Biblical Battlestar Ballet

Mood: Chilled | Drinking: Chilly Tea

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Saw this Newsweek article about “The End of Christian America” today and found it to be an interesting read. Although I’ve been in the post-Christian era of my life for some time now…

———-

Those who know me know that I’m a big Battlestar Galactica fan (the reimagining, not the cheesy original). I loved that show for years with the same burning fiery love I’ve harbored for all Joss Whedon’s creations. Which is to say, a metric buttload of lots.

So I found this Onion article about Obama and his depression over the end of the series to be quite amusing. Although my depression over the end of the series is not as amusing, since it’s very real!

———-

I went to the ballet on Friday night with some girlfriends — the second performance of the San Francisco Ballet I’ve attended this season. (Boy and I saw Swan Lake in February. And yes, he enjoyed it.)

I’m a big ballet fan, but a rather uneducated one. I couldn’t even accomplish a cartwheel as a kid, much less attempt the splits, so I have no natural dancing ability or technical understanding of what it takes to make ballet look so effortless.

But I appreciate it nonetheless, and am so pleased to live in a city with such a world class company. They are truly amazing, and if you live in SF or are coming to visit I highly recommend that you catch a performance — or buy tickets to see them on tour if they come to a city near you!

———-

-Lo, heading out into a sunny Sunday afternoon.

The Mystery of It All

smm_talk
Mood: Busy
Drinking: Tea

I’ve been asked to post some information here that might be of interest for a few people who stop by this space.

Wow. That was vague.

Trying again: Not all of my faithful readers (oh you few, you happy few!) are poetry fans. Some of you are church people. Don’t deny it. I know you’re out there.

I have this whole other history of being a former church person, and for reasons which remain mysterious to me, I have a few fans in the pews even still.

If you’re new to the scene, you can catch up by reading this post back in February of 2007. It will give you the history of me and a little video called “This Is Who I Am” that’s been circulating the church scene for oh, about 10 years now. Yes. It’s true.

It will also tell you the story of how I traveled to Alabama last year to speak to a conference of Reverends and a church full of nice Southern people about why I don’t go to church anymore. Intriguing, no? (That’s a picture of me standing behind their nifty plexiglass pulpit right there.)

ANYhoo, for multiple reasons not exciting enough to get into here, I am now the proud copyright owner for not just one but two DVDs of things church-related.

And since a lot of people out there in church-land still want these DVDs, I now am the proud proprietor of another website, SundayMorningMisfit.com.

So if any of this made sense to you (or even if it didn’t), you can check out some clips and see what it’s all about over at www.sundaymorningmisfit.com. And if you’re still interested after that, you can buy yourself a shiny DVD.

That’s it for now…

-Lo, who thinks she looks like a wee little babe in that first video.

Boycotts are Bollocks

bookshelfMood: Bothered
Drinking: Tea from the ‘bucks

This is not a timely post. It is, in fact, rather behind the times.

All the Christian brouhaha over The Golden Compass movie was last winter, and all the Harry Potter paranoia is old news.

But I was wasting time on facebook yesterday and noticed that one of my virtual acquaintances had joined a group called “Do NOT support ‘The Golden Compass’.”

After taking a moment to indulge in a hearty eye roll, I clicked over to the group to see what idiocies they were spouting, and found more than a few.

Such as: “The movie… is designed to be very attractive in the hope unsuspecting parents will take their children to see the the movie and that the children will want the books for Christmas.”

And: “In the final book a boy and girl kill God so they can do as they please.”

Really. And people wonder why I’m such a misanthrope.

Seriously, this shit is ridiculous. I’d wager a hefty sum that most people who panicked and inundated their friends with email forwards urging them to “Boycott The Golden Compass!” never even bothered to read the books. They just regurgitated the paranoia they heard from somebody else.

The same thing happened with Harry Potter – so many people with their knickers in a bunch, but they never bothered to stop and be reasonable for a moment. They just ran like lemmings off the cliff – “Witches are bad! Magic is evil! Harry Potter hates Jesus!”

Yet these same hypochondriacs don’t seem to have any issues with the magic in Narnia or Middle Earth, because the authors of those books were supposedly Christian.

Whatever.

I read His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman’s trilogy of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass) several years ago and found them to be fascinating science fiction stories. The kind of tales of fantasy and parallel worlds that engage imagination in the best sort of way.

