Category Archives: In Christian Love

An Issue of Blood

Dear Mister (yes, MISTER) Pro-Life Blogger:

Not that it’s any of your feklaptin’ business, but I take birth control pills. Yes, me, the celibate one over here. I take them to better regulate the hormones in my body, and without them I will bleed for about two weeks out of every three and have to go to the hospital for blood transfusions. Funny thing, it’s entirely possible that I have the exact same condition as the woman you’ve probably read about in Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, and Luke 8:43-47.

If you don’t have insurance (like I won’t after March 30th), these pills cost $145 a month. I wouldn’t even try to convince a Catholic clinic to write me a script. Planned Parenthood, the only women’s health clinic with no income restrictions? $39 a month. And the added bonus of having to look at dead babies and be called a whore by my coreligionists as I go in to pick up my script!

Would you shut your trap, please? You’re making all us Christians look like jackasses.

In Christian Love,
Mary Sue


Filed under I'm Just A Girl, In Christian Love, me being myself, my life

A Gentle Reminder

I am not a demographic, I am a child of God!

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Filed under In Christian Love, me being myself


So, some jackhole got arrested for possibly maybe thinking about setting fire to Grace (Episcopal) Cathedral in San Francisco.

And it’s the same brilliant guy who set fire to the Burning Man early this year.

Where’s my handbag? Someone needs to be smacked into next week.

In Christian Love, ‘acourse.

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Filed under In Christian Love, me being myself

Why do they make it so hard to go to church? (2)

Decided Saturday night that I needed to go to church. Having not been in a long, long time. So I checked online for the nearest Episcopal parish (NEP) in Portland, OR, and made a note of their address (half a mile from my house) and their start time of 10am (an hour after St. Thatguy started, which was good from my point of view, my point of view being I got home from work on Saturday night at 11.30pm).

So I rolled out of bed, brushed my teeth and my hair, and was half an hour early to the NEP.

There wasn’t a single car in the parking lot. Not a blessed one. Now, this place according to both their web site and the sign out front, had an 8am service. Sandwich boards gave the phone number for the Co-op preschool, but the sign on the side of the building said the later service stated at 10.30.

I drove around, trying to identify if there was another point of entry, you know, the secret door where you had to know the secret Episcopal handshake to get into NEP. Nope, just the one out front. So I went and parked near enough to it where I could keep an eye on the comings and goings, but far enough away I didn’t look like an undercover cop.

I sat there in my car for an hour, from 9.30 to 10.30, and not a blessed soul drove into the parking lot nor entered the door of the church. At 10.30, I found out why no one had entered the single identifiable door of the church; when I walked up to it, it was locked.

By that point, I was running into a time crunch. Any 11am service would make me late for work. Thank goodness St. Crankypants* Roman Catholic Church has a 10.30am service. I got there at 10.38am, and walked through the door right as they were starting the Gospel reading. Exactly an hour later (including a homily about perserverance I needed to hear, the parish announcements, and the eternal internal argument I have with my inner child at RC churches, “He just said this sacrifice is for everyone! Why can’t I go up for the Eucharist?”) I was out the door and nearly stampeded by the people who wanted to get to their cars much quicker than I did.

But you know what I’ll remember for the next few weeks? The way my heart just fell out of my chest when I went to pull that door open on NEP and it was locked.

*a commentary on the saint, not the people


Filed under I'm Just A Girl, In Christian Love, me being myself, meditations

Redneck Theology

Let me explain something to you: the directions to my ancesteral home include ‘turn off the paved road.’

I learned to drive a tractor about the same time I learned how to walk.

I can shoot, spit, belch, clean wild game, plant crops, prune trees, saddle a horse, sing Hank Williams songs, shear a sheep, and can my own tomatoes.

I am a redneck. And rather proud of it, thank you very much.

One of the things about being a redneck is you have a great respect for your elders, who transmit the Gospel through word and action. And that don’t take place in the white clapboard buildings as much as they take place in the home and around the hearth.

