YAY! Talking, Communication, Virtua Media and Such….. #holyspirit #communication #virtualmedia #comments

Communication is difficult.

I once heard some professor say (don’t ask me who I don’t remember, it might have been Prof. Kay) that communication is a gift.

Humans have a lot of trouble understanding each other. It takes the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit in order for REAL communication to take place.

Why? Because it takes listening, empathy, sympathy and a willingness to enact the words that are being spoken.

The longer I live, the more I believe this…

Ever have a conversation where you are trying to listen carefully and you repeat back what has been said, and they repeat back too..but later it turns out you actually didn’t really have the same understanding of the conversation? Those feel like the most.

This happens to my husband and me all the time!

This problem gets slightly more complicated with virtual media….where there is no intonation (This is problematic for people like me…who primarily joke in sarcasm and ironies….a good footnote for my life is that if I’m saying something mean about you, to you, I’m joking…..really, I am)

hence e-motions 🙂 which help but aren’t the same.

Then there’s the fact that rarely do we pay REALLY close attention to what we are reading on the internets….we are usually watching tv (I have Avatar on currently) or quick peeking while we’re waiting for something, or whatever.

Then there is comments, many bloggers disable comments because so often they devolve…and most of the criticism is ridiculous…comments are about something totally unrelated or it turns into a rant. The anonymity triggers some of this, as does the distraction, but some of it is just human nature.

Communication is tough.

But when it happens, its amazing.

Its like when married people have an entire conversation without using words (as Tamora Pierce points out in Trickster’s Choice)

Or when friends REALLY get each other in a moment, its like two souls shaking hands (as Sean Stewart says in Nobody’s Son)*

Its a spiritual moment…and I believe it CAN happen online…..but just like in regular conversations, when it happens, its a gift from God–thru the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit

*These are lines inscribed on my heart, I do not have the books with me, so I do not have the page numbers….Trickster’s Choice its between the father and step-mother of the girls Aly takes care of very early on. In Nobody’s Son its between the heroine and her best friend, when the hero first meets the best friend

Queer Creation: A synchroblog!!!

Queer Theology Synchroblog 2013: Queer Creation

May thanks to my AMAZING sister who wrote this essay in response to my questions!!!!

What is your favorite series to read? How does it relate to your real life experience? Does it help to inform who you are/want to be?

TORTALL_d_original

Well any week that you ask me this I’m likely to have a different answer, but right now I’d say I’m really fond of the quartets that Tamora Pierce has written. There’s a lot in there about strength in yourself and through friends, and showing strength in different ways. Alanna is fiery and forward, Keladry is more reserved and protective. Daine is compassionate and driven, Aly is resourceful and wily. But in the end, they each have some strength that pushes them forward and towards great heights. I identify with each of these women, in part for their strength and in part for how hard they fight. I’ve faced my own challenges, and I have learned to never stop and don’t accept defeat.

What can I say, my sister has great taste in books..what is interesting about all of Pierce is that all of her characters “Come Out” Alanna as a girl (can’t imagine how my sister relates), Daine as a wild Mage and Aly as a spy…Their coming out is natural, it is a growing into themselves and their strength, and what I appreciate about my sister’s answer’s is that its these gifts and strengths that are highlighted, the fact that they are women to look up to….that and HOPE and PERSEVERANCE which are traits that I find to be essential and what should be what we love about the Bible as much as fantasy and PS is why I read fantasy….

As Joss Whedon notes, this shouldn’t be noteworthy (Query: why do you write strong heroines? Whedon: because you keep asking me that), but it is! (PS Favorite book is a totally cheating question, one I can never answer, can I pick a favorite star in the sky?)

The story God gives us is that we are both female and male in God’s image. Do you experience yourself as being in God’s image? (I like to think that transsexual’s have a more (w)holistic sense of what God’s image is)

So there’s this weird conflict here where, on the one hand, God must be both genders- and some representations of the Holy Ghost/Spirit interpret that as female. But I can’t view God that way- because there’s distinctly more than two genders. If the purpose of the question is to establish that God shares their gender with everyone, I think of it like this. Jesus was pretty clearly male- to the best of our knowledge, he’s the son and had no issues with his body in that way. (Which is an entirely different conversation one could have, but that’s not the point here.) So if the physical manifestation was male, then to me the logical next step is that the part we cannot grasp or understand is, as the physical manifestation’s natural opposite, female and comfortable with that. Well then, what is God, both? No. God can’t be both. God must be all. Male, Female, Trans* Genderqueer, Genderfluid, Bi-Gender, Agender, Third Gender (I can’t possibly list all of them…) They must be all of them and thensome. Part of what makes me uncomfortable in most churches is the interpretation of God as Father, Christ as Son and ignore the Holy Spirit completely. What, you mean it should all be male? God and Christ don’t understand women, and have nothing to share with them? Because sometimes that’s what it feels like. And the more a church focuses on Christ as son and redeemer, the less attached I feel to the words they’re speaking, because they’re only speaking from one viewpoint and ignoring the rest.

