I was very heartened to read this article in today's New York Times. The evangelical Christian pastor of a megachurch in the St. Paul, Minnesota area has decided that the push for political action, particularly Republican political action with its calls for the denial of homosexuality and any rights for those who are of that ilk, increasing militarism and even increasing militantism in anti-abortion actions run contrary to the true teachings of Christ and should not be endorsed by his church.
As I don't know if/when this article will be archived by the NYT, I am posting the entire content here. I hope this doesn't violate any copyright laws and, if it does and I am made aware of that, I will remove the article. In the meantime, I hope this is read and possibly dispersed widely by those who, like me, do not equate living a life of which Christ would be proud with a crusade to wipe out all who are different or to convert the masses in the world to Christianity (or Democracy) by force of arms.
I have included all the original links in the article, including links to some of Mr. Boyd's related sermons. I have also added some of my own.
From the New York Time, Sunday, July 30, 2006:
MAPLEWOOD, Minn. - Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd (my link) was asked frequently to give his blessing - and the church's - to conservative political candidates and causes.
The Rev. Gregory A. Boyd leads a congregation outside St. Paul.
The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute "voters' guides" that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn't the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?
After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called "The Cross and the Sword" in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a "Christian nation" and stop glorifying American military campaigns.
"When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses," Mr. Boyd preached. "When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross." (emphasis mine)
Mr. Boyd says he is no liberal. He is opposed to abortion and thinks homosexuality is not GodÂs ideal. The response from his congregation at Woodland Hills Church (my link) here in suburban St. Paul - packed mostly with politically and theologically conservative, middle-class evangelicals - was passionate. Some members walked out of a sermon and never returned. By the time the dust had settled, Woodland Hills, which Mr. Boyd founded in 1992, had lost about 1,000 of its 5,000 members.
But there were also congregants who thanked Mr. Boyd, telling him they were moved to tears to hear him voice concerns they had been too afraid to share.
"Most of my friends are believers," said Shannon Staiger, a psychotherapist and church member, "and they think if you're a believer, you'll vote for Bush. And it's scary to go against that." (emphasis mine)
Sermons like Mr. Boyd's are hardly typical in today's evangelical churches. But the upheaval at Woodland Hills is an example of the internal debates now going on in some evangelical colleges, magazines and churches. A common concern is that the Christian message is being compromised by the tendency to tie evangelical Christianity to the Republican Party and American nationalism (my link), especially through the war in Iraq (my link).
At least six books on this theme have been published recently, some by Christian publishing houses. Randall Balmer (my link), a religion professor at Barnard College and an evangelical, has written "Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America - an Evangelical's Lament."
And Mr. Boyd has a new book out, "The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church," which is based on his sermons.
"There is a lot of discontent brewing," said Brian D. McLaren (my link), the founding pastor at Cedar Ridge Community Church (my link) in Gaithersburg, Md., and a leader in the evangelical movement known as the "emerging church," (my link) which is at the forefront of challenging the more politicized evangelical establishment.
"More and more people are saying this has gone too far - the dominance of the evangelical identity by the religious right," Mr. McLaren said. "You cannot say the word "Jesus" in 2006 without having an awful lot of baggage going along with it. You can't say the word "Christian," and you certainly can't say the word "evangelical' without it now raising connotations and a certain cringe factor in people."
"Because people think, 'Oh no, what is going to come next is homosexual bashing, or pro-war rhetoric, or complaining about 'activist judges.' "
Mr. Boyd said he had cleared his sermons with the church's board, but his words left some in his congregation stunned. Some said that he was disrespecting President Bush and the military, that he was soft on abortion or telling them not to vote.
"When we joined years ago, Greg was a conservative speaker," said William Berggren, a lawyer who joined the church with his wife six years ago. "But we totally disagreed with him on this. You can't be a Christian and ignore actions that you feel are wrong. A case in point is the abortion issue. If the church were awake when abortion was passed in the 70's, it wouldn't have happened. But the church was asleep."
Mr. Boyd, 49, who preaches in blue jeans and rumpled plaid shirts, leads a church that occupies a squat block-long building that was once a home improvement chain store.
The church grew from 40 members in 12 years, based in no small part on Mr. Boyd's draw as an electrifying preacher who stuck closely to Scripture. He has degrees from Yale Divinity School (my link) and Princeton Theological Seminary (my link), and he taught theology at Bethel College (my link) in St. Paul, where he created a controversy a few years ago by questioning whether God fully knew the future. Some pastors in his own denomination, the Baptist General Conference (my link), mounted an effort to evict Mr. Boyd from the denomination and his teaching post, but he won that battle.
He is known among evangelicals for a bestselling book, "Letters From a Skeptic," (my link) based on correspondence with his father, a leftist union organizer and a lifelong agnostic - an exchange that eventually persuaded his father to embrace Christianity.
Mr. Boyd said he never intended his sermons to be taken as merely a critique of the Republican Party or the religious right. He refuses to share his party affiliation, or whether he has one, for that reason. He said there were Christians on both the left and the right who had turned politics and patriotism into "idolatry."
