So, this is my life.
And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
more excerpts from the fantastic book, The Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs.
preev post here.
I'll do the Scalia technique on the Bible. I'll try to find the original intent. I want to live the original religion. A lot of people tell me that such a quest is a fantasy. The Bible was written thousands of years ago by people with profoundly different worldviews. And I agree, it's hard. much harder than finding the original intent of the Constitution, which was at least written in some form of English, even if the Ss and Fs look alike.
The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Its journey into other languages has been famously bumpy; the Bible could be the most mistranslated text in history. The Red Sea is a mistranslation of the "Sea of Reeds." The idea that moses (and his descendants) had horns comes from a mistranslation of the Hebrew word qaran. It actually means that Moses's face was shining, or emitting beams of light.
* * *
Day 256. Back in New York, I'm continuing my tutorial in evangelical Christianity. It's Friday night, and I'm sitting in on a Bible study group... We'll be led by a man named Dr. Ralph Blair, who is a hardcore Christian evangelical.
Oh, I should mention one other thing: Ralph Blair is gay. And out-of-the-closet gay. Not, mind you, the I-once-was-gay-but-now-am-cured type of gay. Ralph -- and all the other men in his Bible group -- embrace their homosexuality with the same zeal that ultraconservative evangelicals condemn it...
Of course, Ralph's organization is controversial. And at first blush, it makes about as much sense as an Association of Vegan Burger King Owners. It's at once inspiring and depressing. Inspiring that they have found one another, and depressing because they are part of a movement in which the majority thinks of their sexuality as sinful.
But Ralph says that you have to distinguish between evangelical Christianity and the religious right. The religious right's obsession with homosexuality comes "out of culture, not out of Scripture."
"But there do seem to be antigay passages in the Bible," I say.
"Yes, the so-called clobber passages," he says. 'But I call them the clobbered passages."
Ralph's argument is this: The Bible does not talk about loving same-sex relationships as they exist today. Jesus would have no problem with two men committed to each other. One of Ralph's pamphlets has this headline on the front: "What Jesus Said about Homosexuality." You open up the pamphlet, and there's a BLANK PAGE.
Ralph says that if you look at the Bible's allegedly antigay passages in historical context, they aren't antigay at all. They are actually anti-abuse, or antipaganism. Consider the famous Leviticus passage: "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman, it is an abomination."
"In biblical times, there was no parity between men and women. Women and children were just a bit above slaves. To be with a man like a woman was to disgrace him. It's what soldiers did to their conquered enemies, they raped them."
That famous Leviticus passage is actually merely saying: Do not treat your fellow man disgracefully.
Or take another commonly cited passage in the New Testament, Romans 1:26-27. Here the Apostle Paul rails against those who gave in to "dishonorable passions."
"...Their women exchanged natural relationships for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error."
Ralph says that Paul is preaching here against pagan culting practices - the loveless sex that went on in the idolatrous temples of the day...
Saturday, November 29, 2008
my world starts and stops right outside your door
i'm feeling weak, and i can't sleep tonight
i never thought that i would ever feel this way
i'm hanging onto every word that you say
i'm beaten down
i come around
one look in your eyes and i am saved
whatever you want, i want
whatever you feel, i feel
i'll follow you
but i keep losing me
a rare gem among stones, offered by the weekly iTunes free download back in the summer.
lately it's been swimming around my head, and it's a hauntingly lovely song, sung by a pretty little mexican version of a jonas brother.
diego sure can belt out a note, especially for a former telenovela star. hot.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friendship As Media
More of my friends are finding the time to get on Facebook, prompting various nostalgia trips as people from the past reconnect. This seems benign enough, but it’s a little strange that the technological means makes possible a relationship that everyone involved in was happy enough to abandon to the mists of time. It’s like Facebook has more at stake in that revived connection than the individuals reconnecting do—and maybe that’s true.
