Diva Status

Posted in Uncategorized on September 18, 2014 by Cass

No, I have not attained this coveted position. Though I’m not sure I even covet it. ANYWAY.

I read a rather scathing article within the last few days about singer Ariana Grande and her supposed narcissistic, diva-esque attitude in recent years. In the article, it listed all the allegations of the singer’s behavior, most of which are very negative. It included her split from Nickelodeon’s Sam & Cat due to her inability to be friendly with her co-starts, refusing to sign autographs or associate with fans in any way, being blatantly rude to VIP passholders, and being the most “stuck up, disrespectful person” Alexander DeLeon has ever met in the industry.

The article went into detail about a meeting between Grande and two fans. A father had written a blog post about his two daughters having won a contest to meet the singer after one of her shows. The contest required the entrants to submit a piece of art of the singer, and whoever won, would be arranged a meet and greet with Grande where they could present her with their winning piece. Well, when the time came, the father wrote:

After the bogus interview, Ariana was set to appear. First, she did an on-camera interview. We don’t know what it was about, but I’m wondering if she also faked that the meeting had already taken place.  She then approached her fans without a smile – just an icy look as she toyed with her hair.  She was surrounded by 8 to 10 assistants.  Ariana stood by, with a blank stare, as the rules came fast and furiously from a staffer:

“You are not to present Ariana with any type of gift or anything. Give them to security and they will get them to her. You can take a selfie with her, but nothing else.”

Remember, these are not kids who interrupted Ariana during dinner at a restaurant, they are pre-screened contest winners who poured their hearts into their winning entries. The 16 year old boy had recorded a CD of beautiful violin cover versions of Ariana songs. It won the contest for him, and he wanted to present it to her.

It was taken away by security.

Ariana Grande, the superstar, then walked toward her three contest-winning fans.

She spent perhaps 15 seconds with each of them. That is not an exaggeration. They took an approved photo with her and that was it. No small talk. No banter. No “I can pretend I care a slight bit for you because you support me, you tweeted about me and my projects thousands of times, you buy my music, and you traveled so far, while paying for your own taxis, three days of meals, new outfits to meet me in, and federal and state taxes on this prize. Let me hear the one sentence you’ve always dreamed about telling me.”

Nothing. That was it. Don’t be fooled by the sweet smile in the photos below.  Ariana gave that grin for each picture, but then it was gone again. She never bothered to even ask anyone their name. She didn’t inquire as to who the contest winners were, as opposed to their guests, or what they created to win the right to meet her. Shocked by all this, Jen, whom Ari had been so kind to in 2011, walked up and said “Ari, here’s a photo we took together in Vegas at the Titanic…”

Ms. Grande glanced at the photo on Jen’s phone and said, “Let’s redo that picture.” She said nothing else, so Jen retook the photo. No peace sign from Ari this time.  Then Jen took out one of the drawings that won the contest for her.  Kelly snapped a photo of her smiling little sister giving Ariana the drawing.

“Delete those pictures, please” was all Ariana said.

“Can I just keep the one of my sister showing you the drawing?” asked Kel.

Ariana turned to her security and ordered, “Make sure she deleted those.”

Then, Ariana Grande walked away from her prize-winning fans without even saying goodbye.

Not too encouraging. That, to me, proved that she is every bit as terrible as anyone claims. The fact that you can’t take five minutes out of your day to speak with and thank fans shows just how shallow you really are. As terrible as I find that, and believable as I find that, I wasn’t so sure about one of the other accusations: that Grande issued a long list of demands to a photographer, one of which that she was only to be shot from the left side. I thought to myself, “Now that seems a little far-fetched, even for the biggest diva on the planet.” So, in the name of research, I looked up as many of her music videos as I could find and watched them all. And, as luck would have it, 99% of her shots are from the left side. And I noticed in a few videos that it looked like she had been shot from the right, but by paying closer attention, I discovered that those specific shots had just been flipped to make it look like it was from the right side. Nearly every time the camera is on her, her head is turned. She makes such a point of this that it looks awkward. Even when the camera is facing her squarely, she has her head turned, ever-so-slightly, and it makes it look kind of unnatural. I took some snapshots of her in three different videos.

These are stills from the “Problem” video. Always from the left.1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

These stills are from the video for “The Way.” See how the bracelet miraculously switches arms?11 12 13 14 15
And these are from “Popular” by Mika. Awkward left-tilted head.16 17 18 19

So, in summary, I believe that all these allegations against Grande are true. And obviously I’m not the only one. For a 21-year-old in the music industry, she’s clueless. And someone on Tumblr summed her talent up perfectly. I can’t remember the exact wording, or who posted it, but it was something like this: Ariana Grande reminds me of the girl at school whose voice really isn’t that great, but she’s always asked to sing the National Anthem at sporting events.

I’m Frustrated

Posted in Uncategorized on September 18, 2014 by Cass

It seems that any and all artistic talents and creativity that I once had have left me, and it is frustrating beyond belief. I’m at a standstill on all of my projects. I’m still dealing with this damned writer’s block, and now, my hands just do not want to draw. I can’t get beyond a few lines or circles before I erase the whole damn thing. This is so unbelievably frustrating that it’s hard to convey to you the actual magnitude of my disappointment. Just a month or so ago, I was drawing for whole days without stopping, and was satisfied with what I was producing. Now, I can’t make it past a half-assed outline before calling it quits. And my writing was coming back, I could sit and pound out a chapter or two without a problem. Now, I’m just staring at a blank page for an hour or so until I can’t take it anymore and move on to wasting my time on something else.

I hate this. And I don’t know what is causing it. And since I don’t know what’s causing it, I can’t fix it. I’ve tried everything. Prompts for both writing and drawing, practicing, trying to finish a piece that I left unfinished, researching, looking for inspiration, walking away and coming back to whatever I was trying to work on. Nothing has worked. And I don’t know why. And I hate it.

I’m hoping beyond hope that this is not permanent. I can’t imagine going the rest of my life not doing those two things. I grew up with such a passion for them, and now, all at once, I can’t do either of them. It’s not that I don’t want to do them. but my interest in both seems to have disappeared entirely. I just want to expel an offensive myriad of cuss words to get all this frustration out, but my neighbors would surely have me arrested, kind people that they are.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to get my spark back. Help.

Dealing With People Who Are Never Satisfied

Posted in Uncategorized on September 12, 2014 by Cass

This is something I have great difficulty doing. I don’t deal well with people who are never happy. They could have all that their heart desires and still find something to complain about. I have several of these people in my life, most not by choice, and their constant bitching makes me crazy. There is always something wrong, always something to bitch about, no matter how big or small. One of these people was a co-worker. It didn’t matter how above and beyond I went in my duties, she always found something to complain about. And the thing I’ve noticed about this sort of person is that they never have the balls to say something to the person that’s causing them all this “trauma.” They’re all passive aggressive. The co-worker? Never had the balls to walk up to me and complain about my work to my face. Not once. She talked to everyone else about it, but not me.

Several of these people clutter up my newsfeed several times a day. Men and women both. I have to fight the urge to comment, “Shut the fuck up; your life is not as bad as you like to say it is,” on almost every single post of theirs.

One of these people has this weird fixation on marriage. Namely the fact that he is not, and wants to be so badly. He is forever posting about how much he wants to have a relationship and get married and how much it frustrates him that this is not happening for him, how angry he is that it is not happening, and how hard it is for him that it is not happening. For example, tonight he posted this: I’m just going to stay single for the rest of my life, I just wish I were good at it…can’t do right in a relationship, can’t be content single…so what do I do? Feelings are dumb.

This status of course was commented on several times, with numerous people offering uplifting advice to him. Like, “Trust in God, He knows who that perfect someone is for you,” and, “What you’re doing is way better than settling…I won’t say the right person will come along, but keep your mind open and your heart guarded in case she does,” and, “Everyone’s been through this at one point or another…be patient.” The best response was, “Maybe God wants you to not put so much energy into this subject? Don’t give up on God’s wisdom in this situation. He may very well have something planned for you but just wants you to let Him worry about it. Giving up almost sounds like you’re giving up on God’s wisdom. We don’t live in His timeframe, and yeah, that can be frustrating, but His way is always best.” That response fits in best with how this particular person’s brain works. He’s a preachy Christian, so you would think that a God-based answer or explanation would ease his mind. But no. His response was this: Well then why can’t I stop caring about it? People tell me not to focus on it, think about it, or put too much energy into it…ever think that perhaps I spend every day attempting not to focus on it? That I keep busy with work, ministry, hobbies, and people so that I don’t dwell on it! It’s easy to say a bunch of easy sounding stuff, but try my brain for a day. It doesn’t shut up, and my heart continues to be an irritable nuisance as well as always feeling sad about the matter…well I’m tired of feeling and caring about it. I just want to do what I’m supposed to and preach the gospel but it’s kinda hard with a dumb desire that never goes away.

