Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Being A Christian Woman In A Feminist World



I read this really awesome post by Andrea Lucado about being a Christian in a feminist world. It's the second of a two parter. I recommend you read the whole thing, but I wanted to share an excerpt from this part :

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Mary. As in Mary-and-Martha Mary. 
When Jesus went to Mary and Martha’s house and Martha was all frantic and nervous about dinner getting on the table and the candles being lit just right, or the oil lamp, or whatever, Mary was sitting at Jesus’s feet, literally. Like he was her teacher, and students were only male then, mind you. She was sitting by his feet, listening to him while chaos was occurring in the next room. Then Jesus said, “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). The best reward. 
And she was a woman. She was not praised for her work, for her social status or ability to rise above female oppression and be highlighted in the most important literary work of all time. 
What was she praised for? Her ability to be oblivious to all but Jesus.
Seeing as how Mary has exemplified the Christian life ever since she appeared in the gospels, I think that’s what being a Christian in the midst of feminist society is supposed to look like: to be so obsessed with Jesus, we just don’t care about much else. And to be so steady at his feet that we find ourselves able to love as he did. Love ourselves, love our gender, and love men, even the ones we think should value us a little more.
 How beautiful! Read the whole thing here!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Kentucky Church Overturns Racist Ban




I got a lot of heated comments about the racist and sinful ban on interracial couples by a Kentucky church. Well, good news: the ban has been overturned. But is it too little, too late? From WYMT:



"Controversy about a freewill baptist church's decision not to condone interracial marriage in Pike County has caught national attention.

The Sandy Valley Conference includes more than a dozen member churches, and they voted Saturday in Bowling Fork to reinforce rules to help the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church.


The Sandy Valley Conference's meeting was closed to the public.

The meeting was scheduled before the controversy erupted at Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, but it was still a hot topic on the agenda.

"I don't believe it's right. People should be able to worship. I don't care what color their skin is," said Mr. Bowling, who lives in Bowling Fork and attends the church that the meeting was held in.

"We believe that everyone is welcome in the house of God, and we are not a racist group of people," said Bobby Mullins, the pastor at Martin County Freewill Baptist Church.

A vote conducted by Pastor Stacy Stepp banned interracial couples membership at his church.

Members of the Sandy Valley Conference say that Pastor Stacy Stepp asked for their assistance.

Conference members say Pastor Stepp's vote was not in proper order.

"No motion is in order that conflicts with the laws of the nation or state or with the assembly's constitution of by laws. And if such motion is adopted, even by an unanimous vote, it is null and void," said Jim Patton, the pastor at Pikeville Freewill Baptist Church and a member of the Sandy Valley Conference.

Pastor Stepp plans on bringing his church together to vote on the matter one last time.

But members of the conference say racism of any form is unacceptable and another vote will not change their decision.

"It's done. It's over. It's against our rules," said Patton.

The interracial couple in question is Stella Harville and her fiance from Zimbabwe.

The Harville family says they have no hard feelings.

"My daughter is doing good on this. She's moving forward. It's time to get it behind us. She's doing okay," said Dean Harville, who is Stella's father and a member of Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church.

The Harvilles say they are ready for their church to get back to normal by allowing all people of all races to attend.

Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church's final vote on interracial marriage is set for Sunday following the church's morning service."

Friday, December 9, 2011

Interracial Couple Banned From Kentucky Church



This story is almost unbelievable to me. And very sad. From HuffPo:

In a move to "promote greater unity" among its body and the Pike County community it serves, a small Kentucky church voted to ban interracial couples from membership and from participating in certain worship activities, Kentucky.com reports.

Though reminiscent of some Jim Crow-era mandate, the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church actually made the decision earlier this month, following a visit from 24-year-old Stella Harville, daughter of the church's secretary and clerk, and her 29-year-old fiance, Ticha Chikuni, a native of Zimbabwe.

According to Harville's father, Dean Harville, Stella brought Chikuni to the church in June where they performed a song for the congregation.
Following the visit, former pastor Melvin Thompson told Harville that his daughter and her fiance could not sing at the church again. Thompson later proposed that the church go on record saying that while all people were welcome to attend public worship services there, the church did not condone interracial marriage.

His proposal, which was accepted by a 9-6 vote last week, also suggested that married interracial couples be prohibited from becoming members and used in worship activities, except for funerals.

"It's not the spirit of the community in any way, shape or form," said Randy Johnson, president of the Pike County Ministerial Association, according to Kentucky.com.
While Pike County and the surrounding community come to grips with the church's decision, researchers at Ohio State University and Cornell University say black-white marriages in the United States are soaring, increasing threefold, from 3 percent in 1980 to 10.7 percent in 2008.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Eddie Long Update




Things have gotten pretty bad for embattled Bishop Eddie Long. While his marriage is collapsing, his ministry is being put on hold. From the Atlanta Constitution Journal:

The reconciliation of Vanessa and Eddie Long didn't make it through the day, as the wife of the charismatic New Birth Missionary Baptist pastor has decided against withdrawing her petition for divorce filed late Thursday afternoon.

"Mrs. Long continues to hope that this matter may be resolved expeditiously, harmoniously and fairly; however, she has determined that dismissal of her divorce petition is not appropriate at this time," Kilpatrick Townsend partner Michael W. Tyler said in a prepared statement.

"To avoid any undue confusion, Mrs. Long's future statements, if any, will be issued through her attorneys," he said. A spokesman for Kilpatrick Townsend refused further comment.

Three statements regarding the divorce were sent to media outlets Friday. In the first, Vanessa Long announced she was seeking to end her 21-year-marriage following "a great deal of deliberation and prayer."
Then, around lunchtime, in a statement sent through New Birth's public relations firm, Vanessa Long was quoted as saying, upon further "prayerful reflection," she was withdrawing the divorce petition.

"I love my husband," she was quoted in the second press release. "I believe in him and admire his strength and courage."
Long, a New Birth elder, said her decision to seek a divorce was driven by "years of attacks in the media that frustrated and overwhelmed me." She and her husband "mutually agreed to find healing," Vanessa Long is quoted in the release.
Six hours later, her attorneys announced she was proceeding with the divorce "consistent with her original [statement] made this morning."
Read the whole post here. And from HuffPo:

Bishop Eddie Long, the embattled pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church near Atlanta, told his congregation this morning that he was taking a leave of absence from his duties in the pulpit.


Long was defiant as ever when he announced his decision to a supportive audience."If you go out there, the news said I stepped down," Long said. " I haven't stepped down, I've actually stepped up."

