May 19, 2011

-image-3 days ’til “judgment day”

So this partially mummified old fart, Harold Camping, founder of “Family Radio,” is predicting on his radio show that the rapture of Christians will occur on May 21, 2011 at 6 p.m. your time and the end of the world entirely for all the heathens will be on October 21, 2011 without a specific o’clock stated, sorry, heathens. I know that makes it tough to plan your BBQs.

familyradiosmall.jpg

I’ve seen several of these billboards in SD, one just a couple of blocks away from our place. My favorite part is “The Bible Guarantees It!” I won’t even get into the myriad ways his theology is wrong, partly because it’s so convoluted and partly because I don’t wanna and mostly because I’m lazy, but suffice it to say his theology is wrong in myriad ways. As far as that moment — that, yes, I do believe in — the rapture, the Bible says no one knows the day or the hour. Except (asterisk) Harold Camping. And judgment day and the rapture are not synonymous events, wiener.

You know, if I were God up in my heaven and if I had penciled in the rapture for May 21, 2011, 6 p.m. your time, I’d definitely be erasing that NOW — just to mess with that dessicated old Harold Camping. Can you imagine how insufferable that dude would be in heaven if he’s right? For all eternity, he’d be prancing around and crowing, “Yeah, that rapture thing? I predicted it. I was right. Oh, hey! Did I mention I was right about that rapture thing? Here’s a sticker I made as a reminder. Let me just put it on your shirt there, okay, brother?”

Bear in mind, he previously predicted the rapture would occur on September 6, 1994, and when that didn’t happen, he claimed he’d “miscalculated.” Seventeen years later, now that he’s nearing 90, he’s claimed his calculations are better, more accurate, because as we all know, people’s mind do get sharper with age.

Still, as a favor to you, I did some research to find out what country gets each new day first. Since Camping says the rapture will occur at 6 p.m. your time — more like a progressive dinner than a sudden simultaneous disappearance of millions of people but look at me being all nitpicky — I thought this would be useful information for you to have for Saturday. Now the island nation of Kiribati greets each new day first, but the first “major” country to start the day is New Zealand. (Sorry, Kiribati. Please don’t leave me an offended comment. I’d just never heard of you until researching this, okay?) The US is really one of the last places to start the day, lazy butts, so you have plenty of time to monitor the news this Saturday for a slow and steady and increasingly anticlimactic disappearance of millions, maybe billions, of people around the world.

If you’re hearing of this on Saturday, pippa, do not panic, okay? You have plenty of time to hit your knees and make it right with the Lord before the rapture slowly and irritatingly sweeps your way.

Now, if you do get left behind, ya heathens, according to Camping, there’s no hope for you. You’re doomed. But the upside is you only have those 5 months until the end of the whole world on October 21 anyway, so you may as well enjoy your pre-doom life. Drink too much. Eat too much. Fornicate too much. Kill people too much. Whatever. You’re doomed. So get it all out of your system since you won’t have a system after October 21 out of which to get anything. (Hey, the world may be ending but that’s no reason to end a sentence with a preposition.)

Now, my dad, who is the “Strongly Worded Letter Champion of the World,” wrote to this Camping fellow. A few times. (Ahem, Dad. Thanks for the crankypants. Good Lord, am I my dad’s daughter or what?)

Here are my dad’s questions for Mr. Camping:

1. Do you know how much money is needed each day to keep Family Radio on the air?
2. If so, will you notify your listeners when you have enough money on hand to continue your programming only until 5-21-11?
3. If you do not notify your contributors of such time and accept more contributions than are needed, would this constitute a lack of faith or fraud?
4. Have you given the contractually required lease termination notices to all of your landlords that you plan to vacate the premises on 5-21-11? If not, why not?
5. Have you made plans for the disposition of Family Radio assets after 5-21-11? If so, to whom are you leaving those assets? If you haven’t made plans, does that evidence a lack of faith or a lack or caring?
6. I am a good person, but by your criteria I will be “Left Behind” so will you consider leaving said assets to me? I will use these assets wisely in the carrying out the “Great Commission.”

The first letter went unanswered. So Dad, undaunted, sent a followup letter:

1. If you truly believe May 21 is “Judgment Day” why are you spending precious air time with a program telling people how to lose weight?
2.Will the Rapture take only the physically fit?
3. On “Open Forum” why are you taking any questions other than those pertaining to how to get ready for “Judgment Day?”
4. If we cram in a little bit more Bible knowledge will that get us a better heavenly seat?

Dad is in NO MOOD right now for dumb ass Christians. (Although he would never use that phrase.) Neither am I.

But there you have it, Christians, heathens, et al.

I’ve selflessly given you everything you need to know regarding the progressive dinner/rapture taking place this Saturday, 6 p.m. your time.

Be good little Boy Scouts now.

BE PREPARED.

(You can monitor this all on Family Radio in your area, ‘kay? I’m looking forward to his May 22nd broadcast. I’m dead serious.)

May 16, 2011

-image-re: my “very hurtful” comments on swimskirts

Dontcha just love those new driveby commenters armed with a pressing need to randomly scold you and announce how offended they are by even the most minor thing you say? I especially love it when they are (or seem to be) Christians. Or I should say, a certain kind of Christian. The perpetual panties-in-a- twist-about-nothing kind of Christian.

First-time commenter “Jessica” was apparently wery wery upset about my opinions on swimskirts. And if you’re gonna pick your hills to die on, swimskirts should be at the top, right? Honestly, if you want to take offense over something minor that isn’t remotely personal to boot, at least make your case articulately and cohesively.

