This is me today. I have to have a rant. I have to have it here because I am a grown up who understands that I can’t have this rant on Facebook where the people involved would see it and be made oh so sad.
I read a story this morning about the birth of a person’s child. This child was premature but is doing well. That’s good. It is the telling and interpretation of the story that makes me livid.
It starts with her water breaking 6 weeks early. She calls her sister who is a doctor. For a long time, I couldn’t figure this part out. Why? Her sister is many, many states away. She says that her sister helped her get into a hospital with a brand new NICU. I finally figured it out and it made me even madder than the rest of the story already had.
She had to call her doctor sister because she was 32 weeks pregnant and didn’t have an OB/GYN. She states later that she doesn’t trust doctors. (Until you need one.) She is of the ultra-conservative Christian, homeschooling (and now I presume, homebirthing) persuasion. I would have hoped she at least had a good midwife and not just some lady from a homeschooling group. However, a good midwife would have had a better emergency plan than “Call your sister” even if it just was “Call an ambulance.”
Ok, so how could her sister get her into a hospital? She doesn’t have admitting privileges in a land far, far way. I’m willing to bet she googled hospitals in the area and saw one that had just built a brand new NICU and said, “Drive there, stupid” or something similar.
But, you know where this is going. God provided and she was able to get into the hospital.
If you are a hospital and you have a brand new NICU and a woman about to make a premature baby wanders in off the street, I’mma guess you’ll probably take her in. I don’t know. Just my guess.
Anyhow, they admit her and put her in a bed. Labor stops. I hear that’s the treatment for that. I’ve heard tell there are drugs that might help too. Those aren’t mentioned in this story. They want the baby to stay cooking for at least another 10 days. God was faithful and it did. No thanks to those doctors and nurses and all their intervention and bed rest.
Speaking of interventions, she stated that she needed a lot of prayer to have the strength to endure daily blood tests. (Oh, were you being closely monitored by a team of professionals, maybe?) You don’t need prayer to endure. You just do it because you don’t have a choice. It isn’t going to kill you. You literally just lay there.
So the baby at one point was going the wrong way but then it turned around. That’s what they do when they decide to vacate the premises. Nope. Miracle.
Also for a while it looked like the umbilical cord was in the wrong place but after a few scans it turns out it wasn’t. Miracle – definitely not all the moving around the baby was doing a paragraph before.
It was eventually born and she didn’t need to have a c-section. That was good because she knew she needed to be able to get up and take care the baby and her other children. (Your mother always did say your husband was a lazy, good for nothing…..)
The baby did fine and was able to go home (after a 10 day stay in the brand-new, state-of-the-art NICU).
She was writing all this on Facebook in order to be able to thank all the people who cared for her unprepared self who prayed for her during her ordeal.
So of course everyone is commenting about how they prayed for her and how all this is proof of God’s love. I so badly want to say, “Wow, sounds like you did your absolute best to have major birth complications. Good thing you had great medical care. Do you trust doctors now?”
There are times when I so badly wish I had the immaturity of an internet troll.
There are few things I hate more than Christians on Facebook.
I have a list of topics that someday I am going to write discussion posts about. One of them is Why I Don’t Ship. It is going to be about not getting all crazy about romances that you want to happen and…well, you need to wait for the post. The point is, today I realized that I do have one ship and I need to vent.
On Wednesdays, I read a super conservative Christian link up for fun and aggravation. I’ve been doing this for years. I completely disagree with most everything they say. Many members believe that women should not be educated past high school. Once they finish school they should live at home until a husband appears for them. From where, you ask? God will provide. It may be through parent- arranged marriages. It won’t be through dating. Heavens, no.
There was this teenage guy who used to write often. He wrote about proper relationships between men and women. His posts made me wonder if he had ever had a conversation with a woman who was not in his immediate family. You know the scene in The 40 Year Old Virgin where he describes what breasts feel like and the more he talks the more obvious it is that he has no idea what he is talking about? That’s what this kid’s writings reminded me of every time. He went to college and was predictably horrified by it all.
Readers, I had a dream. I wanted him to meet a woman who was going to rock his world. I imagined her as a tall, voluptuous red head. She didn’t need to seduce him. She could just be a classmate whose classroom discussions cracked open his mind. I just wanted her to open his eyes to the fact that women are humans.
He quit writing a while ago. I hoped that was a good sign. Now through another blog in the community I hear that he is getting married. He is marrying someone who thinks like him. He got everything approved through the parents before talking to her. Seriously, I almost wanted to cry. I’m crushed. I now understand the anguish when your (fictional) ship crashes and burns.
