crooked deep down.

there was this girl, she was made for me....

dreams and regrets.
anewalphabet
this_bugs_4_you

i've heard people say before that they have absolutely no regrets in their life. while that sounds like a noble sentiment, it can't actually be true, right? like, it never once happened that they made a mistake and wished they didn't? i suppose they're using that phrase to mean they aren't allowing themselves to dwell on the past, won't beat themselves up over mistakes that can't be undone, shan't cry over spilled milk, etc. but sometimes it comes off sounding arrogrant-ish, like even if they DID screw up, they're not going to apologize for it, dangnabbit.

well, if anyone said "dangnabbit" anymore.

i have two main regrets in my life. which i guess i'm proving myself wrong just by saying that, because do i honestly think i've only made TWO mistakes? in all these thirty-three long years?? so perhaps i'm just as bad as those folks i'm criticizing. and i'm dwelling on them today because i had a dream about one of them tonight.

the one regret....no, i just can't. it's WAY too embarrassing and silly to ever share in public. at least not right now. so forget i even mentioned it. sheesh.

the other one, though, the one i dreamt about....back when i was first living with my wife, i had a good friend who had recently moved to the area. he and my wife knew each other vaguely but weren't super close. at the time i was working full time so wasn't home much, and somehow or another the two of them got into a huge fight one day. it involved (as most fights probably always do) the opinion of each of them as to how the other should be living their life. nobody actually DID anything; it was all about what they thought or said or implied. they were both very angry and took a few days apart. when they finally got together again to work things out, both of them remained as stubborn as possible and the rift got only worse, not better. no mending of fences whatsoever. since still nothing had happened, i wasn't angry at either of them except for both behaving so childishly. so theoretically i was unbiased....except being married to someone carries a significant bias. i was essentially pulled by her anger's gravity into deciding not to be his friend anymore, even though i ran into him a few more times over the years we lived in the same city and for the most part we were friendly when we saw each other, but we never called or wrote or hung out on purpose. the last straw was an email argument about how or when to return some money that had been lent, and then we never spoke again. and dude cut me OFF. as in, he has me blocked so that i can't even search for him on facebook*, much less message or friend him, call him, write him a letter.

my wife and i have different ways of reacting to (real or perceived) offense and i realize that now. no one way of feeling is more valid than the other. but through time i learned that it's ok to continue to react the way i naturally do and don't have to be LIKE her to be WITH her. but i didn't know that at the time and i think she also didn't know that she could trust a partner who didn't necessarily agree with her regarding 'third parties'. this same situation never happened again; although she has been in arguments with other people over the years, i haven't 'stopped speaking' to anyone else and hope i never do. it's just not who i am and i can't be a good spouse to her if i am not myself.

but i will never forget this friend that i lost. and he was one of my best friends. and he was right to feel betrayed by me for so long that he finally lost patience and gave up on me. and it still hurts inside when i remember him. and last night i dreamt that we were talking. he was angry and not very interested in becoming friends again, but at least we were talking, and i remember feeling this incredible release that one of my life-long regrets was getting resolved.

didn't mean to come back to lj with a depressing post! just needed to get that off my chest.

*i was going to say this has never happened before, but then i remembered another dude who also has me blocked that way on facebook. this happened after he questioned my faith after i came out of the closet, and i wrote him a nice long explanation answering his questions. he never sent an answer, and when i tried to friend him a couple years later, he never answered and blocked me. that case is much harder for me to understand and pisses me off more than anything else.

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anewalphabet
this_bugs_4_you

on the drive home from my cousin's labor day picnic in pittsburgh. I really love and appreciate seeing my family, as much as several of them are extremely socially awkward and don't know how to hug, make small talk, say goodbye when leaving, etc. this is frustrating because it makes my partner feel unloved (she thinks it means they don't like her when it's more that they literally don't know how to show affection!) but I am still glad to be closer to my family than I used to be. I used to be closer to my friends in the church, and when they drove me out I 'resorted' to my biological family and finally realized how much I love and need them. not going to lie though, it's definitely easier to love some than others :P

phone about to die. but I do miss journaling...

