The Appetite of Infancy (Reposting someone else’s great essay)

The Appetite of Infancy

I have never been so tired as I was when I stepped on that plane; neither have I been so happy for so many empty seats. I was dreaming of a two-hour nap before I even found my place. Of course, as is usually the case in situations like these, when one is intent on being anti-social and insistent on having earned the right to be so, I found myself not only with a companion, but with an animated, loquacious, first-time traveler.

The young woman beside me had been a child as she watched the events of September 11th unfold and had determined then never to travel by airplane; that is, until today, when events reared a need to break her own rule. She was terrified and excited and inquisitive all at once. She also noticed things I’m fairly certain I have never noticed in all my years of travel, commenting with elation, curiosity, or confusion on every single one of them. By the time we landed, I not only had a new friend, I was wide awake to the disheartening reality of all I fail to see around me.

It would seem that repetition has a way of lulling us to sleep; monotony a way of robbing us of sight, or else leaving us in the stupor of disinterest. Real life examples are readily available. How many news stories do we need to hear about violence or suffering, racial oppression or injustice, before we fail to hear them at all?

For that matter, how many stories about something small but positive do we really take in before we respond in boredom? How many times do we need to sit on an airplane or see the bird outside our window before the marvel of flight simply goes without notice? Like most adults, we learn to tolerate the repetitious by learning to operate on auto-pilot.

And yet, I am certain, even among the most skilled of auto-pilots, there was a time when we found ourselves, like every child, delighting in the monotonous, longing for another minute with grandpa, another page of the story, another trip down the slide. The incongruity is unmistakable.

How can our failure to see be blamed on monotony, unconscious living attributed to the repetitive, when at one point monotony and repetition were not only tolerated but invigorating? Blindness can easily be blamed on the world around us—and there is certainly reason to consider the daily effects of all that bombards our senses—but perhaps this is too easy an answer. Perhaps the scales on our eyes are multiplied not by the many repetitions in life, but by our failure to see life in the many repetitions around us.

Jesus spoke of the kingdom as belonging to the likes of little children, and many have speculated the child’s ability to see the world with wonder as one of the reasons for it. G.K. Chesterton saw the child’s ability to revel in the monotonous as another. The children’s cry for more, reasoned Chesterton, is a quality of the very God who created them.

“It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.”(1)

For the child on the slide or the toddler with a story, “Do it again!” is far from a cry of boredom or routine, but a cry for more of life itself. This is likewise the joy of the psalmist, the cry of the prophets, and the call of Christ: “Consider the lilies, how they grow…if God so clothes the grass of the field…how much more will he clothe you?” (Luke 12:27-28).

Jesus asks the world to consider the kingdom around us like little children, and thus, something more like God—finding a presence in faithful recurrences, grace in repetition, an appetite for an incredible world in the ordinary one around us. Here, even those within the most taxing of life’s repetitions—the daily care of an aging parent, the constant burden on the shoulders of those who fight against injustice, the labor of hope in a difficult place—can find solace.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope,” said Jeremiah in the midst of deep lament. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…’ The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him’” (Lamentations 3:22-24, emphasis mine).

Morning by morning, the daily liturgy of new mercies comes with unapologetic repetition to all who will see it, the gift of a God who revels in the creation of yet another daisy, the encore of another sunset, the discovery of even one lost soul.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995), 65-66.

Truth on Its Head (Reposting a good essay)

Truth on Its Head

G.K. Chesterton took the word “prolific” to a level that, as a writer, simply makes me feel tired. In his lifetime, Chesterton authored over 100 books and contributed to 200 others. He penned hundreds of poems, five plays, five novels, and some 200 short stories, including the popular Father Brown detective series. He wrote over 4000 newspaper essays, including 30 years worth of weekly columns for The Illustrated London News, and 13 years of weekly columns for The Daily News.  He also edited his own newspaper, G.K.’s Weekly.

 

As one can easily imagine after such an inventory, G.K. Chesterton was always writing—wherever he found himself, and with whatever he could find to write on. So, in the tearoom he scribbled on napkins. On the train, in front of a bank teller, or in the middle of a lecture, he was known to jot hurriedly in a notebook, or even on the cuff of his sleeve.

 

Chesterton’s eccentric approach to writing, in fact, matched his eccentric approach to life in general. His public image was one out of a Shakespearean comedy. If he were not recognized in the streets of London by the flowing black cape and the wide brimmed top hat he always wore, he was given away instantly by the clamoring of the swordstick he always carried—for nothing more than the romantic notion that he might one day find himself caught up in some adventure where defending himself might become necessary.

 

He rarely knew, from hour to hour, where he was or where he was supposed to be, what appointment he was to be keeping, or lecture he was to be giving. The story is often told of the time he telegraphed his wife with the note, “Am at Market Harborough. Where ought I to be?” His faithful wife, Frances, wired back, “Home,” knowing it would be most promising for all involved if she could physically point him in the right direction. Chesterton seemed to live out one of his own clever paradoxes: “One can sometimes do good by being the right person in the wrong place.”

 

In fact, paradox, in more ways than one, is an ample word for G.K. Chesterton. It was one of his favorite things to point out, stir up, and call to mind. He described paradox as “truth standing on its head to gain attention,” and often evoked such jestering truisms throughout his dialog. With declarations bizarre enough to escape defensive mindsets, but with a substance that could blow holes in fortresses of skepticism, G.K. Chesterton, as absentminded as he may have appeared to be, challenged the world to think. With humility, wonder, and genius, Chesterton taught us, in the words of Father Brown, that often it isn’t that we can’t see the solution; it’s that we can’t see the problem.

