Category Archives: meditations

Hate. The. World!

And not in the way that Christians are supposed to hate it.
I hate the world so much right now. Ohemgee.

I want to set it on fire.
Confound it, who hid my matches?

I’m going to run off to a mountaintop and form my own church.
First Church of Mary Sue. All are welcome, as long as you’re Mary Sue.

I want to hit people with sticks until the stupid runs out their ears.
Confound it, who hid my sticks?

Oh, for the love of Pete, not another financial appeal.
I’ve given until it hurts. I’m waiting to see what happens after that.

I’m waiting to see if it ever stops hurting.

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Filed under I'm Just A Girl, meditations, The Current Unpleasantness

Thoughts on the Occasion of Someone Crying

Oh crap, is she crying?

Crap, she is crying.

What do I do? What am I supposed to do? Is there something I should do?

Should I just ignore it? I mean, what if she wants to be alone right now? My office iskinda far away from hers…

Jesus, I can’t just sit here. Something in me just wants to go and hug, but we’re not really at the hugging stage of our relationship. Where’s the Kleenex box? There used to be one around here somewhere. I’ll take the kleenex in and…

…and say ‘Is everything ok?’ is that really the best I can come up with? Hello, of course everything’s not OK, duh, there’s CRYING.

Ok, here’s the Kleenex. Go into her office. Hand her the Kleenex box.

Can’t plan it all out. There’s no script. Ask, “Can I get you something?”

Dive off into the deep waters. Keep your mouth shut. Beat the cliches to death with a big stick.

Listen.

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A Christian Response to Munchausen By Internet

Another, secular gaming community I am involved heavily with has just undergone an instance of what is coming to be called Munchausen by Internet.

Go read the article I linked. No, really, do it right now.

Oh, fine, for those of you who can’t be arsed, Munchausen by Internet is when someone creates an online persona who is constantly undergoing trials and tribulations so they can get attention and sympathy. And, usually when their stories get a little thin, these personas ‘die’.

I’ve seen this a lot over the last fifteen years that I’ve spent online. In the gaming community, once the persona died, other suspicious people started combing the newspapers for obituaries. None turned up, and neither did any police reports or news articles about the grisly accident the persona’s significant other reported to us. Shenanigans were called, and the persona was outed by the gaming community as a sock puppet of another player.

The gaming community is feeling shocked and betrayed, naturally. Some people who sent money and gifts are demanding refunds they will probably not get. And in the chat room last night, the conversation was all about this persona and the betrayal of trust.

I was (for once) actually playing the game and mostly ignoring the conversation until someone pinged me and asked point blank, “Aren’t you pissed off?”

“Not really,” I typed back.

The entire chat room was confused by that statement, and pings rolled in demanding an explanation.

So I cut and pasted the following:

Look, I’ve been praying for [this persona] for weeks now. I’ll still keep praying for [this persona], because it’s terribly obvious they are desperately lonely.

There are a lot of people on this gaming site for whom this is their first experience with MbP, and they are now withdrawing from friendships to protect themselves. And a lot of people who have been burned before and spent the whole buildup to this week’s crash being cynical and inciting the distrust are now saying “I told you so.”

But we’re Christians, and we’ve got that annoying call to forgive others. It means sucking it up, stepping over our bruised pride (because that’s what’s really stinging, the fact we got duped) and saying, “I forgive you for lying.”

Which doesn’t mean ‘Forget it ever happened’, even though it’s starting to take on those connotations in popular culture. It’s unlikely the person from my gaming board will come back, but if they do, I will extend a hand of friendship again but take anything they say taken with a whole shaker of salt.

And pray, pray, pray, ’cause there’s nothing else I can do.

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Filed under light reading, meditations, prayer

Things I’m thinking about.

– Since I’m only part white, does that mean I’m only partially Satanic?.
 – The ECLA Worldwide Assembly has followed in the footsteps of a whole bunch of churches (mine included) and wussed out. Yeah, yeah, pastoral reasons, bla bla bla, listening process, bla bla bla, I don’t give a flying fedora right now. Instead of sucking it up and saying one way or the other and then getting on with life, they’re pulling the band-aid off slowly by basically saying, “Well, if you want to be gay, your local leaders will tell you whether or not it’s Biblical and you’re a human being deserving of love.” Hate to bust your bubble, punkins, I am a human. Therefore deserving of love. If you don’t like that, take it up with God and leave me alone, ‘kay?

