Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I Am the Revolution!

Peeking in. . . .

Hello again.

Didn't really mean to drop in unexpected and/or uninvited, but well, deal with it.

I've been off on a sabbatical, timeout, vacation, or any other amusing reference you might desire to attach to my abrupt but publicized leave-taking of social media shit.

I have read immensely more. I have prayed more. I have knitted more, and laughed more, giggled uncontrollably for extended moments in time captured in my heart and laid aside for those dreary days that pop up here and there.

I have found my husband to be my best friend once again, which he always was, but gave way in quiet knowing to my love affair with my own written word and my insanely silly belief that someone cared what the fuck I had to say.

I cared. Was that not enough?


For I was that proverbial fraud who claims they don't give a fuck when I of course gave the most massive fuck of all.

Validate me I screamed. I will not relent until you admit that I was right all along, and you were and are miserably wrong-headed and probably can't be trusted to get the "no pulp" orange juice except through a  pre-arranged call to the supermarket to alert them that you are coming.

Finally I asked, explain to who? or whom? shit I don't give a fuck about which one surely.

Well, the meds are kicking in, (the spiritual ones I've been watering assiduously for a month or more), and I'm not giving a fuck pretty good these days.

I watch maybe thirty minutes of the circus known as politics and then I say, "I really don't give a fuck," and find a baseball game. I'm up on both Arrieta's ERA and Noah Syndergaard's. That's something to give a fuck about I gotta say.

I'm finally sailing toward a pair of socks that I made with my own two hands.

I'm an ensconced at lane six at the pool as the first morning's swimmer from end to end.

I learned how to cook a few more dishes.

I've enjoyed pizza a number of times,

Parker thinks I'm way funner to be around since I'm not arguing any more with stupid people that I truly don't really give a fuck about anyway. I mean there is a FREAKIN' REASON why neither you or I bothered to look each other up for 45 YEARS ya know. So the, "hey you have 14 grandchildren do you?" has worn it's welcome out through the house and out the back door. See ya on the backside as they say.

Anyway, if you wanna read a really really good post on not giving a fuck and which explains me better than I can explain me, read forth.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Working It Out, A Thought At a Time

Well, that's one way of doing it.

I've always been pretty confident in the way I look at scripture. I have always seen it as a most human endeavor.

We are a curious being. We like answers. When we are confused by the world, we seek to understand it. We seek to explain. We seek to predict if possible. We like answers, as I said.

I have mostly thought this way for a very long time. Common sense tends to dictate it surely. If indeed God wished to create a "manual for human living" I think he could have done so in pretty simple ways, similar to his alleged "giving of the 10". Concise, to the point, you know, CLEAR. While we may quibble about the parameters of some commandments, (does kill include all "killing" or only human defined "murder"?), for the most part they are pretty straight forward.

So when I began to formally study scripture with the assistance of learned teachers, it came as no surprise that however much we may infuse scripture with "Godly inspiration", it is still a human activity, meant to help other humans understand what is quite literally inexplicable. As such, it is open to an array of hermeneutical tools the average person has little contact with. There are form and source criticisms, redaction and textual, comparative, iconographic, psychological, anthropological , sociological, poetic, gender, feminist, liberationist, literary, and a host of others. They are all intent on trying to figure out exactly what the writer actually meant.

And I loved this more than you can imagine. It meant that there was really no end to the possibilities, no end to the new insights available. In that sense, scripture remains an alive and vibrant series of documents, giving endless bounty to the determined exegete.

I have, increasingly it seems, warred against the literalist, the fundamentalist, who is never one such except when it suits them. The bible must be read literally they exclaim, for some reason God waited until the KJV translation to use the "obvious words" that anyone with an 8th grade education can understand. But, that aside, they rebel at the idea that they need anyone to teach them anything. God teaches directly to the inquiring heart they claim.

Such people don't read stuff literally when it impinges upon their life style. No usury for me, THAT is a OT prohibition for Jews only, cancelled in the saving power of the Cross. They don't explain why they still cite Leviticus for the proposition that men should not "lay with men". But somehow that is "different." Like I said, they use literalism selectively. As many have said, "how curious that for the fundamentalist, God just happens to agree with everything they are against."

So, I was going along in my self-righteous assumptions, when as usual, the obvious hits me in the face. In reading something in a book on the early church fathers and the development of Christian theology, I noted that the New Testament writers quite often cited "scripture", and that included Jesus.

Suddenly it hit me. Did they cite scripture in a manner that would be akin to "literalism"? Did they treat scriptures as the "actual word of God"? If so, then wasn't my assumption that these were words of men in some difficulty?