I knew it was a long shot but there was precedence. I follow another blogger who I first read through that site as a teenager who believed in it all. I followed her blog as she went to college and gradually moved away from these strict views. (I worry that this is proof for some people that you shouldn’t let women go to college and get exposed to ideas.) She just got married to a man she picked out for her own self and I’m thrilled. I comment on her blog and try not to come across as the creepy person who has been stalking her for years but I’m just so proud of her.
I’ll try to be nicer about shippers in the future. I feel your pain.
Recently some relatives of mine erected a cross on their property. My reaction the first time I saw it was a disgusted sigh. Soon after someone tried to cut it down. Everyone is shocked — SHOCKED — I tell you. They can’t imagine why anyone would want to do that. I get it. Here’s what I would have told them if I hadn’t minded having a confrontation around the firepit and if I thought that they could have comprehended it.
It isn’t that Christians are being persecuted.
It isn’t that people hate Jesus.
When I see that, it is huge waving neon sign to tell me that the people involved are ignorant. Here’s why.
This isn’t a statement of their own piety even though they are practicing Christians.
A stranger approached them about putting it up on their property. It wasn’t their idea.
If it was for the benefit of their faith, I would think that they would put it somewhere that they could see it. There is a line of trees between their house and the cross.
It is angled so it isn’t square to the road as it passes by it, but so it is square in the line of sight as drivers come around a curve and over a hill. This cross is meant to be seen best by people approaching in a car. It is meant to confront strangers.
It is 15 freakin’ feet tall and painted white so you don’t miss it.
My second thought when I first saw it was, “Damn, that’s belligerent.” They wouldn’t understand unless the people across the road put up a 15 foot tall pentagram or statue of Ganesh or the Koran. They’d be the first people to be grumpy about people shoving things in their faces.
They can’t understand why everyone is so quick to take offense at things. Sorry, but that was deliberately meant to confront people. It was meant to offend so they could be up in arms about people getting offended. I don’t think all this went through my relatives’ heads but I’m fairly sure that is the agenda of some random person who knocks on doors of people with an empty field on a busy road.
With all that being said, I don’t think it was right to try to chop it down. You should be able to do whatever fool thing you want on your own property. I think of things like outrageously large crosses as being like Confederate flags on pickup trucks in the North. It is nice that the idiots are labeling themselves as such so I don’t stumble upon them unaware.
One passage from the Bible always comes to my mind in situations like this.
“Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2So, when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
5”And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7
Matthew 6: 1-7
If you aren’t Christian, what do you think when you see huge crosses? If you are Christian, what do you think the purpose is?
Have you not caused enough non-Christian eye rolling and sighing lately? Is it the wrong time of year to pull out your War Against Christmas gifs? Try these helpful suggestions.
Be Holier Than Everyone Else
To quote the great St. Weird Al of Yankovic’s epistle to the masses–Amish Paradise – “I know that I’m a million times as humble as thou art.”
Some of the most effective posts using this technique are ones that imply you are ashamed of Jesus of you don’t share this post immediately. It couldn’t possibly be that you aren’t interested in passing along stupid memes. It means that you are denying Christ just like it said would happen in the Bible!
Thank God for Random Things
“I just took my car to the garage and my favorite mechanic was there! God is SO GOOD!”
Let’s get this straight. God rearranged the entire universe so you wouldn’t have to interact with someone new? Why didn’t he just make your car not break in the first place? Maybe you should send a cookie basket to the person who actually schedules the mechanics at your garage.
Your husband is in the hospital with a whole list of ailments? After you list them all, immediately add “I give God all the thanks for this diagnosis!!”
Really? Did a set of these drop down on the foot of his bed – miraculously avoiding breaking his toes of course.?
Of course the 10 Commandments were written in English, silly!
If this didn’t happen, maybe you should add some medical professionals to your cookie basket buying list.
Aggressively Search Out the Bright Side
Find a Facebook friend who is having a bad time. It has to be a real bad time like sudden onset of debilitating chronic illness, not just a vague “Prayers please” post. Now everytime this friend posts something sad about her life blow up her comments with cheer.
Lines to get you started:
“Our God is bigger than this.”
“God has such a great plan for you.”
“You will have such a great testimony after this.”
“It’s just a flesh wound!” Maybe that’s something else….
Be secure in the knowledge that you are turning the thoughts of the non-Christians reading this to God. They are probably thinking that these are some really heartless things to say to someone who is suffering and if you God is so big why doesn’t he just fix it. That would get people’s attention. But, they are thinking about Christianity!