– Everyone’s talking about Assumption/Dormition/Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was yesterday. I celebrated my name day feast by going home, throwing my uniforms in the laundry, taking cold medicine, and going to bed early. But I’ve always wondered; how much of what Mary’s supposed to have said in the Bible did she really say? I mean, if an Angel in Glory stopped by my house when I was a teenager and said, “Hail Mary, full of Grace, the LORD is with thee”,  my response would have been, “Um… okay?”

– I think the BVM is one of those saints who gets the girly workover a lot. “Oh, she was so submissive to God and did such a good job as a single mother raising the Son of God with a deadbeat biological father, and she never raised her voice and was always sunshine and roses even when her son was breaking her poor heart.” Yeah. Did you miss the part when Jesus did his walkabout in Jerusalem and she finally found him, what’s the first thing she did? Went into a guilt-trip scold.

– I’ve gone from no jobs to two jobs. Both are temporary, but I’m working about 60 hours a week for the next three weeks (I’m working 13 hours today alone! Yay?) So if it’s quiet around here, that’s why. I am still thinking about How to Be An Episcopalian in Daily Life.

– I’m also wondering what you priestly folks think is the most important thing you learned in seminary.

-And finally, I’ve been toying with the idea of podcasting. I don’t know why. I think, though, there’s a dearth of podcasts of the ‘liberal’ Anglican/Episcopalian variety.  *shrug* We’ll see.

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Filed under me being myself, meditations

God is a Narcissist

I helped my Best Friend in the Whole Wide World move today, and on the drive home I was contemplating the Nature of God.

I do that sometimes, I know you’re all surprised.

Anyway, as I was contemplating the Nature of God, I came to the conclusion that it is impossible to be a solitary Christian, because God is a narcissist.

Let’s look at the evidence: God created all things, but God created humankind in God’s own blessed image. And God so loved the world (everyone sing along) that God sent the Only-Begotten, Jesus Christ to save us from ourselves.

Now Jesus was God, but also a human (The Holy Trinity. It’s wild, ain’t it?) And while Jesus was here on Earth in a human body, he wasn’t proceeded by 144 guys with fancy pants and bullhorns shouting, “God’s here! Fall down and worship him!” The Man Himself was too busy teaching people to reach out to each other, because every single person is a reflection of the One who needs no introduction, God.

“What is the greatest commandment?” the peanut gallery asked Jesus, while he was wandering around, just a dude with some buddies trying to make things a little better. “Love God,” The Man Himself said, “And there’s another commandment just like it, Love your Neighbor.”

So Jesus died and came back and went to heaven (Easter. It’s wild, ain’t it?) and some who heard Him went out and started seeing other people as created in the image of God, and reached out to that image and started a big ol’ circle dance that continues to this day. Even the hermits couldn’t get away from the reach of the image of God reflected in others, there’s always soemone reaching out to them either from a hierarchy in their religious order or people seeking out hermits for spiritual guidance.

You can’t be a Christian in a vacuum. To be a Christian, you have to follow Jesus, the Man Himself, follow Him out into the world, and love those created in the Image of God. Because God loves you, because God created you in God’s own blessed image.

God is totally, totally a narcissist. And that, as they say, is a good thing.

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Mistakes

I read the most horrible thing today.

It was a comment, out there in the Internet, on the blog of a person who talks about their transition from living as a female to living as a male.

Someone had written, “You are an abomination. God does not make mistakes.”

Transgendered, transsexual, and intersex people get lumped into the alphabet soup (GLBTIQ), but they face the greatest discrimination and receive the fewest legal protections against it. And while there’s a lot of talk about including gay and lesbian people into the church, no one mentions the transgendered or transsexual or intersex people.

Why? I don’t know. But it scares me, because it makes them invisible, and more ready to slip through the cracks. The fact that transgender, transsexual, and intersex are often used interchangeably is one of the warning signs.

I’m not going to say I understand transgendered, or transsexual, or intersex people, because I can’t. I’ve never been in that place, in those situations, it can only be abstract and academic for me.