I’m putting this front and center because her driveby comment speaks to that rigid legalistic Christian mindset that I so rail against. This is a pretty good example of that thought process: it’s not coherent; it’s defensive; it’s scolding. And it takes something specific — my dislike of certain “swimskirts” — and turns it into some kind of holistic personal indictment that needs to be answered in kind. It wasn’t at all personal yet she took it personally and then made it personal. Buhzarre. I just don’t understand that mindset, don’t want to, and hope I never do.

While I generally prefer to let any commenters throw themselves under the bus, if they’re so inclined, with a ridiculous driveby like this, I’m willing to give a little shove. So … her comment and my response.

I just want to say that I spend hours every year trying to find a decent swimskirt that is appealing as well… I am 28 and no matter what your opinions may be I do wear a swim skirt it is my belief and I can still look hot doing it! The things you say are very hurtful, how would you like it if you believed in something and someone was constantly bashing it! this was wrong of you, maybe you should take a quick look in the mirror and see if there is anything about yourself you can make fun of, im sure you will find a flaw somewhere!

Comment by Jessica — May 16, 2011 @ 7:33 am

Jessica– Honestly, I don’t care what you wear at the beach. If you want to wear these, fine. But your comment is all over the map. What am I “constantly bashing”? Since this is your first comment, how can you label my post about these swimskirts as an example of my “constantly bashing” anything? And what is it that you “believe in” that people are “constantly bashing”? Modesty swimsuits?? I really hope your belief system encompasses something a little larger and more important than that. If not, you’re trapped in legalism over clothing, which is one of the things that bugs me about certain Christians. And I AM one.

The things I say here are my opinions. That you take such easy offense over the fact that a total stranger doesn’t like swimskirts, well, hon, that’s your issue, sorry to say.

And to say “this was wrong of you”? So it’s wrong of me to have an opinion? Boy, I’m sorry for you, hon. You do sound a bit like someone trapped in a patriarchal and/or legalistic system and that sucks for you, that kind of spiritual prison.

By the way, is this really something that’s personally offensive and/or hurtful to you? My dislike of swimskirts? Come on. You’re 28. Toughen up. The fact that you find this so wrong and hurtful suggests to me that your identity is somehow tied up in this “belief” in swim skirts. Beachwear does not a belief system make. And if it does, it’s a pretty flimsy system. I’m sorry, but I didn’t know you were a Swimskirtarian.

Jessica, you don’t know the context that caused me to write this post or the rigid legalistic church environments I’ve encountered lately that have made me wary of anything that smacks of the same, but, interestingly enough, you’re more than willing to jump in — outside of that larger context — and play the “I’m offended” card.

(And did you miss my comment above where I conceded that there was one swimskirt that I might actually wear?)

Good luck as we approach swimskirt season, Jessica.

And since my opinion as a total stranger seems to matter to you: I’m sure you’re hot, okay?

But, you know, I will do as you suggest and take a quick look in the mirror. One thing I know I won’t see, however, is a swim skirt.

Crackie can’t wear the swimskirt, you see, because her crankypants are too tight.

Sighhh.

December 3, 2010

-image-oh, brother

Here’s a snippet from a 2005 blog post written by Baldy, big shiny “head” of the FOC. In part of it, he quotes from an article written by his buddy “Al” — Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The rest of it is ol’ Baldy himself.

This is the attitude in the FOC, pippa. A lot of insecure men posturing about how to be men. (Italics mine.)

And finally Al’s “President’s Journal” column titled “The Boy Problem, Then and Now” is an insightful summation of Terrence Moore’s essay, “Wimps and Barbarians: The Sons of Murphy Brown.” Here’s a great quote from Al’s column:

“Wimps, on the other hand, look to women for emotional support,

(This is wimpy? Isn’t this …… sorta normal?)

consider girlfriends to be conversational partners

(See the patriarchy rearing its ugly insecure head, pippa? You — the godly and non-wimpy man — cannot “partner” with a woman in conversation. She is subordinate to you in even basic conversation)

and look to women for pity.”

(I cannot think of any guy I’ve known — wimpy and non — who has ever looked to me for pity)

Don’t want to be one of those!

(God forbid! Buncha hellbound nancies!)

Somehow this reminded me of a rule I want us to adopt for our blog. No smiley faces allowed! (No way! That sucks! :-)) Real men do not use smiley faces on e-mails! (Oh, I agree! Emails are not the place for those! My real man only uses emoticons — and exclamation points — during sex! :-)) This is fine for the ladies, (with whom we will not partner in a conversational way! :-)) but not the men. Real men communicate humor :-) effectively without having to use a smiley :-) face and real men can discern the presence of genuine humor :-) without seeing a smiley :-) face. So let our blog be free from all wimp-like communication! ( :-) :-) :-))

You know, Baldy, you seem overly concerned about appearing to be a wimp. Real men — and I’m not one, granted, so I can only base this on razor sharp perception :-) — don’t concern themselves with whether they’re a wimp. They’re too busy being men.

Just a short but piercing shriek of overcompensation here. Not to mention misogyny.

Ugh.

August 19, 2010

-image-where i realize something

I’ve realized something: God does not want me to be a Christian drone.

Back in June, I interviewed for a drama teaching job at the Christian school I taught at several years ago.

I spoke about the experience of teaching there and losing that job here, but I’ve never finished the tale. Basically, I was told by the principal on a Friday to come in Monday, Trace, and renew your contract for next year. In and out, she said. But something happened over the weekend, and, yes, on that Monday, I was in and I was OUT. I eventually learned — because my SIL, who teaches at this school, is my source of inside information — that I lost that job because of some political scheming by some near-retirement wrinkled Betty who decided she wanted my job. That’s the truth. I kicked that job’s ass, was told so many many times, and that’s the truth, too. But, eh, what are you gonna do?