My problem is that because of my former life I can understand the sentiment behind the trite phrases that conservative Christians use. I don’t think that they understand how stupid and sometimes cruel most of it sounds to non-Christians though.
I was driving behind a car the other day that was covered in bumper stickers proclaiming the superiority of the King James Version of the Bible. This seemed an odd thing to make bumper stickers about, let alone deciding to wall paper your car with them.
One particularly caught my eye because it seemed to be in code.
Because I’m nosy I immediately googled the verse in King James of course. (Yes, while driving, for shame.) Then my head exploded.
6 The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
7 Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
Those words combined with the date of 1611…. They couldn’t possibly be trying to imply that the Bible says that the King James Version is the only true version because it wasn’t this generation’s doing?
Turns out that this is a real thing. It has been going on since 1930 so I’m quite late to the party. There are lots of websites parsing the pronouns in the verses to show that it doesn’t mean that. Seriously, you need to go back to the original language to prove this is a load of BS? How about applying a bit of logic?
The Psalms were written waaaaaaaaaaay earlier than 1611. The people in the 1600s were a new uppity generation messing with the words when they translated them into English.
Does that mean that people in that generation couldn’t use that version because it was of their time?
You think the Psalms predicted the translation of the Bible (a book that didn’t exist) to English (a language that didn’t exist) and felt strongly enough about it to only want it translated in the one version?
What is wrong with people? You ought not be putting stupid bumper stickers on your car to bother me like this.
One of my guilty pleasures is to lie in bed with my iPad and browse Raising Homemakers. I like reading posts from people with totally different views than me. I really like Wednesdays when they have a link party and you can read about all kinds of stuff.
Since most of the bloggers lean far to right side of evangelical Christianity, recently there has been a glut of posts about the evils of Halloween. I’ve read them all and have so much to say but I have been refraining from commenting. I figure most bloggers aren’t really interested in comments that disagree with them. I don’t want to be that person who leaves the comment that gets everyone all riled up. So, here’s what I want to say.
Reason why Halloween is bad #1 – My kids need to know that there are real witches out there who hate God and worship Satan and want to harm them.
I’ve spent lots of time in churches and in the pagan community. Let me tell you that the Christians are way overestimating the pagan community. Pagans aren’t going around plotting the overthrow of Western civilization. Getting to a ritual on time is a major undertaking for many. At rituals it isn’t all “Hail Satan.” It is moving some energy around and then having food and drinks. Hard as it may be for Christians to comprehend, the thoughts and intentions of nonChristians aren’t occupied with ways to oppress Christians. Live and let live is pretty much the overall motto.
I understand that in the conservative Christian mindset anyone who is not worshipping their God is by definition worshipping Satan. But, I get the impression that these bloggers think that there is a Black Mass being held on every block.
Reason why Halloween is bad #2 – It isn’t safe.
This sets my Free Range Kids – reading brain on edge. Statistically speaking Halloween is one of the safest days out there. It is probably because it is the one day when people are out on the streets and being neighborly. Poisoned candy and razor blades in apples? Urban myths.
One person questioned why she would allow her kids to go up to strangers and talk to them on this day and she forbids it every other day. Wow, I hope those kids never get lost and need to ask for directions or have to buy things in a store or have to interact with society at all in a way that makes them have to talk to strangers.
The root of this fear is that someone might abduct her little precioussssses. Let me burst your bubble here. You may think they are so swell that everyone is lining up to steal them from you. But the truth is that 99.99999999999999999999% of the world doesn’t want your brat – especially if they all sugared up on Halloween candy. So, send them out with a buddy and let them have fun.
Of course, I may just be on a rant because I’m sugar free all the way through the Halloween season.
“…the debate is not over the fact that atheists can’t be good, but rather that there is no objective basis for their being good. “No matter how much non-theists and anti-theists engage in grammatical gymnastics – without God there is no objective, absolute, ultimate foundation for what is good or why to pursue it,” he said in an email.
For Christians, McFarland said, the “basic premise is that since people are made in God’s image, all humans have inherent worth, value, and dignity. When you see humans as a mere product of evolution (as non-theists do), there is less incentive to invest in benevolent causes because human life is cheapened.”
Has anyone in the history of time ever come up with that conclusion except for Christian writers? Have you ever heard a scientific person say, “I was going to sit home and watch TV but then it occurred to me that my belief in evolution means that human life is cheapened so I’m going to go become a serial killer instead?”
Let’s go over this again slowly. Society has determined what is “good” and what is “bad”. Christians would say that they got the idea from God. Others would say that it was determined by what was best for the community. Either way it doesn’t matter. “Good” and “bad” are pretty much defined at this point. People either conform to society’s mores or they don’t.
