Homosexuality and Identity Crisis (et al)

“Not a one of us has the right to deprive any others of their humanity, regardless of the provocation.”

[This blog was originally published on MySpace in September 2010.  MySpace, as many of you no doubt already know, has completely messed up their blogging utility, especially comments, which was the best part of this particular blog.  I’ve reconstructed the comment threads down below, as well.]

The following discussion is in response to Denese’s blog, “Why does it matter so much to you who loves whom?”  With Denese’s cooperation, I’ve posted this here because it is just WAY too long to be posted as a comment on someone else’s blog.  To read Denese’s blog (which I strongly recommend), click here.

An understanding of human ontology (which includes the spiritual!) is vitally important–I would add that it is important as an ongoing recursive process, rather than as something we must nail down first before taking action.  We are not omniscient.  (Instead,) we do create meaning.  Within certain gross borders (“gross” as in “generally defined, moving target”) the landscape of possibility for human endeavor is virtually infinite, and nothing–NOTHING–is written in stone (pardon the biblical reference, but this, too, is perhaps a part of our Christian narrative that needs to be examined).  So, it is not possible to nail everything down first.

[Note:  a friend of mine speaks in terms of “placing a peg in the sand” in contrast to “nailing things down.”  I like this because it allows you to set parameters for a specific discussion without sacrificing flexibility for change.  Metaphorically speaking, it’s a lot easier to move a peg in the sand than a nail.]

I have been dancing around the words “hierarchical xenophobia” for a while now with you folks, mainly because I am not well enough versed in the idea to be convinced that an innate (or instinctive) tendency to “hierarchy” and “xenophobia” exists for humans; that it does (or that it is claimed to) is often used as an argument to support a “laissez-faire” approach to problem solving (i.e., “we can’t help it”).  Instead, I would argue that whether or not it is innate is beside the point.  The point is we DO this, yet we also and quite obviously DO have an innate ability to think, make choices, and act.

What is hierarchical xenophobia?

Hierarchy, in this case, is the tendency in humans to assign relative value to human beings and human endeavor within a social system.

Fair enough, eh?  Yet typically, and certainly in modern times in the US, this scale of relative value is vertical; that is, it has a top and a bottom.  The top is highly valued and considered “good,” the bottom is less valued, and can be considered “bad” or at least marginal and/or incidental, with a sea of degree of value in between these two points.  What I observe about this is that, whereas it may be that assigning relative value is a given since we DO and WILL create meaning–to my knowledge, for example, it is not possible to know about something without comparing it to what it “is not”–the shape or structure of the framework for assigning value is not inevitably a vertical scale, with a top and a bottom such that some people win while others lose.  What happens typically with this vertical scale of ours is that there are two definitions of “value” that are conflated and periodically mistaken for each other:  value that is relative to a specific endeavor versus value that is nearly arbitrarily assigned and has to do with taken-for-intrinsic general worth (moral value).  A friend of mine might call this an “off by one error.”  We come up with a model for a social system, but then we mistake this model for the reality, and thus it loses flexibility, becomes static, and eventually it fails us.

By way of contrast, consider what might happen if we assigned relative value on a horizontal scale–one which emphasizes collaboration (which tends to place humans and human well-being at the center of any endeavor), as opposed to competition.  Food for thought, to be sure, but in the meantime this is an example pointing to the idea that “vertical” is not the only answer, and is thus not inevitable (which, if you think about it, says a lot about imagination and our ability to create meaning–i.e., even things that don’t actually exist can be real–different blog for later, kay?).

Xenophobia?  Here’s a quote from the good ol’ Wikipedia, which in my opinion is succinct enough for this discussion:

“Xenophobia is an irrational, deep-rooted fear of or antipathy towards foreigners. It comes from the Greek words (xenos), meaning “stranger,” “foreigner” and (phobos), meaning “fear.” Xenophobia can manifest itself in many ways involving the relations and perceptions of an ingroup towards an outgroup, including a fear of losing identity, suspicion of its activities, aggression, and desire to eliminate its presence to secure a presumed purity.  Xenophobia can also be exhibited in the form of an ‘uncritical exaltation of another culture’ in which a culture is ascribed ‘an unreal, stereotyped and exotic quality’.”

So.  “A fear of losing identity,” and “an uncritical exaltation of another culture in which a culture is ascribed ‘an unreal, stereotyped and exotic quality.”  To me, again whether or not this is intrinsic to human behavior, xenophobia means that we assume there must be some kind of ultimate “right” that is static and never changes regardless of any new knowledge or understanding, and which we may use to settle our identity.  I would hazard that for many who practice homophobia, fearing loss of sexual identity is a big factor–and in our culture, MIND YOU, sexual identity, ESPECIALLY male sexual identity, is inextricably tied to our model of hierarchy, which has to do with the preeminence of the heterosexual “masculine” male.  So, in order for homosexuality to become entirely acceptable, on the surface it seems we’d have to unravel our current system of social hierarchy, which for many, if not most, may mean a significant change in personal identity.  This is a big deal, eh?  I’d say be careful about sneering at “fundamentalists.”  The fear is real and very painful, and you are asking them to give up or at least significantly change something huge.

I can’t believe I just weighed in on the side of fundamentalists.  But if you read carefully, actually I didn’t.  What I said was get your compassion and have it firmly in place.  After all, not a one of us has the right to deprive others of their humanity, regardless of the provocation.

All THAT said, what to do?  I gave a hint of what I think when I italicized the word uncritical in the first line of the paragraph but one above.  Instead of being uncritical–that is, taking as given and unquestionable our standards for valuing ourselves and others–we need to be critical.  We need to think about how we think and what we do, how it affects others, and how others doing the same thing affects us.

An example of taking as given might be the practice of “cherry picking” the bible for quotes that can be arranged to support one’s vested point of view and presenting conclusions based on this superficial read as a rigorously inclusive and universal correctness.  Another example is taking the bible as a seamless, non-self-contradicting rule book to start with, rather than as the living historical guide that it actually is, and which does not anywhere presuppose that you have no need to do your own thinking.  That so many of us practice the former rather than the latter is indication of the discomfort of existing in uncertainty with a seemingly endless field of unknowns.  On the other hand, that the bible exists to begin with is evidence that this discomfort has been known for quite some time, and several really smart somebodies over course of history tried to help mitigate this discomfort by coming up with a conglomerative narrative that has as its entry point the idea of orthopraxy in conjunction with orthodoxy, in that orthopraxy allows us to be critical of our beliefs for their consequences.

This orthopraxy is inherent in the idea of Love Thy Neighbor, part of our Christian narrative.  Does this mean will yourself to do so regardless of any discomfort you feel?  NO!  This means WHEN you feel discomfort, look at it directly in the face and seek to resolve it, even if the best you can manage is to hang the problem on God’s hook and let him deal with it, if you can’t find it in yourself to do so at any given time.  This does NOT mean resolve your discomfort by eliminating (or at least marginalizing) your “non-orthodox” neighbor so that therefore the question of loving him becomes moot.

Another example of orthopraxy in narrative is the idea of “turn the other cheek.”  Does this mean if someone abuses you, you must literally offer the other side of your face so that they may continue the abuse?  No.  Who does this?  None of us, it’s nearly impossible, which is why none of us enjoys things like oppression.  Does this mean give up your identity in favor of the one being imposed by the abuser?  No.  This rather means seek to resolve having been shamed (aka “loss of face” aka identity) in a context that actually solves the problem, rather than simply evening the score.  “Vengeance is mine” (more Christian narrative).  Is this because God wishes to maintain his authority?  No, my interpretation is that this is because only God knows enough to be able to do it properly–the corollary being we DON’T.  Turn the other cheek means to try to understand who you’re dealing with and/or the surrounding context of the situation.  Work toward and attempt to enact a solution that renders having your cheek slapped a moot point.  Sometimes, again, this may mean hanging someone or something on God’s hook.  And don’t forget, there’s a LOT of us other humans running around (6.7 billion).  There may be others working on the same problem who have resources you don’t that will allow them to make further progress, but from which progress you will still benefit.  It’s not all on you.

Currently in the US (since I’m most familiar with it), it is my opinion that we are something of a “hostage population.”  What I mean by this is that whereas we live and enjoy a relative life of plenty (so far), at least materially, especially compared to many other parts of the world, yet we are circumscribed and constrained significantly in our ability to act as individuals AND as a cohesive community.  Strife, though subtle (and sometimes not so subtle), is rampant in that we are victims of an insidious campaign (whether or not it is deliberate) of divide and conquer, in which our fears are used against us as cattle prods to separate us not only from each other but from God (or more generically, a spiritual life) and ourselves, so that the focus is almost entirely in favor of that material existence–and the structure of that material existence favors the status quo, with a very small group of individuals occupying the top of a material vertical hierarchy.

What does this have to do with gay rights?  The same thing it has to do with all other “rights,” which is that we buy into the idea that we all have a vested interest in, and are even dependent upon, the status quo, and that this status quo must be preserved at all costs, even to the extent of rendering a huge and growing portion of the population into the chaotic realm of the lunatic fringe as outcasts, in which, ironically, all we have left for sustaining our personal identities depends on maintaining that same status quo.

If you’d like an example of what I’m talking about, consider this article: Revisiting Megan’s Law.  This article discusses some of the consequences of this law, brought into being by a brutal offense against a child by a sex offender who had already been convicted twice of sexual abuse crimes, in terms of its effect on innocent citizens, convicted sex offenders, and the larger surrounding communities.  What it does not directly address is why is it laws like these come into being, except in terms of “feel good legislation.”  I would posit a more sinister reason:  it is easier to control sheep who do not ask questions or think, and “feel good legislation” is a slam dunk.