 

In his disarming manner, such that even his opponents regarded him with affection, Chesterton exposed the inconsistencies of the modern mindset, the unfounded and unnoticed dogmatism of the unbeliever, and the misguided guidance of the cults of comfort and progress. He marveled that religious liberty now meant that we were no longer allowed to mention the subject, and that “there are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.” To the convicted agnostic he said, “We don’t know enough about the unknown to know that it is unknowable.” To the social Darwinist he said, “It is absurd for the Evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing, and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything.”

 

And to all who would listen, Chesterton devotedly pled the case for Christ: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

 

To everyone his life affected, and continues to affect, G.K. Chesterton, with and without words, made a boisterous point about delighting in life to the fullest; life that is fullest, first and foremost, because there is someone to thank for making it full. He writes:

 

You say grace before meals.
All right.
But I say grace before the play and the opera,
And grace before the concert and the pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

 

Chesterton was a man alive with the gusto of resurrection, the marvel of truth, and the thankful foresight of a coming King among us.

 

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

 

For the page to turn

I watch carefully and slow
and peaceful.
Stress claws constant, gnawing gnashing
teeth sharp and white
and tipped in red.

And yet I live, sustained and filled
as I am drained and killed…
Grace-God reigns and wreathes me
in Comfort-Smoke-Incense
and I am watching
for the page to turn.

Behind the set the Makers Move,
Hear, Feel and Pray.
Grant grace so I too this day.
And every day to come remain
Faithful to turn the page.

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Bleeding Light and Memory (without images for page structure in the poem)

When light struck my soul and I blazed
fierce and exultant into awareness,
I bled radiant joy like the horizon
bleeds the sun at dawn.
And when I gazed into the glass of exultation
(seeing darkly thru that glass)
I knew myself and was
glad and wonder-full.

Until it rained
titters tinkling,
then rebukes raging, lashing at my roof
and thrumming drumming until
I saw no more darkly and thru a glass,
but thru the storm and eerie green glow
of radioactive remarks and careless cerulean (cruelean) comment,
alas. I came to know what I was not,
and I was awful (dropped an e I did).

Into days long and same,
passing people of 2 kinds that
belong and never see beyond,
never see within.

But still I pluck
throbbing buds, thorn
blood price cheap,
and hold them out
on my side of the glowing glass
(dark, through)
and wet with stormy tears
and the washy rivers of assumed presence.

But flowers fade and grass withers…
wheat words last forever
dying and reborn
to die and be born again,
as life and glacier glances grind
and move without mercy
till I am caught
between that frozen moving flow
and the dark rocks.

Bones strewn around me
in pick-up sticks of
careless hands and players
who tired of children’s games
(forgetting they must become a child)
until at last long
awareness bursts yet again
from heights dizzy and brilliant
and bleeds over me in fullness
and in terror tinklings,
thrumming and cold and stark
and cold blue clarity.
And I remember who I am,
and know what I am.
A lass.

Will you find the mercy today?
Will you find the care?
Will you go gently into our long night
and rage, rage
together with us to bless
the living of the light?
You too are dual natured,
all ye who sing sanctifications’
sweet and austere song

(old and new in one fighting)
(dead and alive in one struggle)
(corrupt and incorruption deadly dueling)

You….are US.
and we are you…but
without arms,
without eyes,
without mouths
we scream loud
and cry for release…cry out for
midwives of mercy to meet us,
make us beautiful for situation
and delivered of our awful charge.

OPEN YOUR EYES AND EARS FOR US.

See us…
hear us…
do not fear yourself,
to stare down your stormy floods,
but see, glean and grow glad.

Oh Pharaoh’s Daughters, reach down
and lift up from the reeds and mud.

Light strikes in blacksmith blows again
and soul sparks chip off and away
As She sings and joys over me
(and you).

And on this day
I intention and remember,
remember the radiant flood
and bleeding light
of day’s eternal promise,
remember the rolling thunder
and frowning floods of painful
gushing gouts and waterspouts
in the long years walked in
the country of lost men
(and despair),

remember
the pangs,
the waves,
the start of labor as I,
pregnant with my own mystery
and full of knowing
began to emerge
and break forth, touched,
warded by Grace,
and kept from the pit
which has tripped so many
and eaten them
like Goya’s devourer
chews and rends

(let their fate haunt you and give you holy hush and silence).

They too are
Eve’s sons,
Adam’s daughters,
trapped
and
yet aware…
who fell by dreadful hands
and eyes of no symmetry.

Dare.  Look.  Feel.

I will too, and somewhere
we will fight off the things
that so easily entangle and be
free again to fly and
Bleed Radiant Light.

Bleeding Light and Memory

When light struck my soul and I blazed
fierce and exultant into awareness,
I bled radiant joy like the horizon bleeds the sun
at dawn.

And when I gazed into the glass of exultation (seeing darkly thru that glass)
I knew myself and was glad and wonder-full.

tumblr_mwjz7iabru1sv18aao1_1280Until it rained
titters tinkling, then rebukes raging
lashing at my roof and thrumming
drumming until I saw no more darkly and thru a glass,
but thru the storm and eerie
green glow of radioactive remarks and
careless cerulean (cruelean) comment, alas.
I came to know what I was not,
and I was awful (dropped an e I did).

Into days long and same, passing people
of 2 kinds that belong and never see beyond,
never see within.
But still I pluck
throbbing buds, thorn blood price cheap,
and hold them out on
my side of the glowing glass (dark, thorough)
and wet with stormy tears and
the washy rivers of assumed presence.

But flowers fade and grass withers…
wheat words last forever
dying and reborn to die and be born again,
as life and glacier glances grind

tumblr_mvt9ba1Cd91r9swpqo1_1280

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and move without mercy
till I am caught between that frozen moving flow
and the dark rocks.

Bones strewn around me in pick up sticks of careless  hands
and players who tired of childrens’ games
(forgetting they must become as a child)
until at last long awareness bursts yet again
from heights dizzy and brilliant and bleeds over me in fullness
and in terror tinklings, thrumming and cold and stark
and cold blue clarity.
And I remember who I am, and know what I am.
A lass.

