. “…what C.S. Lewis called ‘enemy-occupied territory’” 
  5.  “…the most ardent forces of hell…”
Spiritual warfare is exhausting. For now – that’s all you need to know.
Ron Dicianni's "Spiritual Warfare"
Also - Dobson operates at ExpertLevel when cloaking racist, sexist code in dog-whistle terminology. An example:

“What happens in a world where growing up with the protective love of a father becomes the exception rather than the norm? Today’s inner-city poverty and violence give us a foretaste of how deeply and widely those ripples will extend.”

The above excerpt
Number 1. Offers up some fighting words assumptions about inner-city life. Dobson only wants to believe what works for his oversimplified ChristianGOP racist and sexist fantasies. 
Number 2. Attempts to remove Dobson’s privileged white ass off the hook for any shock-waves of institutionalized racism he actively participates in – and teaches other Americans to actively participate in. It’s all about the lack of fathers in the inner city – nothing to do with generations of past and present American racism.

Next he describes how the world’s population has been falling because the family structure is failing and things will get as bad as the Black Plague – and the repercussions will be Catastrophic.

  • Hypocrite Alert: Dobson is worried about the world population. He spawned two children. His coauthor spawned four children. Add that up and it is still less than the number of children my parents had.
I grew up on Dystopian porn – it’s what I call the Book of Revelation and End Times Death Cults. People go about their daily life – loving, laughing, ‘living for Christ’ – and waiting, waiting, waiting AND HOPING AND PRAYING for it all to come to an end any minute, any day.

In a nutshell, the premise for 3 entire novels: Not enough (white) children (with permanently married hetero parents) are being born which will cause a world-wide meltdown of the 1950s way of life.

Bright side? He has set the time of this book twenty+ years into the future – which suggests Christ hasn’t returned yet. Though fundagelicals love to write EndTimes porn (Thief in the Night/Left Behind, et al.) – this novel is set PRE PreTribulation Rapture.

We’ve Got TIME on our hands to Fix This Mess! Thank goodness Dobson is warning us!!

Some might not think Dobson is still relevant. For me - he’s very relevant.

Here’s where my own ‘prophetic’ warning comes in: James Dobson brainwashed generations of parents and children who are now parents and grandparents. It will be quite some time before we exorcise him out of our system - but exorcise him we must…

At the very least – I must exorcise him from myself.

______
Upcoming FATHERLESS post will cover Chapts 1-5.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

INTRODUCING "FATHERLESS": James Dobson of Focus on the Phallic Strikes Again!

James Dobson. Many of you have heard of him. Many of you have listened to him. Many of you are indifferent to him.

I am the exact opposite of indifferent to James Dobson. In fact - my bias Against James Dobson is so strong - well - that's why we're here today.

Lucky you. Lucky him - invoking such a strong response from someone like me. I bet that makes him feel special and condescendingly sorry for me at the same time (read: he'd probably send 'prayer warriors' after me).

While innocently shelving new fiction at my library, I came across the third book in a series, GODLESS, (2014) which he co-wrote with Kurt Bruner.

So eager was I to read his scathing fictionalized opinion about American life – The Man directly and indirectly responsible for more conservative Christian bullshit in the home, in the schools, in the church and in YOUR town hall than than ______ (insert your own worst ReligiousRight/GOP Mortal Enemy) – that I almost started reading the 3rd book instead of waiting patiently for the 1st.

But one thing I learned while being a Christian was to Wait. Good things come to those who wait and do things in the order God intended. So, in honor of the good things I learned from Christianity – I ordered the First book in the series and waited Patiently for it to arrive at my library.

I didn’t have to wait long.

There was no waiting list and all the copies in the system were checked in. Dobson would point to the lack of popularity of his novels as proof that America has hardened its heart to God’s/James Dobson’s Word.

These are my notes on the first Dobson novel, FATHERLESS, originally published in January 2013.
Blue - because Fathers are "boys".
I do this – because I have a masochistic side – and I also have a scream-into-the-void side – and now and then I like to pretend that America is eager to become more self-aware of the Men in control.

Quite often the dedication of a book – the one or two sentences or words in italics right after the title page – stop me in my tracks and tells me more about the author than I’ll find in the following 200 pages.

Dedications can be breath-taking. This one was for me. I slammed the book shut and tossed it far away from me – knowing I’d go back like a dog to its vomit.

In memory of the late Chuck Colson, who foresaw and warned about the ominous trends depicted in this book.

