Mar. 6th, 2008 10:58 am
jenk: Faye (st mark's)
Peggy over at A Silly Poor Gospel has re-interpreted the Christ story as ... the tale of the field service tech. She calls it Geek Squad Jesus.

No, really. As she put it:
I think something broken got fixed. I see Jesus the redeemer, as Jesus the repairman, tech support if you will. See, there was this system called ‘time and space’ and running on this system was a program called ‘humanity.’ And it got all buggy. And the code called ‘the law’ just wasn’t working. So the system designer had to crack it all open. Get inside, wipe some stuff, patch other stuff, write some whole new stuff. Read more... )
I'm not a Quaker myself, but I definitely respect the tradition.
jenk: Faye (Meditation)
“You know kids, nobody can ‘make you’ feel anything. – You do know that right?” (they look confused)

“No, seriously,” I say, “ You can be, if you choose, in control of your feelings. Nobody can make you angry, nobody can make you sad, unless you want to be.”

They scoff, and without fail, one of them says, “My parents make me angry” – or even better - “I can make people angry”.
And there follows an experiment, where the teenager tries to make Peggy (the Quaker preacher in the story) angry. And at the end, she reports:
“I am feeling slightly amused, and proud of you, young man, you showed courage, you gave it a good try. You didn’t flinch. I respect that. I like you. – I am not, however, in the least bit angry.”

Then I ask the class if they can figure out why he failed. They are smart. They [...] come around to “You didn’t want to be angry. You made up your mind that you weren’t going to get angry.”
And that is the "bingo" moment. A human can choose a particular reaction. We can get better at picking what we're going to feel or do.
Just because people are offensive does not mean that I have to be offended. What a time-saver....
Read the rest, it's worth it.
jenk: Faye (WomenInThePriesthood)
This first bit is one of those asides that make you think, "Did she really write that?"

Hell exists. A place separate from God must exist for free will to mean anything, but the door is open and the exit sign is clearly marked. It is the church that has rebuilt the gates of Hell and found useful the scare tactic of inescapable torment.

The article actually started with a description of fire dancers. It ends with Jesus dancing with fire... )
- From A Silly Poor Gospel by Peggy Senger Parsons, Quaker preacher
jenk: Faye (DariaPensive)
From the 3rd-season Buffy episode Amends:
Xander: So, you doing anything special?
Buffy: Tree. Nog. Roast beast. Just me and Mom and hopefully an excess of gifts. What are you doing for Christmas?
Willow: Being Jewish. Remember, people? Not everybody worships Santa.
Buffy: (smiles) I just meant for vacation.
Willow: Mm. Nothing fun.
What I like about this the honesty. Christmas is a vacation. Tree. Nog. Roast beast. Gifts. If anyone or anything is worshipped, it's Santa.

Which can make it hard for those who have actual, you know, religions that do not include tree, nog, roast beast, and gifts. It emphasizes the difference from the majority.

Growing up, the family that did not hand out candy on Halloween were "weirdos". They were also Jehovah's Witnesses. (Of course, now that the fundies are deciding Halloween is bad, maybe the JW's will have company.)

With Christmas, some who observe the holiday consider themselves Christians. Some might actually try to convert you or I, given the chance; others have proselyphobia. But there are also a lot of people for whom it's family tradition, or fun, or a folk tale (though they probably wouldn't call it that). I have uncles who can go from singing carols to bitching about how Jesus is a fairy tale and the preachers should get the hell of out Christmas in 2 seconds flat. Do they call themselves Christian? No. But they celebrate Christmas.

Of course, Jehovah's Witnesses don't celebrate Christmas. Neither did the Puritans. Actually, most protestants tossed it out during the Reformation ... so of course the Roman Catholics increased their celebrations.

Back in 1970, a novel recounted two flight attendants attempting to flee Christmas by hopping a flight to the officially Atheist Soviet Union. They were greeted with tinsel, garland, and trees. "Merry Christmas!" Now Christmas - and other Hallmark holidays - are catching on in China, too. The Manila Standard runs articles comparing the Laughing Buddha and Santa. ("Who looks fat, has a big tummy, wears a red cloak, carries a big sack, is surrounded by children, is loved by one and all and is always laughing heartily? "Santa Claus!" say those from the West. "Laughing Buddha" say the Chinese.")

And for those who aren't celebrating, especially those who are tired of correcting the majority presumption of "well you may not be RELIGIOUS but everyone celebrates Christmas", there probably isn't any difference.

Maybe I'm jaded. Maybe I spent too many years as a "show me where the Bible has Christmas trees, it doesn't, so why do we say the Puritans were wrong?" fundie. Or maybe I've had too many lectures about how Christmas resulted from early Christianity's using the "embrace and extend" strategy to various pagan celebrations. To me, there's nothing religious or Christian about tree, nog, or roast beast. Yet to those who view those things as trappings of Christianity, they are ... and who is to say whose view is correct?

(Now, the Eucharist, Baptism, and prayer, those are religious, yes. And I'm glad they aren't being celebrated hourly in Bellevue Square.)


Oct. 27th, 2006 11:07 am
jenk: Faye (Meditation)
On a week when I didn't get around to thankful thursday, Peggy preaches on gratitude. I'm not so sure about having no complaints, myself, but I totally agree with her description of using God as an "unedited sounding board. If I have to yell at somebody, why not God, I mean God’s a tough mother and can take it, right?" Amen.

