That Jealousy Thing

Anonymous Mormon girls

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I am absolutely fascinated by that TLC Channel television program Sister Wives. Although religion is hardly EVER touched on in this program, we know that the particular sect they belong to is a fundamentalist LDS sect that still practices polygamy openly in their Utah town. And really, it’s not polygamy because they don’t legally marry their extra wives. They are only legally married to the first one and then have “spiritual” marriages after that. We will also never see the ceremony because Latter Day Saints are notoriously secretive with their ceremonies.

Last night was the season finale with the fourth wedding for Kody Brown and while it may be a flash in the pan or a tiny glimpse of what goes on in polygamous marriages, the entire season was worth watching. I watched all of them with mixed emotions. At first you are curious. Then you find yourself really sympathizing with the wives. I must say there were some very touching moments, like the birth of third wife, Christine, and Kody’s baby girl and a very poignant scene where Meri, Kody’s first wife, is helping him get dressed for his fourth “wedding.” There’s a moment where it’s just the two of them looking at each other and smiling and you can feel the love and/or sexual tension in the air and then you have to snap out of it and go, “wait, what?” she’s helping her husband marry again!! In a very odd sort of way, it works for them. They share duties with the children and they share the husband. What they cannot seem to get away from is the jealousy and that’s only natural. How can you not be jealous that the man you love is sleeping next door with another woman, even if it is another “wife?”  What’s even worse is that they DO consider it marriage so that you cannot even protest it. Meri and Kody go out for their 20th anniversary and Meri confesses her struggle with jealousy to him. She asks him, “What would you think if I wanted to have another husband?” and he answered, “I think that would be vulgar!”

And that right there is the message of polygamous marriages where the husband is king and the woman is an object used to satisfy her husband’s needs, wants, and fulfill his dreams of fatherhood; populating the earth and the next realm to come with little Browns. He can sleep with whomever he wishes after a “spiritual” marriage, but if she does, it’s “vulgar.” Yet these women all appear very happy with Cody and I guess kudos for him for keeping them all satisfied…. ahem! Or maybe in their innocence or ignorance they don’t know what that means. Who knows?  However, they are not really breaking any laws. Their children seem well-adjusted and happy. And the wives? I wonder how many wives will be “allowed” into the family fold before it’s all over?

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It’s Not Hard to Get My Goat This Morning

Television and radio host Glenn Beck deliverin...

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A couple of things bother me today.

Yesterday, had a lovely lunch with my daughter, my best friend, and my sister. Alcohol and other things were involved and as usual it ends with my sister yelling at the top of her voice at me because she disagrees with me politically. My friend sits there bemused and the exchanges sends my daughter outside to smoke. Meanwhile everyone in the neighborhood can hear the exchange which is embarrassing. Should I have stopped it? Yes. Did I? No, because old habits die hard.  You see, my sister is a Christian fundie racist who listens to Glenn Beck and believes all the apocalyptic things the quasi-Christian/Republican right says on the radio/fox news/etc. I used to be just like her. I believed all the doom and gloom stories that I was fed, was a racist, and wanted everyone to just leave me alone so I could do with my money as I saw fit.

Then I met someone on the other side of the world with a loving, compassion about them who challenged me. I also deconverted from a Christianity like my sister’s that blames people for the circumstances they are in without ever thinking “there but for the grace of God…” I no longer mix my politics and my religion. My personal ethic is based on “been there, done that” to the extent that my sister’s never will. I believe politics has to hit home somehow before the reality of what you are espousing sinks in. She says she’s not a bigot, yet rails on about blacks who come to the ER to get their drug fixes. I challenge her on it, but she says she’s right because she sees it. I said that doesn’t mean the whole world is that way and we had a few white people in our small town blowing themselves up in meth labs. We went round and round. Still, when I left that particular brand of Christianity and began listening to something more hopeful, more helpful, and less rugged “screw everybody else” individualism, I became a better person.

