Shame on you, Pat Buchanan

Here’s something I rarely tell people: I have two theological degrees.
Not just any theology: Judeo-Christian theology.
More specifically, Judeo-Christian, Evangelical Theology.
I am, technically, Mastered in that there Theology.

My education was a bit left of center, but still Jesus-centered. But not bible school! I didn’t go to Bible School and I’m a bit of a snob about that, i know. But, there’s Bible school — where the recipient learns one brand of Christianity and is fed answers to questions that most people arn’t even asking. Hmm, that may have been too harsh – but, I hate being grouped into that category. That type of education makes me really uncomfortable – it feels like it’s a process of creating clones, rather than thinkers. I didn’t have that education. I had a Christian theological education, which, in my opinion, was a scholarly, holistic exploration of the many facets, traditions, perspectives, and opinions that permeate the Christian and Jewish faith. A theological education, when done properly, in my lowly opinion, teaches people how to ask real questions and hopefully, instills a humility that allows the individual to admit, there may not be a knowable answer. That whole process of deconstructing ones tightly held belief system can be disillusioning to many a student, as it was for me, but it can also be freeing, as it became for me. God ceases to be a controlled substance that does exactly as your God-box allows, but instead becomes an infinite, untamed, engaging, mysterious entity that is present throughout the world, and in love with his WHOLE creation.

Why am I talking about this now? Well, I feel the need to introduce the notion that not all Christians think alike and that in reality, there are many streams that flow from the starting point of JESUS.

I’m thinking of this because of something Pat Buchanan said and because last week I read a few articles about a pastor in Seattle who tells his congregation and the world that the Jesus present in our society today is a feminized version and that the real Jesus was very male and masculine, and that women should still not have leadership roles in the church and that Reformed Theology is the real truth (some for hell, some for heaven). The article talked about this pastor’s church community, how they were all tatted up and the service was more like a U2 concert than anything else, and that thousands show up every Sunday to hear this guy, even though the theology is fairly conservative and there’s lots of talk about hell.  This is nothing new — this is why I stopped going to mainstream churches — you can dress it up as “hip” as you want — but it’s the same OLD, not-so-good news — God hates who he hates, many are going to hell and men are better.  Boring.

It just, it just doesn’t feel right to me. It’s so not how I’ve experienced the world, or God, or community, or women, or even good men. I hope the Kingdom of God is much more flexible, lovely, animated, diverse, eclectic, and womanly than some have conceived.  And I know a lot of good men that feel the same way.  It would seem, in the teachings I’ve read from Jesus and others in the OT, that God was a bit more concerned with how we treat each other, with the needs of the marginalized, with challenging greed, and with stirring up a revolution centered in self-sacrifice and humility — than he was about well, sex, sex, and sex.

But, back to the point, oh to be humble and self-sacrificial. If we took all that fervent Christian energy and funneled it into self-reflection, what would be become of the world? If we questioned every step with the wondering, “was I humble? Did I put the other before myself?” Would we need to be right? Would we need women to be weak? Would we fear change? Would we feel threatened by another’s opinions, beliefs, traditions, upbringing? OR, would we just SHUT UP and try and love our families, and our neighbors, and our friends, and our enemies?

I am no saint, ask anyone that really knows me. I am quick to stick my foot in my mouth, hot-headed, opinionated, impatient, and complain too much. I am not the loving, forgiving, non-judgmental, non-condemning Christian I would like to be. Not at all. And this post is merely a bunch of words and feelings and experiences streamed together into an opinion, an opinion that I carry deep in my heart- the opinion that, I wish a lot of Christian’s would shut up (myself included).

So, we arrive at Pat Buchanan.  I will address him personally now.  Pat, why, OH why, did you choose to say ANYTHING in regards to the mass slaying of 68 young, vibrant, hopeful teenagers in Norway this week besides, “I’m SO sorry this happened”?  Why? WHY would you think it OK to use this terrible tragedy to discuss the validity of an INSANE man’s ideology regarding Islam and multiculturalism? Why? SHAME ON YOU. Shame on you. I am horrified by your actions.