If that doesn’t sum up this kid’s personality, then I don’t know what does. He’s so incredibly dramatic and throws a disgusting amount of pity parties cleverly disguised as whimsically depressing updates. He just wants the attention he believes he deserves. The woman’s rebuttal to his response was perfect.

“Actually, I know exactly what you’re talking about. And no, it’s not ‘easy to say easy things,’ but they’re true things. I’ve been where you are and I remember how it felt, clearly. But I think it’s a good [thing] to do that, to focus on ministry and the gospel. Things like that can help distract you and although it won’t [work] all the time, it may help you gain patience. We’re growing constantly in spirit. God usually doesn’t want us to be alone but sometimes it takes a while to have that person brought to you. Yeah some people find them at 18, others at 30 or more. I just don’t think it’s something you should give up on but do hand it over to God.”

Interestingly enough, he didn’t reply to her, though he replied to several commenters after her. Just a classic example of this kid’s general behavior: ignore what you don’t want or like to hear or see. He’s selective of the information he takes in. If he doesn’t like it, he ignores it, pretends it doesn’t even exist. If it doesn’t jive with his particular outlook, it’s not there. He goes on so much about how his relationships have never worked out, and always, always, always blames the woman. It’s always her fault. In this particular comment section, he said that women just aren’t able to “put up with him for extended periods of time.” Because his personality is too much for them; he is just too great, too hot to be handled. But, speaking as a woman, in all reality, it’s not the womens’ fault. We’re not the problem when it comes to Relationships With Kid. Kid is the problem. His expectations, in general, are astronomically high. Too high to be met by any mere mortal. He’s also extremely possessive. Like, to the point where it can be misconstrued as abuse. Though it may not be misconstrued. It may be very well just that: abuse. And he does not accept responsibility for anything that goes wrong, as we’ve seen. There’s always another party at fault. He’s in a bad mood? It’s so-and-so’s fault. Or his “depression’s” fault. In short, Kid is a two-year-old in a twenty-six-year-old’s body. When things don’t go his way, he throws a tantrum and wants everyone to feel bad for him. And as long as things are going his way, he is in a good mood, but still finds things to complain about. I’ve been friends with Kid for about two years, and in those two years, I’ve noticed hundreds, if not thousands, of things about his personality that are damn near impossible to be around for any amount of time. His moods, his possessiveness, his unattainable expectations and standards for the common human being, his preachy nature, his arrogance, his vanity, his “holier than thou” attitude, his need to always be right, smarter, and better in general, his pseudo-intellectualism, his argumentative compulsion (he will argue literally any point you make), his need for attention and praise for simply existing, his constant fake brooding, his outward persona that is drastically different from who he actually is. The list goes on and on. He’s the kind of person who claims to hate himself, yet talks for hours on end about how attractive he is. He wants to be seen as a brooding, artistic, intellectual, and wants women to flock to him based on his appearance first, and his personality second. But he’s really just a selfish, whiny, flake who can’t keep a woman because she gets fed up with his toddler mindset. It’s very simple, really. He is his own problem, not the women. Plus, his ideal woman does not exist. She just doesn’t. I kind of hope I’m there on the day he figures that out, just to see the genuine disappointment on his face while his entire facade comes crumbling down around him.

Kid has a lot of shit he needs to figure out before he finds himself a woman. And even when he does work it all out, that woman is going to need to have the patience of Job to be able to deal with him for the rest of her life. But, knowing Kid, I don’t have high hopes for him actually being able to work out all this shit. Ever. See, he’s into instant gratification, and his propensity for impatience pretty much relegates him to the annals of singledom for the rest of his life. No woman in her right mind would consciously choose to spend the rest of her life with him as he is now. He’s guaranteed a life of being single if he doesn’t change.

But, I have this nagging feeling that, even if he does manage to work his shit out, and he does meet and marry the woman of his dreams, it won’t be long before he’s back on the Bitch Horse complaining about the sagging of her boobs.

I Am Not Mourning The Loss of Joan Rivers

Posted in Uncategorized on September 5, 2014 by Cass

Yesterday the world received the news that comedienne Joan Rivers had passed away after complications during throat surgery. Memorials and condolences littered the internet as thousands mourned the loss of the Queen of Mean. Joan Rivers had a career that spanned six decades, beginning in 1959 when she starred in a play called Driftwood that ran for six weeks. Since that time, she’s starred in dozens upon dozens of talk shows including Late Night, Conan, The Late Show, and David Letterman. She’s renowned for her brash sense of humor and sophisticated fashion sense.

Ms. Rivers had many fans throughout her years. People enjoyed her particular sense of humor, and found truth and camaraderie in her voice. She was loud, she was proud, and she was rude.

Unbelievably rude.

I do not mourn Joan Rivers. I am not saddened by the loss of her humor. While she was alive, I had the opportunity to sample her work, listen to her voice, and be disgusted, ashamed, and appalled by her sense of humor. She was a woman who took great pleasure in insulting people. In a world that rallies so hard against bullying, we lifted the biggest bully up and praised her for her “honesty.”

Joan Rivers has been lauded a “feminist icon” in the hours since her death. But she wasn’t. In reality, Joan Rivers was the exact opposite. She shamed women as much as, or more so, than men. She was the first one to comment on how “hot or not” a woman was, poke fun at her flaws, criticize her, dehumanize her, belittle her. She pinpointed everything wrong with womens’ appearances, and she was applauded for it. But the sad part is she didn’t just do it to women; she did it everyone. The first thing Joan seemed to notice was how heavy a person was. The second was their outfit and how fat it made a person look. After pointing out these two things, she proceeded to make a mockery of whoever stood in front of her. And no one told her to stop.

Joan was a fat-shamer, a body-shamer, a fashion-shamer; she was an all-around people-shamer. She was the biggest bully we’ve seen in recent history, and she was praised for being just that. Applauded because “she had the courage to say what everyone else was thinking.” But I don’t think it was courage. I think it was insecurity. You can’t tell me the woman who’s had countless cosmetic surgeries over the years is comfortable in her own skin. She called it maintenance, I call it a severe lack of self confidence. I believe Joan was deflecting. She pointed out everyone else’s flaws so that no one recognized hers. She was able to fool everyone into thinking she was being funny instead of outright nasty. She is the epitome of a bully. Or was. 

I’m sure she touched many people’s lives. It’s just too bad that a lot of those people were touched in the wrong way.

My condolences go out to the family and friends of Joan, those who loved her for the person she was off-camera, for the person who wasn’t a bully. I am sorry for your loss.

Maybe A 100 Things…Thing…Maybe Not

Posted in 100 Things Thing on August 8, 2014 by Cass

I’ve written a slew of posts on here that I kicked into the Draft Bucket because I have this terrible, nasty, no good habit of ignorantly ending them with non sequitors and that’s apparently frowned upon. So I decided to do a 100 Things Thing because I literally have no other ideas and have yet to come up with non-non-sequitor endings to those drafts. So here we go.

