Wednesday, December 28, 2011

my super mega religion podcast with david bazan: both parts are up now

So my conversation with Bazan on the Grapes of Rad went on for 3 1/2 hours and (what we recorded, anyway) and they posted it in two parts. In Part One we all talked about leaving our faith and growing up as preachers' kids and why Newt Gingrich has a chance in hell, American Girls, non-practicing evangelicalism (which Dave identifies as), questioning, hating, bitterness, grief, Joseph Campbell, how not knowing is scary, and I also told the story about how Carman grabbed my ass one time. That was in part one and it is here.

In part two we talked about Santa’s influence on Bazan’s view of God, masturbation, how I was in a Dr. James Dobson video in 1991, grief, Christians & therapy, WALL-E (twice!), using “Bug Me Bucks” to deal with ideological clashes at family gatherings, tits and ass, how Aaron and I met at one of Bazan’s Living Room Shows, underdogs and Malcolm Gladwell, abandonment and those you turn their backs on you if you stop believing their religion, Morning Loaf with The Rev. Jeff Breakfast, how being a parent changes things, Bazan and I both attended the same church for awhile, sex scandals with pastors, leaving churches for non-sex scandal reasons, and my we were drinking the whole time so my accent comes out more and more towards the end there.

I feel awful about how much I was interrupting but Ben said it was fine. I still hate myself for it.

So part two is here.

It was weird being so open about crazy personal stuff but I hope it helps people maybe. It better or it's all for nothing. Ha.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

unholy sonnet 4


Poem by Mark Jarman and commentary by Roger Housden …

Unholy Sonnet 4

Amazing to believe that nothingness
Surrounds us with delight and lets us be,
And that the meekness of nonentity,
Despite the friction of the world of sense,
Despite the leveling of violence
Is all that matters. All the energy
We force into the matchhead and the city
Explodes inside a loving emptiness.

Not Dante’s rings, not the Zen zero’s mouth,
Out of which comes and into which light goes,
This God recedes from every metaphor,
Turns the hardest data into untruth,
And fills all blanks with blankness. This love shows
Itself in absence, which the stars adore. —Mark Jarman


"This poem presents a profoundly countercultural message: the meekness of nonentity…is all that matters. The prevailing wisdom of American culture is that the individual should aspire to be special, to stand out from the crowd. Jarman, on the other hand, is saying here that what matters is to disappear. But to disappear from what? From our identification with the ego, which always wants to feel special. When we are in the silent ground, in what he calls the nothingness, we are truly ourselves., one with everything, and in that sense, absent as a separate ego. Jarman is a contemporary Christian, and while he echoes here the long via negativa tradition begun by Dionysius the Areopagite in the 6th century, he also echoes the Zen tradition, in which the practitioner aspire to become “a man of no rank.” And yet no metaphors of any tradition, East or West, can come close to the reality of that love which shows itself in absence."—Roger Housden

Friday, December 16, 2011

stephy podcasting incorporated™

Hi hi! Tomorrow I'm recording the Grapes of Rad's podcast with Dave Bazan and people are supposed to send in questions for us to answer on religion and faith and journey and doubt of whatever. So if you give a crap send one to aaron@grapesofrad.com

And the latest Dongtini we debate the moon landing. Does anyone know for sure we landed on there? I just have a problem with all this alleged certainty.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

i got this email asking about literal hell

"Dear Stephanie, I have a burning question for you, your readers, anyone that can give me an answer. How do you get over the Fundie fear of burning in hell for eternity and still be a critical thinker? I'm between a rock and a hard place. I've always had issues with CC even as a child (and pastor's daughter). So often I would think "This isn't right. This doesn't make sense." only to be verbally slammed with some bible verse to shut me up. Revelation 3:16 is a favorite scare tactic: "So -- because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to vomit thee out of my mouth." I can laugh at SCCL, *like* posts and feel like I've finally found people that believe what I've always believed; yet there is a voice whispering (sometimes screaming) "You aren't doing it right. You aren't doing it our way. You're going to burn in hell. Forever!!! Lake of fire!! Forever!!" I don't know how to get over the pervasive fear. Any wisdom or thoughts would be most appreciated. Thanks."

Here is what I said:

"Hmm. Well, I think that hell very much exists on earth, as does heaven...reading The Great Divorce helped me with that, and also learning more about the original languages and what the biblical text actually was saying. I'm convinced that hell stuff is all poetic. I think people choose to be in hell. For example, I know some people who I believe are in hell even though they're alive - they have disowned all of their children and don't see their grandkids and live in a beautiful big house that is empty and full of despair...all by their own choosing. I can't imagine a worse hell than that. If fiery hell is real then bring it on because I can't imagine anything more torturous than living every day in fear of going there (done that). But I'm convinced that hell isn't a literal place but that hell is where love is not.

My friend Tracie read this Richard Rohr quote to me on Tuesday and it was so beautiful tears sprang to my eyes as if I'd been slapped across the face: “Every time God forgives us, God is saying that God's own rules do not matter as much as the relationship that God wants to create with us.”

xo
stephy"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

i'm figuing out advent

I’ve never really understood Advent, we always had Advent calendars and I knew it was about a countdown to Christmas somehow and that waiting was involved, then a few weeks ago I said kind of deliberately that I want to learn about Advent this year. And weirdly enough my friend Isaac randomly asked me to do a reading on the first Sunday of Advent at our church (Wits’ End) so I said yay okay. Isaac has an M.Div and knows too much about this stuff. So in this reading Isaac wrote he’d made a kind of mash-up of Old and New Testament scriptures about the coming of a Messiah who will supposedly heal and redeem the world. There was a heavy atmosphere at church that night. It was reminding me of Lent. We read from the book of Habbakuk where he said “How long must I cry for help but you do not listen?” All growing up I got the message to focus on the joy of Christmas and the fact that Jesus came but I never could get that excited about it, it always felt hollow and I tried hard to muster up happy emotion for it but of course that can’t be done. It was beginning to click for me the other night that when you have leaned into your pain and sorrow and are rescued from it, joy comes then. Isaac was saying that Advent is a rehearsal or embodiment of the groaning of all of creation as it waits for the Messiah to return and make things right. We lit a candle and sang O Come O Come Emmanuel and talked about our Jewish ancestors who kept the light of hope burning for so many centuries, waiting, groaning, and we deliberately entered into the despair of long-awaited hope with them and talked about how we learn from them how to wait for our hope and help to return. We talked about the mystery of a Messiah who would appear in a very particular time and place where the Word would be made flesh and light would come. We read from Isaiah 53 foretelling this Messiah coming. It said he would be “despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, familiar with pain…we held him in low esteem” then we read Psalm 80 which was pleading “Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, awaken your might. Come and save us. Restore us.” This resonates so deeply with me, the longing and anger and feeling forgotten and disposed of. THIS I can get behind. In that part of the service we usually celebrate eucharist but in Advent we’re deliberately entering into the experience of groaning for God to be closer and that is how we will consume eucharist each week until Christmastide. At the end we sat with the weird and difficult task of holding onto both our future hope and present suffering. We read Habbakuk’s conversation with God, where God promises to right all wrongs, and Job’s lament to God. “Look at the nations, watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe even if you were told.” “Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? Terrors overwhelm me; my dignity is driven away as by the wind, my safety vanishes like a cloud….I will stand at my watch; I will look to see what God will say to me.”