Yes, there are spiritual elements to the books. But I don’t get my philosophy of life from science fiction. I don’t think anybody does. Except for maybe Tom Cruise.

The thing that horrifies me the most about all of this boycotting and book burning is the idea that children can’t think for themselves. I read the Wizard of Oz books as a kid, but I didn’t go run and jump into a tornado so I could get to the Emerald City.

Tales of fiction and fantasy exist to help us dream. To take us into new worlds, to lead us on improbable adventures. Part of the fun of being a kid is reading books about things that aren’t real. Hell – that’s part of the fun of being an adult, too.

I’m not going to rip a book out of my child’s hands because the author might hold to a different belief system than I do.

The most dangerous thing in all of this insanity is not the books, or the movies spawned from the books. It’s the thought police. It’s the people who think their God is really small enough to be threatened by an agnostic or athiest’s work of fiction.

Safe to say that my children can read their fill of books about dragons and muggles and daemons and fairies and goblins and wizards and talking lions and armored bears.

In fact, all of those books are already sitting on my bookshelf, just waiting to take a new reader on a grand adventure.

And I won’t stand in the way.

-Lo, who thinks it’s not the athiests who are the big bad wolves.

The Good Wife

forkyouMood: Grumpy
Drinking: Nope

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the whole wife thing. What it means to call yourself a wife. What it means to be one. Not so much because I’m fresh off an anniversary celebration, because I don’t really think of myself as Boy’s “wife.”

Let me shove my foot in my mouth a bit further in an effort to explain…I don’t think Boy and I have a typical all-American marriage. I mean, we’re not out there on the swingers limb or anything truly avant-garde, but I don’t wait at home crocheting doilies and watching the Bold and the Beautiful while he brings home the bacon.

Like most couples today, married or not, we both have a share in the bacon-bringing. And the cooking (him) and cleaning (me). And the budgeting (him) and scheduling (me). And all the other stuff of sharing a life. We make it work together. We are equals. Neither of us is better than or more important than or more powerful than the other.

And maybe it’s because I’m surrounded on all sides by San Francisco (yay!), but I don’t think of myself as “wife” so much as “partner.” I fear I’m making nothing but nonsense, so I’ll leave the word obsession and move on to my pet peeve of the post…

There’s a blog I’ve been reading lately which I really should probably run far away from, because it makes me all cranky and violent, but it’s like crack — conservative christian crazy crack — and I just keep going back for a fresh fix.

The woman who writes this blog is only a few years younger than me, but she lives on a faraway planet in a galaxy that’s light years from this one. Like myself, she grew up going to a conservative christian (baptist) school, but that’s all we have in common. I had fairly liberal, open-minded parents. Her parents were baptists to the core. (Her dad was a pastor. I knew him. He was a big bully.) I graduated and left that school far behind, opting instead for a state university and passport to the real world. She did the good baptist girl thing and went from baptist school to baptist college to baptist camp to baptist husband. She’s so scared of the real world, she can only peek at it through fingers and then run off and repent and bemoan the state of her “deceitful heart” all over the internet.

(Side pet peeve: Isn’t that what diaries are for? Spilling your most intimate secrets to a book with paper pages? A book nobody else gets to read? You know, the ones with the lock and key?)

She’s been writing lately about how she met her husband, and in addition to it being one of the most boring love stories of modern times, it has elements that are so weird, they are freaking my sister and I out. More than once, one of us will read the latest post and then call the other to say, “Can you believe it’s 2007 and people actually think this way?”

An example: This woman writes about her graduation from college and says, “Since I wasn’t dating anyone my senior year, I had NO IDEA what I was going to do after I graduated.” (screaming caps are hers)

I had to read that a few times over to make sure that was really what she said. I had forgotten that people in that world, the fundamentalist baptist world, actually think like that. The girls go to college for the express purpose of finding a husband. Their mothers and grandmothers and all the ladies back at the church pray every day that little Curlieque will find her mate, a good-God-fearing-christian-boy, preferably a preacher or missionary, somewhere in Bible-Believing Baptist Collegeland (the coveted MRS degree). And then she can finally fulfill her purpose for being on this earth by being a good wife, a “helpmeet” for the all-important male.

