Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Really briefly

Another blogger is celebrating her 1000th post, over at Ni Hao Y'all and to celebrate she's giving one dollar for every comment to An Orphan's Wish.  Go help her spread some love to kids that really need it.  Thanks also to Rarejule at Mining with Rarejule for pointing out the comment-a-thon, she really is a rare jewel.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


In today's world, it's easy to get wrapped up in flaws and short-comings.  There is a huge selection of "self-help" books based on the premise that you should do better.  Diet industries point out our physical size and proportions.  Tutoring and test-preparation services point out our intellectual needs.  Seminars, retreats, and meetings exist to help us overcome our flaws. 

At the same time, we are shown by marketers an ever increasingly false depiction of humans.  Airbrushing, Photoshopping, extensive makeup, multiple "handlers" and specialized clothing (support garments, for one) give the impression of perfection when trying to sell us products.  The message is that "Perfect people buy this.  You can be one step closer to perfect if you do, too."  We are pressured to be our best and recognize all our faults- that's how producers make money.  Many entrepreneurs are billionaires because they could recognize a way to make money off of insecurity. 

Contrast this with the message of "Love is blind."  I'm not going to go into the religious aspects of it, because I think the phrase itself has come to mean something far bigger than just its spiritual ties.  I'm also not entirely sure that I agree with the statement.  I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments, but not the exact words.  Love between humans does see flaws, but loves them as part of you, or wants to help you overcome them, not that humans delude ourselves into thinking our beloved is faultless.  Real, true, deep love is about the person, and flaws are a part of people.  To love while not seeing flaws is to worship blindly, and in human relationships, that isn't a healthy thing.  That leads to some pretty big disappointments.  Love means loving the person, faults and all.

All that being said, I think everyone deserves one person in their life who equates them with perfection.  One person that idolizes you and worships you.  That person may come into your life and leave, or they may eventually come to love you as they discover the flaws, but to have that feeling that you have no flaws, you have no short-comings- that is something that everyone deserves at some point.  We all also deserve to learn from the pain that comes when we're found out to be mortals.  We only grow by challenging ourselves to do better and over coming obstacles.

Who is your perfect person, who idolized you, and how did those situations resolve?  For me, my father was my perfect person; I learned of his mortality through lyposarcoma. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jesus is Dead

No, not the be-sandalled prophet of 2000 years ago, the Touchdown Jesus of I-75 in Ohio, just north of Cincinnati.  Also known as King of Kings, Butter Jesus, Swamp Jesus and other names (he of many names, remember?).  One really can't make up this sort of hilarity, really.

The response has been varied, to say the least.  Everything from peals of laughter to cries that the end times are a'coming.  Bob and Tom even had someone write and sing a song for the occasion. 

Personally, I'm a bit saddened.  Not because of the loss of great art or anything of the sort, just because it's such an icon around my home.  Everyone knows it, even if they don't care one whit about the religion behind it.  It's a piece of shared history and culture, like a favored but bad hometown restaurant. 

At the same time that I feel loss at this natural disaster (or act of god, however you prefer to see it), I feel a bigger loss at the idea that it will be rebuilt.  This thing made of styrofoam and fiberglass was almost universally recognized as an oddity.  It was an oddity that, according to insurance replacement estimates, cost $300,000 to build.  Especially during this time of serious economic hardship, couldn't that 300K be spent on something more, well, Christian?  Food for the poor?  Help with daycare?  Homeless shelters?  Medical care for the uninsured?  Really, anything? 

Instead, the creators of Touchdown Jesus have decided that it's better to spend money building false idols than to actually help people that need it.  Nice.  Good work, once again, followers of the Nazarene.  Proselytizing and converting heathens really is just that important to you, eh?  More important than following those crazy commandment things or the golden rule, huh?  Here, let me help give you a pat on the back.  With a cat o'nine tails.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I've been spending the past few days visiting with family on Ohio's north coast (yes, Ohio has coastline- it's Lake Erie).  My mother in law rents a cottage every year at a Chattaqua community in Ohio for her church's annual conference, and invites the family to come along.  It's kind of nice- I cook and clean and try to get something done, and we get a little family vacation thing. 

For those of you that don't know them, Chattaqua villages were planned as religious communities in the 19th century.  A place to learn about religion, study, pray, and have community.  Obviously, I'm not there for the religious aspect but there are always some interesting conversations to be had.  Dwight and I aren't opposed to religion, we just haven't found one that fits our family yet.  It's a little insight for us into current issues in the Christian church, or at least this denomination. 

One thing really struck me this year, about the conference and about the attendees.  That was the level of inactivity.  Resolutions were passed on important subjects like conservation, human trafficking, and fair trade.  Resolutions not to do anything, but to become more informed, or think about, or try.  All of these were non-binding resolutions. 

One conversation in particular struck me.  Apparently a teen asked of the fair trade resolution whether that meant he had to buy more expensive stuff if the cheaper stuff was made with child labor, or if he could still buy cheap.  To me, as an outsider, that seems like it would be the perfect time to point out that happiness is wanting what you have not having what you want, or that another person's right to earn a fair wage outweighed your right to lots of cheap stuff, or that simply child labor was wrong.  Apparently, as an outsider, I would be wrong on all of these counts, and instead the right thing to do is to point out that the resolution was non-binding and simply asked for information. 

To say I was disappointed would be a vast understatement.  What happened to being active in advancing morals and ethics?  What happened to encouraging people to strive for improving the community and helping those less fortunate?  What happened to walking the walk instead of just talking the talk?  What happened to bettering ones self?  This is the stuff I have a problem with- when religion is there to help people feel good about themselves for no good reason.  When religion is about personal wellness more than doing what's right for the broader community, it's time to rethink a few things. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


The damn dam is gone!  Free range river, coming through.

You can almost hear the river restoration happening.