Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Cosmic FacePalm

If you aren’t a Christian, you can still read this, but it will make very little sense to you. I mean, the words will, obviously, but the concepts presented won’t. Fair warning.

Ah, Marijuana. Mary Jane. Reefer. Pot. No matter what you call it, it is the fantastic substance that has inexplicably managed to find it’s way onto the DEA’s S**t list.

For the record, I think we need to legalize marijuana, if for no other reason than to get the potheads to shut the eff up. That aside, it’s an amazing rotation crop, a phenomenal building material, and an incredibly strong fiber. It is a potential miracle crop; it’s sustainable, fast-growing, and has myriad purposes other than recreational. As far as its recreational use goes, it is by far one of the least dangerous drugs on the market, including tobacco and alcohol. No one ever went into a marijuana-induced rage and tried to kill someone. It hasn’t been conclusively linked to lung cancer, though not for lack of trying on the part of the DEA. Furthermore, as much as the D.A.R.E. programs of the world try to label it as an addictive hallucinogenic, it isn’t. Pot isn’t addictive, for one thing. You may really enjoy smoking it, but nobody ever sat in a room with the shakes because they were withdrawing from pot. It’s also not a hallucinogen, and don’t let anybody tell you it is. Enough of it might alter your perceptions a bit, and if it’s got something weird in it that isn’t pot, you might hallucinate, but strait cannabis? I think not. Doctors in California are prescribing this stuff for headaches. If our medical professionals think it safe enough to give for such frivolous reasons, I think we may be go for legalization.

So now you know where I stand on legalization. You’ll notice, however, that I don’t smoke pot. Ever. For any reason. I have no problem with the drug itself, but, though I enjoy it, I don’t choose to partake. Why, you may ask? For the simple fact that it is illegal.

My belief system, or Christianity, as some would refer to it, includes the mandate from Christ to obey the laws of the land, insomuch as they do not cause you to go against God’s laws. In other words, don’t steal, but if your leader makes it a law to kill Jews, don’t do that either. I don't smoke marijuana, not because I think it's wrong, but because my government has decided to make it illegal.

I had a discussion with a Christian pot-smoker though, in which they justified to me why they still allow themselves to smoke, even though they know the whole “law-of-the-land” rule. The first excuse they hit me with was “Jesus also said not to get tattoos” I sighed and answered, “Jesus didn’t say that. That’s in the Old Testament and it’s a Judaic law. It doesn’t apply to you and me because we aren’t Jewish. Like Kosher.”* He paused for a moment, then said “But our government thinks it’s alright to bomb civilians” For the record, they don’t, but I let it pass and said “If you feel that joining the military would cause you to sin, then by all means, don’t. The mandate was to follow all the laws that do not cause you to sin. God’s law comes first.” After that, he just said “I’m just stating my opinion, and I’ve never been convicted* by the Holy Spirit to stop smoking pot” Our conversation ended there, but I couldn’t help but think that the Holy Spirit shouldn’t need to convict us when something is spelled out for us in God’s word.

This post isn’t really about Marijuana. That’s just the conversation that got me thinking. It made me realize how often I have heard the excuse, “God hasn’t convicted me”. Yea, but, if it’s in the Bible, should he have to? If Christ specifically said, and he did, “Don’t allow yourself to become angry to the point of hatred”*, it’s a sin whether you are specifically convicted of it or not. I’ve heard this logic applied to lying, broken promises, disobedience to parents, ect ect ect, and it doesn’t hold water then, either. You don’t get to sin and then wait, as a naughty child, for daddy to come slap your hand, and then assume, if he doesn’t, that you must be special and the rule doesn’t apply to you. Christ’s teachings apply to everyone who chooses to follow them, and to pick and choose which commands are convenient to you is the very definition of a lukewarm* faith. Don’t get me wrong, I sin too, and often. Much more often than I would care to admit, but here it is. I admit it. Every day, multiple times. I am a bonafide, tried and true sinner. I’m prideful, spiteful, manipulative, and a terrible gossip. The point here is that it would still be wrong of me to beat my husband with a 2X4, even if I didn’t feel convicted afterward. I have a feeling that sometimes God just says “Convict you? But I already convicted you! I gave you the rules, right here in the book! They aren’t even hard rules!*” And then he does a cosmic facepalm and has to sit down for a moment because we humans are just so dumb sometimes.