"I'm still your pastor. You'll still receive my direction," Long said Sunday. "You've given me some weeks to take care of some family business."
 Read the rest of the article here.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Poll: Americans Aren't Sipping Tea or Being Occupied




From Religion News Services:

In a war between the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movement to capture the hearts of Americans, who wins? According to a new poll, it’s a draw.

Less than a third of Americans say either movement represents their values, according to a poll released Wednesday (Nov. 16) by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service.

One thing, however, is clear: neither movement can make a strong claim to speak for Americans. Near identical majorities say neither movement represents their values—57 percent for the Tea Party, and 56 percent for Occupy Wall Street.

What’s more, one in five Americans say each of the movements has a negative impact on society, and about four in 10 Americans see both as largely irrelevant.

“They’re mirror images of each other, but the symmetry at the national level hides a very different distribution,” said Robert Jones, the research firm’s CEO. “Support for the Tea Party is more intensely concentrated among Republicans, but support for the OWS movement is less intense among Democrats and more evenly spread among other groups.”

The poll—designed to gauge Americans’ views about economic hardship and the proper responses to it—also revealed some striking divides and ambivalences, particularly in the way people view opportunity in America.

A significant majority (eight in 10) believes the gap between rich and poor has widened during the past 20 years, a finding that held true across generational, religious and political lines. Nearly half of those polled believe the American Dream—the idea that if you work hard you’ll get ahead—once held true but no longer does.

And while two-thirds of Americans agree that the government should do more to reduce the gap between rich and poor, an even higher proportion (71 percent) say poor people have become too dependent on government assistance programs.
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Black Catholics More Engaged in Church than White Catholics, Survey Says



From the National Catholic Reporter:

African-American Catholics are much more engaged in their church on a variety of levels than are white Catholics, concludes the first National Black Catholic Survey.


Whether in a majority black church, a mixed or mostly white parish, the survey found African-American Catholics feel satisfied and fulfilled in their parishes, explained retired Bishop John H. Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Fla., who is president of the National Black Catholic Congress.

By "engaged," Bishop Ricard explained, the authors of the report mean African-Americans are involved in their parishes well beyond simply attending Mass somewhat regularly. That includes having strong networks of friends and family in their churches, participating in multiple parish activities and saying their spiritual, emotional and social needs are met there.

Bishop Ricard, who is rector of the Washington seminary of his religious order, the Josephites, said the results of the survey surprised and pleased him and the leaders of the National Black Catholic Congress who commissioned it, along with the University of Notre Dame's Institute for Church Life and the office of the school's president. The survey will be used as the basis of a pastoral plan for evangelization that will be presented during next July's National Black Catholic Congress in Indianapolis.

"This is a bright spot for the church," said Bishop Ricard in an interview Nov. 28 at St. Joseph's Seminary. Whatever their parish situation, a majority of African-American participants in the attitudinal survey conducted by Knowledge Networks, "feel affirmed and have decided they are going to stay Catholic," he said. "It's a very optimistic message."
Among the conclusions of the survey were that black Catholics feel more committed to their parishes emotionally, spiritually and socially than do white Catholics. In those respects, as in many other aspects of the survey, black Catholics were shown to be much more like black Protestants in their approach to church than they are like white Catholics.

"Compared with other religious and racial groups, African-American Catholics behave and look like African-American Protestants," said the executive summary written by study authors Darren W. Davis, a professor of political science and associate vice president for research at Notre Dame, and Donald B. Pope-Davis, professor of psychology and vice president and associate provost Notre Dame.

Still, "African-American Protestants are clearly more highly involved by every measure of engagement," they continued. Therefore, they said, the pattern "is taken as suggestive of a cultural effect, as opposed to a Catholic effect, whereby the historical and cultural norms of the African-American community weigh just as heavily on African-American Catholics as on African-American Protestants."
 Read the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Be My Guest: "Christmas Lists" by Marc Koellhoffer



Yes, Christmas is still over a month away. Most stores already have up at least some decorations, well before Thanksgiving! This got me thinking of how some of us wrote Christmas wish lists as kids, full of the gifts we wanted. I guess this was okay, after all, we were only kids! But how many of us pray with lists? We go to God and say “oh, I need this, and oh, I really need that...” The truth is, God already knows what we need, and we need to trust that if it is His will, He will deliver it unto us! Our worldly desires often will not match with His heavenly intentions, though, or His timing may not match ours, so continue to have faith and trust in Him.
Here’s a challenge for this season: try to pray at least a few times without asking for anything at all for yourself. Instead, go before the Lord in prayer with only praise for Him and rejoice for what He has already done in your life, and thanks for what He has yet to do. If you do ask for something, how about asking that someone who is not saved come to know and accept the Lord? What better gift could someone possibly receive?

1 Timothy 2:1-2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people... that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.)


Marc has guest blogged here in the past.  Fingers crossed that this talented Engligh teacher, faithful Christian, loving dog owner and bad- and by bad, I mean Michael Jackson "bad", not Joe Jackson bad- pool player, will find time to start his own blog. For the time being, you can check out his occasional posts along with fellow members and ministers of Christ Fellowship Church (Elizabeth, NJ) share their faith here.
~Alisha

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why Marriages Can't Be 50/50

This article from Black and Married With Kids really rings true to me.
  
Four Reasons A 50/50 Relationship Isn’t Possible Marriage by Franchesca Lane-Warren (www.bossygirl1980.com

When I got married five years ago, I was under the impression that because I was now a married women that me and my husband would do everything equally. You know, if I cooked dinner one night he would cook the next night. If I happened to clean up the closet one week, the next week he would do the same. To make matters worse, my mother-in-law’s favorite song, “When Someone Loves You,” constantly played in her house. I was being brainwashed about what to expect in a marriage.

I got married in a glorious wedding ceremony and we had the perfect honeymoon, but as the days, weeks, and months started to pass by I started to get pissed off. Where was all of this 50/50 love I had heard so much about? There were some days were everything was 50/50, but there were some days were it was 60/40 or 70/30! (GASP!)

Were we doing something wrong? Did this mean we would not “make it”? Nope, I was about to get “schooled” on why a 50/50 relationship is a thing of the past.