I will try not to rant here, but there are all kinds of mistranslations of the Bible that slant God towards masculine, when God isn’t. The word for Holy Spirit (Ruach) in Hebrew is a feminine word. The word Almighty in Hebrew means the God of many mounds (i.e. BREASTS to feed all of her children) etc. etc. This is a problem most females have with Christianity, that my sister has a VERY perceptive and unique focus on. God MUST BE ALL (which I bolded above), God is all, and its too much for us to understand so we compartmentalize so our little brains can handle it, but really, God must be all! PS I have always been a Kinsey 1-6 scale advocate, where completely straight is 0, completely bi is 6 and most people are 1-5…not a gendering issue, but still brings in the issues of God, Sexuality, Gender and Sex. Hey if we can’t talk about our embodied experience, why the heck are we even worrying about religion, am i right?

Image

My son drew God, because he wanted to know what God looked like, he said that God is both a boy and a girl and not a boy in a girl and….”I think God is very big, because God takes care of everybody, and I think God is a rainbow, because God likes all colors. See these dots? These are all the people, they are all different kinds too…” ..and a child shall lead them, anyone, anyone?

How important was naming yourself as female? How did the naming effect the embodiment? Or how did the embodiment effect the naming? Was there an order to it, or did all come together?

Okay, there’s a lot of questions to this question and I just have to address them one at a time.

Hehehehe, I told my sister I wrote only 4 questions, but of course I cheated, layering question upon question, luckily my sister is brilliant (really brilliant she is the smartest one by far in my family) and she was able to pull apart my meaning…good thing she has practice, being related to me and all.

Naming myself as female changed my whole world. It was about comfort and knowledge as much as anything else. I collect stories, including those I experience, and there was always something wrong with the story of me as a male. It would be like reading Harry Potter but instead of the proper ending Voldemort kills all the muggles and takes over the world. It’s still a pretty good story, but it’s not right. It’s not the way that the story should go, and we know that somewhere in us. In a similar way, being male wasn’t ruining my life. It just wasn’t right, and somewhere within me knew that. So the naming and identifying put me back to the right story, and changed…well, everything to some extent. As for the naming/embodiment dynamic, I’d say it was (and still is) a pretty consistent back and forth. I’d look at my past- realize that I’d been skipping around in skirts at age 8 and pinning down my arm movements since age 10- and see how I’d been living it my whole life. Then I’d start doing something and the driving feeling would be “screw it, I feel like doing x-y-z because that’s what my gender says is comfortable, so I will.” In the past, I was still learning what made me comfortable and my physical actions in the past helped guide that. As I look more toward the future, and being a woman is an unshakeable part of my identity, I’d say the balance is more towards the naming- I chose this title and this gender and this life (well, I chose to act on it, anyway) So I might as well embrace the parts of it I like.

YAY! I love how the “naming” piece of my sister’s identity has brought her more into SELF….I can’t add to this

What questions and wonderings do you have about God or the human existence that are informed by your being/experience/embodiment on earth?

I have a very important, unanswerable question that involves only one word. Why? Why put people through rigors and trials? Why challenge people in ways that they sometimes cannot handle, or cannot handle at the time? Why love, why hate, why trust, why lie? In short, my question out of all of my gender and sexuality struggles, out of dysphoria, out of watching my friends and my family is the most basic and most complex question of all. Why do it? Why was I born into the wrong body? What did I need to learn or understand? What did I gain? What did I lose? Was it worth the cost? I have no answers. I’m left with just the resounding question, sounding a bit like a petulant five year old. Why?

Shepherd: What are we up to, sweetheart?
River: Fixing your Bible.
Shepherd: I, um.. what?
River: Bible’s broken. Contradictions, false logistics.. doesn’t make sense.
Shepherd: No, no, you can’t..

River: So we’ll integrate non-progressional evolution theory with God’s creation of Eden. Eleven inherent metaphoric parallels
already there. Eleven, important number, prime number. One goes into the house of eleven eleven times but always comes out one.

River: Noah’s Ark is a problem.
Shepherd: Really?

River: We’ll have to call it “early quantum state phenomenon”. Only way to fit 5,000 species of mammal on the same boat.
Shepherd: Give me that. River, you don’t… fix the Bible.
River: It’s broken! It doesn’t make sense.
Shepherd: It’s not about making sense, it’s about believing in something and letting that belief be real enough to change your life.
It’s about faith. You don’t fix faith, River, it fixes you.

See we are related! We love tough questions….My sister has a great quest ahead of her. Of course, I don’t have an answer…its just too good a question.

Here’s what I think, I know its not all bubbles and sunshine (though I wish that were the case–to see a bubbles and sunshine version of events read here). But I am honored to witness to it, I hope that I am deepened by it, and I am SO proud of her! I think she is an amazing, strong, brave and resilient person who NEVER GIVES UP already, and she’s 10 years younger than me. I can’t wait to see what she does next!

 

Read the Other Queer Synchoblog Posts!