  1. My coffee addiction is raging out of control.
  2. I’m obsessed with anything lemon, except lemons. Can’t eat them. But lemon candy, lemonade, lemon-scented trash bags, candles, air fresheners, lotions, body washes, shampoos, LOAD ME UP.
  3. I finally joined the iPhone world last month. After having a Nokia, two LG flip phones, a Razr, three Blackberrys (which I adored), and two Android-powered phones (which I was less than thrilled with), my iPhone is phenomenal by comparison. But I miss having an insertable memory card that I could load up with 1,000 songs and photos. This limited memory shit is for the birds, and I’m too poor to afford paying an extra hundred bucks for 2 more MBs.
  4. After four years, I think I’m finally in need of a new laptop. The keys on this one are beginning to not work, it overheats within an hour and a half if I don’t have it plugged into the fan deck, the battery literally fall outs if I pick it up, and only one USB port works. I think it might be time.
  5. While shopping for a new laptop, I’ve hit the first snag: apparently none of the new ones come with Microsoft Word installed in them. This is a problem for me. Word is my go-to document software. And I’m not paying $140 for a year’s subscription; to me, that is ludicrous. Plus, I’m incredibly particular when it comes to what I want in a laptop. I like the big ones–big screen, big keyboard. I need at least three USB ports at any given time. I need to be able to burn DVDs and CDs. I NEED WORD.
  6. I am willfully ignorant of global and local political happenings. It is my choice. I do not care what you have to say about it. You will not change my mind.
  7. Today I am going to attempt to change the belt in my brand new vacuum that I broke the second time I used it.
  8. I’m thinking about painting my front door.
  9. I consider myself somewhat of a grammar freak. Typos bother me. Lack of punctuation is the worst. But I think I’ve discovered something worse than lack of punctuation: over-punctuation. I have a friend who’s going to be a junior in college. She’s majoring in English lit and journalism I believe. She is so freaking liberal with commas that it’s unreal. It drives me crazy. Reading her status updates makes me cringe. She literally adds a comma in every single description regardless of whether or not it’s needed or supposed to be there. For example, where you and I would write, “She’s actually a very good public speaker despite her stutter,” this friend would write, “She’s, actually, a very good public speaker, despite, her stutter.” And this gem that I just saw today, “…what, truly, matters, is the sentiment behind…” instead of, “…what truly matters is the sentiment…” Yes, she’s one of those who inserts a comma to indicate a pause in writing. And she’s an English major. Get out.
  10. Sam Smith is directly from Heaven.
  11. My father is getting married this weekend and I’m so not a fan. He’s marrying the woman he cheated on my mother with, and she is one of the most annoying people on the planet. She’s loud, obnoxious, rude, crass, and ew. She’s just an ugly, unattractive person. And her face is not pretty, either.
  12. I’m drinking coffee right now.
  13. I own no fewer than four tiaras.
  14. I’m going to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire for my birthday because I’m in love with that place and I like dressing up like nobility and they have the best pretzels ever and pirates and King Henry and Queen Catherine and knights and jousting and yes you are invited.
  15. Still totally in love with Benedict Cumberbatch. I’ll let you know when the wedding is.
  16. Still don’t know what we’re going to name our children. Nothing goes with Cumberbatch. Except Benedict.
  17. I love the name Phillippa.
  18. I also love the name Phillip. So there.
  19. I promised my best friend that I would name my son Beau Regard. Not Beauregard. First name Beau, middle name Regard. Beau Regard Cumberbatch. Hey. That actually fits pretty well. BOOM.
  20. I will be the last person to die in my lifetime.
  21. As of last count, I have 32 freckles on my face.
  22. I have one tattoo, and I’d like to get more. Problem is, I can’t decide what I want, or where to put it.
  23. I don’t like tattoos on faces, or on the fronts of necks. I think they’re tacky and don’t look right. It’s painful for me to look at Travis Barker.
  24. I would never, ever get tattooed all over my body. 
  25. I like dainty things. And miniature things. CUTE.
  26. I think we’re planning on going to at least three RenFaires this year. And I’m excited.
  27. I think my niece has finally broken my anti-baby mentality. She’s a peach.livi
  28. I generally refer to any of my man crushes as “My Husband.”
  29. I love amusement parks.
  30. I also enjoy the county fair. Everyone in this community bitches endlessly about it, yet they’re always there. They say it’s a waste of time, it’s too expensive, it’s nothing but a hick-fest, the only people that go are white trash, trailer park dwelling, back road hicks, rednecks, and basically the scum of the earth, but an hour after they’re done complaining about it, they pay the $8 admission fee and walk around for three hours. That annoys me. I enjoy going to the fair. True, it’s not a high-quality, large-scale event, but it’s the biggest thing that happens in this town all year. I enjoy walking around and looking at the displays in the Expo buildings and seeing the farm animals presented by local farmers and 4H members and seeing the art displays, and there’s always good food, and I always end up running into people I haven’t seen in a long time. I’ve never had a bad time at the fair.
  31. I want Robbie Williams to come to my hometown and give a private concert for my friends, family, and me. We love Robbie.
  32. I’m on QuizUp if anyone cares and wants to friend me.Just search for Cass. I’ll be there.
  33. I love cleaning products. Cleaning products and office supplies are the two things I’m guaranteed to come home with from any shopping excursion. If I need milk, I get milk and Mr. Clean and pens.
  34. I have no desire to travel anywhere tropical because HOT AND MUGGY AND NO.
  35. I think next year I’m going to enter a piece of art into the competition at the fair.
  36. I am terrible at body proportions when I’m drawing. Faces I’m good with. But when it comes to anything below the head, forget it. My torsos usually turn out okay, but then the legs always end up way too short and it’s just a mess. Ugh.
  37. I love pearls.
  38. I will not be wearing pearls at my wedding. Pearls are bad luck. They represent tears. NO TEARS.
  39. I just found out a few days ago that my great-grandmother and her sister were born exactly 12 years apart. To the day. I think it’s neat.
  40. My grandmother and I were born 49 years apart, to the day. NEAT.
  41. I recently discovered, too, that I am still the only Cassandra in my family. A gentlemen found me online and corrected a mistake I had made while researching my ancestry and said that the Cassandra Greer I had found was actually not related to me at all. So there goes that branch.
  42. The ceiling in my living room is falling down. Literally. And it’s terrifying. I live in constant fear that I’ll come downstairs in the morning and my whole ceiling will be on the floor.
  43. I own four guitars.
  44. I had planned on being productive today. And I was for about an hour this morning. I ran to Family Dollar for a few things, grabbed some coffee and Dunkin, then went to the Dollar Tree for a few more things, and I came home and cleaned the kitchen because I bought a new foaming bleach cleaner and it’s exciting.
  45. One big downside of my job is that I’m only home every other weekend, so I’m not able to take the trash out every week. But since it’s only me, I don’t have a lot of trash. But I hate not being able to take the trash out, because I’m afraid of bugs.
  46. I have a huge dry erase board sitting on my dining room floor because I don’t have anywhere to put it. It’s been here since June. It was a Christmas gift. I had used it for my writing class, but when the gallery was sold, I brought it home and haven’t used it since.
  47. You know how when you walk into someone else’s home, it has a distinctive smell? And when you leave there and go back to your home, you realize that yours has a smell, too, but you just don’t notice it often because you’re used to it? And now there’s that commercial talking about the cat lady who has gone “nose-blind” to the smell of her home? Yeah. I worry that my house smells like Cat Lady’s and I just can’t smell it. This is why I love air fresheners.
  48. I like to clean when I’m pissed.
  49. I’ve always kind of wanted to spend a night with no electricity, and only use candles for light, just to see how well it works. You know how in movies, one single candle gives off that bright light and people can read and write by it. I know that’s not going to happen with one candle, but I’d like to just have a few lit around the house and see if I can still see and navigate safely.
  50. I used to be very staunchly Pro-Life and Anti-Abortion. I’m still very much Pro-Life, but not so much anti-abortion. I don’t condone it, and I will never encourage someone to get an abortion, and I don’t consider it an option for myself or anyone else, but I’m more educated about it all now, and I understand and empathize with the women who have chosen it. I also understand that there are literal medical emergencies that necessitate abortion. I know a woman who had to terminate to save her life. She was pregnant with twins. One of the twins had died, and the other was in danger as well. Problem was, if they had delivered the remaining twin, he would have died. And if they let her try and carry to term, both she and the baby would have died before her due date. So she and her husband made the heavy decision to terminate the pregnancy before things got worse. She lives with that pain every day, and will continue to for the rest of her life. But I understand her decision, and I wouldn’t ever criticize her for it. 16-year-old me would have. I viewed abortion as a selfish, monstrous, willful act of murder. My thinking at the time was that the only reason women were getting abortions is because they didn’t want to pay the consequences of their actions. If you’re responsible enough to be having unprotected sex, you’re responsible enough to get pregnant and take care of that baby. Abortion was just a way to avoid responsibility. I saw it as selfish, lazy, and unjustified murder. I didn’t even make exceptions for medically necessary abortions. But then I realized that not every woman is in the same situation when she chooses abortion. A bevy of circumstances were brought to my attention, and, while they did not justify the abortion itself, they helped to justify the women’s decisions. Still, I will never encourage abortion. But I will be understanding with the women who have chosen it. I will never be able to go through what they went through, to hear their thoughts or feel their emotions as they made that decision, and so I cannot righteously condemn them for any of it. But I can be a shoulder to lean on when they need it.
