Welcome to the first Random Wednesday of 2019, a randomly appearing feature of short bits here on The Zen Pagan.
A small group of Heathen sailors on the USS John C. Stennis, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier, are now holding lay services in the ship’s chapel.
Aviation Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Joshua Wood has been appointed Heathen “lay leader” for the carrier and authorized to facilitate sumbels. It’s unclear how many Heathen sailors are joining him, but it’s a good step forward for religious equality in the Navy.
Unsurprisingly, a deity the Stennis Heathens focus on is Njord, a god long associated with seafaring, who “rules the course of the wind, and stills sea and fire” according to the Gylfaginning.
Shintō, a paleopagan / animist religion with ancient roots and high-tech modern manifestations and a long history of co-existence with Buddhism, is of particular interest to our investigations here at The Zen Pagan. (The “ō” represents holding the vowel for an extra syllable: “Shin-toe-oh”. And yes, I’m not consistent about using the macron, but I feel like it today.)
Our neighbor Megan Manson at Pagan Tama recently posted about the Konkōkyō Shintō sect officially recognizing its LGBT group.
Shintō has a complicated relationship with the Japanese government and Japanese nationalism. “Official” Shintō was perverted to serve Japanese imperialism in the nineteenth century and some of those far-right fingerprints remain. But progressive groups like this exist within Shintō and should be more widely known.
Whatever you do regularly, the new year brings a first incidence of it. Mondays are usually my strength training day, so I did some old-school bodyweight calisthenics and light weight training, and was feeling good about it. So I did what we do these days: I rolled up my sleeve, flexed my arm, and took a biceps selfie to post to Instagram.
My army of loyal robots (ok, actually just a script on a server) cross-posted it to Tumblr. I don’t think about my Tumblr account much, I never really “got” the service, but these days it’s important for a writer to be present on all the big services; so I set up an account there that just echoes my posts on other services.
As you may have heard, however, Tumblr has recently starting banning all “adult” content. They are doing this with automated filters that are going hilariously wrong.
As they did in this case:
Tumlbr declared my biceps too sexy for the web. Which would be sort of flattering, except that I know that the reason is that their website is broken.
A communications service that censors communications is ipso facto a broken communications service. Such content censorship is an inexcusable practice in the 21st century.