A Few Worship Favorites

April 23rd, 2013

I am not being sarcastic or demeaning at all when I say that there’s nothing more satisfying sometimes than a good ol’ worship song (preferably from the late ’80s or early-to-mid ’90s). Not to get too personal or anything, but I know I’ll be listening to this “crossover Christian” (already an interesting classification) hit this upcoming finals week. The time preceding graduation is scary, as well know, and often people DON’T know their “place in this world.”

“Place in this World” by Michael W. Smith

Also, anyone remember the show “Touched by an Angel” by any chance? Here’s a great one featured on that program:

“Testify to Love” by Wynonna Judd (sorry for the kinda crappy quality; I think it’s from 1994)

 

A bit of sage advice for class members

April 22nd, 2013

So last week when I mentioned that I didn’t know how I was going to get a certain kid to school on the day I have to give a final at 8:30 a.m., someone muttered, “put her on the bus.” I didn’t respond then because I knew there would be a better way to respond. And here it is: The 11 Step Program for Those Thinking of Having Kids (see especially lesson #2)

11 Step Program

I know Professor Moon joins me in recommending this program to everyone who doesn’t have kids. It’s been a fun semester, and we’re looking forward to seeing your final video presentations. Have a great summer!

It was the last year the county provided bus transportation for her.

Lydia waves bye on her first day of kindergarten.

Because I Write Poems…

April 21st, 2013

…I decided to share one with you guys. Also because I am obsessed with ribs, Adam’s and otherwise.

Entangled in Bone
(For Allison)

I step outside myself
and become two. I become us,
both she and I, both true.

Awash with pale, unforgiving
fluorescence, I claw at her bones,
jutting collarbone and hips,
just to make sure they are the most
prominent parts of all.

I crave the gaunt echo of a face.
I whittle her bare china body
until she is all I am:

tight, taut. I grip her, desperately
control her. I’m taking hold
of the ribs that indefinitely link us,
the bars of her wrought bones
that cage us in.

Jesus, He Knows Me

April 21st, 2013

Okay, so we have heard from Joe Jackson, who if we can recall from this past week, successfully subverted gender roles and traditionally-held views of femininity and masculine sexual drive. What a swell guy! However, the time has come (I feel) to bring up yet another timely issue: proselytizing though the news. And this is where MY musical buddies come in. Say hello to my favorite band, Genesis!

Their song “Jesus He Knows Me” actually deals with “spreading the word” through media, most specifically through the means of televangelism. It also points out the [potential] falsity or lack of morals on the part of the televangelist depicted in the song. It’s definitely worth a listen, although to really get the full gist of it, maybe googling the lyrics would be lucrative, too.

“Jesus He Knows Me” (from the 1991 album “I Can’t Dance”)

(Note: The album is “We Can’t Dance.” Sorry people, it’s one in the morning. Don’t ask me why I’m awake.)

If you liked that little snippet, here’s a great little nugget. Hey Bible buffs, this song reminded me of the Prodigal Son the first time I heard it– what do you think???

“No Son of Mine” from the album “We Can’t Dance”

 

The Bible Said What?

April 18th, 2013

The most intriguing article which I read was the Mary Daly article.  This article described the Holy Bible in such a way that was foreign to me.  I always thought that the Bible was egalitarian in a sense, however, after reading Mary Daly’s article I found that I was wrong. In terms of content, Mary Daly describes how the Old Testament “…failure to support  sex evolution of human consciousness   (Daly 77).  Daly stresses that the “subordination of women is built lies in the older of the two accounts of creation” (Daly 77).  This concept of man over woman is explored in the text which describes how God said “let us make mankind in our image of God” (Gen: 1:26)/////and further for Daly “…this is understood by exegeses to mean that the image of God is in the human person, whether man or women” (Daly 77).  However, such critics in which I have encountered would argue that when God said, man should have dominion that would mean that since God “breathed life into Adam first” he in some sense precluded all other beings.  Thus leaving Eve to be subordinate to her husband.