  51. i find it a little funny that the Catholic Church is the biggest, most powerful church in the free world, and yet, if you walk up to any Catholic and ask them to name any non-family member they go to church with on Sundays, they won’t be able to give you an answer longer than maybe two names. And those names won’t necessarily be people they’re friends with, but just people that they know go to that church. In my entire career as a Catholic, I can’t remember a single friendship that was formed within the church on Sunday mornings. I knew of people who went there, and knew my classmates and their families went there, but I never went to church and found a friend. There is little fellowship in Catholic churches anymore. There is only one time in Mass that you have any interaction with your fellow attendees, and it’s very brief. You shake their hand, say, “Peace be with you,” and that’s it. No conversation, no introduction, just a brief handshake, a few muttered words, and you go back into your own bubble. Chances are you will never know the name of the person whose hand you shook. And yet we’re all supposed to be brothers and sisters and foster each other’s faith.
  52. I always hated going to Mass. Now sometimes I go on my own just because.
  53. My grandfather was in the seminary for a short time. Just imagine, had he stayed there, you would not be reading this right now.
  54. I love stories that involve a person being taken back in time. Like Outlander. I find it fascinating, and it’s always kind of been one of my dreams to suddenly wake up in another time and see if it’s really like how we imagine or are told. I know it’s not possible, but it’d be the coolest thing ever. But I’d be terrified of not being able to come back to the present time.
  55. When I’m in need of inspiration for writing, I like to walk through cemeteries and look at the really old headstones. Family plots are my favorite. There’s a cemetery where my mother lives that is full of family plots from the seventeen- and eighteen hundreds. There’s one I came across a few years ago with Mother and Father at the top, then all their children below. They lost three of their eight children in infancy. One died the day it was born, another died a few weeks after it was born, and the last one was just shy of a year. Then another died when it was a toddler. I think only one survived to adulthood. I like to imagine what they were like, what sort of lives they lived and so on. Sometimes just a name can spur a whole plot line.
  56. I believe in ghosts. I have two in my home. One is Hank and the other is Lucinda. I’ve seen them both.
  57. My best friend won’t go to cemeteries with me anymore. We went a few years ago, and I found a really, really old family plot that had a wrought-iron fence around it. The names were worn down, so I leaned over the fence to try and see them better, and out of nowhere, a rock flew out of thin air and hit me on the head. I hauled ass to the car and she followed in a panic. I told her what happened when we got into the car and she said, “You’re not allowed to ever go back to any cemeteries ever again, and I sure as hell am not going with you! Didn’t I tell you not to touch anything? NO TOUCHING THINGS.” 
  58. History is my favorite. But I prefer European history to American. American history to me is boring. We don’t have a long history, so not a ton of interesting things have happened.
  59. i was very fortunate to have not experienced the loss of a grandparent until I was in my twenties. And I hope my remaining grandparents hold out until I’m like 60.
  60. I still like to sleep over at my grandparents’ houses.
  61. I imagine what it will be like to someday be a grandparent.
  62. I also sit and wonder what my own children will look like. It’ll be so weird to have a tiny human running around that looks like me.
  63. I also used to wonder, “If my sister and I had been identical twins, which one of us would we look like?”
  64. I wanted, for a short time, to be a mortician.
  65. Some might say I have a weak stomach. I can handle blood and guts. I cannot handle vomit, feces, or going upside down on an amusement park ride.
  66. I have a Know-It-All neighbor who once argued with me that when you get your tonsils removed, you no longer have a gag reflex. I had my tonsils removed when I was two. I threw up on her after gagging.
  67. I have always secretly envied my sister’s ability to cry at will. She can force sobs better than any person I have ever met. I can’t even cry when I break a bone.
  68. I can’t remember ever crying from an injury in the last fifteen years, actually.
  69. I fear Mall Santas.
  70. My birthday is in sixteen days.
  71. I think I have more ink pens than I do clothes and shoes combined.
  72. I love calligraphy.
  73. I also love graphology, otherwise known as handwriting analysis. It’s fascinating to me just how accurate it is.
  74. I find it fascinating just how accurate a lot of things are, regarding how they can determine personality traits, and think it’s pretty freaking neat that they determine traits, period. Like, who thought, “I bet Sybil’s handwriting is indicative of her mental instability,” and then decided what letter characteristics suggested different personality traits? How does one make that connection? Fascinating.
  75. I wake up with a headache at least once a week.
  76. I’m allergic to aspirin and penicillin.
  77. I hate coconut. Hate it. The texture is awful, the taste is not that great. But I love things that smell like coconut.
  78. I love anything having to do with trivia. Quizzes, games, books. Gimme.
  79. Even though I know Munchos are the most artificial food on the planet, I. LOVE. THEM.
  80. I adore pocket watches.
  81. At the Fling this year, I bought a loaf of Irish brown bread, and ate almost the whole thing by myself within an hour.
  82. I have not had my coffee yet this morning, and I’m getting a headache because of it.
  83. At first, I didn’t believe all the posts claiming that Rapunzel and Flynn were in the beginning of Frozen. I thought someone had cleverly superimposed their image on the still frame. And then I watched it again and saw that they’re actually in there and felt kinda dumb.
  84. I’ve had difficulty remembering my age this year for some reason. I keep thinking I’m 24 going on 25. And then I remember that I’m still only 23. And then I feel kinda dumb.
  85. You know those plastic, stretchy exercise bands? I snapped myself in the face with one during gym class in high school. My face had a bright red square on it for the rest of the day.
  86. Sometimes I wonder if I’m actually as much of an introvert as I think I am, or if it’s just laziness. I’m not a last-minute, spontaneous plan-maker. I like to make plans at least a day ahead of time so that I’m up and ready. If a friend calls me at four o’clock and says, “Let’s go to dinner at five!” I usually don’t go. I don’t want to. I don’t have time to get ready, I already made plans with my sofa for the evening, I’m in my pajamas, I’m staying home. But if a friend calls me at four on Thursday and says, “Let’s go to dinner tomorrow night!” I will go.
  87. I had a friend who drove me nuts with things like that. She had two kids, and for whatever reason, she refused to leave the house during the day. So she’d call at like 10 at night and ask me to go get something to eat with her because her husband was home and the kids were in bed. At that point, I’d already be in bed because I had to get up at four for work. I’d politely decline, explain why, and tell her that I would be available on Wednesday night if she wanted to do something then. She’d pout and moan and whine about me not going with her that night, and say that she couldn’t Wednesday night because of reasons, and then act all wounded and hurt that I “didn’t want” to get something to eat with her that night. Then other times she’d call when I was doing something, ask me to go somewhere with her, and when I said I couldn’t, the same thing happened. She literally had no regard for other people’s time. Everything had to happen when she wanted it to. She didn’t allow herself to leave the house during the day if she had her children, and when she didn’t have them, she chose to stay in with her husband instead of utilizing that time to go out with her friends, which she had so desperately wanted to do a day before. Granted, she’s a young girl, and doesn’t really have her priorities straightened out entirely, but if you think you’re old enough to have children, then you’re old enough to be an adult about your social life. You made the decision to be a mother, so now you have to cope with the fact that you’re not going to be able to go out at the drop of a hat, and if you do, you won’t always be able to find someone to go with you. End of story.
  88. I’ve since stopped hanging out with that friend, as has one of our mutual friends whom I still see pretty regularly. She has found a new friend that she works with, and the two of them are inseparable. Which suits them well, considering they’re both in the same situation. They’re both young, married women with a couple of kids. Mutual friend and I are not young, married women with a couple of kids. The situation works.
  89. I’ve been taking a hard look at how other countries in the world view Americans, and I have to say, I’m a little embarrassed. They don’t see us as the most powerful, helping, generous nation in the world. They see us as bossy, interfering idiots.
  90. I don’t understand women’s obsession with large diamonds. Anything over a carat just seems excessively large. I don’t want my wedding rings to dislocate my shoulder. I can’t imagine dropping tens of thousands of dollars on a rock that’s too big to wear.
  91. I’ve heard a lot of arguments lately against engagement rings. Lots of women are rebelling against the idea of having an engagement ring because it’s symbolic of possession. Where in the hell did you get that idea? No man has given a woman an engagement ring and said, “You’re mine now! Mwahahahahaha!” It’s not a symbol of possession. It does not allude to possession. It’s symbolic of commitment and love. The history of engagement rings never even mentions possession. They were first given as a symbol of the woman now being off the market. If she had a ring on, the other men knew that she was no longer an option for them. She was promised to someone else, and they couldn’t touch her. It still has that meaning, but has morphed from just a gemstone or pearl or fancy enamel into a diamond, which is indestructible, which represents the everlasting love between the two people. It can be considered a formality, but it’s a traditional formality that a lot of women hope for. I know plenty of women who don’t have engagement rings, and it’s not because they saw it as a misogynistic symbol of possession or anything like that. It’s because they didn’t need a ring to prove their love. They didn’t need something on their finger to feel secure in their relationship. I’m not saying that women who want a ring “need it to feel secure,” but this whole thing about them being a masculine ego booster is bullshit.
  92. I like having long hair, but I hate having to do things with it. And my hair is outrageous. It’s curly and frizzy and monstrous and if I don’t do something with it, I look terrible. And I refuse to have short hair. Because it would look awful on me.
  93. I believe in the Oxford Comma.
  94. I just realized that when my dad gets married tomorrow, I’ll have gained another stepsibling.
  95. I wonder what my grandmother thinks about my dad’s marriage. I know in the past she hasn’t been fond of Dad’s girlfriend, and I don’t know if her feelings have changed.
  96. Until I was about 21, I sincerely thought Costa Rica was an island.
  97. I think knock-off perfumes smell better than the originals.
  98. I have been working on writing the same book for over four years. I haven’t made it past chapter ten.
  99. I am reading no fewer than three books at any given time.
  100. I love all things plaid.