TMI
Chuck Colson. What a mess. He gets thrown in prison because of Nixon, finds Jesus, writes about it, starts a prison ministry, becomes the poster boy for the Born-Again movement of the 1970s-1980s, convinces the Evangelicals and Catholics to play nice with each other – among other things (cough*Prop 8*ahem) – a down-right fundagelical mess.

Ooops. Did I write “mess”?! Substitute GOD for where I wrote “mess.”

It is NOT lost on me, nor should be lost on you, that Dobson chose to dedicate these works of fiction to Colson – not Christ – not YHWH – Not his god-damned wife. No. Chuck fucking Colson.

I don’t have time right now to school you on Colson. He’s a weasel.

Colson and Dobson and Billy Graham and Johnny Cash and Falwell and yadadayayyerdad brought more people to Jesus in Born-Again waves with their EndTimes chatter than – well – Jesus.

(hold on – checking to see how much I’ve written – and only as far as the 1 sentence dedication….)

After consulting my more patient self… I will continue writing, but the next part deserves a separate blog post… so digest what you can of the above. Tell your cool friends that some Seriously Pissed exChristian NonJesus secular FEMINIST woman is blogging an ongoing series about the Patriarch of Us All: Dr. James Dobson.

Much like the Bible and the Constitution – me writing about Dobson covers ALL sins. Tune In.

I leave you with this.
A song about patience I sang once upon a time.

O Rest in the Lord – Wait patiently for Him, and He shall Give thee thy heart's desires... (Mendelssohn)

meh

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

RANT. plain & simple

This Sums up the Entire Post in case you want to skip it.
I’m of the Very Strong Opinion these days that all those who identify as Christian in America should cloister themselves off and get their story straight… or attempt to approach cohesiveness.

This will do everyone a favor. Those from both sides (and the middle) who scream and holler #NotAllChristians and/or #NotRealChristians and even #SorelyMisquidedChristians will have a much clearer game plan when the Supreme Court or other public figures throw a curve ball and quote/”misquote” scripture or embarrassingly identify as Christian.

While they’re cloistered off, the rest of America will enjoy a minute or two of respite, a refreshing beverage of our choice and eagerly await their return and the final verdict on what the Bible (and the gnostic texts) REALLY says about race, sexism, patriarchy, misogyny, modesty, homophobia, xenophobia, socialism, gender, freedom, wearing slacks, liberty, capitol punishment, divorce, revolution, anti-Semitism, Manifest Destiny, colonialism, guns, idolatry, domestic violence, genocide, slavery, salvation, Disney, heaven, hell, sin, vegetarianism, alcohol, swearing, dancing and condoms.

I’m just asking for a little more cohesiveness – just a touch – just enough to shave the edges off. I’m also asking that they fully admit to and NAME their leaders, their pastors, their theologians, their saints, their Humans and anyone/any Thing among them from whom they derive their ideas regarding Christianity… right down to the faith of their fathers and mothers.

This includes everything from naming the Pope as Influencer In Chief to the Christians who refuse to call themselves “Christian” because it has a such a bad reputation.

They all are getting their ideas from somewhere. If these ideas have independently sprung into their heads with or without the help of Holy Scripture, with or without the help of the Holy Spirit - I want to know.

Why? Because the choices I and many other Americans have before us are Directly Influenced by WHO Christians follow, worship, disciple, serve under.

WHO is their local pastor – WHERE did HE (99% of the time) go to seminary – or NOT go to seminary? Which AA groups pray to God as a He and not a She? Which friend dragged them to which youth group at what age of which denomination in which state?

I think it is utterly reasonable to request Christians who claim other Christians aren’t real Christians, good Christians, Of the Holy Spirit Christians or “unChristlike” to expressly name WHY they don’t believe what the Catholic men on the Supreme believe to be as okee dokee.

WHY??! – because your Lutheran mom said abortion and birth control is her choice or because Dietrich Bonhoeffer/Martin Niemoller is your hero!? Guess what! – this other dude’s Lutheran mom started the ProLife group in town and he also believes Bonhoeffer/Niemoller is calling Americans to take up arms against Obama/AntiChrist.

Work with me.

One of the most shocking things I discovered as I moved from Right to Left within Christianity was that BOTH sides are EXTREMELY good at dissing the Other side…. AND the cursed MilqueToastMiddle.

It kind of made me roll my eyes.
It still makes me roll my eyes.
They might get stuck in the back of my head one of these days.

The liberal left cries for diversity of opinion – it’s ALL Good – though they ‘wouldn’t necessarily go about it Like THAT… Ewwww!’ often tapering off into, "I can't judge. Only God can judge."