Still, I do love that school because I do love those students. It was very healing for me, suddenly having 300 kids to love. Over the years since I was OUT, I’ve interviewed a few times for drama positions at this same Christian school — TCS, let’s call it (The Christian School, lame, yes). It hasn’t panned out. Partly because I think the people who interview for drama positions have no clue why there should even BE a drama position. They don’t understand its value or the process. Not remotely. They ask irrelevant questions. They’re a bit condescending. I spend most of my interview time mentally twisting their questions into better questions, answering their lame questions but ensuring that I answer the question I really want to answer, the one they didn’t ask.

A few years ago during an interview, the high school principal, a man with the personality of a potato, asked me what I thought of puppets. I sat there gobsmacked. Puppets? Are you freaking kidding me?? Uhm, first, I hate puppets, they give me the heebies; second, puppet theater is a bit inappropriate for high school students, and I cannot imagine any high school students who would want to interact with puppets in front of other high school students; third, puppets? Are you freaking kidding me?? I have mentally repressed my answer to that question, but I tried to dodge the whole creepy dealio as diplomatically as possible without seeming to endorse puppets in any way, shape, or form. If he wanted me to do puppet theater with his students, I was not the woman for the job. Turns out, I wasn’t. Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo.

Summer 2008. I interviewed for the drama opening in the middle school at TCS. The prinicipal actually had a personality, and it really didn’t even seem like an interview, more like a normal conversation. He was about to offer me the job, he said, but “he had to run it by other people first.” Then he went away on vacation and another teacher was handling the process and on top of that …… an alumni entered the picture. She wanted the job, and because she was an alum of TCS, she got it. They hire their alumni over anybody else, basically. Now she crashed and burned at the job, but she got it nevertheless, and I finally found out that I didn’t get the job 7 weeks after my initial interview. SEVEN weeks after my interview and 10 days before the start of school. Let’s just say there are major MAJOR communication issues within this organization. I know that, experienced that when I taught there and in the years since then, and yet I still torture myself, still try to go back. It’s kinda nuts and dysfunctional.

Fast forward to this summer. Since I’m sitting here writing this at 10:10 a.m., it’s safe to assume I didn’t get the job this time either. It was the high school drama teaching position. I interviewed, but didn’t think my chances were great since I have experience teaching every level BUT high school. Some of the kids I taught in the Lower School are now students in the upper school, so I have connections. I know the students, but, again, I haven’t actually taught that level. Still, I was on FIRE during that interview, I gotta say, and it wasn’t just because of my red eye of Sauron either. I was interviewed by the principal and vice principal together, and you know how sometimes you just feel you’re in the zone? That nothing can stump you? That you’re suddenly not a mere mortal? That you’re capable of anything? THAT’S how I felt during that interview. I have never been more eloquent or articulate on the spot. I swear. I was possessed by Christopher Hitchens or something. I didn’t miss a beat. They didn’t trip me up or — OR — ask me about puppets. They took notes on everything I said, like I was the President. (It occurs to me now they may have been writing, “She’s an idiot; we hate her” or something.) Nonetheless, when it was over, I basically pranced out of there like a happy pony.

Then ….. school started yesterday. Uhm, without me.

And I had not heard one word from TCS in the EIGHT AND A HALF WEEKS since I interviewed.

Not a peep. Bupkis. I’d followed up, sent thank yous, done all that jazz.

And nothing.

So I realized something: God REALLY does not want me to be a Christian drone or a professional Christian. He REALLY does not want me back at TCS. In some ways, I can see it. I can see why. The sort of safe, in-the-box, traditional thinking that defines TCS does not define me. They’d freak to see any of my sex in heaven posts or that I used the word “ass” in this post. They’re the kinds of Christians whose Christianity is full of answers and devoid of mystery. The kind of mystery that thrills me, terrifies them. Their personalities tend to be interchangeable and I won’t change my personality to become one of them. It would seem that God doesn’t want me to. He didn’t want me at Maybe Church/FOC either. I’m learning more and more that the way God made me is the way he wants me and he’s choosing to spare me from anything that would try to reshape me into a lesser me. He wants me to be a better me, not a lesser me. Does that make sense?

I’m not even disappointed that I didn’t get the job. Really. I expected not to. What’s worse, I expected TCS to handle it precisely the way they did. I mean, I know the organization pretty well.

However, just because I knew they’d suck doesn’t change their responsibility to try NOT to suck, to try to practice the most basic professional courtesy. Leaving a job applicant hanging for over two months is unacceptable. Forcing someone to realize she didn’t get the job because school started is pretty heartless.

So I decided to tell them so.

Yep. I wrote the headmaster of the school. I decided that after all this time, I actually NEEDED to burn this bridge. I know people always say don’t burn bridges, but I had to. Whenever I hear of a new opportunity at TCS, I throw myself out there, torturing myself with hope, and it never works out — kinda with extreme prejudice. It’s become like crack to me, TCS. I try to shake the habit, but someone dangles it under my nose, and I’m suddenly jonesing for it again, going down, going down. Or it’s like dating an abusive guy, breaking up, going back, believing it will be different this time, and it’s not, it’s not.

Sometimes, for your own sanity, you need to burn a bridge. You need to blow it and burn it like Kwai, baby, so that you cannot cross it again even if you feel tempted because the stupid crack bridge isn’t there anymore.

So, yes, I wrote the headmaster. (TCS has “headmasters.” None of them have been at all like Dumbledore.)