This has been a thing.

Tricky Theology

Posted in Uncategorized on June 19, 2014 by Cass

I have a lot of what the main stream calls “Bible Thumping” friends on Facebook. In fact, I have quite a few “Bible thumping” friends period, both on Facebook and real life. I don’t mind it. Having grown up a Christian, with that sort of lifestyle and having put myself in the way of those sorts of people, naturally, it was a world that I was unquestioningly a part of through my early teens. When I was roughly 16, I veered off the straight and narrow, and stopped living my life according to that ancient set of rules. I didn’t fully stop believing in God, but I was much more lenient in my faith. I didn’t go to church as often, and I stopped attending Christian-based activities. Some say that this led to my current beliefs, which I can say without a doubt is not the case. I had these same beliefs even when I could have been considered a Bible Thumper, I just didn’t voice them because I knew my statements would be met with adversity and possible degradation, insults, impugning of my intelligence, and questioning of the validity and sincerity of my faith. Which, really, who has the time for that? It’s no one else’s business how valid or real my faith is.

I digress.

Some of these friends of mine are very, very dedicated to their faith; they live and breathe it, and, sometimes, get carried away with their preaching of their faith. What might have started out as a simple statement turns into a beating-over-the-head of a lecture. “I’m saved, this is why, you aren’t saved and therefore aren’t going to Heaven and are a stupid, lazy p.o.s. because you won’t give yourself over to the obvious truth, et cetera, et cetera.” I avoid these sort of posts, as they generally bring about long, pointless, endless, redundant arguments over who’s right and why–an argument that will never have and a problem that will never be solved. Plus, it’s nobody’s business what my, or anyone else’s, beliefs are. I don’t shove my beliefs down anyone’s throat, and I don’t think anyone else should, either. 

But these friends are constantly posting links to articles written by Christian authors dealing with rather “controversial” subjects. The subject touched upon most is homosexuality. Most Christians, as the world knows, are staunchly against the legalization of homosexual marriage, homosexual parenting, and the legal recognition of anything that permits homosexuals to do pretty much anything that would threaten their rose-colored vision of how the world should be according to the Bible. And along with the links to these articles, they, of course, add in their two cents about why everyone needs to read this article and, not only realize, but accept that they’re living in sin and repent immediately otherwise they will be thrown into the deepest, darkest pit of Hell when they die. This, also, I do not agree with.

One of these friends recently posted this:

Christians who support homosexuality, I would like your input. If there are any of you have [sic] not just blocked my feed and see this, please take a few minutes to read, reflect, and respond to the five questions the article asks in a comment. <link to article>

The article was titled, “Five Questions For Christians Who Believe The Bible Supports Gay Marriage.” And I instantly have a problem with this. The title alone suggests that us Christians who are in favor of gay marriage are arguing that the Bible does in fact support gay marriage. In reality, at least me personally, we don’t. We are fully aware that the Bible does not support gay marriage. And this is not the basis of our argument. Moving on (but we’ll come back to this, I’m sure.)

Upon reading this article, and after rolling my eyes at the title, the first sentence of this essay kind of summed it all up for me. It told me that this was only more “justified shaming” of “lesser, uneducated Christians” but the “better, God-fearing, right-hand-of-Jesus” kind of Christians. You know, the kind who think they have all the answers because they went to a college that had “Bible” or “Messiah” in the name. Or their dad was a pastor. Or they lead a youth group. Or they read Lamentations twenty-five times. The first sentence: So you become convinced that the Bible supports gay marriage. I might add that the name of this website is thegospelcoalition.org.

As I read, it became clear that this article was aimed toward the lesser, uneducated Christians who apparently look for loopholes in Scripture in an attempt to justify their non-secular beliefs. “You’ve studied the issue, read some books, and concluded that Scripture does not prohibit same-sex intercourse so long as it takes place in the context of a loving, monogamous, lifelong covenanted relationship. You still love Jesus. You still believe the Bible. In fact, you would argue that it’s because you love Jesus and because you believe the Bible that you now embrace gay marriage as a God-sanctioned good. 

As far as you are concerned, you haven’t rejected your evangelical faith. You haven’t turned your back on Gad. You haven’t become a moral relativist. You’ve never suggested anything goes when it comes to sexual behavior. In most things, you tend to be quite conservative. You affirm the family, and you believe in the permanence of marriage. But now you’ve simply come to the conclusion that two men or two women should be able to enter into the institution of marriage-both as a legal right and as a Biblically faithful expression of one’s sexuality.”

Nope.

Speaking for myself, I have never based my opinions of homosexuality or gay marriage on anything related to my faith. Perhaps the “problem” was that I was never implicitly or explicitly told that it was wrong to begin with. My religious instructors never even broached the subject. We never sat around and debated either the legal or Biblical aspects of homosexuality, if it was wrong or right and why, or if it mattered at all. Sure, in class, when speaking about a family or marriage, the pronouns were always “him, her, he, she.” It was implied that a marriage took place between a man and a woman. But even when there were obviously gay children in attendance, it was never brought up. So, I was left to form my own opinions on the subject. Homosexuality has never bothered me, made me uncomfortable, and I have never associated it with negativity. Why? Firstly because it doesn’t affect me in the slightest. Gay marriage will neither harm or benefit me in any way, be it two men or two women. It will not affect my job, my income, my grocery shopping, my gas tank, my family, my car, my habits, my routines, my faith, or my thoughts on the way to work. It will not affect my marriage (should I ever have one) or my children (should I ever have any.) It certainly will not affect my decision-making abilities, as I’ve heard the argument that, since gay marriage will obviously ruin the sanctity of marriage, then people will ultimately decide not to get married since it’s no longer a holy covenant. And that people will suddenly reject the institution of marriage since “the gays are doing it” and refuse to have any sort of association with the gay community. It has no positive or negative effect on my life, and, therefore, no effect at all.

This aside, the article then moves into the five questions. The first: “Set aside the issue of biblical interpretation for the moment, let me ask five questions. On what basis do you still insist that marriage must be monogamous?

Presumably, you do not see any normative significance in God creating the first human pair male and female. Paul’s language about each man having his own wife and each woman her own husband cannot be taken too literally without falling back into the exclusivity of heterosexual marriage. The two coming together as one so they might produce godly offspring doesn’t work with gay marriage, either. So why monogamy? Jesus never spoke explicitly against polygamy. The New Testament writers only knew of exploitative polygamy, the kind tied to conquest, greed, and subjugation. If they had known of voluntary, committed, loving polyamorous relationships, who’s to think they wouldn’t have approved?

These aren’t merely rhetorical questions. The issue is legitimate: if 3 or 13 or 30 people really love each other, why shouldn’t they have a right to be married? And for that matter, why not a brother and sister, or two sisters, or a mother and son, or a father and son, or any other combination of two or more persons who love each other. Once we’ve accepted the logic that for love to be validated it must be expressed sexually and that those engaged in consensual sexual activity cannot be denied the “right” of marriage, we have opened a Pandora’s box of marital permutations that cannot be shut.”