The conservative right cries for ‘Truth’ – and adherence to God written/HolyGhost inspired scripture – and questions or denies the salvation of anyone outside their immediate circle – with the occasional “but only God can know the heart” caveat.

Well guess what kids – I have a great deal of respect for Christians who take the Bible “literally” (however the fuck you want to interpret the word "literally" is an entire theological discussion in and of itself) because they’re not fucking around – and they're not falling over themselves to placate to anyone’s opinion regardless of how abusive and uncivilized it might be.

Frankly – much like the Honey Badger (sorry – so 2010) – they don’t give a shit how nasty they are as long as they are saved and the people that matter to them are saved too.

Meanwhile, back in Minnesota Garrison Keillor Let’s-All-Play-Nice Land – liberal Christians are in virtual denial of the rest of the country – and definitely in denial of the beliefs of the majority of people who don’t live within the Minneapolis city limits.

It’s as much to do with agrarian culture versus the industrial revolution as anything (among many other Necessary Big Changes)– but Christians of all walks of life are freaking out at both sides of the spectrum with “HOW COULD A TRUE CHRISTIAN BELIEVE THAT OR VOTE FOR THAT PERSON OR SAY THAT OR INTERPRET SCRIPTURE LIKE THAT” or or or and and and

I’m all about going into great detail of how I got to where I am now. This blog is all about naming names and telling my story. I’d like just an itsy bitsy teeny weeny smidgen of more SELF-AWARENESS among Believers.

It is my hope that maybe, just Maybe one Christian will quit playing this ‘he said/HE said/maybe She said’ game… for their own good – and for ‘merica.

No - fuck America. Do it for yourself.

Beyond that bizarrely wishful thinking fantasy, I’m not asking that Christians give up their faith. I’d never ask that. I don’t operate that way. It doesn’t work that way. I’m just asking them to get their shit together, their ducks in a row, their story straight before they ever, Ever, EVER again are tempted to say anything remotely resembling “so and so is not a real/good/correctly-interpreting-scripture Christian”… et al. etc.

Name NAMES. Take me to your fucking Leader. Claim Your Own!

In an effort to continue to name names – I’ll be reading and blogging about Dr. James Dobson’s, of Focus on the Phallic fame, three novel series. I’ve made it as far as the dust jacket blurb of FATHERLESS and the pre-intro one sentence dedication and am already spitting tacks… a preview of which I’ve given above.

Considering how excessively triggering and traumatizing I find the mere mention of All American Hero James Dobson - think of this as my Christmas in July present to you. 

End Rant.

Monday, July 7, 2014

STEVE MARTIN: Taking Your Burden and Cleansing It Since Roe v. Wade

After the Town of Greece v. Galloway Supreme Court decision and the McCullen v. Coakley (buffer zone) decision – and finally the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision, I've had the urge to say Something.

I’ve actually been saying A LOT over on Twitter. You’re welcome to go take a peek at what goes on in this introvert’s brain.
I could go into great depth about separation of church/state and the shocking realization that now that copper (IUD) is officially an abortifacient, that Christians everywhere are throwing baby killers (sperm now equals babies, fyi) into the offering plate at church.

But then, I happened upon a Steve Martin sketch from the 1970s. This Evangelist Dry Cleaner sketch sums up what we are to expect in the future as we enter Christian businesses – but with less impressive taste in loud plaid polyester suits.

Yes - I have deep thoughts about Establishment Clause v. Free Exercise Clause - but right now I need to wallow in the absurd. Enjoy.

While looking for this skit online - I discoverd that Steve Martin did a much more "realistic" portrayal of evanglists in Leap of Faith - a film I'll watch someday when I'm feeling particularily masochistic.

Monday, January 27, 2014

PUSHING MY JESUS BUTTONS: Long-Haired & Bearded is the 2014 New Direction in Men's Grooming

Bigger & Better Beards are Everywhere now... so mainstream that they are only newsworthy if they are worn by billionaires who think of themselves as Old Testament Prophets who spout outdated racist, homophobic and sexist comments and totally get by with it... because, I don't know... their ZZ Top beards?

I've never been a fan of the ZZ Top beards, or beards that have to be moved out of the way to find the mouth... but if I've learned anything about beards, it's that men really don't give a crap about what women think about their beards... or less so than women have been conditioned to care about what men think about their hair/grooming practices. 

I'd like to highlight a male grooming trend that deserves to be encouraged in 2014.  It directly relates to relevant things like the Bible, Jesus and Pushing My Lust Buttons.

Long-Haired Men (or Jesus Look-Alikes with beards of any length):
*Please send me additional information about the men in these pictures such as names or where they hang out. The original 2013 Mens Hairstyles site doesn't give out identifying info... just nameless pretty faces.

