Category Archives: meditations

Framing the Question

We’ve got a lot of academics around here (and you’ve heard me preach on the subject ad nauseum, this is different I promise), so I know y’all are familiar with having to frame the question before you get into the nitty-gritty research details.

I was sitting here trying to figure out why I was not getting something done at work, a big project with many branches and a lot of waiting for information.

I said to myself, “Well, it’s either my ADD or maybe a touch of the PTSD or social anxiety disorder…”

Self-diagnosis. Isn’t it fun?

Then I thought to myself, “You know, it doesn’t really matter what my issue is, the question is what do I need to do to get my work done?”

The universe rang like a bell.

“Oh,” I said to God. “Good point.”

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More Important Things Than Orgasms

Ah, the holidays. When people get in contact with people they haven’t talked to in a while. Such as Sillyhead. 

Sillyhead is obviously not a real name, but it’s an accurate descriptor of the person I’m about to describe. Sillyhead calls every year before the major holidays to basically find out if I’m going to be in a particular neck of the woods. Sillyhead and I used to be on intimate terms, someone whom I loved but even back then I knew we’d never spend our whole lives together. Our conversations always turn towards that topic at some point in the conversation. 

  Sillyhead being Sillyhead, though, it tends to hit me out of left field. So I’m regailing Sillyhead with a story about Geeky!Guy, a dear friend who is almost on par with Sillyhead for Dumb Stunt of the Year, when Sillyhead butts in.”Seems like a nice guy. It’s good you’re getting orgasms every once in a while.”

I did that thing from the movies where you take the phone away from your ear and stare at it for a few moments. “Uh, it’s not that kind of relationship,” I told Sillyhead. “And my orgasms are none of your business.” 

The phone went quiet for a few moments. It was the first time I’d responded to Sillyhead’s biennial stupid statements like that. Sillyhead got back on the phone and started talking about something else.

But that has been annoying me for nigh on a month now, and I think I have it figured out. I’ve all but given up on the media. The media’s message is that if you’re not having sex RIGHT NOW, well, it’s all your fault. But don’t fret, they will sell you a pill/ diet/ face cream/ hair extensions/ car/ beer/ lawnmower that is all but guaranteed to make someone have sex with you.

 I expect that message from the media. I don’t know why deep down in my heart I don’t expect it from the Church, but every time I run across it being preached, I’m surprised and a little hurt. 

I’m single. I’m not looking. And according to the Church, I’m crazy. 

Haven’t you noticed that the whole Current Unpleasantness has a distinctly orgasm-centric undertone? Those who don’t believe there should be GLBT people think the whole problem with GLBT people is that they just need to find the right, heterosexual orgasm friend*. And a lot of the argument, in fact, most of the argument on the GLBT side is “We want to marry!”

You know, I’m all for marriage being redefined as a relationship between two people consecrated before God and protected by the laws of the civil government in the jurisdiction where they live. But I’m single and not looking and not having sex and therefore a lot of this arguing does not impact my life. 

Yeah, it might in the future, but right now and for the forseeable future? It don’t.


Am I not a child of God? Am I not a tithing member of the Church, supporting not only my local ministries but the diocese and even the National Church with my time, talents, gifts and presence? Am I not seated on governing councils and am I not a volunteer in district events? Am I not working for peace and justice here and abroad? Am I not praying, preaching, blessing, and serving? Am I a member of this Church or not?

Because the message that I keep hearing over and over and over again, a subliminal viper of a message slinking its way through the entire Current Unpleasantness is that I cannot be a member, I cannot participate fully, I do not have an interest in the survival of my Church, I am not a complete human being, unless I am having orgasms with someone else.




 *Name the Buffy quote, get a cookie. 


Filed under *headdesk*, me being myself, meditations, teh sex

I Love to Tell the Story

‘Twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story
Of Jesus and his love.

If it’s stuck in my head, it’s gonna be stuck in yours! Hahaha. Suckers.

Christianity is a story. It’s a really big story, starting from the Big Bang (wherein God, doing his best impression of my mother, Says Something and it Gets done), through the Israelites to that guy named Jesus, then through the apostles and saints and Church right down to the parts of the story we’re writing here today, in our individual lives.

Christianity is about sharing the story. That’s how it’s passed, from mouth to mouth, from hand to hand, one theological book quoting another down to the words the Man Himself said on a dusty road.

As bloggers, we’ve got this storytelling thing down pat. We pull out the stories of our own experiences and send them out into the universe, tumbling through space and time until they fetch up on someone’s computer screen to inspire, to make people laugh, to share tears and joy equally. We’re passing on the Christian story one pixel at a time.