He said he first became alarmed while visiting another megachurch's worship service on a Fourth of July years ago. The service finished with the chorus singing "God Bless America" and a video of fighter jets flying over a hill silhouetted with crosses.
"I thought to myself, 'What just happened? Fighter jets mixed up with the cross?' " he said in an interview. (emphasis mine)
Patriotic displays are still a mainstay in some evangelical churches. Across town from Mr. Boyd's church, the sanctuary of North Heights Lutheran Church was draped in bunting on the Sunday before the Fourth of July this year for a "freedom celebration." Military veterans and flag twirlers paraded into the sanctuary, an enormous American flag rose slowly behind the stage, and a Marine major who had served in Afghanistan preached that the military was spending "your hard-earned money" on good causes.
In his six sermons, Mr. Boyd laid out a broad argument that the role of Christians was not to seek "power over" others - by controlling governments, passing legislation or fighting wars. Christians should instead seek to have "power under" others - "winning people's hearts" by sacrificing for those in need, as Jesus did, Mr. Boyd said.
"America wasn't founded as a theocracy," he said. "America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies. Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn't bloody and barbaric. That's why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state."
"I am sorry to tell you," he continued, "that America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world. The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ."(emphasis mine)
Mr. Boyd lambasted the "hypocrisy and pettiness" of Christians who focus on "sexual issues" like homosexuality, abortion or Janet Jackson's breast-revealing performance at the Super Bowl halftime show. He said Christians these days were constantly outraged about sex and perceived violations of their rights to display their faith in public.
"Those are the two buttons to push if you want to get Christians to act," he said. "And those are the two buttons Jesus never pushed."
Some Woodland Hills members said they applauded the sermons because they had resolved their conflicted feelings. David Churchill, a truck driver for U.P.S. and a Teamster for 26 years, said he had been "raised in a religious-right home" but was torn between the Republican expectations of faith and family and the Democratic expectations of his union.
When Mr. Boyd preached his sermons, "it was liberating to me," Mr. Churchill said.
Mr. Boyd gave his sermons while his church was in the midst of a $7 million fund-raising campaign. But only $4 million came in, and 7 of the more than 50 staff members were laid off, he said.
Mary Van Sickle, the family pastor at Woodland Hills, said she lost 20 volunteers who had been the backbone of the church's Sunday school.
"They said, 'You're not doing what the church is supposed to be doing, which is supporting the Republican way,' " (emphasis mine) she said. "It was some of my best volunteers."
The Rev. Paul Eddy, a theology professor at Bethel College and the teaching pastor at Woodland Hills, said: "Greg is an anomaly in the megachurch world. He didn't give a whit about church leadership, never read a book about church growth. His biggest fear is that people will think that all church is a weekend carnival, with people liking the worship, the music, his speaking, and that's it."
In the end, those who left tended to be white, middle-class suburbanites, church staff members said. In their place, the church has added more members who live in the surrounding community - African-Americans, Hispanics and Hmong immigrants from Laos.
This suits Mr. Boyd. His vision for his church is an ethnically and economically diverse congregation that exemplifies Jesus' teachings by its members' actions. He, his wife and three other families from the church moved from the suburbs three years ago to a predominantly black neighborhood in St. Paul.
Mr. Boyd now says of the upheaval: "I don't regret any aspect of it at all. It was a defining moment for us. We let go of something we were never called to be. We just didn't know the price we were going to pay for doing it."
His congregation of about 4,000 is still digesting his message. Mr. Boyd arranged a forum on a recent Wednesday night to allow members to sound off on his new book. The reception was warm, but many of the 56 questions submitted in writing were pointed: Isn't abortion an evil that Christians should prevent? Are you saying Christians should not join the military? How can Christians possibly have "power under" Osama bin Laden? Didn't the church play an enormously positive role in the civil rights movement?
One woman asked: "So why NOT us? If we contain the wisdom and grace and love and creativity of Jesus, why shouldn't we be the ones involved in politics and setting laws?"
Mr. Boyd responded: "I don't think there's a particular angle we have on society that others lack. All good, decent people want good and order and justice. Just don't slap the label 'Christian' on it."
Audio of Some of the Rev. Gregory Boyd's Sermons (mp3)
'Taking America Back for God?'
'The Difference Between the Two Kingdoms'
'Abortion: A Kingdom of God Approach'
'Is the Church the Guardian of Social Morality?'
'Be Thou My Vision'
'In But Not of the World'
It is refreshing to think someone in a megachurch is preaching love and kindness, caring for one's brothers and sisters, that violent protest and war are not Christian values, that Christ did not make us the arbiters of others social morality and that living a Christ-like life does not necessitate voting the straight Republican ticket in every election.
There is so much more to God and Christ than the world is seeing from much of the Religious Right. "Religious," even "Fundamentalist," does not always translate into Christ-like or Christian in America today.
If you're interested in learning more about moderate and progressive Christians, please visit Sojourner's, a decent organization advocating for love, peace and acceptance as Christian values.
Technorati tags: Christianity / life / religion / spirituality / US politics
Do You Ever Wonder
...if, when the Rapture comes, there's going to be a whole lot of stunned and confused members of the Religious Right wondering where all the progressives went?
