Wednesday, January 27, 2016

#oscarssowhite


AMEN

"Carol" (2015)

As a lesbian filmmaker, I was very surprised by the presence of "Carol" (2015) in theaters over these past few weeks. It's oscar season and here we have an A-List beauty play the dame in a wonderful subtle love story between two women.

Two observations:

1) I'm really surprised that the age disparity between the two actresses/characters wasn't more in the forefront. I guess it really doesn't matter anymore :)

2) A friend of mine made a very good point about how Carol chose being a lesbian over her own child. She chose to be genuine. She chose integrity over being a mother and THAT is why she thinks it got snubbed by the oscars.

I thought the film was good - but it wasn't "Kiss Myg" (2014). It wasn't "Desert Hearts" (1986). It didn't make me want to change the world. In fact, I often questioned Cate Blanchet's version of Carol because...I guess for me the age gap was so very prevalent. I thought Carol was using the younger girl, manipulating her.

Still a good film. Still a step in a very right direction :)




Where have all the men gone?

When I was growing up, I was totally fascinated by the conservative evangelical church. In a world where men seemed to cheat and leave faster than you could say your order at a drive through, these men were heroes. They have everything to say on all topics including dating, Christ, the church, how to live holy in an unholy world. The spoke with authority, confidence and love. They loved their wives and children. Seldom would you see them on stage or on screen without a cut away to their beautiful obedient wives in the front row watching, adoring. Following these men was like looking at a vision of what life could be, can be - what it already is.

But things fall apart. Pastor CJ Mahaney was accused of non-reporting child abuse when someone accused his youth pastor. Pastor Mark Driscoll was accused of cyber bullying his staff and other Christian patrons, being harsh, demeaning and down right evil. The guy didn't even have the integrity to speak under his own name. Both men had to vacate their home towns and move several states south to escape the shame and ridicule of their actions. Worst of all - Joshua Harris - the pastor known for his incredibly contemporary (and yet some how conservative) stance on dating, who lead the mega church in Maryland that CJ Mahaney began, was somehow "troubled" by all of this. He had a new change of heart when he deemed it important to consider "what I want out of life." Now he's a speaker in Canada who goes to grad school.

It's seriously crazy. These men are human but it's seriously crazy to see how wishy washy my generation of men and women are. How we think we can do certain things and get away with it. How easy we find it to just run away.

Not that I'm anything special but it rips me to shreds when I consider moving from one place to another. How do these men think it's so easy? What happened to their confidence? To their grace? To their commitment? Who was CJ trying to protect when he looked the other way?? AND, in what world do we think we live in when we vilanize CJ for doing something that many pastors do and still do to this day?

We need our men back. We need our women to stand up too. We need our adults to stand firm and repent and continue to commit to the very people God put on their hearts.

I'm all about freedom. But sometimes I think we are unaware of the difference between running away and running free. One is to escape and the other is to work more efficiently.

Pastor CJ Mahaney 

Josh Harris 

Pastor Mark Driscoll

The Selfishness of Singleness

Pastor John McArthur says that men and women are designed for families and that our goals in life should be to find a worthy partner to build a family with. We should be raising up children to worship God and living a life of holy principal.  His ultimate claim is that singleness is the root cause of the "ubiquitous immorality" because singleness is selfish.

Singleness is selfish? Would Jack Kerouac say that? Would a generation that built it's reputation on it's freedom and break from the crushing expectations of society say that singleness is something to cure?? No. Selfish? Yeah, absolutely. What is wrong with being selfish??

If I was asking this question to a man, I could easily come up with a tone of answers. But having worked in child care for so long and seeing it being lead by mostly incredibly generous women who lay down their lives for the people around them, I might dare to say that women need to be more selfish and that singleness might not be a bad idea.

I want to be a mother. A wife too but I think perhaps in that order. I want these things that I know are good for me and I want to live a life that will have fruit long after I'm gone. But I'm also in need of freedom. I've read the words of the Beats and walked down their streets and heard their songs and prayers -- of the Christians too.

I just think it's different. Or maybe more complex than that and that we shouldn't stigmatize what difference.

Ubiquitous. What is more ubiquitous but our need for understanding each other?

