Saturday, December 20, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hell is an 80s exercise video

Someone at work called me "joyful". This made me laugh out loud. In real life.

I know I have gone through quite the transformation over the years. But it's weird to think of myself as "joyful". Dude, I was voted "best bag lady" in 9th grade. I wore black Wet 'n' Wild eyeliner that was constantly smudged. Waterproof, my ass. They obviously poked rabbits in the eyes while testing their product, not sensitive sixteen year old girls, because, you know, bunnies are tougher. It's hard for me now, even though I actively feel joy in my life, to think of myself as a "joyful" person.

Why do we have such fixed ideas about our identity?

It's like how while I was growing up I was always one of the tallest kids in the class, by a whole head. I was a giant. Everyone said, oh, that girl's gonna grow up and play basketball. But then I stopped growing in fourth grade. By ninth grade, when most of my peers had begun puberty, they had caught up with me, and in most cases, surpassed me. By a whole head, or more.

And yet, it's hard for me to think of myself as a short person, even though I'm only 5'3". At this exact same height I was called a giant at age ten and shorty at the age of forty-four. It's weird how the connotations of a definition change as we get older.

I lived most of my life with a miserable soundtrack playing in the back of my mind. I didn't start to feel fully functional as an adult, as mentally stable as an adult in our society should be, until these last few years. So even though I evidently exude joy outwardly, that doesn't mean there's a dance party going on inside my head. A person can smile, even make you laugh (see: Robin Williams, et al), and feel shitty on the inside at the same time.

Maybe a visual will help.

If you want insight into what life was like for me as a teenager, watch this video.




Only imagine me, a sixteen year old misfit, recovering anorexic and sexual abuse survivor with PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder, lying on the couch in the afternoon on a school day, faking sick while my parents are both at work. My siblings have all grown up and moved away. The quiet house envelopes me. I lie on the couch and do as little as possible.

I'm wearing the same thing I wore yesterday, a hippie patchwork skirt my mom made me when I refused to wear any of the clothes they sold at the godawful mall near our house in the suburbs. I'm lying under an afghan that's made from the same yarn Mom used to make the poncho I wore in elementary school that I'd long ago outgrown.

Do you see what I'm saying? I'm a yarn-loving girl living in a polyester world. I listen to Creedence Clearwater Revival on 101 The Fox, long before "The Big Lebowski" made CCR a thing again. I like some modern music, but nothing Top-40. Oh dear God, no. At least not from the American market. I like British pop music. Of course. How can one be an angsty adolescent in the 80s and not fall in love with The Smiths?

So I'm lying there on the couch, watching "The Andy Griffith Show" or whathaveyou, and then this exercise program comes on and it's like I'm trapped inside a cocoon of my own making in front of a box full of flashy, hyper humans encouraging me to haul my ass off the couch and join them WITH A BIG FAKE SMILE ON MY FACE.

Oh, dear God, no.

I much prefer to get my exercise by running into my bedroom, jumping into bed, and working my abs as my torso heaves with each sob.

Joyful? Really? You see me now, and you think I look joyful, but I'm actually afraid of that word. When you grow up miserable surrounded by the overly-commercialized forced joy of the 80s, it's difficult to overcome the urge to check behind your back to see if any 80s fitness instructors are bouncing your way whenever you hear that word.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Why do you read?

A friend of mine asked this question: Are you a reader? Why or why not?

Here is my response:

My parents both read popular fiction every day. We went to the library three times a week for storytime before I was in kindergarten, and about once every week or two during the rest of my childhood. Big shock I've worked at a library for 21 years now. Now that I think about it, my maternal grandparents both read every day too. And my maternal grandmother's father named her (yes, HER) Jean Valjean after the protagonist in Hugo's novel.

I wonder if there is a reading gene? Or is it just exposure to those around you reading for pleasure on a daily basis that tips a person in the direction of reading voraciously?

My husband and I both read fiction. We met at the library, so, duh. Our eight-year-old daughter's favorite book is Matilda by Roald Dahl, which is a book about a little girl who loves reading. My husband and I have never made reading a chore that one is expected to do any more than we've made watching DanTDM on YouTube into a chore. Katie simply loves to read, just as she simply loves to binge-watch a guy with a cute haircut play Minecraft.

I took Katie to the library a few times a week for storytimes until she started school, just as my mom did with me when I was little. When I was a child, it was my dad's "job"--given to him by my mom in an effort to get us to bond (my father is not a kid-person)--to read to me before bedtime every night. Will and I both read to Katie not just at bedtime but anytime.