Will you find the mercy today?
Will you find the care?
Will you go gently into our long night
and rage, rage together with us
to bless the living of the light?

You too are dual natured, all ye who
sing sanctifications’ sweet and austere song

(old and new in one fighting)
(dead and alive in one struggle)
(corrupt and incorruption deadly dueling)

You….are US.   and we are you…but without arms, without eyes, without mouths we scream loud
and cry for release…cry out for
midwives of mercy to meet us, make us
beautiful for situation and delivered of our charge.

tumblr_mtisxhPkAd1s2z59jo1_1280

OPEN
YOUR EYES
AND EARS
FOR US.

See us
hear us…
do not
fear yourself,
to stare down your stormy floods,
but see,
glean and
grow glad
Oh Pharaoh’s Daughters,
reach down
and lift up
from the reeds and mud.

Light strikes in blacksmith blows again
and soul sparks chip off and away
As She sings and joys over me
(and you).

And on this day I intention and remember
remember the radiant flood and bleeding light
of day’s eternal promise,

remember the rolling thunder and frowning floods
of painful gushing gouts and waterspouts in the
long years walked in the country of lost men
(and despair),

remember the pangs, the waves, the start
of labor as I, pregnant with my own mystery
and full of knowing
began to emerge and break forth,

tumblr_mwf3poaVej1r2zs3eo1_500touched, warded
by Grace, and
kept from the pit
which has tripped so many and eaten them
like Goya’s devourer
chews and rends

(let their fate haunt you and give you holy hush and silence).

They too are Adam’s sons, Eve’s daughters
trapped and yet aware…who fell by dreadful hands
and eyes of no symmetry.

Dare.  Look.  Feel.
I will too, and somewhere we will
fight off the things
that so easily entangle
and be free again to fly and
Bleed Radiant Light.

tumblr_mcjyq2lX391r6eiuqo1_400

Extremely Difficult Morning

What words are there to express being a prisoner inside a body that seems like a cell, one that you can never be let out of?

I have been touched by the similarity between my own experience and that of a new friend on the blogs who also struggles with being trapped in her body.  But her body is woman, and she is woman too.

To have hair on your breasts…to have no hips…to have hair all over your face…to have a weird alien thing where nothing should be…to live under the threat of ostracization or possibly even violence if anyone knew…

Other than the undeniable fact that this is, what is there to accept about this?

I ask the Q…what did I do wrong?  Some people in churches think that people like me are demon possessed…why do I love Jesus then, and find it comforting to talk to Him, and Lady Grace and the Father?  I find release in confessing Jesus is Lord, so how can I be demon possessed?

Some people think that people like me are sexual deviants…how this assumption crumples my heart inside.  I would gladly never ever have any sexual encounter for the rest of my days if I could in return be properly bodied.  Sex is necessary for procreation, and a tremendous blessing of the expression of love, tenderness, comfort and pleasure…but it is not necessary for survival of an individual, or fruitfulness as a person.

IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SEX!

One person in my life found out and has run, like villagers from the monster of Frankenstein.

And the inevitable Qs of Why God?  No different than others who have their insufferable burdens, I guess.

The days, weeks and months have passed, and all of the masks and methods I used to hide, from myself and from others are falling like the leaves around me during this autumn season, and the trees are stripped bare…I long to be stripped bare, and I am terrified of it.

Tomorrow I shall remember the ones who were killed, but I will also mourn this one, who has never been born…for it is hard to say what is worse…a hollow that longs to be filled, or a fullness that can never find being?

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I agree with this article a million percent!!

The NFL’s Warrior Problem

incognito
Teammates and NFL personalities sticking up for Richie Incognito only perpetuate the foolish attitudes that lead to misguided hazing. (Getty Images)

There really isn’t much to say about Richie Incognito, or at least nothing good. The indefinitely suspended Miami Dolphins guard has become the face of hazing in the NFL thanks to his intense love for racial slurs and supremely unsanitary threats of bathroom violence. In a vacuum, they’re the sort of base vulgarities you’d expect from a dangerously overgrown teenager prone to outright sociopathy. The video of a shirtless Incognito cutting an especially unhinged Ultimate Warrior promo would be comically sad if not for the fact that 6-foot-3, 320-pound rampaging beast-racists tend to be dangerous. Teammate Jonathan Martin has thankfully attested to that.

In doing so Martin has branded himself an outsider in the eyes of the same culture that gave Incognito not just safe harbor, but adulation. It’s a culture that holds tight to the painfully outdated mythology of the NFL player as “warrior,” a poorly coded stand-in for masculine gender norms that value logically bankrupt notions of manhood. By finally refusing to be treated as anything less than a professional, Martin has somehow given his co-workers and colleagues free reign to declare him a “coward” and “weak.” The overarching presumption is that Martin, a friendly Stanford graduate born to a family of professional overachievers, should have fought the mammoth bigot with obvious rage issues and hoped for the best. Because, y’know, that’s how a real warrior resolves a workplace issue.

This argument was made in disconcertingly plain fashion by former NFL defensive lineman Mike Golic in what could be charitably termed a “discussion” with fellow ESPN employee Dan Le Batard. When Le Batard had the temerity to suggest that solving problems with violence is a pointlessly regressive approach, Golic went for immediate rhetorical emasculation by saying “obviously, you’ve never done anything manly in your life.” A half-hearted backtrack by Golic did nothing to conceal what he’d already laid bare: The NFL measures manhood using savagely Darwinian standards and the players sucked into that culture will sacrifice basic standards of humanity in its defense.

