Archive | March 2016

Matthew 25:40

The latest battle in the war being waged against gays, lesbians, trans folk and other gender-variant people is being fought in the name of Jesus. The fact that so many states in the Bible Belt are passing laws which make it legal to discriminate and practice other forms of hatred in the name of religious expression made me think that the good Christians living in these states will be the first to line up to kill Christ again if he ever does return.

But the more I thought about it, the more I began to understand that they are already killing him.

Consider the following exchange between Jesus and his disciples:

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” –Matthew 25:31-46, NKJV

I suppose if there were one single thing that has turned me off to religion it is the yawning chasm between what their scriptures say and the behavior of their adherents. I don’t think they realize just how badly it reflects on their religion as a whole, or specifically, its credibility. Before you go bragging about your religion’s power to change the world for the better, don’t you think you should demonstrate that power in your own life?

Corey Booker, the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, put it this way:

“My simple point is that I judge a person’s faith by how they live their life, not by the tenets of their religion. I’ve watched the holiest of people walk past somebody in need or treat their staff mean. To me, the beauty of faith is only seen when people live it consistently or struggle to do so.”

The fact that so few people live their lives in accordance with the tenets of their faiths tells me that they don’t really believe them. And so why should I? Don’t try to convert me to your religion, or to accept the existence of an all-powerful god when your own words and actions tell me that you yourself don’t believe one exists.

The Gay Agenda, or, Fear And Loathing in The House of God

The “Gay Agenda” is a phrase religious leaders love to use as a rallying cry for their followers. According to their theory, first postulated back in the ‘70s by Anita Bryant, the fact that gays don’t have children means that we have to convert others to our way of life. Sorry, Anita; we don’t try to convert anyone. You’re thinking of The Jehovah’s Witnesses.

But it is true: there is indeed a “gay agenda.” I was unaware of this fact, but I just got my copy in this morning’s mail. I know it’s accurate, because it was sent by the Head Homosexual himself. I am reproducing it below in its entirety:

    6:00 am  Gym
8:00 am  Breakfast (oatmeal and egg whites)
9:00 am  Hair appointment
10:00 am  Shopping
12:00 PM  Brunch

    2:00 PM
1) Assume complete control of the U.S. Federal, State and Local Governments as well as all other national governments,
2) Recruit all straight youngsters to our debauched lifestyle,
3) Destroy all healthy heterosexual marriages,
4) Replace all school counselors in grades K-12 with agents of Colombian and Jamaican drug cartels,
5) Establish planetary chain of “homo breeding gulags” where over-medicated imprisoned straight women are turned into artificially impregnated baby factories to produce prepubescent love slaves for our devotedly pederastic gay leadership,
6) bulldoze all houses of worship, and
7) Secure total control of the Internet and all mass media for the exclusive use of child pornographers.

    2:30 PM   Get forty winks of beauty rest to prevent facial wrinkles from stress of world conquest
4:00 PM  Cocktails
6:00 PM  Light Dinner (soup, salad, with Chardonnay)
8:00 PM  Theater
11:00 PM  Bed (du jour)?

(Source: http://www.netfunny.com/rhf/jokes/99/Sep/agenda.html)

But please! Remember that this is a joke! I almost didn’t post it for fear that someone would take it seriously. After all, truly fundamentalist believers are not noted for their refined senses of humor.

And if you’re wondering about my own gay agenda, here it is:

Wake up

Get out of bed

Make coffee

Drink coffee

Wrack my brains trying to come up with a topic for today’s post

Wonder for the umpteenth time if being queer is the same as being gay or lesbian and, if so, which one am I?

And that’s pretty much it, with daily variations.

The Atheism Agenda

Can we talk? Come a little closer. Are we alone? Good! I’m going to let you in on the dirty little truth about The Atheism Agenda: It doesn’t exist!

Lisa R. Petty does a much job of explaining the whole thing in her wonderful article at Huffington Post, entitled (appropriately enough) The Atheist Agenda. If you’re interested in why it doesn’t exist, I recommend reading her article.

It Ain’t Just Queers That Have to Worry

Several legal experts who have analyzed some of these “right to discriminate” laws are already warning that they form the basis of allowing people to refuse to perform interracial marriages. Conceivably, since the bible condemns left-handedness, they could also be construed as prohibiting left-handed people from getting married, or adopting children.

