Identity Without Limits

I was rewatching Halle Berry’s Catwoman tonite, and it got me thinking. I know that Wonder Woman is supposed to be this great re-visioning of what it means to be a strong, independent woman. I know many people looked at Catwoman as a complete and utter failure because of any number of excuses.

But what struck me is that what the movie does is reveals that women can only be free when they choose to define themselves, when they choose their identity and are true to it. It’s not about being “good” or being “bad,” but being who they are at their core.

For some women, being like Sharon Stone (Laurel Hadere) or Alex Borstein (Patience’s friend Sally) is who they want to be. They want to fit in with the world and build power and freedom within the limitations of what our society thinks is appropriate behavior for a woman.

They think if they can somehow attain that power (through their relative “attractiveness” or how closely to the supposed feminine ideal they can be) then they will be accorded the freedom to be themselves. The problem is, by the time that they attain that height, they have become something completely at odds with who they really are. Sadly, if they choose to try to reflect that inner truth, all of that so-called “power” or “freedom” disappears like a burst soap bubble.

The “living marble” that Laurel has become is a wonderful metaphor for this false self. We choose to try to conform as a way to keep from being hurt. We become who our family wants, who our husband or partner wants, who their children or friend group wants us to be — or who WE think they want us to be.

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Why Your “Faith-Based Appeal to Reason” Rings False

NOTE: Remember — while I am a Wiccan now — I am also an evangelical pastor’s daughter, attended religious schools from 5th grade until my sophomore year of college and continue to have Biblical discussions with my entire family, including the nephew who is following in his grandpa’s footsteps. That wealth of  Christian doctrine and Biblical understanding doesn’t just disappear simply because I converted to a different religion.

I’m seeing and hearing quite a lot of people who are on the conservative side of the spectrum trying to talk those who are on the liberal side into “giving President Trump a chance.” Heck, even President Obama is encouraged the country to do so.

And many of them take the stance that since he is President that he was anointed by God to that position.  Looking at it from a Biblical standpoint, that stance is supported by the Bible. It is particularly noted that many of them also use Mark 12:17 (“Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”)

But, that is also where the problem with this stance comes into play.  They have chosen to look only at Mark and not some of the other chapters and verses that discuss this in more detail. Let’s look at a couple of places taken from the Bible that speaks to this specifically:

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Too Much Responsibility 

There is always that little bit of institutional sexism that pops up when you are dealing with more conservative family members. It doesn’t matter what kind of conservatism it is (albeit seems to happen more often when it is religious or political conservatism) the very conservatism itself is predicated on believing that half of the human race (i.e. women) must be somehow “controlled” by a male of her family.

Even my father, although he is politically a centrist with liberal leanings and who is also religiously conservative, has tendencies in this direction. When I first ended up moving in with my sister, there was an abortive attempt to get me to allow him to be “in charge of me” as he used to be before I got married.

It’s not about controlling my every move or decision.  The idea is more about how he feels he must lead the family. It’s more about feeling that he always has to be right (even when he admits he was wrong).  That I should not be an independent thinker (even though it was 50%  of the reason that I was raised to think independently), but rather take his advice and preferences over my own principles and experience.

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Spiritual Responsibilities

via North Carolina church threatens to expel lesbian member if she doesn’t divorce her wife

Also, a direct link to a copy of the letter that Ms. Toney received (also quoted in the article above).

First off, let me set something straight here (no, that’s NOT an intentional pun).  The so-called “action” being referred to here is excommunication. The church is NOT threatening her life or choices, ONLY the part in which the church and her personal life intersect.

I can see validity on both sides of this situation.  This is EXACTLY the kind of situation that consider to be part of my calling to the Pagan ministry.

Ms. Toney has an extremely valid point.  She has not been in fellowship(link defines fellowship in a Biblical context) with this church for 15 years.  In fact, the church had a responsibility to contact her well before finding out she had married her wife.  Others in the church, besides her family, were well aware that she was gay because she came out to her family and select church friends a long time ago.  Not only that, but she does not say if her mother was excommunicated for divorcing her husband (which, from my rather conservative upbringing would have actually happened, and did to a number of my friends – the only acceptable reasons for a woman to divorce her husband in the church I grew up in were 1) adultery; 2) abuse; or 3) the husband was not Christian).

She should have been contacted at least 13 years ago, simply for no longer attending church.  It’s the responsibility of the church to contact members who have not attended, or at least to find out the reasons for the lack of attendance (such as severe illness, which would REQUIRE the minister and/or the deacon(s) to visit the ill person, to give spiritual support to them).  This church, and it’s elders, ignored that responsibility on their side until they found out about her “gay marriage” (personally, I look forward to the day it is simply called “marriage”).

So, that’s the part as I understand it from HER side.

But, she had a responsibility to her church in regards to her membership as well.  Let me give you an example from my own life.

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Sounds that Soothe

Being that it’s Sunday, writing about this is fairly appropriate especially since the rest of my family are devout Christians.  Now, this song was originally written as a Rastafarian anthem, adapting the lyrics from Psalm 137:1-4 and Psalm 19:14 (amusingly enough, my sister and I were discussing this post, and I told her that the words were from Psalms.  She insisted they were from Jeremiah and perhaps one of the Pauline epistles.  Searching the Bible, I was able to essentially say ‘neener, neener’ to her about it).  I originally told her it was a disco version, but after re-hearing it, and researching it, it has a far more reggae sound than a disco one.