Martin’s own teammates have already stepped forward to not just unequivocally defend Incognito, but question the validity of Martin’s blackness while granting Incognito “honorary” status. This brand of collective victim-blaming is the universal sign of a rotten culture. When faced with the culture’s own ghoulishness, those inside it will excuse the most unacceptable of behaviors and declare war on anyone who dares question them. The culture’s norms are so hardwired that they exist in their minds as absolute metaphysical truth.

You’d have more luck arguing that two plus two equals nine with a mathematician than you would convincing Mike Golic that violence in the workplace is generally unacceptable. Even Ricky Williams, a former player whose history of mental illness gave fuel to socially retrograde criticisms, questioned Martin’s mental strength. Things are pretty backwards when a player whose very sanity was imperiled by playing football will turn around and defend psychological torment. While not every former player has joined the echo chamber of inhumanity, enough have to make clear that the consequences for taking a stand against the NFL’s culture are steep.

It’s a sick joke considering the underlying conceit at play here is that NFL players are warriors, which, come on. Athletes playing a game that amounts to nothing more than entertainment in the grand scheme of things are not in any way warriors. Compare a richly compensated and glorified NFL player to an advocate for abortion access living under the threat of violence and you tell me who rates out as a warrior — the person playing a game or the one willing to make enormous sacrifices for a just cause. If the defining characteristic of a warrior is bravery, then the answer becomes obvious.

Unless of course you, a human being presumably capable of sound judgment, deem a monstrous campaign of mental terrorism a marker of bravery. If so, then of course Richie Incognito was only upholding the true-real-man-not-a-girl-MAN-PENIS-MAN ideal of the NFL by preying on a vulnerable coworker to soothe his own glaring male insecurities. Actually, that’s called punching down and it’s a coward’s move. Every single person defending Richie Incognito and blaming Jonathan Martin is a coward, and it’s telling that their song-and-dance is not the least bit surprising. It’s part and parcel of their culture, a claustrophobic funhouse that takes our most basic shared morals and twists them into an unrecognizable mutation unfit for mainstream society — and all this in the name of giving adults free reign to play out childishly cruel war games. It’s as sadistic as it is stupid.

The start of a solution is rejecting the warrior mythology and calling it out as the distinctly male cowardice that it is. Grown-ass men puffed-up on ultimate-dude fantasies borrowed from Michael Bay and left to their own devices tend not to live up to their idealized self-conceptions. Buying into that nonsense gives the culture an implicit hall-pass necessary to its metastatic creep. Of course, a mass rejection of the warrior myth rests on the NFL’s willingness to break its own kayfabe and treat football like the professional enterprise that it is.

Richie Incognito’s football career may be all but over, but if the result of the NFL’s investigation is anything less than an outright ban on any and all hazing then they’re only guaranteeing that Incognito’s successors will go to greater lengths to keep their sadism under wraps. Forcing this culture of nightmarishly senseless machismo further underground may save the NFL some short-term headaches and headlines, but it won’t fix the problem. Given how the NFL has handled its traumatic brain injury crisis, you have to wonder if the league will even acknowledge the problem’s existence.

Welcome to America’s Game.

by Tomas Rios

What I Want To Say

It’s as simple as it can be.
I’ll leave the clothes off my words
and address you nakedly as anyone can

Each one was perfect–
that is what I want to say–
PERFECT
The perfection found
only in loving.

Do you understand?
It seems against everything we know and
It seems against everything we believe and
It is true.

To say “I love you” is a humiliation for
It is the Absolute Narrowing of Possibilities
And everyone, down to
the last one
Dreads it…and wants it…

For only in narrowing is found
Endless widening freedom.

Image 002

 

Firebird

Plunging, plunging with screaming speed,
Oh Eagle of Flame, Whose lidless eyes
Have looked into the Light behind the sun.

When all other creatures are blinded
You soar–and then–faster faster
With talons outspread–You plummet to earth.

To spit fire and speak
Speak of Her!  Firebird–Flaming One
Give me words of purity!

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Reposting a very thoughtful essay on Words

In a Word

Some anniversaries slip past us without recognition, and yet one such recipient is still smiling nonetheless. The very first emoticon, perhaps better known in the realm of online discourse as the smiley face, has been smiling for more than 25 years. Its creator, Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott Fahlman, suggested the symbol in 1982 in an online discussion about the limits of online humor. “I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-) ,” he wrote. “Read it sideways.”(1)

The rest is history. Fahlman’s smileys spread from his classroom to other classrooms, from universities to the corporate world, and eventually around the world. The emoticon aided what online communicators were all too aware was ailing. In the world of instantaneous communication, miscommunicating is sometimes more likely than communicating. Humor, sarcasm, and general human warmth can easily be sacrificed in this subculture of speed and technology. Words merely given in brief can be misperceived as terse or loaded. Comments meant to be taken lightly can be missed altogether. Many would argue that the invention of the emoticon has helped, though it certainly has not eradicated every obstacle.

Nonetheless, the quick embrace and subsequent evolution of emoticons suggests at least a subtle awareness that in the breakdown of language something human is in fact lost. High school and college professors readily lament the frequency with which “chat” language is creeping further into term papers. Their greatest concern is that many students don’t even realize there is a difference. While it can be argued that email encourages a certain sloppiness in communicating, text messaging has forged the creation of an entirely new language—a language created with regard first for the technology as opposed to the speakers or the conversation itself.

In a recent publication, Ken Myers of Mars Hill Audio made the observation that words and language both shape and affect our humanity. He then added, “The corollary of this claim is the observation that cultural institutions and habits that corrupt or weaken our use of language are profoundly dehumanizing.”(2) When words are ransacked of meaning and replaced with concepts less distinct, we ourselves become something less distinct. Though technology is far from the only culprit, wherever the offense is committed, consequences are costly. In fact, it is said that one of the first steps to slavery is a loss of language.

