Don’t you bet this is a fun church to attend?

September 4, 2008

Church Sign: Kissing Girl Leads To Hell

The Associated Press reports that “a church in the Columbus [Ohio] area is turning heads with its public spin on the pop song I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry. (For more on the song, including the lyrics, you can see my old post on it.)

A sign outside Havens Corners Church in suburban Blacklick has the lyrics from the song’s chorus, “I kissed a girl and I liked it” — and adds, “Then I went to hell.” … Church pastor the Rev. Dave Allison said the Bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin, so the sign is intended as a loving warning to teens.

Yeah, that seems really loving to me. And I bet it is super-effective too. I sure won’t be kissing any girls now that I have read that on a church sign and I bet all the teenage girls in the area won’t be either. Good thing we have been warned!


Most Popular Song These Days: I Kissed a Girl

July 10, 2008

So, of course I would find out about the number one song on the charts on NPR. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard it, or maybe I had and just didn’t notice until it was pointed out. The song is I Kissed a Girl and the lyrics are as follows:

This was never the way I planned
Not my intention
I got so brave, drink in hand
Lost my discretion
It’s not what, I’m used to
Just wanna try you on
I’m curious for you
Caught my attention

I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry chap stick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in love tonight
I kissed a girl and I liked it
I liked it

No, I don’t even know your name
It doesn’t matter
You’re my experimental game
Just human nature
It’s not what, good girls do
Not how they should behave
My head gets so confused
Hard to obey

I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry chap stick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in love tonight
I kissed a girl and I liked it
I liked it

Us girls we are so magical
Soft skin, red lips, so kissable
Hard to resist so touchable
Too good to deny it
Ain’t no big deal, it’s innocent

I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry chap stick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in love tonight
I kissed a girl and I liked it
I liked it

This is like an OWL discussion waiting to happen. There is so much here. On the one hand, I want to say, “Great, a little pop culture acknowledgment that sexuality is fluid, attraction does not depend on sex/gender, and it is no big deal for girls/women to kiss.” I want to see the good in this. Yes, this is better than revulsion, or hate when it comes to two women or two girls kissing.

Maybe it is sort of like the eternal Will & Grace question. Is it better that we have it, even given the stereotyping, and other problems? Or does it do more harm that good….

Even before I found out (ugg) that apparently her last hit song was “Ur So Gay,” which, let’s be clear, is not some sort of queer power ballad, I was thinking that this song has got some problems. First, this is not for 25 year olds as far as I can tell. Her voice and demeanor make her seem like she is shooting for the Miley Cyrus crowd, not the college clubs (although, of course, you know this is a hug favorite of many college frat guys). So what message does this send to the 14-year old listeners?

1. Drinking is a key part of sexual experimentation. Is this the end of the world when done semi-responsibly in your 20s? No. Is it a good message to convey to 13 year olds? Not so much.
2. Kissing girls is fun for experimenting, but a boyfriend is really the main thing (“I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it.”)
3. It is more like a fun activity, not something to take seriously (No, I don’t even know your name/
It doesn’t matter/You’re my experimental game)

Right, so when ever was pop music some sort of good example for kids? Probably never. Best hope is that this opens up some space for conversations…paves the way for songs not just about kissing a girl while you are drunk. Yet, at the same time, I’ll be glad if/when we can move away from girls making out is so hot, especially when it is just for fun, but men making out is gross and not hot at all. This leads to questions about how bisexuality for women got to be so in/cool and what that really might mean. But that is for another post.


Checking In: Congregations, Cats, Anti-Racism Class, etc.

February 28, 2008

Ah, school and work are setting in. I’m dying to jump into the conversation on Unitarian Universalist-identified people who are not part of congregations, the limits of Unitarian Univeralist congregationalism, the exciting possibilities for broadening our vision of what it means to be Unitarian Universalist, and the ways that this could expand our reach and ministry. Ms. Theologian links to the various posts here and also eloquently writes about why she is Unitarian Universalist but does not go to church. But, alas, I just don’t have the time to craft something worth putting out there – a lot of important things have already been said. (Come to think of it, I will refer readers to a 2006 post – A Congregationally Based Movement? On Community Ministry and the Work of Our Faith in the World – about my call to community ministry and how I struggle with how that fits into a congregationally-based movement. Slightly longer. Written in third person – why? I do not know. Maybe just how I was feeling that day….)

