Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical
hermionesviolin

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[Wednesday] "there's no such thing as the real world"

Why did I dream about being in a cult?  Dreaming about Ben delineating catering options for the Unit makes sense, but srsly?  (I also had two running dreams, which hasn't happened in some time.)

***

elliptical, interval program:
1mi @ 11:34min
2mi @ 23:34min
3mi @ 35:38min
3.76mi @ 45min

I hit the cardio room just before 8:00am, so I got to watch Sports Center (ESPN) from the beginning.  They opened with the All-Star Game but, actually didn't say who won until the end of the ten minute rehash of the game, which pleased me.  Though they did say before they began that it went 15 innings (the opening announcer began by saying, "It began on Tuesday.  It's now Friday.") and that for all the talk about The House That Ruth Built, it was not a home-run-full game.
They opened the coverage in the 7th inning, 2-0, RedSox have all been booed -- until J.D. Drew now.
Longest ASG in terms of time (4hrs 50min), and tied for most innings.  Total: 63 players, 23 pitchers.  There was much discussion afterward about the merits of having the ASG game matter so much (winner of the ASG gets home field advantage in the World Series) since it means you do things you wouldn't normally do -- like wearing out players who are important for your team.
4 people threw out the first pitch.

***

I saw itsjustcoffee.com mentioned in a post on friendsfriends and went to check it out.  I love the idea of "nerdy singles" but sent the site runner the following email:
From: me
To: Matt@itsjustcoffee
Time: 2:41pm
Subject: no bisexuals on itsjustcoffee?

Hi, Matt.

I heard about itsjustcoffee from a friend of a friend's livejournal post and went to check it out.  However, if I were to set up a profile I would have to choose whether I'm a W seeking M or a W seeking M, which as a Kinsey 3 is a problem.  Is this a known issue you're planning to address?

Best,
Elizabeth
I got this reply:
From: Matt
To: me
Time: 3:02pm

Hi Elizabeth.

When I first created the site I was just being stupid and didn't think to add the option in.
I believe it is not that big of a functionality tweak on my end. Perhaps a few hours worth of work. I will try to have a bisexual option added in sometime this week.

In the interim, if you want to check out a site the kicks the crap out mine try okcupid.com. It appears to have tons of witty bisexuals on it.

But I do need to fix that. Thank you for pointing it out.
*dance of joy*

+

I was also browsing craigslist personals earlier in the day and sent a restrained response to one:
Subject: no bisexual nerds?

Hey there.

I saw your craigslist post and was like, "Yeah, fangirls!" and then at the end I saw that one of your requirements was that respondents be a lesbian and I was [sadface].  Hardly the most offensive thing I've ever seen on CL, but I was kind of bummed and wondering why you included that requirement.

-Elizabeth
She replied:
Hey Elizabeth.

I only include it because I've dated a few bi girls and the last one cheated on me with guys a few times! It's my own issue, and being bi doesn't really 100% rule someone out..it just makes me nervous, I guess. The other part of the issue is that I know more "trendy" bi girls than actual genuinely bi girls who could be happy with either gender, so I tend to be wary.

Anyway. I didn't mean it to completely put anyone off, and if you want to chat more I'd totally be up for it.

-[first name, redacted]
So of course I replied [responding to the nerd items she'd listed in her post -- not doing my usual full-on intro], and her reply opened: "Oh, man. You sound pretty awesome!"  Win!

***

Rest and Bread ("Memory")

There was a young blonde woman named Jen whom I hadn't seen before wearing this t-shirt ("look good. do good" -karma threads) under cream overalls.  Other new-to-me people: Melissa (of African descent), a woman I didn't introduce myself to, a guy named Ian (seriously, I do not need more people named Ian), and a guy named James (whom I correctly coded as gay).  Also present were Michael, Keith, Jenny, Gary -- and of course Laura Ruth.

In the Welcome, Laura Ruth opened by saying, "Welcome all who came from home, all who came from work, all who came from play."  I liked that.  Plus I've gotten used to CWM's style of a list of welcome ("whether this your first time or your fiftieth time... whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, straight, or questioning... you are welcome in this space").

The Psalm was #25.

"The friendship of God is for those who are in awe of God." (v. 14a)
Consider how many are my foes,
and with what violent hatred they hate me.

[...]

Redeem Israel, O God,
out of all our troubles.

-v. 19, 22
The Sacred Text was Jesus' prediction of Peter's betrayal and then Peter's betrayal itself.