Technorati tags: bitchy / US politics
I Hate to Admit It
This is the page that brought someone from the Netherlands to my blog this evening. As much as I welcome visitors from all corners of the globe, I find it a little offensive that not only does my blog show up on a Google search for "very old sexpervs" but it's the only listed result!
I am not "very old!"
Technorati tags: bitchy / life / middle-age / sex
God is sure putting on a fireworks show tonight in the Philly area! There has been tremendous flashes of heat lightning and booming thunder all evening, lighting the clouds up constantly like I haven't seen since I was a child. Very, very cool!
I've decided I need those little emoticons people on places like Livejournal and MySpace (I think) use to express their current mood. Here are my thoughts:
Oh my God, this is so my life right now!
I'd meant to send off my resume and application to the hospital around the corner over the weekend but it didn't happen. So Monday I sent off a letter explaining that my weekend plans had changed and sent it out. (I didn't mention that my plans had changed in that I just decided to piss the entire weekend away.)
In looking in both my computers for my resume, I realized I hadn't applied for a job in three years and it was safely stowed away on my old Dell PC, which is gathering dust on my closet floor so I quickly jotted off another one. Given the state of my psyche, I wasn't much in the frame of mind to overblow myself, though. Of course, my "I'm not good enough" demons entered in and I began to worry that I should have touted myself more, should have been a little more flowery and expository in that resume, should have made myself sound better than I currently might feel about myself.
I'd already formulated a plan by this morning that, if I hadn't heard from the nurse recruiter by tomorrow, I would start calling Friday morning and bugging her until I got an interview.
She just called. I'm all set for next Tuesday to interview for the Critical Care Float Pool position, which is the one that appealed to me most until something full-time opens in the ER that suits my needs. I have good feelings about this now. There could be a light at the end of my three-year long and very dark employment tunnel!
Wish me luck!
Technorati tags: life / nursing / work
The Report of My Departure was Premature
Well, I guess I must have been feeling a little sorry for myself earlier, huh? In case anyone dropped by in time to catch my now-deleted self-pitying tripe post explaining that I might not be blogging here much for a while, I apologize. I guess I was in a particularly despondent mood.
I've been going through some rough patches recently, with my dad's death in March, the birth of my first grandson in April and my anger over Dad never getting to meet Brendan. I've been increasingly disturbed by my frustrations with my job and the handful of coworkers who have made working there so unpleasant. Unfortunately, two of those coworkers are immediate unit supervisors, which makes it difficult to battle. (According to my therapist, one is passive-aggressive and the other is openly hostile. That makes many days less than pleasant for me, especially since I'm at a point in my life where dysfunction is so intolerable to me.)
I've been in psychotherapy for two years and it has often been two steps forward, one step back, resulting in a series of periods of relative highs and lows. I've been in a low period recently. (No, I'm not bi-polar, just generally fucked-up. : ) Fortunately, I was able to come to a reconciliation with my dad before he died and feel I did everything I could to show and tell him how very much I loved him before he passed away. I can't tell you how much that meant to me and how glad I am I was able to get to that point, albeit late in Dad's life. I wish everyone the opportunity to make peace with those they love before they pass away.
I still have a lot of work to do in therapy, though. I find myself at the impasse I've repeatedly returned to over the last two years...my inability to take risks in the real world, to get out there and meet people in my area, to seek and accept friendships, to eventually seek out someone with whom to share my life in ways more meaningful than friendship. So, now I have fairly clearly defined myself and come to a place where, when I'm not in the middle of being socked by depression, I can find fun things to do alone...kayaking, beach time, hiking, traveling, reading, movies, music, artistic pursuits and now blogging.
I've managed to get to a point where I know I could have a fulfilling life (especially since the sexual part has gradually become so very successful for me over the past year : ) even if I never find a life partner. But I don't think I can do it without circles of friends (real life, not over the 'net) in my life. And this is the point at which I always stumble. It's so hard to let people in. It was much easier to go to Barbados and screw my Bajan lover's brains out for a week than to have lunch with someone who lives 10 minutes away.
I'm not a recluse...I have a few friends I do things with sometimes but it's nothing like the layers of friends I'd prefer, the community. Presently, I do a lot of things solo. Delayed adolescence, I know. Most 'kids' get around to figuring this stuff out in their teens.
I have been spending entirely too much time online recently. If nothing else, I need to at least start reading the dozens of books I've bought over the past few months. I need to get my kayak in the water (if the God-damned heat ever abates in this Philly summer). I need to get back out in my garden and figure out what I need to do to improve my tomato yield, which is paltry at best this year. I need to get a new job and I need to meet some people around here and find folks to do things with.
Rome wasn't built in a day and I will not become the whole person I'm meant to be overnight. I hope I won't dissolve into wallowing self-pity and depression on a regular basis and subjecting you to it here but be forewarned; it might happen again. You might again be subjected to a self-pitying tirade. Shit happens.
So, I had a good cry with my therapist (who didn't cut me any slack and basically told me to get off my lazy, frightened ass and get out in the real world). I had a good cry at home when I called to pay the most pressing of my credit card bills and had to give some explanation about why I was two months late. I had a cry when I got off the phone for getting upset over the phone. Then I had a good cry about my dad.
