Smack Me with a Ping Pong Paddle and Call Me Sally

Published June 28, 2013 by sojournerkat

PGS2Smack Me with a Ping Pong Paddle and Call Me Sally…

I can’t believe it. One of the biggest “Pray Away the Gay” groups, Exodus, has up and abandoned the practice, ceasing and desisting and apologizing as well.

Others might follow.

Wow.

I’m flabbergasted.

At a loss for words.

Tonight, I will toast God’s divine intervention! Huzzah!

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Happy Towel Day!

Published May 25, 2013 by sojournerkat

Towel Caturday SquareHappy Towel Day!

Wow…that means we’ve been blogging for a year now! Amazeboots.

OK, I have no idea what that means, but you get the idea.

Towel Day this year happened to fall on #Caturday on G+. This is one of my favorite pictures from today:

I have no idea why WordPress rotated it. It wasn’t that way when I uploaded it, I swear.

Today I kept my towel with me at all times. It even came in handy when the restroom at the movie theater ran out of paper towels. Maria and I went to see Star Trek: Into Darkness. It was fun, but definitely not my dad’s Star Trek. He gave me an earful on the phone about it.

 

Athletic Superstars and Their Faith

Published May 3, 2013 by sojournerfanny
Via creative commons by Mariselise

Via creative commons by Mariselise

The sports news of the week is that Jason Collins, a veteran center in the NBA, has become the first active male athlete in a major American team sport to come out as gay. Admittedly, I don’t follow basketball that closely and I had no idea who he was until the announcement was made. I don’t have a lot of gay friends, so the news was just a side-note in my peripheral vision. Interesting, nice, and important, but not life-changing for me in any personal way.

Then I read this article by T.F. Charlton in Religion Dispatches comparing the media’s attention to Tim Tebow’s faith and Jason Collins’ faith.

I hadn’t realized Collins was a Christian. Then again, I didn’t even know he existed until he came out and made the news. I did know about Tim Tebow, but that’s mostly because I’m from Colorado. The article talks about how the media pays lots of attention to Tebow’s Christian faith, and all but ignores Collins’. Now, that may be more because Tebow is more forward about it. I don’t know. What was more significant to me was this:

Being an athletic superstar, and being gay.

Big news.

Being an athletic superstar, and being a Christian.

Old news.

Being an athletic superstar and being black.

Really old news.

Being black, and being Christian.

Even older news.

Being a Christian, and being gay.

Almost as groundbreaking as being a gay athletic superstar.

Being an athletic superstar, black, Christian, and gay.

Apparently, this is so confounding, the media simply chose to leave out the Christian part.

But why is this so confounding? I’m not asking this from a Liberal “Oh my God, why can’t everyone just love everyone else for who they are already?” point of view. I’m asking this from the position of a black Christian woman.

I grew up in Boulder, Colorado. Most of my friends were white or Hispanic. Honestly, maybe it was just the way my parents raised me, but race just didn’t really seem to matter. I was just as fascinated by my white friends whose hippie parents ate yogurt as I was by my Hispanic friends’ parents who made their own tortillas. It wasn’t a bad difference or an extreme one. I was teased more because my Dad listens to classical music than I ever was for being black.

That’s not to say I never felt the stigma of color. You can’t be black in the US today without feeling that at some point in your life. But while I know that many black people grow up feeling and experiencing discrimination every day of their lives, I felt it only as something subtle and distant. I’ve had bullies yell racial epithets at me on the playground, but they also called me fat and that simply wasn’t true. I was a beanpole. Both kinds of insults just kinda rolled off as being ridiculous, and everyone knew it.

So, if it’s normal to be black and a Christian, why is it so difficult to accept a gay person as a Christian? Again, I suppose I must have led a sheltered life because it never occurred to me that either of these things could ever be an issue.

But what stymies me most of all is…why is it more difficult to be accepted as a black gay Christian? Or am I imagining that too?

The Newfounders

Published March 31, 2013 by sojournerjorgenssen

panstarrs_cook_960Once upon a time there was a spacefaring race called the Newfounders. After five generations on board their star vessel, they finally arrived at the planet that would become their home.

Alas, not all was well. Sickness and the unforeseen issues that come with spending a hundred years in space had left them frail and vulnerable. Most of the Newfounders only lived long enough to see their children reach adulthood, but never long enough to meet their own grandchildren. The elders did their best to teach their young everything they needed to know, but the youth, being young, believed they knew everything they needed.