Reflection:
    Laura Ruth talked about how memory can save life (mentioning for example the man who left his child in a car and the child died).
    She said that Sikhs wear a number of things on their person to remind them of God -- for example a silver bangle whose purpose is to remind them to say God's name as many times as possible during the day.
    She talked about a friend who works in an Alzheimer's ward -- every week there is a wedding; they don't remember that these same people were married last week, but they do remember that they're supposed to be happy.  (Yes, part of me finds this dishonest and manipulative.)
    She talked about the eucharist (and I remembered how in Loving Jesus, Powell argues that, as my notes say, "Communion announces Christ's DEATH (not his Resurrection) until he comes" [p. 57] -- though on actually looking back in the book, it's more that Powell is talking about how the accounts in Matthew, Luke, and 1 Corinthians all "seem to call attention to the ways in which Jesus will not be present with his disciples when they gather to eat this meal" [57] and goes on to say that "when we eat this meal [...] we notice his absence and are more aware of his death than we are of his resurrection" [57]).

Blessing and Benediction:
Laura Ruth recited that bit wherein one of the men dying next to Jesus asks Jesus, "Remember me," and Jesus says, "Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise."

They have t-shirts that say "Beloved," which I was tempted by, but I saw the one that Gary got [which was long-sleeved, what up?] and it just says it in small print on the front (with a descending dove beneath it, white on navy, so it is lovely) and the back has this giant logo for the church [edit: currently the profile pic on the church's facebook page].  So yeah, opting out of that.

***

Laura Ruth invited me to join her small group, which was meeting Wednesdays at 7pm (right after Rest and Bread service).  I said sure, of course.  She said we would be doing the third question today (I immediately thought of Passover, but just sort of looked at her blankly).  She said that each week all of the small groups discusses the same question, which I knew from last week, but I didn't actually know what the questions were.  So she took me up to her office and gave me the handout.

I knew the groups were about 12 people each (and that only about half that number actually attended group) but hadn't realized that they had "put every last person at First Church into small groups," as the handout says.  Which makes for 10 groups, apparently.

Laura Ruth had to take care of some stuff, so James and I went ahead to JP Licks without her.  I got a medium peanut butter with hot fudge.  Tasty.  I also paid for hers (and totally used it to get points on my loyalty card).  After was had all finished eating ours, she still hadn't arrived, so we left JP Licks and walked back up to the church.  I held her ice cream and ended up eating some of it 'cause it was dripping all over me, but I pointed out that there was a "diminishing marginal utility" (and I didn't even use scare-quotes when I said it) since I was already full.

Also present were Carolyn, Kim, Daniel-Rosie, and, joining us later: Carolyn's sister Marjorie (all of whom were new to me).

Laura Ruth was on vacation last week, so she was excited to hear reports from last week.  She asked me to read the second question.
Week Two. In 1 Corinthians, the first Christian theologian, Paul assures the congregation at Corinth, and also the congregation at Somerville that we each have spiritual gifts to use on behalf of congregation and community.  If a spiritual gift is defined as something we love to do, and is something we do mostly do well, what is or are your spiritual gifts?  How can you bring it to work on behalf of the community?  What work or mission do you need to undertake so that you have to opportunity to learn how to use or deepen your gift(s)?  How can your community support you in your use of your spiritual gift(s)?
I corrected it as I went -- beginning with literally saying aloud, "Paul -- there should be a comma after that," and Laura Ruth said, "Yes, there should," and I said, "Because it's an appositive."  The rest of the paragraph I just deleted words as I went, not making verbal notes.

She asked who was here last week and what their spiritual gifts were.

James said he was a facilitator of possibility/s.  He said he had come up the idea of framing it as your personal mission statement: "I am the _____ that gives you _____."  ("I am the compass that gives you direction.")  He also said he's not very good at doing it for himself and I commented that that's usually the way these things go.

Laura Ruth asked me what my spiritual gifts are, and I said, " 'facilitating' may not be quite the right word . . . but something about dialogue across the aisle."  She said, "Like Ted Kennedy?" and I said something like, "I don't know enough about his career to know whether I would want to claim that analogy."

Later in discussion I said that I found the definition of "spiritual gift" problematic (though I don't think I actually used that word), said what if for example driving is "something [I] love to do, and is something [I] mostly do well," does that make it a spiritual gift?
I said that possibly I should have warned her before she invited me to her small group that I would be a problem, but that I trusted she knew me well enough to not be offended by my criticisms.  And she said that I knew that she loves my corrections -- which is true.
She said something about getting connected to the spirit through the things we do well -- which was better than my paraphrasing of it.  I said that at Cambridge Welcoming we often use the phrase "gifts and graces," and I that I definitely liked the idea of thinking about what we're good at and what we love to do and using that as a way into figuring out what our spiritual gifts are.  I said, "I support the mission of the question."