Not that there’s anything wrong with meeting your man in college and getting married, but most people go to college for a career, or at the very least, an education. How is it possible that a woman in this country can still measure her success by her marriagiability and then lose her shit before graduation because, even though she has a degree, she isn’t married, or *gasp* isn’t even dating! What — you can’t go out and get a job? You have to wait to have a husband to tell you what to do? But I digress…

The rest of her story goes on to describe her meeting her future husband while working at a christian camp and how they used to hang out at WalMart with a chaperone and how he wouldn’t talk to her until she finished her camp-prescribed Bible-memorization project and how he asked her parents’ permission to date her and told her that if her parents said no, he would never speak to her again.

It all just seems so quaint and so completely insane.

Especially when you consider that she had to be at least 21 when all of this stuff was happening. I mean, this is a girl who counts swear words in movies (The Guardian has 15), making special note of those that “take the Lord’s name in vain.” This is a woman, a nearly-30-year-old woman, who gets excited when her husband gives her 20 bucks to buy stamps for her craft projects, even though she has a full-time job (and paycheck) of her own.

I know I don’t know the whole story (although her blog seems to take care in recording every single last detail), and I know I just got back from a weekend of telling everybody who would listen to stop judging and just love each other. So — pot, kettle, and all that.

But really, it’s 2007! If your idea of a hot date is a stroll through the soulless aisles of WalMart, past the polyester sweatshop merchandise, wearing your best denim knee-length skirt, keeping at least six inches between you and your husband-to-be while a watchful chaperone dogs your every step, well, I’m sorry, but you’re a little off your nut!

I certainly don’t think everyone has to live their lives the way I would live. I have lots of friends who are all over the map with their relationships, their marriages, their lifestyles, and I’m all for lots of variety and people figuring out what works for them and what makes them happy. But come on — it’s got to be unhealthy to live a life of such repression and fear, to second guess every thought that’s not quite pure, to do things only when your husband gives you leave because “he is the spiritual head of the household”, and to beat yourself up for your imperfections by saying things like, “I’m trying to be a good wife, but it’s hard when I’m so selfish and lazy!”

The only explanation I can give for my addiction to reading this woman’s blog is that it’s like watching a Discovery channel special about an exotic tribe in a remote jungle who run about totally naked save for the gigantic clay plates stuck into their lower lips. It’s completely fascinating and utterly mystifying. I mean, I know the super-fundamentalist baptist church I went to when I was a kid still exists, and I even know who some of its current members are. But since I have removed myself so far from that world, and since I have proven myself to be such a black sheep to them that none of them would ever befriend me (unless they were trying to save me), this girl’s blog is a window inside these people’s world.

No wonder our country is in the state it’s in when there are people out there who still think the 1940s were the best of times.

So yes, this post is completely judgmental and very likely hypocritical and features a photo of forks for no good reason, but that’s what’s on my mind today, so that’s what you get. Enjoy!

-Lo, whose favorite Tori lyric used to be, “I wanna smash the faces of those beautiful boys, those Christian boys…”

Still in bed on a Sunday Morning

Mood: Waking life
Drinking: Too lazy to get up and get one

I’m all propped up on pillows with my wicked little laptop whilst the LeeLoo sits here staring at me, all wrinkly and doe-eyed, hoping I’ve got a jar of peanut butter or some other tasty niblet stashed in the bedside table. Boy’s side is empty ‘cuz he’s somewhere in Colorado, heading this way by car with our fabulous friend MTB. After years of baldfaced begging and not-so-subtle hints on our part, MTB is taking the plunge and moving from Gnashville to San Francisco, and we are beside ourselves with excitement about the whole thing. So MTB and Boy, who are former roommates and lifetime friends, are doing the male bonding thing by driving through moutains & desert together for a coupla days.

Believe me, if we could relocate all our friends to our favorite city, we would.

Usually on Sunday mornings I wake up, check the clock and roll back over for my one-day-a-week of uninterrupted sleep-in time. But today, for the first time in a long time, I thought, “Hey, it’s Sunday. And somewhere out there, lotsa people are going to church.” And then I rolled back over.

I used to be one of those church girls. I grew up in it. My parents were sporadic church attenders, but since they wanted my sister and I to get a good education, they sent us to a parochial school. We got a good education and more than our fair share of irrational guilt. Chapel was mandatory. And they (not my parents, the school) guilted you into church attendance, too. Not just Sunday morning, but Sunday night and Wednesday night. “Every time the church doors are open,” was the saying.

The story of how I came to be the non-church-attending heathen I am today is a longwinded tale, and my fingers have just woken up and haven’t eaten yet, so they’re not even going to attempt the marathon typing session that would require. I’ll just say that all those preachers in all those ill-fitting JCPenney suits who pounded their Bibles at us in all those midweek chapel sessions, well, they were wrong.