Though it is true that some things you hate may end up leading to something useful in the long run. So I'm including the knee pain that various people have had to listen to me bitch about this week in my this week's thankful list:
  • Cozy sweaters.
  • Seeing more of [livejournal.com profile] jw1776.
  • Dinner & shopping with [livejournal.com profile] dianthus.
  • Relaxing time at yoga, even when I do lose my balance.
  • Periodic knee pain is reminding me to keep my knee soft and to build muscle.
  • [livejournal.com profile] jw1776, [livejournal.com profile] skydancer, [livejournal.com profile] dianthus, and others who've listened to me kvetch about the knee.
  • [livejournal.com profile] zoethe passed the bar exam.
  • Catching up on some things at work.
  • I'm good enough at massage to ease a dear one's mouse arm.
  • I'm still laughing at this Home On The Strange sequence.
    [livejournal.com profile] secanth is finally at home with [livejournal.com profile] falconcat. Congratulations!
jenk: Faye (DominantParadigm)
Peggy Senger Parsons, that is, over at A Silly Poor Gospel.
It seems that our culture is taking a real turn towards being a culture of fear. If you listen to any media outlet you can quickly make a list of things that you are supposed to be afraid of, from dangerous bacteria that infest every corner of your house, to the threat a various forms of global annihilation. [...]

Not that I am against practical safety. Airbags, Yeah! By all means change those batteries in your smoke detector, and please, do wash your hands when you leave the restroom. But the constant diet of fear and the persistent selling of products and behaviors to assuage the fears seems to have gotten all out of proportion.

[...] You know that something has become an idol when its very name becomes a magic incantation that stops questions and debates and induces unnatural obedience. [...] Now, in the United States, all you have to do is say, “This is for you safety, sir.” and people nod their heads, take off their shoes and stand in line. They throw their personal possessions into sacrificial barrels, and avert their eyes as the Middle Eastern fellow behind them gets pulled out for “extra screening.”

[...] Because faith in Safety focuses more on feeling safe than actually being safe, [a]s long as one person in the room still feels unsafe, we will all change our behavior until that person feels better. But having lowered the threshold, it will be only a matter of time before the unease grows in someone – who will raise again the cry “Unsafe!”
There's a lot more, including how she flew into a war zone in a full plane with various families and found that sometimes the fearmongers are wrong.
jenk: Faye (Tea)
Sometimes paying attention is the key thing.
jenk: Faye (daria smile)
Peggy Senger Parsons wrote this article in response to the alleged murder of Rev Winkler by his wife, based on her experience as a pastor and a counselor who has worked with clergy families.
God is all about choices – any theology that makes you feel trapped is not really from God. And God’s reputation isn’t really going to live or die on your perfection. Lighten up on your clergy and their family. Set a new church culture that tells the pastor that she or he may model how to get help for problems, not pretend to live without them. Let’s start telling our young people that they can make mistakes, admit them, and fix them. Let’s tell all our children that they have the power and the right to stand up for themselves. The proof of the Gospel is less about how good your cleric is, and more about how good we can be to each other in our humanness. Let’s try harder.
I would add that it's not just the church culture that sees clergy families as "the proof of the Gospel." It's the greater culture as well, at least in America. Many ex-xtians and non-xtians love to belittle imperfect clergy. The problem is, "This kind of falsehood has a backlash. When you hold in ugly -- it just gets uglier. When it comes out -- and it will come out, usually towards the people your love the most -- it can be truly nasty."

And that's only the start of her "recipe for a Christian matrimonial murder." There's a reason why the article is titled "The Death of Perfection". Not that this kind of perfectionism only applies to xtians, or to religious people in general. When you can't admit you have problems you can't solve them.
jenk: Faye (knowing)
So I read this Mark Driscoll column on money and God. I liked that it disses both the prosperity and poverty gospels. AKA, it's not about how much money you have, it's what you do with it.

What I didn't like about it was the repeated use of the word "righteousness", and the expectation that humans can be righteous in their actions. I don't always know that I'm doing the right thing. Sometimes I do, but even then, I know I'm not God, that I'm working on partial information, and that I'm really just doing the best I can with what I do know. But I think what really rubbed me the wrong way about "righteousness" is that word has been used by too many people in my past who talked about their righteousness while they put me down. And (at the time) I was someone they saw as a "sister", as someone who was also "righteous"! Never mind how they denied the worth of those who were different or "sinners".

And so I learned to be wary. I learned to be careful of assuming I knew what was right and wrong, that I was capable of judging, and most especially to be careful of thinking myself righteous. I became very careful with facts and reporting - which did help me in testing, a lot, tho it didn't always help me in dealing with customers ("What do you mean 'you think'? If you don't know, can I talk with someone who does?") Eventually I did realize that self-confidence can be different from arrogantly assuming I know what's right. But even now, I read about an "opportunity for each of us to evaluate whether we are acting righteously with how we obtain and dispense the little or great wealth we have" and I have trouble with the word "righteous". I'd do better with "wisely" or "faithfully" or "biblically", but "righteously" - "righteous" scares me. Read more... )


jenk: Faye (Default)

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