My email started with this:

Dear (Head Poopiepants),

Well, it’s the first week of school at TCS and I am not there. This means one of two things:

Either I didn’t get the Upper School drama position or I’m very very late for class.

I’m kind of proud of that opening. I think it’ll get his attention. We’ll see.

The rest was a long overdue, but mostly diplomatic, ass-kicking.

Bridge — whhhhoooooshhhhh — burned.

Let’s see if they say anything from the ashes.

August 17, 2010

-image-this is why christians are vexing

Some dude calling himself B.G. left a brilliant comment on one of my sex in heaven posts:

Hehe you fools, this kind of thinking will get you a free ticket to Hell. Heaven is NOT about you being happy – it is about you making GOD HAPPY BY SELFLESSLY SERVING HIM IN ALL YOUR THOUGHTS AND DEEDS (which will make you happy in turn.) Heaven is NOT for your pleasure; IT IS FOR GOD’S PLEASURE, NO IFS ANDS OR BUTS. Comprende, people? Sex in heaven? No way Jose! That would be SEEKING PLEASURE FOR YOURSELF, rather than focusing on your SOLE FUNCTION in heaven – namely, praising God! (As would eating, drinking, dancing, skiing or what have you.) And since we have nothing to offer God except for our adoration and worship – well, I don’t how my “human” body, complete with chest hair, buttocks and a penis flopping around would would enable me to do that. Those things were meant for EARTHLY purposes only (since I won’t be urinating or fathering children in Heaven, what point would there be in having genitalia?) I’m sure we’ll have eyes (to see God) and a mouth (to sing praises to God) but other than that, what kind of body would we require? Not much, I say!

Oh, I clap my hands at the chance to take this apart! Let’s do it, shall we, pippa?

Hehe you fools

This is always an endearing way to start on a stranger’s blog.

…. this kind of thinking will get you a free ticket to Hell.

Uhm, why, honeybunch? Imagining what heaven might be like is no bueno? God is making the ultimate gift for us and we can’t imagine what it is? Have you never wondered about the presents under the Christmas tree?

Heaven is NOT about you being happy – it is about you making GOD HAPPY BY SELFLESSLY SERVING HIM IN ALL YOUR THOUGHTS AND DEEDS (which will make you happy in turn.) Heaven is NOT for your pleasure;

So heaven is a bummer? “Now abide these three: faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is LOVE.” Kinda think heaven’s about love — in ALL its created forms.

IT IS FOR GOD’S PLEASURE, NO IFS ANDS OR BUTS.

Hm. Doesn’t God already have pleasure? Isn’t he, by definition, basically self-sustaining? I mean, didn’t he enjoy himself before he ever made people? The ol’ Bible talks about him preparing a place for US. I see a God who is busily creating the most glorious surprise party the universe has ever known — and, yes, he’s doing it for US, so how is heaven not about our enjoyment? Your heaven sounds like a drag, dude.

Comprende, people?

Wow. Again, a charming first move on a stranger’s blog. Nothing more distasteful to me than someone who knows he’s right and needs to insult people from his position of perceived rightness.

Sex in heaven? No way Jose! That would be SEEKING PLEASURE FOR YOURSELF, rather than focusing on your SOLE FUNCTION in heaven – namely, praising God! (As would eating, drinking, dancing, skiing or what have you.)

So we can’t praise God with our bodies — by having sex, freed from the earthly confines, definitions, and corruptions of it? Sex is spiritual as well as physical, a pale earthly symbol of God’s love for his people. Imagine — which I actually think is your problem here — how that might be transformed in heaven. And what? No eating, drinking? DUDE, there’s gonna be a big fat wedding feast some day. I assume you’ve read about that in the Bible. What does “feast” imply? I mean, if you don’t want to eat the food in heaven, I don’t suppose God will make you. If you want to sit in a heavenly pew singing praise choruses forever, have at it. Personally, I believe that everything we do in heaven — eating, drinking, dancing, skiing, maybe even having sex — will be part of how we worship God. We will worship him with everything we do. But if you don’t wanna do anything …. uhm, well, stay away from me, ‘kay?

And since we have nothing to offer God except for our adoration and worship – well, I don’t how my “human” body, complete with chest hair, buttocks and a penis flopping around would would enable me to do that.

Hm. Don’t you worship God now, in your given body, complete with chest hair and buttocks and floppy penis? Or is their presence somehow disabling? Is the floppy penis a real millstone that keeps you from worshiping? “Sure wish I could PTL right now! Damn this floppy penis anyway!” Does it somehow ….. get in the way? As far as I’m concerned, a penis is never in the way.

Those things were meant for EARTHLY purposes only (since I won’t be urinating or fathering children in Heaven, what point would there be in having genitalia?)

Well, because you were MADE with genitalia? As a MAN? Sounds like you are literally jumping up and down at the chance — ohpleaseohplease — to be an eternal Ken doll. But he made you a man and the Bible clearly references that you will have a body. Beyond that, we can certainly use the body of the resurrected Jesus — a body that could be seen and touched, a body that could eat — as a reference point for what our glorified bodies will be like. Although maybe God won’t force you to have a body if you really don’t want one. But do you actually think you pass through the gates of heaven and surrender your penis? Is that what you think? Is that what you want? I can’t imagine that any man in his right mind would not feel mutilated if that’s what happens. I’ve actually had this conversation with My Beloved and he is not down for losing his penis. I’m not down for losing my saucy boobins or my fancy place, as we call it around here. I personally don’t believe heaven is a place of mutilation or loss. It sounds like you do, though. I believe it’s a place of perfection, redemption, making all things new.

I’m sure we’ll have eyes (to see God) and a mouth (to sing praises to God) but other than that, what kind of body would we require? Not much, I say!