This ideological transformation didn’t happen overnight and I still harbor some of the same awful beliefs from that time, but I fight it and anyone who challenges me on it from a racist, fundie standpoint. They can keep their bigoted religious viewpoint if they want, but trying to get them to see without those tinted eyeglasses on seems a lost cause to me.  What set this off? My suggestion to my sister that we’d all be better off if we had a system of health care that helped everyone not just the extortionist insurance industry. My sister is a nurse, and boy did that hit a nerve. Why? I don’t know. But she’s been “Beck-ified.”  I wish I could say that her ideas aren’t typical, but sadly they are typical in the type of churches we hale from.  These types of christians have not been converted to Jesus, but to a type of christo-facist nationalism that equates personal wealth and individualism with salvation, none of which Jesus personally preached.

She later apologized for yelling but “not for her viewpoints.” Of course not. That would mean changing one’s views, which requires a great deal of introspection and humility and an ability to admit when we are wrong. Pretty much in short supply in America these days.

And the other thing that bothered me today?  …. er…I forgot.

Of Mad Men and Conspiracy Theories

I watch entirely too much television. How do I know this? Because I can’t seem to read enough books that I want to that’s how I know. I have stacks and stacks of books in my place and haven’t read half of them. So, some television shows have to go to make more reading time. It is indeed a hypnotic box that keeps us transfixed in front of it for no good reason. However, that said, I cannot give up good quality TV no matter what beckons me and there are only 24 hours in a day and 7 of those I spend sleeping and 8 working. So what am I watching and what have I given up? Let’s list those I’ve given up first:

Survivor: I’ve watched this show since it started. This is what… the 17th season? Unreal. I mean, how different can each season be? You watch ruthless people win through lying and manipulation and you watch the others lose because they weren’t willing to compromise their principles or friendships for $1,000,000. It’s the same thing over and over. What the losers don’t seem to realize is that it’s just a game and if you don’t play by the rules of the game, you’ll lose. You’d think someone would be learning this by now. The last straw was watching this season’s premier. Every season they seem to want to find the most unlikeable characters they can so people will watch who they LOVE to hate. I was sitting there listening to the latest blowhard talk about how smart he was and how dumb all the women were and how easily manipulated and I said, enough is enough. Here’s one woman who’s not falling for that again. End of story. I haven’t watched it since.

Lost: Like The X-Files, I thought I would watch this to the end; because I like Science Fiction and because I like mysteries. However, the mistake I made in watching the X-Files to the end was assuming that Chris Carter would give us some answers. Instead, I don’t think he knew any of the answers and just strung us along and made things up as he went along. However it was vastly entertaining and each episode pretty much stood on it’s own. Lost however grew tiresome very quickly. After watching two seasons, I wasn’t willing to take this trip any longer. I am convinced J.J. Abrams has no idea where this show is going or where it went in the last couple of seasons. He did an EXCELLENT job on the last Star Trek movie!! However, Lost is no longer on my list of “must see TV.”

The Mentalist: (Tuesday nights at 9 p.m.) I gave this show a whole season because I like the lead character played by Simon Barker. He’s amusing. But I can’t seem to work up any liking for Robin Tunney’s character. The plots aren’t compelling enough; not that they have to feature murders and gore. Mad Men supplies none of that and delivers the goods week after week. It’s just not substantive enough for me.

Shows that I continue to watch:

The Amazing Race: (Sunday nights at 7 p.m.) This is a fun show that uses my favorite game format: a scavenger hunt. The values promoted are worthy; play dirty and it usually comes back to bite you in the end. Take your time and read the clues and you’ll be fine. Rush too quickly and sloppily and something’s going to go awry. Plus you get to learn a little bit of history and see some cities along the way. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego for grown-ups.

Ghost Hunters: (Wednesday nights at 8 p.m.) Do I know it’s probably fake? Sure. But just the fact that there are no psychics on these hunts, that they have “scientific” equipment and that they are trying to debunk evidence and do many times, is enough to keep me watching. Oh and Jason and Grant and Steve are just the type of guys I’d love to hang out with especially while visiting spooky places. What more fun is there?

Supernatural: (Thursday nights at 8 p.m.) Well there are only two reasons why I watch this show at my age: Jenson Ackles and Jared Padalecki. ’nuff said.

The Closer: (Monday nights at 9 p.m.) I love the whole cast of this show. They work well together. However, Kyra Sedgwick’s character can be annoying sometimes and there are moments that even I want to slap her. The plots are standard police procedural and even though the whole premise was ripped off from the UK’s excellent Prime Suspect series starring Helen Mirren, it’s interesting enough to garner a TiVo slot.