Finally, This Is What It Comes Down To For Me

wrong choice

Thanks a lot, all-loving god.

The New Christians, And Why I’m Not One of Them (Part 1)

 

I’ve Rejected Christianity

But it’s not just Christianity; I no longer profess any religion. Not the one I was brought up in, nor any of the others I’ve tried over the 65 years of my life. Becoming an atheist wasn’t anything I decided to do; rather it was a gradual recognition that the word was the best description of my belief system.

Or rather the lack thereof. You see, atheism isn’t a belief system. It’s not something you “believe in.” But before we go any further, let’s define what we’re talking about.

a·the·ism

ˈāTHēˌizəm/

noun

noun: atheism

disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

synonyms:nonbelief, disbelief, unbelief, irreligion, skepticism, doubt, agnosticism;

nihilism

“atheism was not freely discussed in his community”

(Source: https://www.google.com/search?q=define%3Aatheism&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8)

And here’s a nifty linguistic secret: the fact that “God” is capitalized while “gods” isn’t, is a dead giveaway to the very strong probability that this entry was written by a monotheist.

But I digress.

Some History

I was born into a very religious household. Shortly after my birth, my father was ordained as a minister in the Lutheran church, and shortly after that, he was commissioned an officer, a chaplain, in the United States Air Force.

Growing up a PK (“Preacher’s Kid) had its benefits as well as its drawbacks. I was always “on,” in that everyone knew who I was, so that I always had to be on my best behavior. And while this wasn’t hard to do when I was a child, it started to be a problem when I got older. Specifically, when I became a teenager and discovered all of the wonderful ins and outs of our beautifuckingfull language. But those problems were offset by the (false) belief of parents that their precious daughters were safe in the hands (and arms and back seat) of The Chaplain’s Son.

But something I had noticed over the years was that the behavior of many Christians didn’t quite jibe with their professed beliefs.[i] If I had to pick a time when I started having doubts, I suppose it would be when I first made that observation.

Leaving Home

“Leaving home” meant going away to college. I had no choice in this: it was just something that was expected of me. Nor did I have a choice in the particular college I went to: Texas Lutheran College gave discounted tuition to the children of the clergy, and so that’s where I went. Besides, it was only 30 miles from home.

For me, the best part about it was not having to get up on Sunday morning to go to church and then Sunday school. (Well, to be honest, that was the second best thing. The first was getting laid on a regular basis.) And that’s the funny thing about religion for a lot of us: unless your beliefs are constantly being reinforced (which I now realize is the main reason for going to church at all), they can rapidly die off. In that respect, religion is like a living plant: without constant nurturing, it dies.

At least that’s been my experience with religion. Every single one I tried.

Some Context

As Joni Mitchell sang in her generational anthem , “Woodstock,”
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it’s the time of man
I don’t know who I am
But you know life is for learning[ii]

I went away to college in 1968. One year after the so-called “Summer of Love”. One year after I discovered the wonders of marijuana, and a year before psilocybin, and LSD. The Beatles had released “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” the year before, and were about to release the game-changing “Hey Jude.”

Who am I kidding? EVERYTHING the Beatles did was game-changing. “Hey Jude” was over seven minutes long, leading George Martin (their producer) to say that it was too long, and that radio stations wouldn’t play it. Paul McCartney just smile and predicted—quite rightly, as it turned out—“They will if it’s us.”

I first heard “Hey Jude” while at the swimming pool during my Water Safety Instructor Certification class—which I had to drop later after my near-drowning at Stinky Falls. The worst part about dropping the class was that it was the only one I had with the (unrequited) love of my life, Candy Sorensen.

The Good, The Bad, And The ADHD

A psychiatrist once diagnosed me with ADHD. I can’t remember his name, but what do you expect? I have ADHD: I can’t remember stuff like that!

But it’s a perfect example of how things have changed in my lifetime. When I was in school, we didn’t know about ADD or ADHD or whatever it’s called these days. Consequently, I was “not paying attention,” “a day-dreamer,” “not living up to her potential,” and a dozen other labels.” Oh, and if you got caught with drugs, you were expelled.

Nowadays, if you’re diagnosed with ADHD, you’re put on drugs.

One of the practical results of my ADHD is the way my mind flits from subject to subject, as it did while writing this entry. And that’s why it’s a bit long. And rather than going on, I’m going to close it now, and save the rest of it for my next post.