The people who really scare me are the ones like this writer who are only being good because they think their god is watching them. If they ever found out that he wasn’t, would they go on a rampage?
That sound you hear is the sound of my head hitting the wall over and over again. Have you gotten this on Facebook yet? It is a song that is supposedly being suppressed by the radio stations because it talks about God.
You place your hand on His Bible, when you swear to tell the Truth
His name is on our greatest Monuments, and all our money too, And when we Pledge allegiance, there’s no doubt where we stand,
There is no separation, we’re one Nation under Him.
In God We Still Trust Here in America
He’s the one we turn to every time
The goin’ gets rough
He is the source of all our Strength
The One who watches over us
Here in America In God We Still Trust
Now there are those among us who want to push Him out,
And erase His name from everything, this country’s all about, From the Schoolhouse to the Courthouse, they’re Silencing His Word,
Now it’s time for all Believers, to make our Voices heard.
Let’s analyze, shall we?
You pledge on the Bible even though it says that swearing oaths is bad.
“One Nation Under God” is a 1950s addition to the pledge of allegiance. I have a real problem with the pledge anyway. Why should everyone be forced to stand and blindly say, well, does anyone even know what they are signing up for in that pledge? Does anyone even notice the words when they say it? Cutting that rant short for now.
Then they say that there is no separation. Wow, throw away the bill of rights. Bet they’d get huffy if we threw out the right to bear arms.
In the chorus we find that we turn to God when the going gets rough Isn’t that when most people start saying things are the will of this same God?
Then the second verse outlines the problem of people trying to shut up God. If he was so immensely powerful how could these people shut him up? I’m sure God could fight his own battles. Besides I thought we were all united and non-separated in verse one. Where did this opposition suddenly come from?
Yes, I’m an educated, lefty, pseudo-intellectual who finds it laughably easy to make fun of “the working man.” (Notice how that phrase is always used to imply that anyone not struggling to exist on their salary must not be working? Going to many years of college to better yourself instead of working minimum wage jobs means that you will never understand “real folk.” Reverse snobbery at its best.) I’m exactly the kind of person verse two warned you was out there.
1. I believe this is a country founded on the principles of freedom of beliefs. I don’t want to be told that if I disagree with you religiously that must make me some kind of traitor. There are more viewpoints in the world than just yours. Let’s work on sharing the world, ‘k?
2. In the spirit of religious pluralism, including atheism, let me say that I don’t want to hear your prayers before sporting events or public dinners or anywhere else. You can pray if you want but keep it to yourself. You know that fundamentalist Christians would be the first ones screaming if they were forced to ever hear a Hindu prayer in public. Guess what? I feel the same way about your prayers.
And while we are on the subject of religious freedom, it occured to me today that it is almost time for that great American tradition – the “Taking Christ out of Christmas” feeding frenzy. It depressed me when I realized that. Let me explain slowly.
1. I’m not a Christian. I will not be worshipping Christ this December. Christmas is mainly a secular holiday in the U.S. Don’t argue. Your own rhetoric says that people aren’t honoring God enough around the holiday. But, that doesn’t stop you from worshipping as you wish. Do your own thing and quit worrying about everyone else. (Likewise, same-sex marriage won’t destroy your marriage. I’m just sayin’.)
2. Saying “Happy Holidays” to someone is not the secret sign of the devil. Here’s what I think when someone says that to me at a store. “Well isn’t that nice. This person acknowledges that there are many religious holidays in December. She is unable to know which, if any, I am celebrating but wants me to enjoy myself in the manner of my choosing.” Unfortunately now, after all the ranting about how Americans need to say Merry Christmas or baby Jesus will cry, when someone says Merry Christmas to me at a store I automatically think, “Self-righteous prick trying to impose their will on me. Fight the power!”
This all reminded me that I lost my favorite pin in the move. I can’t go through another December without a new “The Solstice is the Reason for the Season” pin. The small possibility of making someone think is the one thing that lets me face the crowds at the mall.
I was minding my own business this morning when a woman said to me, “Guess what? I’m getting married soon!”
This came as a bit of a shock to put it mildly. She has a stream of guys and the only ones she keeps for any length of time are the ones she ought not to. I said, “Really?”
“Yep, sometimes in the next six months or so.” She then proceeded to tell me that she is back with an old boyfriend who used to choke her when he drank or got high. I must have made the shocked face because she added quickly that he’s been sober for nine years now. Ok, good for him. The next question must have been showing on my face because she said that she’s been clean for nine days.
Turns out that they went to talk to her old pastor about a life plan. He told them that if they were thinking about living together they should just get married.