Project Runway: (Thursday nights at 9 p.m.) The chief thing going for this show is to see how people can creatively design clothing and make it out of fabric. Fascinating. I can’t create a paper bag, let alone a dress. Oh and let’s not forget Tim Gunn! “Five minutes people!!”

Dancing With the Stars: (Monday and Tuesday nights at 7 & 8 p.m.) The judging is snarky and inconsistent. The stars only have nominal talent sometimes.  So why do I watch? Because I want to do that. I love dancing and seeing someone blossom into a good dancer is fun and rewarding.  The elimination shows are a complete waste of time however. Just post it on the internet already!

My new husband :-)

My new husband 🙂

Mad Men: (Sunday nights at 9 p.m.) Probably THE MOST intelligent show on television right now. This last episode should be Emmy material for next year because the underlying themes are so complex and intertwined and the actors so flawless in their delivery that you actually believe Sterling Cooper ad agency exists out there in an alternate time-line somewhere. Brilliant, brilliant is all I can say.

And speaking of conspiracy theories….Sadly, the books I managed to read recently I can count on one hand: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown is only worth throwing with the other hand. I can only say the ending did not justify the plot or to put it in fictional terms: Did I have to wade through this stupid plot to get to THIS???  Ugh.  Someone let his own positive press over Angels and Demons get to him. Kind of like Book 6 of that other series people are wild about. Mr. Potter or Twilight whose popularity still stuns me as its horribly written and the main character is a stalker let alone a vampire!

On the good side, I read Ruth Rendell’s Adam and Eve and Pinch Me. (I hate it that some books are only available in the UK, like Barbara Erskine’s books. Why?) Anyway, Rendell’s was available, so I picked this up over there and finished it very quickly, which is saying something. Ruth Rendell is always, always a good read. I also did NOT know that Ruth Rendell wrote under the name Barbara Vine, whom I also like. Go figure. Why do people do that? Dean Koontz’s last Odd Thomas book Odd Hours wasn’t as good as some of his others either. I suppose some authors can’t be consistently good. Or maybe it’s just me and my tastes have changed. That’s probably it.  I seem to have less patience with some that are mildly books and more patience with some that makes my brain hurt. Perhaps I get a sense that time is precious and shouldn’t be wasted on such things? Age. Hmmm. Sometimes we have to let go of a few things to make room for others. This is a great time to do some letting go and to hunker down for winter. Gather the acorns, so to speak.

Embracing Nostalgia and Making a Move

house-moving-3It’s always very nostalgic when you pack up your belongings and move to a new place. When you’ve been somewhere for a very long time, you become oriented to not only the steady presence of those things in your life,  but their very positions in your house.  How often do we think when we pass that table or see that family photo for the 100th time that it won’t always be there. Someday it will be moved. You don’t much question the positioning of your things and why some things never move the whole time you’ve been there; that is, until you return a few days later and realize that they are all moved elsewhere. It’s disorienting and it’s also sad. I’ve been quite nostalgic lately in the wake of a recent move and I’m always struggling with it, especially now when Thanksgiving is so close.

We are so attached to the familiar and sometimes it takes something mighty to get us out of that familiar setting and into something new.I see that as a very good thing and a step forward. But, how are we supposed to handle such momentous events? I had never realized before what a huge role nostalgia plays in my life. No one ever talks about nostalgia. No one ever explains to us its purpose. Every other emotion has a purpose, but what about nostalgia? Would we have poetry without it? I don’t think so. Would we have songs without it? Sure, because it’s not the only emotion that spurs such writings. The only thing close to a definition that has held up over the years is Wordsworth’s. Didn’t he say in the Preface to “Lyrical Ballads” that poetry is “the spontaneous overflow of feelings and emotions recollected in tranquility?” What does it mean to “recollect in tranquility?” Is that even a condition of the 21st century human being any more?

All through our lives we are enjoined to make decisions and act on them. We are told not to look back but forward. People become impatient if we linger on remembering the dead, the death of a romance, or the house we used to live in. Mothers look fondly on the period when their children were small, conveniently forgetting the hell of those days and mistakenly remembering that period as idyllic. Some mothers I’ve known pine inordinately for a time that never was because they can’t forgive themselves for the mistakes they made. They’ve also conveniently forgotten that none of us get a manual when our kids are born. Mistakes are for learning. Still we remember fondly. But, even Paul tells us that we should be  “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead (Philippians 3:13b). Poor Lot’s wife had even a tougher time when she couldn’t resist one last look at the home she’d known probably all her life (Genesis 19:26). All these are supposed to be “bad” examples for us. But what’s so bad about looking back? What’s so awful about nostalgia?

