Monday, February 25, 2013

I'm Rambling but I'm Right

It's about 10:20 pm and I'm not writing the news tonight. Aaron has gone to bed early with the help of some Nyquil... my bud isn't feeling too great and I know the stress he's under at work this week isn't helping. I just chopped up some onions and put them in the fridge so that they're ready for the morning. (I'll be putting a pork loin (and the onions) in the crock pot for some BBQ tomorrow night.) Now my hands are suffused with onion. Onion aromatherapy. It's not as bad as you're thinking. (But it is making me kind of hungry.) It's quiet except for the heater that just kicked on. And it's just me, my pup, and a little lamp.

Just wanted to give you a status check. Pull you onto my couch with me. Let's chat.

The Oscar's always give me a stomach ache. (Really everything gives me a stomach ache. But the Oscar's especially so?) It's so painful to watch the red carpet interviews - where Dignity Goes to Die and the fake smiles are almost worse than the girl at the lunch table with the brown hair in 7th grade and I won't go any further. Then there are the awards, with the cameras shoved in the faces of the losers, waiting for A Moment That Will Get Talked About Later, which always tend to be the bad moments, not the good ones. Then there is the host, who cannot win. They cannot. win. Listen to me - this is going to be the best, most concretely positive advice I can ever give you - never, ever agree to host the Oscar's.

Don't get me wrong, I think Seth McFarlane is pretty tasteless and, frankly, boring. I mean, I love Family Guy as much as the next girl-trying-to-impress-college-dudes-with-her-nonchalance-regarding-vulgar-humor, but still. He was set up to fail, ya'll. Ain't nobody can host the Oscar's successfully.

However, I was kind of surprised by the passion in today's response to him. Everyone seemed pretty peeved. Which kind of makes me roll my eyes, because the people he seems to have pissed off are the same ones who claimed things like "The Oscars are just part of the Machine" and "I am going to go plant a tree instead of watching them" and whatever it is they were saying. Anyway, they apparently all watched, and they HATED EVERY SECOND, DUH!?!?!

Because Seth McFarlane hates WOMEN and GAYS and the MENTALLY HANDICAPPED and TOMMY LEE JONES!

And so here is my question. Why is that wrong?

Is it wrong to hate women? Is it wrong to demean homosexuals? Is it wrong to make fun of mentally handicapped people? Is it wrong to discriminate? Is it wrong to hurt someone else?

Because the consensus seems to be yes, but I can't figure out WHY.

If you'd like the privilege of moral outrage, you must have a moral standard to which to point, and you must be able to account for where it comes from.

If we are all supposed to "do what makes us happy" and "do what feels right" and that is Morality, you must find out how to reconcile that with the fact that maybe what makes Seth McFarlane happy and what feels right to him is making women into props. Maybe that's his thing. And you'd better not judge him.

But if you're going to - Twitter outrage and all - you'd better be able to account for why. Are there Right things and Wrong things? ACCORDING TO WHAT. Until you have that figured out, take a deep breath, summon your courage, and sit this one out.

Additionally, I was just reading this. Luke Chapter 12.

"Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division." - (verse 51).

 Jesus came to teach us Truth - the big M Morality - and that is naturally divisive, because some people will believe it and other people won't. God has given us some beautiful things in this world - honor, mutual respect, harmony. But there are some Greater Things for which those beautiful things might have to suffer. If calling Right Right sacrifices unity, then we will have to choose the greater of the two, and - like Jesus - it will have to be the former.

 I am so tired of people using their idea of Jesus to cut down people willing to talk about the big M. "Stop claiming to know Right and Wrong. Jesus preached tolerance and love."

Nope, not really. Love, yes - but our current, perverted definition of "tolerance"? As in - the only way to be tolerant is to never call anything Right or Wrong? Absolutely NOT, ya'll.

Why do people who do not know Jesus believe they know more about Him than people who study Him? And why do people speak for Jesus when they don't know Him?



Jethro is doing that thing where he just stares at me. He wants to go to bed. I am going to finish this episode of "Sherlock" I was watching on Netflix. And then go to bed. And then I'll probably wake up, take a shower, make some eggs.. I'm going too far.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

We Are Terrible, In General

When I was a freshman in high school, my class schedule was structured in such a way that I somehow got to the cafeteria about 5 minutes early every day for lunch. (Freshest chicken patty just for me.) The lunch period before mine would be just ending, and I would walk in to "our" table and put down my stuff to claim my spot. Then I'd walk back out and get in line (chicken patty line.) But on my way out, I had to pass the table of these 5 or 6 lingering juniors. All girls, always giggling. One of them wore her hair in a bun right on top her head. Every single day. Just a frizzy brown ball right on top of her, like a scoop of ice cream.

And they were laughing at me. I knew they were laughing at me. Every time I'd walk by them, I swear they would snicker.