So you’re saying that in heaven you’re nothing but eyes and mouth? Not only is that just flat-out wrong — if you care about biblical accuracy — but it sounds like a horror movie to me. Seriously. That’s not how God created you. He created men and women with bodies. He created sex. He doesn’t just rip up what he creates. Again, he makes it NEW. Your version of heaven is a hell to me. I want to enjoy heaven. Sounds like you don’t. You seem to have some issues with heaven, contempt for your floppy penis, and an utter lack of imagination.

Good luck, dude.

And before you barge in to make your first comment on someone else’s blog, you may want to get a feel for the room first. It’s never the best idea to come in as a stranger, both barrels blazing, insulting people’s intelligence.

My momma taught me not to do that.

And, again, seriously stay away from me up there with your open mouth and floaty eyes.

June 30, 2010

-image-where i am inspirational

My fake foray into Facebook continues apace.

On a related note: I hate myself for it. I do. You probably hate me for it too, just don’t say so to me, ‘mkay? I think there’s something vaguely despicable about it, although I’m undecided if it crosses over into completely despicable territory. Deciding between “vaguely despicable” and “completely despicable” is not high on my To Do list right now.

So I have this vaguely despicable fake identity on FB. All I did was sign up. I’ve done nothing to “my” FB page. Without checking, I don’t even remember what my FB name IS. I know I’ve changed it several times, as if I’m trying to hit on just the right name for a character in a novel. Insanity cannot ever be ruled out with me is what I’m really saying here.

But can I just say this? Consarnit all with the precious Care Bear Christians on FaceBook. I talked about this in a related post here, but I’m now discovering a plethora of Christians –many of whom I know — who do nothing but quote scripture and speak in platitudes on their FB pages, AND IT BUGS ME. I assume these people really want to “touch other people” or something and that’s why they do it. They want to “make a difference” in the lives of others. They’d never talk to a known gay person or drink a beer — God forbid! — but they’d mechanically quote verses on their FB pages in hopes of earning extra Jesus points. They think that people are moved, deeply moved, by the fact that they just “liked” some FB page called “Mommy’s (sic) for Jesus Christ.” (I swear, I’m going to join this damn group just to correct their grammar and spelling. Honestly, mommy’s.)

I’ve seen Christians on FB warn each other: “Don’t drink, just spend time with Jesus!”

And “exhort” each other: “This week’s gonna be a bummer.” “Oh, well, ‘consider it all joy,’ you know.”

And scold each other: “Uh, LANGUAGE ALERT!”

Uhm, precious? Shut up. Seriously. Do you talk this way to one another in person? Do you? I’m all for knowing scripture. I know scripture, but I avoid prancing around in my real life spouting it in people’s faces. Mainly because I’m too busy prancing around naked. (Just seeing if you’re listening.) Look. I am not the vicar. Or the vicar’s wife. So I keep my vicary thoughts to myself. Or use them as sex talk. (You’re listening, right?) And, Crackie, if you don’t randomly spout scripture in person, why are you doing so on FB? And if you truly are an inspirational coffee mug in person? Well, that explains your presence on FB, I guess. It’s the only place that will have you. It’s funny. I find that MB and I don’t generally quote scripture or talk in bumper stickers to each other in our daily life.

How would that play out anyway?

HE: Babe, I had a horrible day.

ME: Bummer. Well, ‘delight yourself in the Lord,’ peaches.

*****

ME: I look hideous.

HE: Yeah, well, ‘Jesus wept,” you know.

*****

HE: I’m really worried about X.

ME: Yeah, hon? Remember ‘life is fragile, handle with prayer,’ ‘mkay?

KAPOW, KAPOW, KAPOW!

All right, Facebook Christians. Enough already with being an amateur preacher or a walking bumper sticker. Be a real person. Say real things. Say honest things. Say faith is hard because it is. Say faith takes courage because it does. Say sometimes you’re just disappointed with God. Say sometimes he pisses you off. Say sometimes you don’t understand anything anymore. Say sometimes you wonder if it’s worth it. Say sometimes you want to chuck it all and walk away. Because as far as I’m concerned, if you’ve never come to those places in your faith, you haven’t thought that much about your faith. You haven’t really turned it over and over and over in your mind. You haven’t thought about deep things; you think only what you are told to think. You haven’t really held your faith to the fire for fear that it will burn to ash. Bottom line, you really don’t have much faith in your Faith. So you live on autopilot and quote what you’ve learned but have never considered and tell people about rules but not about grace and you share a scripture but don’t know its context and you’re fake fake fake.

Enough.

Sometimes, it really pains me to realize that I am on Team Christian and that Christians are the Chargers. The Padres! The Seahawks! The Lions!

Don’t believe me? Here are some actual recent FB postings from the people on my team. MY team!

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

Okay. Uh, great. Thank you for the benediction. Do you have anything else to say?

I am so thankful for the love of God. I’m excited to worship with my brothers and sisters tomorrow.

Well, mazeltov. You obviously didn’t go to Not On Your Life Cult, er, Church.

Here’s a thought: “Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

Here’s a thought: How ’bout an original thought?

You know, I’m starting to wonder if I’m too much of a crankypants to be a Christian. Does Jesus love the crankypants among us? Maybe I just don’t have the proper team spirit. Maybe I need to get on board here. Be more of a bumper sticker. Be more Quotey McBiblepants. I hate being the outsider. Just jump on the Precious Moments Bandwagon, Trace. I mean, I want to touch people’s lives. I want to make a difference. I want to be inspirational.

So, okay. Here’s my verse to touch your heart today:

But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. Genesis 38:9

Have a shiny Jesus face day, pippa.