Absolutely nothing according to the latest study.  An article in Newsweek states that that feeling we get when staring at Norman Rockwell paintings wistfully or even thinking fondly of Christmases past is a necessary coping mechanism when we get lonely. Wray Herbert writes:

That’s called nostalgia, and it turns out it’s not an entirely bad thing. In fact, my response to these treacly images may be deep-wired into my neurons, and for good reason. A growing number of psychologists have become interested in this uniquely human emotion, in particular its connection to loneliness and social isolation and emotional resilience. Indeed, some believe that nostalgia may be a powerful psychological tool for fostering mental health, a coping strategy we use to protect ourselves against the existential fear of being alone.

People who are chronically lonely perceive themselves as disconnected from others, especially family and friends; they feel isolated from all the traditional sources of social support. Are lonely people more likely to be nostalgic than others? Is it possible that nostalgia—that sentimental longing for the past—might have a tonic effect on loneliness, buffering against these feelings of isolation?

In times of great upheaval or transition, it turns out that nostalgia is remarkably our constant companion for a very good reason. Herbert goes on to write of an experiment conducted across all age groups that concluded:

It appears that, regardless of age or circumstances, the lonely mind has the ability to protect itself from emotional pain by recruiting romanticized memories of the past…Loneliness, at its pathological extreme, is nothing less than existential dread—terror at being disconnected in the universe. Such fear can lead to disabling anxiety and depression. If nostalgia is an antidote to such fear, Zhou argues, perhaps patients might be taught to recruit sentimental memories as a therapeutic tool for creating a healthful sense of human (here is another link and discussion about the same study)

Many people today just have an inability to cope with being alone and nostalgia protects them from feeling that so keenly. Nostalgia, therefore can be a good thing. It can be great fun when we watch movies about our favorite eras or listen to songs we knew by heart in high school.  There are even radio shows that recall those days many people want to remember, when times were innocent and no one worried excessively about politics or teenagers’ antics. We watch these movies and listen to these songs because it makes us feel good and it connects us to something we were once part of. It lessens the pain even though it feels even more painful for the remembering. Such nostalgia is bound to happen to everyone at some time or another, especially as the Holidays are just around the corner. It’s even worse though, when the Holidays are combined with personal upheaval, such as moving.

So, in the midst of the holidays, as I move from one place to the next and as I turn my entire life upside down, I have to remember not to be so hard on myself for having those feelings that are bound to turn up during stressful times; feelings of coziness, family times, playing games with the kids, putting up decorations in a house that I will no longer live in. I have to remember that my brain is trying to cope with a heart torn apart and perhaps, just once, cut myself some slack. As one very wise friend pointed out to me recently, even the momentous decisions we willfully make and accept as right ones are fraught with emotions that slip in unbidden and take us unaware during our times of tranquility. That’s perfectly alright. Rather than fight what others see as a weak emotion, perhaps embracing nostalgia is more healing than I first thought.

Happy Thanksgiving all you nostalgic Americans out there!

Movies and Television; What Else?

Well, the daughter and I will go stand like lemmings in the line to see The Dark Knight this weekend along with everyone else. I don’t mind going to see the movie, I just hate crowds. But, I can’t wait to see it and thus will suffer what I have to. I’ve only stood in line for a few things in my life; a roller coaster ride at Six Flags over Mid-America, Jaws when it premiered in 1974, and a Beach Boys concert (in which the concert was shorter than the wait standing in line!). I will stand if I have to and if it’s worth it and The Dark Knight looks like it might be worth it and not for the creepy motive of “let’s see what Heath does” after his untimely death either. Poor guy.

My husband is going to see a baseball game with my sister this weekend because, well, I dislike baseball and would rather drill into my eyes with a drill bit than sit in 90 degree heat and watch people toss a little ball and bat around. Of course baseball isn’t a REAL sport like football is….. (I just threw that out there to annoy the baseball monkeys). 🙂 So everyone has plans for the weekend. Then next weekend, I will be doing the canoe thing I mentioned in a previous post with my old high school chum while my hubby, son, and daughter go check out Portland, Oregon for kicks (I think they are jealous of my Hungary trip). But that’s ok. Don’t you love summer?