Tired of feeling like I was doing everything, I decided to approach this topic as diplomatic as possible. One night (fed up) I screamed during an argument, “I do everything around this house!” In his ever-calm way he replied, “Everything in our marriage can’t be equal. Sometimes I will do more than you and sometimes you will do more than me.” Still salty about cleaning the house more than him, I gave him the side eye to make sure he understood that I was serious and we cleaned up together but this comment made me think. Could a marriage survive if everything wasn’t 50/50? I was about to find out how this 50/50 model was not in our cards because I decided to go to graduate school. In the two years I was in this program, I became the slacker around the house. I couldn’t clean like I wanted to and he picked up my slack. I couldn’t cook like I wanted to and he cooked for the whole family. There were times I had to miss school events for our son because I was preparing my thesis and he went. Were tables turning? Was I going to have eat those words I had screamed a couple of years prior? Of course I had to and with that I developed four reasons why I do not buy into a totally 50/50 love.

1. A 50/50 relationship implies that you are keeping score of every deed you do. Everything I did in the marriage I expected him to reciprocate in some way. So if I cleaned out the kitchen one morning, I expected him to do the same. This created a “you owe me” attitude (by yours truly), which eventually translated as me being angry. There were times when he would come home from working 12 hours; would I really expect him to cook dinner because I did the night before? Absolutely not. Or what about days when he cleaned out my truck; would he expect me to clean out his? Heck, no. We just understand that we do as much as we can for each other without a record of doing. A relationship is not about keeping tabs; it’s about helping your partner in areas they are weak in.
 Read the whole post here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Another Porn Post (Made You Look, Made You Look!)

Porn- it can lead to erectile dysfunction. Which leads to guys looking forlornly into the distance while wearing white underclothes.  


When I did a post on one of the possible side effects of porn some weeks ago, I received a few emails and messages agreeing that pornography could definitely be a problem and thanking me for discussing it. However, they didn't want to do so publicly. Incidentally, they are all guys.


I also noticed a slight uptick in the number of hits, too- much like porn, posts about porn is something people want to gawk at, but not openly discuss.

So, I guess I'll get some more Looky-loos with this one, and I totally understand the reason you'll avoid the combox.

I wanted to share a couple more stories on the subject. First, one from Gizmodo that my husband passed on to me after the first posting:

"... Too much web porn! It's killing our libidos, lads, one frantically one-handed mouse click at a time.
 
So says a report from the University of Padua in Italy anyway, which purportedly discovered that randy gents with a penchant for hardcore sex on the Net were more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction when preparing to perform the real deal themselves.

The study focused on late teens and men in their 20's, and the crux of its findings was that the ever-increasing and diversifying selection of online porn and porn experiences has actually led to a numbing of men's pleasure receptacles, specifically to the response of dopamine (the "reward" neurochemical).

By hammering on the reward button so often and with such a wide range of experiences, Internet porn effectively subdues or eliminates the physiological sense of reward that sex so wonderfully provides.
Ergo, when she's lying there naked waiting for you, you realize that the whole situation feels a bit numb, you get subconsciously scared, and then things stop working. Awkward!

Worse still, the study apparently found that "quitting" web porn created a whole host of withdrawal symptoms. Insomnia, flu-like symptoms—all of which, in my opinion, pale in comparison to the actual ED that sets it all off."

 See picture caption above, only with Black models.

The second article is from the latest issue of The Christian Research Journal. I definitely recommend this periodical, by the way. "The Effects of Porn on the Male Brain" by William M. Struthers, begins with this powerful opening:

"In a 2010 interview with Playboy Magazine, Grammy Award-winning musician John Mayer garnered a great deal of attention for his thoughts on former girlfriends (including Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson), racist comments, and altogether boorish behavior. 

What went under the radar, however, we're some revealing comments about his experiences with pornography. In a startling series of quotes, he gave his impressions about how the availability and access to porn may be affecting our expectations of sexuality and sexual intimacy. 

'Pornography? It's a new synaptic pathway. You wake up in the morning, open a thumbnail page, and it leads to a Pandora's Box of visuals. There have probably been days when I saw 300 [women] before I got out of bed... Internet pornography has absolutely changed my generation's expectations... You're looking for the one photo out of 100 you swear is going to be the one you finish to, and you still don't finish. Twenty seconds ago you thought that photo was the hottest thing you ever saw, but you throw it back... How does that not affect the psychology of having a relationship with somebody? It's got to.'" 

Struthers continues the piece by going into great detail about the science- neurotransmitters, testosterone, dopamine, endogenous opiates- behind the attraction to porn. His closing of the article says it all: "Sexual intimacy is a complex neuroxchemical, hormonal, and spiritual event. It is one of the most powerful God-given means by which human beings form attachments.... There is no such thing as "just looking at porn". There can be no doubt that it affects us neurologically in long lasting ways...."

Techie geek writer, Dr. Struthers and even John Mayer know it. Watching porn can lead to some serious problems in your relationship and how you view people. Is it really worth it?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why the World is Wrong About Marriage



Great piece from the Resurgence by Jen Smidt:

Flipping through a popular women’s magazine recently, I came across an article on marriage.
Since I am married and regularly teach on marriage, I was interested in what advice today’s culture would bestow upon me. I was not surprised and more than a little disturbed. While I did not expect that biblically sound wisdom would flow from the glossy pages, I did hope for something more than a completely self-absorbed, wicked plan for marital bliss.

"Good Advice"

I found myself immediately refuting each point with truth from Scripture–realizing that God, much more so than culture, has graciously shaped and redeemed my understanding of his purpose for marriage. The article claimed that couples stay in love by taking chances. The 3 suggested risks were:
  1. Call a time-out. Apparently, the happiest couples spend much of their time apart. 
  2. Have another man in your life. The article claimed that friendships with men allow you to “experience that rush of newness.”
  3. Satisfy yourself. Enough said.
Good advice is just that…a suggestion that may or may not work. In the case of this advice, I’d call it downright dangerous. Spending large chunks of time away from your husband, flirting with other men, and seeking selfish pleasures are invitations to disaster.
God calls us to a vision and purpose for marriage that is radically different than how the world views this union.