I think I'm figuring out this Advent thing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

jesusween

Would you like to hear about my Halloween weekend? It was very happy and very sad. Two, two, two mints in one! I get giddy watching the kids get so excited about it. Costumes and candy are magical for them and they know that Christmas is next and it’s all so precious. Friday night the kids each had Halloween costume party sleepovers and so that’s like free babysitting all night long so David and I went to the KEXP Reykjavík show and I saw Joan Hiller and gave her lots of hugs, she is magically super! And Dave Bazan played and he opened with “Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box” and my heart totally melted and pooled into my feet. He closed with “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on mandolin and that kind of made my brain short out. Then he told me afterwards that he loved the last Dongtini where I talked about seeing Eugene Peterson on the SPU campus and my panic attack I had being around the Christian culture. He said that I have this perspective that he has too where he’s drawn to something huge and eternal but on the other hand has all this rage at the culture. Made me so happy to hear him say that about it. (Here is that Dongtini episode, in case you give a flying royal rip. I heard a youth pastor say that at Kanakuk camp in 9th grade —“I don’t give a flying, royal rip”—and I thought it was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard and still think it in my head all the time.)

Here is part of the sad bit though, Friday night was hard because I ran into someone who goes to the church we left last year, and they said “Have you seen the pastor’s house? They built a new story on top of it and it’s gorgeous! It’s huge and mod.” It was hard not to cry when she said that, because that pastor fired the guy who did the music for the church, and that guy is now struggling to pay his mortgage and barely making it. It’s been so hard on his family. His wife works swing shift at a hospital (3 to 11 pm) and hardly gets to see the kids during the week, and it has been such a huge negative impact on all of them. My insides hurt so much that they may lose their house because of something a church did to them. Hearing this pastor’s house news hurt my heart all night and it’s still with me, obviously. Beyond the financial part of losing your job, this firing has all the emotional and spiritual stuff stemming from being cut off from close relationships that are underscored by the God thing. I know his kids will always be marked by what has happened to them. This sort of tragedy cuts deep. I can't think of anything more tragic than treating a church like a business instead of as a family.

Then another difficult emotional thing happened on Halloween, we went to a party and when I walked in there were two people who make me want to cry when I see them, so I went back outside and sat in the car. I kept wondering if I was being really immature but if I’d have stayed I would have just cried and that would have seemed really super immature. The next day I got emails from those people that made me cry. How many times have I said the word 'cry' in this post? I’ve been working all of this out in therapy for the past four or five years and have some clarity on where this stems from in relation to my story, and so I’m trying to hold that while at the same time honor the fact that I can’t be in the same room with someone who makes me cry just looking at them. I want to talk it out and they haven’t been willing to do that, but maybe someday we can. I have to talk about this on Dongtini.

So there’s that! Do you like how much I tell? Can you believe there’s so much more I don’t? I’m an enigma! A riddle!

Friday, October 28, 2011

portishead and religion-induced panic attacks

Oh God. What's been going on? I'm at the library. It's my last non-working Friday after like nine years of working Monday - Thursdays. Now that both the kids are in school all day I'm going to 40 hours a week instead of 32...not sure how I feel about this. Kinda excited. Will miss my Fridays of Target and library and giant iced coffee from McDonald's. But hey, more money. And I will finally get to experience full Friday workweek joy where everyone goes IT'S ALMOST FRIDAY YAY FRIDAY'S HERE TGIF LOL ROFL LMAO

Ahh what else. We went to Portishead on Sunday with Tori and Bobby. By the grace of holy God I am friends with the Supergrass tour manager and he is TMing for Portishead on this tour so he texted me and said "How many backstage passes would you like?" So we took Tori and Bobby because they're in the Seattle symphony and Portishead has strings, right, but turns out they weren't touring with them this time. NO MATTER it was extra fun and we got to go straight back to catering and try not to bug the band before they went on. We were watching Man U (like I give a shit but it's cute to watch Englishmen get excited about their little soccer games) and there was amazing food and I got caught up on what the Supergrass lads are doing from Mick the TM and Gavin the lovely roadie who I met when he was touring with Hotrats last year. It was kinda fun going out from behind the curtain to where the big stadium was and Mick said "sorry you're in with all the plebes" - ha! Because we WERE. There were these skanks with tube tops and butterfly tattoos on the back of their necks and they were dancing like it was a Dave Matthews show. It was hilarious, and angering, but mostly hilarious. The set was gorgeous and I love how understated Beth Gibbons is, she was just wearing jeans and a t-shirt and they did this sparse version of Wandering Star that gave me chills. David put that song on his first mix tape to me. I put Glory Box on my first mix tape to him. Oh Portishead you helped get us married. Maybe.

I've been wrestling with sadness that's been resurfacing from the break with church last year. Just so sad. I have to feel it. I can't believe this stuff goes on, but it does.

And today I've got a bee in my bonnet about Mark Driscoll's latest post on his pastormark.tv site, he posted this article called Dating, Relating and Fornicating (classic) and I felt really sad and upset while I was reading it. Some quotes from this article that especially caught my attention:

"[At Mars Hill] tend to verbally beat boys who can shave (men who are adults chronologically but kids in terms of responsibility) like drill sergeants. The ones who don’t leave to blog about their hurt feelings tend to stay, grow up, man up, and eventually get married to a nice gal who would like to have babies but does not want to be married to one."

"A guy told me it was very important that his future wife love rock climbing, until I explained to him that it’s not the ideal activity for a pregnant lady."

"The greatest love story in the Bible after Jesus and the church is Ruth and Boaz." (According to who?) 

"Ladies, the Bible teaches that the man should lovingly lead as the head of the home."

"Also, when dating someone, remember that the goal of Christian dating is not to have a boyfriend or girlfriend but to find a spouse." (No, this is a goal of Christian culture, not the sole goal of a Christian who is dating.)

"Sometimes there are habitual sins, such as porn addiction, that need to be addressed." (There's that self-diagnosed Christian culture porn addiction again.)

"Grow as a Christian under solid, qualified elders and leaders." (Qualifed by who? Mars Hill's subjective unbiblical rating system of which people are valuable to your 'church or organization' as they say? See their rating system here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=10150520474258782&set=pu.130933208781&type=1&theater)

"If you have decent families, honor them." (Is the subtext here "don't honor them if they're not decent"? Christians are to honor everyone whether they're 'decent' or not.)

"Talk with the leaders at your local Mars Hill Church about opportunities for singles." (Subtext: only a Mars Hill church?)

"Any guy who takes a woman away from godly family and community is dangerous and up to no good." (Reminds me of the families of Mars Hill members who have shunned their families for their 'covenant sins.' See this post, especially the 2nd comment from the bottom: http://freedom4captives.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/47-still-around-and-new-comments-posted/)

Anyway. I put all of this at the Stuff Christian Culture Likes facebook page if you wanna take a gander. People are still commenting, which is good times.

Oh! Want to hear about my religion-induced panic attacks, Simone's hickey-covered coworker & presenting tacos as ID? GOOD cause it's all on the latest Dongtini.

This library computer says I have to go now so...k bye!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

panties is the grossest word

On the latest Dongtini: Simone and I talk about gross words, placenta agriculture and and Taco Bell rage. Is 'panties' a gross word? Take our urgent poll. And, Simone does not agree that moist is gross! Is this an Australian thing or something? Listen here homeskillets.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

a year later

Weird, blogspot says this is my 800th post. That's kind of poignant because this is going to be a big entry. Not a long one, but I just want to speak to the fact that a year has passed since we left our church that we'd been at for twelve years. A year ago I was entering the darkest pain I've known since my parents disowned me. Our church laid off the chief musician artist-in-residence. When anyone is fired from a church it's a horrible thing and the people who do the firing always acknowledge this. But in every instance the firing makes things easier for the people who are the Big Bosses of the church. No one is ever fired for going along with what the main pastor person/people want, they're fired for having too much conflict with the leaders, in whatever capacity that means. Every single time. I'm a preacher's kid and my husband is too and we've seen this tens and twenties and thirties of times. Never thought it would happen in our church home. Sometimes I wonder why I let my guard down and I always think immediately afterwards that I'm glad I did. I don't want to live with my guard up. I've worked to lower my guard and everything is more beautiful and it hurts more this way.