In other news, our cat Murray is hanging in there. He changes all the time. But seems to not be getting worse (as of the past two days – but who knows).

I am teaching OWL (a comprehensive sexuality education curriculum – Our Whole Lives) and loving it. I was never a huge fan of working with teens. Not so much that I was against it, but I just never understood how people could think it was so awesome. Not that I am clamoring to be a youth minister now, but I “get” it much better how one could consider that as a career option or long-term volunteer option. I’m sure all people who work with young people and really like it think that they are working with especially impressive teens, but I actually think it is true in my case. And my co-facilitator is great too.

I have started five posts relating to the sexual purity movement, a NYTimes article on meat, “the hard work of being a peaceful presence”, and the GA brou-ha-ha (as Philocrities put it) but none have gotten done enough that I want to put them out there. I guess I will just have to resign myself to things being slower while classes are going on and chiming in on discussions a little late in the game.

Speaking of classes, I am taking one called Racializing Whiteness with an excellent instructor who presents ideas, but does a great job of not making everyone feel guilty and horrible (which was my fear of what it would look like) and leaves room for the exploration of issues rather than preaching some sort of party line about the only and right way to be anti-racist (again, this was a fear of mine). I am learning a lot. And now fear less nervous of saying something “wrong” about anti-racism work, since it can be (lest we all forget the brown bag controversy last year) a sensitive subject in our denomination. I think it will help me be more anti-racist (or, framed more positively, more just) in my own life and inform (in a positive way) my ministry and scholarship. Somehow it is a huge relief to me that it is a really helpful and meaningful class and that we have room to learn and grow and grapple with hard questions.

That’s all for now.

p.s. I just read Chalice Chick’s reasons she does go to church. It is super-good. A great compliment to Ms. Theologian’s post about why she does not go to church.


It’s that time again. UU Blog Awards

January 24, 2008

It is time for the UU Blog nominations and awards! How about that. First, I just want to encourage bloggers to highlight their favorite posts of the year because I went to go nominate people and then it became a huge hassle to try to go back to my favorite blogs and find favorite posts. You are doing us all a favor by highlighting your favorite posts and what categories you think you might like to be nominated for in the all-around category. Don’t be shy!

As for this little blog, I won the best seminarian blog last year for which I am very grateful! I would say that since there isn’t a best UU vegetarianism/eco-friendly living writing category, this would again be the category that I would be most happy to be nominated for this year.

And I have two favorite posts, one of which I think has no chance of winning anything.

Drumroll….

My favorite post is The Secret is Total Bunk about the ethical and theological problems with a philosophy/mindset/belief that if you believe that certain good things will happen to you, they will and if they don’t, it is because you didn’t believe enough as put forth by the best-selling book The Secret.

Second favorite is my response to the UU World Article on Ethical Eating although somehow I feel like this is not going to be a winner.

*There were also quite a few follow-up posts on this theme:

Ethical Eating in UU World – A Short Response

Sigh. I am SO trying to be such a friendly, non-judgmental vegetarian. And apparently not coming across that way.

Read Reader Responses to UU World Ethical Eating Article

Over at Trivium: More on Ethical Eating (Food Post I)

Scott Wells on Good Food (Food Post II)

Death by Veganism: A Response to the NYTimes Article (Food Post III)

Anyway, that’s about it folks. Happy nominating and blogging – and really may I take a moment to say how blessed I feel to be able to learn so much from so many wonderful UU bloggers out there. Thanks to all of you. You are a bunch of smart, thoughtful cookies. I really appreciate what the world of UU blogging has brought into my life.

Peace, E

p.s. Late addition to favorite posts of the year: On the Fluidity of Sexuality; or My Coming Out Story


Be an Advice Columnist for a Day

January 13, 2008

Dan Savage writes a sex-advice column. This is not an endorsement or non-endorsement of that column, but a call to wise ministers and seminarians everywhere who have read the UUMA guidelines, the MFC reading list (including Sex in the Parish), and have possibly even taken the sexual ethics seminar at Andover Newton that I plan on going to tomorrow morning assuming we are not all blizzarded in.