As I mulled that thought over for a day, thinking of where I would search for an answer (since I knew there must be one), I of course ran directly into the answer. Funny how things work like that.

To know me, is to know that I cannot abide conflict. My brain simply screams FIX IT when confronted with believe in any two things that are in opposition. Drop one, add a third, alter one or both, but fix it. Make it make sense. My brain demands it. It has always been an utter shock for me to learn that some folks have no such problem with conflict. Fundamentalists are like this, blithely believing in things that are complete opposite, and never nagged in the slightest with the need to reconcile the disparate ideas.

A dear friend had sent me a box of books a while ago. I have slowly but surely worked on reading them. One is a Dictionary of New Testament Background, and I read an entry each morning. I am in the B's, and the day after my "conflict" I got to: Biblical interpretation: Jewish. 

And I learned that almost from the beginning, Jewish scholars interpreted their scriptures not at all literally, but rather more as a "living" document.

An example may suffice to explain.

Many scholars (I'd argue the best and majority) see the US Constitution as a "living document". In other words, they argue that the true genius of the Constitution is that our Founders were wise enough to realize that they could not possible construct a government that could foresee all possible issues and controversies. So rather than being too terribly specific in the "rights" and "duties" department, they were deliberately vague, assuming that later generations would use the "principles" stated to fashion the proper solution to the very current problems being faced.

In other words, unreasonable searchers and seizures in the 4th amendment will change over time, as we define intellectual "property" to be treated no different than one's home or car. Such property can also be seized, and thus the legislature and judiciary together will define it's parameters. Similarly, the Warren Court concluded that taken together the first ten amendments constitute a "protection of privacy" which is not stated specifically but is a rational deduction from the others together.

Similarly, Jewish scholars considered scripture to be living as well, the genius to them was that interpretations would change to meet the current crises facing the community. So a literal statement in the bible would be interpreted in light of the problem needing an answer. These interpretations were in extra-canonical writings. There was no interest in "what the writer meant".

When we turn to the NT, and look at instances of citation to OT sayings, we find a similar response. The interpretation is often borrowed from these Jewish interpretations, as needed to make the point that needs making. Scripture was often changed to more clearly reflect what the NT author wished to convey. Jesus did exactly the same thing.

A perfect example is 2 Timothy 3:8, wherein Jannes and Jambres (two magicians from Egypt) opposed Moses. Nowhere in the OT are the two men named. However, the names are found in several ancient sources used to interpret those portions of Exodus pertaining to the events between Moses and Pharaoh regarding the plagues. So extra-biblical material is added to actual scripture by the interpreter, in order to make his point in Timothy.

Far from putting into danger my belief that scripture is written by humans for humans, and interpreted by them to solve present problems, it actually makes it crystal clear that this is the way interpretation was done, OBVIOUSLY BECAUSE NOBODY FROM DAY ONE EVER THOUGHT THAT SCRIPTURE WAS THE ACTUAL WORD OF GOD.

This is what scripture is to me. An endlessly fascinating examination of what we believed, why we believed it, and how it has changed over time as we have learned more. It makes sense.

Surely not a single fundamentalist will be convinced. Their compartmentalized thinking won't allow it firstly and secondly, it is all too comforting to interpret in a way that allows God always to agree with you in the end. Their deliverance to truth must come when in some moment of weakness they open the door just a crack, and the facade breaks and falls. Logic will never move them, since logic is something they are deeply suspicious of.

I am happy simply to realize that I am still on the road, I haven't fallen into a ravine, or waded too far into the raging current to recover. I am still, by fits and starts, leaps and crawls, working my way to unity with the divine.

Come, join us. The ride is wild, but oh so rewarding.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Why We Love Her

It's been a brutal season for primaries. Even with great candidates, the war managed to get rather ugly. Bernie Sanders followers blame Hillary followers and the opposite is also the case.

There is truth to both sides no doubt. I've seen that personally, although I must say, that a good many people I know who believe in Mrs. Clinton's candidacy, try hard to stick to real issues and differences and not fall victim to the game of pointing out failures on the part of the other candidate. Mostly they don't at least, except when anger takes over.

We all get tired of hearing Mrs. Clinton referred to as "$hillary and HilLIARy". And we are very tired of "paid speeches" crap. Why do we call it crap? Because the Bernie folk admit right up to the top of their team, that they have not a clue if there is any incriminating in her speeches to various banks and other corporate types. But as long as she doesn't release them, they claim they feel free to insinuate that "there must be something bad in them."