Good News

Let me call you to something different than what this magazine offers: Good News. Here's the revised version of the above list grounded in the good news of the gospel:
  1. Call a time-out with God. "I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me" (Proverbs 8:17). As both a daily habit and in the midst of conflict, the happiest couples have regular time with God. They pray, seek, study and listen for the wisdom that comes from above. They look for ways to build oneness, not distance.
  2. Have another man in your life…his name is Jesus. "The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant" (Psalm 25:14). Friendship with Jesus is the only possibility for a life reconciled to God and a marriage that reflects his covenant made with us: I will never leave you or forsake you.
  3. Deny yourself. Over and over and over. Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). The greatest threat to your marriage is you. Seeking to satisfy yourself first is a surefire marital destruction plan. Dying to self is rooted in living in Christ. He alone makes self-sacrifice possible and pleasurable in marriage.
God calls us to a vision and purpose for marriage that is radically different than how the world views this union. May we be married couples that reject the world’s shallow and selfish advice for marriage and embrace God’s glorious call to selfless, Jesus-filled marriages.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cain Is Able, But Gen Y Might Not Be





The second leading story of the past week after all things Kardashian was the claims of sexual harassment against Republican Presidential nominee Herman Cain. From USA Today:

"Joel Bennett, a lawyer for one of Herman Cain's accusers, says there was a "series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances" by Cain that led his client to file a sexual harassment claim.

Bennett issued a statement on behalf of his client, who does not wish to be identified or speak publicly.
Cain, who is leading polls for the GOP presidential nomination, has repeatedly said he was "falsely accused" of sexual harassment when he led the National Restaurant Association from 1996-1999.

In an impromptu news conference, Bennett told reporters the incidents occurred over "a month or two" but declined to say what specifically took place. He said "it qualified as sexual harassment in our opinion."
"Beyond what's in this statement she has decided not to relive the specifics of the incidents so I cannot give any further details," said. "She has made a decision that she does not want to do that."

Asked about the other two women referred to this week in news stories about Cain's alleged behavior, Bennett said: "Where there's smoke, there's fire ... more likely than not, there was some sexual harassment activity."...

The allegations of misconduct don't seem to be making an impact with GOP voters.

Seven in 10 Republicans in a new ABC News/Washington Post survey say the allegations don't matter when it comes to picking a presidential candidate. A majority of GOP and GOP-leaning voters, or 55%, say the allegations are not a "serious matter."

Read the rest here. Over the past week, I've been asked by no less than three people how I feel about Cain. Okay, so three isn't that many. But considering I've only been out of the house once in the past week, that's pretty impressive. Anyway, I don't know how I feel about him. He kind of reminds me of a deacon from a storefront church in Jersey City or Irvington (woot woot, big up Jersey!) I met at some Women's Day Service back in the day. Notice I said deacon and not elder or pastor.

I do know I'll most likely pay MORE in taxes under his "9-9-9" plan than I do now, and I already pay a lot so that makes it a major "womp womp" to me. I actually think the whole "9-9-9" thing sounds like a leftover from his Godfather's Pizza days. Like, "get your choice of 9 different toppings on 9 different crusts for only $9!"

The highlighted portion reveals that Cain seems to have staying power- despite reported shortcomings- something Bachmann and Perry don't have at this point. When it comes to the support of  the Millennial Generation, President Obama is lacking as well. From NPR: 

It felt like 2008 all over again in Philadelphia this week. A DJ played a song by the Black Eyed Peas to warm up a crowd of about 500 students from local colleges. President Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, exhorted the crowd at the University of Pennsylvania to volunteer, to apply for internships and, of course, to vote.

"There's 8 million registered voters who are 18 to 21 who weren't old enough to vote last time, who are going to cast their first vote, and they're going to do it for Barack Obama," Messina said. "Raise your hand if you're 18 to 21!"

President Obama needs a lot of help from this demographic if he's going to win a second term. In 2008, millennials — born between 1981 and 1993 — voted for Obama by a ratio of 2 to 1. They gave time, money and a sense of excitement to the campaign. And they came out to vote in record numbers.That's the largest margin of victory within any age group since 1972, according to the Pew Research Center.


Alec Tyson, a research associate at the Pew Research Center, calls himself a card-carrying millennial.
Tyson — who was born in 1983 — helped prepare a Pew report called "Generational Politics." He says millennials are more ethnically diverse than other age groups. They're more likely than older voters to hold liberal views on social issues, and to express support for an activist government. Millennials still give the president a higher job approval rating than do other groups, at 49 percent. But Tyson says they're not as enamored of Obama as they used to be.

"Shortly after Obama took office, millennials expressed very positive emotions towards Obama," Tyson says. "They felt inspired or hopeful by him. Two years later, there's a sign that they've become, to use their own word, disappointed."

Read the rest here. Election Day 2011 is tomorrow, but Election Day 2012 is right around the corner.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

If You Came Here From Wintery Knight...



... then welcome! I'm so glad you clicked the link. I hope you enjoy your visit and come back often. If you'd like to know a little more about this blog, then you can go to the Not-So Frequently Asked Questions. They are a bit dated now since I wrote them in 2009, but you'll get somewhat of an idea on things.

You can read on Christianity or Christ, or Religion. I also cover a lot of lighter fare, too, in Pop Culture and Music.

And of course, there is the Moi section. I talk about what I think I know best, me, lol. Friends, family, personal struggle. My neurological problems. Wrestling with doubt. The times I've been a b****. Yup, I lay it out there. So I hope you like what you read, and I definitely encourage compliments... uh, er, comments. And if you want to write a guest post (or two, I'm looking at you, Mary!), email me at alishadefreitas@gmail.com.

An Obligatory Kim Kardashian Post




As even those living under a rock now know, Kim and Kris have split. The interwebs are all a twitter. Twitter is now all a twitter.

So much has been said and written, and then wriiten about what has been said, that I don't have much to add. Not much. Just a little.

First, whether she made a windfall for tying the knot on E! contributes to my head shake, but is not the cause of it. After all, she is paid nicely for opening up her life to the world anyway. We've learned, with heavy doses of editing, about her sadness over the leaked sex tape, her annoyance with big sis Kourtney's baby daddy, and even how she battles cellulite. Her life is an open book. No, that's not right. It's an open Life & Style Weekly.

Second, whether she donates money and/or her wedding gifts to charity is none of my business. I didn't attend or buy the newlysplits a thing, so it doesn't bother me one way or the other.

Finally, what does bother me is the way marriage has once again, taken a beating at the manicured hands of a celebrity. Kris- Kim's mommy, not her soon-to-be ex- made the morning "news" show rounds a couple of hours ago (who am I kidding, there's a three hour time difference on the West Coast, so she's probably blabbing away about the divorce and her new book right now for those in the Central Zone)- kept repeating that her daughter is not the first to get a divorce or will she be the last. This is true. There have been thousands of filings across the country in the two days since Ms.K filed hers, but they'll remain in the shadows of this glittery split.