In the meantime, my suggestion is this:  Think. About. It.  Let no question be so sacrosanct that it is above being asked.

Questions like “is this REALLY a problem, and if so, how did it come into being?  What sustains it as a problem?”  And perhaps especially important:  RELAX!!  “Expectations do not come to fruition all at the same pace.”  It should be clear by now that humans don’t poof full blown into existence, rather we evolve.  We come into being via process.  Guarantees are not necessary, even if they were possible.  Fear does happen.  But it is an indicator of a problem, not the problem itself.  Don’t succumb to it by trying to eliminate your enemy–by discrimination, oppression, scape-goating, assault, outright murder, etc.  Instead, seek to understand its real source, then seek to mitigate that source.

We can choose who to be and how to act.

Yes, I’m suggesting  that there is nothing inherently wrong with homosexuality.  We can live with it.  It does, after all, take its shape from love, especially if we can all get it through our thick skulls that “homosexuality” does NOT mean “promiscuity.”  If it did, ALL homosexual individuals would be promiscuous, which is clearly not the case.  It does not mean “effeminate” (and by the way, just what exactly is so bad about the feminine? Not to stir the mud or anything…).  If it did, then ALL homosexual individuals would be effeminate.  It does not mean criminal, except insofar as our laws are designed to define this activity as criminal. It also does not mean “pervert,” except insofar as it is perceived as a threat by a group of individuals who feel that in order to find homosexuality acceptable, they must themselves become homosexual.  Homosexuality, in keeping with the same process that is operational for heterosexuality (which shouldn’t surprise anyone, since all humans are, well, human), takes as its starting point a meeting of minds in love, and this does not mean you have to be using big words when you’re having sex (I’m sure!!  Not even I do that!!  LMAO!), it means that you recognize, acknowledge and partake of another’s soul in respect and desire according to the person you are, in context with your social milieu.  Let me point out that homosexuality is embedded in the larger social context of general sexuality, and intersects with all other forms of human interaction, either directly or indirectly, via the myriad miasma of relationships that tie us all together.

If homosexuality bothers anyone, the problem is not that there is necessarily something wrong with individuals who practice it.  I’m sure.  The problem is a narrative which is exclusionary, upon which we build our identities, such that change (as in when the excluded items inevitably raise their heads) becomes extremely painful and scary.  We have a dominant narrative (aka convention) right now that says in order to be good, you must be “straight.”  Is this true?  How does homosexuality cause harm to the individual and to the community?  Is the harm genuine, or is it as a result of that very exclusion?  IF you can bring yourself to ask questions like this, honestly and in good faith, it will be because you have figured out that it IS possible for an entire belief system to have flaws, and because you have reconciled yourself to the idea that this is a natural consequence of the fact that we don’t know everything all at once, rather we evolve, AND that the thing to do is not to throw up our hands in panic and seek to eliminate the object of the flaw, rather the flaw itself.  Your beliefs may be in need of a bit of refinement, in other words.  I will say explicitly that this does NOT mean you must be willing to have sex with people whom you are not attracted to, which of course includes members of the same sex.  Just that you can’t push YOUR standards of attraction on others based on an ethnocentric and hard-boiled sense of identity that has no basis in actually being good, but rather in being “right.”

If you’re not good, then being right is kinda pointless, eh?  If right does not achieve good, how is it right?  Facts must be interpreted within a context that examines how the fact was arrived at, by whom, under what motivation, and in terms of the consequences for individuals and the community.  Truth tends to be relative to one’s objective.

Once again, not a one of us has the right to deprive others of their humanity, regardless of the provocation.  If you can get a grip on this idea, it’ll solve a whole lotta problems before they even become problems.

Aaaaand under the heading of “Be Careful What You Ask For,” it occurs to me to ask this question:  what is marriage just in general?  What’s the idea?  And how does marriage ACTUALLY play out in the grand scheme of things, particularly in terms of explicit material law?  I agree that some kind of structure is needed that governs the practical aspects of daily life, but is marriage as defined and extantly manifested in our culture doing its job to the benefit of individuals and community?  Can it be improved?  Does it serve as a form of cohesiveness for the community?  In what way?  What do we want out of marriage and are we getting it, say, nine times out of ten?  Does it serve as a form of discrimination?  How so?  Who is included and who is excluded, and why, and what are the consequences of this?

“I believe the world HAS plenty of love, what the world needs is systems (faith structures, governance, education, economic infrastructure, interpersonal relationship norms, etc.) that do not punish us for sharing it.”

~Thea

PS Assuming you made it this far, and would like to really let me have it in terms of criticizing what I’ve said, or perhaps even more importantly, what I have NOT said, here’s a tip about how to be successful:  Go read this article.

Critical Thinking and Critical Pedagogy: Relations, Differences, and Limits

If you do, you’ll be able to hang me out to dry.  Or, we’ll become friends for life.  Likely both!

12:01 PM  58 Comments  9 Kudos

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61 Responses to Homosexuality and Identity Crisis (et al)

  1. thearead says:

    Just Jeff:

    Ummm, WOW. It is quite refreshing to read a well thought out post on a serious subject for once around here. This blog was most excellent. I’m not so sure I want to exhaust any energy today on the whole barrage of questions you asked at the end about marriage…LOL. You know, I can only make my own opinion known so many times..LOL. I first think maybe what needs to be looked at is what do you mean by marriage..a religious ceremony? or, is it a state civil contract (which only legally speaking, is all it is). In that fact, why should said persons not be allowed to enter into a mutual contrat together? After all, we don’t allow for discrimination in any other contract that two parties agree upon? On the other hand, if you want to view it in a religious light…mm, there really is no reason to involve the state. If two or more commit themselves to each other to God..then, imho, they are joined. I’ve always said..i have no issue with the church holding a bias against homosexuality and marriage. It is their right to practice it. But, the state does not get the same luxury. Anyways, this was a great and thought out blog, and I loved it. now, I suppose I should go read the original one.

    Posted by Just Jeff on September 29, 2010 – Wednesday – 1:08 PM

    • thearead says:

      Thea:

      Congratulations! You have just applied to marriage what a friend of mine would call the Precept of Granularity. This is when you begin to break a problem down into its component parts in order to a) see if there aren’t more manageable bites to be taken, and b) get at what the problem might actually be to begin with; that is, what issues are obscured by the big picture point of view, and what dynamics might be in play. This is a really useful technique for taking a major headache and, with any luck, whittling it down into something you can medicate.

      Certainly marriage can be and usually is a civil contract. There are laws determining the distribution of property within a marriage, as well as other financial obligations and benefits (i.e., taxes, inheritance, debt and credit, etc.). It is essentially a business arrangement. Woo hoo! Cool, let us incorporate, if it serves to provide for fiscal security, eh? I mean theoretically if this is what you’re after in a partnership, then marriage is not the only civil contract that can be entered into that will serve quite well. In fact, there are likely BETTER ways on the books right now to organize one’s finances in a partnership than marriage, in which the benefits are greater.

      Marriage as a civil contract also provides governing for child custody and legitimacy, as well as some aspects of custody-like responsibility for one’s partner in the event of health issues (up to and including death). In this realm, marriage tends to differ somewhat from other business contracts, and also tends to more directly intersect with human relationships other than financial considerations. Okay, now we’re in trouble. Outside of certain rarefied sub-cultures, we generally have feelings about our children and spouses that are not directly and solely related to business as it is known in the market place or halls of fiduciary government. These feelings are most often, if I’m not entirely mistaken, the REASON people enter into marriage. So, marriage ALSO represents a subjective commitment to specific relationships on a purely social basis, which people often take even more seriously than the miscellaneous business arrangements provided for.

      In fact, people generally ignore, or at least take as an incidental given, the business side of marriage in favor of the rite of passage and statement of personal commitment that it represents within our culture. People most often enter into a civil marriage contract as a means of ratifying in the eyes of the community an interpersonal relationship. It’s a social statement. Having done so, both parties in a civil marriage gain a certain status within the community that legitimizes not only their relationship, but also legitimizes both parties as bona fide members of the community in his and her own right.

      I offer the observation that a purely religious ceremony of marriage, without involving the state, does not do this for most people. In other words, in our culture, we are not required to take seriously a marriage which is purely on spiritual grounds. With the separation of church and state (which incidentally had nothing to do with spiritual matters per se, but with the distribution and dissection of political and secular power within governing bodies), suddenly spiritual life had no (or at least significantly reduced) authority as mandate in our social relationships in concrete terms (i.e., the material).

      What does that tell you, friends and neighbors? In effect, the spiritual side of being human was rendered marginal. Human interaction was denormalized to account for the anomaly of love, as it were. And it doesn’t stop there. The spiritual as social mandate was not merely marginalized, it was rendered subordinate to the material. In other words, we’re put in the position of having the secular state be the authority for legitimization of our spiritual lives.

      Most of the time, this can be ignored, and usually is. But what happens when an out-group, such as gay and lesbian communities and individuals sadly still so far represent, attempts to gain the right of marriage as a civil contract, and not solely as a personal and private spiritual commitment? Suddenly certain in-groups who usually tend to quietly (and yes, all too often not so quietly) object to homosexuality are faced with being required to regard as legitimate something to which they are adamantly morally opposed. In effect, their hands are now forced. And what happens, proverbially, when you back a wild animal into a corner?

      In terms of marriage, this may explain a little more “Why does it matter to you who loves whom?” Where as the public and the private have whole realms that never touch each other, they are nonetheless interactive and have strong effect on each other.