Actually, this seems like the essential bargain Facebook presents us with. It will facilitate our illusions of friendship and connection by making such social contact nearly effortless and highly insulated. We can broadcast gossip about ourselves and present ourselves in a flattering light and make contact with people we had forgotten about just by going to the site. It maintains our friendships for us by storing a configuration of the network of all the people who have ever mattered to us while exempting us from that particular effort that we had already, in fact, stopped bothering to make.
So we get friendship without the trouble of having to put effort into the relationships. It’s friendship rendered convenient through technology, and the convenience to a degree denatures the original significance—isn’t the substance of relationships ultimately anchored in the effort we feel ourselves putting in? (Or am I simply mystifying the ideal of working at things?)
In exchange for making our social lives more convenient, Facebook seizes the right to transform our sociality into commercially useful information, turn our relationships into market research and use that data to anticipate and shape our future selves with the ads it calculates that we should be presented with. It manages our friendships and then processes the data interrelationships to guide the process of how we subsequently develop our identities through its site. Since it is mediating our friendships, and in effect making the effort for us, it is also directing what the fruits of that effort will be, supplying the framework through which friendships develop and making itself the very medium of friendship.
At that point, Facebook succeeds into making friendship a consumption product, and itself as the service provider. The other friends we have through it, on the other side the screen, are the product it marshals for us. And our consumption of Facebook, rather than the actual experience of friendship with all the effort that would otherwise require, now shapes our personalities—in accordance with the commercial goals it has set our for ourselves. In that way, it isolates us more by promising to mediating our connections with the rest of the world. It deprives us of the opt-in to make more effort, and make our social efforts more meaningful. Is this too pessimistic?
Sunday, November 23, 2008
what is dis, you axe?
this is a MANGOSTEEN.
say it out loud, it's fun. mang-go-steeeen.
i know this only because, on a whim today, i bought mangosteen juice. i'm such a brave little soldier, sticking mysterious things into my mouth. btw, it's delicious.
thanks to the miracle that is Wickipedia, i now know everything there is to know about this delectable fruit.
and so can you, if you are really that bored.
the more you know...
Saturday, November 22, 2008
first is that m'gurl kelly clarkson is about to release a new album. and it's goooing to be amaaaazeeeeng.
second, KC not only knows how to use a computer, but she can blog, too! and if you can get past her excessive use of emoticons, you'll get a sense of how cute and sweet she really is just from reading her blog. of course i knew all that already, since i've met* her several times.
but finally, and most importantly, KC is obsessed with HBO's True Blood, just like me! ugh that reminds me: this sunday is the season finale. i don't want to let go yet. it's just too good.
but anyway, back to kelly. check out her blog, keep your eyes (and wallets) open for her new album, and note that i've added KC's blog to my list of faves for you to check up on often. she better keep up with that shit, too.
*been in the same stadium with
Friday, November 21, 2008
so, this is pretty much my favorite youtube vid EVER.
and i'm sure you've all seen it a billion times.
but today it goes out to my dear friend Ash-hole, who's home sick in bed and quite miserable.
ash, try to enjoy this day off. catch up on your internet funnies.
drink lots of fluids. (ginger ale & vodka is my favorite for when i'm not feeling well.)
and remember that nyquil makes everything better. especially during the day.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
so this website, Typealyzer, analyzes various websites and blogs in order to quickly and concisely sum up the "personality" of that blog, as if the blog were a person.
i entered in my blog. and this is how Typealyzer summed up my blog:
ESFP - The PerformersThe entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.
They enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.
i thought that was cute, and i felt happy to have a "friendly" blog that enjoys being able to help people. the "soft fabric" thing is a bit gay, but then...
anyway, just to be sure, i decided to Typealyze Dlisted. and as it turns out, Michael K's blog gets the same personality result, so.....
site don't work, y'all.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
-the sound of crisp leaves underfoot
-the warmth of a scarf or comfy shawl sweater
-being able to justify eating a sandwich with stuffing and sugary cranberry sauce inside it
-the park suddenly devoid of homeless people in the freezing morning air
but one of the things i love even more is that atticus finch has returned to sleeping on my legs and/or feet.
how truly charming it is to witness the selfless behavior of this dear animal, whose only concern is to warm my cold extremities throughout the freezing night! i can't imagine a more comforting gesture.
i find that mr. finch is even more prone to this selfless behavior if i close the door to my bedroom, thereby keeping the room cooler than my very warm living room and prohibiting the escape of any person or creature without opposable thumbs.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
"My life is very monotonous," the fox said. "I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the colour of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat..." The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time. "Please, tame me!" he said.
