Sunday, May 22, 2022

Pic of the Day

Fighting for Love

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
—1 John 4:8

When I was a kid, I would go to church with my family every Sunday. I loved singing hymns, but once it got to the sermon I was, quite frankly, bored. We rarely had dynamic preachers, and they never kept my attention . When church was over, I couldn’t have told you what it was about. I was just a kid, though I know now that I absorbed a lot of the information. I tried to perfect looking interested , but not much held my attention back then. It wasn't that I didn't care about God or the Bible and honestly it wasn't even that the preachers were bad at speaking, they just didn't open up the stories in a way that made any sense to me. They didn’t make it practical. Everything felt distant and cold, when it wasn’t the usual fire and brimstone warnings about Hell. 

That changed in my early teens, but not because I suddenly became interested in the message, but because of a new young preacher we got from Faulkner University, the nearby Church of Christ college. He was there because we were between preachers. He was a very handsome young man in his senior year of college. (I looked him up while I was writing this, and he’s still a nice looking man, though he must be in his early 50s by now. All of the women and me had a crush on him, though of course, I never let on, nor did I probably the at it was a crush.I just new I was mesmerized. Not only was he good looking, he was also a good preacher, but sadly, he did not stay long and we eventually got another preacher.

Eventually, we got a new preacher who was more of a teacher than a preacher. He would teach us about being a better person by emulating Christ. I began to pay closer attention to the meaning of the sermons, and it laid the basis for my current faith. As I came to terms with my sexuality, I turned to the Bible to better understand myself. As I read the Bible and commentaries by more progressive Christian’s, I came to realize that being gay was not the sin I was taught it was. The real sinners were those judging others and playing God by claiming that their piety made them better than others. For many of those pious individuals, there are two major problems with them claiming to be Christians. First, their “faith” is fueled not by the love Christ preached about, but the hatred of those they deem immoral because they base their belief in a Christianity that is not backed by the Bible. Second, they come to their way of thinking by claiming they are following the Bible, when in fact if they do quote scripture, they take it out of context no they ignore passages that condemn their hateful and judgmental and hateful behavior .

If you really want to follow Jesus, then there are some questions you need to ask yourself. How do we love one another well, even when we disagree? What does it mean to follow your calling? How can God be called good when there is so much suffering in the world? (This is one I have particularly struggled with for many years.) What does it look like to fight back against oppression? How is God all powerful and yet people still die? These are the ultimate questions. hen I started to read the Bible in this way, I began to more fully understand Christ teachings of faith, hope, love, and charity. I’m a researcher by training, and I have spent years trying to understand my faith.

I saw that in Luke 4, Jesus set out a radical vision for his ministry of healing sick folks, cancelling debts, and setting prisoners free. That's a political mission as much as it as a theological one. One sabbath day the synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus read from the book of Isaiah. Isaiah 
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
—Luke 4:18-19
Romans 13:10 says, “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” If our actions, even in the name of God, cause harm then we're doing something wrong.

We must endeavor, not just to do no harm, but to stop harm from happening, not cause it as so many modern day Christians do. 

Friday, May 20, 2022

Pic of the Day

In Boston

After several delays, a stop at a Cracker Barrel for a late lunch, and heavy traffic in Boston, we checked into our hotel. Apparently, they gave me a free upgrade to a suite. I’ve seen apartments smaller than this room. I have a living room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. When I say kitchen, I mean a full kitchen—full-sized refrigerator, stovetop, microwave, and dishwasher. They only thing it’s missing is a regular stove. It’s kind of in a loud area. I could hear music playing from a nearby party or something well after 10 pm. There is a piano bar downstairs, but this was not piano music. Anyway, the last time I stayed in Boston in the Seaport District, it was a noisy area. I didn’t mind, because by the time it was 10 pm, I was ready to crash for the night.

I also got to meet BosGuy while I was here. He was so kind to see me out for drinks while I was here. We went to a gay bar called Club Cafe. I had one of their “Sweet + Fruity” drinks called a Dirty Girl (Grey Goose Vodka, X-Rated Liqueur, and cranberry juice. It was a bit strong but also very good. I was going to check out one of the restaurants in the area or hang around the bar some after BosGuy left, but I realized I was tired from the day of driving and not really very hungry. I decided to just take an Uber back to my hotel, where I wrote this post and went to bed.