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anewalphabet
this_bugs_4_you

it's taking longer than it should today to get home because I'm going home in the middle of the day instead of in the blackest night like it's been recently. so I shouldn't complain, right? :) (the point being that there is less frequent public transport in the middle
of the afternoon than at rush hour).

happy thanskgiving everyone! may the long weekend begin!!!

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anewalphabet
this_bugs_4_you

just testing out the ljapp. it had mostly crappy reviews but we shall see...

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anewalphabet
this_bugs_4_you

for some reason on the L today, i decided i was going to go back and read my livejournal from when i started it. not the WHOLE thing, because that would be ridiculous. but i just wanted to look at something because i get very bored on the L sometimes. i'd been trying to read an usula leguin book that my dad lent me, and while i love her writing very much, this particular book of short stories were ALL kind of depressing. they take place in a make-believe city and culture, but they sound essentially like descriptions of eastern europe under communism in the latter half of the last century. i really did try over and over again to finish it (and did care about the characters), but i finally decided to allow myself to not keep reading a book that was dragging light OUT of me on my way to work.

so. reading my old livejournal entires. first thing i realized: my very first post ever was on july 29, 2003...eight years ago to the day! so that's kind of crazy.

the second thing i realized was that i was SO CHEESY in everything i wrote. i don't get why people even used to read it! seriously. i think this was partly because a good 95% of what i wrote was in evangelical christian lingo...and also partly because i just was. more cheesy. than i am now. i think.

*i would like to note here that i don't agree any longer with some of the stuff i said. i DO agree with some of the other stuff, and a third group of stuff i still see truth in but now see it from a different angle or deeper perspective; but there are definitely specific points that i find illogical now. i guess that's normal.

i also see lots of comments from people that i love immensely and don't have that close friendship with anymore, so i've spent the better part of this morning touching a hand to my chest and saying "aww!!..." and wondering what they are doing now and alternating between feeling nostalgic and cracking up hilariously and writing pathetic little messages to people on facebook that i miss them and can they please come live in chicago.

some of them i am still close with--debbie and i have been talking tons more recently and that is awesome; i still have emily and tristan and christine and kristin on facebook and though we don't talk as much these days, i can still find them at a moment's notice and i know i still got them. if you know what i mean. but i'm definitely lacking some of the other folks, like evan. where IS evan these days? i know he's married, but does he have kids? is he an artist full time? what does he think about and believe in and do on the weekends? and then there's guillermo....a whole nother story all by himself. this cat i know even LESS about, and he was one of my bestest friends the last few years i lived in the states. i THINK he lives in the us, though i'm not sure, and i still THINK he works for some amazingly famous computer animation company, though i can't remember which one (ilm? pixar?), but that's about the extent of it. what church does he go to? is he married? does he still visit paraguay every year? (i always think i'll run into him when we're there around the holidays, because it really is a small city...but hasn’t happened yet). losing guillermo wasn't the same as the bumps in the road i went through with other people, like the ones mentioned above--they all of them were (likely) shocked when i came out of the closet, and reacted to it in their own different ways, but even when they felt like what i was doing is wrong, they never acted like i had leprosy and had to stand 10 feet away, at minimum, and never interact again. but guillermo just disappeared. and don't get me wrong, other people did that too! i know for some people it was either a bit too overwhelming and they weren't sure what to say, or they sincerely thought what i was doing was so wrong that they weren't supposed to talk to me anymore. but with guillermo it was weirder because he was one of my closest friends beforehand, AND he didn’t specifically tell me that God was forbidding him from talking to me (this was weird and painfully unfathomable, but actually helpful when other folks said this–at least i knew where things stood). and with my CLOSEST friends (him and dave, basically), i still can't wrap my mind around the concept that we're NOT close anymore. to me they still feel just around the corner, just at the other end of a quick email, just needing a little catch-up (as opposed to the actual amount of catch-up, about 5 years by this point). but since i don't have their emails or know where their corners are, i can't really try to catch up with them...i can only complain about it into the void. sorry, void!!!