Will reading to Katie


Now that she's getting too big to sit in our lap, Katie reads to herself, or aloud to us. She picks her own books from the school library, and I bring books home from the public library all the time, so she's in steady supply. I just leave them lying around the house. Katie picks them up when she feels like it and reads when and what she wants to.

Reading is Katie's best subject at school. I think it's because in our family reading is fun, not forced.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The house is a mess because I was listening to God

Today's sermon at church was about the story of Mary and how an angel came to her and told her she was going to give birth to the Savior and Mary was all like, "What the hell? How can that be? I'm young and unwed. I'm a virgin!" But then she humbly accepts her calling, despite it not at all being what she had planned for her life and she's worried she might not be up for it. 

I can totally relate to Mary. I'm a freakin' nube third-grade-girls' basketball coach whose training consists of reading library books on the subject. Children's library books. The adult books on the subject give me a panic attack. Thank God the team is full of kiddos who have more faith in me than I do in myself.

But we're not talking about me, wait, are we? I was telling Mary's story, not mine, wasn't I? That's what I love about the sermons at church: how our pastors turn them into relatable stories we can use in our daily lives. 

Mary assessed her situation and decided to wing it--like the Angel--and just go with it. Serve God and all the people of the world in whichever way and in whatever time you find yourself, even if you feel crippled with self-doubt and you know you're imperfect and the only thing you know for sure is you're going to fuck something up at some point, but you just keep winging it and trusting the energy to flow through you without getting stopped up with your plans.

Or something like that. I'm paraphrasing. Don't worry. It's not a terribly sweary church.

On the drive home I started to plan the rest of my day. Will's at work, unavailable to bail me out of my housework duties, as usual. I'd like to say Will and I have an equal marriage, but I'd be totally lying. He does WAY more housework than I do. But in my defense, he cares about tidiness more than I do, and we have one housekeeping rule in our house: if it bugs you, you get to clean it.

I have an exception tolerance to mess, so poor Will is the primary caretaker of hearth and home. 

I try my best to help out, but it's difficult for me to pay attention to the mess when I feel like there is so much more to life than order. It's like the lawn. I just don't get lawns. Why go to the trouble to water and mow and fertizize and aerate and all the other maintenace you commit to when you care about your lawn. Why not just let your yard go wild? If you want to work in the yard, plant a garden so you can at least grow your own food. Leave the leaves to the detritivores, the nuts to the squirrels, and the dirt to the earth.

But today the house is such a mess it's even bugging me, the Mom who not only has a high tolerance for my own mess but who thinks messy rooms enrich creative minds. It's a hodgepodge theory I made up from my own experiences of having a messy room and Einstein's excellent quip about tidy desks:


So I'm sitting in my car, waiting for the red light to change to green, and I start planning what I'm going to do when I get home.

1. dishes

2. put away laundry

3. sweep and mop the floor

4. clean the bathroom, yes, even the toilet (yikes!)

5. clean off the piano and arrange Christmas decorations on it, or, clean off the piano and take a picture of it and post an ad on Craigslist to sell the freaking monstrosity that's hogging all the square footage of our tiny living room

6. give the dogs a bath

7. roast those root veggies you bought last week before the go bad and your husband reminds you of how much money you waste buying healthy foods you forget to cook

8. oh yeah, then, you might as well make dinner while you're at it

This was the plan running through my head. What I hadn't taken into consideration is how much time I had to check off all these things on my mental to-do list. I had four hours before we had to leave for a Christmas party. I'd need time to shower after getting dirty doing all this housework. And I was majorly jonesin' to blog.

I stepped into the door and saw the empty mop bucket that had been sitting there since last night when I first decided I HAD to mop the floor. Instead, I chatted with friends online and with my husband and daughter in person and stuffed myself with pizza and went to bed. I had kept busy all day at the library, so despite my plans to do some housework, my body told me to relax and enjoy myself. 

This is great, this Jesusy stuff. I always used to blame myself for my innate procrastination and laziness. Now, when Will gets home from work and sees the empty mop bucket still waiting for me to quit slacking, I can say, forgive me, but I was called to write a blog post. The house is a mess because I was listening to God.





Thursday, December 11, 2014

John Kiriakou: American Hero

image via: Facebook

Our nation's "war on terror" is a sick joke. Our leaders' worldview is so narrow, they only think in terms of "good guys versus bad guys". Some of the biggest heroes during times of war are the ones who speak out against it. Men like John Kiriakou, who faced imprisonment after exposing the truth about the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques". For years our nation's torture program went on while leaders averted their eyes and hoped some useful information would come from it that could help us fight the bad guys.