In his Narnian conclusion The Last Battle C. S. Lewis illustrates the enslaving force of corrupted words. The ape explains, “[The god] Tash and Aslan [the Lion] are only two names for you know Who. That’s why there can never be any quarrel between them. Get that into your heads you stupid brutes. Tash is Aslan. Aslan is Tash.”(3)

Later the ape altogether changes the name to “Tashlan,” and the impressionable crowd abides. In their hearts they still want to believe in the Aslan they thought they knew, but the loss of language is enough to set them to serve the deceptive ape. “When you have killed a word,” writes Lewis in another work, “you have also blotted from the human mind the thing that word originally stood for. Men do not long continue to think what they have forgotten how to say.”(4)

Those who allow their language to be corrupted, find their minds following suit.
In the loss of words, something human is lost.

In this, there is much to be said about the kind of God who values words, whose most persistent instruction to a faltering people is “remember,” and who gives us both permission and the responsibility to say what we mean. “Good teacher,” asked the young man of Jesus. “Can you tell me the way to eternal life?” But Jesus asked in reply, “Why do you call me good?” In other words, are you saying what you really mean? Are you ready to walk with the burden your own word requires? “For no one is good—except God alone,” he replies.(5) Indeed, are you willing to hear his answer fully knowing who he is?

There is a connectedness between our words and our humanity, between the Word at the beginning and what is real today. Those who stand alert in the world of words, who fight the corruption of language, and who learn to let their “yes” be “yes” and their “no” be “no” shall see something more through the glass darkly. They may in fact see the God who first spoke a word and brought the world into existence.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Daniel Lovering, “Happy Anniversary, emoticon,” LA Daily News, September 22, 2007. (2) Mars Hill Audio Journal, Issue 75. (3) C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle (New York: Macmillan, 1970), 32. (4) “The Death of Words,” On Stories, Walter Hooper ed. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982), 107. (5) Mark 10:18).

I need to sell some things

I am selling some of my collectibles on ebay…please check out my auctions of Harmony Kingdom items, various books, and Christmas decorations such as authentic vintage German Nutcrackers and Smokers and Pyramids (or Windmills).  They are pretty nice things, and the money will go towards helping me out with future medical costs.

http://www.ebay.com/usr/litehous    hopefully that link will work, or if it doesn’t then go into ebay and search for my user name litehouse, and/or Harmony Kingdom.

Thank you so much,

Charissa

Walking Free

If I could walk free through this shadowed place
And Time was on my side, Charissa Grace
Would step on flowers’ fragrant in the air
And keep my head up for to see you there.

My level gaze made confident and sure,
If I was free, if we had found the cure,
Then I would sing of sunsets in the night
And we would swing so high in radiant light.

And from my gut would gush great gouts of joy,
And I would ne’er again be sorrow’s toy,
If I could walk free through this shadowed place
And Time was on my side, Charissa Grace

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Ghosts

“We were dead before the ship even sank” she said.
Thin tendrils of pain wreathed round her face
unnoticed and they left scratches unseen.
The Dutchman walked the decks in her eyes, and
in her voice was the echo of wailing and tentative tongues
trying to tell themselves they were sailing
on the ship of the dead.

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Her hair crowned her soaked skull, a holly wreath
presenting her own crown of thorns and those claws
dug in to her waxy and pale fishflesh and clung
like limpets and mirrored the
cold and enflamed tendrils of grief.

tumblr_mvudcgUyT21qllucco1_1280“One by one we fell, overboard” she droned, as if hypnotized
by the drumming of the waves,
the thrumming of the engines,
and the humming of the wind
in the torn and tattered sails.

“Gone, given up by the ghost we gave up the ghost”
she murmured.

“We fell into the vast
and bottomless sea,
and the ship Sailed
unheeding on into
the long and everdark night.”

I thought on these things
as my feet were burning hot
in the bright and gritty sand,
and my face baked in the grip
of the gleaming sun
and the taste of salty strain
and the happy ache of
love’s labors in my bowed back…
and I was fiercely glad
that I had never taken that voyage.

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Do You Watch “Scandal?”

I do…and I was watching last nite when one of the most awesome gender rants ever of all time in the universe or any universe was smacked down by Lisa Kudrow’s character.  Hats off to the writer, and hats off to the wonderful Lisa.  I felt liberated just LISTENING to that bad ass rant!!

Find the original posting on the Jezebel blog at

http://jezebel.com/scandal-lisa-kudrow-goes-ham-in-an-epic-speech-on-sexi-1460876002

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Scandal: Lisa Kudrow Goes HAM in an Epic Speech on Sexism in Politics

Last night on Scandal, Lisa Kudrow — playing a Congresswoman running for President — had a seething monologue about the sexist, gendered, angled way women in politics are covered by the media.

Kudrow has been playing Josie Marcus, a Congresswoman from Montana, campaigning to be POTUS. In last night’s episode, Olivia Pope and her cohorts show Marcus a low-blow attack ad from her opponent (Reston) right before she sits down for a live, televised interview. In the ad, a woman’s trembling hand reaches for a doorknob while a stern voiceover guy says: “On the other side of this door sit the leaders of Syria, China, and Iran. On the other side of this door is America’s future — success and failure, life and death. Does America really want an inexperienced hand opening this door?” Classic negative political ad, slightly reminiscent of the infamous 3 A.M. phone call spot — but made even more pointed by the fact that it’s a female, manicured hand shaking in terror.

The ad is in Marcus’s mind as she sits down for her interview with James Novak, and she breaks from the usual calm, collected, poised TV mode into let-me-tell-it-like-it-is mode. The points Marcus makes are all too familiar for anyone who’s watched women in politics (or women in any public forum, for that matter) be attacked and criticized.

“I know what prejudice looks like,” Marcus says. “It’s not about experience, James. It’s about gender. Reston’s saying I don’t have the balls to be President, and he means that literally. It’s offensive. It’s offensive to me, and to all the women whose votes he’s asking for.”