What I will do is call you by whatever name you ask me to, use the pronouns you want me to use in reference to you.

Because God doesn’t make mistakes. God has known every one of us (gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, intersexed, or just plain queer) since before we were born. God is the one who knit our chromesomes together while we were still in our mother’s womb. God mixed up our hormonal balance, God designed our brains, God built us according to specs (copies of which can be reviewed at the Home Office, Street of Gold, New Jerusalem). God did not make a mistake when God created you.

People, though… well, us people are quite good at making mistakes. Especially the mistake of assuming our experience of the world is the right and good one, the common one, the way things ought to be.

I ask for forgiveness, from my siblings and from God, for discrimination, prejudice, fear and ignorance, by my own self and my culture.

Time to get to work.

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Wait, where are you going? Come back!

My favorite part of the Ascension story isn’t the ‘miracle’ of Jesus ascending into Heavenn.

Because, well, when you start talking about celestial bodies and the vacuum of space and the outpost Heaven’s set up on the Moon to serrve as a terminal for those coming and going… Too much theology. My head hurts.

No, my favorite bit is the scolding.

Acts 1:9-11 reports it. There the disciples are, just standing around, a little shocked, a little dropped-jaw action, and angels come down and say “What are you doing? Go on, git! There’s nothing to see here, folks, move along… Don’t y’all have some work to do? I’m pretty sure I heard him give you marching orders.”

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Too much talky?

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a woman of action. I like to get in and DO things, work with my hands, fix things that need fixing.

I’m wondering how much of the Church’s problems (and by that, I mean every single group that lays claim to the title) is too much talky.

Sorry, I know y’all like to call it stuff such as ‘discernment’ and ‘listening process’, but have we put too much faith in this talking and not enough in the Holy Spirit?

Could our blathering and blustering be blocking out the fresh wind that’ll blow the stale, dead air out of our churches?

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Shuck this fit, things gotta change.

Clint from House of Hagen posted this comment on my earlier thingamamimmie.

You know, I agree with you most of the time. And, to a certain extent, I agree with you that people need to learn to feed themselves. But let’s switch the metaphor a minute to one of a hospital, keeping in mind our Lord’s admonition that it is the sick who need a doctor, not the well. If I Went to the hospital because I was sick, and was discharged feeling no better or maybe worse, would you tell me to go out and heal myself?

As someone who now stand on the edge of the church, I have to say that one of my major issues is that a lot of parishes (switching back to the food metaphor) only know one recipe. They’re not open to change. They’re not dynamic, evolving, listening places. The model of top-down spiritual guidance has failed us, and no new system has been put in place that allows “subversives” like me to operate within the system. We don’t need more parish priests – we need more people who minister wherever there are people.

I think Rev. Brown Taylor’s got the right end of this, as do Marcus Borg and many others. I’m glad the parish model continues to work for so many. But what about those of us who it simply can’t (won’t?) accomodate or abide?

And I started replying in the commenty box, but it got too long. So, harhar! you’re going to have to read it here.

I haven’t read any of Marcus Borg’s books. I know I can pick him out of the crowd at Trinity Cathedral, if we both happen to be there at the same time (why do I somehow always manage to go when his wife’s preaching? I’m sure she’s very nice, but she’s not a great preacher…)

Anyway, I’m kind of wondering how you got a “More parish priests=YAY!” out of my last post, or, you know, any of my posts. Parish priest, in my opinion and experience, is a horrifyingly rare calling. And from what I’ve seen, in this time in the Episcopal Church, we’re calling a greater percentage of people to the priesthood than before, and a lot of them as second-career priests *coughPresidingBishopcough*

I think the Holy Spirit’s probably over in the corner, banging her head against the wall, going, “I’m calling you as a second-career priest so you can keep working in the world, being a witness to those who would never darken the doors of a church, and also lead my people, part-time full-heart. Get a couple of you together in a parish, your preaching skills will compliment this priest’s administrative skills, and the lay leaders totally fill in all the gaps. Why, it’s almost like I made up this marriage in Heaven! Who would have thought it?”