Specimen #1
No Caption Necessary Hipster Jesus
This guy.

Specimen #2

Skeptical Jesus
Also newsworthy, with slightly fewer clothes.

Specimen #3
Zippers Are A Girl's Best Friend Jesus
Okay. I guess so... but only because you insist! Yes. Please!

Specimen #4
Chest Hair Jesus
O Jesus.

Specimen #5
Leaning In to Make a Deep Point Jesus

 Holy. Holy. Holy!

Specimen #6
Life is SO HARD Jesus
Jesus wept.
Found on Pinterest... too many bearded long-haired men to post here!

Moral of Story? If your hair is long enough to pull back into a messy-knotted pony tail... you're ahead of the curve. If it isn't... RIGHT NOW is a good time to start growing your hair out, not just your beard.

Samson definitely did it. I like to think Jesus did it too.  And here's the song that accompanies all of these.

Specimen #7



(My favorite recording of this song...)

"She tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah."

Thank You, Leonard!

And Thank You, Jeff... who knew long hair on guys was cool way before we did.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

THIS ONE IS FOR MARY & ALL THOSE WHO LOVE HER: Rape Culture and the Christmas Story



Exhibit A. 1 in 200 American pregnancies are described by the pregnant girl/woman as virgin conceptions (no vaginal intercourse). Many of these who describe themselves as virgins, though pregnant, come from the chastity, save-yourself-for-marriage circles.

Exhibit B. 73% of Americans believe in the Virgin Birth, that "Jesus was born of a virgin" …that Mary was a virgin when she conceived Jesus, and gave birth… as a virgin. Source: Pew Research: Celebrating Christmas and the Holidays...

For the record, this is the year 2013.

Before you accuse me of ignorant, unempathetic atheism, please read the following HotForJesus posts about Christmas. I can lather on the sentimental poetic prose until you’re up to your neck in a frothy, lightly sweetened meringue of sloppy, soul-clutching Christmas Spirit-uality.

Let me get my torch...

SPEAKING WORDS OF WISDOM: There’s Something About Mary > The Original pre-HotForJesus blog essay… a piece that pushed me past the syrupy sticky mess of bittersweet Christianity to the point of absolute honesty.  Lots of former fundagelical women gravitate to catholicism and the gnostic gospels. My theory is Mary… my goddess before Jesus was forced on me. 

Here & Here: Christmas Music to End All Christmas Music. Part 1 & II: I give a small sample of how utterly immersed in the Christmas message and music I used to be.  I’ve sang in enough mind-blowing Christmas scenarios to make your Christmas music collection look and sound like … like… the noise a Christmas goose makes before you kill it.

Santa's Little Helper & Jesus' Lamb Duke It Out: I’ve been towing the Jesus is the Reason for the Season line, and making little girls cry about it, before the phrase “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” existed on coffee mugs.  Santa is not real.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is Lying.

Here I bemoan, with the help of Banksy, the commercialization of Christmas.

And here I celebrate the Real Reason for the Season… My Birthday: End of the World & Winter Solstice. 

Call me bitter, call me mean-spirited… but believe me, I have played the Christian Christmas schtick to The Hilt.


Please, Do Not come to me with anything resembling the following complaints and excuses:
  •  "Rape culture" should be left out of discussions about deeply held religious beliefs regarding Christmas. Everyone’s beliefs deserve respect.
  • “I’m sorry you feel this way, but Jesus was a feminist.”
  •  Keep these thoughts to yourself. No one wants to hear them. There’s nothing wrong with teaching young girls and boys that consent applies to all sexual situations except the "immaculate conception" Virgin Mary story.
  • Marriage and age meant different things 2046 years ago!
The year is 2013. Apparently the majority of the USA believes Mary, mother of Jesus, was a virgin… impregnated by God/HolySpirit/WhatHaveYou.

My 2013 No-Brainer Complaint: This impregnation was Not immaculate conception and it was NOT consensual.

I know nothing I say can/will change the mind of a person immersed in such deep patriarchal bull-meringue that they cannot see behind the Virgin birth is a story about the possible rape of a young girl… that Mary’s rape gives the GOP the right to tell "legitimately raped" young women, never mind the ones who are raped who explain their pregnancies as immaculate conceptions, that abortion is wrong in all cases of rape… because otherwise… would we have Jesus!?

The Gospel of Luke reads like a fairy tale. Every good Evangelical Fundamentalist Christian home reads this story before opening Christmas presents... or at least mine did. Sometimes we even worked in the resurrection story (which is more accurate. Christmas/birth and Easter/resurrection of light should be swapped.)