So a year ago our friend Phil was fired and as we began to learn the reasons why this happened, which boiled down to the pastor wanting to change the vision of the church, my heart started to break into pieces. This isn't how church is supposed to be. Plans and vision aren't more important than the people in the church. Yes, it's how the western Church acts and is widely deemed acceptable, but my intuition and also Spirit told me that it wasn't right. The Church is where we bear each other's burdens but history with church hasn't been that people really come forward with a lot of transparency and vulnerability, but that IS when real Church happens. We bear one another's burdens and it is an honor and it is beautiful. I don't know how much of this is a Christian culture thing, but it is really rare to see people be forthcoming with their struggles in a church setting because struggles are embarrassing, sometimes really embarrassing. I feel that rather than confront these things in ourselves and ask for our church family to gather around us to help us, we don't talk about them and get busy doing other things, and that's when church starts to operate like a business instead of a family.

When I was in the very dark time following Phil's firing I was scraping around for hope and was so scared that I'd never find any. I cried so much that David asked if I would get dehydrated and the kids stood at the foot of our bed and had these big eyes and touched my ankles and I told them that I was going to be okay, I just had to feel my sadness and I was grieving our church and I was grieving what had happened to Phil and Robin and Flora and Chet.

Now that it's been a year I wonder if the church family we left is happier without Phil's ideas and personality posing conflict with their ideas and personalities. We are still living with this pain every day. I wonder if they feel any pain, but I don't know if I really want to know. I will ask them directly if I feel like I'm in a place where I need to know and if I can handle their answer.

I wonder what would have happened if the people who felt Phil should be fired had gotten the congregation's opinion first. That is the kind of church I need to be at, one where the hierarchy doesn't play so strong a role. And I didn't know that while I was part of that church. I trusted the leaders a lot. And I'm glad I did because I loved that church so much, they were truly my Seattle family, especially since my parents disowned me. They helped me through the initial part of that and were a wonderful support. I felt so provided for; I was provided for. That bond with them made the firing that much more painful. If they could let go of Phil that easily, how much more easily could they let go of the rest of us? We met with the leaders in different assortments and varieties five times over the next few months, and when they told us that they would be glad to send us to another church, without our asking for their blessing, I had half of my answer, but not the full one. Then when I told the leaders that my intuition was telling me that something wrong had happened, an elder told me "your intuition is wrong," and I had my answer. I had to go. I couldn't be part of a church whose leadership would tell me my intuition is wrong. The Holy Spirit speaks to us through our intuition. S/he tells me stuff and sometimes tells me to tell others and I really wish s/he wouldn't because it's a giant pain in the ass, but s/he really gets after you about that sort of thing — not exactly pushy but s/he won't leave you alone about it. So I kept going to them and telling them what I needed to, and at our final meeting (the night before my birthday actually) I had my answer. I had told them everything I could and it had been revealed to me that I needed to go. I wrote a letter saying how much they had meant to me and our family and how grateful I was for how they'd been part of our lives, and I told them why I couldn't be part of the church body anymore, and I had a strangely horrible and wonderful birthday. I felt free but so scared. I didn't know if I would ever find a church or faith community or whatever that would want me, really want all of me. That was the hardest stretch of time, and a year later I am still feeling it. Phil and his family live with it much more closely than we do. Their pain is so vivid that I can feel it when I'm around them or when I talk to them on the phone, even if we're not talking about what happened. I'm feeling it now as I'm typing about it, the heavy shattered feeling of being disposable. I don't think the story is over, not even close to being over. Big and good things will happen and I have no idea when or how. We need to feel this pain and move through it. I want to honor it by writing this and giving shape to it. It needs to be spoken to. It may be the most spiritually traumatic thing that will ever happen to those of us who have been affected by it. For the people who made the decision it might seem like a very distant memory and not anything they really think about much, I really don't know, but I do know that many of us still feel immense pain every day. These kinds of wounds take a long time to heal. My counselor said to give myself twenty years to really feel resolution. It may happen sooner, and a significant amount of healing has happened for me, but hardly any has happened for others.

So I just wanted to speak to these huge events that most of us who were there for them would rather forget because they're actually still happening; they are affecting us. I would like to check in again in another year. I wonder how much healing will have happened by then? I will actively hope for lots.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

why i think mars hill church in seattle is dangerous

I know a lot of people who have been harmed by Mars Hill in Seattle and Mark Driscoll's teachings so I talked about it some more on this podcast, if you're innarested.

Monday, October 3, 2011

a nice email i got

"Steph,

I've written you so many emails in my head, but the events of the last week on the FB page have compelled me to follow through. I know you don't know me from Adam, but I stumbled on the SCCL blog several months ago at exactly the right time. I proceeded to read everything--I started at the beginning of the blog and read each post and every comment. I then read your Adverbs blog, (and the Hammerhead blog...OMFG!!!! hahaha) and I also read as far back as FB would let me on the SCCL page. What I found was a haven of different opinions, and my God, it was healing. The grace that had never been offered to so many of us was freely offered to even the most offensive commenters. And more than that, I felt like I came to know you. You have the most amazing way of putting your soul into your writing, and when I sit down to read your stuff, I feel like I'm sitting down for coffee with a kindred spirit.

Almost all of what you write about could have been lifted from the pages of my life. I was born into a cult, and I coped with the abuses by fitting the mold as best I could, and I was good at it. I planned to stay there for the rest of my life. The only reason I got out is because, in spite of everything, I'd met real Jesus there (that's what I call him to differentiate him from flannelgraph jesus, the jesus of CC...haha) and it was through that relationship that I knew I had to go away to school (Bible college, of course). I was gone for 5 years before I began to see the church for what it really was.

The point is, when I finally began to see what was really going on throughout my childhood and into adulthood, my world collapsed around me. The problem with a black and white worldview is that the moment I realized ONE piece was grey, my entire world no longer made sense. In that one moment, I realized my understanding of the world was impossible. Suddenly I didn't trust anything I had ever learned, heard or believed. Not one. fucking. word. Even my relationship with real Jesus was out because I could no longer trust myself at all--if I had bought in to all that abusive shit all those years, how could I trust myself to have any kind of real relationship with anyone, especially someone invisible? I moved into agnosticism and then became full on atheist. I still remember the moment when I was sure that He didn't exist--I have never, ever felt more alone.

This quote from your Adverbs blog was like reading my own diary: "...I am only a part-time atheist and not a full-time one... and even when I'm an atheist I still hurl my trust in Jesus and sob in my Father's arms - the arms I hope are there. Because during the times I don't believe in God and trust in him anyway, that's when it's faith."

When I was a full-on aethist, I prayed this prayer over and over "I know you're not real, I know I just imagined you. But, please, please can you just pretend to be real? Because I can't take life without you." I felt like the one thing that I'd thought had gotten me safely through all the shit had turned out to be a crutch of my imagination, and I was left without the one safe place I'd thought I could trust. It took me 2 years after that initial world-falling-apart moment to begin to even be able to consider taking some steps toward dealing with the shit and moving toward healing.

I eventually found a therapist and began sorting through the past in earnest. Slowly I moved back to a more agnostic place, and now I'd consider myself a part-time aethist/agnostic/real jesus person (Xtian is still an off-limits label for me and may always be--too triggering). Some parts of me believe real Jesus exists and have relationship with him, some parts of me believe he exists and think he doesn't give 2 shits about me, and some parts of me are still sure that I just made him up to get me through the shitty situation I was born into. It's interesting living in the gray after so many years of having everything so neatly labelled and sorted, but I'm loving it. I feel alive and connected to the world more often than not for the first time in years.