Instead, we found out more about ourselves. Torturing our enemies does indeed expose who the bad guys are. The waterboarder, not the waterboardee. The asshole who administers the hummus enema, not the asshole receiving it. The agent putting a diaper on a grown man and chaining him to the ceiling, not the grown man soiling himself while in chains.


"In one note from the report, President Bush is troubled by the sight of a man chained to the ceiling, wearing a diaper, and soiling himself. Surely Bush wasn't the only one to see the picture and recoil. But it didn't matter. The machine kept turning."

We cannot fight terror with terror. Another imprisoned man once said it well:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

How the hell do we find love during these dark times? How can I feel proud of this great nation when I know my tax dollars pay a torturer's salary? It's enough to make me want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head.

But I won't. I can't. I'm a parent. I can't leave this world in shambles for our daughter. I must try to focus on raising our daughter to be a righteous human who understands the complexity of her fellow human beings. Who realizes we are more than just good guys and bad guys. That yes, we humans tend to have a sheep mentality and follow orders we should protest. We focus on the enemy's wrongdoings instead of our own. We lock up people who are exposing truths we're afraid to hear. But we humans are capable of much more. There are always helpers in the crowd, even if it's hard to see them. That is what I choose to focus on.

image source

I hope Kiriakou's children see how much he has helped our nation.


As a people we tend to view prisoners as the lowest members of society. Criminals. Scum. If we bother to think of them at all. But many heroes end up behind bars for doing the right thing. I hope Kiriakou's children feel proud of their father. I hope they see him as the American hero he is. 






Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Language of Matthew 19:9-12

A story can be shared in different ways.

There are books: King James Bible

There are movies: Franco Zeffirelli directing Robert Powell in Jesus of Nazareth



There are photoshopped images: Hipster Jesus

There are paintings: Pieta by Vincent van Gogh

There are sculptures: Pieta by Michelangelo 

Nowadays, you can tell a story via lego:


Jesus replied, "There are some eunuchs who were born that way, and there are some who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven."



The same story can be shared in myriad ways to multitudes of people, and each one will have a different understanding of it. That's what artists do. Artists and spiritual leaders and philosophers and story tellers: they all want to understand and to be understood.

As a reader and as a writer, I find language to be a challenging way to communicate. Language. It's complex.

One word can have multiple definitions, so when you consider translating an oral story in one language to written text in another language, then translating it again to another language, you never get the "exact" meaning of the original word. To me, The Bible is just the gist of what Jesus was saying. If we listen to our inner energy, we understand the rest.

I understand it this way:

Love God, the creator of the universe, the origin of our inner energy, and love people, all people, family, friends, neighbors, and enemies.

That's it. So simple.

But language is complex. Let's take the word "gay" for example. In the English language alone it can mean 1) homosexual or 2) happy. Let's look at the word "queer". It can mean 1) homosexual or 2) odd. The word eunuch, in English, can mean 1) a castrated man or 2) someone who is ineffectual:

I googled the word eunuch and found this:

eu·nuch
 noun

 1) a man who has been castrated, especially (in the past) one employed to guard the women's living areas at an oriental court. 2) an ineffectual person. "a nation of political eunuchs"




Old English, via Latin from Greek eunoukhos, literally ‘bedroom guard,’ from eunē ‘bed’ + a second element related to ekhein ‘to hold.’

image and definition via Google

And that's just one language. Jesus spoke in Aramaic, and Matthew translated the sermons into another language, and then it was translated into English.

So, when we read the word "eunuch" in Matthew 19:9-12 in our English language Bible, we cannot be certain of exactly what Jesus means. He could be speaking literally: someone who has been castrated, or he could have been speaking metaphorically: someone who has balls but does not have sex with women, either because they are celibate or because they are not physically attracted to women, because of spiritual reasons like priests and monks, or because of many other reasons. Human beings are complex. So is our language.

I like this essay about the topic:

"Some have taken Jesus’ statements in Matthew 19:9-12 about divorce and remarriage as an indication that he condemned homosexuality by omission, confirming that heterosexuality is the only “normal” relationship possible.  On closer examination, it would seem that just the opposite is true.  Jesus is talking about eunuchs and defines them as those who are unable (or unfit) to function in marriage for one of three reasons:

"They were born that way and so are intrinsically eunuchs.
They were made to be eunuchs by other men.
They made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.