the OTHER thing i realized as i read was that GOD is, in fact, still there. and i decided that, in fact, THAT must be why i ended up this morning re-reading my livejournal from ages ago. God wanted to remind me that He's still in my life in just exactly the same way he was back then. Back Then was filled with posts about very specific things i saw Him doing within my evangelical context--helping me raise my budget to go be a missionary in chile, seeing students make decisions for God, having good prayer times with other folk. so let's be honest, i DON'T see that specific type of thing anymore. i don't have a missionary budget; i don't work with students; i'm no longer welcomed to prayer meetings at the churches and para-church groups i used to be a part of. BUT. i do see God provide in every other way except missionary budget. i work with human beings (and volunteer along side them, and go out to dinner with them, and see them walking down the street) and see God do just as many movements in their lives as He used to do when i was exclusively looking at students. and i’ve been welcomed at any number of churches and seminaries and small groups here in my new life and my new city, places that have different statements of belief than calvary chapel sarasota or intervarsity christian fellowship, but don’t make them any less connected to the divine. and maybe that’s the biggest change of all, in relation to God. i could look back at these posts and bemoan the loss of that type of experience and think i’m the worse off for it; but in reality, ‘losing’ those experiences was part of what forced me to seek God in other ways, and realize He is to be found out there. and that i could still have those experiences with different people. and that i can have OTHER types of experiences with Him that i never even considered before. and that i will never stop learning ways to find Him.

too many words! what i meant to say is this: i feel like this morning as i read, God leaned over and whispered in my ear that i shouldn’t forget i still have him just as close as always. and that was really quite wonderful.

______

(i'll make one more note-- all of the people i've mentioned above are IRL folks. the people i met through lj only, like tungol and marnanel and jarrellwoods, are still alive and kicking and not distant at all...electronically speaking :)
 



(no subject)
anewalphabet
this_bugs_4_you
hi all!  the last couple of nights i've been actually reading my lj flist again, like i used to when i lived alone in chile and spent HOURS on lj :)  i forgot what a quality time it can be!  so i don't really have anything specific to write about, just thought i'd check in.  

got a tiny raise today, so though it won't make a ton of noticeable difference, it's a nice feeling :)  

going to cleveland for the long holiday weekend, leaving friday afternoon.  i'm actually really excited!  this may also be because we're letting ourselves break the diet for the weekend :)

we also booked (train) tickets to visit family in pittsburgh over labor day weekend.  i'm really excited about that!!

for now i'm just enjoying the summer...riding my bike to work a couple times a week, working on the diet, planning for future...more on that to come :).  esther's starting a part time job and full time school this fall, so while i'm a teensy bit concerned that she might be taking on too much, it's also super exciting!  i know she feels welcomed here in this country and i'm happy about that.

speaking of this country--we got civil unioned the first day it became legal in IL!  and then last week NY passed equal marriage!  we're slowly getting there!!!

oh and...typing this on our new macbook pro.  that is definitely another highlight of this summer :)

here comes the new year....
anewalphabet
this_bugs_4_you

hey all!  in lieu of a full update, let's just say there is certainly a lot going on these days, isn't there??

the below question is something i posted to ttc_lesbians (Trying To Conceive) but i thought i'd hang it here too, to see what you all think.  esther and i are thinking about starting a family and i'm ruminating.  i welcome thoughts from either folks who have kids or those who don't--you may have considered it even if you haven't produced them :)

in the meantime, may i ask for your prayers for some friends of mine who just had a miscarriage?  M and J....i'd really appreciate it.  thank you...

___________

the TTC question.Collapse )

note from Today's Me to The Me Of Ten Years Ago.
anewalphabet
this_bugs_4_you

[NOTE: this turned out to be extremely long!  you don't really have to read it!  but it's a fun exercise--consider writing one to yourself, too :)]

From me today, to me 10 years in the past (end of year, 2000; I was 22)

Oh my. Oh. My. I don’t mean to scare you....but you’ve got one hell of a decade coming ahead of you. Excuse my language, but trust me–the situation calls for it. 10 years doesn’t even really sound THAT long, but you’d be surprised what all you’ll manage to fit into it. You might want to sit down for this...but don’t panic. No matter what difficulties, questions, or situations are about to come your way, not a one of them will knock you down, or knock you out. By a long shot.