And that's where SCCL comes into the picture. I'd gotten to the place where I'd realized that I do not buy into the all-or-nothing, inerrancy-of-the-Bible, we-have-it-all-figured-out-and-everyone-else-is-wrong sort of Xtianity that I'd grown up with, but that left me lost and broken-hearted. It felt like if I didn't believe that, then I was without hope of being able to be part of any sort of church or faith community again. All I'd ever experienced was a dogmatic community, and I couldn't fathom being able to find a place where it was OK that I held my understanding of real Jesus loosely and that I didn't necessarily toe the party line on a lot of 'fundamental' ideas about Jesus and the church. That's when I stumbled into the community that has grown around SCCL. You all gave me hope that I could find real, meaningful community with people who believed all kinds of things about God and the Bible, and for the first time in a long, long time, I didn't feel so alone.

My life has shifted drastically since I first came upon the SCCL community, and I'm really grateful. For the first time in years, I have not only considered church a possibility in the far off future, but I have actually visited a few churches. If you had asked me 6 months ago if I would have gone to church last Sunday, I would have laughed in your face. But instead I found myself at an Anglican church, (scandal! I judged the 'chosen frozen' so harshly in my growing up days) crying through the whole thing and connecting with real Jesus in a corporate setting for the first time in years. This is nothing short of a miracle for me.

So in light of the drama this week on SCCL, I wanted to let you know that what you do has meaning and you have had a real, tangible effect on my life. I know you've gotten a lot of shit from people over the years, but from my perspective, this bout with Jeff has been particularly brutal. I want you to know that though we've never met, you are on my heart and mind often, and I've thought about you almost constantly these last few days. It's so disconcerting when someone like Jeff starts thrashing about in the haven that SCCL usually is, and I especially hate it for you, since I know you have your own personal shit going on. I wanted to let you know that I'm sorry and I care that church stuff has been sucky. I will continue to send love, comfort, courage and peace your way. Thanks for being you."

Friday, September 30, 2011

my september mix


I tried to put this on Spotify but it kicked me in the girl nuts so I'm doing it the old way. Click the pickles!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

quote mcgrote

"Like when you sit in front of a fire in winter — you are just there in front of the fire. You don't have to be smart or anything. The fire warms you." —Archbishop Desmond Tutu on communion with God

Monday, August 8, 2011

july

I haven't posted here in awhile, I'm usually spooging all over Facebook and Twitter instead, but for posterity wanted to post pictures from the Drury reunion in Santa Cruz last month. It was so beautiful there and fraught with all kinds of emotions. I just said fraught.

my son, husband and brother

cousins

the boys with their electronics

lolly!

in the sprinkler in ashland

at haystack rock in canon beach

The week after the Santa Cruz reunion I went to LA by myself for five days with Simone and it was incredible. We talked about it all on this episode of Dongtini. We actually recorded three podcasts while I was there so there will probably be even more of the same soon. Yay?

Lately whenever I sit down and write it hurts to stop, it's like I have a lot to get out that I have no idea about yet, it's strange. Real life is keeping me from just filling up notebooks with random stuff but maybe I'll get to soon. Then something struck me last week was when I was in St. James cathedral dealing with the tragic cases that I have to read about at work, I was there feeling overcome that these kind of things happen and that there are so many parents who fail their children so profoundly, and while I was sitting with all of this a lady came in with her daughter who was probably four or five, and she was whispering to her about how to light a candle and then how to pray. She told her "Okay, say 'Jesus, thank you for today. Please bless me'" and I couldn't hear what else she said but it was overwhelmingly sweet and I was overcome for another reason, which was that this woman was being so sweet with her daughter and teaching her these things that were sacred to her. It felt providential that while I was grieving the stuff I was that an example of the opposite taking place would come to me. And it may seem to some people that she was doing her daughter a disservice by teaching her religious stuff but in this case it didn't strike me that way, it was just overwhelmingly lovely.

Monday, July 11, 2011

a poem i like


“Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

colin gets harassed

David just called Colin, who was sitting in the Starbucks by his house. David asked how he was doing and he said not good. David asked why and he said that three minutes before he called, a fat man had walked up to him and whispered hoarsely in his ear "You're fucking hot," and then went outside and rode off on a bicycle.

I told David that guy is probably going to put a missed connection on Craigslist for Colin. David said I should write one as the guy. Don't mind if I do! *cracks knuckles*

Monday, June 27, 2011

fr. richard rohr

I'm newly in love with this Franciscan friar named Richard Rohr. My friend Nick told me about his site Center for Action and Contemplation and I've been listening to his homilys (homilies?) today. This one especially resonated with me. ♥

Saturday, June 25, 2011

dongtini, episode 3

Guess what, you get to hear Simone and me talk about Christian comedy, her seeing the Book of Mormon musical, tales of my workplace crying and how there is no way guys' bathrooms are grosser than girls'. Click here dawg.

Monday, June 20, 2011

a capon fable

chuch wiener

Yesterday at church they had clay for us to play with to kind of do a tactile mind-body thing while we were all talking, and because I am devastatingly mature I fashioned these and cracked myself up. Well, only one cracked me up.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

internet friend power, activate! form of a pail

The other night we went to see the Mountain Goats play because we love their drummer. He's my favorite prank caller-slash-comedian type person and the best drummer I've ever seen play and extremely nice. Turns out he's the Jonny Wurster kid the Dead Milkmen talk about in the Stuart song, I memorized it in high school and have known his name all that time and then we came to be internet friends. Yips! You are nice, Jon Wurster.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

june mix


Yeah, overrun margins. Ask me how much I care. And I probably won't know for sure.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

my podcast

So my dear friend Simone and I just started a podcast. We're keeping it short and only talking about things we deeply care about, like pop music and the non-existent rapture and disgusting reviews found on the internet. Someone asked me yesterday who our target audience is and I said "I'm not sure, probably slightly demented people between the ages of 14 - 39." Click the picture of Simone and me to feast your ears! And, Simone has an Australian accent so that makes everything even better.

Friday, May 27, 2011

here is my may mix

Click the booby lady to download.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

being dropped by the scruff of your neck

Yesterday I lost my head for a bit after I read a story in the paper about a man who’d lived through some horrible things. This stuff is all around but sometimes things hit me so viscerally. In this story the man’s parents had taken him to the middle of nowhere when he was a child and then told him they were leaving him there, that they didn’t want him anymore. There were other horrible parts in his story but that one really broke me. I dropped what I was doing and I wrote him a long letter about how he doesn't know me but I wish I could go back in time and take him out of that horrible situation, that he was lied to, that he is incredibly precious and loveable. There are big tears (dried now) all over the paper. I just signed it “s.” After work I walked to the shelter where he was staying and went through a series elevators and all this to find this man, and as it turned out I couldn't just hand over the letter at the desk. So I went to the volunteer desk, then to the social worker liaison desk but wasn't getting anywhere so I’ll have to mail it. I hope it gets to him. To deal with the gut-wrenching stuff I read online I sometimes write down their first name and save all the names up and then once a week go to a cathedral and cry about it and ask for some kind of healing and restoration. I was begging for that today for the church we left and their relationship with the music guy they fired. When I read about that man who was abandoned by his parents I was reminded of our church and the music leader. He and his family had been part of this church for thirteen or so years and it was their family and social hub, and now they’re emotionally and economically bereft in this economy because of the church’s decision and they could lose their house. I still can’t believe that this happened. It’s the second most tragic thing that’s happened to me. It hurts my chest to ever look them and their kids in the eye because I can see their hurt. I’m drawing on the bitty seed, the dust mite, of faith I’ve got left that there will be something beautiful from this that we’ll see eventually, but for the past nine months it’s been a festering pile of rotting Marmite. I don’t think you can have insane beauty without insane tragedy so I’m trying to remind myself of that and I’m trying to embrace my grief every day and let myself feel it but sometimes it really feels so deep that it could sweep me away.