Let’s review –
1) This is a previously abusive relationship.
2) They just started dating again.
3) One is sober and one is not.
What about this says to someone, “Those crazy kids should go get hitched”? This is a case where a trial run of living together makes sense because this could go super diasasterly wrong. I expressed this opinion.
She said that her pastor said that living together doesn’t work and if you go into marriage knowing that it is forever than your marriage will last.
I was raised on that thinking too. I got married with that mindset. I’m sure my ex did too. Well, guess what? I’m divorced. It happens despite your best intentions.
Now I’m living happily in sin as it were. We’re committed to each other as much as if we were married. We aren’t married for a variety of legal and financial reasons and because we’ve both been there done that and know that a piece of paper does not magically solve any problems. People say to me, “Since you aren’t married you can just walk away if you get mad.” Nope.
Actually it was easier for my ex to walk away from my marriage than it would be for the SO and I to separate. The ex had the money to get an extra apartment. I’m too subborn to move if the SO tries to get rid of me. We have a dog in common. While the ex just left the animals I know there would be a custody battle over Freckles!
What keeps us together is the fact that we want to be together. It isn’t the hassle of the legal papers. By the time you get to that the hard work of divorce is done.
Hopefully I’ve got a few months to convince her that this isn’t the best advice she’s ever gotten for either one of them.
“Contraception is a most potent destroyer of marital harmony,” said McCrystal, author of Who’s at the Centre of Your Marriage: The Pill or Jesus Christ.
I couldn’t make this stuff up. I got it from here via ladiesagainstfeminism.com which I read when I want to be struck speechless. Another link I followed from there was referring to single women as “ladies in waiting”. That’s waiting for men, I presume.
Apparently everyone in the universe has started to think just like me. Therefore, I can’t get anything I want on Netflix because everything on my queue has a very long wait. Because of this I was in the local movie rental store today. They have TVs playing with movie trailers. I saw the most offensive thing ever.
The movie is called No Greater Love (the link is to YouTube and the trailer I saw). Here’s the premise:
These people get married and have a kid.
The wife has alcohol problems and disappears.
Ten years later the husband and son have moved on and the husband is about to get engaged.
They run into the wife by accident at a local church.
The husband wants her back but her church says they can’t get back together because he’s not a Christian.
At this point I was waiting for someone in the trailer to jump up and point out that this crazy woman ran out on her family for 10 years so she isn’t worth the hassle. She didn’t ever bother to come looking for them. I was also waiting for someone to point out that saying that the guy who was the mature and responsible adult was now unworthy was bloody stupid. But this didn’t happen because it turns out that this is a Christian movie so the rest of it is spent trying to get the mature and responsible man to see the error of his ways.
Christian propaganda like this just makes me want to scream. How can a woman who did all these horrible things now be the paragon of virtue just because she took up with a religion? How can they say that the people who cleaned up after all her crap are now unworthy of her?
When I was a Christian I also had a real problem with the parable of the laborers who were all paid the same wage no matter how long they worked. I think that is the influence of my union-loving father but it seems like the same idea is in play here. It doesn’t matter what you did or who you are or even what you act like now as long as you are supposedly born again then you are better than everyone who isn’t. I know, I know, that isn’t the way it is supposed to be read but that has always been my experience in dealing with evangelical Christians. Getting rid of this attitude is why I think that I’m a nicer person now that I’m out of the church than I ever was when I was in it.
In all the sites I pulled up looking for a synopsis of the story of this movie to make sure that I had understood properly no reviewer ever questioned the premise. They all just went along with the fact that the man was unworthy since he wasn’t Christian. It was a given that doesn’t need to be discussed, I guess. So I added my thoughts to a few sites just to put an alternative point of view out there in case it might make a few people think.
Heading off to bang my head against the wall for a while now in hopes of removing the memory of this movie from my mind…
I love Hobby Lobby. But the music that plays there drives me batty. They play instrumental versions of Christian music. If it was just background noise I could ignore it. But the problem is that I was raised as a good evangelical girl and when I hear the music my brain chimes in the words – for all the verses. Occasionally it will add in the harmonies. I don’t know what annoys me more – the fact that they play the songs or the fact that this wouldn’t annoy me at all if I didn’t know all the words. It is my raising coming out in full harmony in my brain.
I have a soft spot for owls. I got to work with two of them in vet school and I love their quiet nature even when they are mad. I always wished that I’d see some around here but I never have until recently.
