Black Atheists: Out of the Closet -- okay, more than the actual content here, it was fascinating just to see this addressed. I personally haven't noticed this level of severity, but I'm kind of, uh, estranged, and in this arena at least, my code-switching abilities are still pretty "great and manifold."
Boy Won't Graduate From Baptist School If He Attends Secular Prom

Some of the comments on this one are extra-special.

"going to prom is a thing that every teenager looks forward to in their lives. this world promotes prom as a fun thing to do and they dont see anything wrong with it. But Jesus does. Jesus is a Jew for one and they are not allowed to drink so if you do not think drinking is wrong check your standards"


Personally? I think that people who don't seem to know their own religion (water into wine much?) should think very hard about making bold comments about OTHER PEOPLE'S. (Seder much? Geeze. That kosher vineyard tour in Israel that I took in '07 is going to be full of very shocked guides when they hear about this.)

"Dancing has changed from what it used to be, in David's time dancing was to march in a circle, not this abominable act we now call dancing."

(Well darn, and I enjoyed the Electric Slide.) Okay, now you're just making up stuff. David, who danced for spontaneous joy (and was censured by his wife for it) in front of the Ark of the Covenant as it was carried down the street, was "marching in a circle" now? Learn yours first, THEN (attempt to) use other people's for (dubious) reference, 'kay?

Boy, you go to prom.
The Feminist Quran now available for download

I have no knowledge with which to analyze this, so no comment. (I haven't even begun reading the Koran I got last year yet.) But MUCH fascination. All God's Children: Inside Quiverful, the Christian Patriarchy Movement

Any religion that requires me to joyfully rupture my uterus is not the religion -- nor the God -- for me. Sorry. Rick Steves on Iran. And Marijuana.: Food for thought.

Requisite disclaimer? Citation of anything in this LJ is not automatically indication of [full or even partial] endorsement, but it is indication of interest.

The city of Obama, Japan gets all excited...

And... it's all Satan's fault.

I happily embrace my agnostic label and have for more than a decade, but and a large part of me will always be glad that I had the religious upbringing I had, which relied on questions, study, and logic, rather than this sort of behavior.

I think I might have been extremely lucky. Luckier than I've realized.

And... PERSONAL TRIUMPH! I have obtained the software to make my Zen Vision work properly! Books-on-tape and "The Firebending Masters"! James Marsters reading Proust Jim Butcher! (In the time it's taken me to get the damn software they've brought out like three better models already...)
Holy... er...sugar.

I'm... surprised. But it's been so long I'm not sure if I should be.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34, 35 (NIV)

While individual Adventists will hold a diversity of views on same-sex marriage and the role of religion in public life, all Adventists ought to consider carefully the serious religious liberty and church-state implications that Proposition 8 presents. We urge the Church State Council to rescind its support for Proposition 8. We encourage Adventists in California to vote “NO” on Proposition 8.

Well gosh durn.

Okay, now I've been utterly out of the loop since the late 90s, and the last time I checked in, so to speak, it was because some fringe creepazoid cited an article I wrote in my college newspaper as proof that I was leading the youth to Satan. (I wrote the "pro" column on "going to the movies." Don't ask. :-D My prof, an ordained minister, asked me to write it, that's all we need to know.)

So how nice is this? I mean it's not a ringing endorsement of gay marriage or anything, but c'mon, these are fundamentalists. ~__^

*recognizes names* OMG OMG I know that guy!!! We used to fight in the editorial column because he was trying to directly legislate community unity! ^_______^

And they are on YouTube!!

OMG, I'm weird
You know, I am pretty sure that God loves even you.

I, on the other hand, hate your smug, vile, stinking guts.

(What? I'm a backsliding infidel.)

Religious Idiots to Picket Ledger Funeral

(It's going to be so funny when they are all reincarnated as bacteria.)
When does Lent start?

I think I may seriously need to consider observing it.

Shall I give up cookies, or buying books? The cookies I could actually do -- no bookbuying for 40 days might just destroy me. But I need to quit cold turkey. This is getting ridiculous. My floor is a maze. I have black and blue marks on my shins. And while I'm sure I will read them all eventually, the fact of the matter is I'm not doing it for lack of reading material, I'm doing it because standing in a bookstore makes me feel good and walking out with a stack in my hands is satisfying and cheers me up when I am, er, uncheery. (I buy more in winter, I always have.) It's more reliable than booze.

I do not want to have to take on manuscript work to support my book habit. That's dumb.

