Tuesday, June 23, 2015

42178:: Random Thoughts About "Race"

"Ask a geneticist to define race and they will probably stare at you in confusion. Race is a cultural construct that evolved in our country as a way to justify and sustain slavery. It is not much inherited as imposed.
A recent genetic study demonstrated an interesting fact about racial identity in the US. Across the southern states, between one in seven (South Carolina) and one in ten (Georgia) of each state’s white populations carry enough black ancestry to have qualified as black under those states’ Jim Crow laws."
-Hip Hop Republican

Recently, someone I have known for most of my life, someone whose opinion I respect on most other topics, offhandedly made the remark in reference to a news report of a black husband who had killed his white wife and their children, "that's what happens when you marry outside your race."

I was stunned. And silent. While I realize that the gentleman to whom I was speaking is a product of his environment, it still surprised me to hear him speak such an ignorant sentiment aloud.

For the past three federal censuses, I have listed myself as "Other: Human" when the race question comes up. I do this for no other reason than this: I truly believe if we are every going to get rid of these artificial ideas of race, we need to see other humans as God see us: We.Are.The.Same.Race. We are not horses, we are not chickens, we are not Martians, we are humans. Why else would Revelations 7:9 describe the people of Earth as: "every nation...all tribes and peoples and languages..."? 

Is this splitting hairs to differentiate between the term "race" and the terms "tribes...peoples...languages"? I don't think so. Tribes (or clans, as some call them) are groups of people related by heritage: Scottish and Irish call themselves 'clans', Indigenous groups often identify as 'tribes', languages is an easy concept to wrap your brain around, and different people sharing the same genetic ancestry can easily speak dozens of different languages (take the Jewish people as an example.) Other Bible translations say "tribes, tongues, and nations", again - "nations" is an easy term to understand. But, throughout history we can see people in one locale losing their national identity as conquerors move through and upset the reigning tribe.

An amazing time-lapse video of Europe from 1100 to today can be quite an eye-opener to someone who boasts of German, Italian, or Polish ancestry. Spend a little time living in almost any country on the continent of Africa and you will soon be made aware that not all "Africans" are treated equal. There is just as much "racism" between blacks and blacks as there are between any other tribe competing for land, resources and power on any scrap of ground on this planet.

My point being, we need to see past this "artificial construct" that we call "race" and see our interpersonal relationship problems for what they really are: fear, lust and greed could easily top any list. 

Until we see ourselves and each other in the way that we were created, we are doomed to this way of destructive thinking. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

42099:: In which I mull over telling the truth

Not so many years ago, I would have been spending this day like many others: wedging myself into an already over-crowded church, wearing a new outfit and shoes that turned out to be a bad choice, wondering who all these "new" people are in church today, to be followed by a rousing hunt in the garden with dyed eggs and too much candy, followed by photos of children in their frilly dresses and over-flowing baskets of booty.

Instead, I am sitting in my robe with my cup of tea at the kitchen table listening to the dishwasher work its magic on yesterday's dishes, watching the cat freak out and run inside at the bursts of wind and blowing leaves, and laying out my paperwork to get the taxes finished.

So what happened to me to turn me into an anti-Easter, church-ditching Scrooge? I guess you could say, "Truth."

Looking back, I think my search began long before I became aware of it. I recall a discussion with my then brand new sister-in-law about my discomfort with lying to children about things like Santa Claus and the Easter bunny. My reasoning was, how can we expect children to believe us when we tell them that God and Jesus are not made up stories when we mix the truth of "important holidays" such as Christmas and Easter with Santa and bunnies and eggs. Her reply was, "Just wait until you have kids of your own." Meaning, I suppose, that the pressure to conform to what other families and churches and children are doing during these seasons is enough to make you lay down your questions and convictions. And she was right.

