Thursday, May 26, 2016

WARNING: This is kind of a rant
I wanted to get a new Kindle because I lost mine the last time I went to the USA. Yes, I know that you can read ebooks on your iPad. Something about that irritates me, even though you can highlight in different colors, it's just not a good reading experience for me. So I went down and got a new Kindle. I did not get the regular $80 Kindle. Nobody uses that anymore. I did not get the Papwewhite, which is what everyone uses. At about $130 US, you can't beat it. I also did not get the fancy new $280 Kindle Voyage. It's just not worth it. But, after I put my hands on it, I knew that I had to own the New $360 Kindle Oasis. And I don't regret it. I love it. But, here's the thing. After I got it home and downloaded my bazillion books I discovered that it has adverts on it! Seriously, for that kind of dough you shouldn't get bombarded with adverts. So this morning I contacted them. Three chat sessions and a phone call later somebody told me how to disable the adverts. Whew... that's great, I thought. Then, when I opened my email I discovered that they'd charged me $22.50 for it. I mean, I am not going to make a ruckus about it, but really? I just don't know what to say about such money grubbing. I almost want to give them a little more, it seems to mean so much to them. I just can't believe it. There ought to be a point at which Amazon says, "Hummm... That Linda McMillan, she's a customer. We should try to keep her!" Instead they just keep nickel and diming you. The good news is that the adverts are off my new Kindle. The other good news is that I have a new Kindle. And the other good news is that I'm not going to rant about it anymore.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Last week my pastor, or whatever... I don't even know what she is, I guess she's A pastor... not MY pastor. I don't have a pastor. I don't know what a pastor is for. Anyway, that woman who runs my church said that young families were the future of the church. That's not true. They aren't. That's just something that somebody said. Having young families in the church is no vaccination against decline and boredom. In fact, I am not sure that concentrating on young families results in anything more than a general dumbing-down and neglect of worship and study. Look, I like seeing the little ones in church too. I think it's nice to have them there, even with their child-like antics. They are children, after all.  But this near-worship of the young, nuclear, dominant-paradigm like family is sickening. They require more pastoral care, don't have as much disposable income, and less time to volunteer.  Honestly, what's there to love about them? 

There's an edge of sour grapes in there, I know, because I want people to believe that middle-aged lesbians are the future of the church, or I at least want them to want us there. But we are not in anybody's desired demographic. No pastor has ever gotten up on a Sunday morning and prayed, "Oh, dear Lard Gesus, please send us some middle-aged lesbians." That has never happened. Yet, we typically have more disposable income, more time to volunteer, and we don't require all the servicing of a young family. What's not to love about the middle-aged lesbian? We're great. 

You know who else is great? Old people. Look around at your congregation tomorrow and tell me how many heads are grey or bald and how many are more youthful. You'll probably see more grey heads than youthful ones. And that does not mean that the church is dying. It just means that the people there are old. And, yes, they will die. That's a given for pretty much all of us. But people are getting old all the time, there is an almost inexhaustible supply of old people because there are more and more all the time. Just because the people in a church are older doesn't mean it has one foot in the grave. Old people are like lesbians, they are easier to care for, have more money, and more time. Plus, there's the added advantage of them being closer to dying so they might be a little more serious about, you know, God. I love 'em! I'd go to a church full of old people.

You know who else is SUPER at doing church? Drag Queens. We are there to think about the transforming love of God, to imagine how our lives could be fabulous, to gaze upon the divine. What could be more helpful than to see a gorgeous drag queen come down the aisle? I'm not talking about trannies, I'm talking about real queens! If I were making up the rules for church we wouldn't have a procession without them! 

And we should get some trannies too because they want to be included. And they are so excited about their new sex that their enthusiasm spills out onto everything they do. So, I'd get some trannies too. But, I'd encourage them not to do too much to their bodies. It's not healthy. But just wear the kinds of clothes you want and act like you want... nobody cares. Just don't hurt yourselves. But, come in and be one of us and have a donut. I'd give everybody a whole donut. We only get half a donut in my church. 