Television used to be a vast wasteland in the summer season because no one thought people still watched TV during those months. But I beg to differ. Now with the invention of TiVo, what’s not to watch??? When all my regular shows go on hiatus, the summer season rolls around and is almost as good as the Fall season. The Closer started last Monday and I haven’t watched it yet, but it’s safely tucked away on TiVo. It’s a good show but still an Americanized version of Prime Suspect, the best cop drama ever! Eureka starts soon. This quirky little show is only saved by its lead actor, Colin Ferguson. You see, I like shows that think outside the box and don’t think its audience is too stupid to get intelligent plots and dialog. There’s a lot to be said for reality TV and watching people make fools out of themselves publicly, but I like the unusual shows. Pushing Daisies comes back on in late July as well and that is definitely unusual. Where else can you have a restaurant called the Pie Hole and be believable? Besides Chi McBride is in it and he’s been a favorite of mine since Boston Public, Roll Bounce, and Let’s Go To Prison.

I think the one television show I look forward to the most is the recent Emmy nominated Mad Men. Excellently written and acted, this show is what network TV wishes it could do if it weren’t restricted by network wonks. It tries to portray the real world of Madison Avenue ad men in the 1960s including the clouds of smoke and back room deals and womanizing. It’s a lesson for the ladies about how far we’ve really come since then! It’s stylish without being fake kitschy. I highly recommend it. Kudos to AMC for taking on the project.

Did I mention that I’ll be inside a lot this summer?? No? Well, this week portends 90+ degree heat and humidity and when that happens, I’ll be cooling off with my good buddy the TV tube. TaTa.

Do We Really Need Religion or Simply Pragmatism?

If I’m anything, I’d like to think I’m practical. To be precise, I like to think that I my life is ” Of, relating to, governed by, or acquired through practice or action, rather than theory, speculation, or ideals” (online dictionary). I also like to think that what follows from this state of being is pragmatism; ” Dealing or concerned with facts or actual occurrences; practical.” (ibid). You see, I love to ponder ideas and toss around theories just as much as the next person. But, I do not see how tossing about of said theories does anyone a whit of good unless it brings about some practical action. This is why politics frustrates me. This is why religion frustrates me. Both are ideals and theories that usually bring about no change at all. Why? Because no one can agree on what these changes are supposed to be AND these theories are not well practiced as a group, only as an individual choice.

I don’t believe that human beings are meant to practice group-think or that whole societies are ever going to be so in tune that they act as one. Some have this ideal, yet I don’t think it will ever happen. Why? Because evolution demands that we are concerned first and foremost with our own survival and all that entails. We are here to find food, find shelter, procreate, and stay alive and that’s about it. All else is icing on the cake, so to speak. I don’t believe in “higher purposes.” I don’t believe that we are here to “love” to “dream” or to “create.” These are merely bi-products of living a leisurely and secure life. When you are in the throes of trying to survive you may employ creativity to distract you from the meanness of life, but we are not born to do these things. Sure, sure, you can provide an example otherwise. Can’t we all? But at its heart, life is about survival. I’ve always thought it so and I’ve always operated on that premise.

So when people argue about politics or religion, they aren’t arguing about practical things. They are arguing about whose ideas are the most IDEAL for society. What should we strive for? What is the point of living. You know, that’s great to perhaps wonder that. But what about food? What about shelter? And what about those who don’t have either? What do we do with the violent of our society? How do we protect our selves, our homes, and our family? That, to me, is more important than anything else. Religion is not about survival. Religion is all about having too much time on our hands to think and ponder about the “whys” and “wherefores” of life already being lived. I think we tend to forget about that when it comes election time or when it comes to passing religion on to the young. What’s the purpose of it? Do we do it to further our life here and now or do we pass along unworkable ideals and thoughts of a life “hereafter?” Rather than be focused on “hot-button” issues that have nothing to do with our own survival and how to keep an ordered and civil society, we should be focused ideas that actually work.

