Drag

there we were
Freshly twenty two
Singing Diana and the blues
Fresh off our failures
Too young to feel their gravity
And yes. I still think about you,
Happy?

I loved you so damn much.
wanting it to work just made it worse.

I dragged my Love
I dragged my Love down
I’m bad for my love
I’m bad I stick around

Look at you
Just like an angel
Like someone saw your ankle sticking out of the clouds and dragged
I dragged my Love down

I dragged my Love
I dragged my Love down
I’m bad for my love
I’m bad I stick around

I loved you so damn much.
wanting it to work just made it worse.

there we were
Freshly twenty two
Singing Diana and the blues
Fresh off our failures
Too young to feel their gravity
And yes. I still think about you,
Happy?

Advertisements

A Poem in Twelve Parts

  1. You were right about me mixing up the definitions of libel and slander but it doesn’t affect my point.
  2. I forgot what my point was.
  3. I’m sorry that I grilled you for ten minutes about a turtle when I was drunk.
  4. I’m sorry that I threw a beach ball at you when I was sober.
  5. I’m sorry that I’m obnoxious in either state.
  6. I’m sorry I acted like a little third grade boy with a crush.
  7. I was rude to you and you deserve the best.
  8. The best words, the best intentions, should be yours to do so as you wish.
  9. I’m sorry I made it weird.
  10. I love talking to you and looking you in the eye.
  11. I’m not sorry for that and I’d do it again.
  12. I’ve found that I’m often more sorry for the things I didn’t do than the things I did.

My Stampede

I was told, before my birth
Apollo set his bow to me
And set my soul apart.

But I heard the voice of a smaller God
Woke without a start
From the forest lit in silver shard
She fetches innocence to feed my heart.

Rise, fall
Balance, all

From the ash
To the sea
Tear asunder in between
Rampaging Grace, she said to me

Ride, ride and I will free you,
Rise and eat this air.
tasting of this morning dew
Gaiea’s tears, mourning new.

Whose world is this
What threads are these?
I don’t know
but it’s my stampede

New Mythologies, Old Prophets

I was reading Not all Christians the other day. It’s a group with a website that takes a pro LGBTQ stance to Christianity. They make a lot of good points about the disproportionate hatred directed towards a supposed sin which the Bible condemns ambiguously at best, while ignoring other clearly defined prohibitions (divorce, clerical structure, dietary laws, etc.). But the most interesting line I read was something I had been thinking about myself; it went like this: “By denying marriage equality to gay people, Christians are compelling gay couples to sin, because their intimacy must happen outside of marriage.” Therein for me lies the tragedy of Christianity, a religion which stresses the importance of community and a sense of belonging, but excludes certain populations from its ranks. It makes the family into a virtue, but would deny that virtue to those who need it most. It doesn’t comdemn sin, it creates it.

It got me thinking in a broader way about a gay person’s general place in society, and I guess the thought I have applies to any minority living on the margins of what culture deems aceptable. The fact is, that when you’re born into a mold you in which don’t fit, you are compelled either to remain there in uncomfortable stasis, to “pass,” or to leave. When a gay child is cast out of his or her or their home by their religious parents, they are not only homeless, but structureless. The Boston Lesbian Psychologies Collective made a similar point back in 1987. Since “lesbian parenting has remained so invisible,” they say, “the lesbian parent has the challenge of creating new family structures and family processes from scratch” (p8, Lesbian Psychologies). The same is doubtless true for men. Their focus here is on the parents and not the children, but nevertheless I think they’re coming from the same direction: marginalized or “invisible,” peoples just don’t have the same kind of guidance as everyone else. The culture they were born into provided them everything, from their moral code, to their expectations of the afterlife, to their after school activities, right down to the way they ought to dress. It’s important to note that these dogmas weren’t only devised as an oppressive means of control, but also as a way to facilitate life. I’m not defending dogma outright, but it’s true. It’s much easier to go about your daily routine if you aren’t constantly grappling with existential questions and trying to logically derive the most optimal and appropriate way to cultivate your thoughts on every issue by considering a milieu of ever-changing factors on a daily basis. When your barista asks, “would you like cream with that?” it’s not efficient to respond, “I can’t know whether the consumption of animal products is justifiable until I know whether or not God exists.” Trust me, it’s easier if you know these things beforehand. Not even the most stringent individualist can deny that dogma has an important function, which is to answer some of the questions and alleviate some of the stresses of life. When a child is shut out of his or her home, these answers and alleviations no longer apply. Each rejected queer is forced to create their own structures, or else find a new one which fits them. I can’t help but notice how the most aware and sensitive thinkers also tend to have the most messed up and jumbled backgrounds, as if the absence of certainty gave them no other choice than to forge one for themselves.