      Does this need to be fixed? How? How can we break this down a little further? Or, is there any way we can add dimensionality to the problem of a power struggle between public and private that serves as an end-run around it? (Hint: be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath. Separation of church and state exists for some pretty damned good reasons. Are these reasons still operational…?)

      Posted by Thea on September 30, 2010 – Thursday – 6:35 AM

      • thearead says:

        jcmmanuel:

        “With the separation of church and state … suddenly spiritual life had …significantly reduced authority”

        Great observation. The downside of secularization. Some people will not easily accept it, but this is the major reason why even non-hostile Muslims in the West are not over-enthusiastically ‘crying holy’ bout our secular values. Segregation of church and state is a good thing but it was never meant to separate humans from faith.

        Posted by jcmmanuel on September 30, 2010 – Thursday – 12:10 PM

        • thearead says:

          Thea:

          It IS a big leap in terms of whether I’ve achieved a successful argument here and now, yes. But I can…

          And precisely so regarding separate humans from faith. The problem is both wider and more insidious than I’ve demonstrated here, but this is in effect.

          Posted by Thea on September 30, 2010 – Thursday – 12:32 PM

  2. thearead says:

    jcmmanuel:

    Wow, long and interesting post. I’ll just pick up one thing here, the “loss of face” idea.

    It is an interesting interpretation that you connect (indirectly) with the biblical expression “turn the other cheek”. It is almost certain that this expression is a warning against taking vengeance as an individual person (there was nothing new under the sun: justice was being claimed outside the realm of jurisdiction, just as it happens everywhere else). In modern cultures, with a huge emphasis on identity, I can see how your ‘modern interpretation’ makes sense: “loss of face” is now loss of identity, while in past cultures a more public issue: loss of honor, respect. But most interestingly is when you point out that “this is because only God knows enough to be able to do it properly” In other words you are uncovering the principle which is the very foundation of mercy and forgiveness: recognizing the fact that ‘perfect justice’ would not be justice, because it’ll always be justice from one person’s point of view – the victim – who usually cannot estimate properly the exact effect of a punishment upon the guilty party – it may easily make the ‘evildoer’ pay hundredfold, rather than just paying back what’s owed.

    This is interesting also because it thrusts into the very domain of religion. Religion (not the institutionalized stuff but the very concept of religion: re-ligare, to re-connect, that is connecting the loose ends) is ultimately all about asking the right questions – the same thing that ‘pure science’ also does – but science does this from an object-observational angle, while religion ‘observes’ the human subject – and therefore requires faith, or axioms (the existence of a Creator being one of these axioms). The Creator pre-supposition in religion injects a sense of responsibility from the viewpoint of unity under a Creation – while science acknowledges this unity from observing the objects of study, particularly since the era of Genomics.

    Science may therefore assist in the process of ‘re-connecting’ loose ends, but cannot guarantee any connection at the spiritual level (e.g. science has also massively dis-connected our unity by increasing the risk of wars, or by offering the means to ‘scientifically eliminate’ people, etc). Religion does ask these sort of critical questions in the domain of humanism, so to speak. That’s where such things like justice and mercy are happening, make sense – even an awful lot of sense, because without mercy it seems we are doomed to destroy the human race.

    Posted by jcmmanuel on September 29, 2010 – Wednesday – 2:19 PM

    • thearead says:

      Thea:

      Every time I read this it keeps sparking me to say something which may or may not have directly to do with what you actually said–for some reason, I can’t tell which. So, I figure I’ll just go ahead and say it. You typically do a damned fine job of teasing out nuance and rendering it more visible, without stripping it of mystery–which is part of the magic of nuance, hm? You’re like a master gardener, who has not only a formidable array of tools and knowledge at his disposal, but who also does not fail to appreciate the point of having a garden–whether for sustenance or simply beauty, between the two of which I feel you keep asking me with delicate, insistent grace, “Is there a difference?”

      What I left unsaid about vengeance: I’m guessing God actually does not practice this. God does not “punish.” First of all, he has no personal need to do so. Why would he? “Love is sufficient unto love.” This can get very annoying, I grant you, but only from a human perspective that occasionally fails to appreciate the gift that being human is, in favor of decrying its downside, which is that we are NOT God, but mortal and murderable. Two sides of the same coin, eh? I’m reminded again of the eXchange video I have posted on my profile page. Go look, and listen, especially the part about “God’s already knocked out by you.” I’ve posted it below, to spare you having to switch screens.

      Too, it may be that God understands the pointlessness of vengeance, even if, from our human perspective, it seems richly deserved. Vengeance is not the same as reckoning on any practical basis. Vengeance is all about hurting someone as much or more as you have been hurt. It’s about satisfying an emotional need. Using vengeance to satisfy the hunger of hurt, which tends to stem from loss, defeats its own purpose–all you do is create more hurt and more loss, and no one benefits, nothing is made better. Again, it’s like drinking water that fails to quench thirst.

      This does not mean that God ignores hurt. I think, instead, that he anticipated it. I think he’s got a means of dealing with it that is built in from the start. Consequences. An integral and driving aspect of creating meaning. And whether or not we always understand the math, it’s pretty damned consistent–as ye sow, so shall ye reap. And this “ye” does not only refer to each of us individually, but to all of us together. I’ve been saying it a slightly different way. How you think and what you do has an effect. On everything. Conversely, what others think and what they do has an effect. On everything. Including you. It’s an on-going, integrated, not-limited-to-linear-time process, and it provides an opportunity to create balance which enables growth, healing, succor, joy, and yet more love. It also creates an opportunity for harm and despair. Which would you prefer? (Hint: just the existence of this question gives a clue about the gift I mentioned above.) On which side of the coin does vengeance have its features carved? Do you wanna go there?

      Love does not have to be straight-forward and direct. What does this mean? What else can it be?

      xx
      Thea

      Posted by Thea on October 3, 2010 – Sunday – 5:13 AM

      • thearead says:

        Deborah ~ ♥ “Erekamka Na Adonai” ♥:

        I’m sorry to intrude, but what a wonderful comment.

        I’ve watched this video repeatedly yet it never fails to grip me tightly and reduce me to tears…

        “…just a human…thing.”

        So much of what we think or believe are human things, not God “things”.

        “God is a wild man.”

        Posted by Deborah ~ ♥ “Erekamka Na Adonai” ♥ on October 4, 2010 – Monday – 3:46 AM

      • thearead says:

        jcmmanuel:

        I will, again, just pick up one thought here – the one that sparked me most: “This does not mean that God ignores hurt. I think, instead, that he anticipated it”.

        This reminds me that theologians have often suggested, be it in different formulations, that what theology happened to call “original sin” was – clearly – not sin, but the result of a certain *state* of mankind – known as ‘innocence’, or, in a more acute, modern language: deprivation of grace. What the Hebrews were describing was the fact that homo sapiens was not naturally fit to be friends of God, or even friends of each other. (I use the word friends because of its nice characteristic that it doesn’t have sex as its focal point, rather love in the broadest sense of the word). In my opinion, if God anticipated anything, this is it. Evolution may be what it is, but it is natural and never brings about the meta-natural or metaphysical – not even with regard to love.

        But vengeance may still apply for those who did not want to listen to their own hearts. Although I will be the last to suggest what kind of vengeance that could be – I do not know and I don’t think I can possibly know, I may not even want to know, because I am not entitled to judge other people. Yet, we do judge people’s acts. We learn to judge correctly by asking questions, by ‘presenting a judgment’. In this we affect others – as it should – but hopefully for the better, not for the worst. Yet if someone chooses destruction, logic expects him to receive it, ultimately. Even that we cannot be sure though, as mercy goes a second mile and who knows how many miles God may go with His seven-league boots.

        Dig it, Thea – you’re being on to something. Or, to ask you a question we have been talking about earlier on: is justice o property of mercy (as I think), or is justice a more sophisticated form of mercy (as you proposed)?

        Posted by jcmmanuel on October 3, 2010 – Sunday – 6:28 AM

        • thearead says:

          Thea:

          Found the reference you mentioned re justice and mercy. What I said was “justice may be a complex form of mercy, if done right…” (emphasis added), but preceding that comment we had come to the tentative conclusion that the modern day definition of justice differed significantly from (much) older definitions, to the extent that justice today means something nearly completely different.

          Modern day justice, as popularly defined (and practiced, in my opinion) has much to do, actually, with extracting (petty) vengeance. And sometimes it has nothing at all to do even with this. Sometimes it’s nothing more or less than an opportunity to make a buck and get away with it. Even so, we also have things like the Civil Rights Movement, which, by and large, was all about justice in a more lofty sense, having to do with a social process of protest against unwarranted discrimination. Which of course, among other things, led to the phrase “reverse discrimination” and all that this implies (which is a lack of full resolution) but this may be as a result of the general failure to directly attack the underlying assumptions that were ACTUALLY supporting the then status quo, and which are still firmly in place even today (dominant emphasis on the material, or physical, over and above all other means of social interaction and premise). Be that as it may, I think it was a little more honest than what goes on more usually on a daily basis.

          Check out this quote:

          “One of the glaring — yet too often overlooked — failings of contemporary America is that we have become a nation obsessed with justice and retribution. We claim to be The Land of the Free, yet we have lost sight of what it means to be imprisoned: denied liberty and access to one’s family, subjected to isolation and violence and unspeakable boredom. We have come to believe, in the most pernicious way, that people should get what they deserve. What a sea change it might be in our public discourse and our civic life if we focused instead upon mercy and forgiveness. A merciful and forgiving culture might find itself with less anger, less social disruption, and even less crime.”