In the wonderful online ‘zine Bad Subjects, John Duncan writes about secular progressives and what they think about politics and religion. He writes:

If we take progressivism, the left, etc., to embody an approach to politics in which human discourse and action are mobilized in order to struggle for social and political conditions more in accord with the legitimate claims of justice — claims which are themselves always being debated, tested, and revised — then progressives have no need for religion. Echoing the eighteenth century enlightenment, we argue that justice requires human struggle for improved conditions in the world — that is, in “this” world — whereas religions strain to find nonexistent metaphysical entities beyond the world.

Religious adherents might argue that our ability to improve conditions in the world depends on our relationship to what transcends it, a position which in the early fourteenth century Dante Alighieri famously symbolized at the end of his Purgatorio by representing the worldly paradise as necessarily empty — only by transcending the worldly as such in order to receive guidance from what lies beyond it can we hope to establish the best possible worldly existence. However, for the faithless this position is both a non-starter and a source of concern. It is a non-starter because we do not believe in metaphysical entities that transcend the world, and so we do not believe they have any bearing on the causes of justice. It is a source of concern because such metaphysical entities constitute the inspirational grounds for fundamental features of the discourse and action of our religious allies, but they are not available for rational evaluation.

One of the core values of an enlightened politics is that all stakeholders be involved in open and rational discussion that leads to policy and its implementation. If the secular progressive believes progressive politics to be a strictly secular affair, whereas the religious progressive claims to have access to extra-worldly insights that both transcend and ground his or her politics, then it is theoretically possible for the religious progressive and the secular progressive to be divided. It seems likely that metaphysical insights will trump the merely political if ever a conflict arises between them, and so we have some trouble understanding those who claim to be in solidarity with us but at the same time are capable of metaphysical suspensions of progressive politics, to borrow very freely from Søren Kierkegaard, who in Fear and Trembling (1843) famously characterized Abraham’s willingness to obey God’s command to kill his son Isaac as a “teleological suspension of the ethical.” The possibility of such suspensions is alive wherever religion reaches beyond the merely real world and its struggles. If a choice had to be made between God and worldly justice, our ways could very well part, for we do not believe in God.

And I would say, believing in God does not promote justice; just the opposite. More injustice has been perpetrated in the name of religion than justice has been dispensed by the same religion, and I mean ALL religions. Leave off the argument about which is “true” religion or not. Such arguments only detract from the real issues at hand. Since no one knows what will happen after death, why do so many look forward to it? Why do so many worry about it? I believe it’s because they have no real, practical solution to the problems right now and looking forward to heaven is the perfect way to relieve oneself of the responsibility of action. Prayer is not action at all, because apparently God is not listening. Prayer has not been shown to change anything except perhaps the pray-er. Great, but kids are still starving or are abused.

Look, I don’t claim to be a proponent of the “right” or the “left.” To me extremism is extremism no matter how idealistic their goals; and perhaps that’s why they are extremists. Their goals are TOO idealistic. There is nothing practical or pragmatic to be had in the world of extremist politics and extremist religions and in that respect, both are a huge burden on a society that just wants to survive, take care of loved ones, and just be left alone. Far from being depressing, I find that a practical work to change things here and now to be exciting and hopeful, far more hopeful than a fiery apocalyptic confrontation looked forward to by millions of religionists around the world. It’s truly a “Big Brother” world if Apocalypticism becomes the language of “hope and change.”

Apathy, Society, and Working Myself Up to Caring

I can’t remember the last time I wrote anything good. My mind is like a sieve. I’m bored at work. I’m bored with politics and I’m bored with religion. All I want to do is take a nap most days. I’m just tired of everything. I think I could probably go work for Despair, Inc. and make a decent wage. So what’s wrong with me? My husband and I are in a good place now that the last of our grown children has moved out of the house. We are enjoying the privacy and space. I’ve visited Hungary this year with my son and that was a wonderful trip. I’ve been reading more books lately so that’s good. Yet, I can’t muster any enthusiasm for commentary about topics that used to incense me. Now I just don’t care. I figure, why should I blog if I have nothing to say? Why should I blog if a thousand other people are writing the same things? Is this what getting older is like? You lose your passion, your drive? I’ve even reconciled with my “spiritual in-laws” just for something to do! It doesn’t mean I care about religion, it just means I want to connect on some level.