Last Friday I was on my way to work at the clinic that I wanted to buy. I saw an owl (I think it was a Great Horned – it was big!) fly from a tree down to the ground on the side of a very busy road. Today I’ve been thinking about other possibilities in my professional life. Something just doesn’t seem right about buying the clinic I wanted. I keep getting the impression that I’m getting ripped off but I can’t put my finger on why or how. I went back and talked to some people that I had talked to earlier about other options today. Tonight I was walking out of the barn to go catch the horses and saw what I think is a barn owl circling over the property. It just kept gliding around the house and barn.
Two sightings in 10 days when I’ve never seen any before and on days when I’m trying to decide the direction of my life made me think about what owls symbolize. I found this:
Owls know when to move silently and when to be still, which makes them the keepers of secrets. These solitary birds don’t feel the need to proclaim their presence to anyone until the timing is right. Owl comes to us when we need to open our eyes, and study the situation at hand. If we watch and listen with our inner selves we can figure out what is happening behind the scenes, and confront those who are trying to deceive us at the appropriate time.
I’m not a big totem person but that is pretty cool. It got me to thinking that we only consider cool animals to be totems. I’ve having a raging battle with a possum in my barn. I looked him up to see if he was message but no one seems to want to claim the possum totem.
Last January I did a tarot spread for the year. Since it was such a topsy-turvy year for me I went back and reviewed it. I don’t really remember specifics about the first of the year so let’s start when it gets interesting.
August – 9 of swords – anxiety, breaking illusions
Huh, husband is starting to act weirder than usual.
September – 2 of wands – making a choice, seeing beyond illusions
Husband walks out.
October – the fool – adventure, inexperience, journey
Start dating again
November – ace of wands – creative awakening, new ideas
Start thinking about buying a vet practice.
December – 2 of cups – fulfilling relationship
Uh, sorry no.
The funniest part is what I wrote to end that entry.
Wow. I’m not sure I’m ready for all that.
I had no idea how unready I was! LOL. I had a person ask me today if I had a good year. I laughed and said I had an interesting year. For the record, I don’t think I’ll be pulling cards for this year. I don’t even want to know.
I’ve been mulling over a situation that happened at an event I was judging this summer. The organizers are friends of mine. They are very outspoken Christians. References to their faith are all through their conversations. As a partially closeted Pagan I have to respect anyone who is that free with sharing what is important to them. But the problem at this event was public prayer.
The first night dinner was for officials only. There was a prayer said aloud over the meal. It was not some generic prayer either. It was of the “Dear Jesus, our Lord and Savior, who died for us….” variety. I looked around and knowing the people in the group, I was probably the only one who was bothered by this. But it happened again the next night at a dinner for all participants. In fact, the food line was already going for the buffet when they called for attention and had a prayer. That’s when the rumbling started. I overheard other people discussing how much it bothered them to have public prayers. What I found interesting was that the main person with the problem also sometimes officiates at events and she was worried about speaking up because she was worried that she would offend people and lose judging jobs.
Now, my friends will have events again. I would like to mention this. I didn’t do it at the time for two reasons. One, they are very emotional. They would have been crushed to think that they had offended people. There would have been sobbing and high drama that we didn’t need at the time. Two, they wouldn’t have understood. To tell them not to express their faith is like telling them not to breathe. Also, that feeds into the world view that they’ve been taught. If people are uncomfortable with Jesus talk then it means that they need to hear it even more.
I was reminded of this because of our foster/adopt classes. They started with asking why we were there. One man said that he was Christian and God wanted him to get back into fostering. That was accepted as an answer as it should have been but it made me wonder what would have been said if I had said that I’m a Pagan and the Goddess wants me to foster or that I did a tarot spread that lead me to that class. This same man also led a public prayer before lunch today. Again, I don’t think it is an attempt to be belligerent. I think it is that some people honestly can’t imagine that what they are doing is offensive.
How do other people handle this? Just ignore it (and possibly slide to the front of the buffet line when everyone else is praying)? Confront and/or educate the person?
I’ve been planning on doing it all summer but today I finally went to the new Creation Museum in KY. Here is my official review. It is long and has lots of pictures. Sorry to anyone on dial-up.
For anyone who doesn’t know my background, I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. At the time I was studying I was a fundamentalist Christian. I learned all my required evolutionary theory with no problems. I didn’t think much about how it correlated with my faith. I was good at cognitive dissonance in those days. After vet school my faith changed. Do I think science has all the answers? No, but I think it has the best answers that we have at this time. So with that all in mind I went to see what was being presented at this museum.
I’d been following the story of the building of the museum and knew that there were millions of dollars involved. It shows. The facility is beautiful. This is the entrance.