Savage says he is stumped by a range of questions from readers, one of which is this one:

There’s this new pastor at the church I visit. She’s gorgeous, an athlete, and can read ancient Greek. I’ve managed to get her to lunch twice, despite her schedule, and I spelled out my interest explicitly. She seemed receptive, posited that dating someone in her new congregation could possibly cause issues, but may go hiking with me this weekend. So what’s the protocol for dating a smokin’-hot priestess?

Not Very Good Xian

Savage says: I don’t have answers for these folks. If you do, gentle readers, send ‘em in and we’ll run the mother of all Savage Love web extras sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Write him at mail@savagelove.net. Since you can’t write to this young minister and tell her the potential dangers that come with dating someone in your congregation and lack of setting clear boundaries with congregants, what can you at least tell the guy? Does it matter that he “visits” the church? An opportunity to educate the public on healthy ministerial relationships!


Polyamory on Susie Bright’s Blog

January 2, 2008

Susie Bright is known as a sex-positive feminist. I like a lot of the stuff she says and does. Not all of it, mind you, but a lot.

I know polyamory/non-monogamy/having more than one partner (there are varying opinions as to if these are different things and to what extent) is a point of contention in some Unitarian Universalist circles, and I don’t want to reignite some sort of dramatic blogosphere discussion (as happened in July). But I did want to point out a recent posting on Susie Bright’s (possibly not work safe*) blog, “Peppermint, On The Strange Credibility of Polyamory,”* which LINKS TO THIS BLOG. Susie Bright is sort of famous. And her blog links to a posting on polyamory right here on this very blog. This is almost as exciting as being mentioned in UU World!

So, if this is a topic that interests you, I suggest you read the post. And just look around her blog. Remember, I don’t agree with everything she says (please don’t post comments pointing out what you believe to be the problematic things she says and does) and you don’t have to either. But she does say a lot of important, good stuff that we need to hear in a world where sex-negative, embarrassed, sad, and shameful feelings are way too common when it comes to sexuality and our bodies.

Afterthought: While Rev. Debra Haffner (sexologist, minister, and the Director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing) and Susie Bright have quite different approaches to promoting healthy attitudes about sexuality, and likely many points of disagreement, I thought that I would point out Rev. Debra Haffner’s blog Sexuality and Religion: What’s the Connection? because Rev. Haffner also strikes me as a very sex-positive person that we are lucky to have as part of Unitarian Universalism. Take a look. Her blog is excellent.

*It really depends on how sensitive your work is about what is “work safe”. Breasts are on the page. But as Susie Bright herself points out in the comments, it isn’t anything more than you would see in Vanity Fair or Vogue.

*Correction: In my excitement about being linked to on Susie Bright’s blog, I failed to read carefully and originally thought Susie Bright wrote the post On the Strange Credibility of Polyamory, but it is in fact a reposting from another blog by another author, PepperMint. Still, it is on her blog and still worth the read.


The Queen of the Scottish Fairies; NYTimes story about a little boy that loved his skirt

September 5, 2007

http://modan.blogs.nytimes.com/** This so reminds me of something that we would read in Women’s Studies 101. In a way, I love it. I wish that things ended so lovely. Maybe in Cambridge, MA they do. I’m with the mom on this, mostly, except stories like this do leave out important things. We read this story X: Fabulous Child’s Story and I always thought it was a little too idealistic. Great if your kid is all about just being his or herself and ignores gender norms. But these sorts of stories leave out the part where a child in his/her preschool class calls him a fag, and then the next door neighbors call your husband a pansy, and then the kid eventually gets beat up in second grade, the principal calls you, the teacher calls child protective services, and then the child is in therapy and hates you because you let him wear a tutu when he was 4. Not that all this should happen and maybe it won’t if you live in a super-progressive town, but in Ohio or Kentucky, mostly, I’m pretty sure my version of what could happen is a best-case-scenario.

Anyway, I still loved the story and long for a world where there are happy endings to boys that want to wear skirts.