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Women in their 50s

I work in an office now - where I spend most of most of my time with women in their 50s. It's a strange phenomenon. It's definitely different. I'm at a very early stage in my life and now I spend all day with women who aren't - women who have lived, some of it. Who have tried for things. Who have loved. Who have experienced some of what life has to offer and made decisions and made conclusions. I have conclusions. I've made decisions. But all of my thoughts and feelings don't feel so set in stone as they do with these ladies.

Here are my findings:

1) Women in their 50s are very horny. They talk about sex all the time. Women my age want  connection and something that they can trust. These other gals are okay with a once a week engagement that "gets the pipes clean." They want the big strong man and women in their 20s want the loyal kind man.

2) Women in their 50s are very sensitive about aging. There are things that I'll never think about until I'm in my 50s. My skin, the color of my hair, the fat under my arms. My fat ass will cause me grief as I get older. Better enjoy it now.

3) Women in their 50s have given up -  on a lot. On having children, on a different job, on finding love.  It's terribly sad.

4) Women in their 50s are kinder and more open to sharing their lives with their friends.

5) Women in their 50s are more forgiving.  Probably because they are too proud to say, they've done things we've done. But at least they withhold the judgement.

Catalina Island



I work in an office now. My small desk is cramped between two very important people with bigger desks and bigger roles. I sit in front of the copy machine, always aware my big belly can cause a space issue if I don't pull in all the way. It's a different world, paper clips, computers, rolling chairs. More delicate, more sensitive. You can do so much with just the click of a mouse and the work of your fingers. Not sure if I like it. I prefer the outdoors. The rooftop where I spent the last three years with the freedom of the sky and the air and the company of the hot son on the back of my neck. But it's where I'm at and so I'm trying my best to bloom where I am planted.

One of the promises I made to myself this summer was that I needed to make time to get away - I need  to make play a priority. So this Thanksgiving, with very little money to spare, I packed up my orange back pack, got on the Catalina Express and made the trip onto an island for a few days. It was muddy, rainy, and cold. SO cold. I froze my ass off. My gas can never worked. I ate cold soup for three days and wondered, often, what it would be like to get up from this spot and hike around the whole island. That's how my mind works.  "I hate this shit! I love this shit."

The cold part: a few days before my departure, before the blessed familia experience began, everyone in the office discovered that I was going alone on this camping adventure. Mind you, I did not offer up this information. It doesn't bother me. Having spent so much time at the hostel I don't see it necessarily as volunteered isolation. I see it as embarking on a  new adventure to meet new people. But everyone in the office made me feel like shit for going. Made me feel sad and pathetic and scared. And so when I had to head back early because of the cold, I felt like I had to lie to avoid their tormenting pathetic comments. But no one really cared. There is sometimes too much going on in my head.


 When I went on my canyon trip, last year after my first summer as a Day Camp director, I experienced an awakening of sorts. There is something about being free of your distractions, free from music, books, people who make you forget, that really opens you up about what you're feeling. It made me sit up and weep. I wept in that tent alone in Flagstaff under those soft trees in the dark because I had given myself the space to listen.

This time, I gave myself the same space. And what I discovered I did not want to hear. But I heard it. Finally, after I got back on the Catalina. I remember why I moved down to this sunny county, to this sunny part of the country and why I needed to refocus and stand strong.

 I moved here for film. Nothing else. Everything else needs to matter less and not take up so much space in my lovely 8lb head. I need to trust God. As John McArthur said, "Anxiety is a blatant distrust in the love and power of God." How do I get to the place where I'm not so scared anymore??

I keep trying to figure out why I'm such a work-a-holic. I think I've finally figured out why.

-Women and romance will hurt me. Stick with it long enough, I'll end up feeling the pain of relationships sooner or later -  no matter how perfect she is or how hard I try to be "obedient."
-God will hurt me. Or let me down. Or maybe the wording is I know that if I follow God, that does not keep the pain and frustrations of hoping in Him far from me. I am still vulnerable.
-I am not hurt by work. Work does not hurt me. It gets me money. I can mindlessly focus my attention on things I don't always care about for hours and hours on end and nothing bad happens. That's why I work so much.


  I don't know how to become comfortable with vulnerability. I don't know how to trust God. It's hard - letting go. But there is something about the cross of Christ that offers me hope. For 400 years God was silent. Before that he was very LOUD. He condemned sinful behavior without the least bit of mercy and compassion. He blatantly shunned those who he once had mercy on. Then silence. Bitter, cold silence. Then a child is born. He is born to pay and satisfy what we could never satisfy. I am enough, exactly the way I am because I dance and love and write and hike and work in the love and mercy of God.
 God, help me hold onto that truth.

