Mastodon CounterSocial 2022 - Nyssa's Hobbit Hole

Articles from 2022

RIP Roe v Wade

As a small child, I never heard about abortion, though I and Roe v Wade were born the same year.

As a young child, I heard arguments about abortion that convinced me it wasn’t murder.  Then I read something in a circular in the church bulletin that changed my mind.  These Focus on the Family circulars were a trusted source of Christian wisdom to me.  But there was always the caveat of rape/incest/life of the mother being acceptable reasons for abortion even to Christians.

As a teen, I started watching the 700 Club and listened to Christian music, and became convinced that Operation Rescue was heroic and that abortion was a great evil, a holocaust, that had to be stopped, that most abortions were sociopathic and not for the accepted caveats.

In my 20s, I had trouble driving past a protest outside a Planned Parenthood clinic that didn’t even do abortions.  As I told a friend, even though I agreed with them, the disgusting signs and the protest itself really bothered me.  I couldn’t put my finger on why.

In my late 20s, I was moving away from conservative politics and religion and into a more moderate camp.  I was influenced by various Evangelical and progressive Christian voices I heard over the years on a variety of political, moral and theological topics.  There were solidly conservative groups who worked with the poor and minorities and talked like liberals on their issues.  I kept taking quizzes that said I would be Democrat except for the abortion issue.  I read in Time-Life history books about reformers in various cultures who would begin to make changes to improve the lives of the people, only to have conservatives come in and roll them all back again.

I was pregnant for the first and only time that I know of for sure, though there were other times I wondered about.  I was so sick that I couldn’t keep anything down and was very weak.  I feared that abortion may be necessary to save me from dying of starvation.  Fortunately, medication got my stomach under control.  I told the doctor that I didn’t want the baby aborted if anything went wrong during pregnancy/labor.  I watched a chart of how babies develop, and wondered how anyone could abort a baby.

But I agreed with George Bush that abortion could not be legislated away.  I helped in the youth group, where the pastor read a poem or lyrics about the trouble with abortion protest signs.  It was okay to question, and I was questioning all sorts of Evangelical controversies, such as Harry Potter and homeschooling.  There were Democrats in the church, even.

In my 30s, with a healthy baby in the family now, we had moved to the PCUSA, and their views on abortion were different from what I was used to in evangelicalism.  They wanted it to be rare, but legal.  I thought their reasoning for this was sound.  I learned that the medical community defined pregnancy differently than I’d always heard it.  I became Orthodox soon after, but never stopped my liberal-moving progression.

In my 40s, I learned that many things I’d heard about abortion and contraception from conservative sources were simply wrong.  I learned that making abortion illegal only leads to the deaths of women/girls, NOT to the end of abortion.  I learned that late-term abortions are done because something goes terribly wrong, NOT because the mother or doctor is a murderous psychopath.  I learned how women in Ireland couldn’t get proper health care even if they weren’t pregnant, because doctors were so frightened of causing an abortion.  I learned that the callous woman I’d always heard about who got an abortion because she wanted to look good in a bathing suit–that this was a strawman.  I learned about the various actual reasons women and girls feel compelled to get an abortion.

I learned that abortions actually go DOWN under Democratic leadership because they address the reasons for abortions instead of just outlawing abortions.  So on every count, the Democrats are the true pro-life party.

I voted in every election instead of playing purity politics; I didn’t stay home just because I wanted Bernie instead of Hillary, while I saw other Dems stay home election after election, apparently trusting that everything would stay exactly as it was.  I knew, after all, that on the conservative end, the big issues were abortion and gay rights, and that they had never given up.

Then just days after I turned 49, abortion became illegal in much of the USA.

All these years we’ve heard from the radical right about loss of freedoms and activist judges; turns out they’ve been projecting this entire time.  The party of freedom and democracy and Life is the Democrats!

Giacomo Sanfilippo of Orthodoxy in Dialogue is being persecuted for defending LGBTQ+

My friend Giacomo runs the site Orthodoxy in Dialogue, which has quickly become the standard bearer for LGBTQ+ people gaining acceptance in the Orthodox Church.  And this has made him a target for a fundamentalist contingent which has a lot in common with MAGAts, many modern white Evangelical/Fundamentalist churches, and a certain anti-Francis segment of the Catholic Church.

We have learned a lot about gender variations over the past 2000 years, things which people just didn’t know back when the Bible was written, just as with human reproduction (people used to think there were little men in sperm) and astronomy.  If the Church truly is not against science, then it has to admit when it’s pushing views that are hopelessly antiquated.  But some people are against any kind of change even when it’s desperately needed.

Many of us want people to be allowed to marry whoever they want and stay in full communion.  This isn’t about allowing licentiousness or promiscuity or pedophilia in the church–homophobic tropes where people just assume if you’re gay, you must be in favor of these things as well.  Society in general has been moving toward acceptance, but some just want to drag us backwards again.