But we are privleged. We have great wealth, not just in being able to access a computer and the Internet, but in the knowledge to use it, the specialized skill set that is required to be able to type, to access the Internet, to use a mouse.

Ours are not the only stories. Ours is not the only Christianity.

Ours is the calling to become the Storytellers. To go into our churches and communities, to not only tell the stories we have gleaned with our computer skills, but to learn the stories that are being written in the parts of the world that are far removed from computers. To bring those back to the storytelling tools, the computer, the Internet, and share these other stories.

This is my story.
This is my song.

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Filed under meditations, Ordinary Time

The Handbag Can Be A Subtle Device

I’m reading through the latest hoohraw from the Pointy Hat Brigade, including the goings-on in Zimbabwe (I haven’t quite figured out which side to root for, so I’m just prayin’ hard instead), and I’m wondering where these boys were during History class.

Because the one thing I’m seeing, trickling around the edges of the blogosphere but much, much more prevalent in the actual parishes themselves, is that no matter what the bishops do or do not (there is no try), the people are having Church.

Locked out of the parish? Go somewhere else and pray.

Priests no longer subsidized by the diocese? Pay them out of pocket.

Bishop making silly demands and blocking your path? Nod politely, smile, and go around the bloody fool.

The Pointy Hat Brigade, for all its peacock strutting, is not teaching us the errors of our mistakes. They’re teaching us that we can live without them. And the harder they try to grasp on to ecclesiastical power, the faster the Church is slipping through their fingers and spreading through the world, a jug of water dropped and spilled, rivulets soaking into a dry and thirsting land.

And it’s about time. Thinking outside the little decorated box we’ve built up around ourselves, to protect ourselves from the outside world that will temper and try our faith. What use is a faith kept locked away? What use is Good News that’s a secret? What use is a light under a basket?

What use is a bishop who desires power over mercy?

Soooo, should I just go ahead and declare The Next Reformation fully in progress, or what?

Here’s your marching orders.

Let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream!

Amos 5:24


Filed under meditations

An Illustration of White Privilege

So, there’s been a lot of talk about race around the religious blogosphere. And every so often the term “white privilege” is thrown out. All the people of color in the conversation nod and agree, all the queer folks nod hesitantly because if they don’t get it, they know the “heterosexual privlilege” which is kind of similar. And there’s always a couple of white people who Don’t Get It. And I’m always at a loss on how to explain it to them. 

I was flipping through my DVD collection last night and came across the delightfully campy film Wild, Wild West starring the delightfully hot Will Smith. In that film, Jim West and Dr. Arliss Loveless have an insult sniping contest.

All of Dr. Loveless’ insults are with regards to Jim West’s skin color.

All of Jim West’s insults are with regards to…

 …ha, bet you thought I was going to say skin color, nu? Nope. They’re with regards to the fact he’s in a wheelchair.

Sit here right now and try and think of how many insults you know for white people that solely reference their skin color.

Now think about how many times you’ve heard those insults in the last ten years, in popular culture, in the media, in conversation.

Now think about how many insults you know for people of color that solely reference their skin color.

Now think about how many times you’ve heard those insults in the last year, in popular culture, in the media, in conversation.

Yeah, that’s part of white privilege right there.

(ETA: I don’t have to say that using those insults in the comment box will result in immediate deletion with extreme prejudice, right? Use your own blog for that.)

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Consumer Electronic Ethics

I just bought a new iPod.

You do NOT know the agony that surrounded this decision. I’ve been thinking about purchasing a new iPod for weeks (even going so far as to wander into the Apple Store and PURCHASE one, just to return it ten minutes later*). But I kept trying to tell myself that I couldn’t afford it financially, or it wasn’t responsible to buy a new one and just keep watching for a refurb 80G to pop up again, or even DAMNIT my current iPod is barely three years old!

Then my current iPod would do that thing where it would stop working and it would take ten minutes for me to get the gorram thing going again, during which I was panicked and cursing and wondering what the hell I would do when it finally bit the dust. My current iPod is a Mini, which hasn’t been supported by Apple since about six months after I purchased it, so it’s impossible for me to find someone to attempt to repair it. I’ve tried.

Oh, that’s another reason I threw up about not buying one– planned obsolescence sucks donkey balls.

In all my shenaniganing back and forth, I actually did the math on my iPod Mini. It was purchased for $149. It has played for approximately 6,000 hours as I rode public transit to work, took walks, flew back and forth and up and down this great country, and at a few workspaces I was allowed to listen to it continuously, which helped alleviate my ADD and increased my productivity. It therefore cost me $0.02 per hour.

But then I get into wondering what has turned this little pile of sillicon and brushed steel into an indespensable part of my life? I can’t pinpoint it.