“Are you saying that Governor Reston is sexist?” the interviewer questions.

Yes. I am. And it’s not just Governor Reston speaking in code about gender. It’s everyone, yourself included. The only reason we’re doing this interview in my house is because you requested it. This was your idea. And yet here you are, thanking me for inviting me into my “lovely home.” That’s what you say to the neighbor lady who baked you chocolate chip cookies. This pitcher of iced tea isn’t even mine. It’s what your producers set here. Why? Same reason you called me a “real live Cinderella story.” It reminds people that I’m a woman without using the word.

But wait! There’s more!

For you it’s an angle, and I get that, and I’m sure you think it’s innocuous, but guess what? It’s not. Don’t interrupt me when I’m speaking. You’re promoting stereotypes, James. You’re advancing this idea that women are weaker than men. You’re playing right into the hands of Reston and into the hands of every other imbecile who thinks a woman isn’t fit to be commander-in-chief.

Marcus goes on to point out that she served in the military for seven years — “seven more years than Reston ever served” and chastises the interviewer for omitting the fact that she was a soldier — a lieutenant — from his intro. An intro which called her a “political lightweight squeaking by on her down-home charm.” From Sarah Palin to Hillary Clinton, we’ve seen this before, so watching a woman push back onscreen was a thrill.

(Later in the episode, we discover that the shaky-hand ad was a fake, whipped up by Olivia Pope’s team as a manipulative motivator to energize Marcus.)

Since Marcus’s speech could be applied to any situation in which a woman is belittled, it’s tempting to imagine show creator Shonda Rhimes pounding away on her laptop, crafting a nice Eff You to sexists everywhere. But Peter Noah — who previously worked on The West Wing — is credited with writing last night’s episode. Either way, tirades against sexism and using the words “speaking in code about gender” get a high five.

What is Transgender Remembrance Day?

Why…it is simply the day that the decimation of transgendered people by violence, rape and murder is mourned, and the victims are remembered.

As a point of fact, know this:  for the ratio of violence against trans women to the overall transwoman population to be equivocal for cis gendered women, there would have to be over 2.2 million acts of rape, violence, and murder every year.

2.2 MILLION!

Imagine the outcry.

But a few transwomen who are brutally beaten, and then their memory fouled and polluted with painting them as deserving what happened…meh, who cares?

thus Trans remembrance day.

Find a place in your city where there is a memorial going on…attend it, and let the horror really get inside your heart.

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5 things you can do to support a transgender human being…

This is a repost from another blog…find it at

http://conversations-with-a-gender-therapist.com/

I was touched, imagining a world where someone would do these things.

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5 Things You Can Do to Promote Transgender Awareness

Before we get too far into this post I want to make it clear that I am directing this towards those readers out there who are cisgender. Meaning you do not consider yourself to be nor identity yourself as transgender. The reason being is that those who are transgender are living examples of Transgender Awareness. (However, to my trans readers out there, please feel free to forward this on to the cisgender persons in your life!)

Fair, respectful, and compassionate treatment of the transgender population is not going to happen in our country until more cisgender people step up to help educate others on what it means for someone to be transgender, what challenges they experience, and in what ways we can be of support to them. Whether it’s education given to one person at a time or given to the masses, it all makes a difference.

The inspiration for writing this post is November being Transgender Awareness Month. But, just as with any other “awareness” month, week, or day it is moreso a launching pad for getting people’s attention about something they don’t normally spend time thinking about. Promoting transgender awareness is something that needs to happen every day, not just in November.

Here are five things you can do to promote transgender awareness. Go ahead, give even one of these a try. Being a part of making positive change for an oppressed population in our country is deeply gratifying, and will be remembered for years to come.

1. Find Ways to Explain to Others What It’s Like to be Transgender

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There are a lot of different ways people try to explain to others what it means to be transgender. I’d love to gather all of those ideas at some point and publish them because you never know what particular example will finally get someone to say, “Oh, wow, I finally get it!”

I went to a workshop earlier this year given by Kaiser Permanente, and in attendance were mental health and medical professionals who begin working more often with transgender patients, now that Kaiser will be offering coverage for transgender health care in Colorado. They conducted an exercise where they had everyone write on a sticker a name that was the opposite gender of the one they identify as. We were then told to walk around the room with this sticker on and call each other by that name, as well as referring to each other by “he” or “she,” depending on what the name was, and treating them like that gender.

I was struck by how many people shared afterwards that this was an incredibly difficult exercise for them to do. That by being able to actually feel what it was like to be misgendered and seen as someone they were not, they were able to empathize with someone who is transgender.

I had an FtM client who told me he explains it to people this way: “Imagine you were told you had to wear a Nazi uniform everywhere you went, and you could never take it off.”

One more example for you… Some people have no idea that being transgender is a disconnect between the brain’s sense of gender and the anatomy they were born with, and instead think it’s a choice, a “whim,” or a preference. Lately I’ve been using the approach of, “Being transgender (to the extent that one needs to transition to the gender they were not assigned at birth) means they suffer from Gender Dysphoria. This is a medical condition, a birth defect, that causes severe mental and emotional distress. The condition is treated through both medical and social means.”

Let me know if you have any other ideas as to how to increase a person’s understanding and compassion for the transgender person’s point of view!

2. Post Information on Your Facebook Page for Your Entire Social Network to See.

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You may think that folks in your social network won’t pay attention to what you put out there, when it comes to transgender awareness. But I’m here to tell you from experience you will be surprised by just how many people it will reach and affect. Over the past year I have posted transgender-related information on at least a weekly basis on my Facebook wall and, in turn, receive both public and private messages from people letting me know how the information has impacted them.

Some have said they have a trans relative or friend and had no idea how much they didn’t know about being transgender until they read my posts. Others have said it made them examine the gender binary system our society functions under. I’ve even had a few people question me suspiciously on what I was posting and, through an open dialogue, they were able to gain new insight they hadn’t had before.