Then I watched Nova, one of my favorite PBS programs. After that, I found Field of Dreams. With the opening music and The Voice speaking to Ray in the cornfield, I cried because I knew who he was supposed to "build it" for. I laughed when Ray Kidnapped "Terrance Mann." I cried when he met Doc Watson and cried again when Archie "Moonlight" Graham left his dream to save Ray's daughter from choking. I cried when James Earl Jones gave his impassioned speech about baseball, America's great, innocent past, reminding me of my innocent past as well. And, of course, I bawled my eyes out when Ray willingly had a catch with his dad, after all.
I love this movie. It's about promises broken and kept, about dreams and possibilities, about some things being more important than materialism, about betrayal and redemption and forgiveness. It's about magic. How could I not feel better after watching that. Besides, Amy Madigan (anybody know if she's a lesbian and if she's free? ; ) is just cute as a bug as Annie Kinsella, especially when she calls Beulah out after calling her a "Nazi cow." Maybe that was all I needed was several good laughs and good cries. By the way, it's a great book, too (Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella).
I've also learned how to take my Lunesta...about two hours before I want to be asleep is enough for me to fight it (as I do) and finally get beaten down enough to have to go to bed. So I took my pills around 10 PM and am heading off to bed after Charlie Rose is over at 12:30. Then back to the salt mines tomorrow.
Bear with me, folks...work in progress, you know.
Technorati tags: life / pharmaceuticals / self-awareness / therapy
Too Blue to Blog
I hate when this happens, when I get into one of my funks. Of course, my breasts are getting tender and it's probably been three weeks so we all know what that means. God, I hate PMS!
I did send off my application and resume to the nurse recruiter at the hospital around the corner. I hope this is my way out. They are in the same health system so I think that means my boss could claim sh cannot spare me. What she and the hospital I want to work at need to understand is that my current facility is going to lose me. It's just a matter of whether I remain in the health system or leave it entirely. The hospital in NJ where I worked for so long was advertising last month a $20K sign-on bonus for ER RN's. Believe me, I was tempted. I'm not quite ready to go back to Jersey yet, though. And it would be a hefty commute.
So blue am I that I can't really think of anything I care to write about tonight so I'll just point you in the direction of my other blog, where I posted an entry about American Folk Culture and Roots Music. If you're interested in those things, go check it out. I have now found the next website where I'll be wasting money, on items like The Anthology of American Folk Music and Railroad Songs and Ballads.
What kind of music did I go searching for tonight? Why, blues, of course.
Technorati tags: bitchy / blues / life / music
Can't We All Just Get Along?
Andrea (tekanji), over at the Official Shrub.com Blog, has a great post which I wish I'd seen last week when the sniping was thickest and the fur and feathers were flying fast and furiously. It calls for a truce in the feminist "sex wars." Great post, really worth reading, which you can do here.
Technorati tags: bitchy / feminism / sex / sex-positive / sexual politics / sexuality / women
Women, Men and Sexual Power
Figleaf's Real Adult Sex blog has certainly given me fodder for critical thought recently, as has the whole Great Feminist Blowjob Wars of Aught-Six. I was able to escape the recent battles relatively unscathed or at least blissfully unaware of any fatal blows delivered by bloggers who disagree with my opinions. I think I've made my side of the dispute relatively clear.
That's the point. Adults in sexual situations can and should make their own choices and define their own sexuality and sexual preferences. Adults have an obligation to abide by their desires. Adults have a right to partake of those things they enjoy which fulfill their sexual desires. Adults have an obligation to stand up for themselves and decline or refuse any activities they don't like or prefer not to participate in. Adults have an obligation to respect the stated wishes of their sexual partners while seeking to derive and provide all the sexual satisfaction and pleasure of which both (or all) parties are capable. "Adults" means men and women of consenting age (I'd like to envision everyone being minimally aged 18 or older). Adults respect each other and should receive respect from their partners and the world at large for having the intelligence to define their own desires. Please don't tell me I should not enjoy anal sex. I can make up my own grown mind about that, thanks.
- I don't want to participate in the degradation of women.
- I don't necessarily believe that any consensual sexual act between two adults (even throwing in a caveat about privacy or relative privacy) is inherently degrading to women, even those things I don't particularly personally enjoy (blowjobs) and those I definitely find personally distasteful (facials, which I actually had to look up a week or two ago, my mind having initially wandered to beauty salons and cosmetic mud applications).
- Bukakke? Ewwww! May I repeat, "Ewwww!" But then, I don't have to do that, do I?
Enough about that. I hope to be able to leave that topic behind for a while (no pun intended, honestly).
Figleaf has a couple of thoughtful and articulate posts relating to fellatio and the recent battles that have erupted over the patriarchy of the blowjob. You can read Part I here and Part II here.