The treatment of women in the Bible, which for some aspects are specifically antifeminie to the times in which the Bible was written.  Primarily the most striking behavior is that of “Jesus.” As Daly points out, Jesus’ interaction with women, specific for his time is unusual.  For each woman, Jesus’ interaction with women is that each women is treated as an individual and a person.

As Daly comments, “the treatment of women by Jesus toward the Samaritan woman puzzled even his disciples, who were surprised that he would speak to her in public” (Daly 80).  My question to this is, having read the Bible, is the Big JC’s reaction to women (mostly everybody) really surprising considering that he had the most highest form of love, agape and loved everybody! Not really,  and as Daly points out Jesus gave everyone (all inclusive) the gift of brotherhood.

As many of those of whom are religious, just as Jesus at the heart of the debate lies the “Christian identity,” brushing the lines against race, class and Christianity. One distinct membership explored in the reading Just Good People which hints at how “…Community membership matters.” (Wilkins 95).   Specifically, in terms of Christians on campus in this example some Christians value themselves as Christians by action, those of “act,” and “play” the Christian role versus those who say they do and do completely the other.   These Christian boundaries are interesting in that as Jesus you can either choose to break the norm, or categorize yourself into a group that is significantly distinct.

After reading the Wilkins article, I found that Christianity or at least Wilkinson’s interpretation of young Christians were very cliquey.  The motto being “…there is much to be gained from being good, but there is also much to lose from being boring” (Wilkins 97).  The idea of children or even college primarily youth testifying to God is a significant feat to take to task.

A Record of Contradictions

April 18th, 2013

The Mary Daly reading was like a breath of fresh air for me. Finally someone is calling out the contradictions that are in religion – contradictions that seem to be across the board in every sect, not just Christianity. How can people read something written a couple thousand years ago and apply it to life today? Contradictions and interpretations of the Bible in order to justify beliefs, lifestyles, and oppression of gender, class, and race don’t seem to be what the whole point of true religion is. It was Francois de la Rochefoucauld who said “the only thing constant in life is change and I couldn’t agree more. How can the interpretations of the Bible not change over time? I didn’t know much about the different religions prior to taking this class but it seems to me like the Reform Jews are on to something. You have to change with the times or you will be left behind. When I get a text from my 64 year old mother or see a Facebook post from my 69 year old father it reminds me that everyone can adapt to the present. Just like in the NPR piece that Professor Moon posted – even the Catholic church is starting to see that maybe some changes needed to be made in regards to roles of women in church. If so many people are losing faith because of how the church dictates how they should live their lives then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate how the Bible applies to the world today. Rottenecards_8540215_rtqhydqgn8

Oh, goodness! Being “good” as being “same”?

April 18th, 2013

Having recently listened to the Joe Jackson song referenced in class, I have been on a “kick,” if you will, about sameness. As our readings, particularly the Wilkins piece, exemplified, sameness offers solace and comfort, as well as social reaffirmation that one is on the “right path.” For example, we witnessed the University Unity kids assert repeatedly that they do pursue and hold friendships outside the confines of Unity and Christianity as a whole. However, and most notably, they find it hard to know “where they stand” with these secular friends or friends of other faiths. This cuts Unity/non-Unity friendships short, or only allows them to reach a certain point before one or both of the members feels disconnected from the other person on moral grounds. And in terms of Unity lifestyle, there are many areas that are apt to prompt disagreement with non-Unity friends.

The idea of being a part of a group that Wilkins originally categorizes as “just good people” is intriguing, because it brings up the necessary and essential idea of goodness. What—and who—can be considered “good?” In terms of Unity alone, it seems that if one is dutiful in praying and reading the Bible, setting aside time for God, and abstaining from sex, drug usage, and immodesty, then that individual fits the criteria for “goodness.” But in effect, adherence to these rules leaves very little room for individuality and potential to think for oneself outside of an academic context, so no wonder it limits their more secular relationships.

My question here is, does goodness imply sameness—sameness of “thought, word, and deed,” as outlined in the Nicene Creed itself?