          Even in this quote, the author places justice as nearly, if not completely, synonymous with retribution.

          Kay, just throwing some stuff out here for ya. It seems to me that first of all justice should recognize that there is an imbalance in relationships between people that, if left unaddressed, may contribute to growing harm not only to the individuals involved, but to the community as a whole. At the same time, justice must understand that a simplistic process of “evening the score” on the basis of emotion and bean counting will serve to further this state of injustice, because at best what happens is the burden of imbalance is not resolved, but shifted from one place to another, and all too often this shift ALSO involves a manifold increase in that burden, while at the same time often failing to actually satisfy the original injured party in any substantive way. Furthermore, justice must, again and closely related to what I said above, be willing to acknowledge the possibility of the complicity of the surrounding community in whatever imbalance has been created, and get ready to make changes there, too.

          The idea of mercy involves forgiving injury in favor of an honest acknowledgment of our humanity as a whole, rather than holding everything about who we are as hostage to this injury. Justice is the complex process by which we might go about enacting mercy on a broader scale than within direct interpersonal relationships, hence my contention that “justice may be a complex form of mercy, if done right.”

          Posted by Thea on October 6, 2010 – Wednesday – 6:01 AM

        • thearead says:

          jcmmanuel:

          And, in addition to my comment, your suggestion about “the pointlessness of vengeance” in Gods eyes may, from a theological perspective, lay in the fact that not guilt, but rather a change of the human condition was the deeper issue. And the one and only reason why religion still makes sense to me is exactly related to justice: we never got justice right, not with religion and not without it. We always (tend to) look at justice from a self-serving point of view, if not as individuals, then as group or race, nation of culture.

          Politically speaking, our justice systems are still largely violence-based, not even reparative (although reparative justice was known in primitive societies like Sumer, and of course been worked out by the ancient Hebrews; it was known among the Canadian Aboriginals and so on). The Biblical idea of atonement, too, is not just a ‘bloody business’ or anything like that – it was a restorative business, meant to get victim and offender both being involved, reconciling (appeasing) them, bringing restoration. This is a whole different emphasis than what we’re used to.

          But in our modern societies, many of us are ‘secularists’ who don’t have a clue about the long history of mankind. We are often speaking of Islam or Judaism as if these people are all just idiots, while these people had – and still have – also an understanding of long-standing, tested, and important concepts that we have long forgotten. (Many of us even take it for granted that the existence of Radical Islam entitles us to cry foul about all that at once – something that I tried to address in my own recent blog about nine eleven).

          I remember, years ago, that in Pakistan a man was sentenced for having done a serious crime against his wife (something along the lines of honor killing, but she wasn’t killed). We would have put the man in jail for the rest of his life, but in Pakistan, this guy got 12 years in jail. Yet, the reasoning was based on a common rule, taking into account someone’s age. The fact is, that given the age of this man, he would spend the best part of his life in jail. That was enough. And while we could discuss the pros and cons here, I generally respect this reasoning, which is not solely victim-based, but reconciliation-based.

          Posted by jcmmanuel
          on October 3, 2010 – Sunday – 7:33 AM

          • thearead says:

            Thea:

            Hmm, yep, see the comment I left just above, at least in terms of a general definition of reconciliation compared to what I outlined.

            I agree that reconciliation is a good aspect of a system of justice. I would add that resolution of the underlying problems is also part of it. For example, a man commits injury against his wife which is then considered a crime, but which stemmed from an offense against his honor? Is the man the only guilty party here?

            Posted by Thea on October 6, 2010 – Wednesday – 6:17 AM

  3. thearead says:

    ROBERTOelDRAGÓN&IDYs!:

    BEFORE THE REPLY AND ????? THIS IS REMARKABLE! BEYOND!
    FOR ME, TOO MANY IRONS. THE FIRE, FOR MY MINUSCULE MIND, IS DYING AND NEAR-DEAD. AND, THAT MAKES ME FEEL BURNT! IF, YOU SPREAD YOUR IRONS A BIT AND YOUR FIRE(S)? YOUR FORCES AND FORCE WILL BE FAR MORE EFFECTIVE, FOR ME.
    IT TAKES, ONLY, A READING, TO SEE IT IS IMPRESSIVE AND ASTUTE, AS YOU ALWAYS ARE! MONSTROUSLY SO! BUT, MY WEE BRAIN NEEDS SMALLER CHUNKS, L D OR NO. SIMPLY COUNTING THE -OBVIOUS- QUESTIONS MAKES ME DIZZY! (DOES THAT MOVE ME; NEGATIVELY OR DOWN, ON EITHER SCALE? I THINK; “YES”? AND, SO IT GOES…? ONE THING, ON THIS? @ LEAST I HAVE THE STONES TO “SAY” IT?) AND, IF I LOST YOUR CHERISHED FRIENDSHIP; I WOULD SUFFER IMMENSELY! YOU’RE A TEACHER? SMALL CHUNKS OVER IMPOSING INUNDATIONS. OR, YOU EXCLUDE ME, AND OTHERS, IN SOME FASHION; NOT ENJOYABLE NOR FUN TO MENTION!?
    ILY & RESPECT YOU, w NO END, THEA! AND, I HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND A LOT! MAYBE ALL, TO SOME DEGREE, MINIMALLY? TO RESPOND, NOW? THAT VERY DAUNTING. LIKE FACING A TORNADO w A WINDBREAKER?
    NO MATTER, I AM MUCH BETTER, JUST FOR THE READING OF THIS! SO KUDOS SHOULD BE IN ABUNDANCE! IT SAYS, “GIVE KUDOS”? YET, ONLY ONE CAN BE GIVEN? GUESS IT WANTS ME TO ADD TO THE SUM? NP! THE HEAP SHOULD BE MOUNTAINOUS!
    “Although there may be nothing new under the sun, what is old is new to us and so rich and astonishing that we never tire of it. If we do tire of it, if we lose our curiosity, we have lost something of infinite value, because to a high degree it is curiosity that gives meaning and savour to life.”-Robertson Davies
    I HAVE NOT, NOR, NEVER SHALL LOSE SIGHT OF YOUR BEAUTIFUL CURIOSITY! PART OF YOUR FAR GREATER BEAUTIES!
    TOMMY GEE/RtD

    Posted by ROBERTOelDRAGÓN&IDYs! on September 29, 2010 – Wednesday – 5:38 PM

    • thearead says:

      Thea:

      (psst! I know it’s dense, love. Just pick one thing and give your two cents. This isn’t a super exam or anything. Love ya, and I really do wanna hear your thoughts…)

      Posted by Thea on September 30, 2010 – Thursday – 6:42 AM

      • thearead says:

        ROBERTOelDRAGÓN&IDYs!:

        WARNING? UNLESS YOU’RE THEA, YOU WOULD BE WISE TO IGNORE THIS? HOW WISE? I WISH; I COULD HAVE!
        THEA? YOU -DON’T- EXPECT ME TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT? w ONE THING, I RAMBLE TO 234? NAH! BUT! HOW’S THIS? IT WILL HAVE TO BE AN EXCEPTIONAL DAY, bc THAT’S, JUST, HOW IT IS. BUT, ON SUCH A DAY, I WILL RETURN AND TRY!
        IT’S YOUR BLOG. YOU CAN REPLY AS YOU ARE INCLINED. -ANYONE- OTHER GETS A F O AND NO MORE. THEA! I CHERISH YOUR FRIENDSHIP! AND, I AM NOT OUT TO BATTLE ANYONE! NOR MAKE THEM FEEL LESS, IN -ANY- WAY! BUT, NEITHER, AM I HERE, TO “TRIP ON BACK” TO THE DAYS; I SAT IN STUFFY LIBRARY ROOMS AND, RATHER QUICKLY, LEARNED; THE TRAPPINGS OF THE INTELLIGENTSIA NEITHER FIT ME, VERY OFTEN, NOT INTERESTED ME, EVEN, WHEN THEY DID. THE LAST CONTRADICTION IS FOUNDED, KINDA SADLY AND FORTUITOUSLY, BY THE FACT; I TYPE @ BREAK-NOTHING SPEED, MY L D MAKES ME GO BACK AND FIX BETWEEN 60 TO 90% OF ANYTHING AND -EVERYTHING-; MY FINGERS AND REVERSAL-PRONE AND SO MANY OTHERS ALONG w L-DIS’d, MIND HAVE WROUGHT, AND, THERE IS MORE, BUT NO NEED, I WOULD HOPE?
        IN MY TOO FAST-APPROACHING DOTAGE, I WOULD HOPE TO, AS I’VE PLANNED, DO SOMETHING TO ADD A TEEEEEENY BIT OF HAPPINESS, TO THE WORLD OR SOME/SOMEONE; IN IT. AS, I PREPARE FOR WHAT; I’VE YET TO REALLY DETERMINE, I HAVE FOUND, REGARDLESS, THAT I WILL NEED TO KNOW AS MUCH AS I CAN, FROM AS MANY PLACES/SOURCES AS I CAN RUMMAGE THRU. LOTS OF GREAT STUFF IS HERE, AND LIL IF ANY IS MINE. I DON’T APOLOGIZE. I -DO- THANK ALL, FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE EXPOSED TO THEIRS (SOUNDS A BIT RANDY? HAAA) AND ADD SOME TO MY “REPERTOIRE”, FOR THAT TIME, WHEN I DO AS I WILL; DESPITE ITS, CURRENTLY, ESCHEWING ANY “HOME”, IN MY WEE BRAINY! FOR, WHEN I AM DOING, I WILL BE DOING w MORE SUCCESS, AS A RESULT OF WHAT’S HERE, NOW, WAS IN THE PAST, AND WILL BE, IF I STILL HAVE ACCESS, IN THE FUTURE! NO ONE WILL NOTICE NOR NOTE WHATEVER I DO, BUT THAT IS SUCH A RELIEF! SELFISHLY, I CHOOSE TO ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING THAT MAKES ME, ALONE, FEEL SATISFIED, IN KNOWING HAVE. THE RECIPIENT(S) OF THIS “MYSTERY GIFT” MAY FEEL SOMETHING; SIMILAR? BUT, IF THEY KNOW; I MADE IT HAPPEN; I’VE LET DOWN ME! AND, -THAT- WOULD NOT BE AN ICE CREAM MOMENT!
        LIKE THE ABOVE, I HAVE NO WANT OF FEEDBACK, HERE, PLEASE! BUT, OF COURSE, AS SAID ABOVE(?), FOR THE VENERATED EXCEPTION OF THEA. IT -IS- HER “NEWLY PAINTED” ROOM? AND, SHE HAS ALLOWED ME TO POSSIBLY BE THE FIRST, TO SULLY IT! ASIDE FROM THE CUSTOMARY APPRECIATIONS, HOW CAN I NOT BE MORE GRATEFUL, WHEN I AM MOST LIKELY TO WIELD THE DIRTY HANDS; PRECISELY WHERE THEY MAKE THE MOST NOTICEABLE GRIME?
        ILYs! AND, YOU HAVE BEEN YOUR USUAL, DOLL, SELF, AS ALWAYS, THEA!
        TOMMY/RtD