I did not have the strength to be "that mother" who spoiled the fun for her children by denying them the innocent fun of wearing K-Mart costumes while dragging pillowcases around the neighborhood to stock up on candy that I did not want them to eat, followed by sitting on a stranger's lap in the mall to get a piece of candy after drilling them about never taking candy from strangers, followed by pasting heart-shaped doilies and stickers onto cards made of red construction paper to give to others in exchange for cupcakes with so much red dye that it came out looking like they'd eaten beets the day before, followed by wearing green clothing to placate imaginary arm-pinching leprechauns and eating cupcakes with so much green dye that it came out looking like they'd eaten... well, green dye the day before. And on the heels of all this mindless, sugar-filled frivolity was the capper: dying eggs no one will eat, filling plastic eggs with candy no one will eat, and arguing about "who ate the ears off my chocolate bunny" until Mom or Dad takes them all away and puts them in the freezer - while all the while pretending that these activities are harmless because we have turned them into opportunities to teach our children about "Jesus."

Until I wondered why my children walked away from church and its hypocrisy.

How do we get ourselves into that place where we sacrifice truth and our convictions for fitting into whatever is currently perceived as "the norm"? I have even heard it preached from pulpits that "even though this holiday started out to mean that, it now means this." I suppose the idea is that we can redeem practices that originated as worship of false deities by slapping a Jesus sticker on them. That's what it meant to them, but this is what it means to us now, so now it's O.K.

Then I read this: Deuteronomy 12:29-32 - When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.

It saddens me that I did not have the confidence to live out the truth I believe in and lost many opportunities to impart that truth to my children. It does not escape my notice that we might all be in a different place spiritually had I not knuckled-under to the pressure of being normal and accepted by people whose opinions do not really matter in the scope of eternity.

Friday, December 5, 2014

339 :: When Life Gives You Lemons, Pull Out the Cookbook

A funny thing happened last week. I made Edith's Lemon Love Notes for Shabbat dessert... in which our guests called in sick, and just as well, since I burned the lemon bars whilst leaning up against the stove as I pulled lamb off the bone for the soup... but that is another tale.

Not to be deprived of his mom's famous lemon bars, DH ate them anyway. "A little charcoal is good for what ails you", I suppose.

So, to redeem myself, I decided to make an un-burned batch. And who better to help me than Anthony Bourdain?
Alas, he couldn't make it. Nevermind. I have the next best thing (if not better!)

Our Own Miss Rose was not only happy to pick the lemons herself from Grandma's tree, she virtually made the lemon bars herself (with a little help from Nana - reading GiGi's writing.)
I think GiGi would have been very proud.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

278 :: A Walk in the Park - Redux

A little time with the Little.
A few lessons in rock-skipping. Bread for the ducks.

And much time spent remarking (read: lamenting) about Our Drought, and the sad state of Horseshoe "Puddle". 

It's a sorry state of affairs if we don't get some rain soon.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

274 :: And, for this year's birthday bash...

I was left in the dust, all for the sake of an antelope hunt.

Never mind... I look at it this way: all winter long, every time I pull antelope out of the freezer for dinner, it's Happy Birthday to Me, all over again!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

271 :: Chico's Own Con

Maybe I am a closet nerd? Or maybe I just have nerdy grands... I don't know the answer to that. But I do know that I think it rocks that we finally had our own homegrown version of Comic-Con hit town today.

Local talent - and I DO mean "TALENT" - a packed out Vet's Center (seriously? you did not think thousands of people were going to show up?) - Chico's own Tedra as Wonder Woman - Jedi - Hobbits - various and sundry super villians and heros galore.

Well, honestly - who could ask for a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?
And to put icing on the cake, this Little Miss was turned into a veritable flower garden for the paltry sum of $5. (And standing in line for 45 minutes... but, whatever.)

Good times! (I'm pooped!)

Monday, September 1, 2014

244 :: Cadillac Coop - Finale

The tenants have not quite moved in... 

but it's plain to see that there will be far less worry of raccoons, hawks and their ilk to disturb the flock.

A door, some roosting poles, and a few more courses of wire, and we shall be ready to sign the lease and turn over the keys!