And people critisize kids my age, say that we’re turning into Pod People, headphones in and ignoring each other in public. Hon, the only way this is different now from back before iPods and Walkmans is that we’re listening to music as we ignore folks. People ignore each other. It sucks, but it’s happened since forever. My generation’s just learned to do it better than those that came before us.

I don’t have any answers for you all. I just have a tracking number and a lighter bank account, and more questions.

So, you know, situation normal over here at Mary Sue’s place.

*Under the cut is the long story about why I purchased and returned an iPod within ten minutes. Continue reading

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Filed under meditations, my life

Day of the Children Spirits

Note: As always, I will be moderating comments. I don’t know when I’ll get around to it, though, because now that I’ve said it, I don’t want to talk about it. Yes, yes, I know, not our Earth logic… deal.

  • I am half Mexican, but I was raised American. I only spoke English until I got to high school and discovered in my first-year Spanish class a gift for languages and a heritage that had only been faintly echoed in the accents of my abuelitos and the food on the kitchen table.

    Los Dias de Los Muertos is a part of that culture, one that I’ve grown to cherish. It blends Catholic spiritualiy with family honor, history with the present, uniting all points in time and space here, in this point of the four-dimensional Universe, when the days are turning dark and the veil between the worlds feels thinner. Fr. Andrew Greeley talks in all his novels about the shining ones in the bright lands, an Irish expression of the Communion of Saints. I’m part Irish, too, and tonight my eyes close and I think I hear them, whispering just beyond reach.

    Well, either that’s the shining ones or the folks downstairs watching TV.

    In an hour and a half, I’m starting NaNoWriMo. All Saints Day, celebrating those who are in Heaven. Heaven being a construct outside our linear space/time continuum, we celebrate by name those we know who are up there because they left before us, but we recognize dimly that there are others who are also up there who are yet to come.

    In Mexico, the adults who have died are celebrated on All Souls Day, November 2nd. Tomorrow’s the day for the spirits of the children, the innocents who have died, to come back and visit. Toys and candies are left out for them, pinwheels and Mickey Mouse baloons. Even today in Mexico, too many babies don’t live to get old.

    The psychologists say that when a child experiences sexual or physical abuse, at a certain point on a clinical scale calibrated to precisely measure horror, at a certain point on that scale the child’s emotional development stops dead in its tracks. So if a young boy is raped at age eight, he can grow up and live to be a man of 100 years, but without psychological intervention he will react to all situations like an eight year old. The event(s) effectively kills the child emotionally.

    It sounds wierd to say, looks wierd written down, but thank God it wasn’t sexual abuse. Thank God it wasn’t my parents or any other adults. Thank God for the Complete Sherlock Holmes and a big purse and for finally, finally standing up for myself. Thank God the little jackass’ family moved to Hawaii.

    It’s funny, I thought I’d forgiven him completely. And here I go, calling him names again.

    When you’re twelve years old, you don’t know what love is. So when he tells you that he loves you as he hits you repeatedly on the head, you believe him. When he tells you that you’re stupid and lucky he’s around to protect you, you believe him. When he grabs your arm hard enough to leave black bruises for two weeks and drags you away from your friends to berate you, you change for PE in the girl’s bathroom and make sure they’re well hidden, because they’re your secret. Your stigmata, if anyone saw it they would truly know how stupid you are. Only one person knows what kind of an idiot you are, and he left his mark to prove he still cares, that you still belong to him.

    This year’s novel idea came to me in a dream, one with Martians and mummies and superheroes. The plot itself developed into a tale of mourning a lost childhood. Too much responsibility for little shoulders. For some reason I didn’t see the paralells with my reality until last week. I have a card here on my desk with a plot point, a snippet of conversation between the main character and her former friend. The former friend says, “Start acting like an adult!” My main character snaps back, “I never learned how.”

    You can learn how, I’ve discovered. Having a solid family base, one that has fairly healthy relationships is a bonus. Observation and study can take the place of therapy if your tongue gets tied up when you have to face the eyes of a shrink. So can writing. I think I’m about 16 years old, now.

    And there’s someone I like. Not just like, but like like. It’s absolutely terrifying how all my education, all my finely honed wit, all my inner strength, all my spiritual growth can be tossed out the window with one. stinkin’. sentence. Five words, a compliment probably tossed off without much thought and I’m blushing and not making eye contact and the Debate Team from my university is thinking about revoking my elocution awards.

    God, when did I become such a girl?

    Tomorrow’s only an hour away, now. The spirits of the children are coming back to visit, lined up like it’s Disneyland. Children who have been born, some who haven’t yet.

    I’ve got this strange feeling that somewhere in there is one who looks a lot like me, twelve years ago.

    I think I’m going to ask her to stay a while.