        Posted by ROBERTOelDRAGÓN&IDYs! on October 1, 2010 – Friday – 8:08 PM

        • thearead says:

          Thea:

          I wasn’t implying that it was too much for your “wee brain” to handle, I meant that this covers a lot of territory, skips over a bunch more, and introduces new territory, and proportionate amounts of time and effort would be required to deal with all of it, so don’t try. That’s all.

          Posted by Thea on October 1, 2010 – Friday – 8:23 PM

          • thearead says:

            ROBERTOelDRAGÓN&IDYs!:

            BEST I CAN DO: I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO DO ALL; STEP BY STEP. THEREFORE, I WILL NOT BEGIN (OR CONTINUE MY MEAGER “BEGINNING”, IF IT IS ONE?). OCD, NUTZ, OR WHATEVER; I NEED TO FINISH THINGS. AND, THAT’S SO FAR OUTTA THE QUESTION; THE QUESTION WOULD REQUIRE LIGHT SPEED AND TIME TRAVEL, TO GET BACK TO; ONCE BEGUN. ALL IS ON ME! I GET NO KICK FROM CHAMPAGNE AND NO THRILL FROM INCOMPLETE ATTEMPTS, NOT ON A FOOBAWL FIELD; NOT ON BLOGS! (AND ON THE FOO FIELD, I NEVER WAS -NOT- FRUSTRATED w INCOMPLETIONS; JUST AS VEHEMENTLY!) TAKING, JUST, ONE SMALL (IF THERE IS ONE?) PORTION WOULD INVOLVE TOO MUCH TIME, AND DOUBTLESS, LEAVE MORE QUESTIONS, THAN BEFORE BEGUN. I KNOW. A GREAT WAY TO LEARN, OFTEN! NOT ME; NOT, THIS TIME, THO. SO, I BEG YOUR PARDON, BUT w OR wo IT, I’M GONE FROM THIS ONE? BUT! DESPITE MY CALLOUS REMARKS, PRIOR, I MEAN NO HARM OR HURT TO ANYONE!
            I DO LYs! PLEASE DELETE MY OTHER RAMBLE ABOVE, THEA? AND, I PROMISE! WHEN LEAST EXPECTED, I WILL SURPRISE YOU w SOMETHING COHERENT, EVEN IF, STILL, BRIEF BY COMPARISON. COGENT? DUBIOUS, BUT POSSIBLE!
            YOU ARE VITAL TO ME, DEAR THEA! (THO THIS SEEMS TO SHOUT THE OPPOSITE; DESPITE MY WANTING TO -NEVER- DO THAT?)
            TOMMY
            “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”-William Shakespeare

            Posted by ROBERTOelDRAGÓN&IDYs! on October 2, 2010 – Saturday – 5:51 PM

  4. thearead says:

    Denese:

    Girl, I gotta take lessons on how to comment on your blog? No shit?

    I am waaayyy to lazy.

    So I will just pick here and there what strikes me and comment on those parts? OK?

    Good. Because I ain’t fixin’ to go back to school!

    Posted by Denese on September 30, 2010 – Thursday – 6:05 PM

  5. thearead says:

    Denese:

    IF you can bring yourself to ask questions like this, honestly and in good faith, it will be because you have figured out that it IS possible for an entire belief system to have flaws, and because you have reconciled yourself to the idea that this is a natural consequence of the fact that we don’t know everything all at once, rather we evolve, AND that the thing to do is not to throw up our hands in panic and seek to eliminate the object of the flaw, rather the flaw itself.

    This bit is the jewel in the crown for me. Or to relate it to J’s way of thinking, this is step 1 in being rational about faith. Because if you are going to approach a subject with any amount of rationality, you have to be open to the possibility that there is no definitive “right answer.” And in my experience dealing with humans, there is no formula to how to be successful in any relationship.

    So why would a relationship with God be any different?

    There are those that call this cherry picking, however. How can we answer that? For me the answer is: “Yeah, so what?”

    Very, very good stuff here. I will be back to comment some more.

    I am going to have to take it in little bites.

    Posted by Denese on September 30, 2010 – Thursday – 6:12 PM

  6. thearead says:

    Jared: Genibus Tuis Canis³:

    I’m gonna use the “pursuit of life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” argument

    Posted by Jared: Genibus Tuis Canis³ on October 1, 2010 – Friday – 7:09 AM

  7. thearead says:

    moolah:

    you are my new friend for life! i disbelieve in kudos, so i give you a standing ovation! may i copy this, i will credit you? it says much of what i have been thinking and saying, but better articulated. bravo! it was well worth the read.

    Posted by moolah on October 1, 2010 – Friday – 9:46 AM

  8. thearead says:

    Winter:

    This is dense. I have to say it seriously spun me round. At best I had to walk away from it. Now,… 24 hours later, (and 4 drinks), I have to say.. I purposely did not reread. To answer so many questions, I had to let it simmer…… and answer what floated to the top. My impressions? It has always seriously blown my mind that anyone should seriously give a shit who I or any one else is screwing, let alone what I or we would bestow upon them. I really loved what just just jeff said.. this is the U.S., just another contract right?.. Seems so simple.. I had trouble with this, because I have trouble with marriage in general.. I mean what a mess really.. Technicaly binding on so many levels, religon, capitatizm.. you not only own my body, but my thoughts.. wow,.. have been in the moment, but forever? yeesh. My favorite was when Dolly Parton said, “why shouldnt homesexuals be as miserable as the rest of us”.. she nailed it.. what to do? I would say we need a contract in case there is any issue, but that should not be neccesary!!… Really, in one of the riches contries. That our children are cared for should be a given.. Religion, i wont touch at this time, just too rabid about the whole issue at this time.

    with that said… greetings and hello JC.

    As always, am in love with and intimadated by Thea, LOL.

    Winter.

    Posted by Winter on October 1, 2010 – Friday – 7:16 PM

    • thearead says:

      Thea:

      My other favorite quote from Dolly Parton had to do with the mechanics of stowing 10 pounds of mud. I love people who can cut to the chase and make it stick.

      The problem, Winter, is that how you think and what you do has an effect on the pocketbooks of those who give a damn about such things instead of giving a damn about humans. Therefore, and quite regardless of any niceties having to do with morals, ethics, and integrity (they don’t give a damn about humans, remember?), such individuals feel no compunction about attempting to manipulate how you think and what you do, and this includes interfering with your love life.

      Is this boiling it down into dangerous oversimplification? Yes, except for the part about I’m talking to you, and you are more than capable of doing the math. Needless to say, that “Thousand Points of Light” our mutual friend keeps nattering on about can’t do what they do personally and directly to each one of us. So, what DO they do? Separate each of us from each other, throw down a bloody scrap disguised as something we’re supposed to care about in a certain way, and then let us all squabble with each other over that while they fade quietly into their counting houses, which are barricaded by an intricate web of property law that says they have the right to rob as they see fit.

      And that quickie paragraph appears to ignore history and cultural context (not to mention all the wannabe TPL’s). I’ve talked about that at length elsewhere, of course; all I will say here is that history and culture have arrived at this point such that it became possible for the Thousand Points of Light to come into existence and find a way to sustain themselves. So, to oust this bunch (and any subsequent replacements, granted assassination has a certain poetic appeal), we’re going to need to make changes to the underlying, fundamental assumptions we make about how life should go, the biggest, most obvious change having precisely to do with the relative positioning of humans and humanity in terms of proper human endeavor. Humans, and humanity–which includes a definition of practical ethics at the very least regarding the planet we live on, in case you find yourself in danger of thinking humans are scum and shouldn’t be here to begin with–should be The Main Business.

      Humans and humanity should be The Main Business.

      For humans, survival is not just about food, clothing, and shelter. It is also about love. This is where we tend to fall short. NOT that there isn’t enough love, but that we fail over and over again to take it into account as we construct our lives throughout history.

      Again, this is a huge oversimplification, but may serve as a point of entry for further discussion. I’ll provide the ice and the glassware, okay?

      Love you very much!