Alice's comment on Part I got me thinking...I think I've mentioned before how dangerous that can be:
I love giving blowjobs. I love the feeling of a hard, heavy cock on my tongue. Feeling it twitch with pleasure...listening to a man moan...his hands in my hair, pulling as he gets closer to cumming...and then that final moment before his cum explodes onto my tongue...and the cum dripping down my throat, thick and tasty. Giving a blowjob completely turns me on. I love giving a guy that pleasure. I have to admit, though, that I'm a submissive so my pleasure is all about a man's pleasure.What made a particular impression on me was her comment linking her love of fellatio to her tendency and desire to participate in a submissive role.
Aside from that - I've never received cunnilingus. It's really because I haven't wanted it. I love the idea of it, but having a guy down there makes me nervous. It's just a personal preference. Giving it, on the other hand...I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to try that. And I hope to soon.
Call me a renegade, but I've never equated fellatio with submission. Yeah, sure, in some vile, contemptible, misogynistic porn but not in my life or in the visual erotica I enjoy. In my past experience with men (many, many years ago) a good BJ was all about power. The enjoyment it brought to me was in being able to do it so well that it brought a man to his knees, albeit figuratively. It was that way with many of my sexual experiences with men. I loved most the feeling of controlling or overpowering a man with my sexual virtuosity and power.
When I revisited sex with men last month (after an absence of over two decades) while on vacation, my fling with Sean was not nearly as tinged with that need to overpower him. I admit, though, to a creeping pleasure hearing him utter, "Girl, where did you learn to do these things???" And I took no offense, given the context, of being referred to as, "Girl." ; )
I don't know if I felt less competitiveness because of the different dynamic with Sean...my being 21 years his senior, my being a relatively well-off tourist compared to his relative hand-to-mouth existence on the island, my being a member of a 'dominant' racial class in my culture which is the culture [white "English" (either American or British)] from which the culture of Barbados sprung. Wow...this encounter could be the stuff of months' worth of posts.
At one point, Sean suggested a BJ and I, having not done it in so long, gave it a whirl. I was clearly not into it, though, so we quickly moved on to other tricks in the bag, much to our mutual enjoyment. This suggests to me that the dynamic between me and my Bajan lover was not power-motivated on my part. Indeed, it didn't feel that way as I agonized whether a sexual encounter would be a 'good' (for either or both of us), 'moral' (I didn't want to 'exploit' another person) and wise choice.
I haven't pondered what has occurred to move me beyond the need to play the power game in order to have an enjoyable sexual experience with a man. I think it's primarily due to the emotional growth I've experienced over the past 20 years. It is believing I don't need a man in order to be happy in life, I don't need anyone, frankly. That's an incredible position of power. There's a big difference between cognitively understanding that position and actually believing it's possible for you in your life. So I guess I no longer have to seek my power in those ways when I interact with men because the power already exists within me, inside.
I'm not talking about this power dynamic within the confines of a Dom/Sub experience. That's something totally different and possibly what April was referring to in her comment. I'm talking about a larger cultural power dynamic that exists between men and women and plays itself out in the bedroom as well as the board room. Hey, if you want to give a BJ from the position of a Sub in a Dom/Sub relationship and this brings you pleasure, go for it. As a matter of fact, the power balance in a Dom/Sub relationship must be entirely equal, egalitarian. Both parties submit to that and play by the rules. That's all about role-playing, and not about societal roles.
Maybe I'm making the argument for those feminists who bewail the freedom to choose to blow. I'm not trying to. I'm simply trying to understand how all the cultural influences combine to create difficulties in how men and women (or any number, variation or configuration of the two) are able to relate to each other, particularly sexually.
I think I'll end my rambling with one other snippet from this thread at Figleaf's...in a comment, Fig reported that, regarding cunnilingus:
The three big concerns, I've found, are that a) he might somehow smother, b) he might bite, and c) you sort of don't deserve such direct attention. To which we generally reply a) you can't smother him, b) he won't bite, and c) you, like every other human being, deserve whatever pleasure you can find with another consenting adult. To that, my response was something along the lines of, "He won't bite? Not even if I ask nicely?"
Thanks for the inspiration, Fig and Alice! It's a great conversation!
Technorati tags: bisexual / blogging / cunt-positive / lesbian / life / men / all the sex ones / women
This is Hilarious
I just posted that entry about my body in middle-age and checked the links. I found it hilariously ironic that within my Technorati tags there was only one link that was skipped.
Technorati tags: humor / life
Personal Growth and Orgasms
I love my woman's body, y'know that? It's beautiful and soft and sensual and sensory and responsive and just plain yummy. I like the things I am able to do with my body and the things my body is capable of. And I'm not just talking about sex, you gutterpate.
I wrote on my other blog that God showed His wicked sense of humor when He sent me my first period in a month and a half in the lavatory of the plane on the first leg of my vacation to Barbados. Yuck, yuck, yuck. I've used the masculine to discuss this manifestation of God because only a masculine deity would do that to a peri-menopausal woman. Then again, the feminine side of God should have just clicked off the baby factory at 35, when I was sure I wasn't going to be manufacturing anything else in there so, who knows. Maybe She is capable of such bitter irony.
It's great being a middle-aged woman. It really is. I've finished my Mom job and can now bask in the semi-retirement that is grandmotherhood. I've come to appreciate myself enough that I've taken two years out of external relationships, the first time in my 49-year life I've not been involved with someone (counting motherhood as an equally valid "relationship," of a sort). It's great getting to know myself and define the person I am.
