And by drugs, I mean antidepressants. It’s been a while since I last wrote; time enough for my antidepressants to kick in. It takes 2 to 4 weeks for things to start working after a long time without taking them. But, I can say that they’ve made a difference.
I am less despondent and less critical. I do not have those horrible cyclical mood swings associated with menopausal women. I can now speak to my husband without crying, which for the last year I could not do. I also think that it has allowed me to feel normal in my newfound take on the marriage. The jealousy that had plagued me is gone. Now that I know that nothing I say or do changes anything in this marriage, I have given up trying to change things. This also means that I have given up investing in it as well.
There are advantages and disadvantages to this arrangement, but I can say that the advantages for me outweigh the negatives. I’ve always run my course of action in life through a list of pros and cons. If they seem balanced, I listen to my gut; my intuition. It has never steered me wrong. I’ve gone against my gut feelings and have lived with the consequences; one of them being this marriage. So I know them to be true. How I wish I listened to myself more. However, if I did that, life would be boring and I wouldn’t learn new things about myself and other people.
I’ve learned SO much in the last five years. I’ve learned that perhaps I should not have been married. I bought into romance and not into real life. I was ill prepared for life as a wife and partner. Who is prepared really? We either set incredibly unrealistic expectations for married couples or we dispense with all the rules. No wonder people are confused. I also learned that perhaps I’m not suited to having a male partner. I’m not saying I’m suited for any sex or gender at all. All I’m saying is that I plunged headlong into a life that was expected of me and never once thought any of it through seriously. I gave men what I thought they wanted to get along. I had no real desire for them. I’ve lived my life on automatic pilot; feeling nothing and now, when I actually took a chance on the feelings that I was swept up in, it turned out not to be for the best.
Tough lessons. But they are lessons earned and learned. They are mine and I am no longer going to do what anyone else wants me to do. Anything I do now is because it’s good for me and because I want to. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about others, but caring for others will be because I really care and not because I’m supposed to care.
Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr
The way to understand the conservative moral system is to consider a strict father family. The father is The Decider, the ultimate moral authority in the family. His authority must not be challenged. His job is to protect the family, to support the family (by winning competitions in the marketplace), and to teach his kids right from wrong by disciplining them physically when they do wrong. The use of force is necessary and required. Only then will children develop the internal discipline to become moral beings. And only with such discipline will they be able to prosper. And what of people who are not prosperous? They don’t have discipline, and without discipline they cannot be moral, so they deserve their poverty. The good people are hence the prosperous people. Helping others takes away their discipline, and hence makes them both unable to prosper on their own and function morally.
Anyone who doesn’t think religion plays a role in politics should read this. All political ideologies stem from religious ideologies. Hence conservatism is the conflation of Daddy God with the market system. Daddy is the breadwinner just as God is, so anything hindering the market system (i.e. capitalism) is a violation of the family hierarchy. Anything threatening that hierarchy: women’s and children’s rights, government regulation, etc. is verboten. What I have a hard time doing is keeping my individual stance on politics away from conservative frameworks. My stance on abortion, for instance, doesn’t square with either conservative or liberal stances on it. Therefore, the argument for what I believe is not represented by any political party or any religious system.
Image via Wikipedia
Church Times – If Jefferts Schori is at meeting, I won’t come, says Primate.
First of all, “Primate?” Really? This about describes the good old boy network at work here. Apparently, Rev. Ernest, Archbishop of the Indian Ocean (how can you be a bishop of an ocean?) can smell the taint of woman thousands of miles away and refuses to participate in a summit because of the U.S. Presiding Bishop, Jefferts Schori’s attendance. It’s crap like this that convinces me that church hierarchical structures should do us all a favor and come tumbling down before it’s too late to salvage such nonsense.
The party line goes like this: Jesus was a man, therefore his priests can’t be anything but men. How about this? Jesus appointed men as apostles therefore women cannot be apostles? Or how about this? Only 4 women are named in the bible as part of Jesus’ inner circle therefore only 4 women are allowed to be disciples? Or, here’s a good one, Jesus and the disciples were Jewish. Therefore only his priests can be ethnic Jews? Right? Peter had a mother-in-law therefore all priests should have mothers-in-law? Makes sense to me. (Extreme eye-rolling here).
Better yes, how about women boycott all religions that exclude us because Jesus had different genitals? I’ll go first.
Image by seiuhealthcare775nw via Flickr
I’m finding that there is no consistent ethic that defines the American people and still satisfies all of the various self interest groups shouting for recognition out there. I’m finding that I can’t be part of any special interest group for one reason or another. If I disagree about abortion stances of either side, I am not allowed to call myself a feminist or an evangelical. If I believe in evolution and also in a Deity that engineered it, I cannot be classed an atheist or a believer. If I am for Obama’s health care plan but I say he hasn’t pushed it far enough, I am not allowed to call myself conservative or the purveyor of a republic. If I don’t believe in wealth distribution I can’t be called a socialist. If I am in favor of women’s ordination, I cannot be Catholic or evangelical Protestant. If I believe in a Divine entity I cannot be an atheist, but if I believe in a Deity that is genderless, I cannot call myself a Christian, Muslim, or Jew. If I believe in a personal Deity that answers prayer I cannot be a pantheist or panentheist. If I believe that motherhood is a valid choice for women or that men are a necessary part of society I cannot claim the radical feminist label. If I feel that all women (ALL WOMEN) deserve respect, I cannot call myself a feminist. If I think that America is the greatest country in the world, I cannot call myself a liberal or progressive. I could go on and on.