Stories over Sunday dinner table, piled high with fried chicken and enchiladas, is hearing the Gospel. Riding shotgun in the pickup truck that’s piled high with bags of food to the needy, that’s living the Gospel. Picking up a crying child and hugging her and making her laugh, even if she’s your hated cousin’s baby, born out of wedlock to that useless fool she married, that’s being the Gospel.

That’s the theology I grew up with. Now, my Redneck Theology probably won’t be taught in no seminaries. Which makes some people think it’s not as good as theirs, because it doesn’t come from highly educated people who spend their lives locked up in small rooms in academic halls.

Well, sheeit. That’s no skin off my nose. You just sit up there and pass judgement on whether or not my theology is worthy or not ’cause I dangle a participle here or there. I don’t got no time to debate theosis versus gnosis, hon, I’ve got God’s Work to do. You also sit up there and pass judgement on my family, our way of life, call it dark and narrow-minded. I know plenty of kids from the middle-class leftist suburbs who got disowned and abandoned to the streets when they came out of the closet.

My right-wing, mostly Republican, proudly redneck family still opens their arms and welcomes me home to the Ranch with no reservations.


Filed under I'm Just A Girl, In Christian Love, my life

The Holy Spirit is Laughing Her Ass Off Right About Now

This morning I was dancing around the house singing, “I love our bishops! I love our biiiishops!”

Housemates Upstairs1 and MainFloor1 were looking at me oddly.

And now, an open letter to the ABC.

Dear Archbishop Rowan Williams:
This gesture on behalf of TEC by our bishops was more of a ‘pointing to the point in our constitutions and canons where it says “you can’t do that, sillyheads” ‘ than the ‘two middle fingers and a stuck out tongue along with the pelvic thrusts that will drive you insaaaaane‘ you seem to think it is.

Reach around behind yourself, get a firm grip, and yank that stick out of your butt.

In Christian Love,
Mary Sue, Laywoman

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Filed under In Christian Love, The Current Unpleasantness

I am your target demographic (ph33r m3!)


 Because when I walk in the doors of your parish, all eyes are on me. I am under 30 40 50  60 years old, and I keep coming back regularly.

People are always saying, “Golly, I wish we had more young people in the church.”

Well, I’m going to let you all in on the secret. Here’s what us Millenium Generation people want:

  • We want to be. We’ve had more self-help and psychology thrown at us than any other generation. We have a pretty good idea of who we are, and how we function, and the kind of disasters that trying to change that will cause. Let us be ourselves.
  • We want to belong. Don’t assume we’re too busy, because our Friday night plans will probably include ice cream and Numb3rs and sitting alone on the couch. Ask if we want to help with the Stewardship Campaign, the Altar Guild, the Vestry. Let us help.
  • We want to think. We want to play What-if, we want to know what the Bible says, what the Church Fathers and Mothers said, what the Creed actually means. Many of us have little or no knowledge of Christian theology or praxis or history. Let us learn.
  • We want beauty. Whether that’s incense and bells and icons or smoke machines and guitars and Powerpoints, we seek to understand that breathlessness that comes from Somewhere Else. Let us worship.


Filed under In Christian Love, me being myself

God Can Totally Say ‘No’.

Let me save you some money and time and tell you the secret of The Secret.

Now, I’d vaugely heard about this book/movie/philosophy sweeping the nation, because apparently the publishing company is based here in Oregon, but nothing had really moved me to seek it out. But a coworker was gushing about it to another coworker, and I wandered over to see what was going on.

She lent me her copy of the book, and I handed it back to her five minutes later.

“You don’t want to keep reading it?” She asked, confused.

“Seen it all before,” I said.

That confused the hell out of her. “What do you mean?”

“Where I come from, we call that ‘Name It and Claim It’ Theology.”

Her eyes lit up. I learned after the conversation and a judicious Google search that apparently the pushers of The Secret claim it’s been around for 3,500 years and is the basis of most world religions. Pardon me, my eyes just rolled right out of my head, I’ve got to go catch them. “So your church teaches it, then?”

“Um, not so much,” I said. “My church teaches you can ask God for whatever you want, but that God can totally say ‘No’ to your requests.”