The new planet was everything they’d hoped it would be. Not a single Newfounder had ever set foot on a planet, but from the descriptions of their forebearers, the new land was a paradise.

Growing seeds for food crops came naturally. They’d done that on board ship. Yet there were many other seeds stored away that were labeled as food, but no one had ever tried growing them. The elders said they were kinds that should thrive on the new planet, but would not grow well in space.

Bathing on board ship had been a simple matter of sonics. But the level of filth produced by actual dirt and rocks and who knows what blowing in the wind required a more thorough cleaning process involving immersion in water. The children rebelled against this, and in the end their parents had to simply demand “Do it because I tell you to do it!” because so many of the children refused to believe there could possibly be any benefit from immersing themselves in water.

The oldest Newfounder, knowing he would soon die, took in all the data he possibly could about the new world. There was a river that had a certain contaminant that needed to be avoided, but within a few generations they could probably make it usable. There were many aspects of the land that were completely strange and unexpected, but he did his best to figure out a way for his children to deal with them. He wrote out a book that was a guide he was certain would lead them into a way that would keep them and their descendants safe and healthy, and he died hoping that they had enough tools to learn for themselves how to make their new world a thriving environment for them to live.

There was much to do on the new world, so much that within a generation, much of the reasoning behind the things they did were lost. Most still bathed by immersion, but they were laughed at by those who used a new form of sonic that seemed to produce the same result. The contaminated river was labeled off-limits, even after a hundred years of running clean.

Some Newfounders had only one or two children each, as had been the custom of their ship-bound ancestors for a hundred years. Others had many children, citing the fact that the planet had more than enough room for dozens of children from each parent.

Many Newfounders followed the writings of the last elder, although they each interpreted his words in different ways. It was hard to understand someone whose choice of words and life experience were so different from their own.

And they fought.

A thousand years went by, and they were able to reach the stars again. They found the star vessel their ancestors had arrived in, even though many had ceased to believe it had ever existed at all. To their surprise, they were unable to prove any one group wrong in any way. Certainly, there were misconceptions along the way, and a few fringe groups with made-up ideas that had nothing to do with anything they’d either been taught or learned on their own, but the descendants of the original Newfounders were all doing what they were supposed to do… growing and learning and making the world a better place. Some did it in vastly different ways, even contrary ways, but in the end, they all had the same goal.

And they stopped fighting.

And they continued to go their separate ways, but they respected each other, and they learned from each other, and they were able to reach not only the stars, but beyond.

We Have a New Pope!

Published March 13, 2013 by sojournerkat

Pope Francis smallYes, “we.” As is “We Catholics” and “We the World.”

I usually find a Catholic church to visit at least a few times a year. It’s not my home anymore, but there are some traditions that are still dear to my heart. I have family in the Catholic church. I have friends there. And if you ask me if I’m Catholic, I’ll still say “yes” even though I choose to worship at a Protestant church.

I’m not the only one. I have Catholic friends who haven’t set foot in a church since they turned eighteen, but they still identify as Catholics. It’s more than a religion. It’s an identity. Some of these friends still believe and practice their faith privately. Others believe in God and love Christ and they find other churches to worship in, but, like me, they still consider themselves to be Catholic. Some no longer have faith at all, yet they still call themselves Catholics.

Then again, some of them include the word “recovering” in that description…

I’m also Jewish. My father was never big on tradition, especially of the religious kind, but my grandparents lovingly reminded me of my heritage even as they mourned my Catholicism. Judaism is as much a part of me as being a brunette…I can cover it up if I choose, but why?

I’m in Love

Published January 2, 2013 by sojournerjulie

Siren WalmartI’m in love with a new author. Well, she’s been published for a couple of years now, but she’s new to me.

Her name is Tiffany Reisz.

I was in Barnes & Noble, and I walked by the table piled high with 50 Shades of Grey one too many times. I admit, I was curious, and the books were marked down fairly cheap. A lady, a stranger, put a copy of The Siren in my hands and said “Skip 50 Shades. This is much better.”

I still haven’t read 50 Shades, but I devoured The Siren and went on to read The Angel and The Prince. I can’t wait until the 4th book in the Original Sinners series comes out in August!