"I want to, very much," the little prince replied. "But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand."
"One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me..."
"What must I do, to tame you?" asked the little prince.
"You must be very patient," replied the fox. "First you will sit down at a little distance from me, like that, in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day..."
The next day the little prince came back.
"It would have been better to come back at the same hour," said the fox. "If, for example, you come at four o'clock in the afternoon, then at three o'clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o'clock, I shall already be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you... One must observe the proper rites..."
* * *
So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near...
"Ah," said the fox, "I shall cry."
"It is your own fault," said the little prince. "I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you..."
"Yes, that is so," said the fox.
"But now you are going to cry!" said the little prince.
"Yes, that is so," said the fox.
"Then it has done you no good at all!"
"It has done me good," said the fox, "because of the color of the wheat fields." And then he added: "Go and look again at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the world. Then come back to say goodbye to me, and I will make you a present of a secret."
The little prince went away, to look again at the roses. "You are not at all like my rose," he said. "As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world." And the roses were very much embarrassed. "You are beautiful, but you are empty," he went on. "One could not die for you..."
And he went back to meet the fox. "Goodbye," he said.
"Goodbye," said the fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
"What is essential is invisible to the eye," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember...
another of my favorite parts here.
Monday, November 17, 2008
thank you for the nice surprise today. stumbling upon our old Camajalini blog from Roma brought a big smile to my face.
i forgot this even existed!
i'm not sure why it was such a surprise - because we all know blogs never die.
keep on keepin' on!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
a friend of mine shared some deep and very personal feelings and thoughts in an e-mail, so naturally my first inclination is to post them on my public blog.
just kidding just kidding. i'm not going to tell you what the e-mail was about or all that my friend said, but i'd like to share with you one point she made, which - even though it's not about me in any way - resonates tonight. oh, look, i made it all about me. again.
anyway, my friend said:
we all know that none of us are perfect... i'm not either. we judge. we say and do small things that are hurtful (even unintentionally) and we look back on and regret.
but if you can talk about them and through them, that's something.
simple truths, my friends.
simple truths. she's right. and it really is something. in fact, it's everything.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
the year was 1999.
i was a junior in high school.
i realize many of you were still in diapers at that point. i am old.
like that of every other human, my favorite actress was julia roberts.
and my favorite movie and my favorite cd both went by the name of NOTTING HILL.
to date, i've watched the movie approximately three hundred (300) times. i've listened to the soundtrack even more, considering it travels better than my 75-pound non-flatscreen television.
anyway, the Notting Hill soundtrack is still one of the very best ever, topped (in my mind) only by the soundtracks for Great Expectations and Practical Magic. but i digress...
a seriously obscure (in America, that is) band by the name of Boyzone sang my favorite song on the album, called NO MATTER WHAT.
when i heard this song, i knew. i just knew. 'ya know?
so i was elated to learn that, almost 10 years later, the boyz from Boyzone are still alive and well, and have just recorded a cover of one of the loveliest songs EVER -- a cover of BETTER by Tom Baxter. i love it so much i blogged about it last april and then couldn't help but re-blog about it just a couple months ago.
anyho, here's the Boyzone cover of one of my favoritest love songs, complete with a toothache-inducing video of the band members and their real-life spouses/civil partners:
OMFG, youtube disabled embedding for this song.
apparently it was TOO WONDERFUL for people to handle.
so you have to go HERE to watch and listen.
p.s. i just realized there are so many LINKS in this post. that's not like me. links links links! click them now. seriously, i think they're all worth it.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
ideally, you would tell the sales girl pestering you at Macy's that you'll "yell for a salesman if i DO need something, though." or end a fight with a close friend with a very sincere apology like, "well, i'm sorry you're so sensitive."