But, awful as this atrocity was, native-born and homegrown terrorism is not the macro-threat to the continent. That threat comes from a burgeoning Muslim presence in a Europe that has never known mass immigration, its failure to assimilate, its growing alienation, and its sometime sympathy for Islamic militants and terrorists. Europe faces today an authentic and historic crisis. With her native-born populations aging, shrinking and dying, Europe’s nations have not discovered how to maintain their prosperity without immigrants. Yet the immigrants who have come – from the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia – have been slow to learn the language and have failed to attain the educational and occupational levels of Europeans. And the welfare states of Europe are breaking under the burden.[…] As for a climactic conflict between a once-Christian West and an Islamic world that is growing in numbers and advancing inexorably into Europe for the third time in 14 centuries, on this one, Breivik may be right. – Buchanan

As Simon Maley said on Media Matters in regards to Pat’s blunder, “A good rule of thumb for political commentary – or life in general- is that terrorists are never right.  People who go on mass shooting sprees are never right. The man or woman who lights the fuse on a bomb that blows up a government building is never right. Their actions are wrong, and the ideas that motivated them are wrong.”

Amen.  Just shut up, Pat Buchanan.  Shut up.

I could say more about Jesus, and Christian theology, and American politics, and tollerism, and what COULD be.  But I’ll just take my own advice at this point and shut up.


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The part of the blog where I post observations in the form of a question (the one about Phil Collins)

How much do you totally secretly love Phil Collins?
That’s not an observation, I know. Are any of my observations actually observations? Lame.
You should have observed me singing on the top of my lungs in my car today. Confession: Every time a Phil Collins song comes on I think, “Man, so good.” And I’ve realized that I needed to be more open about my Collins respect, so while drinking beer in the backyard with friends, Peter and Dave, I confessed my adoration and they agreed! So, together, we sang our favorites. Oh come on, say you don’t sing along when good ol’ Phil comes on the soft rock station you have programmed into your radio. No?

Say you don’t feel this mullet…

The best part of youtube videos are the comments underneath,
as in, “im into hardcore and metal and even Iknow i have phill to thank in some ways, real music when it was a simpler time and lets face it…phill collins rules.” Thanks, Freakonetwoonetwo. Put the truth out there!

Who DOESN’T sing along to this song when it’s playing in the grocery store?

And this is the one I sang pretty loud alone. You have to admit it’s better than Sunny and Cher’s version. Common, doesn’t it melt you a wee bit? “Anytime you want to, you can turn me on to, anything you want to, any time at all.”

And remember when Phil Collins was an actor? Yea, I don’t either.

Homesick

I have insomnia again tonight. Oh, it’s such a drag. I just love night. I love the quiet and the way the house becomes mine and only mine. I love the softer lighting and dragging out the evening in an attempt to postpone tomorrow.

Tonight I am teeming with a bitter/sweet sadness. I am missing my friends. That sounds more simple than it feels. I’ve never been an island, never been good at being completely on my own. I’m a barnacle. And though I love to travel and am excited by change — I tend to stay where my people are. Friends have always been home to me. But lately I am experiencing a drought, a sort of homelessness. Los Angeles is a transient city where people come and go for school, or to try music, or film and then they leave. They go back to their families so they can afford to buy houses and get jobs and live near parents. And so most of the dear friends I made in college have made their way back to cities far from me and tonight the missing is just overwhelming. I’m just a big ball of tears. I suppose I feel homesick.

Homesick and lucky that I’ve had such great love in my life. Really lucky. I’m particularly thinking of the women I know. I just know the strongest, most funny, most loving, most loyal women.

So here’s a little ode to those dear ones that I miss tonight who have moved away: To Holly, whose empathy, forgiveness, and loyalty have been a gift to me. And Jen, who is the sister I always wanted – my defender and soul-friend. And Megs, whose felt it all with me – we can hold hands and cry and not say a word – and who has a way with finding/making beauty in/with everything. And Heather who hugs me harder than anyone I’ve ever known and sits with me in comfortable silence when it feels too dark. To Erin, who’s loyalty, sweetness and devotion has never ceased to comfort and amaze me. To Natasha, who feels as though I’ve always known her and whose laughter is so contagious. And Jayna’s courage and depth that inspires me. And Chris’s perfect voice and early morning philisophical coffee dates which I long for constantly. And Sarah, who will never read this, ha, but Sarah, who dragged me out of fear and loved me as her own and whose pantsuits I will inherit one day.

I miss the Coughlin’s too — late night couch talks and walks through Eagle Rock. And Brandon. Just Brandon. I always miss Brandon.

And I miss all your kids. I love being their aunty.

I believe I am finished now with my Award Ceremony Speech. I will probably be embarrassed tomorrow at how emotional and gushing I was tonight. It’s is nearly 1:30 now and I will hate the morning. But geez, I’m just heartbroken, and homesick, and wanting to document the overflowing love I feel for these gifts of mine. These precious, irreplaceable friends. God has been good to me.

