Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mizz'N My Kidz! Maury Show edition

Yup, this is her, flashing cash from flashing her gash at Doctor Don's
We were watching Eli’s birth mom’s Facebook page around his birthday to see if she had any bon mots to share with the world regarding her amazing parenting skills. Little did we know that we would be walking into a virtual Maury Show on her timeline. She and Eli’s birth dad are fighting as well as his dad’s new “wife” and the mom to Eli’s brother. Yeah, it’s going to be fun to do Eli’s family tree when he gets to school.

Anyway, pull out a tooth, grab some pork rinds and let the weaves start flying.

Juss Beat her (Eli’s birthdad’s baby mama) Ass.!! Ha, stupid Hoe* && Juss Fa Tha Record: I DID NOT FIGHT HER OVER HIM (Eli’s dad) HE ISNT SHIT TA ME.!!
Comments from her post, apparently her peeps are grammatically challenged as well:
Omg fa real wow go gurl
u kicked her ass hell yah
And then a hilarious update: She still in tha field lookin for her earrings :) i jumped outta my sisters car while she was driving down Morrell... (This is a street here in Jackson).

A Moment of clarity and compassion:
iDont Even Care AnyMore, iTried My Best Ta Be There For Youh, && Once Again Im Tha One That Got Shit On.!! iLove Tha Fact That My Family Is ALMOST Bakk Ta Tha Way It Was.!! Cant Wait For It Ta Be Normal Again :) Been Spendin Some Time Wit My "Gabba Girl" iLove This Lil Girl :) My Brother Is A Hell Of A Good Daddy.!! iLove Youh James.!!!

And then this: This Bitch Is About Ta Get Straight Smashed.!! Imma Curb Stomp This Hoe.! **Youh A Stoopid Hoe, Youha Youha A Stoopid Hoe** Nasty Trick Bitch.!! Shes Lucky Im Not About Ta DisRespect My Brothers House.!! I Kno Were She Bouts Ta Be At, And If Sue Wants Some Too, She Can Get It Too.!! Nasty Maggot Pussy Bitch.!!!
In a lil better mood... Not much tho... Thinkin bout goin ta tha hospital... Hopefully they will admit me... Soo i dont have ta be home by myself... Its soo depressing.!! I need some new friends...
Why Is It People Can Throw Crack In My Face Like Its Candy, But Tha Drug I DO WANT, People Tell Me Its Bad For Me.?? Guess Ill Juss Become A CRACKHEAD.!! FML

I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that she is probably bipolar at this point, either that or she has some serious anger issues. Regardless, I am making note of all this in case we ever get the “WHY DID YOU ADOPT ME?” from Eli.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Another voice on marriage

Anthony and Erin on their wedding day. Yes, they got married in a corn field.

The debate over gay marriage in North Carolina has sparked a lot of discussion on line and face to face. This vile and divisive amendment has long reaching tentacles that could affect more than just marriage. Tod’s cousin’s daughter’s husband (we’ll need a Mormon to figure out his relation to me) is a pastor and penned an interesting piece on this debate for his blog. http://wordshaveweight.tumblr.com/
While he has grown weary of the chatter on line and politics in general, he falls back on his faith.
While I have grown weary of the chatter on line regarding religion and God’s alleged plan for marriage, I have my tentative faith in the judicial system to make this wrong right.
Please take a moment and read what he has written.