Balls.

Friday, May 20, 2011

david tells me about the SIFF opening night gala

David went to SIFF opening night last night and I clandestinely transcribed what he said. He went with our friend Chrissy because she's into acting and we love her and I'd worked all day and was in no mood.

David:  So I met Chrissy at Great Kabab, she was really excited because she loves SIFF and so she’d gotten this whole outfit at Forever 21 or something, it was this black and white stripey dress with vintage-y sailor buttons on the back and she had aqua shoes and everyone loved those. It was the best people watching because it was half douchebags and half really nice creative people, and then the third half was old rich people. So the classic SIFF douchebag is like a dude with the two-day growth that’s all manicured and then he has spiky hair. And then – oh, these girls. So we were standing in this perfect place where you could overlook the stairs and see all the people coming in and we picked out two whores. They were like working girls at the Bellagio, just overtanned and they had  on fake leather boots that were a terrible length and looked like...what are those really wrinkly dogs called? Sharpaes? So they were tromping up the stairs. They enter the story later in the evening. So at the top of the stairs was Nancy Guppy and she was this totally sweet lady who you could tell she was definitely, like, fifty but really beautiful in that she wasn't she wasn’t trying to be younger, she was just herself and really sweet and funny and so she interviewed me on camera and it was like a one minute interview and she goes “look at what this guy’s wearing!” and she really liked my shoes. So the other thing was that the whole night I knew that I was wearing something good because all the gay guys loved it and were high-fiving me.

Me:  Gay guys high five?

David:  Yeah, they would, and we’d be in line and they’d turn around and say “I have to say that’s an amazing jacket." So we went to this movie theater and we walked down this wing where there were these private booths and we found one where there were just five seats and no one was in there and it was awesome because you could peer down at all the people below but still text and talk. So we were figuring out who was sitting in which section, like where the rich people were sitting and were the pseudo-celebrities were sitting and stuff. We had been out in the lobby having drinks and everyone was rushing into the theater and I was like "we don’t need to rush in there, there’s going to be 45 minutes of speeches like ‘the city of Seattle is a great place to do arts.’" So sure enough we got in these seats and people come out and do puff-talking, like “the city of Seattle is proud to welcome you tonight with open arms. What a great city we live in” and just stroking each other and making pretend announcements and having pretend awards like “we’re pleased to announce a partnership tonight between the Sounders and SIFF” and everyone would clap and go awwww. So then they trotted out the president of the Sounders and he was like "we are grateful that this partnership is taking place with good volunteers and helping hands" and then HE trotted out an actual Sounder and a child and said “our partnership is about education and literacy and sport.” So get this, though. The movie we saw last night was called The First Grader and it took place in Africa with an African cast with an African man who’s 80 or something and he can’t read so he goes to school and is in a classroom of first graders, and that’s the story. So the mayor gets up before the movie started and he’s doing his own puffy congratulations and things and he says “with movies such as this, which stars and African-American man who blah blah blah” and I heard him say it but Chrissy caught it and the thing was that it was a horrible mistake because he’s not American. He's African. But a totally classic mistake. So it threw Chrissy for a second because she thought "is this an American movie?" and later I asked someone who’s on the City of Seattle staff and they were like “oh yeah. Mayor blew it.” So I had confirmation later in the evening.

Me:  Did you guys walk the red carpet?

David:  No but basically if you wanted to walk the red carper you had to divert yourself from entering the theater to a tiny section of red carpet that the media conglomerated around and from entering the red carpet and leaving it was like 10 feet long of red carpet with a special SIFF background. And ropes. But the real entrance was way easier to get into. So then they trotted out the director of the film and his entourage and the director was British and so he was more gracious and easier to listen to than the douchebags and old fogies. So the lights go down and the movie starts. We’re in these tiered private sections like what the judges from the Muppets would sit in. Then there was a screwup in the movie where suddenly the screen went black and everybody’s like “ohh “ and there’s a hush in the crowd. And the moment it came back on everone applauded like “good job projectionist! You fixed the problem!” That was annoying. Okay, so we’re going to get to the juicy part now. So I stepped out to go to the bathroom and as I’m walking down the long hallway, who do I pass but the two trashy whores that we’d picked out of the crowd as like “okay, they’re the sore thumbs of the whole evening.” So I passed them and I’m thinking “oh no, they’re going oto t take the seats behind us because people just left and those seats are now empty.” And while I’m in the bathroom I get a text from Chrissy: “Guess whose feet are on your seat?” And I go back to my seat and whores are sitting there and one of them had taken off her whore boots and had her bare feet over the seat next to Chrissy’s face! So then when I came in she sighed and went “aughhh” and pulled her feet back and put her boots back on and then they proceeded to snort coke. They were snorting and sniffling so loudly. And then there were a couple scenes where they’d cackle stupidly during some funny thing. I was trying with my camera phone to take a picture behind me but it was too dark. Okay, so the movie ended and everybody fled the theater to go get the food and we're talking three or four thousand people pressing out of the theater to the hall across the walkway thing and there are different vendors with sliders and things so we were in the hamburger station and everybody’s pressed up to the front and these piggy ladies go “This is kind of like Top Chef but if this was Top Chef you would get an F.” We had to get out because it was this horrible pig-pile of people pushing into each other trying to get their food so we went to the dance floor and immediately the dance floor had become what it becomes at the end of a wedding reception. You know how it the very tail end everyone’s drunk and dancing crazy, that’s how it was right at the very beginning. Old people, middle aged plastic surgery-ed women, whores, douchebags, everybody. There was this one VIP area called the Magnolia High Fi VIP and it was a total corporate thing. They had, ooo, big screen tvs and champagne on platters and ooo nice couches but there was nothing in there but douchenozzles and their fakey surgerey-ed girlfriends. That’s where style went to die because out on the main floor you had the hoi polloi and you got the whole range like artsy people and hangers-on and the old people who looked like they should be asleep in a library which is cool cause that’s where you see interesting things but the VIP area was totally boring and saltine cracker. We had to get out of there. I found James Keblas and he was going on about how he loves the Holy Rollers documentary. We saw some people we haven’t seen in awhile and they looked kind of confused that I was with Chrissy and not you so I had to explain you were home with the kids and had  worked all day and didn’t really want to come. Chrissy said “when I introduce you to people everyone just assumes you’re gay because you’re with me.” Chrissy was just hilarious and the perfect person to take and people-watch with. Then they just suddenly turned on fluorescent lights and were like “Get out.” And it was kinda early at that point and everyone was just getting into the party and they pulled the plug.

It was definitely worth going to, but not for the reasons they thought it was worth going to. Half of them were doing snooty pretending like "We're here to celebrate film" and just want to be seen and say "I'm an important person, you should know me" and the other half just wants to be where the party is and get their party on. Like, the way people were pressing into the snack table it was like "you're not here for film, you're here for little meat burgers." The way they were acting was hilarious. There were classic people, like a guy with a giant backpack on. In a crowd. Why? He was swinging it around and almost knocking Chrissy over. Why is it, in concerts and stuff you always get stuck next to the backpack guy. It's like having another person strapped to your back and they have no sense of space, they just knock into people with it.

I would definitely go again but not for the sake of film. I just want to people watch.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

thoughts on the supposedly impending rapture

Our friend emailed us to ask what we think about the Save the Date rapture stuff. I thought I'd share David's reply, for whatever it's worth.

“It gives me comfort that Jesus essentially said, ‘You idiots trying to figure shit out, things never look like you expect them to! You thought King David was the messiah, then the next guy, then some other guy. Now that I am here you think I am going to whip out a sword and stab all the Romans. Fools. I do it my way and then you put the pieces together.’ Scripture says that we will have to be at the point where everyone is fed up with waiting for the rapture. Clearly, Christians aren't fed up yet. The people who get off on naming a date and time are doing damage. Jesus isn't interested in people ‘converted’ by virtue of fear. And what do you think will happen to those converts once he doesn't show up? In the meantime, not too many people get fearful anymore. Mostly people just say, ‘Look at those wacko Christians again. When they are wrong again, I will feel better about myself and my non-christianity.’