but if you aren't fortunate enough to be in such an appropriately snarkworthy position today, you can sit back and enjoy other people's bitchiness, thanks to the website PassiveAggressiveNotes.com.
after a quick (hour-long) skim, here are some of my faves!
roommate affection, i presume:
somebody has some issuuuuuesss:
even God can be passive-aggressive at times:my most favorite of all:
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
beginning in mid-september and throughout much of october, i found myself having serious trouble sleeping.
i should note this cycle of sleep v. sleeplessness is not new to me. i've gone through these phases before, beginning in high school (i'm pretty sure i didn't get a solid night's sleep between 1996 and 2000). for a recovered insomniac, even a few sleepless nights in a week can be worrisome, and i was beginning to worry.
so i resorted to one of my old faves, Tylenol PM. and i found myself whining at work in the mornings, to the point that one of the paralegals in my office brought me Lunesta (score!!). and of course, i complained non-stop about not sleeping well.
it was during one of my complaining sessions, while on the phone with A, that i remembered something i once read, and which i had learned to follow in my previous apartment: feng shui teaches us to leave space on all sides of our beds in order to allow energy to flow around us while we sleep, thus allowing us to sleep better.
right then an there, while still on the phone with my very incredulous boyfriend, i pulled my bed away from the wall. i haven't had a sleepless night since. believe it or not.
i got to thinking about feng shui, the 6,000+ year old art of what i would sum up as re-directing energy. and somehow, despite my extremely busy schedule and overwhelming workload, i found the time to research the topic so that i could provide for you a concise list of basic feng shui tips.
i've summed up some helpful tips below, for your edification and enjoyment. this way you won't have to spend 6 hours of your own work day reading 1,000 websites and pretending to do actual work.
i won't bore you with the philosophy and/or history of the ancient art. i'm just going to boil it down to some basic changes you can make in your home and office.
you may or may not buy into it, but open your minds to making a few changes... just in case.
the most important room in your house:
I. the bedroom
-place your bed in a "command position," meaning a position that is diagonally far from the room's entryway yet facing the door. this is the position of power in any room. (note: don't sleep directly in line with the door, though!)
-there should be a solid wall behind your bed, but leave space on all 4 sides of the bed to allow the flow of chi through the room
-remove workspaces (desks, computers) and excessive electronics (televisions) from the bedroom.
for the stubborn among you who refuse to give up television in the bedroom (to the detriment of your sleep and health, as i've been saying for years), at least "put the tv away" when it's time to go to sleep. there are lots of ways to do this.
-do NOT place any mirrors on the wall opposite your bed. according to chinese legend, this will attract a third party into your relationship. (of course, if you're looking for that sort of thing, take out the "NOT" above ;-)
-keep nothing under your bed!
-no trash cans/waste baskets in your bedroom, or your love life will suffer.
-king-sized beds are usually a bad idea. why? because in most, the mattress is made of two distinct mattresses, placed side-by-side. this means you're not technically sleeping on the same bed as your spouse/lover/significant other/soon-to-be-ex. sad...
II. the living room
-unlike in the bedroom, mirrors are great in the living room, as they can redirect both the energy and the light in any space, despite architectural limitations you might have to work with. mirrors bring a sense of calm and refreshment. it's also really convenient to be able to check your hair and teeth without walking to the bathroom.
-if you have a red sofa, get rid of it immediately. that's all there is to it.
-the more water you bring into your living space, the better. this explains why old women a few years ago were obsessed with those little rock fountains, until the motors burned out or the rocks grew stinky algae.
-every room has "dead areas" in it, usually corners and shady alcoves. it's important to bring life to these spaces by using lamps, plants, or fish tanks. do people still have fish as pets? i dunno...
-if this isn't already obvious, your seating furniture should be placed in an OPEN layout, as a circle or curve. duh.