From Anthony:
I’ve wanted to write this post for quite some time. I haven’t found an excuse for doing so, so I’ve just sat on it. Additionally, I am now a pastor, so I know that (against my wishes) my words now mean something that they didn’t used to. But with Kirk Cameron’s comments on Piers Morgan’s show and the insanity of a presidential election season, I just want to throw this out there now. 
Let me be clear on a couple things first:
1. The Bible is my standard for ethics because I believe it is the special revelation of the only true God of the universe. I make no apologies about that, even in regards to an issue like this one that can hurt so many people. 
2. I hate politics. Hate them. If you are a Christian who has politics for a hobby/obsession, bully for you. But I have no taste for the mutual back stabbing, insulting, and refusal to discuss things in an open, honest manner. What’s your political party? Whatever your answer, I likely have very little regard for them. So… just keep that in mind. I’m not part of whatever party you just mentioned. 
That being said….
I think many Christians in America are making a very serious mistake by throwing themselves into the political question of gay marriage. To go even further, I have no problems with legalized gay marriage. I will explain why on two levels: philosophy of government and the Bible.
For one, I think the government is far too involved in the institution of marriage. There has to be some involvement for the purposes of taxes. I understand that. But there is a couple who has asked me to do their wedding. And I have to meet a secular government’s criteria for overseeing their individual choice to marry one another. Is this not bizarre to anyone? Why should a gigantic, faceless, secular organization have any right to tell these two people what kind of credentials the person must have who will help them publicly declare their undying love and commitment to one another? That’s none of the government’s business! The government should not be in charge of marriage. And that includes telling people whom they can marry. 
Frankly, I don’t see how it’s Constitutional (this is our framework for government, remember) for the Federal government to decide that two consenting adults CAN’T do what they want if they aren’t harming anyone else. The fact that people are willing to amend the Constitution on this one issue based on one segment of the population’s ethical convictions is, frankly, alarming to me. What else will they amend into the Constitution? What about when I disagree with those Christians’ ethical decisions (i.e. Prohibition)? When the Hispanic population booms and Roman Catholicism explodes, will you feel good about the amendment for no meat on Fridays?
Or how about this… what about when Christians don’t have enough political power in this country to enforce their morality? What about when the day gets here (and it’s rapidly coming) when Christians are the distinct minority? Are you then so comfortable with a religious group imposing their religious, moral convictions upon the entire nation? Are you going to be such a fan of political religious power when/if Muslims outstrip Christians in America and enforce the ethics dictated by their religion?  Because that’s the precedent you’re setting. 
I am saying that this is unConstitutional. But it is also un-Christian in political philosophy. We don’t live in a theocracy. We don’t live in a Christian world. We live in a world in which Christians cohabitate with non-Christians. And Christians have been in the minority for vast tracts of history. What do you think Christians wanted, in regards to the government? “Just leave us alone and let us have the freedom to do as we feel is right.” But now that Christians are in a theoretical majority, do we treat other people groups as we want to be treated (see: Rule, Golden)? No. We want them to behave as WE want them to behave. It’s just not kind.
But it’s also not Biblical. 
Look, as I said, the Bible is my ethical guide. As such, my belief is that God, as Creator, has the right to define the boundaries of sex and marriage. And God blesses ONE specific scenario for sex: marriage between one man and one woman. That is the only kind of acceptable sexual activity in the God of the Bible’s eyes. So, therefore, it is for me too. God-ordained marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Any kind of sex that is not within those confines is sinful. Heterosexual, homosexual, whatever. None of it is ok. God gets to make the rules and that applies to marriage, too. I have never seen a Biblical argument that even comes close to arguing a compelling case otherwise.
(Note, too, that the Biblical condemnations are against the sexual act, not the attraction. So I find it perfectly believable that people are born homosexual. If Jesus is their king, though, I think that, yes, God would tell them, “You can’t act on what you feel.” Which, let’s be honest, is what God tells all of us all the time on about a million different issues.)
But, see, I believe that because I love Jesus. I trust Him. I can accept His rules because I accept HIM. And because I’ve submitted to God’s wooing, repented of my sin, and identified Jesus as my King, not myself, I’m obligated to His ethical demands. Not only am I obligated to obey, but I’m EMPOWERED to obey. 
Obedience to God never comes before repentance and return to God. Asking someone to behave like a Christian before they are actually a Christian is WRONG. It’s legalism. It makes a mockery of grace and redemption. 
You are asking people who have no regard for Jesus to behave as if they love Him by ignoring feelings and attractions that, for the vast majority of them, are as natural to them as my attraction to my wife is for me. That is incredibly hard-hearted and it defies the radical claims of the Gospel. The Good News of Jesus is that you CAN’T behave well enough to please God. You never can. Jesus doesn’t say, “Get your life straight (pun intended) AND THEN I’ll fix you.”
We’re basically telling people that if they’re living a life defined by their sexuality, the first thing Jesus cares about is their behavior. He does care about my behavior. But what He wants first is for me to trust and love Him. 
This gay marriage crusade is terrible. It’s a political ploy to stir up votes. And Christians walk right into, all the while painting a picture of a Jesus who demands conformity out of an unreformed heart. 
Please. Legalize gay marriage. I don’t care. I won’t stand in the way of you being allowed to marry who you want. But at my church, we will graciously and gently preach that Jesus is better and Jesus’ way is better. I’ll never do a marriage between two people of the same sex, but no one is trying to force me to do that. I’ll teach people that God made them to love Him and live the way He intended. And the Church, if it embraces that call, has an opportunity to demonstrate its nature as salt in the Earth. Contrast. Difference. 
Why are we so afraid of that? Love Jesus. Live under the power of the Holy Spirit. Let the world live as they choose, which we weirdly have no political problem with if it’s heterosexual sexual activity. We don’t need to politically bar people from living in a way that accurately reflects where their heart is (as long as it doesn’t hurt others directly). We need to preach the Gospel with our words and with our lives and appeal to their hearts. We need to WIN their hearts, not legislate their behavior.
We believe Jesus’ way is better because we believe JESUS is better. Isn’t that enough? 
Do we need to legislate that? 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The end of spiritual violence