This doesn't change the fact that divorce is not what God intends for matrimony. Sadly, an increasing number of people have seen this flippancy regarding marriage as evidence that it has nothing to do with God whatsoever. In Good's "Marriage Isn't Sacred", Cord Jefferson opines: "In retrospect, the Kim-Kris union appears to have been less a consecration of love and more an elaborate moneymaking scheme, a lucrative sideshow pawned off to suckers as true love. Now that it's all officially over, let's let Kardashian's loss serve as a lesson gained: Marriage isn't sacred.

...  In 2004, when Britney Spears married her friend, Jason Allen Alexander, for 55 hours, her record label later released a statement claiming that the whole thing had been "a joke." Neither Spears nor her momentary husband were persecuted or prosecuted for treating a wedding, something that's supposed to be sanctified, like some sort of carnival ride. 

... Marriage is a tax shelter and a smart way for a couple to combine assets. Love is the thing that's sacrosanct..." 

I agree that love, in it's truest form, is holy. After all, God is Love. But his argument empties marriage, which isn't just a contract for tax purposes, but a covenant, of not just sacredness, but tragically,of even a lasting purpose. Love, on the other hand, is extolled as holy, yet he offers up no definition of what love actually is. So no one should knock Kim then, when she claims she married for love. Because, then, she was only acting on holiness, right?

 I know that aq growing number of people in my generation aren't feeling the whole marriage thing (except for Bridezillas and many Gay folks), but some are and have allowed us a peek into their lives. If you haven't done so, please check out my series "Two Become One" to see their stories. And if you'd like to contribute, email me at alishadefreitas@gmail.com.

iDef: We Bit the Apple




For the past month, it's been return of the Mac around the DeFreitas home. My Compu-tech hubby is still "officially" a PC guy, but I know deep down, there is a battle raging, and Jobs is beating the pants off Gates in an epic, mental e-war.

I know this is true by his reaction when we stopped in to the Apple Store last month. His eyes were ablaze by the glow of the gadgets, laid out on clean-lined, maple tables.

The decor, sparsely modern. His face, hardly able to hide the fascination. And I stood by his side, the Eve who had lured him to this tree of temptation, cheesing from ear to ear. I was even more amazed.

Zoe was there, too, strapped in her little baby backpack, little mouth agape, staring at the bright lights in the ceiling. Those, and her Daddy's chin. Of course, there's not too much she can actually see, riding around like that.

Our ilove continues daily. Just this morning, I read about Hermain Cain and Kim Kardashian on my iPad (look, there's like not much else out there to read about today, apparently... charges of sexual harrasment against a presidential candidate and a celebutante's dead marriage... um, media, this is kind of par for the course. 24/7 news coverage on these two stories is totally unnecessary. And boring.). Over the weekend, I listened to Janelle Monae streaming on my iTunes. K is currently reading Steve Jobs' biography. And at naptime yesterday, Zoe was blissfully unaware of being watched by Steve, although many others are.




So, from our home to yours, enjoy the following ifun, and have a golden delicious day!

Check out this totally hilarious blog, Watched by Steve, which is weird. And creepy. But mostly hilarious.


Read "Steve, Myself And i: The Big Story of a Little Prefix" on NPR which discusses that all important and spellcheck-red squiggly line causing, lower case "i".


 

Or pull up a chair at the Brainiac Bar next to Lisa at the Mapple Store at the Springfield Mall. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

JesusWeen?

I heard about the JesusWeen movement a few weeks ago and immediately laughed. Not just a sarcastic snicker, but a true guffaw.

According to the official website, "Our mission is to ensure that JesusWeen becomes a global phenomenon. We have and will continue to share the word of God in love and by doing that, we seek to encourage a culture whereby Christians, regardless of their denomination, reach out to the world around them with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Okay, that's not bad, promoting evangelical ecumenism and what-not, but why on Halloween? Again, back to their site, "Join us in making Jesus the reason why millions will celebrate every October 31st. Get involved, Donate; Partner with us and Volunteer for JesusWeen - “World Evangelism Day”." 

Oh! So Christians of all stripes should band together to co-opt this dark and grisly day for the purpose of shining the light of Christ and such. Well, that's... what we're supposed to be doing the other 364 days of the year, too. While their goal is admirable, I'm cringing that they've stuck it with such a cheesey cornball name and that they felt the need to hitch it to the Halloween wagon. I mean, come on! JesusWeen? So hallowed be the Father's name, but not the Son? Augh!

It also reminds me of the "Jesus Is My Homeboy" type within Christianity. You know, the folks who have a "store-brand" Christian version of the "real" secular product. They won't actually wear Ed Hardy, but will flock to the local Christian bookstore for a tee that borders on copyright infringement, replacing skulls with crosses. Now, I'm not against Christian products. And full disclosure- I rocked a "Jesus Is My Homeboy" tee back in '04 proudly (I did because, well He is, but also I knew it was kitschy). I just don't like when Christians go out of their way to copy secular things in an attempt at appearing relevant or cool. We just seem like Oateeos to their Cheerios.

But I am okay with flipping something that is secular for the good of God. That is how we got Christmas, after all, when the Roman Catholic Church Christianized a pagan holiday. I like how John Mark Reynolds puts this flip in "Thank God for Halloween": "Christians are good at taking wicked old customs full of fear and turning them into good and joyful events. If a cult worships a mountain and names it for a demon, Christians will ignore the old backstory and name it after a Christian hero. What we never do is ruin anything good about the old ways. We save what we can of them." 

He continues: "Of course, All Hallows, the day before All Saints, does not need much saving at this point. We made it our own and as a Christian, I refuse to let the pagans have it back. Halloween taught me some good lessons as a child. Halloween reminds me that death is part of living and I too will die. In my grandmother’s day, funerals were major social events and the undertaker had fewer abilities to pretty up the corpse. Ancient Christians worshiped in the catacombs amongst the tombs of the righteous dead. Christians were not afraid. In most villages entering church meant passing through the churchyard. You knew that someday you would join those that had gone before you in resting in that sacred ground. A man was baptized, worshipped, was married, and finally buried in his church. He knew that several times a year, such as All Hallows, his church family would remember him. This is good for the living and a comfort to the dying."

Good points all. I like what my church did last year. Take the emphasis off Halloween and on to All Saints Day, encouraging kids to dress as saints they look up to. I think a lot of Protestants have dropped the ball on dropping this holiday.

No matter how you choose to celebrate, or not celebrate tomorrow, just remember to be safe. Especially for all my fellow Northeasterners who got hammered with snow this weekend. How's that for a trick? Because digging your pumpkins out from under the white stuff is definitely not a treat. :-/


Friday, October 28, 2011

If You Came Here From BGLH...