-according to learned chinamen, a fireplace should be the focal point of a room. in my house, it is; but i bet most of you have replaced the fireplace with a television set. the least you can do is get a dvd of a lit, inviting fireplace, and play it when you have guests over.
-arrange a seated area called the "honored guest position," which should be cozy and located opposite the entryway to the living room. i think the HGP at my house is in my bedroom.
III. the bathroom
-because this is the ceremonial site of your daily cleansing ritual, this room should be kept pristine. this might come as news to many guys out there, but clean up your disgusting bathrooms! piles of toothpaste in the sink and pubes on the toilet bowl are unacceptable and may cost you a second date.
-a key tenet of feng shui is welcoming fortune to flow in your direction through the prominence of running water in your house. even something as simple as a picture of a waterfall is enough to encourage this flow; unfortunately, a leaky faucet or a running toilet does just the opposite. a dripping tap sucks the fortune out of you both spiritually and literally (waste of energy, waste of money. obviously.).
-keep the lid of your toilet down. especially when you're at my place! total pet peeve of mine.
-place mirrors so that they can reflect the faucets in your bathroom.
-important colors for the bathroom are pale blues, grey, and cream. and i'm NOT just saying that because those are the very colors with which MY bathroom is decorated. i read it somewhere!!!
IV. the kitchen
-all i could find for the kitchen is to hang a mirror behind your stove. i don't know why. maybe so you can see how fat you are while you cook, and thus will be discouraged from eating.
finally, what i was looking for when i set out on this research journey:
V. the office
-place your desk in a command position. remember what that is? if not, you might be retarded or have alzheimer's, because we just talked about that (above).
-your desk should have rounded edges. it probably doesn't, though. mine has ONE rounded edge and the rest square. ugh.
-you need plants in your office to generate creativity and the growth of new ideas. it also doesn't hurt that they provide fresh oxygen to your overworked, overcaffeinated, and sometimes hung over brain.
-remember that the color yellow has been scientifically proven to sharpen focus, especially in dyslexic children. the chinese knew this thousands of years ago, before dylsexia or children even existed!
-you need a window in your office or near your desk, for the natural light. if you can't see a window, you need a new job. your job is literally killing you as you read this.
-three words: solid wooden desk.
as i read over my 6 pages of feng shui research notes i compiled today (i can be extremely productive when i'm being paid to do something else!), i realized something funny. i have inadvertently been following many key tenets of this ancient art during the past few years. if you've had the good fortune to be in my home, in the presence of the great Atticus-Buddha, you'll concur. and i promise i didn't tailor my findings to support what i've done with my own home.
so look around your house, and i bet you'll find that you're already practicing feng shui to some extent. and if, by chance, your home is completely out of whack in feng shui terms, let this be impetus to re-arrange (and vacuum the dust bunnies out from under) your furniture. whether you believe this mumbo jumbo or not.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I just wanted to write a quick note to say I was saddened by what happened last week in California and Florida, and -- to be fair -- what has been happening throughout this country for the last decade.
Throughout the past month or so, the whole YES ON PROPOSITION 8 campaign in California really amazed me. The movement, funded by the Christian church and other religious groups (especially Mormons), used a media campaign of lies and distortions (i.e. your children will be taught homosexuality in first grade, the judiciary is legislating from the bench, gays are ruining this country) to strike down constitutional marriage equality.
Do you know why the campaign focused on those arguments/lies? Because when it comes right down to it, NO ONE who argues against same-sex marriage equality can give even one bit of support for how allowing same-sex couples to legally marry will de-sanctify or destroy heterosexual marriages in any way. Because they won't.
Because extending equal civil rights to one minority does not take them away from the majority, nor does guaranteeing fundamental rights to a minority ruin the majority's enjoyment of those rights.
No person should be treated differently just because he or she is naturally different from the majority. In fact, throughout history, our courts and government have given special protection to minority groups, because "the majority" is a strong and often dangerous machine. It can enslave an entire race. It can put asian AMERICANS into internment camps. And it can deny rights to a minority that it doesn't understand, simply because it is different.