“During my theology masters at Regent I started to think of the afterlife as not such a harsh transition, but as a continuation. Families remain intact. Nature remains alive and all around us. There is sun and rain. Artists continue developing their craft. Time opens up, so that you can get together for long stretches of time with your favorite people now and from history. I like the idea of Jesus pointing to an empty bookshelf and saying to me, ‘You are going to fill this shelf with great stories and books, and I can't wait to read all of them. Take your time. And when you need another shelf, let me know. I am a carpenter, duh.’”

fun with wrong email addresses

My coworker Shari got this email by mistake that obviously wasn't meant for her, and she asked me to come up with something interesting to write back, so I did. (I hope she sends it.)

From: Emily
To: Sharon
Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 10:28 AM
Subject: NSG 533

Hi Sharon,

I noticed on the time schedule that NSG 533 is videostreamed and in T 661 on Tues from 1:10-4:30...my preference is actually to come to class because i learn better in person but was previously told this class was strictly on-line. Can you clarify if it's both on-line and in person lecture?

Thanks,
Emily


From: Sharon
To: Emily
Subject: Re: NSG 533

Dearest Emily,

Thank you for your kind concern about whether this class is in person or online. In fact, I've been wondering that myself. I teach better online, but unfortunately, interacting with students is part of the job description. Haha! That reminds me. You'll love this: when I was interviewing for this job they asked me what my biggest strength is and I said that my strength is not killing students when they ask stupid questions! I get a LOT. You can only imagine. This question you asked is only halfway stupid. I get way worse, like "which building is our class in?" and "Can I have another syllabus?" so don't feel too bad.

Your prognosis for passing my class is dim at the outset, but if you can figure out on your own whether this class is online or an in-person lecture, then I will give you an A+. So, which do you think it is?

Fondly (in the fondle sense of the word),
Sharon

Monday, May 9, 2011

new fiction by david drury

David wrote this for a Housefire book that's coming out. They gave him the title and then he wrote the story.

A String of Pony
By David Drury

When the Indians killed a buffalo, they used the whole buffalo. What, are you bragging with that? Do you want a cookie? No. You have one. And it tastes like a buffalo.

When Mr. Standish, the butcher, put down Mrs. Prancey-Fance (madness, blindness, phantom kicking), I can’t speak to just how much of our family’s cherished pony he used in the rendering process, but at least 250 yards of her were wound into the finest pink kite string this side of paradise. String is less insulting than glue, but still. Of little comfort to me was the fact that any Indian would be proud of the strong yet lightweight equine twine. If flying kites was something Indians do, but they don’t. At least not that I’ve seen in any pictures.

How shall I describe it? Pony string is sinewy and rigid, but light as like the halo of an angel. Ever wonder about the tough pink skin encircling a circle of baloney? Pony. Reach back and wing a slice of THAT across a school cafeteria. It’ll sail on you, man. God did not make anything in a circle like that, by the way. That is a PERSON who made it. From pony. Have you ever heard an expression, “Riding the baloney pony?” The internet at the church library believes that it means that you have eaten a WHOLE LOT of baloney, so much so that it is akin to being carried away, say, on a literal pony. To my surprise, my sister was a big fan of this manner of baloney consumption, according to close friends and graffiti.

I wouldn’t have known anything about Mrs. Prancey-Fance’s repurposing, but that I was riding my bicycle on the paved trail at the park a week later. I felt a sudden burning sensation across my neck and was thrown to the ground. Kids were pointing and laughing. I clawed at my throat. I had been clotheslined—with kite string. It was none other than Elmer Standish, son of the butcher who stood clutching that greasy spool of pink string? I was seized with the nearly decapitating truth—pony. Elmer saw the look on my face and swallowed hard. But when the laughs and taunts of the other boys continued, His heart hardened. He flexed his control over my weakness inside this new moment of truth-fueled grief. Elmer began to sneer and delight in the power. He tugged on the string, such that the kite danced high above us, taunting me, held aloft on dead pony dreams and wind.

I raced home on a mission of revenge. I found my father’s hedge clippers and tucked them under one arm. I raced back, salivating when I saw that kite on the horizon, still bobbing above the trees. I made a pass on the paved trail and snipped clean through that string. Elmer and his buddies gasped. The liberated kite shuddered and sailed off across the park, string waving behind it. Elmer and his buddies scrambled onto their bikes and gave chase. And as the kite and her string sailed over the pond, across the road, and down into town, I waved and whispered, “Goodbye Mrs. Prancey-Fance.” And I swear that the kite whinnied in response, tossing away sadness with the flick of its mane. And the kite did not float or fly, but only pranced down the avenues on glittery hooves, over rooftops and barns, galloping toward a heaven I had never believed in until now.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

tracy

I made a new friend last night. She goes to my new church and we found out she and I went to the same college and she's a therapist now. Last night I told our group some of my story with church and family and she listened so well (as therapists are wont to do) and afterwards said "Jesus. What a fuckin lot of pain. Fuck. Glad you're here, girl."

*heart swelled*

Saturday, April 30, 2011

sudan and south america, eh

They should measure girth instead of length. How about density or mass. Or volume.

Friday, April 29, 2011

another kind comment

I get so many disgruntled comments and emails about my Christian culture blog that the nice ones make me extra happy. Someone left this one yesterday after a commenter said my blog isn't as good anymore. I want to put the nice ones on here so they're easier to reference in the future when my self-loathing gets the better of me.

"I am not a fan of telling Ms. Drury what to do. I imagine she is quite busy with chilluns who need her, a husband she wants to pay attention to and fans the world over who crave her insight and attention that any of our projecting of who she is and who we think she ought be are trifling concerns. I am a big fan of giving her her a break on whatever it is we may project upon her. She is courageous and strong and bears more than we or she will ever fully understand. ... My impression of her comes only through the interwebs but nonetheless is more real and vibrant and beautifully strong than most of my real life. ... A deeper study of her posts and especially comments will reveal someone who is incredibly unique but aware that said uniqueness is not something that separates, but rather binds. I have yet to see a post or comment where there was not an attempt to bind to the other and find shared individuality. ... If the blog posts are lacking to your taste I am positive she will be receptive to what you perceive and are looking for, as ultimately it is all the same; even though we think it unique. ... I am all for criticism and dissent but please be a bit more polite about it. We all deserve respect and compassion, but because she is she: more so."

friday fun board

Questions:
1. The Royal Wedding: hot or not?

2. Favorite board game?

3. What food reminds you of your childhood?

4a. What isn't a sport, but should be?

4b. What is a sport, but shouldn't be?
My answers:
1. Hawt
 
2. Beyond Balderdash
 
3. Cooked carrots, cut into cross-sections
 
4a. The furious trying on of vintage clothes
 
4b. Cheerleading

Thursday, April 28, 2011

global economic collapse and cookie the penguin

I'm full of pensiveness. Pension. Ha! Well, speaking of pensions, that reminds me I'm also all concerned about the global economy and impending economic collapse so that's another thing to try not to worry about. I'm typing at the library and it suddenly smells weird in here. Like soil and mangos. This incessant rain has been tough to take and I'm spastically grateful for the two sunny days we had over the weekend, I'm still reminiscing about them. I want to go down and see Simone in LA. I'll even link her. SIMONE in L.A.

Please enjoy Cookie the penguin.