In the 20 or so years I have been in Jackson, I have worked with the Aware Shelter on many occasions. For those not in the know, it is a shelter for abused women and children. I have had my home on tour twice and have donated my time and talents to support this organization. For me, one of the most chilling aspects of this involvement is hearing the survivor’s stories. Most survivors, at some point in their talk, will utter the words, “I kept thinking it would get better, and the violence would stop.”  For many, the violence escalated and they died. For others, they finally had enough and fled to safety.
While I am not in a violent relationship, I was at one point in my life; I attended church as a gay man.
For years I kept thinking that if I found the right church they would treat me for who I am as a person and wouldn’t pummel my soul with edicts of eternal damnation and hellfire for being gay. While there are no physical signs of spiritual violence, the hurt runs deep into your soul.
We thought that it might get better when we joined the United Methodist church next to us. We knew right on that it was a welcoming church for us a congregation, but we also knew that the UMC as a whole was not as welcoming. Even though they used “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds” as their motto, there was an asterisk over the minds regarding LGBT members. But we were told that it was going to get better and that in 2008 change would surely come. At the international conference in 2008, the hateful and bigoted language in the UMC book of discipline was reconfirmed. According to the book, homosexuals are “incompatible with Christian teaching.”
Just this past week, the UMC met again and once again confirmed this hateful language. To the denomination’s defense, there were many who protested this issue and had hoped to bring about change. It wasn’t enough however.  There is an ironic and delicious side note to go along with this information. The UMC has seen a sharp drop in membership over the past few years. While I would hate to have another empty building in our neighborhood, part of me says “Good riddance!”  
So I am done waiting for my relationship with the church to get better. I am tired of being smacked around and treated like a second class citizen. I have fled to safety in the bliss of atheism. From this day forward my family and I will have nothing to do with organized religion, for I never want my children to feel the sting and pain of this kind of oppression because of whom you are and who you love. This spiritual violence is couched with the coos of “it’s not THIS church that hates you, it’s the BIG church, and we don’t have control over that.”


I am done being Tina to the Ike of the church. The loving Jesus Christopher Brown will never punch my spiritual Rihanna again. 

We’re done and the healing has begun.

You can read the book of discipline here: http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1723
You can read more on the membership decline here: http://www.ucmpage.org/articles/rwall.html

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Remembering Virginia

Virginia at the local Breakfast with Santa. Yes, the creature on the right is Anna.

It is with a sad heart that I share the news that Virginia Huntoon passed away yesterday. We do not know the details yet, but we do know that a great person and a shining light in Jackson has left us. Here is a post I did a few years back:
Our friend Virginia from church penned this amazing letter to the editor to our local paper. Virginia is member of the “old guard” here in Jackson, which tends to be rather conservative. I was not, however, surprised to see this letter come from her. She is a great woman, retired teacher, social activist and all around great woman. My grandmother passed back in 99, and although she’ll never be replaced, Virginia certainly does help fill the grandma void.
She spoke to me at church one morning after her husband had passed and wanted to know about our situation. When I explained what we had to do to secure rights to each other in the time of need and to secure our adoption with Anna, she decided to write the letter.
Here is the letter:

Same-sex couples should be allowed to marry

Posted by Jackson Citizen PatriotDescription: t March 23, 2008 08:03AM

Categories: Voice of the PeopleDescription: t

SUMMIT TOWNSHIP — Having recently lost my husband of 66 years, I am acutely aware of the status of marriage in this country. Everyone hopes to find someone to love, and I was one of the lucky ones. I was with him at the end and was consulted on medical decisions. And as a widow, besides a lifetime of fond memories, I receive his pension, Social Security and health care. Sadly, not all couples benefit from this arrangement.
Marriage traditionally has been defined as between a man and a woman. But from an historical perspective, the sanctity of marriage has not always been recognized as it is today. Before the Civil War, slaves could marry, but they couldn’t prevent their loved ones from being sold and sent away at the whim of the plantation owner.
It took another century to give full rights to certain minorities. Since then, when justice was denied, we have revisited those inequities, e.g. Brown v. Board of Education or Title IX. After all, this country was formed with the intent that all citizens are treated equally.
It is time to address same-sex couple discrimination. Some states have rectified this by recognizing gay marriage or civil unions. Unfortunately, this is more than a question of semantics. This union must be a marriage, legally binding and recognized in all states, that extends status and benefits to one’s life partner — something we in the heterosexual community take for granted.
Not only was my marriage not “threatened” by extending this right to same-sex couples, I see it as a validation of the institution of marriage, a sign of monogamy with a binding commitment between two people. It is time to recognize gay rights are human rights, and to extend to all couples this security.
           Virginia Huntoon

I am honored and proud to be her friend and will miss her dearly.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Reading is FUNdamental

There is a grass-roots movement here in Jackson to get the library at the Middle School updated and staffed with a librarian. Our friend Heather is in charge of it and has asked people in the community to pose with a sign (made by her daughter Sophie) supporting this initiative.
Of course we agreed, and we posed in our own library at home. It's a guilty pleasure to have a room set aside just for books and other things, but when you live in a big old house, you sometimes have room(s) to spare.
Careful observers may wonder who the third child is in the picture, the one with the skinny green legs. No, we didn't adopt again, it's a sculpture made by one of my former students.
So yeah, what are you supporting these days?