It's not so great finding more head hair in the tub drain every day while marveling at the proliferation of hair in other, unwanted places. Stray eyebrows...a long, long way from home. It's not fabulous to spend 45 minutes each night struggling to get to sleep because the room and sheets are too hot only to wake up in the deep freezer every morning wearing a shirt that's been dipped in ice water. It's not so great getting a 'power surge' when you're already overheated from running around like a nut in an 80 degree atmosphere for hours on end. But, what the hell.
Since I began cultivating a relationship with myself that is as weighty and important to me as any external ones, I've been the recipient of many wonderful fringe benefits. I'm more likely to stand up for myself and what I believe in or feel passionate about. I am less fearful of confronting an issue head-on, I'm not as driven by a motivation to avoid conflict at all costs. I now try to consider myself and my needs and feelings as carefully as I consider others'. I am accepting that I am at least as good and worthy as those I love, probably more so than those I dislike or despise. I am less afraid to be rejected or ignored. I am more willing to believe people accept me. I'm less likely to give a real shit if they don't.
I've tapped into a deep well of feelings I haven't been in touch with since my youth. Wonder at nature's beauty in my garden, at the sea shore, in birdsong, is watching a snake slither or a spider weave. When the Pandora's box of feelings is opened, they all come tumbling out, elbowing each other toward a position of primacy. This means joy comes with sorrow, love with disgust, courage with fear. There was a lot of fear in my box.
I've reaped physical and sexual benefits from finding the real me in mid-life. I've lost a little weight. That's not an issue for me and never has been but I could have used to shed a few pounds. I stopped weighing myself regularly and "dieting" when I was in my thirties. I decided I was supposed to have this approximate weight attached to this frame. I decided to accept my body as it is. I won't say I have a full acceptance of my body. I probably never will. It's hard to overcome decades of persistent conditioning to progress to the point of accepting my lumps as fine examples of variety in skin texture or my wrinkles as "character lines." But I'm a lot more accepting and appreciative of my body now than I've ever been.
Sexually, I've been to places I've never been before. I have been extraordinarily libidinous for the past year or so. I don't know if this is physical (hormonal) or psychological but I really don't care. It feels great either way. I masturbate regularly, often on several successive days. Used to be I would get terribly sensitive if I did that but I don't seem bothered by that problem anymore. I achieve a clitoral orgasm almost every time but I'm no longer bothered or frustrated if I don't. I seem to be able to allow it not to happen today because there's always tomorrow. I don't feel as if each "little death" might be my last. I am not desperate.
I love feeling this sexual.
Now, I don't want to burst the bubble of my anonymous masturbation aid, FlickrMan, but when I said last night (yesterday morning, whatever...) that I'd just had the most intense orgasm of my life, that wasn't meant to infer that this resulted wholly from being privileged to view his HNT photos while having at it. (Yes it helped, I'm sure, and it was very pleasant : ) Thing is, I've gotten in the habit of topping my last personal best on a regular basis. (Aside: If you've never seen it, rent Personal Best. The imagery is incredible, so many powerful women. The visuals make it worth it even if the story sucks.) It's as if I regularly touch upon some other, secret corner of my psyche that allows me to better appreciate what my body is feeling. So, I might have had my last most intense orgasm the day before. (I'm not saying. I'm not complaining, either.)
Yes, having beautifully erotic images to appreciate is lovely. It's nice to be in whatever hormonal Bermuda Triangle my body is in right now. (We can just put it in a holding pattern right here for a little while, okay God?) But the real freedom to feel the luscious things my senses and the world have to offer comes from inside me. It comes from self-love, acceptance and value. It comes from letting go of fears. It comes from being able to take an emotional chance, even if it's only with oneself, knowing you can survive any pain that might come and may receive blessings in the process.
The real sex organ is the human brain and loving yourself is the best way I've found to turn it on.
(Oh my God, I can't believe I just put little heart pictures all over this post! Seems I'm claiming my inner pre-teen.)
Technorati tags: cunt-positive / life / men / middle-age / sex / sex-positive / sexuality / women
An Open Letter
...to the unknown young man to whose Flickr HNT photostream I masturbated tonight (okay, this morning)... Thanks for a great time. I stopped on one pic and imagined you were coming, though in your boxers, not, I repeat not on my face. (I feel those Twisty demerits sliding off...for me, facials = icky!)
FlickrMan, I just had the most intense orgasm of my life to date.
Thanks again. I feel great! Hope it was good for you, too.
Technorati tags: bitchy / bisexual / cunt-positive / feminism / lesbian / life / men / senses / sex / sex-positive / sexuality / sexual orientation / sex wars / women
C'mon now, you didn't really think I was going to give you the Flickr link up there, did you?
I really was trying to resist writing this post and I hope it doesn't take me all fucking night to get it done. I've imbibed way too much this evening to pay bills or play with my checkbook. I may have even imbibed too much to enable my writing coherently and articulately. We'll see. At least posting leaves a little wiggle room for a mistake...I don't want to do that paying bills.