Luke tells a fantastic tale of an angel of the lord who scares the crap out of a young tweenager then mansplains to her that she is going to be impregnated by his Boss. (Luke 1: 26-38)

Mary’s “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord” is NOT consent.  12 year old girls do not, CANNOT, give consent to being forced into motherhood by All-Powerful Male Gods. Dirty old men and entitled dudebros know which women/girls won’t fight back, which ones will break more easily than others, which ones will bend over backwards to please the patriarch.

If Mary had said, “Cool. Let me think about this and I’ll get back to you.” 
Or if Mary had used the chastity line, “Sorry. I’m saving myself for marriage.” 
Or said “Fuck off”… there would be No Greatest Story Ever Told.

But Mary “behaved” just as God knew she would.  She did as she was told.  There was no discussion. This is not Free Will. This is not Immaculate Conception. It's abusive male power using young women to meet their "needs" and not thinking twice about it. Do you think twice about it?

I don't know about you, but I want NO Part in a belief system that expressly celebrates a 12-13 year old female body being used as a vessel, given as a "gift" to an All-Powerful Male God so he can give the world a human sacrifice.

Stop! and Look!

Look at the story at the root of Christmas and Christianity. It teaches little girls to be complacent, compliant, to feel honored by inappropriate attentions of older, more powerful men… to give their body as vessels for something greater than themselves and allow themselves to become invisible beyond their roles as mothers and wombs for little male gods.

It teaches boys that the bodies of women and girls are for their bidding for the creation of little Mini-Mes, with which they will conquer the world, … and all for the Glory of God.

Nope. Sorry. I’ve crossed that line.  

I understand the need to celebrate light in the darkness.  I understand the strong, strong pull of bittersweet sentiment and tradition. 

I no longer understand how in any shape or form, in the year 2013 and beyond, we can celebrate the coerced impregnation of a young girl.  

And this coming from a person who used to make people cry when singing "Ave Maria" and Handel's "Messiah".

So... remind me Why are we celebrating the forced pregnancy of a child... the rape of a barely teenage girl? Why?

I've run out of reasons why this a good idea... and I'm pretty sure I've heard them all.

These kind of posts is how I make friends :)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

MODESTY IS THE BEST POLICY: What to Wear for Jesus, Part 2

Partially full disclosure: This week I attended a panel discussion which covered the beliefs of four spiritual practices: Coptic Christianity; Mormonism; Sikhism (woman speaker); Judaism (Reform rabbi). When the moderator asked them to talk about the topic of “Modesty” (Yes, Modesty. Not traditions of dress, philosophies toward violence or use of money… but “modesty”) a very valuable and fascinating presentation suddenly turned into a free-for-all* of dissing female sensuality/sexuality.  For good reason, been-there done-that, my body went haywire and I experienced an extremely visceral, physical reaction to the panel's responses.  I’ve decided to channel my righteous and totally reasonable anger at the responses into a long-time-coming Part 2 to the RIGHTEOUS BLING: What to Wear for Jesus : Part One (2009)… which I was working on anyway.  I guess I needed to be pushed over the edge… though being pushed over the edge by institutionalized misogyny and bullshit patriarchal smugness and shaming is never fun.  But the following post was fun to write. Enjoy!

It is so important that Christian women know how to dress in a way that is feminine but doesn’t distract from the work of God in the hearts of men.  This is easier said than done in today’s world where we are inundated by inappropriate attire that sends confusing messages about our walk with Christ.

What kind of wear is appropriate for church, homeschool* and potlucks?

Behold… a dress appropriate for all of the above… and you can make it yourself!

I did.*

In Junior High.

The Dress that all my secular friends coveted... for real.
What we have here is cool calico cotton attire with a nice yoked lace collar, a puffed sleeve, a flattering fitted bodice, a curved princess waist with a delicate gathering of calf-length skirt that hides within its folds deep pockets for both hands. 

Think Little House on the Prairie meets Modern Amish... inspired by the wife of noble character, Proverbs 31:10-31.

For this fashion shoot*, I left my hair down just as I would back in the day. The uncombed bit is an attempt to recreate an old perm.
Arm and Eye placement is Everything!
The front view demonstrates a woman deep in the throes of spiritual renewal. Observe how she is careful to not raise her hands higher than the hips.  Church is not to be a place of competitive worship!

View from those on your Right.
 The side view is representative of the blessing and the curse of gathered skirts on hips created by the Lord for the bearing of children.  Gathers give us freedom of movement and keep wandering eyes from thinking about what lies beneath.  However, we can only go so far in discouraging men of God from not noticing that we are indeed made to be help-meets and mothers.