First of all, the tone of this article pisses me off. Impugning the intelligence and integrity of your “brothers and sisters in Christ” is definitely the way to get them to “see the light” and adhere to your close-minded way of thinking. But the question. “On what basis do you still insist that marriage must be monogamous?” Smells like a trap. This is the trick: if you challenge the Bible on one aspect, or use particular passages to prove the validity of an argument that contradicts the rest of the text, then you cannot use any part of the rest of the book to back up any other arguments you may present. If you think the Bible supports gay marriage, then it can’t possibly support monogamy. Because obviously you haven’t read it, are being selective, or are trying to have the best of both worlds. And are a shitty Christian. Or not a Christian at all. 

As I have not insisted that homosexuality is right or wrong, I don’t insist that marriage must be monogamous. Do I think it should be? I do. Will I condemn someone who has several spouses? No. Why? It’s none of my business. And it’s true, Jesus never spoke explicitly about polygamy. It was mankind who deemed it disgusting and ungodly since it was apparently implied in the Bible that it was wrong. If it didn’t come straight from the horse’s mouth in no uncertain terms, the church took it upon itself to decide for us. No explicit rules about polygamy? Then we’ll just go ahead and assume it’s wrong. Problem solved. And the negative association did come from the New Testament writers who spoke about the negativity that could be associated with polygamy. But, in all honesty, I think that polygamy kind of grossed the New Testament writers out and made them uncomfortable or jealous (since they couldn’t get any women to look their way), so they decided it had to be wrong, and so only wrote about the evilness of polygamy, therefore deeming it sinful and wrong.

And as far as the “logic that for love to be validated it must be expressed sexually and that those engaged in consensual sexual activity cannot be denied the ‘right’ of marriage” bit? We’ve got people marrying themselves, marrying trees, and people marrying one dog to another. But that’s not threatening the validity of marriage at all. Because at least they’re not marrying someone of the same sex.

Basically, the argument, from the Christian point-of-view, is: the Bible can’t present two unrelated or contradictory arguments and proclaim both are truth (see Genesis’ story of creation; one the first day, God created light, on the fourth, he created the light source.)

Question Two: “Will you maintain the same biblical sexual ethic in the church now that you think the church should solemnize say marriages?

After assailing the conservative church for ignoring the issue of divorce, will you exercise church discipline when gay marriages fall apart? Will you preach abstinence before marriage for all single persons, no matter their orientation? If nothing has really changed except you now understand the Bible to be approving of same-sex intercourse in committed lifelong relationships, we should expect loud voices in the near future denouncing the infidelity rampant in homosexual relationships. Surely, those who support gay marriage out of “evangelical” principles, will be quick to find fault with the notion that the male-male marriages most likely to survive are those with a flexible understanding that other partners may come and go. According to one study researched and written by two homosexual authors, of 156 homosexual couples studied, only seven had maintained sexual fidelity, and of the hundred that had been together for more than five years, none had remained faithful (cited by Satinover, 55). In the rush to support committed, lifelong, monogamous same-sex relationships, it’s worth asking whether those supporters-especially Christians among them-will, in fact, insist on a lifelong, monogamous commitment.”

Let’s look at this objectively, all religious aspects aside. How many people do you know, Christians and non-Christians alike, who have remained abstinent until marriage? Off the top of my head, of all the hundreds of people I know, friends and family alike, regardless of faith or lack thereof, I can name less than twenty people who I know for certain were virgins at the time of their marriage. The majority of the global population do not adhere to this way of life or thinking. This “rule” has become pretty much obsolete. Sex is not longer a sacred thing in our world. It’s lost its “holiness” if you will. Only the incredibly serious “Bible Thumpers” adhere to this anymore. The rest of the population, even though they were likely told “you can only have sex when you’re married,” just don’t give a damn. Sex is sex. That’s it. It’s not something you can only do when you’re married. You can do it whenever you want, married or not. See, people discovered that premarital sex really has zero consequences. It’s just that–inconsequential. Nobody cares. And, in fact, if you’re not a Christian, and choose to remain a virgin until marriage, that may have consequences. Men aren’t interested in women who don’t put out in today’s world. That’s just a fact of life anymore. If you’re not putting out, you’re gonna stay single unless you meet either an incredibly patient man or an incredibly persuasive one. 

Personally, I don’t condone premarital sex. But do I care if others do it? No. Because it’s none of my business. It, again, doesn’t affect me. I don’t condone it, but I don’t condemn it, or those to partake in it. People are going to have sex regardless of whether or not they’re married, and, shocker, whether they’re in a relationship at all. We live in  hook-up society. More often than not, people are going to bed with partners whose last name they don’t even know. Again, this is not something I condone or condemn. And I’m not sitting here denying anything, either. I’m accepting a fact that’s plain as day. 

I do not deny, either, than infidelity is rampant in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. But, in reality, does it really matter who is committing the act–a gay man or woman, or a straight man or woman? Infidelity is just as rampant in heterosexual relationships as in homosexual relationships. There are as many failed gay relationships because of it as straight failed relationships. My own parents divorced because of infidelity, and they are straight. 

And the divorce thing? If homosexual marriage is legalized, homosexual divorce is part of the package. That’s a given. And the church hasn’t ignored the issue of divorce. It just hasn’t condoned it. The church still frowns on divorce, it will never suggest divorce as a solution for a soured marriage, but the church has, shockingly, recognized that some of the set-in-stone laws put forth by the Bible are no longer relevant to today’s society. The Catholic church still requires an annulment if a Catholic wants to remarry in the Catholic church, even. But, as the Bible so clearly states, one of the only reasons divorce could ever be justified is if one of the spouses commits adultery. So, the two kind of go hand-in-hand.

Question Three: “Are you prepared to say moms and dads are interchangeable?

It is a safe assumption that those in favor of gay marriage are likely to support gay and lesbian couples adopting children or giving birth to children through artificial insemination. What is sanctioned, therefore, is a family unit where children grow up de facto without one birth parent. This means not simply that some children, through unfortunate circumstances of life, may grow up with a mom and dad, but that the church will positively bless and encourage the family type that will deprive children of either a mother or a father. So are mothers indispensable? Is another dad the same as a mom? No matter how many decent, capable homosexual couples we may know, are we confident that as a general rule there is nothing significant to be gained by growing up with a mother and a father?”

What.

I don’t know if it is a “safe assumption” that all us gay supporters also support gay parenting. But I know I do. Because does it really matter? Gay parenting will not affect my ability to parent, or my opinions on parenting, or anything related to parenting. And you know what? I’m not even worried about the children parented by homosexual couples. By the same token, would it be any different if a single, unmarried, unattached homosexual adopted a child and never had a “co-parent,” male or female? How would that be any different from a single, unmarried, unattached heterosexual adopting and raising a child without a co-parent ever being present? Why is it acceptable for two straight women to raise a child, say a woman and her sister, but not a woman and her wife? Or vice versa, two straight men versus two gay men? Why do we factor in sexual orientation anyway? How, if at all, does it affect their parenting abilities? 

No, I don’t think mothers and fathers are interchangeable. Not at all. But, many, many children are raised with a single parent or without one birth parent from birth due to any number of circumstances. If a father is killed in war, or a mother died giving birth, or a woman was raped, or chose to be artificially inseminated, or a straight single man decided that he wanted to be a father, or both parents died and the children are being raised by a single family member or friend, or mom or dad just decided suddenly they weren’t into the whole parenting thing and just took off. The church doesn’t bat an eye at those scenarios. Those circumstances are acceptable. And those kids have as much of a choice as children being raised by homosexual parents. Moms and dads are not interchangeable, however, children are adaptive. If it’s all little Billy has ever known, being raised by Mom and Aunt Janine, what, really, is missing? The experience and influence that comes with having Mom and Dad? What is the goal of raising children? Making sure that they conform to whatever gender norms are deemed acceptable by the church? If Billy is raised by both Mom and Dad, he has a 50% chance of being overtly effeminate, and a 50% chance of being overtly masculine, if we’re playing by the rules of nature versus nurture. His nature is to be masculine, theoretically. But if Dad’s absent most of the time and Billy spends his days with Mom, he’s more likely to pick up Mom’s habits and mannerisms, and vice versa. He could also be the star quarterback who happens to love Broadway musicals. And his parents’ sexual orientations or genders have nothing to do with what Billy loves. The goal of parenting is to raise responsible, compassionate, ethical, hard-working individuals. Gender and sexual orientation have nothing to do with it. And a single parent can do it just as well as a married couple.