So, where can you get articles, images, blog posts, etc. to post on your page? For starters, go to the following Facebook pages and “like” them, so their updates will appear in your News Feed. You can then “share” the posts that you want your social network to see:

Conversations with a Gender Therapist (of course!)
Matt Kailey’s Tranifesto
Transadvocate
Transition Transmission
TGForum

You’ll come across more as you begin to pay attention to where the information is coming from. You can do the same with your Twitter account, Tumblr, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest… The possibilities are nearly endless nowadays!

3. Speak Up.

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This is important to do whether someone says something innocently incorrect about someone transgender or if someone is obviously being a bully.

Your approach can be, at first, similar in both circumstances, because it can be hard to initially tell which category they fall into. A polite but confident interjection, such as “Uh, actually Carly doesn’t identify as a male anymore, she’s a female.”

If the person genuinely listens and corrects themselves then go ahead and move on, so as to reduce any embarrassment or awkwardness they could be experiencing. If it’s the parent, spouse or other family member of someone who is trans and they express that they are struggling with using the correct pronouns, that’s one thing.

However, if they continue to speak in such a way that indicates they are doing it on purpose to be mean, then you have some choices to make.

It can be scary to stand up to a bully, so finding your own unique way of doing so is important. If you are comfortable with confrontation, then by all means go forth and do so. Maybe you are more inclined to use reason and logic. Or maybe simply saying, “Just so you know, you’re being a bully,” and walking away is your style. But please, do something.

I have a trans female colleague who, in her graduate level college class, was continually called “he” by the teacher, even after she explained to him how much it hurts her when he does that. Not a single student in the class stood up for her.

Bullying doesn’t just happen in our kids’ schools. Grownups are just as guilty of it as well.

4. Take the Extra Step for Your Transgender Family Members, Friends, and Colleagues

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I know, a lot of you will say you don’t know someone who is openly transgender. Trust me, some day you will.

For those of you who already know someone transgender, I found this bit of advice from blogger Samantha Allen that I just had to quote directly from her post 7 Ways to be a Trans Ally:

“Use Your Amazing Cisgender Powers for Good.”

She goes on to say,

While I work on my female voice, you can manage difficult customer service interactions for me. You can prepare a server to use appropriate pronouns by saying, ‘I’ll have a beer and she’ll have a…’ See how that works? Clever, right?

Take me to the bathroom with you. Please. It’s scary alone. Shield me from stares. Yell at people who are rude and correct people who use the wrong words. Realize that you’re like a god to me and use your powers for good.

If you’re not sure how you can help, go ahead and ask. Every transgender person is a unique individual. Some of them may thank you for the offer but say they can handle it themselves. Others will want your help reminding co-workers of their proper pronoun. Others will appreciate you sticking by them during their transition while others make their way out of their life.

Really, it would take only a few moments of your time, but in the end it can make a world of difference to someone who is transgender.

5. Show Your Support at a Transgender Day of Remembrance Event

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Transgender Day of Remembrance
(TDOR), which originated in 1998, is an annual observance on November 20th that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. You can find where your nearest TDOR event is by going to www.transgenderdor.org.

Not only is this a way to show your support of the transgender community, but also an opportunity to expand your understanding of the experience. It may be difficult to sit through the reading of the names of all of the people who died this year due to anti-transgender violence, but becoming emotional about of the realities of what this population faces may be just what you need.

Homework Assignment

All of the above.

Longing

I am longing,
as a sailboat
longs for water,
Longs for the
cool swell of the river.

I am longing
as a dark soft curl
of a woman’s hair
longs for a flower.

I am longing,
as the blueness of sky
longs for the rhythmic
fables of bells.

I am longing,
as an empty cradle
longs for someone’s
tremulous sleep.

I am longing,
as a mirror
longs for
Reflections.

Such a longing.
Such a long time,
such a long way,

Such a longing.

Autumn's Vantage

Cornered

And I find at long last
the days taste of black licorice and
camphorous witch hazel
scrunched over my heart,
and ground-in dirt and gritty green and gummy pain
crust thick and stale over its surface.

I pull my brown drab blanket closer
and cling to clotted adhesions
of inner and outer worlds in collision.
Cornered, walls of the past and the future
hem me in. Raw, bleeding tears

and tears
where I seek to
strip away small comforts
but only tear pieces of me
off with them.

cornered.

and how deep runs the river,
how cold the current
how silent the stream.

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Reposting An Article which helps distinguish drag queens from transgender women

 

Will TransAmerica Aid or Exploit the Lives of Trans People?

Posted: 10/18/2013 6:25 pm

I was having brunch with a friend this past weekend. As we walked off our meals, we talked about a few upcoming events bound to impact transgender people (and, just as importantly, public perception of transgender people). The conversation eventually turned to the upcoming transgender-centric reality show TransAmerica, currently in its casting phase.

Described as a “docu-soap reality series” that will “[push] the envelope … to redefine sex in the city with a transgender twist,” the casting call expresses an interest in “dynamic and fashionable trans women,” referring to them as a “divine sisterhood.” Additionally, Doron Ofir Casting, the agency behind TransAmerica, is most famous for also handling the casting of RuPaul’s Drag Race, a show about (typically cisgender men who enjoy performing as) drag queens. Given the “dynamic and fashionable” line in the casting call, I have to wonder whether the TransAmerica casting will reflect the actual trans women I know or will be something more along the lines of a flamboyant, over-the-top, Drag Race-esque monstrosity.

And given the fact that the show’s creators would work with such an agency, I really have to question their motives. In my opinion, RuPaul is one of the most transphobic men in the world. When asked about the difference between a drag queen and a trans woman, RuPaul answered, “About $25,000 and a good surgeon.” I think the blog planetransgender responded to this statement best:

Matting of makeup and hitching your penis between your legs for a occasional night of fun at others expense doesn’t make you trans, it just makes you an obnoxious man in a dress. That’s all. Being in drag for a few hours doesn’t give you the right or even the life experience to speak for trans people.”