First of all, congrats again for graduating from college earlier this year! I still can’t believe you actually finished your thesis :) no, in all seriousness, it’s quite an accomplishment and I’m really thankful we had such a positive experience in the land of higher learning. You’ll dabble in it again from time to time, but never like an undergrad does, and it’s a very good thing to know how quality these four years really were.

So now you’ve decided to stay in florida and work for intervarsity (the college christian ministry). Number one, kudos on staying in FL–the weather there truly is a wonderful thing :) as far as intervarsity....I’ll be honest with you, some issues are going to come up with that. Some on a devastating level. I’m still glad you’ll have had those 10 years with them, because you’ll have learned a heck of a lot of stuff; had some amazing opportunities to travel (russia! Mexico! Los angeles! Knoxville! :P); be challenged, reflect, grow; and meet wonderful people. But if I may warn you here just a bit–some theological differences are going to pop up in about 5 years or so that are NOT going to be pleasant to work through, and in fact this is going to cause some rifts between you and those wonderful people that you never would have expected. Don’t get me wrong–you’ll still be facebooking with lots of those people in the decades to come :) (sorry–you don’t know what facebook is. Trust me when I tell you someday in the future you shall know it intimately :). But quite a few of the people you thought were your soulmates are going to abruptly cut you off when they perceive your relationship with God to be ‘less than what it was.’ Weird, huh? There’s not much you can do to prepare for that because I don’t want you to hold back and not really let yourself be close to people just because they may or may not value that closeness later. Just be aware that things may be tough for a while.

And this includes the time you spend living overseas working for them (which, hello! How cool is that? :)--you’re going to live in chile working for intervarsity for about two years and similar advice would be in order: that’s going to come to a premature end because of violent theological disagreements, but don’t let that stop you from living it to the full while you are there. In fact, please TRY to live it and love it all. From knowing me (us), I know it’s possible that you will shut yourself off and be comfy in your chilean apartment with your DVDs of lord of the rings and frozen dinners and in the company of cats–don’t let that be your most overarching memory of chile! Please really LIVE there, while you live there. And appreciate it. And do an honorable job with the duties entrusted to you. And make sure that crazy canadian girl rooms with you–she is awesome :)

You’ll meet so many people between today and mid-2006 (about the time when All Things Change), with so many different personalities and life plans and effects on you. Just please try and be a GOOD person wherever and however you can. Don’t try to please everyone and don’t feel devastated if you can’t become close to someone, or remain so; but also, don’t throw away friendships if you can possibly help it at all. Not because you need people to like you to feel worth; just because you’ll regret not loving and reconciling and forgiving as much as you can, because that’s what’s important to YOU. Speaking of throwing away friendships–maybe refrain from lending large sums of money? I know you think you don’t even HAVE large sums of money, but just take my word on this one.

Oh, and while we’re speaking of things, let’s speak about ‘devastated’-ness. There are going to be a couple major things coming up in the next decade that, while you’re experiencing them, may make you feel like the entire world is going to come asunder, right inside your very own chest cavity, so that not only will Everything be Wrong afterwards, you’ll also feel each and every horrible sharp jabbing pain that happens on the way. Well, just so you know–this is incorrect. In the sense that, in fact, You will survive, as will the World, Life, the Universe....and Everything. there are going to be some tough moments. The year when your best friend (I won’t bother telling you her name since you barely know her yet :) gets married is going to be surprisingly tough, but you will learn some things about yourself and emerge stronger on the other side. Watching your mom slowly worsen, mentally speaking, and eventually end up in assisted living is going to really mess with your head for a good long while, but please remember you’re not a doctor and can’t make her better–and she really is being taken care of where she is now. (As an aside, you could call her more often now and try to hang out whenever you can....you’ll miss that, even if you try not to think about it too much). And The Big One–you’re going to come out of the closet and suddenly lose your job, home, church and many close friends that you considered family. Yes, that’s right, you’re going to come out queer. Surprising, right?–you haven’t even really considered not being heterosexual (except that one time in college, but doesn’t everyone....). Turns out you never really thought about if you were gay or straight because...you’re not really anything overly specific. And when that I-M-N-O-T-H-I-N-ness allows you to fall for a girl, of all people, that’s going to cause some major psychological, emotional, social and religious trauma and upheaval for quite some time. You’re not actually going to contemplate suicide (thank God), but a good amount of days are just going to feel too difficult to live through and you’re going to stay abed quite a lot. Again, this WON’T kill you and you will DEFINITELY grow throughout all of this time and become more and more who you were meant to be because of it. In addition, this won’t kill your relationship with God, if that’s worrying you. It’ll challenge certain aspects of it, but will reveal others. He won’t leave you–that promise was true. And it’ll be awesome to slowly learn more and more about him and the world. But in the during part--hold on tight, if you can, because a lot of these emotional moments are going to wash over you with what feels like a LOT of power.