*For those of you who don’t know, There are three kinds of laws in the Old Testament. There’s the Judaic laws, which deal with cleanliness and Kosher. If you aren’t a Jew, those don’t apply. Then there are Civic laws, which deal with crime and punishment. Unless you’re a Hebrew, those don’t apply either. Then there are moral laws, like the Ten Commandments, the laws against Bestiality, that kind of thing. Those were typically repeated in the New Testament and apply to everyone. We don’t pick and choose these. The wording in the Hebrew and Aramaic is different and helps us differentiate.

* For those non-christians who are reading this and are confused about the use of the term “conviction”, it’s sort of, but not really, the same as a court conviction. Basically it means to feel guilty for what you’ve done, but we believe that the guilt comes from God rather than ourselves.

* This is what I call Rai-phrasing. The passage is in Matthew 5:21-26

* Revelation 3:15-16

* They aren’t really. Don’t steal, don’t kill people, be honest. Basically just stuff most of us know to do anyway.

New Years

Today is the last day, not only of this year, but of a decade. 10 years ago, I was 12 years old, halfway through seventh grade, and, if memory serves, having a party that would result in us finding confetti scattered throughout our home well into my high school years. I thought it was great. My mother never let me have another New Years Party.

Resolutions inevitably come with the new year. January 1st gives us a starting point for everything we want to make better about ourselves. I'm not making any resolutions except "Have more Sex." I think we can all just agree to that one, because really, who doesn't want more sex? Except you single people. You all can just keep it in your pants.
Instead of resolutions, I have the 101 in 1001 plan. You can read all about it here. You won't get updates often, as I am bad at lists and even worse at updating blogs, but it should give you a general idea of my goals. They aren't lofty or anything, and I would add "Be Less Judgey", but I feel like the Judgey thing works for me.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Jesus Hates Trees (and Penguins.)

The movie Avatar came out last weekend, and, like they do with everything that doesn't have a Judeo-Christian theme, the militant Christians are calling foul.

Quick facts about Avatar, in case you live in a cave:

- There is a very strong Environmental theme. The main race is very in-tune and respectful of nature, and their (female) deity manifests herself through a tree. She is not actually a tree, but uses is to communicate to her people (like a burning bush, some would say).

- I would use this bullet to give another quick fact, but basically, that first one is where people are taking issue. It's the same thing that happened with Happy Feet. Apparently Jesus doesn't love Penguins either.

The point here is not (thankfully) the Christian relationship with the media. That's a topic for a whole other blog. My point this time is the stance so many Christians seem to take against Environmentalism. I have, over the last week, seen several facebook posts decrying Environmentalism as a dangerous, terrible idea, full of hypocrisy and dangerous philosophies.

The way I see it though, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Granted, Nature WORSHIP is certainly not what God had in mind, but switching to canvas bags?

According to the Genesis account, God created the Heavens and the Earth, and truly, did a stunning job. The natural world is a testament and a witness to the Great Artist. Go to to the Mountains sometime. Or the Desert. Or anywhere. Just go and marvel at what his hands have made. Phenomenal, truly. After creating all that beauty, we come to find out that it's a gift! It's possibly the second greatest present ever given to anyone, ever, and it is given to the next creation: Man. God made the man, breathed air into him, gave him a name, and put him in the Garden of Eden. Why did he put him there? According to Genesis 2:15, to work it and take care of it. The Amplified Bible says "to tend and guard". The point is that God's purpose was clear. The Earth was a gift, but it was up to Adam, and, consequently, Adam's children, to care for it.