Love in the Dark

Most people don't know that I'm very  much a closeted evangelical Christian. I think that has mostly to do with the fact that I'm a lesbian, and a lover of women and Jack Kerouac and open hearted and come across as nonjudgmental.

But for years, it was clear. I attended Bible study as a teen. I was a leader in the youth group. My hands were lifted in every song. I lived for Fridays (Oasis youth  group met then) and Sundays and every other day in between the assembly of the saints was a promise. I used to wake up at 3 am to pray for an hour then read the Bible for an hour or two (IN HIGH SCHOOL) with Mathew Henry's commentary open next to John McArthur's commentary next to my own Bible. For my 17th birthday, I was so concerned with persecuted Christians who were dying for their faith, bringing the gospel to the world, I asked the people in my life to donate Bibles instead of giving me presents. I shipped them off to God-knows-where.

Then the PTSD settled in and all of the sudden my mind was my enemy. I couldn't think and I couldn't pray because the pain was so terribly overwhelming that for a good THREE YEARS my mind was useless. It only brought me pain. Physical pain. Real tangible unbearable all consuming never ending pain.

At that time, I came out to myself, about my sexuality, seeing it as a reality and a curse. I didn't come out with pride but with the knowledge that my "lust for women" (it literally says that in my journals) was a serious issue and I thought God was punishing me. I was not faithful like Job but I guess Satan never took over his mind. That's weird wording. What I mean is, Job endured so much, but he was able to keep his head to himself-especially when his body failed him. Mental illness: if you don't have your head, what DO YOU HAVE?? I put my Bibles in the recycle bin when I turned 18. I remember the tears from my brother, how he cried.  You cannot understate how much Jesus meant to me from 11-18.

Anyway, it's been a journey. And a weird one at that. I still feel like I'm either punishing myself for wanting what I can't have or feeling guilty that my savior isn't always at the forefront of my mind. Sometimes I can't decide if I'm morning the loss of my innocence and youth or if I'm morning the loss of such intimate communion with God. I've been trying, really hard, to get back to sitting before his feet each morning and every moment throughout my day I want to be near Him, as close as I was when I was 17.

It's hard. I've experienced things. I feel like Eve wanting the first two chapters of Genesis back but it's really hard. I've read Kerouac. I fell in love with a drug addict. I experienced the glory of San Francisco drunk and high by night. It's hard. I honestly, don't think God looked down upon the boys and girls of the Beat generation with contempt. I don't think God hates weed or good whiskey or love outside of the lines. I don't! I can't bring myself to make God think that. I just don't think He looks at us with such a narrow mind. I think, scratch that, I strongly believe in the glory of God, in His ability to read between the lines of society's conformities and to see the freedom and the need for his creation to feel it and live it.

That's a lot to take in for one blog post. My point??

I went to a conservative church last Sunday. The preacher was the man who's Bible I have been reading out of since I was a teen. It was such an amazing experience to see him in the pulpit, to see how normal he was and how he ran his church. For a minute, I thought, I can just not say anything. I can find a way to not speak about who I am. I can ignore those parts of myself. I do it at work all the time. His preaching is SO GOOD. But then a sadness came over me. More like a loneliness that could not be rocked. I felt lonely from myself. I felt detached and I didn't like it. So I left.

But since that day - since that Sunday sitting in the third row of Grace Community church, I've felt stronger, clearer, more closer to Jesus than I have in YEARS. It was worth the cracks it broke inside my heart, to sit there and listen.

So what do I do?

Do I just close my mouth and stay? Or do I commit to a church that may not give me everything I want? Or need? Below is a picture of the man, the preacher, Pastor John McArthur. A man whose work has meant so much to me over the years. God used his Biblical exposition to expand my soul and draw me closer and closer to the throne of grace in more ways than I could ever imagine. But he says I'm sinning. I'm going to hell.  My homosexuality is wrong. It's more than wrong. It's proof that I am not in fact redeemed by the Savior. I am a "degenerate" in desperate need of conversion. What do I do??

The one verse that has brought me so much comfort these past few months as I struggled with this  tension in my heart is "Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday and forever" Hebrews 13:8. So I hold onto that. That truth. That nightly truth that I might be different  but He is not. I can still draw close. He is still there. He absolutely still loves me and wants to be with me.

Thank you Jesus.