Once again, thanks for stopping by.

Robyn

[i] I’m not deliberately picking on Christians–it’s just that Christianity was what I grew up in, and so that’s all I had the opportunity to observe.

[ii] “Woodstock,” by Joni Mitchell, http://jonimitchell.com/music/song.cfm?id=75

Blogging With Scrivener

Let’s talk a bit about Scrivener, shall we? I’ve written about it before, back in January, but since then my feelings (and work habits) have changed. My old work-flow looked like this:

  • Compose post in Open Live Writer (OLW)
  • Post it to the blog
  • Copy-Paste entry into Scrivener

But that’s all changed.

Some Background

I first discovered Scrivener a little over a year ago. I downloaded the demo version, used it for a month or so, and then purchased a copy for myself. I said “a month or so” because Scrivener has a generous trial period: you can use it for 30 non-consecutive days. In other words, for 30 days of active use. That means if you only use it twice a week, you can use it for however long 30 days at twice a week comes to. Hey! I was an English major; YOU do the math!

I struggled with the tutorial: although it is very well-written and easy to understand, I have a couple of learning disabilities that make it hard for me to learn via textbook or step-by-step instructions. So while I ended up with a brief understanding of the power of the program, it was a superficial understanding at best.

But I woke up this morning with the intention of learning more about Scrivener.[1] After all, up until now I’ve really only been using it as a glorified file cabinet, and that’s not what it was intended for. So I determined to start to learn how to use it the way it was intended to be used.

Naturally, as I usually do when I want to find information, I headed over to my Internet-based library card catalogue, aka Google®, and type in “Windows Scrivener tutorial.” That brought up several links to YouTube,® and I followed the first one, which brought me here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdwnHo23Ub80.

The Change

That’s when I decided to reverse my work-flow and use Scrivener for composing my entries, and then compiling it for importation into OLW. In other words, I finally decided to start using Scrivener the way it was meant to be used.

Well, that didn’t quite work. See, the thing about Scrivener is that when you compile your work, everything in the main section of your binder (usually labelled Drafts) is included. So when I compiled my latest post for export as an RTF file, all of my entries for the entire blog were included. But since that is the only folder that’s included, I’ve decided to create a new folder inside the Research folder, and move all of my previous posts to that new folder.

And there is a perfect example of the power of Scrivener: it lets you tailor the program to the way you work, rather than forcing you to work the way it thinks you should work.

The Future

So that’s my first step in becoming a better Scrivener user, and in learning how to adopt it to meet my needs. There will be more to follow, I’m sure.

Thanks for stopping by!

Robyn


[1] 1 Actually, I woke up to the sound of the garbage truck emptying the dumpster outside my window.

Thanatopsis

Every Death Is Different

My parents died 32 years apart, and I’m finding it interesting how different their deaths are. Or, to be accurate, how different my reactions are.

Because they’re truly different. I’m sure most of the differences lie in the fact that I’m not the person I was three decades ago. Then, I was much you get and had little first-hand experience with death. Know I’m older, and have lost more friends and relatives than I can easily count. So I guess the biggest change is that death is no longer the shock it used to be.

Another difference is that I had time to prepare myself for my mother’s death. She had fought cancer for so long that when she died, it wasn’t unexpected. Painful, yes. Devastatingly so. But I had had so long to prepare myself that it wasn’t a shock. And in a way, since she had been in such pain for so long, it was a relief.

It was different with my father. We had been estranged for years, only reconciling the week before his death. I knew that he had had a stroke, but I hadn’t been aware of how much his health continued to deteriorate in the following year. And unlike with my mother, I hadn’t had the opportunity to tell him all the things I wanted to say. I never got the chance to tell him how much he meant to me, and what an honor it had been to be his daughter.

And Every Death Is The Same

Sadness. Anger. Disbelief. Numbness. I felt all of these following my parents’ deaths. What I feel now, as I am writing, is a dull ache for my mother, but a sharp, stabbing pain for my father. I know that over time this pain will become the same dull ache that I feel for my mother. And I also know that it will never go away. But that’s okay; I don’t want it to go away. I want it to remind me of the two people who loved me more than anyone ever did.

Because if there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is this: no matter who else they meet in their lives, no one will ever love your children as much as you, their parent, does.