My two favorite celebrities (if you can properly call either of them celebrities), are Russell Brand and Hannah Hart. They fit this characterization pretty well. Brand is open about his past as an addict. For years he chased down the meaning of life as defined by the precepts of materialism, and for years he came up short. He became an addict “because it was too painful not to.” In his autobiography, Brand says that he chased the high to get out of himself, to beat the feeling that he wasn’t good enough. What he missed was a sense of connection, to be aware of (and feel like he was a part of), the unity that is us all. He might be an insane and verbose comedian, but he gets it. He knows what the greater truths of life are because he hunted them down tirelessly. Today Brand is clean and political and fighting for a revolution to amend the broken world that drives our growing sense of alienation, but everything that he is, he fought to become. Today he might have a heightened sense of awareness about the existential, but he only got to that place because he was forced to work from scratch. In my opinion, he got there because he had to.

Hannah Hart is a youtube personality (or entertainer or celebrity, I don’t know what the correct word is here). She’s got a popular show where she gets drunk and tries to cook stuff. It’s good fun. But she’s a little different than the other youtubers (there, that’s the word I want, made up and silly sounding, straight from the millennial lexicon). She’s a little pensive in her entertainment. She’s funny, but she doesn’t always go for the laugh. She’s got an acute curiosity for how to live a proper life and she’s not afraid to break comedic momentum for the sake of a ponderance or musing. It’s not a focal point of her show, but she’s an out and proud lesbian. She talks about it in some of her content, about how she came from a conservative and Christian family, and how her background was “unorthodox,” and “kind of fucked up.” She leaves out the details, but it doesn’t take a genius to make the connection: something in her background left her with an interest in finding out how to live a proper life. As a queer conservative Christian, her dogma failed her. The answers she was given didn’t match what she experienced, and the mold she wore didn’t fit how she felt. As result, she was forced to build her own philosophy. Today she’s got millions of subscribers, a live show, and a book. She’s on billboards across the country. It has a picture of her with a slogan that reads, “make happy from scratch.”

I’m a lesbian, too. All my life I’ve wanted to be a good Christian, because I desperately want to belong. Maybe the inherent exclusion a lesbian gets from this religion is why I carry that desire to belong in the first place. It’s this never ending cycle of seeking acceptance from an external source because of an internal sense of inadequacy feed to me by that same external source (head spinning yet?) which is common among queer kids who grow up in religious homes. Yes, some churches are changing today. The Episcopalians just changed their tune, and of course for every rule there is always an exception. But my Mormon parents are not the exception. Dogmas, religions, cultures, they all have important functions. They tell us how to live life properly and they help us find connection with each other and with the deity (or the unity, or the freedom from carnal desire, or whatever), but no paradigm can be absolute when it’s precepts are inexorably exclusionary to certain groups. Those of us who are born gay, or transgender, or just a little too sensitive or a bit too weird, we are told that that who we are is sin, and that the only way to achieve salvation is to be something we are not. The fruit of eternal harmony is dangled before us, but it’s held beyond our grasp. When the paradigm we are given isn’t exactly one-size-fits-all, we have no other choice but to create new ones for ourselves. Websites like Not all Christians make me feel relieved, and people like Hart and Brand are valuable (and thanks to the internet accessible), role models for kids like me, who have to strike out and find their own answers, ones that hopefully cherish love above all and exclude nothing but hate (and even then, is feeling hatred inherently a sin? It seems to be just an expression of futility, of frustration, of inadequacy, to me – but that’s another blog post). We have a need now more than ever for some flexible, inclusive, and truly loving worldviews. I wouldn’t mind a religion like that. Maybe it’s time we had a dogma of our own.

Book Review: Against Our Better Judgement

I picked up this book because I wanted to learn more about the history of the geopolitical clusterfuck that is the Israel/Palestine issue, but never did I expect to find a history so deep, so bloody, and so one-sided in the treatment it receives by the world as that of Israel. In my case, Weir did exactly what she set out to accomplish: she hit me over the head with a series of truth bombs and left me dumbfounded in stupid shock. Against Our Better Judgment is the abridged history of the Zionist movement, but don’t mistake its brevity for banality. In an exhaustively well-researched book whose footnotes section is twice as long as the actual text, Alison Weir will tell you things about Zionism that you won’t want to believe. It’s outstanding to me that so much knowledge could be so unknown. How, as a historian, have I never come across the history of Zionism before? This major movement, stretching back to the nineteenth century, which permeated American politics and managed to create a nation which now receives more funding from the U.S. than any other country on earth, is somehow never spoken of in classrooms (and certainly not in the media).

