Friday, February 1, 2013

Don't miss the party at my new place!

I've had the new blog up and running for a month now. If you haven't already, you're definitely going to want to check it out! Read about why I felt the urgency to return to blogging after over a year's hiatus, how sexism is still a problem in a comparatively liberal church, why I think the existence of music points to something more in life, how I'm defining God these days and defining Christianity for myself, and why I refuse to affix absolute certainty to any of it.

Come on over! And be sure to subscribe or become a follower so you won't miss out.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

On (re)becoming a Christian

Hello, all! In case you missed the last announcement, I've started a new blog. Come on over and read the latest post:

I think every religion has its strengths and weaknesses. I don't think Jesus is the only "way." ("Way" to what exactly is a whole other discussion.) I don't think Christianity is a superior religion and I see plainly that it has its flaws. So why did I decide to become a Christian? Again?   read more...


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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New year, new blog!

I'm blogging again! A lot has happened in the last  year. Among other developments, I've joined the Episcopal Church. Read about that and more on the new blog, Via Media.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's official: I need a new title.

Several times over the last few weeks, I've had thoughts or experiences that I wanted to blog about, but then thought, But I don't want to blog about that on a blog called "whore." So, I am declaring myself as having officially outgrown whoredom. I thought about Ginx's comment on my last post, about the danger of losing all but your most loyal readers if you switch blog titles/urls, and you know what, I'm okay with that.

So, new blog, coming sometime soon. I'll try to give some thought about the title over the Christmas break. (The list of stuff I want to get done over the break keeps getting longer...)  In the meantime, I'm open to suggestions. It will still be me. I see it as being rather random and eclectic. I'll probably reserve any urges to blog about Mormon-y things for Main Street Plaza. I'm sure I'll still have thoughts on religion though. Also a lot of music, stuff about my kids, maybe politics here and there. It'll be fun! I'll let you all know when it's up and running.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Two Years

Hello, all. It's the two year anniversary of the day I launched my blog. I haven't posted in months, and it occurred to me that that's largely because things are going so well. I've used this blog often as a place to vent, work out difficulties, reach out for reassurance. All you wonderful readers have never let me down, and I'm very grateful.

I'm in a really good place in my life right now and largely don't feel the neediness that I often filled through this blog. Perhaps I should spew some of the positiveness, instead of waiting till things are tough to write something here. I'll consider it. I've been busy though. Graduate school and two kids take up a lot of time. I love it though.

Something else has been gnawing at me: the blog title. I've had mixed feelings about it lately. I like the sassiness and it was perfect for the vitriolic, anti-religious sentiments I felt when I started blogging, but I don't feel that way anymore. I'm not sure the title really reflects where I am these days. And, yes, you can change a blog title, but not the url. I find myself wanting to blog about "off topic" things too, from parenting to recipes to music history things I'm studying. I've considered starting a new blog, if I ever think of an appropriate title. I'll let you all know if I do.

Here's to two great years!

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

How universal is music?

I started work on my master's a few weeks ago (summer session moves at twice the pace of the regular semesters, hence the drought in blog postings). Right now I'm working on a paper on the influence of the Protestant Reformation on music, and vice versa.

One of the key reforms Luther made was to reintroduce congregational singing. He felt very strongly that musical participation should be a part of everyone's worship life and Christian education.

I think music and religion have gone together for as long as either has been a part of the human experience. Music was certainly a huge part of my Mormon upbringing and still plays a major role in my spirituality.

I've been singing and have had an ear for pitch as long as I can remember. Singing time is a part of Sunday School for Mormon kids every week. I remember even as a four or five-year-old hearing one of the teachers singing off key and wondering, Why is she doing that? Couldn't she hear the difference? Another time, we had a lesson about talents and we were supposed to list all of our talents. My teacher asked why I didn't list singing. I didn't list it because I didn't think it was a talent; it was so easy, I thought everyone could do it.

Musical inclination is something I was just born with. I've worked and practiced to develop it further, but it's also just an irremovable part of who I am. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say I would have given up on religion and spirituality altogether years ago if it weren't for music.

But I wonder, how much would music matter to me if I weren't musically inclined myself? Would I still be as moved by it as I am? 

At church, everyone is supposed to sing, regardless of how "good" they are at it. How helpful or moving or powerful is singing for someone who may not necessarily like to sing?

This is a genuine question. I'll try to draw a comparison. I appreciate visual art, but I'm not very artistically inclined myself. I can certainly be emotionally and spiritually moved by other people's works of art, but if someone asked me to draw my own picture in praise of God or the sacred or whatever, first of all, you'd have a really ugly picture, and second, I really don't think I'd get much out of it.

So all of you who can't keep a beat or carry a tune, what does music mean to you, particularly in your spiritual life?