Queering Our Reading of the Bible by Dwight Welch

Queer Creation in art: Who says God didn’t create Adam and Steve? by Kittrdge Cherry

Of The Creation of Identity (Also the Creation of Religion) by Colin & Terri

God, the Garden, & Gays: Homosexuality in Genesis by Brian G. Murphy, for Queer Theology

Created Queerly–Living My Truth by Casey O’Leary

Creating Theology by Fr. Shannon Kearns

Initiation by Blessed Harlot

B’reishit: The Divine Act of Self-Creation by Emily Aviva Kapor

Queer Creation: Queering the Image of God by Alan Hooker

Queer Creation by Ric Stott

Eunuch-Inclusive Esther–Queer Theology 101 by Peterson Toscano

Valley of Dry Bones by Jane Brazelle

Queer Creation: Queer Angel by Tony Street

The Great Welcoming by Anna Spencer

Queer Creation by Billy Flood

The Mystery of an Outlandishly Queer Creation by Susan Cottrell

We’ve Been Here All Along by Brian Gerald Murphy

God Hirself: A Theology by T. Thorn Coyle

The Objectification of God by Marg Herder

Coming Out As Embodiments of God Herself by Virginia Ramey Mollenkott

An Interview by Katy

On Creation and Belonging by Andrew Watson

Creation by Liam Haakon Smith

Practically Creating Practical Queer Theology by Talia Johnson

Inspired Possibility: Opening the Gift of the Queer Soul by Keisha McKenzie

Oh What A Difference A Pope Makes! by Hilary Howes

I’m Really Angry by John Smid

Focus on the (Chosen) Family by Brian Cubbage

The Goddex by Thorin Sorensen

Review “The Cadet of Tildor” by Alex Liddell

The Cadet of Tildor

Synopsis: In contrast to some heroines who’s self-assurance manifests primarily as  vanity (cough, cough Throne of Glass), this heroine Renee is self-determined, independent and likable. She fights the cause of a Cadet (kind of a musketeer for the King) because she believes in fighting evil, and she strives to figure out whether the cadets are the way to do that….

Review: The mysterious rogue of a teacher (Savoy) is not as fascinating to me as I’d like, but overall the plot was well put together, the characters interacted well, and there was some growth in the main character (HOORAY). I think the sequel is fairly promising, and the main character def. makes this novel worth the read–esp. as a strong female character….

http://www.amazon.com/The-Cadet-Tildor-Alex-Lidell/dp/0803736819/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360620478&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Review+%22The+Cadet+of+Tildor%22+by+Alex+Liddell

Books that are not as well known(ish) but loved by me

Like Tamora Pierce, Kristen Cashore, Robin McKinley, Patricia C. Wrede, J. K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Peter S. Beagle, George McDonald, The Ordinary Princess, The Princess Bride, The Hobbit, Neverending Story, Serephina, Eona, etc. (for my traditional list see my ultimate fairy tale list)

Susan B. Dexter: Warhorse of Esdragon and Winter King’s Wars
Warhorse of Esdragon: heroes who find a magic horse that empowers them to be better! Winter King’s Wars: Reluctant Hero, falls in love, saves the world

Of Two Minds (Point Fantasy)Of Two Minds & More Minds by Carol Matas and Perry Nodelman: Prince who only lives in his mind, Princess who can make her imagination real, an arranged marriage, what’s not to love!

The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley: Sylvia is stuck in her story, and wants it to change. (SuperWhy for adults??)

Nobody’s Son by Sean Stewart: Young Man follows a fairy tale to marry a princess and discover how love defines you

Dave Duncan: A Tale of King’s Blades (The Gilded Chain, Lord of the Fire Lands, Sky of Swords, Paragon Lost, Impossible Odds, The Jaguar Knights): Parallel Worlds, Alternative Endings, all in a world of Three Musketeer + Magic…

The Seer and the SwordThe Seer & the Sword & The Healer’s Keep by Victoria Hanley: Landen is defeated by his enemy and vows revenge, but the princess is nice + secretly she’s a seer….

Claidi Journals (quartet) by Tanith Lee: Claidi finds a journal and starts an adventure outside her protected world

Wren (quartet): Sherwood Smith: Her best character, this magic girl saves the entire kingdom with her magic

To read about how I read fantasy theologically look at my post on the popular fantasy or my analysis of the best fairy tale ever Beauty and the Beast

…what I read..in high school

Have you ever listened to, read or watched something so much that you have internalized it, and its become a part of your very being?

That is another way to describe what “Reading out” a book is

in highschool I discovered fantasy as a genre

The first “fantasy” book I read was Robin McKinley “A Hero and the Crown” very quickly it and all the McKinley books I could find Beauty, Deerskin and the Blue Sword) became my go to books.

As well as the Tamora Pierce quartets (High School involved reading Alanna and then awaiting as Daine slowly came out) Tamora Pierce Heroines Mouse Mat

And there was Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest series which I discovered in the school library in 6th grade. This series maybe, perhaps, if I had to say, my favorite books ever (although I hate t  o pic  k because I love so many)

I never did read fantasy to escape. I always read it theologically. I read it to affirm the goodness of humanity and the human irrepressible & irrational endurance. I read it to see the abundance and presence of hope no matter how hard things get. I read it because I wanted to see people suffer challenges & loss and to know that it is all worth it, to see good triumph over evil. To me the happy-ever-after is guaranteed, but the work that is done to get there is what is truly important.