May 18, 2010

-image-si se puede

A while back, a friend who’s on Facebook (uhm, all my friends are on Facebook, apparently) emailed me about some “Christian” page on Facebook that I should join — you know, when I join Facebook. (Hahaha and all that.)

But I was SO annoyed with her description of this page, I created a FAKE Facebook identity just so I could get a gander at the stupid thing. Yup. (And, no, I will not be starting a page. I created a name and that was it.)

So this “Christian” page: It’s called “We CAN find 10,000,000 Christians on Facebook.” Here’s its stated purpose:

The purpose of this group is for Christians to take a stand in their beliefs and be counted. our goal is 10 million. It is a big goal, but I believe it can be done! Thank you for joining and please invite your friends!

Okay. So you go there. You join. And somehow you’re standing up for Jesus? Being counted? (Well, I believe you’re being counted, but maybe not in the way you’re hoping, silly Christians.)

Give me a break. The whole thing strikes me as totally ridiculous. So you find 10,000,000 Christians on Facebook. So what? Who cares? To what end or purpose?? So Christians can stand around and go “YAY! There are 10,000,000 Christians on Facebook!!”?? That’s just retarded. What do the people who’ve joined this page think will happen if they reach that 10M goal? The rapture? The second coming? People around the world saying, “AHHHHH!! There are 10M Christians on Facebook, I am now convinced me that I’d better accept Jesus as my savior immediately!”?? And what will the people who’ve joined this page DO when and if they hit that mark? Send “Christian hearts” to one another’s Facebook page? Have a cyber party with cyber cake in “Cafe World”? (Yes, I do know some things about Facebook.) Seems to me like the moment the page clicks over to 10M will be more anticlimactic than a New Year’s countdown. I mean, at least that involves the entire world. And at least people get kissed.

Come ON. It’s a pointless endeavor. Sorry, Christians, but it bugs me. You’re making me and any other basically sane and intelligent Christians look bad. Please stop. This is what’s becoming so irritating to me. Either the collective Christian IQ is plummeting precipitously or else I’ve just been exposed to a spate of real dummypants lately.

Look. I’m sure there are more than 10,000,000 Christians on Facebook worldwide, so why is this important? Why is this something worth doing? Just listing yourself as a Christian on Facebook makes Jesus all proud and tingly? No. He’s going, “Quit wasting your time with that crap. And leave me out of it, kthx.” IF you asked each Christian who came onto your page to give a dollar to World Vision or Feed the Children or something, THEN you might be doing something worth doing. But you’re basically saying , “Hey, Christians. Come over here and sign Jesus’ yearbook.”

Well, he doesn’t need me to.

So I don’t wanna.

And you can’t make me.

Nyaah.

March 31, 2010

-image-church: the last 20-minute day

One Sunday, quite a while after our last official Sunday at Maybe Church, we drove up there again, on a whim. I don’t know why, really, other than some vague rewriting impulse on my part.

I sometimes believe I can rewrite unhappy endings in my life.

Maybe we’d go inside. Maybe things would be different. Maybe we’d finally have a conversation. Maybe people would say they were sorry for things that mattered, not things that didn’t.

Maybe the way it all ended wouldn’t stay the way it all ended.

Maybe.

But probably not.

You see, there’s hope and there’s reality and the two are not always synonymous and sometimes you cannot explain why you continue to have hope.

When a situation ends badly, I have a mystifying ability to continue believing that something redemptive will still happen, oh yes it will it will it will. This goes on for longer than it should and longer than I’d ever admit. (Psychologists call this “denial,” Trace.) Basically, I prance about in my own little Happy Hopeyland for a good long while, clinging to the belief that redemption will triumph over pain. That healing will triumph over woundedness. This doesn’t always happen when humans are involved. Actually, I’ve rarely seen it happen when just humans are involved.

Hope in people, I suppose, is never the best idea.

Following vague impulses to rewrite endings is also, let’s face it, never the best idea.

But there’s what you know and what you do and those two are hardly ever synonymous.

So, of course, we drove up to the church.

We pulled into the shady side of the parking lot, all hopped up on caffeine and ambiguity. Once MB turned off the car, however, we froze in our seats and just stared at the entrance.

Uh, what are we doing? Oh, that’s right, we have NO plan. So, yeah, what are we doing, again?

MB does these things for me. Hopes with me for a different outcome. Thumbs his hopeful nose with me in the face of stubborn reality. He frequently sees with great foresight how things will turn out even when I do not see — or, really, will not see — but at times he will lay aside this knowledge, temporarily, and go there with me. Out of solidarity. And love. And the weird thrill of a who-knows-what-will-happen caper.

This, alas, is his life with Tracey.

So, yeah, we had no plan. Just a couple of Sunday morning goobers sitting in a car in a church parking lot, wondering what to do, imagining something might change if we just showed up, as if our mere presence would alter reality. Well, I’m pretty sure just one of us imagined that.

But there we sat like lumps, MB voluntarily entering my personal Happy Hopeyland without so much as a sigh. Turns out, this is what goes down in Happy Hopeyland when you’re a couple of Sunday morning goobers sitting in a car in a church parking lot hoping for a rewrite: Fidgeting. Debating options. Drawing straws for who feels more ridiculous.

We watched the men in the perpetual orange vests with the perpetual orange flags wave people into their pre-ordained parking spots. Still doing that, I see. Predestination at work in the very act of parking. No free will here. If you choose that lot, you are choosing to have your choice made for you. We chose that lot just once and never again. There is plenty of parking available, so this seems to serve some other purpose. The men wave their flags even when no car is approaching, which I find silly. Actually, the whole practice seems vaguely anti-American, anti-freedom to me, but others are clearly fine with it. Slow, as usual, to get on board with the crowd — that’s me.