I don’t want to give too much away, because I think everyone ought to read this for him or herself. All I can say is: read it; it will challenge your view of the world. It’ll take about an hour to get through (unless of course you have to take a break between chapters to have an emotional reaction like I did). I highly suggest this for everyone, especially the citizens of America and Israel.

Bill O’reilly, Russell Brand, and the Decline of Religion in America

So Bill O’rilley just broadcasted a recent poll which shows that the group of people who identify themselves as Christian has fallen. The fastest growing religion? None of the above.

More and more Americans are giving up on religion and classifying themselves as unaffiliated. Why?

Well, Grandpa Bill says popular culture is to blame. Rap music (black people) and gangs (poor black people), in particular.

Fortunately, Bill isn’t the only news program commenting on the issue. The Young Turks and The Trews (two wonderful internet news programs that I’ll link at the end), also gave their two cents on why Christianity has taken a hit.

The Young Turks view the trend as a good thing. This isn’t surprising, since TYT is run by a mostly atheist intellectual group of reporters. In their view, less religious is good. It equates to more rational, more compassionate thinking. People are abandoning religion, they think, because they’ve realized that their lives are much freer without being constantly told what to believe.

Russell Brand (aka The Trews), thinks that the shrinking number of affiliated Christians in America has more to do with a growing sense of disillusionment than a burgeoning intelligentsia. Growing inequality, rampant crony capitalism, and the failure of Democracy has destroyed the faith of the American people. Christianity has sold out, and Americans are no longer buying in.

So, we’ve got three possible options here. Religion is failing because:

a) Society is becoming more rational.

b) Society is becoming more disillusioned.

c) Black people.

So, either people are leaving Christianity because they have realized the inherent bigotry in antiquated orthodoxy (THT), or they no longer want to be a part of a corrupt institution which serves only power and greed (Brand). Both of these options have truth to them, but they share a major flaw: both commentators assume that most American adults are just as politically astute and passionate as themselves. This is false. I can’t speak for the country as a whole, but most American adults that I know are busy. Between work, education, socializing, and the abundance of entertainment available, the complicated and often depressing subject of politics doesn’t appeal. There’s just too much going on.

Personally, I think that Americans simply don’t care anymore. It’s not a growing sense of disillusionment or a the growth of secular knowledge that’s leading most people away from religion, it’s a growing sense of apathy. Most of my peers would much rather talk about drugs, movies, video games, netflix shows, and other entertaining, transient things then discuss why America has one of the largest income gaps in the world or why, in an age of technological abundance, most of the world remains poor. Subjects like that don’t make for a fun time. In a world where criminals don’t pay taxes and where every supposed world leader has a price tag, it’s much easier and more appealing to focus on distractions and cheap tricks then to stand up for real change. Optimism, hope, faith: these things take a lot of energy, especially today.

Here’s Bill’s segment: http://www.breitbart.com/video/2015/05/13/oreilly-christianitys-decline-in-america-could-lead-to-collapse-like-roman-empire/

And The Young Turks’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnrzDK717hY

And The Trews’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1QsBydzcyw

Open Letter to Religious Feminists

Dear Religious Feminists,

I come from a very mixed household in terms of religion. My grandparents are Jewish and my parents are Mormon. Before my parents converted to Mormonism, they were Baptist Christians, and before that, they were atheists. I have a pretty vested interest in religion as it relates to my life.

The more I study religion, the more I discover how oppressive religious orthodoxy really is towards women. I don’t think most religious people are anti-feminist, but the reality is that most religious texts specifically state that women are weak, that they lack the same rights as men, and that they should be confined to a specific and limited role.

So I’m wondering, is it possible to be both feminist and religious? I guess the broader way of putting that is, can you practice faith through a church whose doctrines do not align with your own morality? Furthermore, if we choose to debate religious experts, how should we go about doing so? Should we meet religious leaders on their own turf and debate theology with them, or should we instead argue that some holy scriptures are simply wrong, or corrupted, or outdated?

I wonder how feminists should go about tackling the issue of religion, be it the Torah, the Bible, or the Book of Mormon.

Thank you for your time, and down with the patriarchy.

Best,

Graceanne Virginia Warburton