[found at Grapes of Rad]

So during lunch I walked over to the Frye Museum. All this time I've never been in there and it's so close. One installation was super creepy and I was scared of it! It was in a dark room and was like a big round tent with lights inside of it, and on the top was a giant form of a person's top half with a red cape over its head. There was spooky lighting in there and I was all alone. I crept forward to see the face of the...thing...and when I saw its head I skedaddled out of there! Then I decided to do one thing every day that scares me™ so I ventured back in. This time I saw that it was a sort of doll face but it had big manly arms and there was a tv in the tent that was showing some weird puppet torture. I feel art-ified!

Monday, April 25, 2011

friday funboard on monday

1. Name as it appears on your birth certificate?
2. Would you sell your soul for $1 million?
3. Have you ever forged your parents' signatures?
4. If so, what for?
5. What toy from your childhood should be brought back?

My answers:

1. Stephanie Lynne Hill
2. negatory
3. yes
4. On a note for Ms. Sloan in AP History in 10th grade. She caught me cutting class to hang out with Ching Mong and said I needed a note from my mom or else I'd get detention.
5. The talking Barbie that said "Math is hard!"

Saturday, April 23, 2011

louis ck and ricky gervais

What better way to observe holy week than with Louis CK and Ricky Gervais freaking out together in a turbulent plane? I am full of Easter sentiment but putting it here just won't work. So have at this.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

adventures in apologizing

There's someone I hadn't talked to in something like four years because he'd said something that really hurt my feelings. A few weeks ago God said to me "What if you apologized to him for your part in your rift?" And I was like "oh great" and tried not to think about it. But then I racked my brain and found things to apologize to him for, because I wasn't blameless. So I emailed him a big and thorough apology and told him that I love him and I really meant it. It feels really counter-intuitive but also really good. Just wanted to share that.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

email of the year

Every so often I get nice emails about my Christian culture blog and it makes me emotional because the blog is really cathartic for me. There's a little community around it that is so healing and I feel really fortunate to have it. So here's one I got today:
Steph,

Being a pastor's kid who grew up to be quite frustrated and resentful of the Christian culture that I grew up in, I became bitter, bitter, bitter. I hated Christianity and I hated Christians; but I loved Jesus intensely. I found the "Emerging Church" and they helped me vent for a while; but they really never helped me recover. During this period I learned what a lie I had been living; that the whole era of Christianity in my life was a complete sham and the total opposite of Christianity. I was so put out with the hypocrisy, the nationalism, the capitalism, the conservativism, the "culture war", the scare tactics about "going to hell", and the naivete of it all that I had missed out on real life. I had instead lived a reality that Christian culture said I should conform to; which sucked, but I never would admit that because I wanted to be "saved", I wanted to avoid hell, and I wanted to be accepted by someone-- because being a large man with a brain, a knack for cult humor, and a affinity for all things ironic isn't all too popular in adolescence.

Me and my father eventually had a falling out. I had had enough of it and his expectation for me to be a Christian culture Christian; because I knew good and well that CC was a sham to underwrite Protestanism's power in Western democracy more than it was about the Kingdom of God. One day I wrote to my father, "Dad, if what you are suggesting to me is Christianity, than I am not a Christian." That hurt my father deeply. We've had a rocky relationship sense, but being that we are both very compassionate guys, we insist that we learn to love each other. And so, we've set up boundaries to where we can talk but we don't ever talk about faith; its too big of a scar for me and him and we can never agree on anything.

Anyway...that was when I started to realize that I was becoming the very thing that I hated; a self-righteous, confrontational asshole-- only I was just a bit (ok, a lot!) more liberal. I discovered that I was going down a path of self-destruction. This is what Christian culture does; it sets people up for a lifetime of denial or a lifetime of resentment. Either way, you become a self-righteous asshole and you have no openness in your life and instead replace openness with what you need in order to protect yourself.

I then found radical Christianity; writers like Karl Barth, Stanley Hauerwas, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jacques Ellul, John Howard Yoder, Rob Bell, and Greg Boyd; and their voices got me into a mode of changing. But, nevertheless, the more I realized how much CC misses the damn point, the angrier I got at it.

But then I found your blog. Your blog is like a death metal show. Its a place where angry outcasts can come to a safe environment and find communion in their anger; cry together, laugh together, and share our very real stories. In this, they are enabled to find some peace, because quite frankly most people scarred by CC are incredibly isolated and feel completely alone (as I was for years until I went to seminary!). Whenever we express our anger, its like a mosh pit. Its not so much that we are angry at that other person as much as we are deeply scarred people who are trying to transcend their lives that were saved from perpetual denial or perpetual resentment.

And so, I'm pretty sure that SCCL helped save me from a pit of despair and resentment that I would have had a hard time pulling myself out of. For that, you are a Godsend, because you make Christians laugh at themselves again. You make us laugh at ourselves, because at the root of laughing at ourselves is humility and openness; both virtues that seem to discipline our lives with the openness needed to avoid the patterns that CC begins in the lives of people and many have a hard time recovering from.

Peace,

B.

Friday, April 15, 2011

my april mix

Here is my April mix, I used to make these every month before my SCCL blog was on Beliefnet and now that I'm off Beliefnet and contract-free praise Jebus, I can make these things again.

This mix has one condition, that you delete the Peaches song (track 2). I thought it was a different song and that's how it got on there, but it throws off the whole vibe of the mix and I hate it. Click the pretty porcupine to download.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

amy sedaris, tokyo and mystery the seahorse

Ohhhh Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello together again! You'd never know it was a Chipotle ad, or at least I didn't really. If this is how they're going to have to sneak advertising into our technological food then I'm just fine with it.



David got back from Tokyo today, he was there for eight days and I was a single working mom for eight days. So glad he's home, and hopefully without any viable radiation side effects. Here's their trip tumblr and also a clip of what they were doing there.

I feel like I'm healing from the church stuff that I've been carrying for the past few months. Someone who had been in a similar situation told me to read How To Survive The Loss of a Love and so I got it from the library (and tried to hide the cover when I was checking it out). It really helped so I wanted to talk about it here as maybe a resource for help for any kind of emotional injury. I'm excited about being a part of a new faith community and I'm starting to see what happened recently was necessary for me to see some things that I otherwise may not have seen. It's so hard when something like this happens in any kind of family and this was our church family so it was huge. But they also gave me a huge gift by showing what they believed so that I could make an assessment about whether I could still be there or not. And I couldn't, I can't. It would be so much easier to stay because it was my community for twelve years and I love the people there so dearly, but a fundamental part of their philosophy didn't match up with what I believe to be true. So I had to say goodbye and mourn it. It's been absolutely huge and painfully heavy for me but now that a bit of time has passed I'm able to see good things coming from it, like moving towards a new community and being excited about that and learning things from new people and interacting with them and building a new family. It's been a big thing to explain to our children as well because it was the only church family they'd ever known and they of course want to know why we can't be there anymore. We tell them that we disagree about what we believe the Bible teaches but that God is bigger than all of this and he still loves us all the same and we are trusting him to bring good new things for us. Their sweet little hearts are so open and it makes me think about how Jesus said that unless we become like little children we can't see his mysteries. And then it goes back to the mystery of what we're doing when we seek out this metaphysical, inexplicable stuff. Growing up in church it gets mechanical and angsty and really easily becomes boring because we forget there's mystery under it all. It's like there are cracks in the walls of the boringness and pain that exists in church life but the mystery is still streaming in, dying to get in somehow so it leaks in through the cracks and if we are brave enough we'll kick open the door a little and be open to it.

Wow, that was kind of a tangent.