There are other things that are going to feel all-consuming as you live through them and you’ll wonder how you’ll ever come out the other side alive, but in fact are mere flashes in the pan. You’re going to fall in love with a student while you’re still in college ministry (sounds like a ridiculous idea, doesn’t it?) and that will simply rule your life for a time, but then it will recede into the distance into a mere speck which eventually disappears altogether. You will work for almost 3 years at an argentine company which tears at your soul (oh! Did I mention you’re moving to argentina next, after chile?? :) and will cause you to seek therapy...but it too shall pass and you’ll reap a lot of technical knowledge, some wonderful friends, and a bit more firmness in your soul. You’re going to experience some internal pain because of unjust laws that cause you to have to live overseas since your wife (you get married!! Woo-hoo!) can’t immigrate to the u.s., but she’ll eventually win the diversity lottery visa and you can come home! Now, let me briefly make two points about that: one, her winning that visa is one of the most amazing things you’ll go through in the upcoming decade and it feels like living through a true miracle–revel in the awesomeness. Two, you’ll feel like you’ve been spared a life sentence because of a technicality–i.e. the unjust laws still exist and rule the lives of the majority of people in your situation. Make sure you keep speaking out about that, fighting against it, and expecting change!!

Your wife, by the way, is going to make your life completely different, in so many wonderful ways. you’ll be happy to know that she is an awesome cook, trilingual (cool!), and since she’s from south america (keep practicing that spanish!!) you get to keep traveling the rest of your life :).  marriage, as you’ve surely heard before, is made up of lots of wonderful moments AND day-to-day hard work, but this is actually an ok thing. Every day, week, month, the two of you will be learning, changing and growing together. That’s the whole point, even when it’s tough. And there will be lots of times where nothing about it is tough at all. Plus she wears glasses, and you always thought glasses were hot :)

When this decade creaks to a close, you’ll feel like about a billion things have happened in the meantime–but that another billion are yet to come. Don’t expect to settle on a career, pop out the progeny, or buy a house in these intervening years. And it’s OK that you don’t need to expect that! (As you can see, you’ll have plenty of other things going on!). But you’re definitely on your way. So my best advice is probably to live each day, one at a time, as they come, so as to not get too overwhelmed–but drink each one in as it passes. There is so much that will happen that I want to make sure you soak it all in.



on hate, and how recognizing it can clear up some things about love.
anewalphabet
this_bugs_4_you

tl;dr.
 

Last Friday night I had a slightly scary experience, which I managed to twist into an excuse to have some peanut butter ice cream for dessert. I was traumatized, for heaven’s sake!

Ok, in all seriousness. I was coming home from work, 6ish, normal time. It’s dark now here by 4:30 (HOW is that right??) but my psyche is slowly getting used to that. So I get off the L (the elevated rapid transit in chicago; it’s awesome) and I have about a 4 block walk to my front door. The street is always full of people going about their business and Friday was no exception.