    Filed under I'm Just A Girl, lesser feasts & fasts, meditations, prayer

    It’s Hard To Hit A Moving Target

    For a day in your courts is better
         than a thousand elsewhere.
    I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
         than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
    Psalm 84:10*

    Finally made it back to St. Thatguy and dealt with all the “Where have you been?” questions in true Mary Sue fashion– I showed up late, sat in the back, and didn’t even go into the fellowship hall after service, I bailed for my car.

    One of the issues with showing up late is that I didn’t get a service bulletin. Which made me a wee bit nervous, but I discovered that in the last four years of being Episcopalian, I’ve finally memorized the Nicene Creed via osmosis. I knew when to sit, when to stand, and where in the BCP to find Form IV.

    It was sliding back into a groove, it was coming back to the comfortable, it really was better than a thousand Sundays sleeping in.

    Then I had to go to work.

    Things at the Big Blue Box come in two sizes: Tiny and Huge. They also come in two types: Sharp and Heavy. In the Staff Caf at any hour of the day, there’s usually a groan session where people are showing off their war wounds (I’ve got a nifty scar on my hand from a midbeam and an open incident report from when I attempted to spurn the laws of physics and have my shin and the trailer hitch of a customer’s truck occupy the same point in space/time). And a goodly portion of those injuries (I’d say about 30-40%) come from customers attempting to ‘help’.

    Because somehow, when I’ve got a 100 lb. dresser precariously balanced on one shoulder and I’m trying to put it into a cart, pulling the cart out from under the dresser is ‘helping’.

    I know it’s not really the customer’s fault. The customer is trying to predict which way I’m going to move, and I’m trying to predict which way the cart is going to roll when 100lbs of MDF and birch laminate slam into it. The best thing for both me and the customer would be if they held the cart perfectly still, then I could drop my load without fear of it falling on someone’s (read: my) foot.

    A dear friend of mine who’s Orthodox was visiting me recently and she wandered over to my prayer corner and started flipping through my Book of Common Prayer and she remarked, “It’s so confusing! Everything changes!”

    “Not really,” I said. “Certain things are always the same.”

    That’s something I think people who create ‘innovative services’ forget about my generation: Everything around us changes at a speed that’s absolutely ridiculous. Ten years ago, I thought it was wild I could download one song to my computer in about two hours, and right now I’m listening to an iPod with 28 hours of music on it that swapped from my computer in thirty minutes. Those of us who grew up with the tech appear to be adapting faster, but given half a chance we’ll go back to the interfaces that we are familiar and comfortable with (‘fess up, how many of you Windows XP users have it set up visually like Windows 98?)

    When everything around you is moving so accursedly fast, there is something comforting in the old rituals and familiar rites. Being able to pop back in after a time away and know that certain things are going to be the exact same as they were for my grandmother and her grandmother**.

    Yeah, I’m talking about years and generations, sure, things that are hard to quantify on Annual Reports. Time moves much more slowly these days than the world, and we rush to punch as much into our weeks as possible. Is it too much to ask for one sacred space where we can walk in cold from the street and be warmed in the same old ways as our ancestors?

    *Yes, that link takes you to the DO lectionary and you have to scroll waaaay down to see Psalm 84. Suck it up. Why did I do it that way? ‘Cause I find it terribly amusing that the first hit for “Psalm 84 Book of Common Prayer” spits out the DO lectionary for mah birfday!

    **You know, if they’d been, like, Anglican and some junk.

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    Filed under meditations, my life, Ordinary Time

    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

    Thinky Thoughts on Coming Out

    I didn’t read all my blogs yesterday, which means I kind of forgot that October 11th is National Coming Out Day (if you’re new, hi, welcome, I’m a big ol’ bisexual) until I got to the Big Blue Box and several of the Steering Group (read: upper management) were wearing ginormous ALLY stickers.

    Some days I really heart the company I work for.

    But then comes the morning, and I wonder about those who yesterday passed by as just another normal day in the struggle to be themselves without letting others know who they are. It’s not fun.

    Then I’m thinking that, well, when’s the day for those people? When can they know they’re supported and loved no matter what? Because my God doesn’t live just inside or just outside a closet, my God’s in the closet, outside the closet, around the closet, made the wood for the closet door, sticks his metaphorical head in every so often and asks, “‘Sallright? Need anything?”…

    The closet’s not the nicest accomodations, but it’s where some people live, and we’re called as Christians to meet people where they live, take them the Gospel if they live in mansions on a hill, shanties in a dump, or even a closet.

    So’s I’m declaring October 12th Day of Global Prayer for the Closeted. And here’s my prayer:

    May God grant you all the strength, love, and peace you need, and then some more. Amen.


    Filed under meditations, Ordinary Time