A car pulled up, perpendicular to ours. After a few moments a man, a woman, and a teenage boy got out and walked past us, still in our car, spinning our mental wheels in Happy Hopeyland. As they passed, the man turned around to look at us. He leaned in to say something to the woman and she turned around too. Finally, the boy pivoted and threw a furrowed look at us. The woman strolled over to the nearest orange-vested man, in her appropriately modest and unflattering skirt, and spoke to him. Then he, too, joined in the sudden alarming fad of looking at us.

MB muttered.

“What is going on?”

“I don’t know.”

As we watched the man and boy walking to the entrance, turning this way and that, trying to look casual while they stared us down, simple curiosity trumped indecision and we were now glued to our seats for a whole new reason. Apparently, we’d been spotted as oh, no! people sitting in the parking lot, ohnoohnoohnooo!!

Several moments passed while we debated what to do now, after seeing that. We suddenly felt like trespassers. It was 20 minutes into the service. People were still arriving, milling about, not going inside. This church, I’d observed before, does not arrive when church actually starts. They really should hold the service in the parking lot or the lobby, where most people seem to be.

While we talked, an orange-vested man, the one previously alerted to our presence, approached our car. Hm. Here we go. I guess he really had been alerted.

He went around to MB’s side, where window was down, leaned in and peered down at us, like a cop. An unsmiling cop. I actually fought a reflex to grab the registration from the glovebox.

“Can I help you?”

“No, not really,” said MB.

“Are you just looking for a shady place to park?”

“No. We’re debating whether or not to go in.”

Well, not quite. We definitely weren’t going in now. I think Oprah got a friendlier greeting on that Mormon compound a few years ago.

“Oh.” He looked us over.

Uhm, do they give tickets here? I wondered.

“Well, let me know if I can help you,” he said, in a dismissive tone.

He seemed like a salesperson who will greet you but then sigh mightily if he actually has to help you. Or a cop.

“Uh-huh,” said MB.

The man walked away. We sat open-mouthed at the weirdness, the paranoia. Once all the orange vests had disappeared, we raced home on wheels of creepiness, and wondered aloud:

Is this how they welcome people now? Coming over to a car and questioning them? If we weren’t supposed to park there, why not just tell us? He said nothing about it, so it clearly wasn’t that.

It was either: We were unfamiliar and just sitting there and that totally freaked them out or we were familiar and just sitting there and that totally freaked them out.

Either way, calm down, peaches.

So did they know who we were? That bosomy tart with the slanderous anonymous blog and her crankypants letter-writing husband? That would surprise me a bit on one hand because we didn’t know anyone while we were there, really, and we didn’t recognize any of these people, either, but it wouldn’t surprise me a bit on the other hand because there are no personal boundaries whatsoever at this church and everyone seems to know about everyone else’s business which is somehow, amazingly, NOT labeled as gossip, but this blog — with its tale of our anxious foray into an unnamed church — IS. Literally, I don’t understand anything anymore.

So if they knew who we were — again, creepy — are we officially unwelcome at this church now?

Who knows?

It was bizarre.

All I know is that the smell of paranoia is completely incompatible with Happy Hopeyland.

December 9, 2009

-image-god is annoying

Sometimes, God really annoys me. He asks me to do stuff that I don’t want to do and, frankly, it’s annoying. But he pesters you until you do it. Yeah, that’s it: God’s a real pest and I intend to talk to him about it some day if I ever stop peeing my pants in his presence. And on a side note: If I’m pants-less in heaven — as in naked — I will totally lose it and run around wailing and shrieking, I swear.

But recently, this annoying God asked me to do something anonymously for someone who has really betrayed me and, you know, it cost me — emotionally and financially. I don’t say this to say Oh, lookie me, I’m so great. Actually, I say this to say I very well may be the stupidest person I know and I know some pretty stupid people.

Several years ago, God asked this exact thing from me with a different cast of characters and I did it then, too, for months until he said to stop, and, frankly, for a long time, I felt foolish and stupid and it hurt. I cried myself to sleep over how much I did not want to do it. I felt like God was asking me to be a chump and I’m cool, not a chump, right? That argument didn’t really work on him. Before I complied, I would lie in bed and beg and beg to be let off the hook: Please, please, ask me something else, God. Ask me to walk down the street naked — which I’d rather die than do — but I know I will really die if I do this, so why don’t you just cut to the chase and kill me? Or …. how about that naked thing? No?

Because, you see, God, that pest, was asking me to bless those who curse me, you know, as the Good Book says. And now that I think about it, before I go to bed tonight, I think I’m going to cross that part out of my Bible posthaste because it’s caused me no end of trouble.

Still, it won’t change the fact that it really does say that and that, if you think about it or actually do it, it will truly and deeply chap your hide. You know, I tried to talk God into letting me toss some prayers his way about the person who’d wronged me, prayers that I’d say with verve! and gusto! to disguise the fact that I meant nary a word: “God, I will totally pray for this person. I will. IwillIwillIwillIwill I WILL.”

No, you won’t, Tracey.

Wha?? God can see through me?? Drat that omniscience anyway.

So I wheedled and begged and begged and wheedled and God just laughed, I suppose. I’m pretty sure I amuse him a lot.