As I neared the corner where I turn onto my street (with 2 blocks still to go) suddenly there were a swarm of youths around me. I mean, they weren’t around ME at all–I don’t think they even noticed me. They just happened to be traveling down the sidewalk and suddenly our respective paces were such that I was in among them.

and it turns out that they were actually two groups of youth. I’m totally generalizing here based on frightened recollection, but I have the impression that one group was mostly hispanic dudes and the other was mostly black dudes (definitely all dudes). Suddenly there were a lot of them, yelling at each other and running up from other blocks. One threw a punch at another. One threw a glass bottle, but it just hit the sidewalk and didn’t even break.

at this point I was still shaking my head thinking something along the lines of "oh, these kids today" and just trying to get around them. Annoyingly they were still moving at about my pace, so I was still in among them when they abruptly spread out across the street (there were no cars coming) and that’s when I heard the shot fired. They were running now behind me (though I did NOT look back) and I heard two or three more shots and I suddenly found myself walking very rapidly towards my front door.

Absolutely nothing happened to me. It would have been a lot smarter for me to duck into any of the open businesses along the street rather than determinedly heading towards home, but nothing happened and I’m fine. I got upstairs and called 911 just to let them know what I saw and heard, and then I sort of crumbled into tears when I realized how scary it was. Esther soothed me and proposed the aforementioned cheat night from our diet...comfort food.

*****

this all got me thinking, not surprisingly. Not so much about our safety in our neighborhood (for the most part it’s fine, but even if it wasn’t, I don’t want to start running away thinking I will find an Invincible Neighborhood, or even Invincible Country, somewhere.)

more than that, it got me thinking about Hate. Between human beings. If what I witnessed is what I assumed it was (and of course I’m not necessarily right), it’s likely it was a meeting of two different gangs who hate each other because....why, again? Because their older friends or fellow gang members told them they should? Fueled by underlying racism (or other -isms), which is nothing more than illogical, unfounded hate?

I feel like there’s a lot of hate floating about these days. I feel like politicians prove their worth by showing a sufficient amount of loathing for opposition parties. I feel like love for family/country in our social discourse has gone quite far into the extreme of hating others’ families/countries as its principal expression. Our entire planet’s concept of nationalism and patriotism has to do with maintaining dangerous, violent, serious separations between Us and Them, whether at a simple passport check outpost on a lonely border crossing or nuclear armaments and the whole idea of preparing a multitudinous group of people for years and years so they’ll be able to take others’ breath away. People shooting off handguns on my block may be the most immediately visible outcome of this culture of hate, but it’s not the most prevalent, consistent, celebrated or ingrained by any stretch.

If you’re wondering what my point is, I have two. One is that I wish I could be a part of reversing this trend of hate. I wish I could be a peace -giver, -maker, -bringer. I hope I can figure out how to do that in my daily life, family, career, self. I’m not trying to dismiss religion or faith here, and by gum I am still a christian and love Jesus, but I don’t think the easy answer "Jesus is peace" is going to cut it here. I was essentially removed against my will from being a missionary because my bosses and supervisors no longer believed that I was following God, but it turns out I’m quite OK with not being a missionary anymore–at least the kind of missionary that I was. Focusing on verbal confession of faith and internal support and community, while an amazing experience for me during those years of my life, isn’t what I think can actually heal the world. (If you think I sound like a heretic now, wait til you read the next paragraph). So far in the history of this earth, religion hasn’t had a great track record as far as creating connection between ALL human beings. Sure, I know that theoretically it SHOULD and for a long time I really did believe that if everyone would just believe in Jesus, there would be no more wars, poverty, violence, sickness. But the thing is, everybody DOESN’T believe in Jesus. And they also don’t all believe in Allah, or in Jehovah, or in Krishna. I can’t reasonably fathom a world where suddenly we all did worship the same God, and I bet you can’t either. I mean, you can WISH it, but thinking of all the people you know who don’t do so and yet are valid human beings, can you imagine them all spontaneously abandoning what they believe in their very innards, ignoring what all their life experiences, studies, dreams and hopes have told them thus far? Doesn’t really seem likely, or even especially desirable or beautiful to me. So that’s when the ideal of "belief-in-Jesus-bringing-world-harmony-and-peace" begins to show its cracks. And yes, I believe healing the world is very much related to healing of our souls.