      Thea

      Posted by Thea on October 15, 2010 – Friday – 7:02 AM

    • thearead says:

      jcmmanuel:

      Hi Winter,

      I saw your “hello JC” greeting here (assuming it is me, not the man from Galilee).

      Given your remark about religion here, it could be a little offensive to say something good about it (although you’ve certainly read my comment above). But in fact, it doesn’t matter that much to me, because religion in itself means nothing – unless we talk about persons not institutions, in which case religion may mean everything for people – even without thinking of it as ‘religion’ per se.

      An important point is always, I guess, doing an attempt to keep an open mind, even when being faced with abuse of some phenomenon – be it religion, or atheism or whatever. I just had some argument on one of many atheists blogs around, about this whole issue of being honest. I have seen too much dogmatic atheism around to ignore the problem of fundamentalism in a deeper way than ‘religious’. Mindsets are nuanced things, no monoliths. An atheist may often claim agnosticism, skepticism, science and humanism to be on his side – yet nothing could be farther from the truth. Most agnostics don’t want to be called atheists to begin with. But also: I often found myself to be more agnostic than many of my atheist friends (agnostic in the sense of having lots of having no stomach for dogmatic solutions). Believers are also often very rational / skeptical. Science: there’s a weird bunch in the US who feels like a ‘moral majority’ but they want to be “raptured” away and watch Armageddon from a ringside seat, how enthralling is that as a moral endeavor? And humanism…. let’s not turn that brick here, but no mindset on the planet should be claiming to ‘represent’ humanism – that is in a way the most grotesque, poisoned gift someone could be offering to mankind.

      I love the Dolly Parton quote. I’d say about Dolly, with the words of Jamie (Mandy Moore) in A Walk To Remember: “I always thought she was smart”. Parton is probably smart also in her not bluntly advocate *everything* about gays or LGBT – but rather supporting their rights. There’s a difference between these two. I found that I have long resisted gay rights not because of any religious problem but because of the (in my perception, grotesque) gay parades (in my case, in Europe). I suddenly realized that if hetero’s would do this kind of thing I would dislike it just the same. There’s many things going on in people’s mind, and to call that ‘religion’ would easily become a stigma that doesn’t do justice to everyone. I value love, in a deeper way than sexual ‘pride’ of any kind could offer as a substitute for the full pack of what love and friendship and all of it entails. But I also support Thea’s approach here because it is paving a way for a debate based on mutual respect for people and their longing for happiness.

      Kind regards,
      J.

      Posted by jcmmanuel on October 2, 2010 – Saturday – 10:10 AM

  9. thearead says:

    Deborah ~ ♥ “Erekamka Na Adonai” ♥:

    A few personal thoughts from one who isn’t planted firmly in academics, more on the side of emotion, in no particular order…

    If we accept the realities of our humanness, then we acknowledge that “Love Thy Neighbor” is not an act we can fully accomplish relying solely upon self. To think or proclaim otherwise is ignoring and/or overlooking truth, human frailty and weakness. (There will, of course, be those who claim this IS humanly possible, I’m not going to argue with them…it’s their right to believe that and some will be better at the attempt than others).

    As a Christian, my personal interpretation or understanding is, the ability and power to love all, to “Love Thy Neighbor as thyself…” begins with loving God with all they heart, all thy soul and all thy mind. One being the first greatest command, the other the second, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” and “for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”

    So…if I love God with all my heart, He is number ONE in my life, (first great commandment), loving my neighbor will or should be the natural outcome of fulfilling the first commandment as He will provide me the strength and ability to love all as He would have me to, overcoming human weakness.

    Aside from faith, morality, values and ethics, (not to mention conscience), should prevent us from “…eliminating (or at least marginalizing) your “non-orthodox” neighbor…”. However, we know this has not been the case. Would the world’s condition not be greatly improved if we could all manage to “…look at it directly in the face, [discomfort], and seek to resolve it, even if the best you can manage is to hang the problem on God’s hook and let him deal with it,…” ? Knowing or recognizing something doesn’t necessarilly indicate it can be easily or promptly applied. Awareness across the board is a difficult task, then once again, there is the application of the awareness. Too, too many simply DON’T desire this for a myriad of reasons.
     
    “A fear of losing identity,” …what do we hinge our identity upon?
     
    Social ideals or personal ones? Unfortunately, as you’ve indicated, more often than not, it’s hinged upon the social aspects which can cause unwarranted fear, confusion, lashing out or attempting to eliminate, belittle or disparage that which goes against societal hierarchy, accepted norms, status quo and/or threatens personal identity/comfort.

    It’s no fun having the rug yanked from under us…plus it HURTS… so why not nail it down eliminating the possibility?

    Changes need to occur in regard to what we base personal identity, (worth), upon. Taking into account and acknowledging human rights, (not gay rights or any other specific or particular rights…ALL rights), should be applied equally to everyone, no exceptions. Until modification is made concerning basis for personal identity and self worth, the status quo or social hierarchy will not be modified or improved, rights will continue to applied or provided in an unbalanced, unfair manner.

    Quite a challenge!!!
     
    There is more to the “Vengeance is Mine…” than humans don’t know enough to properly or justly implement it, although that is a truth.

    A Christian whose heart is in the “right” condition would have a love so great for others, revenge would not enter the picture. Why inflict hurt, pain or “get even” with someone we love? What would be the benefit since to do so would be the equivalent of self inflicted wounding?

    Also, when we take upon ourselves to seek retribution or exact a toll from another for a wrong done, we remove peace from our heart and lives, placing ourselves in a precarious and vulnerable position. We open ourselves up to guilt, remorse, regret and shame…and the realization our faith in God was not strong enough to feel assured/confident He would handle the matter effectively and justly taking into account the best interest of all, including self.

    Additionally, we’ve attempted to remove God’s authority, damaged our testimony as followers of Christ, placed the things of this world above that which is godly/righteous and questioned God‘s love and promises.

    You wrote:

    “It should be clear by now that humans don’t poof full blown into existence, rather we evolve. We come into being via process.”

    I agree and the process is slower for some than others, especially when we‘re considering deeply rooted cultural and societal norms. Rarely is there an effective manner of rushing this process with those who move at a slower pace, often more harm is done than good if we try to push. (Tommy, there’s that word…again – “push”).

    Some may never advance or move forward, sadly.

    It’s vital that questions continue to be asked, answers sought, people continue to speak up, (advocate then be willing to discuss and share ideas & thoughts keeping open minds), and stagnation or lack of progress, (regardless how slow or miniscule), determined unacceptable. Plus, we have to accept and realize that changes which remain usually evolve at a “snail’s pace” and disallow ourselves to become frustrated or despairing.

    Additionally, much good comes by way of example, we, (self), need to ensure we’re living, breathing, walking, talking examples of progression by way of love.

    You wrote:

    “…this does not mean you have to be using big words when you’re having sex…”

    Laughing…the new “talk dirty to me”.

    “Ooooooooohhhh…whisper big words in my ear when you do that…ohhhhhhhhh, yes, yes, yes!!!”

    Marriage…best I not go there.

    You wrote:

    “I believe the world HAS plenty of love, what the world needs is systems (faith structures, governance, education, economic infrastructure, interpersonal relationship norms, etc.) that do not punish us for sharing it.”

    I’ve struggled with this statement. I’m not sure the world has enough love, there may be a large supply but is it enough? And systems…systems or organized structures/bodies tend to become overbearing and/or out of control more often than not. I don’t think we’ll ever not have them as they do benefit to some degree, but will they ever function in such a manner that persons are not punished, (reap consequences), for sharing or behaving in a uniquely personal way?

    Interesting blog, sorry it took me so long to tackle it.

    Love and blessings…

    Posted by Deborah ~ ♥ “Erekamka Na Adonai” ♥ on October 2, 2010 – Saturday – 6:46 AM

    • thearead says:

      Thea:

      Okay, Deborah, you’re right. Size does matter. At least when you’re using big words, eh? LMAO!!

      Posted by Thea on October 2, 2010 – Saturday – 12:15

    • thearead says:

      jcmmanuel:

      “Rarely is there an effective manner of rushing this process with those who move at a slower pace”

      Great point – and indeed this is captured in Thea’s blog too (and in former blogs).

      Besides, I agree with your doubts whether the world has enough love. There is the potential, but potential doesn’t do a lot, and ‘structures’ have limitations. Although good structures – horizontal hierarchy kind of structures – could be different, more like NGO’s and less like government.

      Posted by jcmmanuel on October 2, 2010 – Saturday – 10:38 AM

      • thearead says:

        Thea:

        *dumps an ice cold bucket o love on J’s head then runs laughing like a lunatic while J discovers a whole new meaning to the phrase “this really chaps my ass!”* Nice thing about potential love, though: it’s volatile. Doesn’t take much to set it off. This being the case (in my opinion, of course), it can be argued that its very existence all by itself is its own motivator, in that it exerts pressure to become. What impact does this have, especially in terms of accessibility? And if a structure is dynamic, how does this affect its limitations?

        Posted by Thea on October 9, 2010 – Saturday – 6:04 AM

      • thearead says:

        Deborah ~ ♥ “Erekamka Na Adonai” ♥:

        Never hurts to make the same point twice…in case someone missed it the first time, yes?

        However, it wasn’t done with the intention of taking away from the original blog post or previous ones either. But good of you to bring it to my attention!

        Glad you were able to find something you agree with among the many words, makes me feel quite validated! 😉

        Posted by Deborah ~ ♥ “Erekamka Na Adonai” ♥ ♥ on October 2, 2010 – Saturday – 2:19 PM

        • thearead says:

          Thea:

          “Never hurts to make the same point twice…in case someone missed it the first time, yes?”