So I told my mom about this, and I got the speech that any of us would give any 14-year-old in a similar situation - you are imagining this! I know you are self-conscious, but no one is snickering at you. You are beautiful, you can accomplish all your dreams, did you make your bed today, etc. etc.

But one of the giggly girls (not the bun one) was the older sister of a friend of mine, so finally I asked this friend - what is your sister's deal? Why the snickering at me? Because I swear they are snickering at me.

My friend asked her sister, and then she came back and said - hey, they aren't really laughing at you. They just think you're ugly.

OH! Just that. Well then.

Recently a lovely blogger/tweeter I follow also had a particularly horrible interaction with a stranger - eventually culminating in a call to the police - that caused her to question why we all suck so much. Why are we so awful to each other? Why are we so selfish? Why are we so mean? Just be a little good, she said.

I echo that. Stop sucking, everybody. Really.

But I can't help but wonder what exactly we're expecting.

You guys, we are not good. We are simply not good. We are not born good. Where did this idea come from, that we are born good? It most certainly does not come from empirical evidence. We are terrible! And even if we look inward - I try to be compassionate; I believe in the value of every human being - but I have chosen myself over someone else probably over 100 times today already and I haven't even had lunch yet. I cut people off on the highway when I'm afraid I might miss my exit and be, oh I don't know, 5 minutes late. I make a smoothie for breakfast because it tastes good, even though I know the noise from the blender is going to wake up my sleeping husband 30 minutes before he has to be awake. I don't respond to text messages. I roll my eyes at Facebook posts. I leave the office printer empty and wait for someone else to refill the paper.

I am awful.

But I believe that God, in us, can be good. I cannot be good on my own. Long ago I was given the instinct toward death; to fight for what I want and only what I want, at whatever expense. And I could succeed in this (and have.) But there is a sweet redemption in asking Jesus to be me. To be us. To shield the cold, black of our hearts from self-expression and to inspire the lean toward good that He can will in us. To remake our hearts to love good instead of their first love - of dirt and hate and self.

Really - what is "good" anyway, without God? Can "good" have a million different definitions? How can we expect a "good" from other people that we don't even know how to define?

I once asked a trusted friend how I could know that God wanted me to love Him - she asked me to consider what my response would be if I were told He didn't. And I saw a pit of despair that I would not survive. She said - that is how you know. You do not desire God. He, in you, desires Himself. And so you desire Him.

So if I can offer him control - of my mind, my legs, my arms, my deeds - I can do good. I can try, oh try try try, to do good. To let Him love other people through me. And maybe one day I can be changed - into the image of Him He wants me to be - and I will be good. So many people have succeded in this! But not on their own.

Listen - living is much more difficult if you are constantly trying to reconcile the expectation of people's "inherent goodness" with this dystopian swam of a world we all find ourselves in. So don't do that to yourself. Do good. Ask for help doing good; understanding what good is.

But stop allowing everyone's badness to surprise you. Because one day it might crush you.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Look At All of These Things

Happy Friday to you and yours. I am over the moon that it's February and I'm sure you are too. January is just THE WORST, right? The absolute worst. Well, we've made it through another one and I think that's just super.

I read so many blogs and I love all of them, and for the most part all of them include lots and lots of pictures. I always love the pictures, and then I think, Maria! Photos! Join the club! And then I take my phone out to take a picture and I think... why on earth would this be interesting?

I suppose intrinsic in blogging is the belief that someone somewhere kinda does care about you. About your stuff. Maybe that makes bloggers terrible people. I can't figure that out. I mean, I know I'm terrible. But are all of us? I need a glass of wine.

Meanwhile, please look at all of my pictures with a little feigned interest, ok? Leave a comment and I'll spend at least 10 full seconds thinking about you. (Am I doing this right?)

 Beautiful sunset on Tuesday, behind the masterpiece of the modern auto industry.

 AaronMichael forcing me to plot the destruction of his phone after we demolished our pitas and that plate of hummus.


 Our backyard mud after 4 days of rain. This is a big weather event in Phoenix. I couldn't believe the gray sky. I couldn't believe it. (Also RIP grass.)

 New running shoes to commemorate my Return to the Treadmill.

 This is his spot when he knows we're about to leave the house. He is trying to hide because he thinks we're going to put him in the bathroom, where he used to have to stay during the day when he was a puppy (because he would tear up the carpet otherwise.) He hasn't had to go in the bathroom in over 2 years but he can't shake the trepidation, evidently. But honestly, is he not the most huggable?

 A sweet girl at the shelter "did my hair" last week and wanted to take a picture, but when I opened my phone later and saw this I immediately said to myself "WHO PUT A BLONDE WIG ON MY BROTHER." Because, seriously?

It's just wrong. (But Julia - Joe's girlfriend - is gorgeous as always. Miss these pumpkins.)

Happy Weekending, nerds.