**I realized that this is a New York Times select article. Darn it! Okay, so I’ll explain. It is a little cartoon/book/story on Ruth Modan’s blog about a little boy that loves to wear his tutu. The dad doesn’t think this is a great idea. The mom is like, “Hey, just let him be.” So the boy wears the tutu and is happy. Finally, they are going to a costume party and the dad can’t take it anymore, and then the daughter says “Let him wear my plaid skirt” and so then it is more like a Scottish tartan and the dad thinks it is more acceptable, and then at the end the little boy announces that he is the queen of the scottish fairies, which of course, was not quite what the dad was looking for. Its cuter when you read it than when I describe it.
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The Discussion on Polyamory / People With More Than One Romantic Partner

July 8, 2007

So there appears to be quite the discussion in the UU Blogosphere on polyamory – that is, people who are not so much into monogamy (one partner) but feel okay with or pulled toward having more than one romantic partner or loves – poly (many) amory (loves). I posted on this a little while back, but not in the context of the independent affiliates discussion, which you can read about here and here.

The Lively Tradition has been the main poster (here too), with Boy in the Bands, Chalice Chick, Never Say Never to Your Traveling Self, Liberal Faith Development chiming in, and Philocrites referring us some of his older posts.

A lot has been said. I guess I just want to highlight the need for a parsing of two separate issues. One is if Unitarian Universalists should, as a movement, support legal rights for polyamorous folks, and/or should we spend our time and energy thinking and talking about the importance of this as a legal question.

The other issue is if it is possible for consenting adults to love and/or relate intimately to more than one other person at a time with honesty and integrity, and without causing harm to children involved in that relationship, and without somehow threatening the minimal social framework that keeps the universe as stable as it is (which is not very, but it could be worse). You get the idea – is polyamory just weird and bad and something to be avoided, or at the very least kept quiet, or can it be a reasonably normal, okay thing that is certainly not going to become the norm, but isn’t scary or weird or messing up kids.

As you can see, I am trying to move away from an ultra-careful phrasing of this, as so many people have taken a lot of time to do in the comments sections on some of the other postings. I’m trying to de-dramatize this a little bit, I suppose, but also I’ve never been one for treatises arguing super-logically, and rationally on every point because I don’t think this is how most people think.

Anyway, so what I’m trying to say is that I think folks on all sides of this need to be clearer about what they are talking about. The UUPA (Unitarian Universalist for Polyamorous Awareness) claims that their thing is about just that – awareness. The recognition that there are people in partnerships with more than one other person in our congregations, so we need to figure out a way to minister to these folks with love and care. I, naively, often take people at their word, it seems that there is actually a bit of a bigger agenda at least in parts of the UUPA. I am not all that familiar with how this bigger agenda has been communicated, but it seems like a lot of people are aware of it, and it has something to do with sort of taking the marriage/legal rights thing on in a similar way that the UUs did with same-sex marriage. That said, it seems like some who are not so pro-polyamory are conflating the moral/ethical questions related to polyamory automatically with whether or not this should result in legal recognition of marriage and/or whether or not UUs should take this on as a project.

So, in sum, all I am saying at this point is that this is a sticky issue, and it makes a lot of sense for everyone to be clearer about what they are talking about:

1) legal-rights/marriage/UUA-as-a-lobbying-organization/UUism-as-a-platform-for-political causes OR

2) the potential/reality of polyamory/multiple-partner-relationships to be ethical and just (and how, if at all, this relates to theological questions).

To me, these are separate issues because even if you think that poly relationships can be just lovely for all involved, it is another question whether you think that should be a legally recognized entity, and another one whether you think it is wise for our movement to somehow take this on as one of our “things”.

I have opinions on all of this, but I don’t feel like I have the patience to articulate it in a way that would suit anyone. Maybe another time.

I just hope everyone can be respectful and nice about this whole thing. I hate it when people get mean about things like this.

Much peace, Elizabeth


Article on People With More Than One Partner in Salon.com

June 14, 2007

I know a lot of people freak out about Unitarian Universalists that support/advocate/are okay with relationships that are non-monogamous (often called polyamorists, although I guess I tend to avoid that term since it sounds identity-ish – it isn’t like people in monogamous relationships go around calling themselves monogamists… but I digress). Anyway, I tend to think that all the freaking out or abhorrence or whatever of people who aren’t gung-ho about monogamy is a bit dramatic and not that fair. I’ve been meaning to write a post on marriage/the modern (or post-modern) relationship for a while, so perhaps this is a precursor.