Shouldn't we, then, as Christians, be the most environmentally concious? Not in spite of our greater goal, which is the expansion of the Word, but if we truly believe that this earth was a gift, should we not be the first in line for environmentally friendly options, or are we so confident that God does not see how we squander his gifts? That's what it is, in case you have forgotten. It was the first gift, even before the gift of a mate. It has fallen into disrepair at our hands, and yet militant christianity sees no need to repair the damage mankind has done, and even seeks to destroy a movement that has the possibility to restore a fraction of this world's beauty. When God gives, he gives with the understanding that we will be good stewards of what he has provided.

Granted, if the focus of a life is entirely environmental, it could indeed pave the way for nature worship (I guess). But instead of seeing the environmental movement as a threat to the Message and warning against it, could we not use it? Could it not serve as a reminder to God's greatness and a tool for ministry? Are we that unimaginative that we can think of no way to both honor the great commision and be good stewards of what God has given? Come on now.

God gave us this earth, and he gave only one. I believe he will call us home before it falls to shreds, but that isn't the point. We care for it because we appreciate what we have been given and the care we put into the earth is how we show our gratitude to its creator.

I leave you today with this cartoon:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

December 24

We as the followers don't know much. We don't know when Christ was born. We don't know how many Shepherds or Wise Men were present, or even IF the Wise Men were present. We don't know how old Mary was, or who helped the poor pregnant stranger deliver her first child in a cave-barn. And, really, none of that matters.
All we know; All we need to know, is that, a little over 2000 years ago, a baby was born who, whether you believe in his divinity or not, changed the entire course of history in a huge way. It was a birth that marked the beginning of the end to the greatest plan ever conceived, a plan to save the lives of the whole earth.
This is one of my favorite songs. Do we listen? Do you hear the Angels sing? Is this Christmas triumphant? Do we proclaim Christ's birth with the heavenly host. I hope so.

Hark, The Herald Angels Sing
Glory to the Newborn King
Peace on Earth and Mercy Mild
God and Sinners Reconciled
Joyful all Ye Nations Rise
Join the Triumph of the Skies
With Angelic Host Proclaim
Christ is Born in Bethlehem

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mappy Christmashannukuwanzaamadan...and Chinese New Year

Every year around December 1st, Christians all over America take up the “It’s Merry Christmas, Not Happy Holidays” banner. I myself was one of those Christians until this year when I made a stunning realization. Much like the Christian war on “The Gays”, the war on “Happy Holidays” is a shining example of the modern church’s ability to shoot itself in the foot. With an assault rifle, probably.
Somewhere around 1982*, corporate America made a startling discovery. Turns out, we had Jews in our country! Jews, and Muslims, and Black People and CHINESE! Obviously this was a terrible oversight on all our parts, which was only compounded when corporate America realized that all of those people celebrate holidays around the same time as Christmas. Hanukuh, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Chinese New Year. Add to that the fact that the Catholics had somehow turned up to complicate things, and now we had not only those, but Advent and Epiphany! Thank goodness the Canadians never showed up. If we added Boxing Day to the mess, who knows what kind of chaos could have ensued. But I digress. Shortly after the discovery, board meetings were called to determine what to do with this newfound knowledge, and more importantly, the newfound potential for profit. After all, Halmark had done such a fantastic job commercializing Christmas, why couldn’t corporate America do it with all the other Holidays? Plans were made, Graphs were drawn up, and suddenly someone said “But what will we say?” Thus, “Happy Holidays” was born.
“Happy Holidays” is corporate America’s way of being inclusive and to avoid offending, which is their job if they wish to make a profit. Perhaps this is news to many, but there are thousands of families and people who don’t celebrate Christmas, and we can’t be so selfish that we aren’t willing to share the month of December. How can we spread the love and message that was given to us if we are so busy ranting about how we are being stolen from? In case you have all forgotten, this season is not “ours”. Strictly speaking, the Romans had it first, and it was a festival to celebrate one of their many gods. We just borrowed it and changed it around to suit what we needed it to suit. You can’t feel entitlement over something that wasn’t yours to begin with. We celebrate a worthy thing, truly, and there is nothing wrong with celebrating the birth of our savior, but if Christmas is the only time we think about the fact that our world has lost sight of its creator, we are doing something very wrong.
In reality, there is no reason for Christians to expect corporate America to cater to them during the Holiday season, and it’s counter-productive to think so. In fact, why are we getting so concerned about what corporate America is doing anyway? This is a time to think about a birth whose sole purpose was sacrifice, a young woman who accepted a challenge that seemed impossible, and a young man who trusted what he could not see. This season is a celebration of the greatest gift ever given to mankind, and a reminder to all of us to think first of our fellow man. Why have we allowed simple words to eclipse that? The truth is, we live in a world of many people, religions and creeds. Our mission is to spread the word of God, it’s true, but we will not accomplish that if we are expecting the secular world to spread our message for us.
In this, we Christians have, yet again, missed the point. Somehow rhetoric has replaced the message of goodwill, and semantics the message of peace. If you celebrate Christmas, say “Merry Christmas” without fear of offending. If you are Jewish, wish a “Happy Hanukkuh” with joy. If you celebrate nothing, say nothing, but take all wishes in the spirit in which they are meant, without worrying whether their salutation matches yours.
The point, Church, is to stop worrying so much about what comes out of the mouth of your fellow man between December 1st and 31st, and start worrying about your fellow man*. This season, I challenge every Christian to wish all a “Merry Christmas” while showing Christ’s love to the world, and, when greeted with “Happy Holidays” to smile warmly, wish them the same, and think about the gift that makes this holiday so very happy indeed.