Goodnight, my dear friends.

“A song for, someone who needs a place to long for…”

Ally McBeal

I just put it on Netflix and the first scene is little Ally smelling her childhood sweetheart’s butt to see if she loves him(like dogs do). Hooked.

I have this memory of my Uncle before he died and I’ve just opened a Christmas present from my Mom — the yearly Pajama set– and someone says put them on, which I do, which I always do and my Uncle says “She looks like Ally McBeal,” and his boyfriend’s there and he agrees and I feel really proud and happy for a moment that I look like a celebrity. Funny how those things stick.

OH, but there’s some serious cheesiness in this show. Like the slow motion flash back scenes. I feel embarrassed watching them.

Amy Winehouse

I didn’t follow Amy Winehouse, didn’t listen much to her music, or know much about her, but, I always feel a softness and a sadness for anyone that fights against the darkness of addiction and doesn’t get to win. It never seems fair to me – the way the disease eats up the talented and the tortured without much remorse. I started browsing Winehouse’s songs and came across the one shown below. It’s foolish, but something about her voice, and the words, and all that longing, and the fact that she never made it into the clearing — I nearly burst into tears. An actual burst – one of those surprising kinds that comes from the gut and embarrasses you a bit – but I held it together. I keep playing it though. I hear the words different than the Shirelle’s version – it’s sadder. I always seem to like sadder. Minute 1 and a bit after that — there’s something right there that’s just right.

The Most Beautiful Places I’ve Ever Been… Part One

I just woke from a nap, a sweaty one. This new house of mine doesn’t have air conditioning. It’s not quite unbearable yet — I keep my room dark and turn on a fan. The problem this afternoon was that I had ONE glass of champagne while at a baby shower in the valley. Champagne and baby showers, good idea, right? Right. I understand now why people talk bad about the “valley” all the time. HOT. It’s hot there. Well, I’m kind of an idiot when it comes to eating/drinking what I’m not supposed to. I’ve never been able to drink champagne without an instant, unbearable headache. Does that keep me from doing so? Not at all. So when I got home my head was beating with pain and my room was warm and I fell asleep and woke confused and drenched. But right before I really, fully woke, I had a flood of memories and the urge to write them here. Like an old fashion slide show, all these images shot through my mind of places I’ve been and loved. So, this is my first shot at listing the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, in no particular order.

1. Lake Tahoe. I lived here as a child. My father was born and raised on the South shore of the lake. Tahoe is innocence for me. Fourth of July, on the beach, Ray Charles, and Fireworks that look as though they may fall from the sky and land on your skin. You must go sometime. It’s so worth the effort. I don’t have a photo of my own for Tahoe on the 4th – but here’s one I took of Tahoe in December. This photo was recently published in the Honeyland Review (honeylandreview.com)

2. London. I absolutely loved London. I’ve been twice, and not for very long, but it stuck straight to my heart. Everything, every street, every building, every park, felt whimsical and romantic. Perhaps it was the fogginess, and the splashes of colors – doors and phone booths. Or the way each building could have been a castle. And the churches. I so love an old, gigantic church — ancient graves, stained glass, and cobblestone. I went to a service at Westminster Abbey and received communion right after I finished my four months in Sierra Leone. My chair sat directly on a missionary’s grave. Oh darn, what was his name — David Livingstone? Yes, that was it. Scottish missionary/explorer/abolitionist who worked in Africa. Although I think he spread British imperialism or something…but didn’t they all? Unfortunate.
I took this picture while on a walk. I have no idea where I was, but the photo sums up how I remember London.

3. Japan. In college I spent one month living in Japan and fell madly in love with Japanese culture. The quiet ceremonies, the kimonos, the intricate food, the children in matching school uniforms, the paper lanterns, the tea, the ancient architecture, the simple, uncluttered houses, the cherry blossoms in bloom. I wish I would have lived there for a year or so when I was younger and had the college loans to do so. Japan made me long for something — and I can’t name it — I don’t know how to say what it was, but I’ve longed for Japan ever since. I don’t have any of my photos on the computer — so you’ll have to use your imaginations, my darlings, until I find one for you. In the meantime, this:

I have my very own neon butterflies.