When I went inside I was amazed that there was a long line for admission. It was 11:45 on a Monday morning. The line was full of very polite people. Since driving in I was feeling very sad. All I could think was, “Do all these people believe this?” and “This is a beautiful presentation of a lie.”
I paid for my admission and bought admission to the planetarium show. I figured since I had driven down I was going to see it all. The first exhibit I saw was a life sized model of a Wooly Rhino skeleton with these signs.
If you were near me at this point in my tour I would have been the lady standing slightly open-mouthed with tears in my eyes. It actually felt hard to breathe. Everyone around me was happily taking all this in as fact. I turned the corner and came face to face with this.
The dinosaur and the prehistoric child together. The dino wags his tail and moves his head. It is similar to canine play posturing. Dinosaur as prototypical Golden Retriever.
From here you are funneled past some small exhibits. Here is a representative sign.
I tried to go to the rest of the museum but guards stopped me and wouldn’t let me pass because it was less than 45 minutes to my planetarium reservation. So I wandered a bit near the entrance and found this.
The vegetarian part of me loves it but sadly, the scientific part just can’t agree.
I went to the planetarium and the show was very well produced. It was pretty good until the end when it started talking about things that science doesn’t have an answer for. I’m ok with not having an answer but I don’t know that I can trust that they are telling me the truth about there not being scientific rationale for the examples cited. Astronomy is not something I know about. That’s the problem with this museum. If I wasn’t well versed in biology would the absurdity be as clear?
On my next attempt I got past the guards to the rest of the museum. I walked into a display of fossils. There was a movie playing. The “scientist” on screen said that he knew how to interpret fossils because the Bible tells him what happened. His colleague comes to a different conclusion because he doesn’t believe. Shot of spooky looking Chinese guy representing the unbeliever is on screen. I scoffed out loud but quietly. That washed away the sadness I was feeling and moved me towards open disbelief.
So how do you deal with the fossil record? Show displays comparing and contrasting “Human Reason” and “God’s Word.”
Then there is a display about the Bible and you move into a narrow hall that talks about what happens if the Bible is ignored. You are moving from a light and airy room to a cramped, graffiti lined passage. There are fake mice. It is dark and gloomy. The walls are papered with magazine and newspaper articles doubting Christianity. The guys in front of me looked at each other and said, “Are we going into the ghetto?”
There are 2 video screens under a sign asking what happens if you remove Scripture from the home. In one a boy is wearing a t-shirt with beer pictured on it and he is on the internet. The room is messy. I couldn’t hear the sound. In the next a teen girl is on the phone. She has a pregnancy test in her hand. Then there are displays for taking Scripture out of church, etc. A loudspeaker gives statistics. As I was about to be able to leave this room it said that 50% of teen girls had had premarital sex. I stopped cold to wait to see if they would say anything about boys. No. Apparently either the girls are having sex by themselves or they are all lesbians because no boys are involved. Got my feminism all riled up. By now I was starting to talk out loud. But it must not have been too obnoxious because no one even looked at me. There was a thing that said that the church might be dead and buried in 40 years. Ah, the Christian persecution complex is alive and well.
I eventually moved into a replica of the Garden of Eden and the story of the fall of man.
Let us never miss a chance to take a swipe at gay marriage, I guess.
You turn a corner and come face to face with huge pictures of women screaming in labor, junkies (minorities only), wolves snarling, etc. I doubled over laughing. It had gone so absurd at this point. I worked my way through Noah’s Ark to the dinosaurs. I’ll let them speak for themselves.
In case you didn’t know the Flood was in 2348 BC. That would be smack-dab in the middle of the Egyptians building the pyramids. They don’t address that little problem.
I was in a pretty good mood so I decided to hit another movie on my way out. It is called Men in White. Two angels in white coveralls tell an animatronic girl not to listen to her culture and to believe the Bible. The intro says that it is a satire but that you will learn truths. This movie made me furious. I was taking notes like crazy all the way through. It was so bad that I’ll just give the highlights.
1. The basic idea is that evolution equals despair. If it is true then life can have no meaning.
2. They said that evolution only makes sense if you believe that you have billions and billions of years to work with. Then they laughed because that’s obviously not true.
3. There was a fake news broadcast with a scientist called Dr. Ed U. Kaded. The angel guys would mute him and mock what he was saying. That gives the impression that it is bad to be educated.
4. They tried to say radioisotope dating of rocks doesn’t work using various examples. My favorite was when they said that the rocks thrown out of Mt. St. Helens were tested to be thousands of years old when everyone knows that it erupted in the 1980s. (Uh, they were inside the volcano for a long time and were spit out in the 80s? Sorry, my logic kicked in there for second.)