Just because I’m Pagan doesn’t mean I have lost any of the knowledge I learned from the first 20 years of my life.  Sadly, outside of my family, somehow SOME Christians expect me to have completely forgotten my entire education in a Christian setting from fifth grade on to the sophomore year of college.  But you also have to understand that my family – as usual – are weird.  We’re one of the families that bought the “Bible Trivia” game (just like Trivial Pursuit, but questions based on the Bible – challenging your knowledge of it).  My parents had a magazine subscription to Biblical Archaeology Review (I have no idea if they still receive it).  I still study the Bible, because many of the people I minister to as a Wiccan priestess are people struggling to find their spiritual place – and often I need to prove to them that they are Christians, and cannot blame the religion for the actions of individuals.  I still have discussions of Christian theology with my family.

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Categories: Christianity, General Contemplation, Paganism, Religious Ruminations, Wicca | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Persecution Delusion As A Lifestyle


via Please Stop Blaming Your Obnoxious Behavior On Jesus

I have never come across Benjamin L. Corey before. I am impressed with this article by him, because while I am not a Christian, I believe part of my mission as a Pagan priestess is to ensure that people coming to Paganism are doing so because of a spiritual call rather than to some specious desire, such as shocking their social circle or enraging their parents.

This means I do my best to keep up with the changes inside Christianity, regardless of denomination.  This is fairly easy, given that my father is a Christian minister and my entire family (other than myself) are Christians who strive to live a truly Christ-centered life.

I would strongly encourage you to read his back story (i.e. personal history) to understand why he thinks the way he does, especially in regards to Jesus, God and fundamentalism. You should also read his core beliefs (taken from the Anabaptist Network).

But, back to the article under discussion.

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Romance and Love

via This Guy’s Opinion Of Why Men Don’t Like Romance Is Eye-Opening

This article still seems to look at romantic love as a transaction.  And while, yes, it is written from a heterosexual viewpoint, there is a lot about love and romance that has to be more than just a binary or polar set of options with one person on one side and the other on the other end of the spectrum.

Long-term relationships require work on BOTH sides of the relationship. There should be no total passivity on either side, nor total dominance (outside of a clearly defined and contracted BDSM relationship). If one person in the relationship is being carried by the other 100% of the time, then frankly the one doing the carrying needs to leave or risk total emotional annihilation.

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Skepticism and Faith

“Here’s the thing,” I said, long overdue for a rant. “People are always saying that to me – how can I possibly be a skeptic given what I am? Given how much I know about what’s really out there, how can I turn my nose up at any half-baked belief that crosses my desk? Really, it’s easy, because so many of them are half-baked. They’re formulated by people who don’t know what they’re talking about, or by people trying to con other people and make a few bucks. The fact that some of this is real makes it even more important to be on our guard, to be that much more skeptical, so we can separate truth and fiction. Blind faith is still blind, and I try not to be.”

Kitty Raises Hell

Carrie Vaughn

I was reading this book the other day, and this quote by the protagonist just kind of struck me.

You see, as a witch and a Pagan, I hear some rather wacked-out theories on how the world works.  And each and every one of them wants me to validate their spiritual worldview.

First off, not my job. people.  If you want to believe the moon is made of green cheese, you go right on ahead and believe that.  But that doesn’t mean I’m going to take that belief seriously.

Secondly, why, yes, I have had “weird” experiences some with ghosts, some with other entities.  But that DOES NOT mean that every old house is haunted, nor that you (or your family) are cursed by a person or an entity because you keep making all the wrong choices.

Do I believe in some things? Yes, I do. But only after they have been verified to not be something else, something more mundane.  I don’t take any future prognostication as true, not without stringent verification.  Even the more close-to-home things like with empathy (the ESP version) I will only rely on it if the emotion is verified by the person feeling it.

But people don’t want to hear that.

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Request for those with “thoughts and prayers”

I posted this on my Facebook, but I think it needs posting in a more public space too.

Normally, I would have more to say. But, I think this one can speak for itself:

For each and every one of those hypocrites tweeting or Facebooking about praying for the victims of the shootings this year…..

I ask ONE thing of you. Please, in whichever translation of the Bible that you wish……READ Matthew, Chapter 6. The WHOLE thing.

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Christian Views about Body “Ownership”

via This Pastor Just Said a Woman Doesn’t Have Right to Her Body — “It All Belongs to God”

The headline is, let’s face it, click bait.

But, the concept behind it, that the “human body belongs to God” (yes, all humans – not just women, but men as well), that’s sound Christian doctrine.  By the basics of Christian doctrine, God – through Jesus Christ – BOUGHT every human body through His death and resurrection.  Therefore, for the typical Christian, if you truly believe that Christ is your Savior, you must acknowledge that your body is “a temple unto the Lord.”

And this is all well and good, unless you attempt to use that doctrine to force NON-Christians to believe and act as if they are Christians.

I’m not going to judge any Christian who happens to be pro-choice.  I believe that that is an issue to be dealt with between that person and their God.  But, from a doctrinal standpoint, they are sinning.  And as for anyone else of any other faith, their stance on the abortion issue is ALSO between them and their form of the Divine.

But how many of those pro-life protesters stop and ask if someone is a Christian before they harangue that person for potentially choosing an abortion (because not all women going into a clinic that does abortion go there for an abortion.  Some are actually going there for prenatal care)?

But, wait……there’s more!!

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