Time to Talk Pockets!
This fancy pose highlights the Deep Pockets
When dressed to kill… Satan… lol… we women never underestimate the value of Pockets on a sleek skirt, an adorable dress.  Pockets allow our shoulders and hands to be free to burp crying babies, pass out church bulletins, wipe runny noses and whatever else the Lord has called us to do in sensible heels and cute duds.

(Yes! It’s possible to be modest, resourceful AND cute! Check out Modest Apparel USA!)

The pockets on this dress are Deep and Wide… which should be symbolic of our love for Christ.  Nevertheless, we still make choices that will determine whether or not we are living in the Light or living a Lie.

Please observe the scenarios I’ve created in the still lifes below. Remember… though our outward appearance may exude modesty, are we stuffing our pockets with worldly trappings or resources for God’s work?

Are we living Right-eously or holding the Left-Hand of Darkness?

Contents of Left-Hand Pocket of Darkness
Don't Judge...
  • “Personal” Lubrication (Never use this in your eyes.)
  • Condoms (“individually wrapped” will not protect you from heartbreak… or the gutter.)
  • Dice (Sometimes substituted with a pack of cards, dependent upon size of flask.)
  • Matches (Sometimes takes the form of a “lighter”.)
  • Cigarette (Sometimes this is an entire pack, also contingent upon size of flask.)
  • Eye drops (For when the “cigarette” is actually a onie/onesie/onesy/one-hitter*)
  • Dark Lipstick (So unnecessary. Draws attention away from what you’re not saying.)
  • Alcohol (“Twenty Grand” combines Vodka with Cognac. This bottle may look classy, make you feel classy and smells like perfume… but this is not a scent you want to wear… outside of the gutter.)

Contents of Right-Hand Pocket On God's Good Side
Again... Don't Judge...
  • Hand Lotion (unscented!)
  • Smiley-Face Button (We women need all the reminders we can get to smile :) We look so much prettier when we smile! Let your Sunny Disposition shine!)
  • Loose Change for Offering (If author had not spent her last $5 on “Twenty Grand” there would be more money for this still life and more for Jesus’ work.)
  • Safety Pins- Assorted Sizes (For when you need to help a Sister in Christ make their V-Neck a little more respectable.)
  • Wet-wipes (Individually wrapped. For when you need to clean a child’s sticky fingers.  Men of God love to see you demonstrate your child-caring skills!)
  • American Flag Pin (One Nation Under GOD!)
  • Tissues (For wiping a child’s runny nose or the tears of child who just got saved from hell. Some godly man is going to see your natural kindness toward children, snatch you up and make you his bride! Flaunt it!)
  • Clear lip-balm (Non-distracting: won’t draw attention to your already fat lips.)
  • Cough Drop (For when your throat tickles during sermons… non-addictive!)
  • Pocket-Sized New Testament (This of course is in addition to your regular Bible, but always good to have a slightly different translation of the Gospels on hand! Includes Psalms and Proverbs!)
There is so much emphasis on a woman’s “right” to choose these days.  Free Will is a gift bestowed on both men AND women.  (#JesusFeminist).

In the Left-Hand Pocket of Darkness, we have items that show a young woman on the verge of hardening her heart and possibly losing her salvation. 

In the Right-Hand Pocket of Righteousness we have items that demonstrate a strong faith, and a desire to serve others while keeping fresh-faced, reflecting the purity within.

I trust that you will not only order a carbon copy of this dress for $200, but will also choose to fill your new deep pockets with Righteousness!
_______________________________________
Sloppy Footnotes:
*(with exceptions… Sikh woman panelist and Reform Jewish rabbi gave fairly reasonable, historical context responses)
*(I attended public schools, though some of my siblings chose a homeschool-style of private Baptist schooling. I NEVER wore a dress to public school after a boy lifted my skirt on the first day of kindergarten.)
*(Home-made with the guidance and abundant help of my mother)
*(Pardon the American Apparel-esque lighting filter on some of these photos.)

*(Second one hitter I’ve received as a gift.  What are my friends trying to tell me??!!)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Born-Again Baby Boomers: THIS Generation, The LAST Generation, or just yet another Anti-Semitic Generation?

There is no nice way to put this:  Many Baby Boomers are so full of themselves that they believe AND want the world to end before they do.

The world revolves around them and must end as they leave the planet.