Friday, April 8, 2011

friday fun board

Every Friday Carrie's office asks four questions on the office whiteboard and everyone writes their answers as they walk by. Carrie always emails them out to a group of us and I heart them. Today's are

1. Would you rather be too cold or too hot?
2. What is your least favorite musical genre?
3. What is your favorite detail about your house/apartment?
4. If I had a dollar for every time someone said ______ to me, I'd be rich!

and my answers are

1. I dislike them both equally. Neither are acceptable.
2. Christian music trying to be hip, closely followed by world music and mopey indie rock
3. The hardwood floors
4. "You remind me of someone but I don't know who."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

love and loss in cyberspace: chrissy's facebook predicament

My friend Chrissy is in a conundrum. This is the best story I've heard in awhile (i.e., all day...er, since yesterday) and she said I could tell it here.

The Cliff Notes version is that she and an acquaintance would routinely spar on Facebook when he would post fundamentalist status updates. Then suddenly a post came along that he had passed away. Here's the email that she sent me:

"Ok, so there's this guy who posts incredibly annoying status updates about Jesus all the time. I may have sent you guys some of his ridiculous posts in the past. He tends to be very manipulating, and kind of mean (but mostly dumb), so I challenge him frequently (or at least when I'm feeling feisty) because I don't believe Jesus is mean or manipulative (or dumb). Or else he makes attempts at jokes that never make me laugh, so he continues to get on my nerves as an offense to my sense of humor. I just found this status update and it got on my nerves because I thought he was failing to make a joke about having a bad night's sleep:
Basically, I thought it was his attempt at a joke, which is what inspired my comment. Even the comment before mine seemed like someone trying to play along with him, or something. I can't explain my thought processes thoroughly, but essentially, I "didn't get it." After perusing his page, I realized dude actually fucking died!!! (which was probably pretty fucking clear to ya'lls, but...) I'm sorry if I look extremely offensive, my friends, but I simply could not align my thoughts without my knowledge of his facebook presence effecting my judgement. Thankfully, less than a minute after my update, I realized that he actually died in real life, so I deleted it. Hopefully his family, or whoever posted the update, will never see it. Of course (maybe because I'm a bitch) I HAD (HAD! HAD!) to take a screen shot before deleting it. I just couldn't believe it! It's awful. It's wrong. But in a sense, it's still kinda hilarious. "Do you mean 'sleep apnea'?" I look like a god damn spelling Nazi! Hopefully, I'll see him in heaven. If not, see you all in hell! (Or maybe just on Failbook?)

Torn In Pieces,

Chrissy"

Her second email to me said:

"'Torn in pieces' was a bit of an exaggeration, though I would have been completely mortified if I didn't realize he was dead until today. Good thing I did my research! It mostly gave me a good laugh at the dark, but innocent quality of the circumstances. I had to share it! As for my relationship with him, I didn't interact with him frequently but I DO have a recent example that is perfect:
As you can see, in this life, he and I would never have been on the same page. Especially since I got wasted on St. Patty's Day, or as I like to call it: A Thursday night."
After querying her further as to the cause of death, her third email was as follows:

"My theory? His last couple of updates were about some really intense workout he was starting. He died the night of day 4. Check it:
With a personal training background I can definitely say this would be extremely intense for someone who has health issues and is out of shape. Day ONE?! Fitness TEST??? Shit. That's an athlete's workout right there. 'Sleep anea' my ass! Not that I'm a doctor, it's just that I'm not a retarded person. 'Insanity Workout'? 'Suicide Jumps'? Exactly."
And there's the sordid tale.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

earthquake prediction, lavender hour, and faux comedy

Okay, so check this out. This scientist lady predicted the Japan earthquake based on planet alignment. I know it sounds far-fetched, but just watch.



I heard them talk about that earthquake thing on the last Lavender Hour (my new second-favorite podcast). It's Duncan Trussel and Natasha Leggero and I love it love it love it. On this episode Duncan was talking about how Digg.com was bought out and they sneaked advertising into all the links and you'd think you were clicking on something awesome but it was just an ad they tried to sneakily place and make it look like a candid video. Duncan goes (and I typed it out cause I loved it) "You ad guys are failing miserably. No one is dumb enough to think that your cleverly worded link that leads to something about a major corporation is anything other than that. We all get it, you’re not fooling anybody, all it’s doing is making you look like absolute idiots. People are too savvy. Just say what’s good about it and hope people buy it and leave us alone. Just stop plastering your cancer ads everywhere, you fuckin reptilians. Nobody wants to look at it anymore. It’s become appalling. Maybe if you could figure out a way to do it…well, I don't know how you could do it. We’re all waking up to the truth that 99% of the nonsense you’re pumping into the veins of America is poison." At some other point he went "Our liberties have been taken away by the corporate overlords and there’s nothing you can do about it. Everything you see on tv, anything you retrieve from the mainstream media has been run through a series of filters that have turned it into a watered down form of capitalist diarrhea."

Then Natasha was talking about how she's getting ready to do a Comedy Central special but she can't say all these words and pussy is one of them, and Duncan said this: "Why can’t you talk about pussy? Why can’t you talk about the main portal through which human beings enter this planet? In fact, it’s the only portal. They're scared kids are going to hear? The kids just crawled out of a pussy. Pussy is the #1 driving force behind all these idiots working in these corporations anyway. It’s the secret god of capitalism and nobody wants to say its name. It’s eerie man, you should be able to talk about pussy and cunt and whatever. These kids are gonna find out."

They also talked about how Nancy Grace is a M.I.L.K. (mom you'd like to kill).

I was also mesmerized by this guy's "comedy" videos —



Here's an interview with him on Videogum. Just enchanting!

And I really liked this interview with Bono, and I really like this Bangable Dudes in History site. And I think that's all for now.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

never say no to panda

Carrie said this commercial will fulfill all my wildest dreams and did it ever!





Then I got this extremely excellent email about my blog last week. It made Email of the Day on the Facebook page.

From: Jayne Mendius
To: Stuff Christian Culture Likes
Subject: Hot? Or maybe not?

Stephanie,
Just wanted to know I'm dropping your often entertaining blog today because I'm personally appalled by your "ew" at my innocuous comment.

The thought that my husband and I finding each other "hot" (a common expression defined in the dictionary as : sexy, attractive) turns your stomach is your problem, not mine, but I wanted you to know your hostile attitude (which I just don't get, some Christian thing,, maybe?) has lost you two enthusiastic readers who will no longer be recommending your site to others.

I could say something equally rude to you in return, but I'll pass and just think of pleasant thoughts, like the hot sex life I enjoy with husband. Which is a topic brought up on YOUR site, not something I go around crowing about regularly.

Please, no response required.

JM

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

ash wednesday

It's Ash Wednesday but it feels like it's already been a season of Lent all year. It's hard to write about. But along with being sad I'm hopeful. Sometimes more than others but any at all is good!

I like this painting a lot. I do enjoy a swarthy Jesus. As part of Epiphany a church was uncovering parts of the painting each week. Once it was uncovered they added the question mark cutout. The guy putting it on said "Won't this deface the painting?" and the pastor said "Yes, and it'll make it more beautiful." I just really liked that.

Monday, March 7, 2011

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I was listening to this today and was fully doubled over in my cube laughing and snorting. Adam is totally ignoring the callers and turning up the music and then he does it to Drew.

Friday, March 4, 2011

eugene ftw

"Pastors, don't look at people as problems to fix or resources to use. They're both dehumanizing." —Eugene Peterson

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

oh hi mark


I haven't been posting much lately because I'm holding all this church sadness. I vascillate wildly between laughing at youtube clips of cats flushing toilets and then feeling overcome by grief that I feel down in my bones and it's just an awful lot. I'm getting through okay, though. I feel like goodness has come kind of out of the blue and helped me in a lot of ways. I really haven't felt something spiritual quite this viscerally in a long time though and it is exhausting. I wonder how much longer I'll have to carry it.

Well now this is getting too intense, time to post my new favorite website, Paula Deen Riding Things!

Monday, February 28, 2011

camano island

We went to Camano Island with our friends Aaron and Heejoo. It snowed and was all magical.