... then welcome! I'm so glad you clicked the link. I hope you enjoy your visit and come back often. If you'd like to know a little more about this blog, then you can go to the Not-So Frequently Asked Questions. They are a bit dated now since I wrote them in 2009, but you'll get somewhat of an idea on things.

You can read on Christianity or Christ, or Religion. I did a little series on Hair which I've been meaning to continue. It documents my time transitioning as well as sharing stories of other curly/kinky haired girls.

And of course, there is the Moi section. I talk about what I think I know best me, lol. Friends, family, personal struggle. My neurological problems. Wrestling with doubt. The times I've been a b****. Yup, I lay it out there. So I hope you like what you read, and I definitely encourage compliments... uh, er, comments. And if you want to write a guest post (I'm looking at you Aja), email me at alishadefreitas@gmail.com.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy Anniversary!




From the time we started dating, I knew you'd be the one. And you felt the same, giving me a promise ring I still wear now.








We were soon married, and only have had eyes for each other!






We've weathered many storms, but it has only brought us closer.






 Together, we have built a life, a home...






... and a family.






I love you. Happy Anniversary, my Knight.



Friday, October 14, 2011

Straight Outta Dunwoody




I found this hilarious! I dedicate this to all my fellow nerds! He he he!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thanks to God, This Rapper is a Real Supaman

Rapper Supaman and his baby boy.


I found this awesome and inspiring story from NPR about a Native American rapper, Supaman, very inspiring:

"In southeast Montana, thousands of miles from the birthplace of hip-hop, a man with the given name Christian Parrish Takes the Gun has been rapping to young people on the Crow Nation reservation. He calls himself Supaman, and he's been merging inner-city music with more local concerns for more than a dozen years. "Native Americans grasp that culture of hip-hop because of the struggle," he says. "Hip-hop was talking about the ghetto life, poverty, crime, drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy; all that crazy stuff that happens in the ghetto is similar to the reservation life. We can relate to that." 

Supaman says he saw that crazy stuff as a kid. He says his parents were alcoholics and he spent lots of time in foster care before moving in with his grandfather. And for as long as he can remember hip-hop was playing in the background, like a soundtrack. When he was 24, Supaman decided it was time to make his own music. "It was just nonsense," he says. "it was just dumb. It was like gangsta rap, or something. The way hip-hop influenced me in my earlier years is in a negative way. I mean, I hate to say that, but it's true." He says he and his friends took the stories they heard in rap songs and made them real life. "We would play the part, you know. We were wannabees, trying to be, like, these rappers on the rez. So we started doing the crime, robbing, went into houses and trade the merchandise and then get weed from the merchandise, and then started selling." 

Supaman says he got lucky — he was never caught breaking the law, and as his music career gained momentum, it seemed hip-hop could be his ticket to a better life. A record label in Seattle took interest in him, and Supaman started touring, leaving behind his wife and baby. On one trip he and another Native American rapper were in New Mexico, bringing down the house. After a performance, two girls walked up to him. "And they're like, 'You were awesome up there, where you from?' " he says. " 'I'm from the Crow Nation.' " 

One thing led to another and Supaman found himself kissing one of those girls. Then he caught himself. "I start feeling like 'What are you doing? You got a wife, you got a baby girl.' " It was the first time Supaman had felt remorse in a long while. He got sick to his stomach and couldn't eat for days. He missed concerts. And he began to question the life he was leading and to look for answers in unlikely places, like one night back at the hotel. "I was just down and out — rock bottom you could say — and I grabbed the Bible," says Supaman. Reading the Bible rekindled memories of going to church as a boy. And despite his own disbelief at first, Supaman found himself in a dialogue with God over the next few days. 

He says he saw a sign of his presence and fell into prayer. "And I felt right there at that moment this love, I felt this warmth come over my body," he says. "I said, 'God, why did you do this? You know me, I'm dirty.' I just cried. Tears came down my eyes; I'm holding it back right now. Every time I tell this story I feel that. And right there I said 'All right, I'm yours God. You want me to rap for you? I'll do it.' " 

To read the whole story and listen to one of his songs, click here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Braids Are Back?






Uh... when did they go out of style?













I'm sorry Today show, but major fail. Even when I take into account that for this Black girl, braids never truly went out of style, this story was seriously late. I've been seeing Hollywood starlets like Nicole Ritchie and Kourtney Kardashian wearing braids for years (since about '07, I think). Sheesh... and duh on putting a scarf on your head at bedtime to protect your 'do. LOL!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Apps & Hope



In the wake of Steve Jobs' death over the weekend, I've seen a number of cartoons similar to the one above. Steve Jobs with St. Peter, Steve Jobs with God, Steve Job making suggestions on approving Heaven. They are cute little comics, but stand in stark contrast to the actual Apple co-founder's true religious beliefs.


On Saturday, during a quick Starbucks run, I picked up a copy of the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal and read an article titled, "Steve Jobs, the Secular Prophet". Floating around the web, along with the cartoons, are feel-good excerpts of a speech Jobs made at a commencement address. But the whole quote is a lot more telling:

"No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent; it clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now, the new is you. But someday, not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it's quite true. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become."

The writer of the piece, Andy Crouch, made these points about the late techie mastermind:

"Steve Jobs was the evangelist of this particular kind of progress—and he was the perfect evangelist because he had no competing source of hope. He believed so sincerely in the "magical, revolutionary" promise of Apple precisely because he believed in no higher power... 

...Death is "life's change agent"? For most human beings, that would sound like cold comfort indeed. But the genius of Steve Jobs was to persuade us, at least for a little while, that cold comfort is enough. The world—at least the part of the world in our laptop bags and our pockets, the devices that display our unique lives to others and reflect them to ourselves—will get better. This is the sense in which the tired old cliché of "the Apple faithful" and the "cult of the Mac" is true. It is a religion of hope in a hopeless world, hope that your ordinary and mortal life can be elegant and meaningful, even if it will soon be dated, dusty and discarded like a 2001 iPod. It is said that human beings can live for 40 days without food, four days without water and four minutes without air. But we cannot live for four seconds without hope."

Crouch goes on to note Jobs' Zen Buddhist faith, and his belief that this life is all we get. He contrasts it with the Christianity of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who held to the Biblical belief of eternal life.

The essay was well-written and made me think. Especially of hope. Jobs had a point about death, how people want heaven without the ugliness of death. And yes, the death rate for us all is one per person. For me, what makes even the thought of death- and currently, the suffering of life - tolerable is hope. Not in the emptied of meaning, politicized "hope" we've been hearing about the past three years, but the hope I find in the loving mercy and grace of God. Because of that hope, I know that while one day my body may be discarded like a "2001 iPod", my soul never will be.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Occupied: Doth They Protest Too Much?