Marjorie suggested that I "bring the semantics"

Laura Ruth asked me to read the third question.
Week Three. Jesus often took time away to pray.  He often prayed for himself and for others.  Prayer is one of thousands of ways to practice one's spiritual life, to deepen one's internal life on behalf of oneself and community.  What is your current practice?  If there are a thousand ways to practice a spiritual life, what ways could you imagine might be your daily practice of prayer/ creativity?  What would your practice be, where would you practice, what would you need to get or put into place to practice, how long would it take?
I said that I'm mostly talking to God, hashing things out, like, "I want this, well okay really I know this other thing would be better for me, so I guess I want the peace to get through this."
    I said for a while I was doing petitional prayer [I knew that wasn't quite the word I wanted, but I just went with it; much later I realized the word I wanted was "intercessory"] on my walk to work in the morning, and said I felt it was good for me to think about what's going on with people I care about.  I said it's easy for me to get distracted thinking about what I'm gonna be doing at work or whatever, but that I would like to get back into using that time as intentional prayer time.

Carolyn I think it was said something about turning the stuff we don't like into prayer, like laundry (yes, I did comment in the ensuring conversation that my dad really likes doing laundry, that we joke we're going to put it on his tombstone: "He did the laundry").
    I said I'd read stuff in Anne Lamott or whatever about using waiting times -- stuck in traffic, waiting in line at the grocery, whatever -- as opportunities to pray, to look at it as a gift of time.  (I also thought of her idea about blessing rather than cursing the people in traffic who are pissing us off, and her exercise of taking her dog out for a walk and the first person she sees, imagining that they are Christ -- since arguably that is how the Bible calls us to view our neighbors, "Whatsoever you do for the least of these" and all, but I didn't have a chance to mention either of these.)
    I said that when I'm walking to work at that first intersection before the bridge drivers are so often honking and it reminds me to pray for peace and safety for all travelers.  Someone said something about that being an obvious in the moment need and I sort of nodded but also said that it jars me out of myself and reminds me to be concerned about others.
    Marjorie joked about laying on hands on the cars.

We went back to the last question, which was sort of a mouthful for people to digest -- "What would your practice be, where would you practice, what would you need to get or put into place to practice, how long would it take?" -- and I said I interpreted that as meaning, if we could change our prayer life, how would we improve it, what do we want it to look like.  I said, "I assume that is the thrust of the last question."  Laura Ruth said, "Yes, that is the thrust and the mission of the last question."  Hee.

Carolyn said she feels closer to God with her eyes open when in a large group.
Marjorie said she spends most of her prayer time listening.
Laura Ruth said she gets to pray professionally.

James said that God doesn't need our praise, because God isn't that insecure, but conceded that it might be good for us to praise God.
Laura Ruth said that a lot of people come back to church because they want to say thank you.
I said that I agreed that it was probably good for us to praise God.  I talked about how Mark Allen Powell's book Loving Jesus has a chapter on prayer in which he suggests that our prayers should consist of petitions, gratitude, confession, and adoration -- Please, Thank You, I'm Sorry, You're Great -- and how in the church group in which I was discussing this book we talked about how joys and concerns (i.e., Please and Thank You) as well as a prayer of confession are a part of Sunday service, but we don't have prayers of adoration . . . and how he talks about what the purpose of Sunday service is and quotes someone who says that worship in its purest form is adoration, that that's what that hour on Sunday morning is supposed to be about.

Laura Ruth said that Rumi (a Sufi mystic) said that longing is prayer.

I forget what I said that prompted it, but at one point Laura Ruth suggested that one of my spiritual gifts might be ecumenism -- which she defined as love of church across denomination etc.  I didn't say, "That's part of what I was trying to get at when I said 'dialogue across the aisle' earlier -- that I meant it in lots of contexts . . . political, religious, etc.," though I did say that I refer to myself as "ecumenical" a lot and just sort of mean that I hang out at lots of churches and can't pick just one.
    I said we are called to be Christlike, to be God in the world, in all that we do, and that there's the idea from some theologian whose name escapes me [looking it up now, it's Tillich] of Jesus being transparent to the Ground of his Being.  Laura Ruth asked me to explain that concept since not everyone present was familiar with it, and I kind of flailed because I just have an intuitive understanding of it from CAUMC young adult group, but by the time I was finished she said I had done a good job explaining it.  At one point, someone (possibly even Laura Ruth) said "animism," and I said I wasn't sure that's what I was trying to get at.
    I mentioned that in my Women Mystics class in college, we read lots of different people (Dorothy Day, etc.) who talked about different things as being prayer and that at one point one of my classmates (SNewby?) said that then we really could "pray without ceasing" as Paul admonishes us to do.