Well, that is probably not true for a couple of reasons. Why would Mrs. Clinton risk (in a large venue speaking engagement) assuming that all those present are lovers of her such that they wouldn't record "evidence" of her vile speechifying and release it? And then there is the argument many attach to this, Mrs. Clinton's well-known history of refusing to give in to the crass bullshit raised by her opponents by dignifying their charges with actual proof to the contrary.

But I'm not here to explain and defend Hillary.

I'm here to tell you unabashedly, that we do love her.

And I'll tell you why.

You see, I"m just 66. I was born in 1050. Do you remember the world then?

I grew up as a preteen knowing a few things. I could NOT be a fighter pilot in the Air Force. I could NOT expect to ever be part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the military. I could NOT be a police officer, except as a jail matron. I was not EXPECTED to be a lawyer or a doctor, but rather a nurse or school teacher. I was most suited to being a secretary, executive or otherwise. I could be lots of things no doubt that I had no idea about, such as a physicist or chemist, but nobody encouraging me to be a psychologist or city manager.

In other words, I was either utterly not welcome in a whole list of professions because of my delicate composition (uteri and bosom), or I was dissuaded from trying because only the best of the best of the best of my gender was given a chance in this or that endeavor.

In the 50's women were expected to stay home and take care of children and husbands. They might work, but only at certifiable "ladies" jobs, such as check-out clerks, waitresses, the aforementioned secretarial jobs and so forth. We weren't paid much, but then we were only supposed to be "supplementing" our hubby's salary. We were, if employed expected to do the laundry, clean the house, do the shopping, the cooking, and well, most everything else other than car repair and perhaps run the lawn mower.

We had trouble signing contracts, buying cars and houses without male assistance. We were looked upon suspiciously when it came to jury duty. We could vote, but most of us followed the lead of the male in our lives.

Hillary grew up in the same world.

As we attained near adult hood, things had changed. Universities were setting up "affirmative action" for women like other minorities. Some law schools, and no doubt medical schools started with quotas, trying to increase the numbers of women in their classes. We benefited from that process, and we became lawyers and doctors and all the rest in much bigger numbers in the late 60's.

We saw Hillary as Bill's wife. But slowly, we discovered she was not like other first ladies. She actually had a brain and intended to use it. You might recall when she got in all sorts of hot water by "insulting" homemakers with her, "I"m not Tammy Wynette, standing by her man" and references to not "staying home and baking cookies."

You see, we were not the least offended, but we realized that a lot of women were. The women who remained in the same old stereotypical roles that has always been assigned for women? Oh they were insulted, and angry that we "professional" women had the temerity to look down upon them.

In fairness, we did of course. It took us some time to get over our radical rhetoric and realize that we were attempting to give women choices, not turn them all into CEO's and engineers. It was enough if you had the real choice to be WHATEVER YOU WISHED.

But I don't think some of those housewives ever forgot. We had made them feel small and insignificant, unwilling but more likely UNABLE to make it in the world of business where real decisions were made.

So secretly, (or not so) we were outraged at how Hillary was treated thereafter. She was the subject of every one's ire it seemed. The GOP of course, but also women who were "traditional".

We've watched her over the years. We've watched as a totally different set of rules and standards were set for her, unlike any of her male counterparts. We have seen her soldier on, overcoming, holding her head high.

She was accused of all sorts of things when she didn't throw Bill out for his sexual misadventures. She was judged, plain and simple. And there was no right to do that. Nobody knows what goes on in anybodies relationship, and nobody has the right to judge another for their decision to stay or leave, or what conditions they imposed for doing either. It was her business.

Hillary represents to us professional women of a certain age, all that we went through and endured in this "man's world". I can sit here and tell you a dozen examples that I faced as a lawyer, still operating largely among men. I was called to the bench one day by a judge that I had probably never spoken ten sentences to that didn't revolve around the law. He asked me out to lunch. When I demurred, he got mad, asking his court workers "what was wrong with her?" When they told him that I was dating a police officer, he really blew. How dare I turn down a judge for some silly cop?

Sometimes you paid for such "wrong answers" for weeks or months, before some semblance of professionalism returned to your relationship.

Hillary was one of our role models. When we grew weary of playing "the game" ( and make no mistake we all played), we looked to her and gained renewed strength. I don't want to make more of this than it was, but to all you men out there, and perhaps a certain segment of women who stayed home, it was rather awful at times. It was simply not fair. And it was the "way things were".