* This year is completely made up, as is any account of corporate America’s actions during said year. Duh.
* I don’t much like this sentence. It’s awkward, but hopefully you see the point. Worry about your fellow man as a person, rather than judging him for the words that are coming out of his mouth.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Love Isn't

I write about love a lot. Clearly, it’s because I have love all figured out. Just ask my husband. Actually, don’t ask my husband. He would only laugh at you, and possibly give an eye roll and a sarcastic “I’m sure she does. It’s probably a part of her plan for your life.” Thank you, dear. Don’t you have errands to run?
Love is a lot of things. Patient and kind, for starters. One of the strongest bonds between individuals, for seconders. There is actually a very good description of love that can be found here. Love is a lot of very good things, and if you take the time to really think about all the implications, it isn’t easy, but it is so worth it, if it’s the real thing.
With all the things love is, there are a lot of things that love most certainly isn’t, but that we have somehow been conditioned to believe it is. I’m not sure where we got our many ridiculous delusions about love, but I have a feeling the liberal media and Ann Coulter have something to with it. Possibly Al Qaeda was involved. I’m not really sure.
I digress. Love is a lot of very good things, but love is most certainly not the following:

A Feeling or about Listening to Your Heart – Or a noun, for that matter. The common usage of the word “love” means, basically, a feeling. Infatuation. Attachment. Warm Fuzzies. Now, all of that IS necessary to form the base of a love relationship, but if it is what a relationship is based on, that relationship is set up to fail, simply because feelings are fleeting and fickle. Love, the real kind, the kind that lasts until death, is a verb. It’s something you think about and consciously do. Take a look at the biblical description of love again (if you’re an ath-nostic, Buddhist, Pastafarian or someone else who thinks the Bible is utter nonsense, read it and pretend it wasn’t written by a Christian. Pretend Marx wrote it. He was smart, right?) None of the things mentioned are passive. Kindness, Patience, Selflessness, Honesty, Perseverance. Regardless of your belief system, 90%* of people would agree that these things make up a successful love relationship and they are all active, living choices. There will be days when you wake up and don’t feel all that snuggly toward your significant other. On those days, you still choose to love, and to commit to the person you are with.
Also, I’ve discussed the listening to your heart thing. Don’t do it. Listening exclusively to your emotions in love is a surefire way of ending up with someone you’re crazy about but that isn’t good for you. You have to use your head! That’s why you have a head! Don’t just use your head, though. Marrying someone who is good for you but that you have no emotional attachment to isn’t fair on anyone.