It really shouldn’t, for legal, ethical, and spiritual reasons, be the job of the parish priest to both preach and balance the parish checkbook. And yet, it happens. You know what we did at St. Thatguy the Dude? Took the checkbook away from our priest, told her to go write sermons, we’ve got this part under control.

Now, here’s the thing. It wasn’t the Deacon who told Mother to quit messing with the checkbook, it wasn’t the Bishop, it was just some lay guy. For that to work, however, and I think this is what frustrated Rev. Brown Taylor, the laity has to suck it up and take responsibility. Which we don’t want to do, because we’re churning out these priests who think they’re supposed to do it all, that their chausibles come complete with a big red S on the front for SuperPriest, and shoot, it’s just plain easier to let Father or Mother do it the way they want to, let’s not fight, they’re the special ones, after all, they’ve been to seminary and EVERYTHING!

So, whose fault is it that the hierarchy of the church thinks they’re the ones in control? Whose fault is it that people are not getting fed? Whose fault is it that they don’t feel the accomodations are right for them, whose fault is it that they cannot abide sitting in that pew with the status quo being the way it is?

And who the hell put this mirror in front of me?

Shuck that fit, things gotta change, and I’m gonna go get started on changing it right now.

Anybody else coming with?

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Filed under me being myself, meditations

Leaving Church (For The Grocery Store, BBL)

EpiScope is the first blog in my RSS reader. Mostly so I can scroll through all the news reports as fast as humanly possible. Today, though, one caught my eye, and it was titled, Safe haven of church may not be good for you, minister says.

Which, of course, made me go, “Whadahuh?”

Clicking on the article, I discover it was published in Northwestern University’s college paper. Prestigious, yes, but kids, this ain’t the New York Times, and the writing style proves it. Halfway down the article, the author pretty much jumps from discussing Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor’s new book Leaving Church, to talking about churches– oh, I’m sorry, the one parish in the Diocese of Chicago that disassociated itself from the Episcopal Church. They didn’t leave church, they just took their church over to the corner so no one else could play with it, but it’s the same thing, right? Man, the press so totally doesn’t Get Religion (blog).

Anyway, done with the gristle, back to the meat. I’d heard some interviews with Rev. Brown Taylor, and had some sympathy for her situation and her need to leave. But it makes me wonder about her call to ministry.

No, I’m not saying that God didn’t call her to the priesthood. She is an excellent preacher, writer, and academic. Three skills which are pretty much useless in a parish setting. Parish priest is a uniquely broad skill set, and you know what? It’s not for everyone. The biggest trap to fall into is being so caring, wanting to help everyone, that the parish priest overloads herself, takes every failure as their own private burden. It’s a personality thing, not a bad one, but if left uncontrolled and not reined in, it’s what makes educators and teachers burn out so fast. And I applaud her for realising that and getting out.

Rev. Brown Taylor, though, says something that kind of irks me. I’ll quote from the article:

Many people attend regular services without feeling challenged by faith and many clergy are exhausted by their work, she said.

“I’ve heard from clergy, both men and women, who are living on air,” she said. “I’ve heard from laypeople relieved to think that they aren’t crazy after all for coming away from church so hungry when everyone else appears to be rubbing full bellies.”

Man, these people would never survive in the house of my ancestors. What do you do if you sit down to dinner, and nothing looks good, and your 12 cousins, 16 aunts and uncles, 4 grandparents, and assorted other filial relatives fall upon the banquet like locusts and strip a 30 pound turkey down to bones in 47 minutes flat?

You get off your butt and go to the refrigerator and rustle up something tasty, duh. You sure as spitting don’t sit there wondering why you’re hungry! And if there’s nothing in the fridge, then you gather up some adventurous cousins, steal borrow the keys to Grandpa’s truck, and make a food run. AND THEN you come home and share!

I have no problem with people leaving church. It hurts, yeah, to see someone you love take off ’cause they aren’t finding what they need. And yeah, it’s kind of scary to leave a church because you need something else. But, as Rev. Brown Taylor has discovered, statistically there are people in the pews and even pulpits who are going through what you are, who have similar needs to you.

Please, if you’re hungry, leave! Go, see what’s out there that’s tasty! Then, bring it back and share it with your parish family. Some of us may still be hungry, too.


*BBL is shorthand for ‘Be Back Later’.

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