4. Juneau, Alaska. My friend, Jeremiah is an Alaskan native and the only friend I have that’s from Alaska. Years ago I got to visit Jer, and his wife, Jen (one of my closest and dearest friends) while they were on hiatus in Juneau. It was an insane treat. Alaska is pure. Downtown Juneau is like a photograph from a Swiss Mountain town. Jen and I, on a stupidly adventurous day, decided to hike out over an ice lake to get close to a glacier. It was one of those moments where you can’t help but feel undeniably small and frail — like staring at the open sky or an endless Ocean. The glacier, up close, was a color I’d never seen before, and standing before it I could hear every sound. Ever crack, every movement, every moan from the ice. It was terrifying and electric and filled me with a wildness. After a moment of frozen terror, Jen and I realized our stupidity and made a mad dash for land. I have the greatest memory of the two of us, stiff from layers of clothing, running awkwardly through the snow to escape death. (And that guy, remember that guy, Jen, that came by us on skis?) Here, a picture from that day (also featured in The Honeyland Review).

For another time, perhaps, because my eyes are growing tired: Sarajevo, Notre Dame at night, A roof in Tucson during the Monsoons, A Peruvian Church, a barely there beach house on the water outside of Freetown, the Cliff House in SF and Fireworks over the Golden Gate.

Beginners

I cannot wait to see this. I first heard about it on NPR — they were interviewing the director/writer and it’s a true story. The writer’s mother was diagnosed with cancer and died, and afterward, his father told him that he was actually gay. Loved his mother, loved his life with his mother, but was gay. Listening to the writer speak on NPR was fascinating — just the nuances of human sexuality, and love, and who we are to each other and how we survive a confusing, unforgiving world. And love. Love. The last two days I struggled to love. I was impatient, irrational, irritated, unhappy, unpleasant, unforgiving. Love. I had the temptation at one moment to roll down my window and scream at an elderly man in his little toyota that he should “NOT BE ALLOWED ON THE ROAD!” Love. For as long as I can remember these things have been true — I can’t keep my mouth shut, I feel before I think, and I’m always too tired. Hm.

and oh, yes, I love, madly so, Ewan Mcregor. Mine. He’s just mine. And I mean no disrespect to his darling wife — he’s actually all hers and if I find out that he’s cheating on her, I will assist Eve in ending his life.

Why I haven’t been writing. A confession.

What is my excuse? Who shall I blame?

Facebook? Netflix? Illness? Boyfriend? Thieves?

Well, yes, the thieves started it. You see, a year or so ago, during a hot and heavy season of writing, thieves broke into my house, stole my computer, and took with them 2 years of writing. Damn broke my heart and I just could NOT mend.

Then I got sick. Real sick. Sick with a disease that inflames one of my internal organs. Internal organs aflame is no good. No good. So, sickness led me to bed, which led me to boredom, which led me to netflix streaming and facebook stalking.

The streaming took me into worlds I’d never known. Serial Killers with babies, Texas High School Football, 1950’s New York. It was fabulous. I made many friends and grew fatter with each passing day.

Then the facebook stalking. Stalking. Stalking. Stalking. No good, that stalking. Why, I ask, must all of my exes have babies? Why? Babies, and wives, and stupidly cute houses. Why? Would I know about their lives if there was no facebook? Perhaps, BUT, and i say BUT, would i have to SEEEEEE them? No, the answer is no. NO! I would not have to see their babies, or their houses, or their stupid holiday family greeting card. And, since we’re on this diatribe, what about all the stalking I’ve done on people I don’t even know, or barely know, or don’t want to know anymore!! Facebook envy is killing my soul.

I should move on, but really, I feel this next story truly drives the story home….

Facebook stalking put me in contact with my second grade crush. I believed we were made for each other. We sat next to each other in class each day, and when I developed that speech problem (some people, as in teachers, didn’t think it was all that cute that I couldn’t say the words: Girl, World, or Wolf) and was moved to a different class, as in, the bungalows in the back (p.s. why must the stupid kids be put in bungalows? It’s bad enough we’re stupid), my 2nd grade crush would stand atop a dirt mound and wait for me every recess. One night, years later, while drinking too much jack daniels in a dive bar, I told my date that there were only two men I’d ever loved — my high school sweetheart and my second grade crush. I know. Drunk girls are so stupid. Put them in the bungalows!

BUT, during one, long, drawn out period of men-less-ness, I decided to FIND that 2nd grade crush and tell him once and for all that I was the GIRL for his WORLD (see how I did that?). So, through a friend of a friend’s page, I found HIM. HIM. My first true love. My WOLF. His page was set to private, but I giddily asked to be his friend and he agreed! This was it! Finally! Love would be mine! We would have the best story EVER. EVER!