The End Times cults and believers found in Michele Bachmann, the Tea Party, Born-Again Evangelical Fundamentalists, the Value Voters Summit, and God’s Ordained Politicians are finally getting some scrutiny on their beliefs. 

However, every story covering the "bizarre" behavior of these End Times Enthusiasts have missed out on a key point… a Key Point I’ve been nursing, dancing around, and even afraid to mention since the beginning of the blog… a Key Point I grew up with Every Single Day of My Life until I walked away from Fundagelicalism at the age of 27:

  • The Baby Boomers WANT/NEED the world to end before they die based on scripture, their self-involved obsession with their greatness, and in order for all of Evangelical Fundamentalist Christianity and their politicians to save face over how they have approached Life and National and International policy for at least the last 40 years… or to be exact… the last 65 years… or to be uncomfortably precise… since


World War II was yet another war that exposed humans as brutal, base, prone to herd-mentality, petty, mean, horrific Animals.  America didn’t go to war to stop the atrocities of genocide happening in Europe… we went to war for… who knows what… but the Greatest Generation came back heroes.

And rightly so, in many situations.  But the Greatest Generation also came back extremely broken… and stoically silent about the horrors they witnessed and participated in. Many of the Greatest Generation imploded.  Many of the Greatest Generation wreaked havoc on their children’s lives in part because of what they had witnessed and participated in.  Those children were the Baby Boomers.  Both Generations turned to Billy Graham, Jesus and Hal Lindsey.

“Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; even so you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at your door. >>> Truly I say to you, THIS GENERATION will not pass away until all these things take place… <<<<< Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.”

Matthew 24: 32-34;42-44 (New American Standard translation).

Many Born-Again Baby Boomers believe… KNOW… that they are This Generation. 

Why?

Because of the formation of the state of Israel in 1948. 

This is really embarrassing and awkward and difficult for me to say. I’ve avoided saying it in writing for ages, but here goes:

  • Many Evangelical Fundamentalist Born-Againers, especially the Baby Boomer generation, have a very unhealthy symbiotic relationship and fetish towards Jews.  We were taught, for all intents and purposes, that Jewish people, and the state of Israel, could do no wrong. 

Fundagelicals go this route for a number of reasons:

1. It’s Self-Serving. All nations and people will be blessed and/or cursed based on how they treat Jews:

And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Genesis 12:3

For thus says the Lord of hosts, “After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.” Zechariah 2:8.

2. The Holocaust.  Nothing like it before (though plenty of attempts) and nothing like it since (though plenty of copy cats).  The Baby Boomers started learning of the Holocaust in the 1960s… while they were being forced into their own Good-Old-Boys War.  The Holocaust was part of their parents’ legacy they inherited, for better or worse. 

The Holocaust was, and is, nearly impossible to wrap your head around.  The Six-Day War in June of 1967 renewed the awareness of how important it was to attempt to help make amends for previous atrocities against an entire people (atrocities is too tame a word). The 1967 Six-Day War also brought to the forefront the fact that the State of Israel had been created in 1948: This Generation… the Last Generation.

Biblically speaking, sometimes 40 years is a generation.  As a result, some End Times cults had their heart set on 1988.  Other End Times cults started counting 40 years from 1967.  Many others are open to a more squishy interpretation of “generation”… but always insisting that This Generation (the Baby Boomers) is The Last Generation.

These ones who embrace the squishy definition and timeline of "a 1948 generation" can have their cake and eat it too: aren't being sacrilegious by stating exact date; aren't going to be crept up on by a Thief in the Night.

This prophetic “knowledge” informed national and international policy… and continues to do so.  Jews are being treated as pawns by the Christian Religious Right in so many ways: funding of Jewish and Christian Zionism; Jews For Jesus; favoring and/or manipulating anything and almost everything Israel does; turning all conflicts into Us (Christians with Jews/God on our side) versus Them (Everyone Else).  Anyone who questions this relationship with Israel, including Jews, are labeled as evil, anti-semitic, haters of God and all that is good… and a Sign of the Times. 

Never mind that there is the school of thought, um, actually historical fact, that the creation of Israel was in part to keep Jewish refugees of the Holocaust OUT of the United States.   

3. The Late, Great Planet Earth. By Hal Lindsey (1970)
This book is one of the main reasons I grew up in an End-Times Wet-Dreams environment.  Every bullet, bomb that flew in the Middle East was one bullet, bomb that could take down The Dome on the Rock… and free up The Temple Mount… the place where the Third Temple will be rebuilt and where the Messiah will land when coming to earth. 

For many Jews, the Messiah has not yet arrived.  For many Christians, Jesus is coming Again… and he needs to land where there is currently an Islamic presence.