"In our culture, the word eunuch is commonly understood to be a reference to castrated males.  The Hebrew word saris (#5631) often translated to the English word eunuch, is used to refer to men, who sometimes for political reasons in some eastern cultures, were castrated to insure no threat through procreation.  But this condition was not synonymous with eunuchry in general.  Eunuchs were often trusted officials with great responsibility and political power.  The Old Testament often uses the word chamberlains, court officials or officers when translating the word saris and can easily be missed when reading the English versions.  This same meaning belongs to the Greek word eunukos (#2135).  Eunuchs were often in charge of harems; responsible for the protection and care of the wives of the king because they posed no threat sexually.  They were overseers of the beauty treatments for the women to make them presentable to the king (Esther 2:3, 12-13).  The Ethiopian Eunuch was the treasure keeper (Acts 8:27) for Queen Candace.  Often Eunuchs were recognized for their spiritual sensitivity and wisdom and were chosen to advise the king.  Daniel and the Hebrew children were eunuchs in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar..."

When Jesus speaks of eunuchs, does he literally mean "a man without balls" or is he speaking metaphorically to include priests and monks who take a vow of celibacy, heterosexual men who for whatever reason live a life of celibacy, and gay men who have a sex drive, just not toward women? What do you think?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Scripture-Quoting Pissing Contest

I started this petition which has been receiving lots of support:

Allow legally married same-sex couples to stay together at the City Union Mission homeless shelter.

I shared it on my Facebook page, which triggered an argument from a conservative Christian friend of mine who is not gay-affirming. When my friend argued that homosexuality goes against the word of God, a scripture-quoting pissing contest began (I confess: I started it) when I shared this photo and comment:


As a Christian, I have made a decision to follow the path of Jesus. If the Bible is the world of God, and in the Bible Jesus is quoted saying the two most important commandments are to love God and love people, then it stands to reason that loving people includes giving a family shelter when they need it.

My friend responded by sharing three passages from the Bible: Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and 1 Timothy 1:8-11.

I was taken aback by the harsh, judgy language. My friend was quoting from something called the New American Standard Bible (NASB). I had never heard of that translation until my friend shared it.

That's the thing about trying to argue about what exactly it is that Jesus said. Many Christians say well just read the Bible! But which translation? To me, it's all a game of telephone. It's words spoken in Aramaic by Jesus and transcribed into Greek text by his disciples, then later translated into English by MANY different people. It's mind-blowing how many translations of the Bible there are. Take a look at this cool website that offers a huge array of Biblical translations in many different languages:
https://www.biblegateway.com/

Too bad Jesus wasn't a writer instead of an oral storyteller. But still, then I'd have to learn Aramaic. Ain't nobody got time for that.

So I took a look at the specific chapters of the Bible my friend shared in her effort to prove that being gay goes against the word of God, and I compared them to other translations, including some in Greek even though I don't know the language, hoping one of you might be able to translate it for us.

Holy shit! Look at the differences:

Romans 1:26-27 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is [a]unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing [b]indecent acts and receiving in [c]their own persons the due penalty of their error.

Romans 1:26-27 The Message (MSG)

26-27 Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either—women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men—all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches.

Romans 1:26-27 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

26 For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

Romans 1:26-27 King James Version (KJV)

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

ΠΡΟΣ ΡΩΜΑΙΟΥΣ 1:26-271550 Stephanus New Testament (TR1550)

26 δια τουτο παρεδωκεν αυτους ο θεος εις παθη ατιμιας αι τε γαρ θηλειαι αυτων μετηλλαξαν την φυσικην χρησιν εις την παρα φυσιν

27 ομοιως τε και οι αρρενες αφεντες την φυσικην χρησιν της θηλειας εξεκαυθησαν εν τη ορεξει αυτων εις αλληλους αρσενες εν αρσεσιν την ασχημοσυνην κατεργαζομενοι και την αντιμισθιαν ην εδει της πλανης αυτων εν εαυτοις απολαμβανοντες

ΠΡΟΣ ΡΩΜΑΙΟΥΣ 1:26-27SBL Greek New Testament (SBLGNT)

26 Διὰ τοῦτο παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς εἰς πάθη ἀτιμίας· αἵ τε γὰρ θήλειαι αὐτῶν μετήλλαξαν τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν εἰς τὴν παρὰ φύσιν, 27 ὁμοίως τε καὶ οἱ ἄρσενες ἀφέντες τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν τῆς θηλείας ἐξεκαύθησαν ἐν τῇ ὀρέξει αὐτῶν εἰς ἀλλήλους, ἄρσενες ἐν ἄρσεσιν τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην κατεργαζόμενοι καὶ τὴν ἀντιμισθίαν ἣν ἔδει τῆς πλάνης αὐτῶν ἐν [a]ἑαυτοῖς ἀπολαμβάνοντες.