Despite being a mere hop, skip, and a bridge (or tunnel) away from me here in Jersey, I paid little attention to the protest being held in the city known as Occupy Wall Street until a few days ago. I rarely watch broadcast television anymore, and I usually get my news in snippets from the Internet via my IPad or cell. When the story popped up a couple of weeks ago, I simply bypassed it. But it has become hard to ignore as my timeline in Twitter and newsfeed in Facebook became full of links, pictures and opinions on the spreading protests.

A few days ago, while checking a CNN story on the protests, I asked K what he knew about it. And his answer was, "Not much." Hmmm... "Um, do you know what their goals are?" I asked. Without looking up from his laptop he answered, "Nope." Oh... My confusion was confounded when some of the protesters interviewed couldn't answer that all important, yet basic question either. Some seemed to be protesting for the sake of... protesting.

While catching up on episodes of television shows I missed because I don't watch broadcast television anymore, I saw the second episode of this season's "Community", in which leftwing, liberal, vegetarian hippie Britta learns how a former friend of hers has been imprisoned in the Middle East for protesting. She becomes jealous and begins a campaign to protest "the man" on Greendale's campus. "The man" being Security Guard Chang, and the result being hilarious:



Okay, hilarious and bizarre. But any show pumping 80s classics is definitely blog worthy. These scenes reminded me of some- emphasis on SOME- of the protesters. They want to be caught up in something. After all, all those thousands of young Arabs got to protest this past spring... why shouldn't we take the autumn? Let's make sure it gets on Facebook, okay?!?

But of course, not all of the protesters are about to slap on a black bodysuit decorated with Barbies. They actually have much to protest. They are sick of being unemployed, underemployed and hopeless. They want the change they were promised in '08, but have yet to see. We are battling on more fronts, with no end in sight. We're even more in debt. More people are seeking food assistance. Things are pretty freakin' scary. I like Red Cardigan's take on it.

While many of my Earl Grey sipping friends are taking potshots at the OWS crowd, I'd like to point out that their compatriots started out in much the same way two and a half years ago but without the coverage level of the latte crowd. I also think the OWS crowd need to quickly coalesce around some kind of platform soon a la the Tea Party, because I doubt too many people will want to march around lower Manhattan in 35 degree December weather without having some real organization to stand on.

No matter where you stand on the protests, I'm sure we can all agree, it's Lionel Ritchie we're looking for.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Message That Can't Be Killed




"Ladies, your man is nastier than you ever imagined. Your man has been watching porno since he was twelve years old. He has pornographic images in his head and wants to relive some of that s*** before he drops dead. That's right ladies, get up on it. Listen to what the f*** I'm going to say. Just because he came, don't mean you made him come."

~Chris Rock, "Kill The Messenger"

Oh my, there is much truth in comedy. I actually find the funniest jokes are based  in reality, which is why I'm still such a huge "Seinfeld" fan after all these years. Anyway, the statement above, funny in a "shaking my head" kind of way, is very true. Brutally honest, in fact.

And I believe Rock has punchlined his way into revealing one of the biggest problems with porn. Like a mental case of genital herpes, it stays with you. Forever.

When I told a friend I was going to be doing this post, he discouraged me from doing it. And I totally understand why. I'm pretty sure some of my readers clicked on this link, and after reading the above quote, with not one, but two asterisk-filled words featured on George Carlin's infamous list of seven, began their own head shaking in earnest. Well, my bad. But again, this blog is a melding of the "sacred and profane". So skip this one. But back to my friend. He said he wasn't really into porn (not every guy is... just like not every girl isn't), and only watched it a few times back when he was in the 10th grade. But THAT is the point of this post. I'll skip the salaciousness, how porn demeans the actors- turning them into meat. I'll bypass discussing the spread of disease, along with how it separates sex from love. No, I want to point out how it remains stamped in your mind, so much so that my thirty-something friend who doesn't even like porn can still remember viewing it over fifteen years ago.



I have a friend, a very good friend, who I remember sneaking into my brother's room with back when we were about 16 or 17. We would go in there on occasion because he always had something two bored upperclass high school girls could use. A huge stereo system or a few bucks we could "borrow" to use at the corner store. One particular boring afternoon, we stumbled upon his stash of dirty mags. And by stumble, I mean, literally stumble because he had left them out in a pile along with copies of Rolling Stone and Spin. Both of us being very curious, picked up a mag and stared, laughing at the frankly unattractive couple in the middle of what should be a very private moment. "Look at her hair!" I said (yeah, I actually honed in on her feathered, permed do before taking stock of the sex). "EWWW... look at his face! Gross, Li! He looks like a dirty old man!" That was her first impression.

I bring this story up because I remember the two "models" to this day. He with his reddish-brown hair and thick beard. Her with the 1980s neon pumps on. And nothing else. I saw that magazine about twelve years ago. And I STILL remember it. I might not have mental herpes, but I definitely have some pox scars on my mind. I had rubbed up against some porn, gotten itchy with curiosity, scratched, and still have the marks to show for it.



I feel very bad for the ladies Chris is talking to. Think about that... making love to your man, sharing your body with him, giving yourself freely... to your husband... who is mentally doing some strange woman... repeatedly... augh. They've had a love affair going since he was in middle school. Might be the longest relationship he's ever had.

Chris' joke is humorous, but the story behind it is not. It's hurtful. Viewing porn is a message that can't be killed.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Twenty Questions: The Wire

So I'm on maternity leave, and have had a chance to finally watch "The Wire", a show that ended three years ago. I know I'm super late to it, but this show is absolutely the best drama. Ever.

A quick disclaimer though- it also has the most use of profanity on a drama. Ever. Except for maybe "The Sopranos". There's just something about gritty, murderous, hour long series set on the East Coast that aired on HBO and that mandates excessive and creative use of the "F-word", I guess.

Anyway, I haven't done a "Twenty Questions" since January (!!!), and after reading a recent Minus The Bars post on "The Wire", I figured I'd give it a shot. Here goes!




1.) Why did Wallace have to die? Why?

2.) Just how long were those extension cords the Corner boys used to get electricity in the boarded up row houses?

3.) And whose outlet were they plugged in to?



4.) How ugly was Ziggy's prized jacket?