I won't do the Mass thing or the ash-cross on my forehead as I'm not actually Catholic and that would be disrespectful, I think, but the having of the deadline dates would be awesome...
And with this, Mister Christopher H. needs to finally leave my lists of interests, and probably my radar entire as well. There's "entertaining opposing opinions" and then there's just "enough is enough." Somebody get this man some alcohol.
Somebody with superior Google-fu, please fly to mine aid:

I need to find something, anything really, about a monotheistic culture which was NOT nomadic. Are there any? I am tired and can't think. All I know is that it was more likely for a wandering people to carry their One God with them, whereas the agriculturalists tended to find a God for every aspect of order in their lives. (I suspect it's a Cain and Abel thing.)

Did I mention I am tired as hell? I refuse to make sense.

SO -- monotheism without nomadism, please. Somebody. (Merci)
tsubaki_ny: (here I come to save the day)
Holy crap -- I have been cited in a published work as a corrupt and corrupting force. For an article I wrote about THIRTEEN YEARS AGO. For this quote:

"If a movie is uplifting, if it teaches me something about what it means to be a human being, if it does not degrade humanity by promoting triviality, over-cynicism, or disrespect for human life, or if a movie provides another viewpoint -- a different culture or time than the one I am used to -- if a movie does something for my mind, then I see no reason not to see it. (The Columbia Journal, 15 April 1994)"

why am I even... I mean... guh. *brain explodes* )
EDIT TWO: Okay so a friend of mine just put some more perspective on it for me ), "Cured Gays" still ostracized by churches

Fascinating, frustrating, and sad. Watch short ad at Salon to read, or click lj cut below. (reader letters follow on third page of link.)

Gay, godly and guilty

The thoughtful new book "Straight to Jesus" reveals the torment suffered by gay Christians who entered a residential program to battle their sexual desires.
By Laura Miller

Jul. 11, 2006 | If you were looking for evidence of how hard it is to change our fundamental sexual proclivities -- not minor aspects, like a taste for black lingerie, but the deep stuff, like whom we're attracted to -- you'd find plenty of it in Tanya Erzen's thoughtful new book, "Straight to Jesus: Sexual and Christian Conversions in the Ex-Gay Movement." Erzen spent 18 months hanging out with and interviewing the members and administrators of New Hope Ministry, which runs a residential program for evangelical Christian men who are "struggling with homosexuality" in the San Francisco Bay Area. She even volunteered in the ministry's office, revamping its Web site, all as fieldwork for her dissertation. (She's now assistant professor of comparative studies at Ohio State University.)

Erzen wasn't interested in collecting fodder for political battles, though, and that's what makes "Straight to Jesus" so enlightening. As an ethnographer, she made every effort to listen to and understand everyone at New Hope Ministry, whether or not she agreed with their beliefs (and it's fairly clear that most of the time she didn't). That's practically unheard of in most popular discussions of charged issues like homosexuality -- and rare in scholarly discussions, either. Nowadays, everyone's convinced that they already know everything the other side has to say and that actually having to listen to it would constitute an insupportable demand on their own patience. Everyone thinks their side of the argument never gets any exposure, yet rabid, ranting opinion of all varieties howls at us everywhere we turn.

What emerges from "Straight to Jesus" is a far more nuanced and moving picture of the "ex-gay" movement than most readers will expect. If you're like me, you probably view outfits like Love in Action and the other "reparative therapy" operations collected under the umbrella organization Exodus International as propaganda wings of the Christian right, populated by small coteries of delusional closet cases like the highly visible John Paulk. Paulk is an "ex-gay" man, married to the equally publicity-loving "ex-lesbian" Annie Paulk, but he's perhaps even better known for being photographed in a Washington, D.C., gay bar in 2001, while ostensibly living a life of irreproachable heterosexuality.
Read more... )
tsubaki_ny: (charliee gift)
que je suis flagada )
Had a funny week. This was interesting, though -- How is it that when I get into a heated argument with the conservative Staples manager about gay rights and why marriage is for everyone, I walk away with store coupons for $15? That's not how it happens on TV.

On another upbeat note, I just flipped to the Sci-Fi channel in perfect timing to see Captain Jack lay a fat juicy kiss on Dr. Who (who happens to be in an attractive incarnation this time around). Good times.