5. There was a scene in a science class. No one is listening to the cartoonishly boring teacher. (Implication – science is boring). The angel guys start asking questions to the teacher that he of course can’t answer. The implication being that no one can answer them. The teacher says that the proof for evolution is the picture of an ape leading to proto-humans leading to Homo sapien. The angel guys say it is just a picture. The teacher gets flustered because this drawing is the only proof he has.
6. At the end they explain that atheism is a bias that scientists have so they can’t see that God created everything. (And they aren’t biased?)
7. Again they state that if you dismiss Genesis then you dismiss the existence of God and therefore life has no meaning.
I was so frustrated after this that I went for a walk in the gardens. They are lovely and getting out in nature made me feel better.
I breathed deeply and settled myself. I started to imagine what wonderful museums could be made about the Hopi Creation stories or the Feri Star Goddess who who gave birth to the universe after an act of (gasp) self-love if millions of dollars were available. I took a comment card and wrote that it made me sad to see these displays of intellectual dishonesty and lies presented as fact. I mailed the card so my voice can be heard even though it won’t matter. I will be making a matching donation to a scientific organization to balance the money I spent on admission.
Happy Lughnasa! I’m celebrating by having a feast of bread products.
Yesterday I was staring at 4 bananas threatening to melt into my countertop so I decided to make banana bread. (It is a change from zucchini anyway!) I made Bryann’s Tender No-Fat Banana Bread and Banana Flax Seed Bread because I just couldn’t decide what sounded better. They are both very good.
Then last night I made Monkey Bread which is so terribly bad for you that I really shouldn’t give the recipe so I’m not responsible for adverse health events.
Take 1 loaf of thawed bread dough and tear it into bite sized pieces. Put a goodly amount (this is very scientific) of sugar and cinnamon in a gallon ziploc bag. You want the sugar to be about 1/2 inch deep in the bottom of the bag. Put the bread in the bag and toss to coat. Pull out the pieces of bread and shake off any sugar that doesn’t stick. Put the bread in a round pan. Melt 1 stick of butter. Mix the extra cinnamon and sugar in the bag with the butter. Pour it over the bread in the pan. Bake for 25 minutes at 350.
Then I made cinnamon rolls today to take to the people at work in the spirit of Lughnasa. So it was giving, a religious offering, and I got to eat cinnamon rolls!
My garden overflows with zucchini. I like zucchini in sauces and stir-fries and I love a good zucchini bread as much as the next person but my creativity is running low. This morning I picked two monster zucchini that were lurking in the garden.
I recently cleared the windowsill in my kitchen and arranged a candle, some stones, a Buddha, and a stained glass angel into an altar. I lit the candle and thanked the Goddess for her blessings. My attitude towards my zucchini immediately got better.
One zucchini was shredded and immediately turned into two loaves of bread. There was enough shredded zucchini left over for probably another two loaves but I froze that and will be taking it to my garden-less mother this weekend. The second zucchini was sliced. Half of the slices were the size of burgers. I lightly breaded those with a mix of whole wheat flour, ground flax, and wheat germ and froze them. The rest of it was chopped smaller and blanched. It will be also be frozen and ready to throw into any dish I cook the rest of the year.
I also picked two cucumbers and a banana pepper that will be given starring roles in a cucumber, mango, and black bean salad.
My two little zucchini plants don’t seem ready to stop producing any time soon. I’ll be loading my freezer and passing them out to any unsuspecting person I can find. But in remembering to give thanks this turns from a burden to a blessing.
This was taken on the summer solstice. The pictures looked horrible in the camera so I never did anything with them. I transfered a bunch today from my camera to the computer and they look totally different! This isn’t the actual moment when the sun disappeared (that still looks awful) but this shot is much better than I actually remember the day being.
I went to a wedding last weekend and one phrase in the ceremony smacked me upside the head. I wrote it down on my checkbook to make sure I remembered it. That got me some weird looks since it is not really normal behavior to take notes at a wedding.
The pastor said, “With your prayers you move the hand of God.”
That perfectly expresses a theological conundrum that I could never figure out about Christianity. If their God is all knowing then he knows the future. If he knows the future then he knows what he is going to do in the future. If the prayers of people convince him to change his mind, wouldn’t he have already foreseen that? If there is a perfect divine plan and will how can it be changed and still be perfect?
For the pastor’s statement to be true you either have to believe that you are powerful enough to bully God into doing what you want instead of what he planned or you have to believe that God is making it up as he goes along and is willing to go along with what people want. Neither of those are consistent with the other teachings of the church.
Am I totally missing something? Is there a way to make that statement logically fit with evangelical Christian teaching?