They were wrong about a great many things. But in this case, they were wrong when they made fun of people who favored the solace of nature over church. I can’t even count the times I heard the example of the “backslidden Christian” who said, “I feel closer to God out in the woods/beach/desert/mountains than in a church, so that is where I do my worshipping.” And all those small-town preachers used to smirk and scoff and say “Can you believe that nonsense? THE CHURCH is where you worship. Among God’s people. Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together! Mutter, mutter, mutter.”

Well, I have forsaken the assembling. I have forsaken it for the woods and the beach. I have forsaken it BECAUSE of “God’s people”. This is not to say that I think all of those who call themselves Christians are to be avoided. My parents, my sister, my brother-in-law, some of my good friends are all church-attending Christians, and I have nothing but respect for them and for the way they lead their lives. They are amazing, loving, kind and brilliant people.

But, truth be told, the majority of Christians I have encoutered in my history of church are to be avoided. And I have done that, rather successfully, for the past 5 or so years.

But there’s this thing that I did that still connects me to the church world, and today that’s what made me wake up and think of pews. Back in 1998, when I lived in Chicago, a friend of mine asked me for a favor. He was speaking at a Christian conference in this really huge (freakish, frightening) church, about Generation X. (Which was, at the time, all the rage.)

Being the GenX poster child that I was, at the time, and being a practiced performance poet (which I also was, at the time), my friend asked me to write a piece about what it meant to be a GenX’er and read it during his session at this conference. He told me that the audience was 99% Baby Boomers and that they had no understanding of my generation.

So I did. I wrote this piece, an essay-type-thing, titled “This is who I am.” And I read it for this audience of Boomers, a couple thousand of them. I read it with absolutely no comprehension of what a big deal it would become.

Seven years later, people still talk to me about that performance. See, it was videotaped. And the video has been copied and sold and sold and sold. It’s been shown in classrooms and churches and conferences. It’s been taken to Norway and Australia and Florida. And this week I received, through this web site, two separate emails from two people who just saw the video.

I would have been a lot more nervous at that performance had I known how long this thing would last. I definitely would have written it differently. Because us GenXers, we’re not the thing anymore. We’re all grown up and having babies and mortgages and making sure our cars have 4-doors. And yet this video, this little speech about a generation gap, it lives on and on and on.

And people somehow still find it relevant. And moving. And powerful, even. And most of these people are church people. They write and tell me they’re praying for God to “bless your ministry.” And although I appreciate the sentiment (I mean, it can’t hurt to have lots of strangers praying down blessings upon you, can it), it freaks me out a little. Especially since my “ministry” consists mainly of being a bitchy, moody, misanthropic poet.

If they come to this website and find this journal with its prolific use of the word “fuck”, I’m sure they quickly figure out that they may not be dealing with a holy roller. (But then, my little GenX piece, while profanity-free, was definitely not a rah-rah sunday school speech.)

It’s just ironic to me that of all the things I have written, the one that has gotten the most attention thus far is an essay written on assignment for the “people of God”.

I have removed myself so far from the land of Christianese that it is always surprising to receive these emails. They don’t come all the time, so usually I have forgotten about the video altogether and then someone will write and say things like, “What a tremendous impact God has been able to accomplish through your efforts. Thanks for being a blessing for the Lord.” And I’ll be all, “Huh?”

I shouldn’t complain. And I’m not, really. I’m just mystified, I guess. And so I sit here in bed on a Sunday morning, all snuggled with the LeeLoo, and to be perfectly honest, just sitting here all contemplative with my computer is better than any church experience I’ve ever had.

So all you folks who stumble across this site having seen that video somewhere, consider yourselves warned. I’m just trying to be up front here: I am not the church girl you might have been expecting. I am happily backslidden. I swear a lot. I worship God in the woods and on the beach. I spend my Sunday mornings communing with my pillow. And I like it this way. I think my faith in God works better this way. Just want to make sure we all understand each other. So I welcome your prayers and your blessings. But not your sermons.

And I am mystified and humbled that a little 7-minute, 7-year-old performance is still making the rounds and moving people enough that they will track me down. But if I were to be completely honest, I would trade all that in-church publicity for a little more name recognition out-of-church.

Because it’s just better out here.

-Lo, who was once asked by a chrome-domed preacher if she was a witch. You know, because “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” and all.

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