The church should be first in line to stand up for the minority, to protect the powerless. But today's modern church does just the opposite. Today's church uses lies and generalizations to harness the same power of FEAR that put Asian Americans in concentration camps during WWII, the same FEAR that drives church leaders to preach against equality.
I have faith that, in time, many Christians will understand that Jesus would not have used lies, deceit, and mistranslations of scriptures to support the denial of equal rights to one group of people. That's exactly what we have realized in the last 50 years with regards to anti-miscegenation laws, and now, looking back, we wonder how Americans (Christians especially) could have been so narrow-minded and cruel and ignorant as to deny mixed-race couples from marrying. I look forward to the day when we can look back and realize the same about this anti-same-sex marriage movement.
"Protecting marriage" is protecting nothing but the narrow-minded "truths" that religious and otherwise ignorant Americans prefer to keep telling themselves.
Thanks for reading. I couldn't hold it in any longer, and I needed you all to consider that this "Protect Marriage" cause that many of you support (however strongly you support it) is hurting individuals, hurting families, and driving many, many people away from the church that I love and want to welcome all people into.
This is NOT what Jesus would do, bitches!
This is by no means an excuse, but... when I left work, all I could think of was getting to you. Because I knew once I’d see you I’d feel okay.
And when I got there, the only pair of eyes I wanted to see were yours.
Because all I wanted was a hug.
Brothers & Sisters.
it's still on tv.
and it's still fantastic.
(and it's on ABC. JSYK.)
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I wasn't like every other kid, you know, who dreams about being an astronaut. I was always more interested in what bark was made out of on a tree.
Richard Gere's a real hero of mine. Sting. Sting would be another person who's a hero. The music he's created over the years, I don't really listen to it, but the fact that he's making it, I respect that.
I care desperately about what I do. Do I know what product I'm selling? No. Do I know what I'm doing today? No. But I'm here, and I'm gonna give it my best shot.
buy a t-shirt. do it now. the end.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
i've wanted for several weeks now to share with you some parts of a fantastic non-fiction book i'm reading.
the book is The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible.
okay, so you're bored already. but hang in there. it's actually a lot of fun. the author, A.J. Jacobs, gave up normal life for 365 days in order to practice what so many full-of-shit fundamentalists swear they stand for: following the commands of the Bible LITERALLY.
long story short, it severely alters the life of this atheist from Manhattan.
you see, when it comes right down to it, the Bible happens to be a very controlling book. big surprise, eh?
for an entire year, Jacobs couldn't cut his hair, work on the Sabbath, wear "normal" clothing, sleep in the same bed with his wife during certain times of the month, etc. etc. etc. the number of rules - both affirmative and prohibitive - that the Good Book commands us to follow is astounding.
but Jacobs made a serious effort to comply with them all.
soon this former cutie and writer for Esquire magazine turned into a terrorist look-a-like nutcase you'd avoid in the subway.
and lucky for us, he journaled every day of the year -- the ups, the downs, the disbelief, the disdain, the pain, the fun (as it turns out, the Bible commands us to celebrate and drink quite a bit. soo.... i'm probably going to heaven on that basis alone!).
one of my fave parts:
The most commonly mentioned punishment method in the Hebrew Bible is stoning. So I figure, at the very least, I should try to stone. But how?
I can't tell you the number of people who have suggested that I get adulterers and blasphemers stoned in the cannabis sense. Which is an interesting idea...
Instead I figured my loophole would be this: The Bible doesn't specify the size of the stones. So... pebbles.
A few days ago, I gathered a handful of small white pebbles from Central Park, which I stuffed in my back pants pocket. Now all I needed were some victims...
I am resting in a small public park on the Upper West Side, the kind where you see retirees eating tuna sandwiches on benches.
"Hey, you're dressed queer."
I look over. The speaker is an elderly man, mid-seventies, I'd guess. He is tall and thin and is wearing one of those caps that cabbies wore in movies from the forties.
"You're dressed queer," he snarls. "Why you dressed so queer?"