I've had a blast the last week or so playing around in my site meter! I've found the most interesting sites out there through the people who have visited my lil' ole blog here.
Somewhere I found a link to a neat website at the NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. It's a kids page on birds. So very cool! I love things which help introduce children to nature, science and the environment.
It's also refreshing to see the current administration hasn't eliminated everything positive within our government. You remember... the one that's supposed to be a...
...nation, under God, ...which...
shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.Sure doesn't feel like a whole lot of that's been going on for a while.
JK (sorry, I got no link) was nice enough to post in the comments on Bitch | Lab (On Fire, 17 July 2006) a link to a new art house flick, Heading South. It's the tale of a group of middle-aged women who explore the limits of their lives by taking young, local lovers while on vacation in 1970's Haiti. One person whose comment I read somewhere (a review?) reported being disappointed that there wasn't more sex. Oh well, I'd still like to see it.
I'm conflicted about the movie, though, just as I'm conflicted about my own fling in Barbados a month ago (this time a month ago, I was firmly in the grip of lust...it was luscious!). I'm also conflicted because of the lead character's (Charlotte Rampling, yum!) attempt to "save" the object of her desire. I enjoyed my time with my Bajan lover but had no expectation that I could or would make his life better beyond the bedroom, a few meals, couple of books, etc. Why should I presume that my way of life is so superior? I find that very haughty. I envy Sean his freedom. But that's just me. I still worry a bit that becoming involved with him was not the best thing for either of us, primarily for him. He is, after all, only 28. Water under the bridge now.
The ever-faithful Bitch | Lab has begun my education in sex-positive feminism. It's been a hell of a ride there this past week!
The difference between Brits and Yanks:
I'm listening to a very interesting interview on BBC radio with Craig Newmark, of Craig's List fame. When discussing the impact of Craig's site, the interviewer claimed, "There've got to be thoudands of millions" of hits on the site monthly. (Sorry, I am not going on a search for the interview or I'll be another two hours floating around out there!...Well, I'll be damned, it's right here.)
To a Brit: "Thousands of millions."
To a Yank: "Billions."
Which do you prefer?
The Cunting Linguist has a great post up on Role Playing 101.
I posted something last week that brought a great many visitors here. Via a mention on Bitch | Lab (i'm still fanning myself over that one!) I got linked on a post of links on When Fangirls Attack, aka http://womenincomics.blogspot.com. This is a fascinating group of mostly young, mostly women who are concerned about how women are portrayed in comics and graphic novels. Now that I've mentioned and linked her again, I'm probably facing another few days/ a week of >50 hits a day, once the comics fans get done with their convention this weekend.
The next mention I got on that list thingie was when I took the invitation of someone in Comicsland to find out who my superhero is. You can find yours here. I soooo wanted to be Cat Woman. I lust after Cat Woman. I am Cat Woman, damn it! (Told you!) Ragnell was kind enough to comment. (Thanks, and you really don't have to include this one on that list of yours! I really don't deserve to be on it. I don't even really know what Anime is. The closest I've ever come to comics are Henry Darger and Robert Crumb, who were/are both fascinating. There's more about them here & here and here, respectively. (Somehow, I sense some more Twisty Demerits coming my way ; )
Anyway, here are some postulations about this astonishing new segment of the world I've discovered and nerds in general:
I've wandered into a few new places as a result and have found them all, so far, to be open, concerned about issues of interest to feminist women, intelligent, really passionate about their subject and the social implications of negative stereotypes of women in comic-formatted literature. A few of them were men of a similar ilk. When sex and sexuality was discussed, it was always in a positive manner. There were no prudes that I found, just a few men stuck on the patriarchy who'd try to argue their point (badly, IMHO). I found many of the women to be quite hot. Almost all were younger than my son, the father.
- They have cooler computers than the average bear.
- Comics fans are from the four corners of the globe! I've had hits from places I'd forgotten exist!
- Way more Mac's and Firefox/Safari. A few Netscapes scattered in there for color.
- Some comics fans come in, look at the Girl Fuck 2005 post and leave.
- Some comics fans come in, look at the Girl Fuck 2005 post and out click to the Girl Fuck 2005 site. Naughty, naughty!
- Some comics fans come in, look at the Girl Fuck 2005 post and hang a round a while. Hi there.
- I think a couple of those comics fans have come back. Hi again.
- A great many of these feminist comics fans are sexy.
Thanks for the memories, comics fan hotties! Really, I don't need another link but you are all free to stop back and visit again! And feel free to tell me if anything really luscious is happening out there on the comi-femi continent in the feminist hemisphere!
I've rambled enough for one night and dragged you along and it's fucking four o'clock AM and I have yet to shower before bed! I hope you found something to tickle your fancy while you rummaged here. Me, I've got to get up early enough to get the bills paid before noon. Though, really, the mail carrier doesn't usually get here until at least 1-ish. I could probably sleep in a little...
Fuck it, the bills will be paid fucking Monday. Fuck creditors!