And this one:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [a]effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 The Message (MSG)

9-11 Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

9 Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 King James Version (KJV)

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

ΠΡΟΣ ΚΟΡΙΝΘΙΟΥΣ Α΄ 6:9-111550 Stephanus New Testament (TR1550)

9 η ουκ οιδατε οτι αδικοι βασιλειαν θεου ου κληρονομησουσιν μη πλανασθε ουτε πορνοι ουτε ειδωλολατραι ουτε μοιχοι ουτε μαλακοι ουτε αρσενοκοιται 10 ουτε κλεπται ουτε πλεονεκται ουτε μεθυσοι ου λοιδοροι ουχ αρπαγες βασιλειαν θεου ου κληρονομησουσιν 11 και ταυτα τινες ητε αλλα απελουσασθε αλλα ηγιασθητε αλλ εδικαιωθητε εν τω ονοματι του κυριου ιησου και εν τω πνευματι του θεου ημων

ΠΡΟΣ ΚΟΡΙΝΘΙΟΥΣ Α΄ 6:9-11SBL Greek New Testament (SBLGNT)

9 Ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ἄδικοι [a]θεοῦ βασιλείαν οὐ κληρονομήσουσιν; μὴ πλανᾶσθε· οὔτε πόρνοι οὔτε εἰδωλολάτραι οὔτε μοιχοὶ οὔτε μαλακοὶ οὔτε ἀρσενοκοῖται 10 οὔτε [b]κλέπται οὔτε πλεονέκται, [c]οὐ μέθυσοι, οὐ λοίδοροι, οὐχ ἅρπαγες βασιλείαν [d]θεοῦ κληρονομήσουσιν. 11 καὶ ταῦτά τινες ἦτε· ἀλλὰ ἀπελούσασθε, ἀλλὰ ἡγιάσθητε, ἀλλὰ ἐδικαιώθητε ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ κυρίου [e]Ἰησοῦ καὶ ἐν τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν.

And this one:

1 Timothy 1:8-11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 [a]and [b]immoral men [c]and homosexuals [d]and kidnappers [e]and liars [f]and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

1 Timothy 1:8-11 The Message (MSG)

8-11 It’s true that moral guidance and counsel need to be given, but the way you say it and to whom you say it are as important as what you say. It’s obvious, isn’t it, that the law code isn’t primarily for people who live responsibly, but for the irresponsible, who defy all authority, riding roughshod over God, life, sex, truth, whatever! They are contemptuous of this great Message I’ve been put in charge of by this great God.

1 Timothy 1:8-11 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it legitimately. 9 This means understanding that the law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers, 10 fornicators, sodomites, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching 11 that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

1 Timothy 1:8-11 King James Version (KJV)

8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

ΠΡΟΣ ΤΙΜΟΘΕΟΝ Α΄ 1:8-111550 Stephanus New Testament (TR1550)

8 οιδαμεν δε οτι καλος ο νομος εαν τις αυτω νομιμως χρηται 9 ειδως τουτο οτι δικαιω νομος ου κειται ανομοις δε και ανυποτακτοις ασεβεσιν και αμαρτωλοις ανοσιοις και βεβηλοις πατραλωαις και μητραλωαις ανδροφονοις 10 πορνοις αρσενοκοιταις ανδραποδισταις ψευσταις επιορκοις και ει τι ετερον τη υγιαινουση διδασκαλια αντικειται 11 κατα το ευαγγελιον της δοξης του μακαριου θεου ο επιστευθην εγω

ΠΡΟΣ ΤΙΜΟΘΕΟΝ Α΄ 1:8-11SBL Greek New Testament (SBLGNT)

8 Οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι καλὸς ὁ νόμος ἐάν τις αὐτῷ νομίμως χρῆται, 9 εἰδὼς τοῦτο, ὅτι δικαίῳ νόμος οὐ κεῖται, ἀνόμοις δὲ καὶ ἀνυποτάκτοις, ἀσεβέσι καὶ ἁμαρτωλοῖς, ἀνοσίοις καὶ βεβήλοις, πατρολῴαις καὶ μητρολῴαις, ἀνδροφόνοις, 10 πόρνοις, ἀρσενοκοίταις, ἀνδραποδισταῖς, ψεύσταις, ἐπιόρκοις, καὶ εἴ τι ἕτερον τῇ ὑγιαινούσῃ διδασκαλίᾳ ἀντίκειται, 11 κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς δόξης τοῦ μακαρίου θεοῦ, ὃ ἐπιστεύθην ἐγώ.

