Why I Dance Out the Church Door

Every time I think that I never have to step foot in a church again, except as a favor to my poor father, it makes me smile. I feel such great relief, such relief I can’t even begin to express. Maybe it’s not that interesting to you why a minister’s daughter would leave the church and be so happy about it. But it’s something I really would like you to understand about me.

And I worry that you might think that I spend Sunday mornings as far away from the church because my dad was particularly assholish.

So, as much as reading the posts I’m about to share with you made me feel shaky and weepy and grossed-out, I’m actually glad to be able to share them with you. So that you can see for yourself, better than I could ever express.

Here’s the background you need. Marie Claire interviewed a female Methodist minister about her sex life. I haven’t read the story yet, but if she speaks as frankly and honestly as the quotes make it sound, I’ll be searching out the article. Here’s a blog post that deals compassionately with the pseudo-controversy. I call it a pseudo-controversy because it’s really only a controversy not because of anything the minister did wrong, but because of the terrible and cruel judgmental busybody nature of church-folks, especially other pastors.

Over at Beauty Tips for Ministers, the blogger and ensuing commenters stress, continually, the youth of the pastor and decide that her speaking frankly and honestly about her own experiences is or should be so shameful–and people I am not even kidding, look for yourselves–that they remove her name from the post. They strip her of her identity, because they have sat in judgment of her and decided that she is either foolish or perhaps drunk or definitely for sure not able to make her own decisions about her life, but needs to be protected from herself, after being sufficiently badmouth, of course, by people who would never, ever be so dumb.

A grown woman, stripped of her name, in order to “protect” her. They take away her identity in order to “protect” her. It literally makes me want to throw up. They convince themselves in the comments that this is the compassionate thing to do, because she couldn’t possibly know what she’s doing.

Look how many commenters say she should have a mentor or media training. As if the problem is that she went out without a chaperon.

But this, to me, is the richest part. I mean, this is exactly the stuff I saw repeatedly and had hoped that the Church would have grown out of. This poor pastor can’t even fuck up, if that is indeed what she’s doing, without being turned into an object lesson for other young women:

This is not how young women empower themselves. Do you hear me, young ‘uns? Learn this fast and learn it well: over-sharing to this extent is not the way to achieve our shared goal of humanizing the clergy. What you are doing by providing salacious details on your sex life to the media is not empowering yourself or making clergy or Christian life more hip and relevant. More on this later.

Seriously, in the Church, every time you think “Well, for better or for worse, at least now they have to see me as a person,” they take that from you and turn you instead into a lesson for others.

The shaming continues over at Reverend Chris Roberts’ blog, where he is “not comfortable with my colleague writing about her masturbation or speaking about her orgasms.” I laughed out loud about that, that Roberts feels that some person he doesn’t even know three states away from him is open for criticism because she made him uncomfortable. I mean, shoot, at least he’s honest, right? He admits, “Now I don’t want to seem a prude. I’m not afraid to talk about sex. Yet I cannot deny my traditional and orthodox views on matters around the family and marriage and sex.”

But he doesn’t seem to understand that this isn’t about him. He spends one paragraph expressing some little bit of compassion for her and three paragraphs talking about how it affects him–“I am not comfortable,” “I would be as opposed,” “I disagree,” “The article is embarrassing for me,” “I am filled with disappointment,” etc. And he has the gall to call Miller “self-absorbed,” “self-serving,” and “narcissistic.”

Whoo boy.

Well, for better or worse, there’s nothing new here. They are who they’ve always been and I am who I am. And every once in a while it’s good to be reminded of how it goes.

Reverend Miller is obviously going to be getting a lot of advice. I’d advise her to consider how nice it is to be free of folks who would strip you of your name, say you need counseling, and publicly shame you. It takes a long time to get over it, but leaving can be a great relief.

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Is It Too Early to Start Drinking?

This day is just a quicksand of stupidity. Do they even have quicksand any more? When I was growing up, it seems like people, real and fictional, were constantly falling into quicksand and then I remember there was a news story about how you should just float on your back until help got there and that was the end of quicksand as a terrible threat. I guess. That’s how I remember it.

I wrote this post at Pith. The commenters are wearing on my soul.

Amanda Marcotte has this post about how it feels like everyone’s just standing around watching things go down the shitter. That’s pretty much how I feel.

I have another post for Pith coming up about how pointless Campfield’s efforts to deny birth certificates to babies of illegal immigrants is because it violates federal law. But I don’t want you to miss out on the juiciest part of the legislation, where you can see him for all his “but we must make men the bosses” glory–

SECTION 6. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 68-3-305(a)(3), is amended by deleting the subdivision in its entirety and by substituting instead the following language: (3) If a surname is not chosen by the parents within the ten-day period described in § 68-3-301, the father’s surname shall be entered on the certificate as the surname of the child. Within the ten-day period, the father may file and submit a sworn statement to the hospital that states that the parents do not agree on a surname, in which case the father’s surname shall be entered on the certificate as the surname of the child. SECTION 7. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 68-3-305(a)(4), is amended by deleting the language “birth certificate” in its entirety and by substituting instead the word “certificate”. SECTION 8. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 68-3-305(a)(5), is amended by deleting the subdivision in its entirety and by substituting instead the following language: (5) If, within the first year after the child’s date of birth, the parents cannot mutually agree on a surname, either parent can submit a signed, sworn statement that acknowledges the disagreement, states the father was not available within the ten-day period described in § 68-3-301 to participate in the choice of his child’s surname, and requesting that the name be changed to the father’s surname, in which case the father’s surname shall be entered on the amended certificate as the surname of the child.

Yes, he wants to legally establish that, if parents can’t agree on what last name goes on a birth certificate, the man always wins.

I think this is the true intention of the bill, since Campfield may be a lot of things, but he’s not stupid. He wants the fuss about the part of the law that can’t ever get passed, but will win him points, and he wants people to ignore the part of the law that would, for instance, mean your rapist can name your baby.

Oh, Damn It. There’s More Snow.

Here are the series of questions I ask myself. Why aren’t other people trying to go to work? Is it because schools are out or because conditions are too bad? Is there ice? Is it worth it to even try?

I’m going to try to go to work. The snowplow has been by twice, it’s not snowing hard, and its fairly warm, so it shouldn’t be too icy.

Plus, I am so damn tired of being stuck in this house. Not that being stuck at the office is much better, but at least it’s a change of scenery.

Maybe for fun we could take bets on how long it will take for Casada and Ketron’s free-speech bills to wind up in court. I mean, I don’t have very high standards of expectations for our state legislators, but the whole “money=speech” thing? That was trumpeted by people on the right. Not that long ago.

So, I’d love to know how Casada and Ketron think this bill and this one pass First Amendment muster. They can’t curtail free speech and curtailing who can give what how? Well, I’ll be interested to see how it goes.

I don’t know. This seems so obviously designed to fail to pass Constitutional muster that I can’t believe they’re actually serious bills. I think they’re more designed to be “fuck you”s to labor and state employees.

And, you know, I’m really starting to be suspicious of the “fuck you” legislation. What are we supposed to be distracted from while we’re distracted by this nonsense?