7 Admitted Takes

7 Admitted Takes July 10, 2020

Blogging is getting to be difficult because the cat, Gloria, expects to have string dangled for her at just the moment when I begin to think about turning to my keyboard with that morning nod of greeting, but let’s see what we can do because it is Friday after all.

One

Eglantine graduated from hand therapy yesterday.

I had heard it might be a bit rough to say goodbye—and it was. So now I am constrained by the promise of ice-cream for everyone as a way of marking this important moment. She has worked hard and endured a goodly amount of pain these past nine months, and I am surprised by her resilience and good cheer. I think so many of us (me included) with life being so easy as it is, have become too afraid of suffering and pain and some of the good that it potentially does in growing a person up, in making them stronger and more interesting. Not too much suffering, mind you, like two more years of covid or anything like that, but just a touch.

Two

I enjoyed this video very much—Don Lemon making some stuff up about Jesus. Seriously, watch the whole thing.

The reason I like it, I think, is that most of us—because it is just a very human thing to do—are inclined to reject the opinion we have of something without finding out if it is really the thing itself. I’ve caught myself doing this a lot lately. I’ll come across an article and then, instead of actually opening the article and reading it, I will first scroll through and read all the comments (which usually takes longer than reading the article itself) and then conclude that there’s no point reading the article. I probably did this five times before I even noticed and felt terrible and made a point of not doing it anymore, which meant basically getting off the internet, because who wants to read anything before getting to talk about it. The comments are almost always 100% more entertaining than the article itself. Also, “Admittedly” is going to be my new catchphrase for when I’m about to say anything funny.

Three

Watching that Don Lemon thing also reminded me of much of the Bible—particularly the Gospel of John and the horror of Job. I’ve been trying to read Job for what feels like an eternity and the more verses I endure, the more I am reminded of every single interaction Jesus has with the Pharisees in John. The non-sequiturs, the repetition of Jesus out of frustration because no one is listening to him, the clash between the spiritual reality behind everything that Jesus is doing and what everyone expects based on what we all “know” to be true—all of it is strangely hidden in Job’s endless lines of poetry. It’s sort of unnerving.

Four

To careen off of that and onto something appalling—this is both ridiculous and a little obscene. Don’t click unless you feel like a shock (in which case don’t either) but here is just one laughable quote from the piece:

The office tower, she wrote, is one more addition “to the procession of phallic monuments in history – including poles, obelisks, spires, columns and watchtowers”, where architects un-ironically use the language of “base, shaft and tip” while drawing upward-thrusting buildings ejaculating light into the night sky. If the sexism of the city began and ended with architectural symbolism, I would’ve happily written a grad school essay about this then turned my attention to more pressing matters. But society’s historical and ongoing ideas about the proper gender roles for men and women (organised along a narrow binary) are built right into our cities – and they still matter. They matter to me as a mother. They matter to me as a busy professor who often finds herself in strange cities, wondering if it’s OK to pop into the neighbourhood pub alone. Ask any woman who’s tried to bring a pram on to a bus, breastfeed in a park, or go for a jog at night. She intuitively understands the message the city sends her: this place is not for you.

I was recently digging around my desk looking for something I knew must be there and came across some scraps of paper upon which I had scribbled some very pithy but very very bitter thoughts and feelings I’d had about what has come to be known as progressive Christianity and what it does both to men and women. The thoughts were so bitter—and personal—that I don’t think I can ever make them public, though I think they would make for a lots more interesting memoir than that of Glennon Doyle. Nevertheless, they articulated the deep and growing frustration I think many of us feel for the kind of insanity produced in the kind of writing and thinking displayed in that wretched piece.

Five

Because, admittedly, there is a lot of stuff that’s wrong with everything. There is deep unfairness rooted down inside both the human heart and the institutions that humans build, but the linguistic paths down which so many are rushing as fast as their intellectual feet can carry them mean that they can say one thing (or many things) but then do a lot of other things that contradict that thing that they said. They can say, “I’m feminist” or whatever, but then act in ways pretty hateful to actual, ordinary women. Same with race, actually. “Admittedly,” none of them are “perfect” though they assume a level of thought perfection that makes it impossible to beat past the concrete wall of all the hubris.

Six

Someone left this comment on my blog yesterday:

Lots of broken people fling themselves on the mercy of God and repent, everything. And then—nothing. Nothing happens. Granted, many do experience salvation and the cleansing of their sins, but studies have shown that such relief is only experienced by a minority of supplicants. The failures are tragic, as many observers conclude that “they never were real Christians to begin with.” The failures often conclude that God does not accept them. Given the central promise of Christianity, that God saves everyone who cries out for him in faith, why are their so many failures? And why do people sell that promise knowing that it ends badly for so many?

I guess my question, in answer to such a comment, would be, Does It Matter If Anything Is True? What is an “experience of salvation?” Back in the day, many people investigated the truth claims of religious faith and then considered the contents of their own lives and then bent to a confession that they knew both with their heads and with their hearts was True. But now, it seems, every religion must examine itself to find out if anything will “happen.” I’m not saying this commenter isn’t interested in the question of truth, but so few are (coughDonLemoncough). Why are there so many failures? That question is answered abundantly in Job and John and every other book of the Bible, but reading it is just too too hard.

Seven

Well, I must go and do some things. Some things that involve me hopefully not overheating and also making the children do those things that they ought to do, and not do those things which they ought not to do. Go check out more takes!

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