my second point is about religion. isn’t that funny–seems like I just got done talking about how religion ain’t the cure. By the way, I didn’t exactly mean that. But I’m not any longer convinced by nor interested in religion that abides or allows hate. Which is why I’ve suddenly found myself even less convinced that my God loved israel to the point that he was willing to kill off all the people in front of them to get them home (I’m talking old testament here, by the way–NOT 1948). This is an old complaint that we used to get periodically when I was in college ministry. ‘The god of the old testament seems mean, how can I believe in him?" And along with that standard issue came the standard answers: "we don’t really understand God well enough to question him on everything", "he was trying to show israel and us how INCREDIBLY much he loves us", and from the slightly more liberal viewpoint, "remember this is our perception of God through human understanding, which isn’t perfect at all." And sure, I think there’s some truth in all of those viewpoints. Especially that last one, if you add to it the fact that the history books of the bible may very well have been written with an eye towards comforting the reader with God’s total strength and ability and desire to protect them. But not necessarily in the most accurate way–for can the lion who lies down with the lamb* truly be the same as the military commander who directs his followers to kill every last woman, child and infant in the occupied lands and dash their little bodies upon the rocks? (1 Samuel 15:3; Psalm 137:9). I don’t think so. I DON’T believe so. I have no problem believing that the bible is a holy book that God has used time and again in my life and in the lives of others. But it’s physically impossible for me to believe that a deity who would command this slaughter is the same Jesus I know. I don’t have a method for forcing myself to believe that and can’t say I would want to anyway. It doesn’t hurt my relationship with the divine to consider that scripture may have been written by human beings who didn’t always get it all right.

I’ve written too much, as usual, and at this point you may be confused and wondering what my point one and point two have to do with one another. see if you can follow this connection from inside my brain:

I want to be a part of peace / my traditional answers as to how that can happen aren’t satisfying me anymore / I may have to start finding new ones by consciously letting go of old ones.

There is some pain in this process, but mostly just in the knowledge that some people aren’t going to understand what I’m saying and are going to form their own opinions about how lost or confused I am. In contrast, I don’t have any internal pain from finally being able to say out loud "I don’t think God actually sent Samuel the message that the amalekites be destroyed." I don’t think it! I don’t! I don’t personally know any God who would say that! My God doesn’t protect his loved ones by hurting others (in fact, I’m not sure if my God HAS any ‘others’–as we are all his loved ones).

all this from three scary minutes walking down north sheridan one winter afternoon? Well, no, probably not really. This was probably just an excuse to ponder what I’ve had percolating inside for a while. Is it ok that I’ve shared it?

 

*the lion in question, in isaiah 11, actually lies down with the calf and the yearling, while the wolf is the one who lies down with the lamb. But same basic idea.
 



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anewalphabet
this_bugs_4_you

i'm sure everyone already knows this, but illinois passed a civil unions bill last week!  whee!  yes, i totally get that it is not the same as marriage...but as a practical person, i just see it as at least a step in the right direction (i guess, at most that's all it is either...).  my main question right now is: what SPECIFIC rights do i now have?  (or anyway, will be eligible to have if governer quinn signs the bill in january and it comes into effect july 1, 2011)  i've seen a couple of article claiming that the new bill gives ALL the same rights of marriage, just not the name...but that seems unlikely.  i found an interesting FAQ on it here http://www.equalityillinois.org/cmsdocuments/Civil_Unions_IL_FAQs.pdf, and it's interesting to watch how the answer to the state-based questions start with YES and the federal ones start with NO....still a long way to go.

mostly i wanted to know if i can claim my civil union partner on my state tax returns (yes!) and if we can adopt the same child (didn't find anything specific on that, but discovered while searching that IL already allowed second-parent adoptions.  so maybe one of us has to adopt first, but then the other could do it as well after....)

lots to think about.  wonder if we should plan a ceremony?  if it really comes into effect july 1, it would be easy to get it done on our pre-existing wedding anniversary :), 8/8.  (gracias buenos aires!!)

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