I have on my usual tassels, and, for good measure, have worn some sandals and am carrying a knotty maple walking stick I'd bought on the internet for twenty-five dollars.
"I'm trying to live by the rules of the Bible. The ten Commandments, stoning adulterers..."
"You're stoning adulterers?"
"Yeah, I'm stoning adulterers."
"I'm an adulterer."
"You're currently an adulterer?"
"Yeah. Tonight, tomorrow, yesterday, two weeks from now. You gonna stone me?"
"If I could, yes, that'd be great."
"I'll punch you in the face. I'll send you to the cemetery."
He is serious. This isn't a cutesy grumpy old man. This is an angry old man. This is a man with seven decades of hostility behind him.
I fish out my pebbles from my back pocket.
"I wouldn't stone you with big stones," I say. "Just these little guys."
I open my palm to show him the pebbles. He lunges at me, grabbing one out of my hand, then flinging it at my face. It whizzes by my cheek.
I am stunned for a second. I hadn't expected this grizzled old man to make the first move. But now there is nothing stopping me from retaliating. An eye for an eye.
I take one of the remaining pebbles and whip it at his chest. It bounces off.
"I'll punch you right in the kisser," he says.
"Well, you really shouldn't commit adultery," I say.
(((more - and more serious - excerpts to come.)))
Sunday, November 2, 2008
that was the word that got under my skin back then.
i was young and impressionable (and even self-loathing) enough to take their word for it that homosexuality is a sin. i mean, the church wouldn't lie to me, would it? i didn't think so.
so i went along with it. i attempted to abide by and abide in the doctrine i was taught.
but when that word was used -- and you'd be surprised how often the topic came up -- my mind and body rebelled. as a model student at GCC (lovingly referred to as God's Concentration Camp), i expressed rebellion only in ways that allowed me to maintain the appearance of a good boy: i internalized. i questioned silently. i struggled.
of course every teenager, and especially the average GLBT-questioning teenager, experiences this internal struggle. but not every teenager is required to sit through hours and hours of sermons per semester, any one of which may happen to focus on the sin of homosexuality -- quite a poignant message for a captive audience of countless, closeted young men and women, all of whom seeking to be all that God wants them to be.
the internal monologue, loud as a pipe organ inside my head as i sat on the hard wooden pew, often began with a but.
"but i didn't choose this. when did i even have a choice? if i chose, i must've been young. 2 or 3, maybe. and if i did choose, i take it back! i change my mind. my prerogative. so... any day now. but i didn't choose this... it's just the way i am."
well, times have changed. i've given up the ghost -- the holy one, that is.
choice is no longer the word that upsets me, that sets me off, that sets my mind reeling with the fire of Sodom and Gomorrah. the new word:
TOLERATE, and all variations thereof. tolerate, tolerance, toleration (believe it or not, "toleration" is a real word. i checked.).
when i hear calls for tolerance, i get the same feeling that "choice" once gave me. when i hear politicians, religious leaders, or even homos urge tolerance, my chest tightens.
it used to seem like a nice gesture, especially coming from the "hate the sin, love the sinner" religious zealots. not anymore. they can keep their empty gestures.
i'm not interested in tolerance. i don't want your acceptance. i'm not a public nuisance, and i'm not an annoying baby on an airplane. i'm not disturbing you in any way, and i'm not asking you to tolerate anything.
if anyone could rightly urge tolerance, it's the GLBT community. "folks, we need to show a little tolerance of our backward society. we need to be patient as the ignorant and irrational attitudes and prejudices die off, giving way to logical thought and equality."
but just as i'm not asking that someone tolerate me or my community, i'm not suggesting that prejudice and inequality be tolerated either. i will never urge my community to be patient.
it's too late for tolerance, and now the only acceptable option is equality.
in completely unrelated news, to all of my readers in California (i know for a fact you're out there!), take this as a friendly reminder to vote NO on Proposition 8 on Tuesday. Prop 8 is wrong. it's unfair. and it's a step in the wrong direction, not just for California, but for equality in this nation.