EXCEPT, he was gay. Yep, gay, gay, gay. GAY. FACEBOOK! GAY!
And to think, I could have dreamed of “US” forever. I could have always believed HE was out there, my lone WOLF, searching for me among a bunch of stupid, drunk sheep!

But NAY, Facebook ruined all that by forcing me to see him in leather vests on a cruise trips with the boys!

What was the point of this rant – ah, yes, why am I not writing?

Well, then, of course, I fell in love. Fell in love. What does that mean? like a fall– because it is unexpected, and surprising, and painful. You tumble into love. Tumbling and falling are never easy or without pain, yes? And love, I’m learning again, and again, the real kind that requires self-sacrifice, and vulnerability, and surrender, is indeed a painful tumbling. You bang against jagged rocks, rolling without control, experiencing simultaneously the weightlessness, the wind streaming through your fingers, the drop of your heart to your stomach and back again, and hopefully, in the end, you don’t land, but rather melt into an endless body of water.

But rewind, way before the pain, and I remember him, this man. The way he sat in his chair — always leaning back, one leg bent, with foot resting on the other knee, and a baseball cap, and new shoes, and black t-shirts, and that facial hair that he rubbed to think. I said of him, before he was part of me, that I hoped and dreamed that I could be with such a man one day. Such a man. I take two steps back and I see him. This man. I like to watch him read. A reading man. And if I ever start singing a song, he joins me. And in the morning, when we sit to watch the sun, he brings me coffee with cream and sugar, while his is black. This black coffee drinking man. An Irish man. A freckled man, with Green eyes, and Black hair. I remember him, how he made me laugh, and does still. Witty man. I wish that I could make it so he always felt light inside. I mean weightlessness. OR maybe the other as well. That his insides would always be illuminated, filled with radiance. Weightless radiance, please. Yes, I would like to bestow upon him, with my wishing powers, a weightless, radiant soul. Could that be my gift, please? Please. He deserves it. Both the Universe (big Universe, as in GOD) and I know. He deserves a deep, satisfying rest. A plunge into the great cold open waters. He deserves more than I’ll ever be able to say. That man.

So, I have many excuses to not write, but I hate myself for it. And I can’t make any lying promises that THIS IS IT, I WON”T EAT UNTIL I WRITE A BOOK. Because we all know how I feel about food and that I can be quit the quitter and so a promise like that would just be a disgrace to everyone involved.

Truth. I write tonight. I would like to write again. And I should. Because being here, with only my words, was a much better comfort to me, than facebook stalking former roommate’s sister-in-law’s baby cousin’s first birthday. Why do I need to envy people I’ve never even met? There’s so many people to envy that I HAVE met.

Goodnight, my lovelies.

New Home

My good friend, Erin and I, have both relocated. Me to East Hollywood, and Erin to Charleston with her husband, Brandon(my old roommate!). Right before she left we were talking about how to make the most of a move and we impulsively made a commitment that we would be adventurous. Adventurous at least once a week. What does that mean? Well, we’d get out of our house, and try something different, be that a new coffee shop, or a restaurant, or walk a new street, or meet a neighbor, anything, really, that would mean activity and exploration. And then we must blog.

So, I started.

Week #1 of my adventures in East Hollywood –
This is going to be a little shaky, because i can’t remember the name of the restaurant, and I didn’t take a photo, but, but, around the corner of Vermont and Normal, walking distance from my apartment, is the cheapest Mexican restaurant I’ve ever been to. This last Wednesday on whim, I decided I was too lazy to make dinner, so I took a walk and ended up at the little dive restaurant with the sign that said 99cent Papusas. Now I’ll be honest- I’d already visited this restaurant with my friend, Peter — but I’m still going to count it. The papusas were awesome. And even more awesome were the toothless, old timers, that sat at the counter singing Spanish songs in harmony. One of them offered to buy me a drink and called me an angel. And then while I waited for my food, I discussed religion, soccer, and Buenos Aires with a friendly “actor”(Everyone’s an “actor” in LA), all within about 10 minutes (he was quite revealing of everything – as “actors” tend to be — that he was Chilean/Argentine, that he practiced a mix of early celtic naturalism mixed with Buddhism, and that he played soccer all his life). He recommended I visit the self-realization meditation center on Sunset. Perhaps that will be my next trip. Perhaps.

I chose to eat at home though. I would have stayed if I could have just been an observer – but everyone was friendly and ready to chat. So, I crawled back to my home. Another time? Maybe.