As the years have ensued, and Mrs. Clinton has gone on to success after success, the hatred of the right wing has if anything grown greater. They are still determined to take her down. Mostly they have not been successful. She is not down. But they have made life harder for her certainly. And over the years and decades of such attacks, a certain degree of it inevitably sticks.

Mrs. Clinton is perceived as "untrustworthy" by men and women who should know better. It is this vague thing they speak of, for they surely are unable to point to anything specific when you put it to them.

Now, by and large, we are prepared for that. Such is the life of all politicians to a degree. But with her, it has been over the top. And to hear people on our own "side" call her slanderous names in the hope that somehow that will translate into somebody, anybody, being will to throw a vote their way, is maddening, sick, and troubling.

Bernie's followers have been merciless. Out of control often, and not within his ability to control apparently, they flock to her events and try to cause trouble by calling her names. They threw money at her recently and referred to her as "Hey, HO, Hey HO, Hillary has got to go." in some sick sing-song reminiscent of her being propositioned as a streetwalker.

When you do this, you do it to us. We feel it, just as stingingly as if you had said it to us directly. You are reducing her to a vagina, unworthy to be talked to on equal terms. We have tried to gently explain this to you Bernie Bots. But you won't listen because you have found (or have been told it is possible) that all this attack business with garner a vote or two. Perhaps it will, but never enough.

Never enough because with each slur you offer this woman, you make US more determined than ever. And of course, it is all over now. You can of course continue to help the GOP by running her down, but we kind of all know how this will end. And we will remember.

You may suggest that we "friend" up again on Facebook. I'd suggest you don't bother. We are gulfs apart you and I, I suspect. I don't place all the blame on you. I share in it as well. Apparently we never impressed upon you younger men and women just how fucking UNFAIR it was when I was a kid. Apparently you think this "women are paid 79c on the dollar business" as some relic from something you can't even imagine.

Well, we can imagine, because we endured. We lived through it. We struggled, never sure where our professionalism did or should leave off and our womanly attributes be thrust forth. We had to figure out where to "draw the line" a dozen times a week, sometimes in a day. What to resent. What to react to with hostility. What to ignore. What to forgive. What to SMILE THROUGH AND TAKE!

We didn't teach you fools just how bad it was, so you could be protective of FREEDOM to be who and what you want. It's why we are so damned supportive of gays and trans people, and immigrants, and all the "others" of the world. Because WE DAMN IT HAVE BEEN THERE AND DONE THAT.

Yes, kiddo, Bernie is a fine fellow with a fine agenda. He tells us what we can dream for. His sort are always necessary and desirable. But she is one of the doers. She translates the dreams as she has over the years, into policies and legislation and coalitions of people ready and willing to work to improve the lives of average women and children and men too in incremental ways. And as the decades go by, all that incremental stuff adds up and we make another leap forward. We moved from DOMA to full marriage equality didn't we?

So defriend me all you want, I'm better off for it I'm sure. But know this. If you attack her, you attack me. And I'm not nearly as nice as she is.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Spot Ya A Synapse and Raise You one Neuron

Spoiler Alert! Reading further may make your brain hurt!

And it will hurt yours worse than mine, because mine is rather used to the chaos in here.

I'm a collection of anomalies. There I said it. I am as contradictive and dystopian as one can get. And since that sentence probably made little sense to you, well, you see how crazy it is in here?

Okay, there is this.

Life is sorta like events interspersed with getting groceries, clipping your toenails and cleaning the lint filter in the dryer. You get what I mean. We get hired, fired, a baby is born, a grandparent dies, one contracts beriberi and one rejoices at the first tomato. In between is all the "stuff" of normalcy, passing as chores, and "routine".  We get up, we shit, we wash, we dress, we fit widgets with washers and then we come home, eat, vegetate and pass out for a few hours only to do it all over again.


It's that last part that makes me shudder.

I remember being around 40ish, practicing law in dreary, scary, boring Detroit, and looking at doddering old fools in their 80's shuffling around, dropping files and papers, not being able to hear their case called very well, grabbing their victim client firmly by the arm and marching them through a plea agreement neither one understood much at all.

I cringed, not so much for the luckless client as for the picture of me doing that, that transferred into my mind and made me want to run for the nearest ledge to leap from. I dinna wanna do that when I was 80.

The endless drudgery of sameness damned near stultified my breathing.

I have never been able to comfortably imagine doing the same thing for EVER. I mean the idea of living in the same house for 40 years unnerves me. To live and die within a radius of a hundred miles fills me with such sorrow and terror actually that I would feign take a turn at the local YWCA in Salt Lake rather than live all my life one place.


Have no clue.

Just is.