I know some will suggest I’m depressed, but I honestly don’t think that’s it. I don’t despair of life, but of ideas. Does anyone suffer from that? It’s definitely not a chemical thing, I know that. Perhaps I am stripping all the non-essentials out of my life. That includes non-essential beliefs and non-essential relationships. I’ve even managed to get rid of hundreds of books in my library that at one time enthused me, but now I know I will never read. Earlier in my life this would have been unthinkable; like giving away my children. Books are valuable and precious, I thought. Yet, they too disappoint more often than not. Before, I would read anything. Now I do not waste my time if the first chapter doesn’t interest me. Sad coming from a Literature major. I’ve watched a lot more films lately since we started subscribing to Netflix. Those are temporarily satisfying as well.

In the religion department, no one is saying anything new and many (including me) are rehashing old stories and arguing about old news. In fact, most people are spouting the same old nonsense or arguing about who has the better argument because frankly no one wants to admit to being at an impasse. Pop evangelical Christian magazines, especially for women, are still writing about the same things the secular world writes about; weight, beauty, romance, and sex as if that’s all women are thinking about and that’s all women should concern themselves with. I don’t know WHY I read them, except for amusement. They opine about their own husband’s porn habit, feeling all betrayed and ashamed and never once thinking that perhaps women can produce and enjoy porn with their husbands and that sometimes sharing erotica together can save rather than destroy a marriage. Oh, but no good Christian woman would ever do that! Only slutty ones do that. They tell us how fat we are and how God loves us but hates our fat and our gluttonous ways, yet they never even THINK that God just may hate skinny women as well perhaps for being stingy and prideful about their looks? How about this: “God” could care less what size jeans I wear. My outsides do not reflect my insides. How about the unique concept that my weight is none of your business except when you’re in my face about it? How about that I’m fat (by your standards not mine) and I live my life without being depressed and as obsessed with food as the weight challenged seem to think we are. I’m tired of others policing my behavior in the name of “God.” Each “dilemma” presented in these types of magazines is presented as an either/or issue as if all problems can be solved by simple solutions. How about they are not problems for anyone at all but the God obsessed?

Another Christian bugaboo is homosexuality. These magazines also tell us that the worst thing that can happen to anyone is to have a gay family member and praying to change them is going to be a lifelong and long-term goal, so you’d best start praying now. After all, it is taught in Christian circles that your son or daughter is gay because of something you did! (Notice the agenda behind NARTH) Remember overbearing mothers and weak fathers create gay sons. So, does it logically follow that overbearing fathers and weak mothers create gay daughters? What about the other siblings? Shouldn’t they be gay too? They grew up in the same household after all. In Christians circles, if you have a gay son or daughter you are always at fault. End of story. Others say different things. Regardless of the facts, most only want to hear their own side of the story. I’m sick of both sides of the argument. I just want everyone to stop arguing about sexuality between consenting adults. Personally, I no longer care how people become anything. People are who they are. Trying to find “causes” is pretty useless unless it’s geared toward discovering why we have serial killers, pedophiles, and sociopaths. Perhaps that’s where science can better be put to good use. How people have sex between consenting adults is of no concern to me.

More than anything lately, I continually wonder why millions of people feel the need to tell millions of other people what to do and how to live their lives. I mean, besides the money motive for being controversial and selling your story, what’s in it for them? In politics the nanny state is in full swing. Each party thinks it knows what’s best for everyone. Some democrats have a new messiah complete with hagiographic photos and some republicans are too busy condemning abortion and gay marriage to care about the economy. Why is it that the SAME ISSUES come up again and again? BORING! No wonder I’m apathetic! Religionists claim God has absolute requirements and standards for living, but for millenia, no one has come to a consensus about what these absolutes are. They can’t even come to a consensus about what “God” is! God is immanent or God is transcendent or God is a Father or God is a Mother. Jesus is God. Krishna is God. You are God. You can’t define God apparently and win. And you certainly can’t define God or dare to even approach defining religion if you are a woman! What a no-no. I mean, the audacity!

I’m tired of comparing apples to oranges, of reading about applying band-aid solutions to complex issues, of listening to blowhards tell us what’s good for us about life, sex, food, houses, relationships, you name it. It’s the “Dr. Phil-ization” of American culture and it’s about time we stopped listening to others about what they think of how we live our lives. So, momentarily anyway, I’ve worked myself out of my apathy. 🙂