Question Four: “What will you say about anal intercourse?

The answer is probably “nothing.” But if you feel strongly about the dangers of tobacco or fuss over the negative affects [sic] of carbs, cholesterol, gmo’s [sic], sugar, gluten, trans fats, and hydrogenated soybean oil may have on your health, how can you not speak out about the serious risks associated with male-male intercourse. How is it loving to celebrate what we know to be a singularly unhealthy lifestyle? According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the risk of anal cancer increases 4000 percent among those who engage in anal intercourse. Anal sex increases the risk of a long list of health problems, including “rectal prolapse, perforation that can go septic, chlamydia, cyrptosporidosis, giardiasis, genital herpes, genital warts, isosporiasis, microsporidiosis, gonorrhea, viral hepatitis B and C, and syphilis,” (quoted in Reilly, 55). And this is to say nothing of the higher rates of HIV and other health concerns with disproportionate affects [sic] on the homosexual community.”

Correct. The answer is, “nothing.” But anal sex is not the only kind of sex that happens among the gay community. Lesbians rarely have anal sex (because women know that UGH.) But singling out anal sex as the only kind that carries increased risk of disease is just silly. ALL sex–anal, vaginal, or oral–carries the risk of contracting any number of infections, diseases, and complications that can harm the body. Also, straight people have anal sex, too. Having sex at all increases the risk of getting any of the above named diseases and complications. Hell, even virgins have contracted STDs and HIV/AIDS. The church and the conservative community have done an excellent job of demonizing premarital and homosexual sex by using the risk of getting a disease to scare people into abstinence, and scorn those that do contract an STD by wagging a self-righteous finger and proclaiming, “I told you so!” Sex, in general, is a risk. It does not matter if it’s “straight” or “gay” sex. You’re at risk regardless. And many in the homosexual community have chosen abstinence as their creed for the same reasons that heterosexuals do: they don’t put themselves at risk for contracting a disease, they’re not ready, faith-based reasons, et cetera. Assuming that all homosexuals are having sex is as pointless as assuming that all heterosexuals are having sex. And we seem to be ignoring the fact that HIV and AIDS were rampant among the straight communities of Africa for a number of years before it ever appeared in the gay communities of the United States. And that you can contract is just as easily by having oral sex with someone rather than unprotected vaginal or anal sex. Bottom line, it’s not the fact that they’re having anal sex that we need to be concerned with, it’s whether or not they’re having protected sex. We preach abstinence to our children, and, if not abstinence, protection. Why don’t we reinforce this with adults, regardless of sexual orientation? Either we think all adults are having protected sex, or all adults are having unprotected sex. And the fact that the church pretty much demonizes contraception doesn’t help, either. You want to eradicate STDs? Two options: no sex or safe sex. Pick one. The kind of sex is irrelevant.

And Question Five: “How have all Christians at all times and in all places interpreted the Bible so wrongly for so long?

Christians misread their Bibles all the time. The church must always be reformed according to the word of God. Sometimes biblical truth rests with a small minority. Sometimes the truth is buried in relative obscurity for generations. But when we must believe that the Bible has been misunderstood by virtually every Christian in every part of the world for the last two thousand years, it ought to give us pause. From the Jewish world in the Old and New Testaments to the early church has understood the Bible to teach that engaging in homosexuality activity [sic] was among the worst sins a person could commit. As the late Louis Crompton, a gay man and pioneer is queer studies, explained: Some interpreters, seeking to mitigate Paul’s harshness, have the passage [in Romans 1] as condeming not homosexuals generally but only heterosexual men and women who experimented with homosexuality. According to this interpretation, Paul’s words were not directed at “bona fide” homosexuals in committed relationships. But such a reading, however well-intentioned, seems strained and unhistorical. Nowhere does Paul or any other Jewish writer of this period imply the least acceptance of same-sex relations under any circumstances. The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have wholly foreign to Paul or any Jew or early Christian.

The church has been of one mind on this issue for nearly two millennia. Are you prepared to jeopardize the catholicity of the church and convince yourself that everyone misunderstood the Bible until the 1960s? On such a critical matter, it’s important we think through the implications of our position, especially if it means consigning to the bin of bigotry almost Christian who has ever lived.”

All Christians in all times and places have not interpreted the Bible in regards to homosexuality. This guy is really hanging onto the hope that he’s found the hole in the logic: that all Christian supporters think “the Bible says so!” No, no, no. No. I doubt if any Christian supporters think that the Bible says it’s ok. Those of us that do probably are just a little more liberal in our thinking than the rest of the Christian community. But we’re also stereotyped as fakes. Fake in our faith, fake in our understanding of the Bible and our interpretations discredited, fake in our sincerity. We literally have no clue who and what God and his teachings really are. We just do the Jesus thing because of what we might get out of it. Newsflash: Christians are capable of thought. We are capable of forming our own opinions on things. We don’t need to rely on a centuries-old book to tell us what’s right and wrong, or how to live our lives. We can believe in God and good old-fashioned common sense, morality, and ethics at the same time, and not have the two influencing each other all the time. And we don’t need or want other Christians telling us that we’re idiots, that we’re stupid, that we’re not good enough or “true” Christians, that we have double standards, or are hypocrites every time we open our mouths. It’s not your job to judge us for our beliefs. It’s not your job to tell us we’re wrong. It’s not your job to do anything because it’s none of your bloody business. Only I know what’s going on in my head, how I think or feel about God or his teachings, and only I know if I’m a Christian. Just because I don’t adhere to your particular way of thinking doesn’t mean I’m wrong and not a true believer. And just because I believe in God does not mean that I can’t question his teachings or form my own opinions about them. There are plenty of contradictions and double standards in the Bible. I’ve read it cover to cover plenty of times. I’ve had your way of thinking drilled into my head for most of my life. And I chose not to buy every single word of it. Go ahead and call me selective. This is between me and God, not you, me, and God. You’re not the middleman. It’s none of your business. But since you insist on trying to make it your business, I’ll answer your petty questions. I don’t think Christians have misinterpreted the Bible for thousands of years. I do believe “conservative” Christians are just as selective as “liberal” Christians. Many chose to willfully ignore passages that conflict with their personal interpretations of what the Bible should mean or say, even “true” Christians. The church has reformed in the past because they realized they’ve made mistakes. The church has declared some “rules” obsolete because they’re no longer valid in society. They’ve also declared “rules” obsolete because they just didn’t like them; said rule prevented them from doing something or demonized something they wanted. Many Christians willfully ignore the Bible as a whole because it doesn’t fit with their lifestyle, but that doesn’t lessen their faith. The church has made mistakes in the past, so what’s to say they’re not making mistakes currently and about things other than homosexuality? We wear clothing of mixed textiles, we cut our hair and shave, we no longer stone people for committing sin, there are religious officials that are lecherous, greedy, polygamous, liars. Monarchs have bent the rules to allow for “justified” personal gain (See Henry VIII), as have religious officials. We’ve used the Bible to shape the world that we live in from the beginning of time. The Bible itself is open to interpretation, and we attack and shame those who interpret it differently from how we do. How is it that we can all have the same God, with the same book, but have such differing views on both? Why do we look to men and women (but primarily men) who have gone to universities and stared at the same book that’s in our nightstand for guidance and “correct” interpretation of its contents? What makes them right and enlightened and us wrong and stupid? Why does this require organization? Isn’t it a personal choice? Doesn’t the journey of accepting Christ begin with a personal choice to do so? So why can’t the rest of the journey be a solitary, personal one, without judgment and shame when you mess up or form your own opinions? Why does any one religion or God have to be the right one? Why can’t it be many different branches of the same tree? Why is it that Christians, who believe in God, are right, and Jews, who also believe in God, are wrong? Same God. But Jews don’t recognize Jesus the same way as Christians, so they’re obviously wrong. Right? Is that what’s going on? 

In regards to the excerpt from Louis Crompton, I feel it’s a little irrelevant. It’s just another interpretation of a biblical passage that people will never agree on. Staunch Bible Thumpers will say it’s wrong, everyone else will say it’s right.