The other coworker bounced back into the awkward silence and started asking about the Secret Society or Secret Group or something, and the confused coworker was more than willing to talk about her experiences with other Secret seekers as I slipped back to my cubicle, feeling a little lost and isolated.


Filed under In Christian Love, meditations, movies

I so TOTALLY want one!

Everyone reads MadPriest, right?

Of course, we’re all mad here…

Anyway, apparently Plus-Plus Sydney got his knickers in a twist (again, but let’s not belabor the point and chip in to buy him some new ones what don’t ride up for Easter, eh) because a couple of churches have put up this sign. uosama.jpg

Seriously. Where can I buy one?

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Filed under In Christian Love, someone thinks it's funny

Top 5 Things They’re Apparently Teaching in Seminary about Preaching Nowadays That Drive Me Right Up The Wall

(I think I’m trying to break my own record for longest subject line ever. Go team me!) 

Edit 2-6-07: Hi new people! Welcome! I’m not a seminarian (thank God), but if you are a seminarian, for the LOVE OF GOD don’t do ANY of this!

Thank  you,
(s) Mary Sue.

God has not called me to a public ministry of preaching (and have I thanked you for that lately, God? No? Dude, seriously, thanks!) however, I have much experience in public speaking. Because of that, I get a little, well, judgemental when people DO IT WRONG OMG KNOCK THAT OFF! (like, when I was visiting a friend’s church last month, I started making a ticky every time the preacher said “um”. Thirty minutes and 48 “um”s later, I was ready to do a reverse altar call*).

So, for your edification: 

The Top 5 Things They’re Apparently Teaching in Seminary About Preaching Nowadays That Drive Me Right Up The Wall

  1. “I submit to you that…” First of all, I have a dirty mind. So I’m giggling every time I hear it. No, if you don’t understand why I’m giggling, I am NOT going to explain it to you. Live in blissful ignorance. But beyond that, dude, can we get more wishy-washy? And this does tend to come out of the more fluffy bunny liberal than any other brand of churchperson. Say “I believe” for once in your life. 
  2. Starting with a joke that has very little to do with the topic of the sermon and/or the Scripture Readings. If you can connect your joke about the lightbulbs, the bartender, and the frayed knot to the story of the Presentation at the Temple, go for it. But if you can’t, or you’re writing your sermon at 2am (admit it, I know everyone sometimes does), leave the joke off. And if the joke has ANYTHING to do with your spouse, leave it off. You’ll sound like a jerk.
  3. PowerPoint presentations that just plain suck. Repeat after me: 90% of the PowerPoint templates are not ADA compliant for visual impairments. If I can’t read it, a blind person is going to be up that proverbial creek. And if there’s 48 screens in Arial 9 font, I’m not going to want to read it, anyway. Finally, animations are for Disney movies, I cannot emphasize this enough, people!
  4.  Using a tone and rate of voice more suited to the Easy Listening radio station than Church. Now, I’m succeptible to this myself, and I got yelled at a lot when I was in teacher skool to “Stop DJing and start teaching!” When you are speaking in public, you do need to be aware of the rate and speed at which you are speaking. But that doesn’t mean slow… down… until… you… are….. putting….. everyone…… to……… sleep……………………….zzzzzzzzzzzzzz This happens a lot when you’ve got the whole sermon written out and you’re reading it. Practice more, or put outline points on cards.
  5. tl;dr (too long; didn’t read). I will gladly listen to a 120 minute sermon if it challenges me mentally and spiritually. My butt will be asleep, but my heart will be glad. However, if your 10 minute sermon is obviously padded (and I have a BA in BS**, I know from padding), I will tune your useless droning out. The average human will only be able to summarize three points out of any spoken lecture. If your heart is not on fire with passionate words that the Holy Spirit has laid upon you, keep it short, sweet, and to the point. And if your heart is on fire with passionat words that the Holy Spirit has laid upon you– still edit, dude.

Thus endeth the list (for today). Anyone else got anything to add?

 *reverse altar call: flee (preferably screaming) in the opposite direction of the altar.

**I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Behavioral Sciences. I love my life.


Filed under In Christian Love, me being myself