Doing the same thing forever, in the same place, fills me with dread. I avoid it, have avoided it for a good portion of my life. I'm not your hi, marry me, lets have babies together, you work, I'll work, and we will raise these kids, retire, adore grandchildren, and die in a bed surrounded by all those we love. It's the scenario most buy into, happily I presume.

Me? Terrifies me. Perhaps it's because I have a family with way too many people I don't really care much for. Spending a lifetime in that company will neutralize whatever intellect one started with I'm quite sure.

Now we get to the OTHER side.

I am not the person you would call to do something spontaneous. I hate spontaneity. I gotta plan ahead. That's all there is to it. No, I will not pack a bag and fly to Paris with you on the "spur of the moment" whatever the hell spur means in that context. No I will not.

Change my pool time, and it will take me a couple of weeks to rearrange all my other rituals and routines to fit the new schedule. And I won't feel the least comfortable until I've tweaked it sufficiently such that it feels "normal" to me.

I'm doing that now. I'm at the pool now at 6 a.m., a full two hours earlier. So no reading in the morning, no breakfast, no planning menus and other trivia. No first load of clothes in the dryer as I leave. It's all upended and I'm uncomfortable.

Tell me how these two very clear focuses on life can live together in one aging body? Please!

Now add this gem.

I separate "ongoing learning" from "set learning". Set learning is that body of knowledge all tend to agree is necessary to be absorbed before one is entitled to call oneself a bricklayer, lawyer, or accountant. Once you have learned the "set" of instructions on any subject, you may be that thing, and do that thing usually with some certificate called a license.

This is the money-making enterprise, the thing that makes everything else go. It earns the bucks that enables the dryer to be bought, the steak to be savored, and the grill to be heated up. Trouble is, I'm one of those "once I have learned the set knowledge, and proven that I get it and can use it properly," I'm pretty much done. Bored out of my skull.

Ready to move on.

Not a healthy way to earn a living consistently.

Ongoing learning is the thing I crave. It's the learning that has no end, each new discovery leading to new questions  and a new line of investigation. I crave it, I love it, I embrace it.

Very cool when the two come together. But I chose law, which is the epitome of set learning. It doesn't mean you don't continually update some of the info, because you do. But one does a lot of it by rote. I shoulda chose something like theology or paleontology, both subjects I've come to love.

Of course, being from a working class family, one doesn't dawdle with foo-foo professions that don't lead to jobs in the known free world. Last time I check Kraft Foods was not looking for a theologian. In fact, about the only people who do look for "on going learning" sorts  are universities. And I didn't think I wanted to teach it.

Kaleidoscope your way into now and see how it all fell out?

Well, being retired, I no longer am bored out of my skull by "beginning with Terry v Ohio,  and Cady v Dombrowski, et al. . . ." dialogues with yawning prosecutors and judges paging through their favorite magazine on the bench. That's the good part.

I made enough money, married enough money, that I was allowed to leave that past behind and concentrate on what I wanted to do NOW.

I figured, as most early retirees do, that just "doin what I want" would be splendid. It is, to a point. Then it becomes boring and meaningless and well, yes, endless. And the old fears return. Is there nothing new under the sun for me?

I seem to have found the right arrangement recently. It's a mixture of "doin what I want" and adding in some ongoing learning, and a bit of set learning too. It's learning new crafts, new ideas, new subjects of interest to concentrate on. It's blending and mixing it all up somehow into an easy but busy day that leave one satisfied at the end that one has "accomplished something."

I always say, feed the mind, the soul, the body. It's balance and each person much figure out what balance works best for them.

Right now, I'm engaged in learning to knit socks (class starts first Sunday in February), learning Spanish, (classes one hour a week), getting to the end of at least one "100 books you should read in your life"list,  and recombining a lot of things I do already that nurture me spiritually and bodily. When those are mastered, I'll seek new adventures. I have some new leads to volunteer work that might suit me as well.

The best part is I have a partner both flexible and with ideas of his own, and we can combine some things (like the Spanish classes) and go our own way on others. Discussing our triumphs and failures, our minor successes and near misses adds variety and excitement to our life together.

So, somehow I come to grips with my need and desire for routine, and my fear and loathing of sameness, and I manage to fashion a life that suits me.

Whether I am odd or normal is really of no concern to me. What you think isn't either but still I'd be interested in how you see the world. Are you married to a spot on this earth that is "home" and feels perfect forever? Or are you like me, always looking for something new to fit into your comfortable routine?

I really hope it turns out I'm odd. I would like to be odd. It's something to aim for.