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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Theology with Dad

One of my very earliest memories is playing in the ocean with my dad. I was probably four years old, must have been southern California. We were out in the water up to his waist. He was holding me under the shoulders, my feet dangling in the water, and as each wave approached, he'd ask, "Is this one too big?"

And I'd always insist, "No, Dad! It's not too big!" Then he'd hold me up so the wave would hit me at chest level and I'd shriek in delight. Again and again, "Is this one too big?" But nothing was too big as long as my dad was right there.

A few years later--I think I was eight or nine--we were hiking together. I don't know where we were. I remember a lot of trees and the visible rock was gray, not red, so it couldn't have been near where we lived on the Arizona Strip. My father is a fairly quiet man, doesn't typically talk unless he has something pretty important to say. So hikes with Dad were usually extended silences, punctuated with profundities.

On this particular hike, I remember him saying to me, "Right now is what's happening right now. It's not the future; it's not the past; it's now. And that's where we are."

That's present moment awareness, which Mormonism doesn't especially emphasize, but my dad was thinking about it, and talking to his eight-year-old daughter about it. Lots of good memories of hikes with Dad, especially the ones where good theological discussions developed.

Dad was more sympathetic and understanding than my mother about the depression I struggled with as a teenager, because he struggled with it too. I remember one day in particular during my junior year of high school, when the thought of going to school was just overwhelming. My mother wasn't home that morning. "Can I take a day off?" I asked Dad.

"You know better than I do whether you can or not. Do you have any tests or anything?"

I didn't, so I had permission to skip school that day. Dad invited me to come along with him on his route as a rural mail carrier. I did, packed up some homework to do along the way. "You still the smartest in your class?" he asked as I finished up a trigonometry assignment. Smart. Of all my insecurities, I never doubted that I was smart, because my dad had always said that I was, for as long as I could remember.

There were several times when I rode along with Dad while he delivered the mail, but this day stands out in particular for the discussion that developed. Ironically, I can't remember the specifics of what we talked about. I know the story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac was in there, along with the Chronicles of Narnia. Mostly I remember the feeling, the connection with my dad that this was something important that we had in common.

My dad and I don't see eye to eye on much these days, religion and politics in particular. The theological discussions stopped long ago, but they are still some of my best memories. Hearing Dad speak at my grandmother's funeral last fall helped me realize--or perhaps just reminded me, actually--that my dad is a very spiritual person in his own way. It's drastically different from my way. I believe it's based on several inaccuracies. And yet it does still seem to work for many people as a means of evoking the sacred.

And I can respect that.

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saturday Evening Blog Post


It's time again for the Saturday Evening Blog Post at Elizabeth Esther's blog. The first Saturday of every month she invites bloggers to share their best post from the previous month. I decided to share my special Mother's Day post about Honoring the Great Mother and the sacred feminine. Hop on over to discover some new bloggers and maybe share a post of your own!

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Comment Highlights 6/02/2011

 A couple of my favorite comments from the last few weeks.  


From Diana on Honoring the Great Mother
I venture, for myself, that the necessity for a female deity is rooted in the need to overturn our society's views and restrictions on women. The female body particularly has never been venerated in our lifetime; its functions, uses, needs, desires, and appearances have been controlled by men. Learnings about goddesses and coming to recognize the divine in ourselves is a significant part of many women's paths.

For me it has nothing to do with forcing a human gender identity on deity, since I am an atheist. It DOES have to do with the liberation of my sexuality, my physical appearance, my will, my voice, and my power. There is a reason that the modern goddess movement arose hand in hand with ecology and feminist movements.

My power (with all that entails), and that of many women throughout history and currently, has been squelched. Learning goddess lore and honoring these archetypes and legends is one way for me to get past that.
From Riparian Church on Why still use the word "God"?
I think that the statement that "God is love" is one that resonates with your post here.  The idea that this is flimsy-ish might not mesh with the striking hard-headedness of the statement.  If God is no more and no less than love, then this is simply a way of saying that of all the things / forces / powers in the universe, there is one and one only worthy of human worship: love.

And though it sounds sentimental, I'm not so sure.  Science is finding out things about the energies that hold things together that we might as well call "love" as anything else... what do you call it when the energies of the human race seem not only to be connected but to be effectual at accomplishing and causing and moving and even healing?

Love's as good a term as any, I guess.  

Call it Andrew if it pleases you.
If you haven't already, you can check out my most recent post at Main Street Plaza: "We do not need more members who question every detail." Thanks so much for reading!

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My guest post at NPR: "Wishing for Less Time"

National Public Radio's program Being featured an essay I wrote as a guest contributor on their blog.
I never used to go anywhere without my cell phone. It was not only a means of communication, but my sole timepiece, and not knowing the time made me crazy.
You can read the rest here.

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