          I agree, especially if it is said in a number of different ways, thus giving a wider range of diverse peoples an opportunity to participate in developing common ground.

          Posted by Thea on October 3, 2010 – Sunday – 1:59 PM

        • thearead says:

          Thea:

          At the risk of getting carried away (and so what?), you might consider putting your long comment up in a blog on your own page. After all, and at least for me, what you said added clarity to what I said. Furthermore, the humane courage that underlies your having said it at all is a lesson in itself.

          Posted by Thea on October 5, 2010 – Tuesday – 7:24 AM

          • thearead says:

            Deborah ~ ♥ “Erekamka Na Adonai” ♥:

            I tend to ramble and get off topic often. My sights focus on particular “things” and then become overly detailed in the explanation of how I understand them. Honestly, I didn’t notice how badly I’d done this until after I’d hit submit.
            If there was anything gained through my ramblings, I’m thankful. I sincerely appreciate your kindness in allowing me to consume such chunks of space by way of comment.

            I’m not posting many blogs of late…I’ve not been lead to do so and I fear I may not have the time or attention span to monitor as would be necessary. But…I won’t overlook your suggestion.

            Thank you very much Thea

            Posted by Deborah ~ ♥ “Erekamka Na Adonai” ♥ on October 5, 2010 – Tuesday – 9:59 AM

    • thearead says:

      ROBERTOelDRAGÓN&IDYs!:

      HAD YOU NOT POINTED IT OUT, “PUSH” WOULD HAVE, RIGHT PAST ME; UNNOTICED, DEBORAH. BUT, THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION AND I HOPE NO APOLOGY WAS INVOLVED, BUT FOR THE HUMOR? THE ONLY WORDS THAT DON’T FIT, HERE, ARE UNDER MY NAME, AND THAT’S MY FAULT, ONLY.
      ILY!
      TOMMY
      [IN BETTING A PUSH IS REALLY WHAT A BOOKIE HOPES FOR. S/HE MAKES MONEY ON THE VIG(ORISH), WHICH IS, CURRENTLY $11 FOR EVERY $10 WAGERED. THAT DOLLAR HAS A WAY OF ADDING UP TO HUGE SUMS, AND IF THE ANOMALY OF ALL PUSHES OCCURRED; THE BOOK WOULD MAKE A TON, WHILE NO ONE ELSE MADE A DIME! “THE BOOKMAKER’S DREAM DAY”. NO PAYOUTS, AND NOTHING TO DO, BUT COLLECT THE VIGS!]

      Posted by ROBERTOelDRAGÓN&IDYs! on October 2, 2010 – Saturday – 6:18 PM

      • thearead says:

        Deborah ~ ♥ “Erekamka Na Adonai” ♥:

        Tommy, it is my pleasure to be able to point out things that elude others or go unnoticed, although that is rather a rarity among my friends, you included.
        You have my constant consideration, which I try to extend to everyone, (my success rate is not 100%, unfortunately).
        The betting info…interesting. I had no clue at all… 🙂

        Posted by Deborah ~ ♥ “Erekamka Na Adonai” ♥ on October 2, 2010 – Saturday – 6:37 PM

        • thearead says:

          ROBERTOelDRAGÓN&IDYs!:

          IF, I KEEP MAKING “MISTAKES” WILL YOU CONTINUE TALKING TO ME AND HELPING ME? HAAA I -AM- GOOD @ THAT, THO!? HAAA I AM ALWAYS BAFFLED WHEN I SEE VEGAS HAS MADE SOME CONTEST A FAVE OR UNDER, w A 1/2 POINT ON THEIR “BETTING LINE”, WHICH IS PRETTY COMMON! GUARANTEES THEY WILL BE MAKING PAYOFFS! MAYBE bc CASINOS WOULD GET TOO MUCH BAD PUB, IF THEY EXCEEDED $3216536571365713465714657165716571, IN DAILY PROFITS? HAAA AND, HANG w ME, AND YOU’LL HAVE MORE ERRORS TO FIX, THAN THE FOLKS WHO HANDLED BAWSTIN’S “BIG DIG”! HAAA HOPE YOU (AND EVERYONE?) SMILE(S)!

          Posted by ROBERTOelDRAGÓN&IDYs! on October 2, 2010 – Saturday – 7:11 PM

          • thearead says:

            Thea:

            When I’m Sixty-Four

            Posted by Thea on October 3, 2010 – Sunday – 11:21 PM

            • thearead says:

              ROBERTOelDRAGÓN&IDYs!:

              YA KNOW, DEAREST THEA? IN MANY WAYS, AGE IS A GREAT EQUALIZER, IN MANY SOCIAL/LOVING SITUATIONS; THAT MAY BE, w THIS ADDED TIME, LONG TERM OR NOT? PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES ARE NOT SUCH VITAL POSSESSION, bc MANY ARE GONE OR CHANGED INTO NON-NOTEWORTHY PARTS OF THE ALTERED “ATTRACTION/POWER EQUATION”. FOR INSTANCE, I BET MANY, FROM HER H S OR NEIGHBORHOOD, BACK THEN, WHO SAW JANIS, LATELY, THOUGHT, “LORDY! I DON’T REMEMBER HER BEING SO ATTRACTIVE?” SADLY, IN OUR YOUTH, WE DON’T FORESEE THIS “STANDARDS RELAXATION; DUE TO ‘NEW DEFECTS’ ATTITUDE” BEING THE APPROACHING AND POWERFUL REALITY; IT BECOMES? THE “OLDER HEAD ON YOUNG LIL SHEETS” DEAL?
              AS FOR THE AMOUNT OF LOVE, IN THE WORLD? [FOR ME, ANOTHER TANGENT; HERE?! BUT I HAVE A STRONG OPINION, AS w MANY; I AM BARELY ABLE TO FORESTALL MYSELF FROM PLUNGING n2, TILL I AM NO MORE THAN A SMALL RIPPLE, FROM A HUGE AND FRUITLESS DIVE, INTO A HUGE SEA OF NOT-TO-BE RESOLVED (@ LEAST, DURING MY BRIEF TWINKLE OR LACK OF ONE, ON THIS PLANET) TOPICS/QUESTIONS/OPINIONS?] I SAY THIS w MY TONGUE, SO FAR OUTTA MY CHEEK, MY FACE APPEARS MALNOURISHED! I HAVE ENUFF FOR THE WORLD, ALONE! IT’S A MATTER OF SPREADING IT, AND THAT IS NOT ONLY LOGISTICALLY GRUESOME, BUT, ALSO, FRAUGHT w THE DANGERS OF MANY MISINTERPRETATIONS, AND THE ACCOMPANYING SHRUGGLE STONES, THEY PRODUCE! “A THIMBLEFUL OF THE RIGHT KIND OF LOVE CAN MAKE AN ENTIRE CULTURE, MORE ADMIRABLE AND MORE ACCEPTING.”-T. GEenerash
              TO RINGO, I’D SAY, “WAIT TILL YOUR IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, OF 64? YOU MAY, WELL, FIND YOURSELF, w AN ENTIRELY NEW AND DIFFERENT GROUP OF FOLKS; INCLUDING SIGNIF OTHERS!” (GUESS, NOW, WE COULD ASK HIM? BEING 1/2 OF “THE BEATLES”, ON EARTH? AND, 69, IF NOT 70?) SEE THEA? THIS COULD EAT MY LIFE! HAAA AND NO CRITIQUE! YOU JUST CHOSE TO MAKE ME WANT TO DELVE n2 ALL THAT MATTERS, IN LIFE? HAAA
              ILY! YOU ARE SUCH A DOLL!
              TOMMY <- NO SHEEP SHEET? HAAA

              Posted by ROBERTOelDRAGÓN&IDYs! on October 4, 2010 – Monday – 8:42 AM

              • thearead says:

                Thea:

                Well, that’s kinda why I’ve been hammering away at the idea of “life as process,” as opposed to our current standard which keeps trying to freeze everyone at 17, as if being anything else is a shameful flaw. I don’t advocate throwing the baby out with the bath–17 year old beauty queens are very nice, and it’s fun (for them, anyway, which I see no reason to begrudge) while it lasts. But, it is completely pointless outside the context of the rest of our lives, and not only within our own life spans, but within the span of time that humanity may or may not continue to exist throughout history and beyond. I can’t help growing old and thence kicking the bucket. None of us can, you’re right, of course. But what I CAN help is the IDEA!!!!!! that only a few moments of each of our lives counts. History does not start, nor does it end, at 17. We have no excuse for this ridiculous idea, even AT 17, because guess what happens when you live? You live forever, that’s what happens. It’s the dynamic that underlies that “thimble full of kindness” you mentioned. And all this knowledge, like love, is right there all the time–just gotta open your damn eyes and look at it. The thing that makes getting old and then dying intolerable is the (false) isolation we practice throughout the entire course of our lives. Self-absorption. We’re all obsessed with the idea that the the world and its history, that is, the part that counts, begins and ends with our birth and death, and we further narrow that span of time by telling ourselves that only part of that span is valid and worthwhile. Human beings are NOT just a conglomeration of isolated individuals. We’re also a living, organic, evolving, collective entity, and unless we learn how to appreciate this, THAT WILL become extinct.

                Sigh. A friend of mine recently remarked to me that the answer to a question I’d posed exceeded the question: it happens. So. Death happens. And old age. It skills nothing to continue to struggle to make sense of it in terms of loss. To bemoan it, resent it, blame God, etc. Instead, the question needs to be asked in terms of on what (other) basis can we make sense of it. For instance, would we be human if we were all deathless and lovely? No? So, what’s the point?