When we moved to close in prayer, Laura Ruth asked us what we wanted the community to pray for for us in the coming week.
James: energy
Daniel: hope
Carolyn: windows [a door has been closed for her, and she tried to reopen it and that didn't work, so now she's looking for windows]
Kim: for her boyfriend's dad, and for her relationship with her boyfriend
Marjorie: courage
Laura Ruth: to know her limits
(I asked for prayers for prepping for my move.)

Sunday, July 27 they're having a Blessing of the Animals (yes they're not following the liturgical calendar) in combination with Vegetarian Sunday (followed by a vegetarian potluck).  I was first tempted at the news that last year someone brought a hedgehog to the Blessing of the Animals, but I think it is Vegetarian Sunday that will really entice me to go.

***

Group wrapped up around 9pm, so I was still able to go see Gender Redesigner at the Brattle.  (So you see why I didn't get this post finished last night.  I got home around quarter of midnight and practically fell into bed.)

Heading into Davis T Station I passed Tamerleigh coming out.  She couldn't remember my name, but we hugged, both as hello and goodbye.  Win.

From QueerAgenda:
Wednesday, July 16
============

Gender Redesigner
At Brattle Theater:
40 Brattle Street Harvard Sq. Cambridge
9:30pm all ages $10
http://www.truthserum.org

CineMental is excited to welcome fAe Gibson, subject of Gender Redesigner, to Boston for this screening and discussion.

Gender Redesigner Johnny Bergmann, USA, 2006, Video, 74 min.

Follow fAe over the course of 5 years as she begins to question her gender and decides to surgically modify her body. This intimate fun filled adventure makes you wonder how fAe can handle beginning hormone treatment, having his breasts removed, and drag kinging - all in the middle of rural Western Pennsylvania. While transitioning from female to male, fAe makes a startling discovery about the balance between his masculine and feminine sides. Can she succeed living as a man in the middle of farm country?

Gender Redesigner has screened at: NYC NewFest, San Francisco Frameline Festival, North Carolina Film Fest, Translations: Seattle Transgender Film Festival, and the Best of NewFest @ BAM and other festivals.

fore more information: http://www.myspace.com/genderredesignerfilm and http://www.RainbowAmerica.org
It's interesting, pasting in that description now having seen the film, because while fAe and others in the film talked about the fact that he was transitioning in his middle-of-nowhere hometown, he didn't seem to be very negatively affected by it.  (I wish I'd thought of it to ask about in the Q&A.)

He talked about wanting a dick, wanting facial hair, wanting to see himself in a male body when he looked in the mirror.

His friend Jen took pictures of him throughout and the day before his chest surgery during a photo she asked him to take his shirt off.  He complained, "But my boobs will show."  She quipped, "Well why don't you get chest surgery?"

Some of the footage of the post-op healing process included drainage, which I was not expecting, though it makes sense.  "Now I know what it feels like to touch my nipples from the inside" ('cause he could feel the tubes inside pressing against the nipple).

The film included footage of post-op fAe performing "Sweet Transvestite."  fAe and others talked about how fAe is often much more feminine now post-top surgery than he was when he was actually in a fully female body.  He said he feels freer now without breasts -- when he had breasts he felt trapped, didn't want to seem girly.

Jen (whom fAe ended up moving in with in SF) talked about her "manual for roommates."  (*waves at mjules*)  "If you're having trouble dealing with me ... I like hugs; those help."

In the Q&A, fAe said something about, "people who are more mainstream trans -- if you can even say that"

+

CineMental does a film at the Brattle the third Wednesday of every month, and the next one is Trans Entities, Wed. Aug. 20 at 9:30pm.  The night before I come back from Europe.  I am missing docu-porn!  :(
Tags: church: fcs: summer small groups, church: somerville: ucc: rest and bread, dating, dreams, gym: tv, gymming it up, issues: trans, movies, movies: watched, people: church: ian, people: pastors: laura ruth, planning ahead, small world, spiritual gifts, sports: baseball
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