Also, I love seeing homeless people at church. In my parish I only see them outside the gate, and I enjoy visiting with them. They are the kinds of people Jesus would have been talking too. Some of them don't have fingers or a leg. One is blind. They're all poor. But they are always happy to see me. I give them money, that's true enough, but I like to think they actually like me too. We always have a little laugh together. The homeless guys call me by name. Some of them. I bet not one person in my parish church, a church I've been attending pretty regularly for about a year, knows my name. Really, I am totally invisible. One day after church somebody saw me giving them some money and told me that I'd given them too much, and the other one said that I shouldn't encourage them. Really? Couldn't they see that it was ME who was getting encouraged? Makes you wonder who's the blind one.

Of course, the downside of single people is that they may actually have time to study the lectionary readings, to read church history, and to sort of be "with-it" in terms of what's going on. They might not be sufficiently stupid and therefore harder to control. So, I do see the wisdom of excluding single people. God knows the very last thing we want in church is people who know what's going on. 

Anyway, that's my rant about the young families. I kind of hate them. I mean, I'll try not to. But, really... 

Monday, May 9, 2016

It's a quiet and rainy night on the lane. Even the 24/7 Mah Jongg game was quieter than usual.

I ran into Timothy, Mr. Teng's son, outside the gate. There has been a big crack-down by the traffic cops lately. Mr. Teng has gotten a ticket, I've gotten two, and Timothy has gotten three. And yesterday I got pulled over for running a red light, which I did not run! I did not go through the light. But, the thing is that I was not supposed to be on that road. So, they just charged me with the wrong thing and I think that's why I didn't get another ticket. Whatever. The police were very mean about it though. Anyway, Timothy and his friend said that in three months or so things should be back to normal. I hope they are right. I do not like those men yelling at me the way they did yesterday. That is very uncomfortable. And, of course, all I can do is say, "Yes, sir. I'm sorry, sir." It's like being four again!

I am on the downhill side of a bad spring cold. I was pretty well knocked out this weekend, though. Two days in the bed. Sleeping. You know I am adamant about getting my beauty rest, but two days! Gads. I am glad to be up and going again, even if a little unsteadily. I will be back to full strength soon, though. No worries about that.

I did manage to get my essay out for The Cafe and, I have to say, I actually like this one. I have been wanting to write some midrash for a long time and this just kind of came to me. Actually, I'd written something else which was OK. I'd put in some obligatory stuff that I felt was "inspirational." You know how people like reading that Jesus holds them close and feels warm and gooey... unicorns... babbling brooks... shit like that. Anyway, I had some of that in there and I felt OK with it. But then I got this idea to let the woman with a spirit speak for herself. At first it was kind of a rant about Paul casting out her spirit of divination. Without that she would have been just another slave. Nothing special. Who knows what might have happened to her! So I had to massage the spirit a little and bring in a spinster aunt, and what started out as a letter to Paul became a full-on epistle. I just love this woman. I hope she likes what did with her story. There might be others in that series. We'll see.

I enjoyed my thing on Rogation Sunday too. Mainly because every single thing I wrote is something that I just recently learned. That's why there were so many Notes Of Possible Interest. I felt happy doing that one.

But the two before that were my most important essays. I know, I know... hardly anyone clicked on LIKE. And they aren't likeable essays. The message is hard. The message is that it is those things which are closest to us, the ones that we may have the strongest feelings about, and which may have been formative for us which are holding us back! Two essays. Same message. What I wanted to say is, "If your church lacks vision, take away the sacraments and see what happens." Slaughter the sacred -- truly sacred -- cow and see if it doesn't open your eyes.  Of course I am not suggesting we actually do that. Or, am I! That's all I'm going to say.

The preaching at my little English language church continues to be in the crapper. The last sermon I heard was so bad I wondered if the guy had had a stroke or something. It was just incomprehensible. I kind of felt sorry for him. But there is a woman who preached once and I learned some things from that about Celtic spirituality. So, that was nice. To learn something. And another thing I like is we've been having creeds from other churches. Some are not very trinitarian. But, you know what? Not every creed has to address a Christological crises. It is sort of relaxing to just read a creed that is not in any way controversial. Of course, I read it carefully before we actually read it in case someone has slipped in a filioque! Gotta keep alert for that! LOL. People are so funny. Me included. -- At the Eucharist no one has called me "dear" in awhile, so I'm happy about that.  -- Sometimes I wonder if I'm not just a grumpy old church lady. But I kind of think that I am not.

Obviously, I'm feeling chatty tonight. But it's time for bed... Gotta get that beauty rest.