I think it’s time we stop letting the Bible interfere with our moral compass. Seriously. We let the Bible dictate our thoughts for us. We take is as the unquestionable, infallible Word of God, but we don’t listen to every single thing it has to say. We use it to try and force people into a certain school of thought, and cry eternal damnation when they don’t. It’s a book. We literally have no proof that it is the actual word of God. And, if it is, we know that we don’t have the whole of its contents. The church went ahead and eliminated books before it was mass-produced. And, it was written in a language other than English; an ancient language which only a select group of people understood. So, we’ve basically placed our unwavering faith in the hands of men who, quite possibly, weren’t even fluent in this language, and may have just guessed at what it said at times. It’s completely possible that things got lost in translation. And even now we have different versions. King James, American Standard Version, Amplified, Contemporary English, International Standard, New Revised Standard, the list goes on and on. And whatever version you have, you swear by and recognize as the only true Word, just like everyone else in the world. We all swear by a book that we can’t prove is true. A book that is thousands of years old, written by and interpreted by men, the “dominant sex,” so obviously it must be true since women are idiots who can’t tell up from down much less wrong or right (Heaven forbid we ever do anything ambitious like raise a child), and from which select passages, texts, and “rules” have been thrown out and deemed presently irrelevant (by men). Hell, the men who wrote the Bible may have taken artistic liberty with their texts! Jesus’ words may not have been flashy enough, so they decided to embellish to make it sound more believable. Maybe, “Here are some basic guidelines on how to be a decent human being,” was too boring, so they hammed it up with extra adjectives and verbs. “Blessed are the merciful: for they will be shown mercy,” sounds a lot better than, “You get what you give, guys.” There’s an innumerable amount of possibilities that the church refuses to consider because it challenges the validity of their belief system. They are willfully ignoring things that don’t jive with their way of life.

Christians can’t misinterpret the Bible because there is no correct interpretation. 

Now, I’m not hell-bent on debunking the Bible, and I’m not saying the Bible is a collection of falsified and embellished accounts of what happened two thousand years ago, because I have literally no way of knowing one way or another. But I don’t rely on it to tell me what’s right, wrong, sinful, sacred, acceptable, or unacceptable. And I know this post will anger a great many believers, and I apologize if you’ve been offended by anything I’ve said. Here’s a reminder that you had the option to stop reading when you first got offended, so shush. I just think it’s a little ridiculous to rely on a book to tell you everything you need to know about life, and it’s silly to rely on others to tell you exactly what the things in that book mean. Interpret it as you will; the consequences will be yours to pay. But be brave enough to form your own opinions. Stop trying to scare people into “the light.” Stop trying to force your “knowledge” down their throats. Don’t believe absolutely everything you hear, read, or see. God gave you a brain; use it. And use the common sense and free will He gave you to be a good person. 

The Bible does not say homosexual marriage is right. I don’t deny that. I have never used the Bible to justify the validity of homosexual relations as a whole, and I don’t intend to, ever. But not once does it say that it’s ok to force your beliefs (of any god, religion, denomination, or anything at all) down another person’s throat, or that you are righteous in judging, repressing, or oppressing people who disagree with or differ from you, or that you are justified in using His teachings for your own benefit. This war on gay marriage seems selfish, self-righteous, and stupid. The technicalities that are thrown around are pointless. The Bible passages are pointless. The author, in the beginning of the article, said, “Setting aside the issue of biblical interpretation for the moment…” which seems a little contradictory, seeing as the whole article had to do with how the Christian faiths interpret the Bible. No one is arguing that the Bible supports homosexual marriage. I’d never even heard of that argument until I read this article. And the Bible seems to be the only thing that Christians present as their argument regarding homosexual marriage. But this literally has nothing to do with the Bible. The gay community aren’t requesting that the church recognize their right to wed. They know better. They’re asking the government to recognize their right to marry. There’s that whole separation of church and state thing, you know. And Christians are saying that, if homosexual marriage is legalized, religious officials worldwide will be forced to perform gay weddings inside their churches. I disagree. A pastor has the right to refuse to perform gay weddings, inside or outside their church building. 

“But then the pastor will be criticized for standing up for his beliefs!”

And gays will continued to be criticized for wanting equal treatment from the government while you sit in your ivory towers feeling unjustly repressed for being forced to deal with something that does not affect you at all. Gay marriage will not destroy the sanctity or validity of marriage or the family unit. Once gay marriage is legalized, it will become more and more common until it simply becomes a fact of life, just like divorce, cutting your hair, or blacks and whites sitting side-by-side on the bus. The only thing that will happen when gay marriage is legalized is: gay people will get married.

Get. Over. It.

Holy Shit

Posted in Uncategorized on April 18, 2014 by Cass

I’m obsessed with a radio show called Cabin Pressure. It’s written by John Finnemore and broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra. It’s hilarious and the perfect pick-me-up for anyone who’s having a bad day. The last episode of the entire series was recorded on February 24 in London, which, in itself, is pretty devastating. It’s about a small charter jet line called MJN Air run by Carolyn Knapp-Shappey (Stephanie Cole), and her son, the plane’s steward, Arthur Shappey (John Finnemore), piloted by  Captain Martin Crieff (Benedict Cumberbatch), and First Officer Douglas Richardson (Roger Allam), and it chronicles their mishaps and adventures in their plane, Gertie. If you haven’t listened to it, you definitely should.

The show, for me, has been much more than just a funny radio show I listen to to have a few laughs. It’s been huge in helping me get over (or through) my depression. I don’t have many things in my life that instantly make me feel better about everything and can lift my mood at the drop of a hat. But Cabin Pressure can. In many ways, it’s saved my life. Let me be clear, I’ve never been suicidal. But there have been far too many days that I’ve woken up and just thought, “What’s the point?” and struggled to get myself out of bed, let alone do anything productive. I tried loads of things to make myself feel better about life. I tried new hobbies, tried to form new habits, changed my diet, so on and so forth, but nothing worked. Then I started listening to Cabin Pressure, and, for whatever reason, things looked so much brighter. I wasn’t thinking things were pointless anymore, I had no problem getting out of bed in the mornings, and I was getting so much done in a day. My mood changed, my habits changed, my hobbies changed, and I once again found interest and excitement in old hobbies that had become boring and mundane once my depression escalated. Perhaps it’s Arthur’s obliviously cheery nature, Douglas’ sarcasm, or Martin’s innocent belief in his own ambitions that make every day worth it. I don’t know, but, whatever it is, it’s awesome. I haven’t felt this good in years. And because of all of this, I’ve become attached to these characters, and I can identify with each one in one way or another. I feel like I know them, that they’re real people that I’ve met and gotten to know in my life. And that’s why I’m in tears right now. Not because the show’s ending (though it does make me sad), but because of a video I was just tricked into watching. Guys, it made my stomach turn. 

I was on Pinterest looking at Cabin Pressure stuff and saw a video that said, “Not The Best Of News (Cabin Pressure) if you like Cabin Pressure do yourself a favor and press play.” I thought, “Oh, this must be something about the end of the show, maybe an interview with John Finnemore or a spoiler of some sort.” So I pressed play. What ensued was more devastating than I could have imagined.

It was a minute-long video of someone’s imagined ending to Gertie and her crew. It was not a spoiler or an interview or anything else that I would have been able to handle without exploding into hysterical sobs. It starts out with snippets from real newscasts saying, “Crews are searching off the coast of Brazil…no one’s heard from…it’s not looking too promising…” with scenes on a beach, little kids running around, an airplane flying over the water. There’s one little boy running around and we have a voice-over from Captain Crieff saying that he’d wanted to be an airline pilot since he was six, and before that, he wanted to be an airplane. Then we see Captain Crieff underwater looking panicked. We hear then the alarm beeping and Mr. Sergeant (character from another episode where they were going to an S.E.P. course) saying, “There you are in your little plane somewhere above the North Atlantic when, all the sudden, oh dearie me, beep, beep, beep, two engine failures.” Then Martin and Douglas yelling, a snippet from the episode, “St. Petersburg,” when they’d experienced a bird strike and their engine failed. This voice-over mixed with the music is particularly panicky, and it’s here that I lose my shit big time. You hear Douglas’ calm voice saying, “Martin, do you want me to land it?” and Martin replies, bravely, “No, I’ll do it.”

“Okay,” says Douglas.

AND THEN THEY CRASH INTO THE OCEAN AND FUCK WHY WOULD SOMEONE DO THAT TO ME? I can’t stop crying and things just completely suck right now and UGH. My stomach is still turning. WHY.

If you’re brave enough, here’s the link to the video. Proceed with caution. AND SEEING BENEDICT CRY IS ENOUGH TO MAKE ME WANT TO DRINK BLEACH.