A Battlefield – I’m sure Ms. Benatar would beg to differ, as would anyone who has ever uttered the phrase “You have to fight for love!” Let’s review the idea of a battlefield, shall we? Bloodshed, Massive Casualties, Screaming and Gnashing of teeth. That doesn’t sound like love to me. It sounds like life. And it certainly sounds like the traditional approach to dating. Love is the partnership that gets you through the hard times and battles of life. Not to say you and the person you love won’t have your share of fights and disagreements. Paul and I have our weekly fight every Saturday when my sweet husband sleeps until noon and I wake up at 8AM. All I want is some quality time and all he wants is some quality snoozing. What was I talking about? Oh yes. If your relationship, your love, is a battlefield, why on earth would you want to be involved? Battles are not good. They are not fun. They are damaging, and if you are constantly involved in one, you will find yourself damaged. Now, love is certainly not easy, and yes, you have to fight for it. But you don’t fight against the person you are in love with. The fight is the two of you, together, against layoffs, temptation, your own selfishness and broken water heaters. Life is going to throw you enough curveballs to struggle through together without turning your relationship into a constant battle.

A Pit – You don’t fall in love. “Fall in” implies something you can’t help. Now, it’s true you can’t help who you are attracted to. That’s mostly hormones and endorphins and what not anyway. So, technically, you fall in “like”. What you decide to do with said “like” is up to you. You can walk away immediately and never act on your feelings or you can start a relationship and choose to love them. Now, admittedly, love is complex, and while you can help the “love” aspect, you can’t help the emotional attachments that grow over time when you are with someone. Love is a lot easier to give than to take away. That’s why heartbreak hurts so darn much.

A Math Test – This analogy is iffy at best, but stay with me. If someone is wrong for you, you can’t try harder and make them the right person for you. Actually, maybe love is a math test. You can give the wrong answer over and over, but no matter how big and bold you write it, it will still be the wrong answer. Take this analogy how you will.

A Test of Moral Fortitude – Last one. Five is quite enough. This one baffles me. If your significant other has done you very wrong, I.e. cheated on you, lied to you, belittles you, ect ect ect, sticking around doesn’t prove what a better person you are, it proves you are stupid and possibly have some sick attachment to pain. Staying with someone who hurts you doesn’t make your love stronger or prove that you are the better person. It’s mostly just dumb.

The point is, once you realize that love is none of these things, it may lead you to think about what love really is. (Don’t worry, I have this kind of life-changing effect on people). Love is never easy (Oh, look! Another thing love is not that we think it should be!), but the good kind is worth it, and I dare you to believe that you are worth the good kind of love.

*This statistic is completly made up

Friday, December 4, 2009


Being sick is the worst. The only thing worse than being sick is being sick while taking care of a baby (make that a sick baby, and you may as well just shoot me in the face)Alas, here I am, thanking God that Baby Girl is sleeping soundly upstairs. I trid to get her to nap an hour ago, and that only ended in tears (for both of us, sadly)Luckily, BG's mother is coming home early, and while I smpathize,becaus she is sick too, I have never been more excited to hand off a child and blow out of there like...well, like something that blows out of somewhere very fast. I'm bad at metaphors. Point is, I have never been so impatient with a child than I was today. After all, isn't it me always telling her older brother that she cried because she can't talk, not to be annoying? Today I have ignored that quiet, logical voice, and have allowed a crying baby to move me to tears and begging. Real begging. As if she understands the words "Please stop crying" as anything more than gibberish.

The other bad thing about being sick is the pregnancy assumption. There are, as we know, no other reasons for a married woman to be sick other than pregnancy, and so any mention od feeling under the weather is invariably greeted with knowing glances and raised eyebrows. I hope that when the blessed day of pregnancy does arrive, I will simply tell people, rather than leave cryptic clues alluding to my deteriorating health. Also that it doesn't make me feel like this, because this is horrific.

The one good thing about being sick is getting sick on a Friday. Now, this is debatable, especially among circles prone to having actual "plans" on weekends. I do have plans tomorrow, but regardless, I have an entire weekend full of sleeping on the couch and watching Christmas specials stretching out before me, broken only by an obligatory trip to the airport, for which I will make my appearance and then race home. I may not even change out of my pajamas. That'll teach her to fly home when I am sick.