I’m looking forward to seeing more of Boston over the next few days and, hopefully, enjoying the conference.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Pic of the Day

Boston Conference

I will be at a major museum conference in Boston through Sunday. Interestingly, I was looking through “Daily Memories” on my Amazon Photo app, when I realized that the first work trip I took to Boston was five years ago yesterday. I have been to Boston three other times for work. All four of my previous Boston work trips have been quick and busy trips. During that first one, we went to the MFA to talk to the curators there and were only there a few hours. The second time was to conduct oral histories and I was there for a couple of days, but I was very busy each day. The third was for a university function where the museum had a display, and the last one was last Thursday when we drove down and back in one day. I’m looking forward to a bit of a more leisurely trip. 

I’ll be going to receptions and discussion panels, and my coworker and I plan to have a pretty packed few days. Going to the conference is really just a way to get a vacation paid for by the museum and university. I just have to listen to some people give presentations about museums that will probably be very boring, um…I mean, interesting. Yeah, interesting, that’s the appropriate word. 😂 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Pic of the Day

Sorry

I am being so lame this week. I had another headache last night because there was a rainstorm that came through yesterday, and rain always aggravates my trigeminal neuralgia. So, once again, I remember that I was thinking about writing a post, then I got distracted and went to bed before I actually wrote one. Susan notified me that I had not posted this morning. I had woken up feeling much better had not even thought about not having a post scheduled. 

For the rest of the week, my posts might be a bit short. I am going to a conference in Boston tomorrow and will be gone through Sunday. Thankfully, because I am technically "working" Saturday and Sunday attending the conference, I will be off Monday and Tuesday of next week. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Pic of the Day

The Rhodora

The Rhodora
By Ralph Waldo Emerson - 1803-1882

In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,

I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,

Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,

To please the desert and the sluggish brook.

The purple petals fallen in the pool

Made the black water with their beauty gay;

Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,

And court the flower that cheapens his array.

Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why

This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,

Tell them, dear, that, if eyes were made for seeing,

Then beauty is its own excuse for Being;

Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!

I never thought to ask; I never knew;

But in my simple ignorance suppose

The self-same power that brought me there, brought you.



About the Poem
The official name of the poem is "The Rhodora, On Being Asked, Whence Is the Flower", and was written by Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1834. Emerson uniquely describes a wonderful and insightful spiritual connection with nature in a primitive, deified manner. The focus of the poem is to showcase to Emerson's audience that a person has the embedded ability to share and experience a kindred relationship with God through the beauty of Nature.

The Rhodora is presented as a flower as beautiful as the rose, but the Rhodora can be described as a scrawny deciduous shrub. In the poem, it is described as remaining humble and not seeking broader fame. The narrator of the poem is outside during springtime in New England and has found a beautiful Rhodora, "Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook," and is reflecting on the ability to bring beauty to such a dismal location and setting.

“The Rhodora” described the love of his life, probably his life. Emerson disliked the ordinary and the status quo. Therefore, roses are nit his cup of tea. Everyone loves roses, so he wanted a more unique ay to describe his love. When it came to describing his wife, the Rhodora plant encompassed all that he felt of her, including the lavender petals. Emerson describes his wife as stunningly beautiful through his eyes, and similar to items of immense value, she is hard to find. He gives her a grand compliment as a writer that she has a calming influence on his life and points out that she is only known by a certain few, those who seek out her uniqueness, her beauty, and her calming influence. She must have been a remarkable woman.

About the Poet
An American essayist, poet, and popular philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) began his career as a Unitarian minister in Boston, but achieved worldwide fame as a lecturer and the author of such essays as “Self-Reliance,” “History,” “The Over-Soul,” and “Fate.” Drawing on English and German Romanticism, Neoplatonism, Kantianism, and Hinduism, Emerson developed a metaphysics of process, an epistemology of moods, and an “existentialist” ethics of self-improvement. He influenced generations of Americans, from his friend Henry David Thoreau to John Dewey, and in Europe, Friedrich Nietzsche, who takes up such Emersonian themes as power, fate, the uses of poetry and history, and the critique of Christianity.


"There are many unspeakable words, forgotten, or forbidden. Great thanks to the poets who make them all become reachable."
—Toba Beta

Monday, May 16, 2022

Pic of the Day

Monday Morning

When I went to bed last night, I had thought I’d scheduled a post for this morning, but my friend Susan emailed me to say that there was no post. That’s when I realized, I thought about writing a post, but I never did. I got distracted shortly thereafter and completely forgot. I have today off for work, so I’m taking the day off completely to rest and relax. 

Have a great week!