Today the author is interviewed on the Suicide Girls blog. Don’t let the name scare you (OK, the name scares me a little…) it just means they’re a community of Goth, Punk, and Metal-type pinup girls. I think they’re using the term “suicide” as empowering somehow.

One big aspect of Ms. Reisz’ writing is that her kinky characters are often devout Christians. One is even a Catholic priest. The point is not that these people are defying God by being sexual, but that they are fully human, sexual, religious people who love and worship God openly.

I’ve fallen madly in love with one of the characters. His name is Wesley, and when we meet him he’s a twenty-something virgin studying medicine and devoutly loving the Lord Our God. He is sweet and kind and handsome and loving and giving and…

~swoon!~

But there’s a different reason I love him so. I see in him someone I could have been. I see a life I wanted for myself that was taken away from me.

I’ve always been the quiet one. You might call it naturally submissive, but not in a BDSM kind of way. When Jesus said “The meek shall inherit the Earth” it was me He was talking about. I’d rather be blessed as the poor in spirit, and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven…

Doug? Help me here…

Justice and Equality

Published January 1, 2013 by sojournerdoug
Attribution unknown

Attribution unknown

There’s an image that has gone viral lately. It shows three kids, one tall, one medium, and one short. If they each stand on a box in order to look over the fence and watch the baseball game, that’s labeled “equality.” On the other side, the short guy gets two boxes and the medium guy gets one, which makes it easy for them all to see the baseball game.

Both conservatives and liberals will agree that it is both kind and sensible to give the individual who needs help the extra box or whatever is analogous to the box. But if we read into the picture a little bit, the differences become clear.

Let’s say it isn’t boxes, but seat cushions.

Three brothers know that dad is taking them to a ballgame. Two brothers remember how uncomfortable the concrete benches are, and use their allowance to buy seat cushions. They tell the third brother he should do the same thing, but he ignores them and spends his money elsewhere.

The brothers with the seat cushions try them out on the back porch. They discover that, although it’s better than sitting on bare concrete, it doesn’t help much. One brother decides he’s OK with that. The other brother decides to dip into his savings and buy an extra cushion, so he has two.

On game day, one brother carries his two cushions into the ball park. Another brother carries his cushion into the ball park. The third brother complains that he doesn’t have a cushion.

Now, if the brother with two cushions decides to give his brother the extra cushion, that is a nice, generous act of charity.

But what if Dad makes the brother who bought an extra cushion give the extra cushion to his brother? That makes the three brothers equal, but it certainly isn’t justice.

Oversimplified

Both examples are oversimplified. The argument comes when you try to define “deserving.” What if it was three cousins who want seed money to start a business? One cousin has a trust fund he can cash in and do whatever he wants. Another is able to go to a bank, and with his parents as co-signers, he can get barely enough money to get his business off the ground. But the third cousin, even though he has worked hard through his youth and excelled at college, his parents are unable to help him (We don’t state why because it doesn’t matter why. That has nothing to do with him, it has to do with his parents.) He is unable to get a loan because he has no credit history.

What should the grandparents of these three cousins do? Say the grandparents are not well off. They have some money saved up, but would be in dire straits if they loaned the money and never got it back.

If they loan the money to the cousin who needs it the most, he will be able to get his business off the ground and prosper, but it is a risk. If they divide the money between the three cousins, the wealthy cousin wouldn’t be able to do much with such a small amount, and the poor cousin would not have enough to meet his business’ basic starting costs. The in-between cousin might be happy, thinking it was fair, and he could use the money to make some small improvement to his business.

Should the grandparents give the three cousins any money?

Which cousin should get the money?

Does it matter why the parents…the in between generation…were prosperous or not?

Does it matter whether the “poor” cousin is poor because his father was killed by a drunk driver and his mother confined to a wheelchair by that same drunk driver… or whether they’re poor because every pay day they went out to a bingo parlor and gambled until they barely had any grocery money left?

Does it matter whether the “rich” cousin is rich because his mother sold her self-built and highly successful dot-com at just the right time and made a ton of money…or whether they’re rich because his mother married a wealthy man twice her age and never had to work a day in her life?

How do you define who deserves to get money?

How do you decide who is supposed to provide this money?

And don’t get me started about why those kids in the picture are peeking over a fence to watch the ballgame instead of buying a ticket and going inside to sit on the uncomfortable concrete cheap seats.