This is a disturbing thought, because the last thing we want to believe is that we, as humans with functional minds and control over our actions, could subscribe to a set of prescribed actions and thoughts to such an extent that we become, as we mentioned earlier in the semester, “holy spirit zombies.” That we would be unable to identify any personal characteristic or marking qualities aside from surface-level hobbies, such as Lucas’ swing-dancing pastime, is frightening to a modern, liberal, 21st-century mind. And yet, on the surface, they seem so normal—college hoodies and movie nights with friends, going out to diners and for ice cream, and the like, seem to suggest that we as non-Unity members are not so different from them after all.

However, it is also important to note that while the Unity kids seem not to stand out in their choice of dress and lack of partying—Wilkins describes them explicitly as “vanilla” at one point—this is precisely what sets them apart from the norm. Though understated and subtle, Unity kids maintain the appearance of social “norms” in the way that Christian Rock does—they take the semblances of the mainstream and then “clean it up,” therefore making the action more palatable for those who subscribe to the Unity lifestyle. For example, some of the Unity girls like to go out and dance with their friends, but instead of contour skirts and pumps, they can be seen in T-shirts and jeans.

“Unity Style”

versus

This chick

This is the tricky part: T-shirts and jeans seem so normal, but in this case, their wearers are actually embodying a quiet form of resistance to social (i.e., secular) norms. By going against the expected code of dress, Unity girls maintain the modesty expected of them, and are able to participate in activities outside Unity, all the while upholding Unity values.

This resistance is fascinating, because it is often gender-dependent, can have many layers, and can be done in a variety of ways. In my Language and Gender class, we have talked a lot about gender and how individuals and groups will often subvert gender in ways that are unexpected and often surprising. If you have the time, I would recommend you read the following article about “Nerd Girls” that we had to read for class. Just the idea that the category of “Nerd” does not already include females is noteworthy, but that aside, it is a good read and exemplifies yet another way that groups subvert, undercut, and otherwise resist social norms and gender expectations. Furthermore, this is another example of how important sameness is in terms of connection and group cohesiveness, and how social situations can become potentially problematic or confusing if not all participants in the conversation approach the subject the same way.

[Incidentally, another gender-bending article we read for Language and Gender may be of interest to some of you. It is a culturally-based a commentary on Japan’s “Kogals”who routinely defy and redefine young Japanese women’s sexuality through sexual availability, deliberate linguistic change, and distinctive images that offer yet another form of resistance against traditional femininity.]

Whew, sorry for the longest blog post ever! See you all in class!

Femme Fatal: Women Are People Too?

April 18th, 2013

Perhaps Most Terrifying

I have always been confused by the term feminism.  Images of dark, dangerous, and deadly women wielding rusted scissors coming do violence to my manhood come to mind but so does the image of man and woman getting paid the same for doing the same work.  If the latter is feminism then certainly I am one.  It seems silly to suggest that a woman should be paid less for her work on the basis of her sex.  That isn’t to say she should work for a salary in the first place.  How I come at this issue I’m not certain.  Often I have a double impulse one traditional and the other more liberalizing.  I am prone to agreeing with Christopher Hitchens:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8WSpFuMByo  If a woman wants to work then by all means work.  If a woman wants to be a ‘full-time mom’ then so be it, no judgement.  I believe there are virtues associated with both options and that the ‘full-time mom’ is able, by virtue of time, to provide more hominess to the home and her children’s experience of it.  That is not to say that she loves her children more or that the working mother loves her children less.

