Saturday, February 19, 2011

Quote of the Week

"You can't swing a cat on the red carpet these days without hitting some chick from Glee."

--Joan Rivers

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Love, Sarcasmo

Sometimes if I’m flipping around TV and fall on the Jack Van Impe program on the religious channel, I’ll stay on it for a few minutes and laugh. Usually after about five minutes, I wince and change the channel. One night last year, I watched the whole half hour. It was too much--I was provoked to action. I sent them this email the next day.

___________________________

Hello.

A few things.

Last night (7 April 2010) on the Jack Van Impe program, Mr. Van Impe stated that a politician (I missed his name) has proclaimed that no one in the state of Indiana is allowed to pray publicly in the name of Jesus, but instead all are to pray to Allah only.

I live in Indiana, and I assure you this is not the case. I and others would have noticed. Our local news programs out of Indianapolis are weather-obsessed and tend to be a little American Idol heavy, but I’m positive that if the entire state suddenly was banned from praying in a traditional Christian format, the newscasters would have carved out some time to make us aware.

Also, I have noticed no change at my place of worship. Others I have polled state that they, too, are still using the J word in their church services. As far as I know, Hoosier Muslims are free to pray to Allah as per usual, but Catholics from Gary to Commiskey still invoke the names of God, Jesus and various saints without any governmental interference. While driving to lunch today, I noticed two Latter-day Saint missionaries walking along the road, and neither of them was carrying a rolled up Islamic prayer rug on his back. I can only assume this means that all is going along swimmingly at the local Mormon ward, and that they continue to pray in their customary way.

I hope this information will offer some relief. Mr. Van Impe seemed on the verge of breakdown when he was conveying this erroneous news. I encourage Jack and his wife Rexella to check their sources more thoroughly, and perhaps take with a grain of salt anything they are told by whomever brought them this startling news from Indiana. While I’m offering suggestions, here are a few more:

  • Please do not blame President Obama for events which occurred before his birth.
  • Please do not blame President Obama for events which have yet to occur.
  • Please do not blame President Obama for events which more than likely will never occur.

  With warmest regards from the Hoosier State,

  
      Michelle

__________________________

Oddly, I never heard anything back. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mask

This is a mask that I made around thirteen or fourteen years ago.  I was the education director at a church, and most of my duties revolved around the high school youth group.  I really loved this part of my job, and one of the highlights of the year was when we all went on a week-long spiritual retreat out of state at a big conference center. 

Part of the days were spent with other youth directors, and one of the artsy things we got to do was to create these masks.  We papier mached the hell out of each others' faces, and then we each got to paint our own.  We could only use black and white paint, but somehow in mixing it up and sponging it on, I ended up with some brown-ish and navy blue-looking spots as well as shades of gray.  Being uber spiritual at the time, I painted on a big white cross. 

One of the other chaperones with our group asked what it meant to me.  I gave what I think was a genuine answer for me at the time.  The gray side was me without Christ (God, Christianity, religion, the community, etc.--all of the door prizes that come along with him), and the more confetti-splattered side was my life with him.  You know, presumedly more colorful, exciting, real, vivid...you get it.

And there stamped in the middle of it was a cross.  I was marked.  Marked by baptism.  Marked by the Holy Spirit.  Branded by God. 


I still have this displayed in a shadow box, and I still like it, but it holds a vastly different meaning for me now.  For one thing, I haven't attended church regularly for almost two years.  Religion doesn't have the hold on me that it did then, and I've come to understand more deeply how religions form and how they can skew one's worldview.  I've come to a place in my life where I'm no longer able or willing to believe a world of doctrines and views that go against what all of my senses tell me is true. 

Now the sides of the mask have flip-flopped in meaning.  The gray side is me when I was trying so hard to conform to scripture and what I thought was rigid truth.  The more colorful side is me now, letting myself breathe, discovering myself, being open to the world and how beautiful it is, and being open to how amazing and good people are. 

The cross is still there, and it almost looks like a scar to me now.  Don't get me wrong, I don't feel that I was abused by religion in any way, while some people have been...and horribly so.  I'm still marked by it, and I'm trying to figure out what pieces of Christianity still fit into my life.  It's a difficult process at times, but I'm so much happier, and I don't feel any pressure to figure it all out at once.

Monday, February 14, 2011

More Ireland Pictures


Peeking out of a window in Blarney Castle
  
Blarney Castle, County Cork


Statue/Sculpture of St. Brendan, County Kerry


Ross Castle, Killarney
 
The Cliffs of Moher

Performers at Bunratty Castle

Almost to the top of Blarney Castle
 
There are zillions! I'll post more sometime. I believe that Ireland is where we go when we die.








Sunday, February 13, 2011

Quote of the Week

"You don't even believe in Jesus, you fool; you might as well be holding a plastic statue of Princess Diana." 

--Jenkins in Gregory Maguire's Lost

Ireland Photos

These are some photos that I took in Ireland in March/April of 2009.

Watchtower, Cliffs of Moher

Didn't take this one--this is me kissing the Blarney Stone

From inside Blarney Castle, County Cork

Banners, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

Somewhere along the Ring of Kerry

Durty Nelly's and Bunratty Castle, County Clare

I'll write more about this trip later, and post more pictures. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Self-portrait

Here's a self-prortrait I drew a few weeks ago.  It's based off of the accompanying picture taken by my best friend, Chris. 



Not a perfect copy by any means, but I feel good about it.  I haven't drawn people in a long while.  Inanimate objects are easier for me! 

I used varied pencils and, for the first time, chalk and charcoal.