RuPaul is not transgender. He’s a cisgender, gay man. Nevertheless, the world looks to him as some sort of trans icon. When he says “tranny” and tells those of us who might be offended by that term to “fuck off,” he’s damaging the lives of actual transgender people. His cavalier use of that hateful term gives others the impression that they can use it when describing trans people or drag queens. He exploits trans people for personal financial gain.

Something about this casting call tells me that the casting agency isn’t exactly looking for anyone I’d be able to even remotely relate to. As I write this, I’m wearing a pair of jeans, a navy-blue, long-sleeve T-shirt, and a pair of beat-up Tom’s flats. You’ll never see me with big, fake eyelashes, nor will you see me teetering around in stilettos. I’m guessing that if you play the “Trans Documentary Drinking Game” while watching this show, you’ll end up wasted.

Maybe it’s not too late. Maybe the show’s producers can shift to a casting company that has a less tainted past when it comes to trans sensitivity. Maybe the show’s producers will realize that their show has the same name as a 2005 movie starring Felicity Huffman. (There’s nothing wrong with using the same title, but seriously, couldn’t they be a little more creative?)

When the show premieres, you’ll likely find me here, banging my head against a wall as I watch my people exploited, lumped into one big, over-the-top mess. There’s a chance I’ll be completely wrong about this, but something tells me that that’s not going to be the case.

Follow Parker Marie Molloy on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MissParkerMarie

When I was in 8th Grade…

I listened to The Carpenters incessantly!  Constantly, and I would cry along with the dreamy sad sound of Karen Carpenter, whom I thought was the most amazing vocalist I had ever heard.  How was she able to capture the lonely longings and isolation that I was in all the time?

 

I also liked Vikki Carr, and her song “It Must Be Him” just broke me everytime with her despair when her lover didn’t end up calling on her.  Take a listen sometime…to the beautiful Karen Carpenter (God please Bless her), and Vikki Carr.

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How many cis-gender women would be willing to wear the label of transwoman?

The salient part of this article is what I will post.  The whole thing can be found at the following link:

http://womenborntranssexual.com/

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Now let us suppose that being TS/TG wasn’t an exceptional burden for any child to grow up with.

That would presuppose the transkid wasn’t obvious, that it wasn’t written on their body and they didn’t have their education destroyed by bullying.

We all have one thing in common.  At some point in our lives we come out and transition.

Considering how M to F transsexual and transgender people have to fight to be considered part of the human race, much less women is it really reasonable to smack us around with the male privilege slur?

Further this gets used in a gender policing manner that requires us to adhere to some of the strictest gender guidelines this side of some of the fundie religious cults.

If our status as female goes unquestioned then we are free to be loose in our embrace of gender without taking a bunch of shit.  Unless we out ourselves to people we think are our friends in the lesbian/feminist world.

Then our doing anything is seen as residual male privilege.  Even if we learned the skill long after transitioning and had to put up with all sorts of sexist bull shit to learn it.

I feel sorry for those sisters who aren’t able to blend in.  What sort of male privilege is there to being obviously TS/TG?  To being unable to get a job or walk down the street without being taunted?

But there is a real test, one that is pretty much a fail by anyone’s standards.

How many cis-gender women would be willing to wear the label of transwoman?

One would think that all sorts of cis-gender women would embrace the label in exchange for all the privilege transwomen are supposed to have.

But I be willing to bet damned few would risk coming out to their friends as being a transwoman, even as part of a psych experiment to record their friend’s reactions.

Most of those who hurl this slur are simply being hateful and displaying their own norm-born cis-privilege.  They know full well that TS/TG people go through life taking shit cis-gender folks would be appalled at were it to happen to them.

The real kicker is we are just supposed to suck it up and absorb the bullshit, just like we did when we were transkids.

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South Delhi Roadside, 8 A.M. by Michael Creighton

One of my very favorite poems ever, appeared in a newspaper years ago…I am blown away at the capturing of the power of a Woman, and the ready relish her man takes in being hers.

 

She is lovely, I think, as she sits,
one hand draped lightly over the shoulder
of her breathless companion, the other moving up and
out, as it punctuates the monologue she is murmuring
in his ear. Even from here, I can see that fines lines
break and run from her eyes, and banks of invasive gray
have taken root in her wild black curls. (Later today,
I will read that Sharon Stone has proven older women
can be beautiful, and I will think—was there ever
any doubt?) My God, this woman looks like a queen,
except she is sitting sideways, balanced,
on the back of an old, black bicycle.

The late April heat is already up,
and anyone looking would see
this man of hers is hard at it; his pressed
white shirt had become untucked in the back,
and the slick bare skin at the top of his head
is pearled with sweat. I wonder
if he finds himself wishing
he could trade the load he is pedaling
for a bottle of cold water, or an FM radio.

Suddenly, the corners of her lips elevate slightly,
and taking his right ear between her thumb and forefinger,
she tugs. His head snaps back, mouth open wide,
and he laughs with such force
that even the dogs drowsing
in the dusty shade that lines this road
lift their heads and sing.

As She Sleeps

I watch, fingers for eyes,

as she Sleeps
night pulled inside her,
down her eyes
like a velvet blanket

I touch…face, and see pain flying away,

ducks from the pond
breaking
dashing in the dark
feathers fluttering feebly
all that is left of the fight

i stroke and see

strife shuffling off
shambling shibboleth
gross golem
gone.

my hands heal, they speak,

and call the sun
rising inside her, restoring her to
light to
love to
life…and life.

my lips preach with

a kiss upon her brow,
and she sighs
and i know the dawn is come.

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