Technorati tags: comics / culture / feminism / hmmm... / humor / life / middle-age / men / procrastination (I've always meant to have a blog named that...) / sensuality / sex / sex-positive / sexuality / women /
If there are any others, and I'm sure there are, could you try to figure them out yourself, please? I'm tired.
Is the new pic I've managed to embed in my header or banner or whateverthefuckitis conforming with current feminist ideals? I believe she looks as if she wants to be there doing just what she's doing (which is, primarily, turning me on)...or am I just spouting the drivel I've been brainwashed by the patriarchy to believe?
ARGH! It's like a giant mobius strip!
But, really, who the fuck cares? Hers is the picture that shows up when you look up "voluptuous" on reference.com.
Technorati tags: bitchy / cunt-positive / erotica / The Great Blowjob Wars of '06 / isms / feminism / patriarchy / sensuality / sex / sex-positive / sexual / sexuality / sex wars / women
New Job Coming Soon to a Hospital Near Me (I hope)
Well, I was finally able to connect today with the nurse recruiter at the community hospital that's within walking distance of my apartment. We weren't able to connect in person, however, because, "It's a little crazy here today." Crazy. In the HR department. Go on down to the ER there some evening or come to the ER where I currently work if you wanna see "crazy," Hon.
Anyway, I was able to gather some valuable information by phone today. Because this hospital is part of the larger health system for which I presently work, I will be considered a transfer rather than a new employee. Hopefully, this will make the transition go a little more smoothly. There doesn't seem to be a position that exactly fits my needs in the ER at present but there is a full-time position (three 12-hour shifts per week, like my current position) in the Critical Care Float Pool. This nurse floats between the ER, the ICU and the Telemetry floor. I've never worked in an ICU so that experience would be valuable. ER, of course, I have pretty much down pat. And Telemetry is nothing more than a regular, medical-surgical nursing floor with cardiac monitors. Cake.
The position we discussed is on night shift, again not a problem, at least for the short term. I worked nights for almost 20 years up until two years ago. I have no trouble sleeping during the day (well, no more trouble than I have sleeping at night) and I've always liked the culture of night shift...the atmosphere is generally more relaxed and collegial, permanent night shift staff is usually a little more left-of-center and autonomous than their counterparts on days and night nurses really know how to party! By that I mean there's always an excuse on night shift for people to bring in food...wonderful, fat-filled, calorically-overloaded, delicious party
Mary's having hot flashes? PARTY!
Susan's baby pooed on the big-boy potty? PARTY!
Cloris got the house in the divorce settlement? PARTY!
I've found the night shift people I've worked with over the years tend to work in a more collaborative and less competitive manner. That might just be my experience but I think it's probably not purely anecdotal. When you're working the lowest-staffed shift on a nursing unit and in a hospital, you come to rely more on your co-workers to cover your back and they usually do. The ability to think on your feet autonomously is revered by night nurses but cooperation and interdependence are almost equally respected. You also get to know people better on night shift as there are so many fewer people to get to know while, when there is downtime on a unit, it's much easier to engage in meaningful conversations than during the hustle-bustle of an afternoon. Night shift workers generally play well with others, IME.
So what if the shift will negatively impact my life expectancy a bit. With 20 years of it under my belt already, I figure the damage is already done...and that's not even mentioning my nicotine addiction.
A float pool position would also be interesting and might be a welcome relief from working in the same environment with the same people every single workday. I like getting to know people and meeting different folks. It'd be great to have three units' worth of new peeps to interact with. I also won't have to be entirely vested in one unit as I always have been in my career. I think I like the idea of being a little more shallow-rooted for a while.
So, wish me luck. I discovered that I may fill out an application online and will be brushing up my resume over the weekend so the recruiter can return on Monday to be dazzled. Let's hope she doesn't overindulge over the weekend so the dazzlement will be welcome. With luck, I will have an appointment next Thursday to meet with the recruiter and, maybe, a nurse manager or two meaning, in a month or so, I can be trading my current position for one that's a little more stress- and hassle-free.
Too bad there isn't an all-in-one shampoo and conditioner for employment and careers, huh?
I've come to realize I've been in a fairly depressed cycle the past two or three months. Some of it is job-related but a lot has been due to the loss of my father in March and my personal growth, especially that catalyzed by Dad's death. I haven't been paying bills regularly. I haven't cleaned my apartment in months. I've blogged a lot and gardened a fair amount but have been pretty well holing up outside of interacting with a friend or two. My "hermitting" has not just been an effort to beat the blazing Philly summer heat and humidity.
For the first time in many weeks, I feel relatively relaxed. This week wasn't necessarily any "easier" than any other at work recently, but I felt better about it. It's amazing what making a decision and taking a little action can do. It's amazing what believing in yourself enough to take a little risk will do.
Yes, I'll apply for the job and do some resume tweaking this weekend. I'll also pay my bills in time to get them out in the mail before noon tomorrow. I will hopefully make it down to the shore early next week because I feel the need for a salt breeze on my skin and the tang of the sea in my nostrils like an almost pulsating yearning. I will draft my letter of resignation.
I'm not promising anything about cleaning, though.
If only I had a nice middle-aged girlfriend with a hankering for vacuuming.
Technorati tags: bitchy / career / humor / life / nursing / work