I think it's interesting that my friends' translation, the New American Standard Bible, is the only one that uses the word "homosexual". It's especially interesting since the word "homosexual" wasn't invented until over 1800 years after Jesus died. Hey translator of the NASB: the lady doth protest too much, methinks.

And yet the Scripture I quoted, which happens to be my favorite and kinda the only part of the Bible I pay attention to because it's so simple and so profound, is translated relatively similarly in all versions of the Bible:

Matthew 22:36-40 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [a]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:36-40 The Message (MSG)

The Most Important Command
34-36 When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?” 37-40 Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

Matthew 22:36-40 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Matthew 22:36-40New King James Version (NKJV)

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΝ 22:36-401550 Stephanus New Testament (TR1550)

36 διδασκαλε ποια εντολη μεγαλη εν τω νομω 37 ο δε ιησους ειπεν αυτω αγαπησεις κυριον τον θεον σου εν ολη τη καρδια σου και εν ολη τη ψυχη σου και εν ολη τη διανοια σου 38 αυτη εστιν πρωτη και μεγαλη εντολη 39 δευτερα δε ομοια αυτη αγαπησεις τον πλησιον σου ως σεαυτον 40 εν ταυταις ταις δυσιν εντολαις ολος ο νομος και οι προφηται κρεμανται

ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΝ 22:36-40SBL Greek New Testament (SBLGNT)

36 Διδάσκαλε, ποία ἐντολὴ μεγάλη ἐν τῷ νόμῳ; 37 ὁ [a]δὲ ἔφη αὐτῷ· Ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου ἐν ὅλῃ [b]τῇ καρδίᾳ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ [c]τῇ ψυχῇ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου· 38 αὕτη ἐστὶν [d]ἡ μεγάλη καὶ πρώτη ἐντολή. 39 Δευτέρα [e]δὲ ὁμοία [f]αὐτῇ· Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν. 40 ἐν ταύταις ταῖς δυσὶν ἐντολαῖς ὅλος ὁ νόμος [g]κρέμαται καὶ οἱ προφῆται.

I personally prefer The Message. It's the most accessible to my modern eyes. I struggle with the language of the other translations. The Message translates Romans 1:26-27 as this:

Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men—all lust, no love.

I interpret that quote to mean not that God hates fags, as the Westboro Church wants you to believe, or that God thinks gays are sinning by going against the word of God, as less crazy but still uber-conservative Christians want us to believe. I interpret that quote to mean that God wants us to love each other, to treat our sex partners with love and dignity and respect, not "all lust, no love".

And don't even get me started on the term sodomite. A sodomite is a rapist, not a gay person engaging in a loving sexual relationship with another consenting adult.

Love God. Love people. It's really as simple as that. The rest of the Bible is a game of telephone, a translation of a translation of a translation. We're never going to get all the words right, so how 'bout we focus on the word love?



Friday, December 5, 2014

The Racing Rocket Sock Monkeys


We had a blast at the girls' 3rd basketball game tonight. It's incredible to watch their skills develop so rapidly each week. They did a great job of passing and really looked like a solid team tonight. First game they scored 6. Second game they scored 12. Third game they scored 18.

The other team showed up with just four players, so I asked if any of our girls would mind playing with the other team for one game. Without any hesitation one of the girls offered, and just like that, we had enough on both sides to play a game. Her parents were the ones who had signed up to bring snacks and drinks tonight. They ended up passing them out to the other team too.

See, man, basketball is all about collaboration and flexibility.

Oh, and we finally have a team name: The Racing Rocket Sock Monkeys.

Look at this when you feel let down

My favorite quote

You are brilliant quirky fun positive and generous. I love anything you write. You have a unique outlook the world needs to hear. You live in loving ways. And your daughter is remarkable which means you are a fantastic mom. Oh and God loves you.

Me at 15

You are a good human being and a great librarian, mother etc!

Me and Katie


You are an outspoken advocate for so many underrepresented groups. Your daughter loves you despite the setbacks. Your Sunday morning class loves you - maybe because of the setbacks and the person they have made you.