The thing is, praying is fine. We’re supposed to pray for people, love our enemies, all that, but God knows me and knows I WON’T DO IT. If it’s some kind of mental/spiritual ritual, something slippery or vaporous, he knows: I WON’T DO IT. Well, that’s not entirely true. I mean, if it’s about someone I love, someone I care about who’s hurting or sad or betrayed, I’m there. I’ll do it, no problem. I’ll WANT to do it. But if it’s about someone who’s hurt me? Wronged me? Fuggedaboudit. Again, God knows: I WON’T DO IT. It’s too easy to say I’ll pray for that scum, that ass, that douche — none of which I ever say, of course — and then, uh-oh! poof! the notion just disappears into thin air. I WON’T DO IT because my heart is hard. Because I’m hurt. Because I’m clothed in my own righteousness and don’t I look nice? Because not doing it is easy-peasy.

So, with me, God pesters and pesters and pesters while I’m trying to sleep or watch TV. I know he knows I need sleep — I mean, sleep, hullo, his idea — but sometimes he doesn’t seem to CARE that I need to sleep or, well, watch House. I’ll bet even God watches House. But nope. He seems to really delight in waking me up in the dead of night or interrupting my ogling of Hugh Laurie and asking me to be proactive. Thoughts, prayers — good, but, let’s be honest: a quiet prayer sent heavenward costs a person nothing. I can pray in my head and not be embarrassed, not feel foolish, not feel mortified — I can even pray NAKED and not be mortified — and sometimes, God is fine with that, but again, with me, when I’m hurt or betrayed and jumping on the speeding train to Bitter Town, God asks something else of me: I have to DO something. Not think something. DO something.

Bless those who curse you, Tracey.

Ugh. It’s a real pisser, I’ll be honest.

Again, I’d much rather lie there in bed like some Posturepedic pope whispering, I bless thee, I bless thee, I bless thee and then drift off into the divine dreamless sleep I richly deserve. It’s easy to just SAY it. But doing it?

Ugh. It’s a real pisser, I’ll be honest.

The first time I did this, several years ago, I sent coffee gift cards, anonymously, to the person who had “cursed me” — because the person was a huge coffee freak and because God said, “Send the jerk some coffee cards” or, well, maybe not quite like that. I thought I would only do it once and be done with it. When I reached the mailbox and was about to put the envelope in, I paused, then walked away, muttering, Nope. I can’t do this, God, no way.

Go back, Tracey.

I turned, stepped one step toward the mailbox, then turned back away. This was on a public sidewalk now, this insane back and forth.

No. I don’t want to bless this person. I don’t want to give this.

I know. So then … can you give it to me?

Ah, crap. Are you kidding? Good one.

Yep.

I turned, stomped back to the mailbox, and shoved the stupid “blessing” in, overflowing with Christian love.

And the angels rejoiced!

Walking back to my car, I thought, Phhhew, thank God, that’s over.

It’s not over, Tracey.

Eh? Yes, it is. I mailed it.

You did, but you’re not done.

Oh, seriously?

Yep.

Okaay. Uhm, what now?

You’re going to do it again next month.

No way! That totally sucks.

That’s why you need to keep doing it. Until it doesn’t suck.

Ohh, pippa. It sucked for seven long months.

Because I didn’t get it and I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get just how bitter I was becoming about this person and I didn’t get that God’s prescription for my bitterness, for “the curse” I’d received was its counterpoint, its total opposite: a blessing. God’s prescription was something that cost me, emotionally much more than financially, something that felt like a curse itself, but was actually something other altogether.

Because as time went on, the ritual at the mailbox became easier. Each month that passed, I had shorter debates with God, I felt less huffy, I looked less like a free-range demented person, mumbling and stomping around a mailbox, and more like a regular person mailing a simple letter, no biggie.

Except it was a biggie, because with each month, I felt my heart, that looming glacier of bitterness, melt just the tiniest bit towards this person. The tiniest bit.

There was no excuse for what this person had done to me. It wasn’t a “hurt feelings” issue; it was, by anyone’s account, a wrong, an abusive wrong. God wasn’t asking me to do this to gloss over what the person had done and act like la di dah, it was no big deal. That wasn’t it at all. It was a huge deal, God knew that, I believe, and because he knew that, he knew the basic human potential for bitterness to take root in a wounded heart. My heart. We’re all just human, for God’s sake, and God knows that. And because he knew this person wouldn’t reconcile with me, he knew my heart well enough to know the only choice it would feel it could make in the face of such blithe abusiveness would be bitterness and thoughts of revenge. And because he actually does love me, he wouldn’t let me go there. Or rather, he wouldn’t let me stay there. (I had already gone there all by myself, ahem.) It took me seven months to feel free and to realize, too, that it was for ME that God had asked me to do this. Sure, that person got those gift cards, but that whole thing — a project MB dubbed “Blessings for Butthead” — was about me, actually. My heart, my spirit, my bitterness, and how to start to be free of it.

And now, he’s asking this of me again.

And it’s a real pisser, I’ll be honest.

But much less so this time around. And not because it’s some small thing or my feelings were merely hurt or because I feel less angry or betrayed with this situation. Actually, it’s worse than the first time — how it’s all hit me. Much worse.

This time is easier maybe, just maybe, because my heart’s kneejerk bitterness has been slowed, delayed, because of that time, several years ago, when God, that pest, told me to bless those who curse you.

I don’t know how long it will last this time around. I have a feeling it’s not done.

Because, let’s face it, God is just annoying sometimes.

February 12, 2009

-image-you’re kidding me, right?

This story perfectly illustrates the public relations problem Christians frequently have. Uhm, because we act like total asses. As I’ve always said, “Just because you have the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean you’re not an ass.”

Although, it IS meant to be a mitigating factor. If you’re gonna be jerks in public, please leave Jesus out of it, ‘mkay?

Go read the story. I’m too flabbergasted to even begin to describe it.

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