All of this just to point out an article in Salon.com www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2007/06/14/polyamory/index.html that does (I think) a decent job of de-dramatizing people with multiple romantic partners in their life (or who are open to such constellations). I also read a good article in Tikkun about it a while back www.tikkun.org/magazine/tik0701/frontpage/monogamy. Just so no one overreacts, I am not advocating or coming out with an opinion on this – rather, I guess I just feel like relationships, love, traditional marriage, jealousy, monogamy are things that need to be reflected on and assessed. I feel like the whole get married to one partner and stick with that your whole life and be 100% monogamous just isn’t working on a big scale, as evidenced by adultery and divorce rates. I’m not saying non-monogamy is the answer, but rather that we need to consider the current accepted “right” way to do things. These are two reflection pieces around this idea. (I also reviewed a good book on marriage here a while back, which is also part of this overall conversation.)

Also, a note on the blog. I am realizing that I don’t have as much to say as I thought I would. I considered retiring from Elizabeth’s Little Blog, but every once in a while, I DO have something that seems blog worthy. So perhaps that is being downgraded to an occasional blog. It has been that way for a while now, but I suppose I have yet to acknowledge it – always thinking I would get around to posting more often.


Snoop Gives His Take on Imus

April 12, 2007

This quote (see below) is particularly interesting to me given my twelve-year journey with some young men whom I’ve been lucky enough to mentor, two of whom are African-American and listen to Snoop Doggy-Dog and other such folks. I feel like twelve years later we are still have the same conversations. They go something like this:

One of the young men: Lizabeth, can we change the station?

Me: Yes, but if offensive songs come on we have to change it.

One of the young men: Okay.

(Offensive song comes on the radio)

Me: Please change.

One of the young men: They are bleeping out the words. Why do we have to change it?

Me: I can’t hear that kind of stuff being said about women even if it is being bleeped out. We all know what they are saying.

One of the young men: But we don’t really think that. Either do they.

Me: Don’t you think some people believe it and then these songs seem to make it okay? Do you think it is okay to call women bitches or hoes?

One of the young men: Well only if it is accurate. They aren’t talking about all women.

Me: Well I still don’t like it. We listened to your station enough. Let’s listen to NPR.

And so it goes. The young men are WONDERFUL people and I love and admire them all with the depth of my heart. I think, by and large, they are kind and loving and generally respectful of women, at least more so than most men. They have stopped calling women/girls “chickenheads” which I thought was a good step. :) Yet. I hate that sort of music and I hate that they listen to it and I know it influences them. And thanks to Mr. Snoop D.D. talking about Don Imus, we can see maybe where they get some of their ideas.

If you are offended by rough language, read no further. Here are Snoop’s comments on Imus in response to a comparison between Imus and rap lyrics that ROUTINELY degrade women, including SDD’s lyrics. Oh the outrage Mr. SDD must feel. Bless his little heart. (cough)

It’s a completely different scenario. (Rappers) are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports. We’re talking about hoes that’s in the ‘hood that ain’t doing shit, that’s trying to get a nigga for his money. These are two separate things. First of all, we ain’t no old-ass white men that sit up on MSNBC going hard on black girls. We are rappers that have these songs coming from our minds and our souls that are relevant to what we feel. I will not let them muthafuckas say we are in the same league as him. Kick him off the air forever.

Except, my dear SDD, guess what? All women suffer from your attitudes towards women and lyrics about women not just those in the “hood” that you assess “ain’t doing shit.” I think Imus is stupid and should be fired (how did he even stay on the air this long anyway?), but I want to see more outrage toward any sort of degrading talk about women and/or people/women of color. I don’t care of your sexism comes from your soul, Snoop. It hurts women, and it hurts the women and boys and men and girls that hear your music and know ALL THE WORDS and sing along and think it is just fine. And most of them are not thinking you are talking about particular women out to get money – such a cop out – because you aren’t and that is clear from your songs. You use women and bitches interchangeably.

Anyway. I thought that quote was important to share. I’m glad to see the outrage about Imus. But stuff like that should get you fired in a blink of an eye. I suppose at least it is helpful that they did it sooner than later.

p.s. I know some of my posts are getting a tad more snarky than usual. I’m not sure what that is about. Maybe a phase? I go through thinking I need to make this an ultra-professional blog, and a more casual approach that allows sarcasm and snarkiness where it is called for. I suppose it is all about balance. Biting commentary can somehow sometimes get a point across in a way that journalistic or academic sort of writing can’t. Yet, it is overdone in the blog world and I don’t want to contribute to that over-done-ness.


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