Me and the love of my life, Will


You care. You love and are loved. You're a searingly honest writer. You know how to have fun.

Me on a slip n slide at Katie's birthday party


My friend Becky writes about her life and tells the truth.

Love from Katie


Dear luminous, honest, hard working, heart working, earnest, funny, vulnerable You...

"Our Family" by Katie


I love your ferocity.  You do everything with such a fierce, passionate energy.

My favorite quote from my favorite book

Thursday, December 4, 2014

#CrimingWhileWhite

You have to check this out: https://twitter.com/hashtag/crimingwhilewhite

White people are confessing their petty crimes and fuckups in which the result did not leave them dead. What a concept. This is what white privilege is. Getting away with a warning and the saying "kids will be kids". But black kids don't get away with their immature shenanigans or stupid mistakes. Black kids get shot.White kids get to share a funny tweet.

I had more than a tweet's worth of story to tell about the time I was an asshole to a cop and did not get shot, so I figured I'd better blog about it. Here goes:

When I was nineteen I nannied for a wealthy family during one of my many self-scheduled breaks from college. Their last name was Jones. As in, The Jones Store. The father was somehow related to the original department store's owner and used his inheritance and privilege to his current family's advantage. Hey, man, that's just what we do, right? Katie will inherit all the pennies I make off this blog when I die someday, lucky kid.

The family I nannied for could afford to live in the good part of town. I couldn't afford to live near them. I had to get up extra early for my morning commute so I could report for diaper duty by 7AM. I am not a morning person. It's hard for me to arrive anywhere before noon, and if I'm forced to, don't expect me to be in a good mood.

I drove a 1989 Ford Festiva. My dad had bought it for me the previous summer after I had an emotional meltdown and threatened to run away with my girlfriend and skip college. It was odd. Dad had never shown any interest in my education. My guess is that he realized he was going to lose an income tax deduction if I didn't attend school. He offered to buy me a car if I'd agree to enroll at Johnson County Community College.

A couple of years earlier I had protested even getting a drivers' license before I caved and got one a month before I turned 17. I didn't like cars because I was a tree hugger and tree huggers don't like cars, in the same way I was a vegetarian because I was a Smiths fan and Smiths fans don't eat meat. By the time I was 18 my idealism had vanished and I was driving the 1974 Super Beetle my parents had bought from a friend of theirs for $500. It had a bad catalytic converter, so I smelled like rotten eggs whenever I'd meet my friends at our hangout, but I didn't care because it was this amazing machine that moved me out of my parent's world and into my own in less than twenty minutes if you take the highway.

I never thought I was the type of person to like cars, but I was actually a little sad when my parents had to sell my Super Beetle for $250 after it died on me in my high school parking lot one day and our mechanic said it would cost more to fix it than it was worth.

So when Dad decided it was time for me to enroll in college, he bought me a car so I could move back in (after having been kicked out of the house three-months before) with them and drive to school, which would be way cheaper than paying for an apartment close to school. My girlfriend and I were getting close to calling it quits, so I said why not and took my dad's offer.

It didn't last. I went for a semester or two before Dad and I got into another huge fight which resulted in my giving him back his godfuckingdamnshittyass car so he could quit fucking controlling my life, but that was after the story I want to tell you about now. The one about how I yelled at a cop and didn't get shot.

So I was driving this 1989 Ford Festiva one morning on my way to my nanny gig. I was running late, which, if you've been reading my blog for some time, you understand is a given. I lived in a part of town that got around to plowing the streets after a snowstorm about the same time the sun came out and began to melt the snow away. My Festiva was front-wheel drive, which is good in snow, but it was so light I could barely make it out of my street.

I finally made to to the good side of town and was driving along their well-plowed roads, rubbing the fog off my windshield with my glove, when I saw flashing lights faintly through the frost on my hatchback window.

Oh shit. The cops.

I had never been arrested or even gotten a ticket at that point in my life. My brother Pat once got his nose broken during his arrest outside of a car wash in the parking lot. My brother and his buddy, probably sixteen at the time, had broken the lock on the change machine at a self-service car wash and were attempting to run away when the cops showed up and arrested them.

"We hadn't thought about how heavy the change would be in our pockets. You try running with your pants pockets overflowing with change," is what my brother said when he got home and told us the story. His face looked awful--his eyes blackened from his broken nose. When the officer had Pat lying face-down in the parking lot, arms in cuffs behind his back, Pat lifted his head momentarily to ask a question and the officer responded by stepping on the back of Pat's head, crushing his nose into the pavement.