The only consistent idea would be a moderate idea between the radical politics of left and right. But where are the masses of those in the middle? Where are their political leaders? Why do they not say anything? Where are the moderate Christians, Muslims, and Jews? Where are the evolutionary agnostics or religious humanists? Are these ideas not sexy enough to be reported? No, the ethic now is extreme identity politics. That’s what sells. That’s what makes news. That’s what makes for a faux event. One has to draw battle lines to be heard, but you can’t draw them with what’s already out there especially if you do not adhere to every political point the ideologues offer. So no wonder there is the ethic of rugged American individualism. It’s what made this country great, but I fear it will also be its downfall.
Cover via Amazon
Would you take a semester off from an Ivy League college to attend Jerry Falwell‘s bastion of conservative education and politics? Kevin Roose did and he wrote about it in detail in his book Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University. I wish I could go into detail right now about all the things he gets right about being submerged in the Christian subculture, but I can only say right now is that is it very fair and not at all that different from belonging to an evangelical church. He describes people who are blindingly obtuse and those that are open and loving. As with anyone who subscribes to religious or political ideologies as the whole truth, there are good people and not so good people encamped therein.
Roose’s assessment never hits a false note and his complete openness to the experiment is a credit to his Quaker parents and Episcopalian grandparents. Although they “feared for his life” down there in the bowels of Jerry Falwell’s hell (to hear them tell it), Roose intelligently and compassionately tried his best to experience everything as a new student and newcomer to Christianity. And while he may not have been converted, he came away with a new respect for folks that, while demonized in the press, are not so different as those students he attended Brown with. All of them struggled. There were bigots as well, just as in his circle of friends who wished Falwell dead for his statements about 9/11. No, liberals can also be as un-compassionate as their evangelical counterparts. Sometimes rabidly so. Neither side holds the final majority on compassion.
I’m glad I read this book. The people he describes can be found in any evangelical church in America. I recognized some of my friends in those students. It also gave me hope that those much younger than me are taking openness more seriously than my generation is; that he’s willing to open up a dialogue with those that others have assumed are strange and probably sprouting horns of some kind. My generation has sadly become entrenched and committed to warfare. This book is a very easy and pleasant read and one I’d recommend to Christians and atheists alike who keep an open mind. I admire Roose’s effort to get more constructive dialogue going rather than just rehash all the demonizing and tired old arguments that get us nowhere. We need to start with people not dogma.
Everyone realizes by now that the reason some homosexuals want to become priests is because they feel a horrible sense of repression about their sexuality and because, well, because they want to play dress-up. Thanks to Anne Rice for leading me to this article, a review of The Pope Is Not Gay by Angelo Quattrocchi, translated by Romy Clark Giuliani. I especially like this quote by Colm Toibin:
When I listed the reasons homosexuals might be attracted to the Church and might want to become priests, I did not mention the most obvious one: you get to wear funny bright clothes; you get to dress up all the time in what are essentially women’s clothes. As part of the training to be an altar boy I had to learn, and still remember, what a priest puts on to say Mass: the amice, the alb, the girdle, the stole, the maniple and the chasuble. Watching them robing themselves was like watching Mary Queen of Scots getting ready for her execution.
Priests prance around in elaborately fashioned costumes. Bishops and cardinals have even more colourful vestments. This ‘overt behaviour’ on their part has to be examined carefully. Since it is part of the rule of the Church, part of the norm, it has to be emphasised that many of them do not dress up as a matter of choice. Indeed, the vestments in all their glory might make some of them wince. But others seem to enjoy it. Among those who seem to enjoy it is Ratzinger. Quattrocchi draws our attention to the amount of care, since his election, Ratzinger has taken with his accessories, wearing designer sunglasses, for example, or gold cufflinks, and different sorts of funny hats and a pair of red shoes from Prada that would take the eyes out of you. He has also been having fun with his robes. On Ash Wednesday 2006, for example, he wore a robe of ‘Valentino red’ – called after the fashion designer – with ‘showy gold embroidery’ and soon afterwards changed into a blue associated with another fashion designer, Renato Balestra. In March 2007, for a visit to the juvenile prison at Casal del Marno, he wore an extraordinary tea-rose-coloured costume.
I can see why they are attracted to it. Imagine having no care for how much things cost and you can wear all the crowns and jewels you want! Plus, as Toibon goes on to suggest, you have a really, really cute personal secretary. Who wouldn’t want that job? The new book looks absolutely fascinating. I just might have to get a copy.
Disclaimer: In no way am I disparaging homosexuals and/or people wanting to dress up. Who doesn’t want to dress up and be something else for a day or evening? I just wonder if their repression drives them to the Church as a possible outlet. God and being true to yourself do not mix.
Everyone seems so curious about why the Roman Catholic church would allow Anglican congregations to convert en masse to Catholicism, still retaining married priests, etc. The answer is simple: the Catholic Church is suffering a priest shortage and has to solve this somehow. The numbers of those entering the priesthood has been in steady decline since the 60s. So why else would they do it? This allows them to get more priests without having to admit that celibacy should be chosen not forced and also to keep those pesky women out of the priesthood; a “problem” that Anglicans are grappling with right now.
Well damn!! It’s all us “tainted” women’s fault again. If we would just keep our taints out of religion everyone would be happier don’t you think? Then all men can avoid the “pussification” of the countries they live in. Ah… love the smell of misogyny in the morning…..
(thanks Reg for all the links and Tweets that informed this post)