                Okay, well, ask yourself this (everybody): How does it feel to love someone? How does it feel to be loved? Pretty damned fine, eh? Makes life worth living, doesn’t it? Kay, now ask yourself THIS question: How do you figure it feels for everyone else? You don’t have to look around and try to quantify what happens and how it might differ from person to person, just use your imagination for a minute.

                Would you wish to deprive anyone of this feeling?

                Of course not. But how do we keep it going? You’re going to die. According to popular wisdom, when you die, you’re gone. But consider: having loved your loved ones, ARE you gone? Or does the fact that you existed to begin with enable love yet again?

                My mother died suddenly and unexpectedly this past December. No more coffee klatches. No more sitting on the end of her bed in the morning, gleefully expounding on any subject under the sun for hours, trading thoughts, observations, jokes, teaching and learning. No more buffer between me and the world. I am naked without her.

                Or am I? She poured love on me my entire life like she had an endless supply of it. Unstinting, sharp, full of compassion and empathy, and wise. Did this all stop and become meaningless when she died? Who am I now, today?

                Thanks to my mother, all of you are very much loved by me. Seriously. That love is why I’m here, it’s why I’m writing these damned brain twisty blogs. It’s why I’m involved in all the other endeavors I practice and struggle to bring to fruition, or at least help set the stage for them. I give a damn about you! (and talk about the agony and the ecstasy!)

                I can’t directly and personally love each and every person on the planet. Thing is, I don’t need to–all I need to do is foment love, even as I directly care for those who are closest to me. Because each of you is your own engine of love, and, like my mother to me, each of you shapes the people around you with the love you bear them, even as they shape you. Between all of us, there is no reason for anyone to be left out.

                So, why can’t we do this and be immortally beautiful, too? Why do we die? I can’t answer this definitively. All I can do is ask you this question: who would we be otherwise? And, is death always going to be relevant? Are we grown up enough to handle immortality? We continue so far to permit a dominant culture that attempts to freeze-frame us all in youth, in addition to demanding we meet a particular aesthetic standard. Is this grown up? What about all the other bullshit nonsense that goes on in the world? I would say that before we can even begin to qualify for immortality, never mind demand it, we must needs figure out how to get along with ourselves as we are. And this entails that we understand that we are not just “me,” but US.

                Likely this is unsatisfying as any sort of answer. But then, I don’t intend it as an answer. I intend it as a question. And in asking this question, I struggle to set in motion an evolution that might eventually lead to an answer, because with any damned luck at all, folks will read this and do a little thinking and maybe pass their thoughts on to someone else–you see?

                As for you specifically, Tommy: you enable me to love. You have saved my sanity, possibly unknowingly, a number of times in the recent past. Do the math on that, because that’s not where it ends. What’s not to love about you? You are right about logistics and misinterpretation–but I say to you, this is a natural consequence of the fact that we are not omniscient. Instead, we create meaning. It is not tidy by narrow minded standards, to be sure. Fuckin’ head rush, though, tell ya!

                “…the ease
                Of his kindly and fire-tempered shadow
                As he takes flight in our stormy skies
                Sheltering us from our own small woes
                Reminding us of the proper priority of beauty,
                Passion, and reasoned emotion

                Though he explodes in fantastic display
                At every turn…”

                I take you with me wherever I go, my friend, and my range spans the entirety of humanity, as does yours, through history and beyond.

                Posted by Thea on October 4, 2010 – Monday – 11:04 AM

  10. thearead says:

    jcmmanuel:

    In addition to your last comment (on TG – because there’s no more reply button there).

    I think I’m once again just picking up one idea here.

    If we were all “deathless and lovely”, you argue, we might “not be human”.

    This is true as far as our experience and our presumption goes. So as a thesis, it makes sense. If we think it through in its consequences, I still think it makes sense (even while I don’t really understand it – I’ll get to that). I mean: transhumanism exceeds humanism, and it’s easy to see how that can go terribly awry. But a cure for the pain is in itself a good thing. Receiving an artificial leg when you lost one of your real legs is great. But receiving an implant that makes me much smarter than the average intellectual would be a dangerous precept. Besides the fact that this implant might only be for those who can pay for it. (Which is also a problem with medicines in general, especially those that can extend life for instance).

    What I don’t understand in this is, not so much WHY it is so, but how this can ever be solved. It seems inevitable that in order to solve it, we need to stop being human. Which would, sort of, offer an argument for ‘eternal life’ – in Christian faith for instance – being an entirely different kind of life (which is an idea I have some trouble with; but that aside).

    In fact, as long as we are talking about human life, it seems that C.S. Lewis and others had it right when they posited the idea that something has its value as long as you are longing for it, without really ‘getting’ it. Love, in that sense, is never ‘finished’, you always keep longing (so love and some sense of suffering belong together). But if that be true, why do we often suffer for love without feeling love? Maybe there’s a difference between ‘not having at all’ and ‘stretching out your hands to get it’ (in faith). But then, one could also argue that the problem is always in not having enough faith.

    To me this is a conundrum.

    J.

    Posted by jcmmanuel on October 4, 2010 – Monday – 1:17 PM

    • thearead says:

      Thea:

      Okay, back to “You see it all around you”…

      “Is faith a belief in something that doesn’t exist? Not exactly. Faith is your best guess based on a realistic understanding of what does exist so far projected into the future in the hope that your expectations will pan out. Bear in mind that the future is only a moment away at all times, and that “so far” is always on its heels, so that there is always a recursive dynamic of understanding which informs your best guess…”

      I think perhaps what we might be overlooking in our discussions (one of the many things, anyway!) is the idea of consummation. This actually has a nicely narrow definition so far in the human (English) lexicon, so, it is ripe to be trifled with! LOL! Consummation might be that tiny moment in between “the future [being] only a moment away” and “so far” right on it’s heels. Something happens. Some kind of transformation, or perhaps even revelation. I am thinking that it is not so much that “so long as we long for something it has value.” Instead, I am thinking that we do get satisfaction regularly, even in the midst of suffering, but it comes about as part of this dynamic, and perhaps cannot occur or be sustained independently of it.

      Granted sometimes it doesn’t happen, if we accept the idea for the sake of argument. At this point, despair makes its appearance, and bollixes up the works.

      Kay, this is barely a toe in the water, I realize, but I need to think more about it. Calgonite, take me away!!

      Posted by Thea on October 4, 2010 – Monday – 7:48 PM

  11. thearead says:

    Thea:

    @Deborah: (had to do this, ran outta reply options)
    What you said:

    “I tend to ramble and get off topic often. My sights focus on particular “things” and then become overly detailed in the explanation of how I understand them. Honestly, I didn’t notice how badly I’d done this until after I’d hit submit.
    If there was anything gained through my ramblings, I’m thankful. I sincerely appreciate your kindness in allowing me to consume such chunks of space by way of comment.

    I’m not posting many blogs of late…I’ve not been lead to do so and I fear I may not have the time or attention span to monitor as would be necessary. But…I won’t overlook your suggestion.

    Thank you very much Thea :)”

    What I’m fixin to say:

    What the heck?! Who told you all this? Especially the part about “badly?” What you said was great! You did EXACTLY what I want folks to do: listen with heart and mind, don’t worry about getting anything right (because if you feel the need to say it, who are any of us to judge?), and just put your shit out there so we can all share in it, learn from it, and teach each other. THANK GOD you hit “submit” FIRST!!!

    My readership is so far rather limited. Or at any rate, only a few such as yourself have the courage to comment (I’ve had hundreds of views so far)! This is why I suggested that you ALSO blog your comment on your own page, because I’m guessing that way MORE people (including some of the same people) might get a chance to read it, and since what you said is to be perfectly honest more accessible than what I said, so much the better, eh? Maybe folks who were afeared to participate might decide to do so. But this, of course, is my agenda. Do as you see fit, my dear, so long as you know you are welcome to play tiddly winks on my blog, if you see a need, or are simply possessed of a whim. It is ALL grist for the mill.

    As for space: um, do you see me taking up any small amount of room? LOL!! You and I are sisters under the skin in this regard. Anyone who objects, let them go back to reading Dick and Jane one page at a time.

    Posted by Thea on October 5, 2010 – Tuesday – 10:27 AM

    • thearead says:

      Deborah ~ ♥ “Erekamka Na Adonai” ♥:

      I’m overwhelmed by the generousity and kindness shown me by so many, you included. Actually, I’m dumbfounded some days when I take the time to realize my blessings. We so often overlook them…or mistake them. I fail to be appreciative to an adequate degree. It’s kindnesses such as this that force me to recognize my cup is overflowing and I’m standing knee deep in God’s generousity by way of bringing precious friends into my life.

      Thank you…again, for EVERYTHING my “BEAUTIFUL sister under the skin”!

      I shared this on facebook as my anthem…feels apprpriate here too…

      Posted by Deborah ~ ♥ “Erekamka Na Adonai” ♥ on October 5, 2010 – Tuesday – 1:15 PM

  12. thearead says:

    Skribbler – nWo:

    I kudoed….

    Posted by Skribbler – nWo on October 5, 2010 – Tuesday – 10:55 AM

    • thearead says:

      Thea:

      Cool, that worked! Now all you need to do is get your profile deleted about 500 more times in the next day or so, and then come back here each time. *grin*

      Welcome (back)!

      Posted by Thea on October 5, 2010 – Tuesday – 11:27 AM

  13. Tis silly what the winds are strewin’

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