5.) Have you ever heard of the term "low rise" actually used outside of the series? This Jersey girl was well aware of "high rise", but "low rise"? I would think they were talking about jeans.

6.) How ugly was Shardene's glasses? Did she just keep the same pair from the seventh grade?

7.) Were you as surprised as me that Shardene wound up with Freamon?



8.) How creepy is Omar's whistle version of "The Farmer and the Dell"? Um, what exactly is a dell, anyway? I mean, the non-PC dell, that is.

9.) What do you think McNulty really wanted when he showed up at Kima's apartment late that night just to say, "Thanks"?

10.) Which character had the most obnoxious nickname? Poot? Stinkum? Dukie? Cheese?

11.) Which version of the opening theme song was best?

12.) Did you know "The Wire" and NBC's "Homicide: Life on the Street" were both based on the same book by David Simon?

13.) Did you know many of the actors from "The Wire"- such as Clark Johnson, Peter Gerety, Larry Gillard, Jr., and J. D. Williams (among others)- first appeared on "Homicide"?



14.) Did you catch John Munch (Richard Belzer) of "Homicide" and currently, "Law & Order: SVU" arguing at Kavanaugh's in a fifth season episode?

15.) Am I the only one to not realize for a while that Snoop is a girl?

16.) Do you think the Co-op received some kind of business rate on the meeting room they used at the hotel?

17.) Did you smile as much as I did when Bubbles' sister finally opened that basement door?



18.) Who is the Greek? Really?

19.) Wasn't it strange to see Poot selling sneakers in that faux-ref uniform?

20.) Are your fingers crossed for a "Wire" reunion movie?

Hmmm... I'm thinking I might have to do a second part to this. Check out Don's post on Minus The Bars, or if for some (admittedly strange) reason you've read this entire post without having the faintest idea of what "The Wire" is, click here. Then comment away!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Jesus, Ellen & Ann



 Yes, His hair shines, but is it too 1st century?



This morning on the "Today" show, Ann Curry interviewed comedienne and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, who is promoting her latest book.She offered up opinions on her relationship, homes, and even Jesus:




What struck me was that little bit about Jesus. Ann says Ellen writes in her book, "... if Jesus were alive today, there would be polls about him in 'US Weekly'." Ellen goes on to say that there would be polls about his appearance, like his long hair and robes. I got Ellen's point. That even Christ would be held to silly, superficial standards, and that people would jump at the chance to judge him on such.

But what got me was the "IF Jesus WERE alive today" part. IF? I immediately thought, HE IS! And people do happily judge Him. I've read in books, magazines and blogs about how Jesus isn't good- He spoke too harshly to some, didn't heal everyone, advised the rich young ruler to give away his wealth...

Ellen also mentions how her wife, Portia di Rossi, told her to be loved is important, but to be understood is profound. That statement, in itself, is profound. It also made me think of how many people today claim to love Jesus, but don't understand Him. Not his power, love or mercy.

Funny how a morning talk show could become a devotional, all before my first cup of coffee.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Number One Killer

I saw this video on Bad Catholic today, and it got me thinking. Check it out: What do you think? Effective? Offensive? I remember the uproar about six months ago over a billboard in NYC that utilized a similar, in your face message. I'd love to hear your feedback.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Non-Political Michele Bachmann Post


Being that Election 2012 is a mere thirteen and a half months away, it goes without saying that the media has been reporting on it since, oh, let's say, early 2009. But since the promary season is actually now heating up, the coverage is really getting play online, on TV and in print.

And with this coverage comes mudslinging, or in the case of the above Newsweek cover, a downright mudslide.

Yeesh... let me preface this with a strong caution that I am not endorsing Michele Bachmann (or, for that matter, any politician) on this blog. This is purposeful. While I do watch the debates and read quite a bit on the subject (leading to countless debates with my brother Joe), I don't really discuss politics on this platform because it's such a divisive topic and people online tend to go batcrazy in the comboxes about it. For an example of this, check out the Red Cardigan's post on why she's not voting Republican anymore. Besides, I write about religion, and have caught enough flak for believing... if I add politics and sex, I'm just asking for the ultimate trifecta of hate to rain down on me. Although I'd like to have more than a dozen hits on a particular day, I'll pass.

If you are interested in a defense or support for Bachmann, check out Wintery Knight's blog. But no, this post is about that godawful picture that was plastered on the front of Newsweek. Instead of depicting Bachmann's "rage", it showcased how much they hate her. I mean, really, really hate her. And that, right there, is a turn off for me. I know exactly what I'm getting if I choose to pick up that mag. A six or seven page hatchet job. And quite fankly, that's boring. At least to me. It's the feeling I get when I see the quadrillionth Life & Style cover story about Brad/Angie/Jen. Not only will I NOT purchase your periodical, I will NOT even peruse it while waiting in an excruciating long, non-moving checkout line at Shoprite. I'd rather pretend to not be checking out the cover of the National Enquirer.

But maternity leave can do strange things (like leaving me wide awake watching Batman: The Animnated Series and reruns of the post-Sam-and-Dianne episodes of Cheers at 4A.M.), so when I stumbled on this "we really, really hate Michele Bachmann" piece from The New Yorker, I read the whole thing in one sitting. I should add that the online version does not contain any hideous pictures of the Tea Party darling, either, so I wasn't quickly spooked. Actually, I wasn't spookedd after reading it, either, but I was curious about the late Evangelical leader Francis Schaffer, who gets a surprisingly large amount of coverage in the piece based on Bachmann saying she was influenced by his 1970's documentary, "How Should We Then Live?" I read Frankie Schaffer's "Crazy for God" a couple of years ago, and while I thought the book was interesting, I got the feeling Junior was writing from a place of deep hurt and some anger at his father. So I didn't want to judge the elder Schaffer on that book alone. And the New Yorker story depicted him as a theocrat bent on Christianizing the U.S. by any means necessary. So moved by the article, I went to trusty YouTube and slowly went through the entire 10 part series of "How Should We Then Live?". I finished it up this morning, and while I don't feel I have a full opinion of Schaffer himself, I do have one of his documentary. It's... okay. Yeah, not very descriptive, but I really felt it falls somewhere in the middle as far as my interest goes.

What I didn't get was the doom Lizza (the New Yorker writer) broadly paints in his smear job Bachmann piece. What I did get from his article was no more interest (one way or the other) in his actual subject, but instead, in Schaffer and his take on the Christian worldview. As a former Journalism student, I'd say that would garner a writer a weak review.

But at least it still wasn't as jacked as that Newsweek cover, even if it did send the same message.
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