Be There Because You Care

But what of the male role in this equation?  Mary Daly is very clear, and I think rightly so, in pointing out the churches (only the Catholic Church, it would seem) negative role in propagating the ‘back-seat’ (or even ‘out-of-the-car-entirely’!) position of the father.  What of his responsibilities and care for his children?  Should they really end solely at the office?  I suppose it makes sense, given the unavoidable ignorance of scientific reproduction, that many/most/nearly all church Fathers and theologians assumed woman was merely the passive agent procreation.  The male plants his seed within the waiting receptacle of woman who incubates and births his progeny.  But, in the end, it does take two and let’s not forget that “It’s Different for Women”:  Male/female relations starts to very much look like a power structure with women taking an early lead which men quickly stole in ‘civilization’.  That might be a slight too cynical (and simplistic) but after awhile the whole thing starts to look like a self fulfilling statement.  “Women shouldn’t be educated.  Why shouldn’t they?  Well, because it isn’t in their nature.  Oh, are you sure; have you bothered to teach them?  Well, no but that’s because they couldn’t learn since it’s in their nature.”  Our best example presently to bust this notion is simply the many thoughtful, competent, and educated women around us today who have made and make the world a better place.

Nice Breasts, But You Exist for Other Purposes Too

How does feminism (whatever it’s definition is) apply to organized religion?  Clearly this is a point of great debate today withing many Protestant churches and among many Catholics.  Churches are not established public institutions but ideally institutions for the public.  So, in effect, this is not an issue to which they are legally required to acquiesce.  Certainly, social pressures and those working within to change the system itself might act to influence the institution but there exists no legal injunction commanding obedience.  That isn’t to say such a law will never be passed but the odds do seem slim and might not that law be taking things too far?  There are, however, laws which prohibit discrimination based on disability and race (I assume they apply to private businesses and the like) so why not sex?  In short, yes or no to female ordination in churches and is this an issue the state should even be pressing?  In light of all this controversy, I am prone to asking the old, cliched, sort of cheesy question of WWJD.  So, What Would Jesus Do (or What Did Jesus (already) Say)?

Truth Hurts

Lookin’ for some hot stuff?

April 18th, 2013

Let’s start off with a video.

This is evidence for why men need women to stay in the home and take care of their families…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7EN8CkMY0A&NR=1&feature=endscreen

By the way, just to let everyone know, I have also taken a vow of sarcasm, just as our dear Lydia (sp?) has. Hehe…

Well, the most interesting reading to me this week was the Anti-Feminist Movement work. Normally, when I have learned about the different civil rights movements, I just hear the feminist perspective. But in this reading we learned and saw the perspective of the opposing side, the New Right.

These women come from Christian backgrounds and their religion is so much a part of their lives, just as Wilkins explained in her reading. This means that they follow the bible and live to follow what God commands them to do. The major problem at this time is that people, specifically women, are obtaining the right to be open about things like homosexuality, abortion, sex education, and gender roles. So since these women have stood up for their beliefs, Christian women are obligated to do so, too.

Something that stuck out to me this week was that it mentions that is women decided to abandon their roles, and then men would not see the obligation of continuing their role in the home. Life would be chaotic because men are savages that only women could control. These two ideas made me think about the beginning of the semester when women were seen as cold and men were seen as hot. Men needed women to “cool” them down. And just as the video shows, they can’t live without women and women can’t live without them because anti-feminists believe that it’s the way God meant for it to be. And not that I agree, but it makes sense they would form many different groups, because if they had not they would be agreeing with the feminists.

Because all feminists are lesbians, hello!

Because all feminists are lesbians, hello!

Social Class’s role

April 18th, 2013

From this week’s readings, and really from all semester, I have come to this conclusion both sex and religion (and sexual movements such as the feminist movement and religious movements) are very closely tied with social class, and in turn tied to race. You really can’t separate them. In the Wilkins readings the groups that are formed in the high schools are tied with religous ideals but attract a certain kind of person. Wilkins talks about how in the Christian groups almost everyone is middle class and white, with just a few minorities thrown in there, you know just so it doesn’t seem racist. It is interesting that the groups don’t like to talk about race or class but that they are so present its hard to ignore. Wilkins says that “race and class are invisible resources.” The people who are leading these groups are white, and middle class, this gives them a sort of power and influence over the students, and promotes white middle class ideology. The schools isn’t the only place that race and social class play a role. In the feminist movement the leaders are almost exclusively white and are middle class. Even when they talk about women’s issues the tend to leave out the working class women, and even more so black working class women. While the feminist movement has many great ideals, they forget to look at the issues that are unique to working class women.