THUS… (are you still following?)
… ALL Middle East Conflicts gets many Evangelical Fundamentalist Born-Again Christians HYPER-EXCITED!!! because maybe this time a bomb will take out The Dome on the Rock, and the Temple can be rebuilt, and Jesus can come again!!!!

Long-Story Short: Many Born-Again Baby Boomers WANT conflict, war, bloodshed, and shady arms deals in the Middle East. They WANT it.  They NEED it.  

They have brought up an entire generation of children who think they want the same thing… blood shed between Palestinians and Israelis, Christians and Muslims, Jews and Muslims, Christians and atheists…. Whatever it takes to prove their generation is This Generation, The Last Generation, The Best Generation?

  • I grew up believing that I would be lucky to experience life on earth much past my 20th birthday. Heaven was better anyway, right? 
  • I grew up believing that we Born-Again Christians would be tested, persecuted, have real and figurative guns put to our heads daring us to Deny Christ or Die. 
  • I grew up believing that women who were with child, or mothers, during the End Times, would be placed in extremely compromising situations where they would have to choose between seeing their children murdered in front of them or Deny Christ and go to Hell (dependent upon to which End-Time Timeline you subscribe). 
  • I grew up believing people like the person I’ve become, a believer who left the faith and satirizes it, are Signs of the Times.  If you question, you are living proof of what you question.

While in elementary, my Born-Again father taught a months-long, almost year-long, Bible Study on the Book of Revelation for a small Southern Baptist Church/Mission in Northern Minnesota.  Each week we would study 1-5 verses at a time. Meticulous. Profound. In-depth. While secular classmates were being scared out their wits over Friday the 13th, Jason, and Stephen King, I was being taught to be a revolutionary, To-The-Death Christian… and scared out of my wits to want anything else from my life.

In college I took a month-long course in January (J-term) on the Holocaust.  It was the only class we took for the month; we met 4-5 days a week, 2-4 hours at a time. The class was taught by a Twin Cities Rabbi.  Also Meticulous. Also Profound. Also In-depth. 

And More Disturbing. Reality IS more disturbing than Fiction.

(Go ahead, in unison please: 'Oooohhhh…. She thinks she’s an expert… she “took a class” on something…')

It was then that I first started hearing discomforting rumbles that the Christian Right was using and abusing the unspeakable terror of the Holocaust for their own benefit.  It was then that I started to realize that the Christian fetishism of Jewish people went far beyond seeing their women and men as too sensual for their own good… or to be used to marry/convert as a way of blessing their own offspring.  It was then that I first realized many Born-Again Evangelical Fundamentalist Christians were willing to fetishize Jews into the grave so their Token Jew, Jesus Christ, could return to earth before the Baby Boomers died off.

As an empathetic atheist, it is Extremely Hard for me to share these things… because anti-semitism, racism, Holocaust denials and hatred towards Jews is far from a thing of the past. 

I do not condone lumping any group of people into one homogenous clump… Jews, Christians, atheists, Muslims, vegetarians, Republicans, etc… because once you do, it makes it too easy to base decisions on a stereotype. 

Oversimplification of causes and effects also creates an environment of Us versus Them.  

I'm not naive enough to think I myself am free from saying some pretty stupid, archaic and dangerous assumptions regarding race and religion. 

However, I Do NOT condone personal behavior, or public policies, that encourages using people as pawns to gain favor with God, fulfill prophecy, or to gain favor in Washington, DC. 

I have absolutely no right to judge the motives of Israel. 

I do have a right to Shout From The Mountain Top the horrendous ways in which many Born-Again Evangelical Fundamentalist Christians raise their children in psychologically abusive environments and how they cry for joy when people in the Middle East die… or for that matter… when anyone suffers or dies in an event that qualifies as a Sign of the Times.

Is not this approach to Judaism and Israel by the Christian Religious Right a form of anti-Semitism?

Bottom Line? People must die, The World Must End, to prove that the Baby Boomers are The Best and Last Generation.

And they call their children and grandchildren “self-involved”.

Those who have ears, let them hear.

Foot Note: I say some pretty awkward things around here… but this post takes the cake.  I can comment and footnote ad nauseam… but this is a start.  Please… understand that I share this as someone who doesn’t even know how/if to share what I’ve shared.  Understand that I am conditioned to be Afraid For My Life now that I've said what I've said above, or on this blog in general.  Please understand every taboo discussion often comes blurting out in very awkward ways, especially in the beginning stages. Help me evolve.

Please visit Jewish Voice for Peace as one alternative to the Christian Right’s approach to Israel.