When will it stop raining?
Funny I should find this not three minutes after that last post:


This has literally frightened me. Like, I'm not just hypberbolyzing -- my heart is pounding.
Subtitle: Thoughts on Adam Gopnik's "New Yorker" Piece:

Submitted: that Narnia is a Christian story.

First, a bit of full disclosure:

I'm not a Christian. I was brought up one, and I suspect that bits of my brain still are, and I still find it, shall we say, expedient to adhere to particular moral codes that I was (I guess) encoded with in my childhood. But Christianity requires certain specific things to be going on in your brain -- therefore I can honestly state that I haven't been a "Christian" in name for a good ten or more years.

To oversimplify: Among other reasons, I have found too many almost-uncanny similarities between the world's religions, and I find I don't have the confidence or arrogance to just pick one and dismiss all others and all their millions of adherents as wrong (or, "not as right" as I am)-- which, unfortunately, is something I feel Christianity requires of me. I call myself an agnostic because I refuse to choose, and I don't believe it's necessary to have someone's particular prescribed structure to hang my myths on, as long as the morality and ethics behind my myths remain. I believe religions evolve relative to culture, location, and circumstance, and basically serve to help people explain to themselves why being alive is important and how they should treat one another -- everything else (for me), the ritual and outfits and stories and so on, is cultural, not fundamental. (For this reason, I am very anti-proselytization.)

I am glad I was a Christian as a child. I think it gave me a certain stability and made me able to dismiss certain fears (nuclear war for one -- I was enough of a pathological and melancholy worrier as an eight-year-old without that weighing me down. And everyone should have the luxury of feeling, for that short, short, innocent while, that the world is essentially fair. I wouldn't want to take that away from any kid, and Christianity was the path through which I, personally, found it). And I didn't leave because I got mad at God for the world not being perfect or for my dad dying, or because I was disillusioned from realizing that people are fallible (even the "saints") and that some of them downright suck: I didn't, and I wasn't.

Quite simply, my beliefs stopped coinciding. That's all.

I do believe in Jung's collective unconscious, and that there were probably some universal Big Events that people have internalized and made "magic" -- turned into myths ("myth" in this case meaning "belief system" and not "bunch of lies"). I'm pretty sure, for example, that at one point in the earth's history there was a lot of sudden water covering everything ^_^ (Noah, Deucalion, Native American "turtle" myths). Et cetera. An erstwhile friend of mine, for example, a long time ago told me an interesting theory about how evolution explains the Oedipus myth, which is completely irrelevant and, um, nevermind. ^_^ And I don't know that I entirely discount the existence of a God -- I don't know what it is that drives 97% of humanity to seek out higher power. (Insofar as that goes, I'm with the Deists, or perhaps the pantheists -- I don't believe God is a guy or has a personality, and I don't believe in ghosts ^_^, but I don't discount all things supernatural and I do kind of think (most of the time, unless I'm depressed) that the universe is following some kind of plan, although it's exponentially bigger than me, and I find it comforting that I don't have to understand it yet and am allowed to keep asking questions and exploring theories -- go fig.)

So I'm not asserting that Narnia is a Christian place in order to bully anyone, or pacify myself, or the fundies, or to fall in line with some sect of clergy, or because I feel threatened somehow... or even in that way that actual minorities (and self-styled "minorities" with persecution complexes) sometimes tend to: claiming all kinds of disparate people, histories, institutions and literature as "theirs" or as "one of them" in order to bolster their fragile sense of legitimacy/identity (not without some justification, in the non-quotation-marked cases).

I'm calling The Chronicles of Narnia a Christian story because it's a Christian story.

C.S. Lewis -- whatever foibles or stubbornness or kinks or unconventionality he might have had (and I love the guy because he was never dishonest about himself, AND he managed to combine his near-fanatic religiosity with a strong live-and-let-live philosophy: a rare creature indeed) -- never presented himself as anything other than a Christian teller of Christian tales. The religion was undeniably extremely important to Lewis; he dedicated a vast body of (overt and semicovert) literature to it. Therefore I think it's just as unfair and disingenuous to divorce the author's Christianity from his work as it would be to deny that Islam had any influence on the oeuvre of Salman Rushdie, or that, say, Amy Tan's experiences as a Chinese-American (and as a daughter!) inform her short stories -- to make such a statement would be considered cultural chauvinism.

Writes Lewis in a letter, circa 1959: and I'm cutting here because I can't decide if the rest is a spoiler or not, although I vote not. Don't wanna take chances. ^^ It's all book-related though. Nothing on the film here. )



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