I was a kid when my brother got his nose broken by that police officer. Like seven or eight. It was confusing to get messages at school from Officer Friendly and also get messages at home from my family about being careful around cops.

So I'm 19. I'm driving down the street in the good side of town, and I get pulled over. I complied. Tip of the day: if you plan on trying your luck at a car chase with the police, do not choose a 1989 Ford Festiva for the getaway car.

As I unrolled my drivers' side window, frost flew off onto the officer's shoes. I looked up at him and said, "Yes?!" It was difficult to contain the irritation bubbling inside me as I experienced just one more roadblock on my way to babysit rich people's kids.

"Hey, hey!" The officer held a gloved hand up and waved in a grandfatherly way. "It's OK. I just wanted to pull you over to see if we can get some of this defrost off your windows so you have more visibility..."

The officer whipped out a giant ice scraper and began to scrape my windshield as I sat there and didn't know what to do. I felt completely enraged, and yet I couldn't understand why. Here was this nice officer, trying to make sure I can see out of my windows as I drive through a snowstorm, and I feel like telling him to leave my car the fuck alone. Why did I feel so hostile?

The officer finished the windshield and then came back to the driver's side window, where I was waiting and watching and wondering what I should do.

"Welp, that's better. You want to make sure and take the time to clear off all your windows before you start driving..." the officer said in a calm, paternal-adviceish tone.

That was it. I cracked. "I did clear off my windows before I started driving, but my heater doesn't work great and the defrost sucks, and so this is what I've got and it's the best I can do, so I'm sorry OFFICER, but I need to get to work." As the words left my mouth I knew I was overreacting, but I couldn't seem to stop it. I was pissed off that the cop was making me even later to my job. I was pissed off that I lived in a part of town that makes it difficult for people to get to work on time, especially during a snowstorm. I was pissed that my dad was still ragging at me to go back to college. It just felt like everyone was trying to tell me how to live my life and blocking me from doing what I wanted to do and I'd had enough.

I was a teenager, for goodness' sake. Teenagers want to get away from authority. That's natural. It's how we survive on our own.

I started to pull away, but my tire was stuck in a snowbank. I could hear the officer outside yelling, "Hey, hey, wait! Don't drive off yet!"

I didn't want to listen to him, but I was stuck. I rolled down my car window. "Am I going to get arrested for trying to get to work?!" I asked in the snottiest, most disrespectful tone I could muster.

"Hey!" The officer finally held his hand up as if to say, "shut up". But he didn't say "shut up". He said, "Hey!" He was nothing but polite to me, and I suddenly felt ashamed for having yelled at him. I started to cry.

"It's OK, I just want to help you drive safely," he said. He walked to the back where my tire was stuck and used his scrapper to remove some of the snow so my tire could gain traction enough to move. Within moments I was pulling forward, but I stopped for a minute. I think I wanted to say thank you to the officer, but I sat there numb, not knowing what to say.

He walked up to my car and proceeded to scrape my rear window. Then he patted my car's trunk and sent me on my way to my nanny gig, no thank yous from me.

At the time I didn't appreciate the good treatment I received from a real-life Officer Friendly. I was a nineteen year old girl with a chip on her shoulder and grudges to bear and I was in no mood to let a nice cop alter my general misanthropic feelings.

But today, the day after the grand jury decided not to indict the police officer who choked Eric Garner to death, I discovered that the Internet is fighting back. Go to Twitter's #CrimingWhileWhite". You will be amazed. All these white people talking about petty crimes they've committed where the police didn't make a big deal out of it, let them off, and certainly didn't kill them. It's so full of win, which is what we need in this time a tragedy. We need to come together and share our stories and let each person's voice be heard so that we can figure out how to stop hating each other and begin to heal.

Eric Garner can't share his stories. He was put into a choke-hold by an officer and died after he simply asked for the officers to stop touching him. He wasn't being aggressive. He wasn't being disrespectful. He certainly wasn't acting as atrociously as I did back when I was a 19 year old punk.

The difference? I was a 19 year old suburban white girl punk driving around like an idiot with frost on my windows, and Eric Garner was a 44 year old urban black man allegedly breaking up a fight on the sidewalk, or maybe, if anything, selling cigarettes without a license, definitely no crime that one would be sentenced to death for committing.

Please, white people. Step up. Share your stories of privilege so that our great nation can speak openly and honestly about race and our police brutality problem.