For several years, Giacomo Sanfilippo has been subject to various attacks for trying to change hearts in the Orthodox churches so they can be safe spaces for believers who are LGBTQ+.  He’s been slandered, libeled, sued for defamation, and now he’s been doxxed on Twitter. They’re trying to get him in trouble with his bishop.  It’s being done by a group of people who claim to be “Christian” and call him and his allies “wolves.”

But I’ve seen a sample of their behavior online, and–to paraphrase John Fugelsang–I’ve seen atheists who are better Christians than these people.  They have no idea what Christianity is.  They’re the pack of wolves.  They harass, troll, abuse, and give Christ a black eye with everything they do.  They need to get off the frickin’ Twitter, sit down with the Red Letters of Christ, and come to repentance for the hate that fills their hearts, because right now it’s Satan they’re serving, not God.

Purity Culture guy who slut-shamed me was arrested for prostitution

Sometimes, in the years after breaking free of a narcissistic and/or abuser or rapist, you will find out new information that proves you were not to blame.  One ex kept pretending to be something he wasn’t to get girls to date him.  Another has various psychological disorders and sleeps around on his girlfriends.  An ex-friend nearly choked his stepdaughter to death.

In the 1992/3 section of my College Memoirs, you’ll find the story of Shawn, a guy who accused me of separating him from God and not doing enough to stop his advances while he kept pushing and pushing for physical and sexual favors.  I let him do it because I was in love with him and–after growing up with a learning disorder and bullying–didn’t know how to stick up for myself.  I didn’t know how to give myself some self-love by telling him to stop and getting away from that situation.  I was only 18 and 19 years old and kept hoping one day he would say he loved me.  And meantime I kept letting him do whatever he wanted after initially resisting.

He kept saying we were “just friends” and he didn’t want to have an actual “relationship” with me, but he kept coming over to see me and inviting me over.  We both intended to save sex for marriage because of Evangelical Purity Culture, but he kept pushing my boundaries until I stopped wanting to stop him, then he blamed me for giving in.  Then his ultimate slut-shaming of me was saying he couldn’t be my friend anymore because I had given in to him and that made me so repulsive to him.

He severely psychologically damaged me.  I wrote about my realization that his attitudes, the way he shamed me constantly for everything from my introversion to giving in to him to my alleged “imperfections,” came from patriarchal purity culture and his own psychological disorders, here and here.  I wasn’t raised with the idea that I was responsible for stopping him, but HE apparently was, so he blamed me for his own transgressions, while I was left confused, wondering how it could be my fault when he’s the one who kept pushing.  He made me feel like I was forcing myself on HIM when I was actually very passive through the whole thing, letting him take the lead.

He did eventually call me again to try to bury the hatchet.  We connected a few times over the years, briefly.  He finally let me friend him on Facebook a couple of years ago, for a day, but there I discovered he’s a Trumper who listens to far-right con artists like Sean Hannity and Vicki McKenna.  I think he unfriended me again because of my liberal views and disdain for far-right con artists.

Well–I just learned that in June of 2019, Shawn was busted for sex with a prostitute.

WUT

Details are sparse.  But here are the facts:

He’s married and has daughters.

He pled guilty and paid over $1000 in fines.

It was “Prostitution-Nonmmarital Sexual Intercourse.”  He was required to “Provide biological specimen to state crime lab for DNA analysis, and pay DNA analysis surcharge.”

Apparently prostitution rings are common in that part of the state, and they regularly do stings, so maybe he was caught that way, but I have nothing but conjecture to go on.  I know that whether prostitution is “bad” or should be a crime is controversial these days.  But I think most people can agree that a married man with daughters going to a prostitute is disgusting.

UGH

I dodged a bullet!

And I can’t help but wonder at the implications of an Evangelical guy who slut-shamed me, going to a prostitute.

Work in Progress: Ending finally worked

So I read the ending of my work-in-progress the other night in Writer’s Club.  And they loved it.  It worked.  Our published poet especially loved the final paragraph.

I’ve struggled with that ending for years.  I had trouble working out how it should go, what happened, how much to reveal, when it happened, etc. etc.  I’ve deleted things and changed things and rewritten it a bunch of times.  A while back, I showed a reader three different endings and asked which one she liked best.

This one finally worked.

Now, I’m finishing up the research, basically German culture and language.  I spent several years reading all about Nazi Germany and the decades leading up to it and how people thought; I think at this point I know all I need to know.

I’m bogged down in editing, though, because I struggle to find time to do it, and I’m working on Heinrich’s speech patterns.  I hear Germans all the time on the radio because I listen to Goth/Industrial, but I still have trouble getting it right.  I think next book everybody will be a native English speaker.  argh

In revising my first two books to get them ready for a new platform, the writing of my youth surprised me.  There were amazing passages I’d forgotten all about.  But with “Bismarck” I feel like I’m at the peak of my powers, as they say.  It’s probably because I’ve been running a website and blogging for some 18 years, writing all sorts of things, from political pieces to memoirs, while also reading all sorts of things.

It’s getting there, people.  It’s getting there…..

Description of my work-in-progress: Typing An Unwilling Time-Traveler, a novella I wrote in high school, onto my main website, revived my old passion for that story.  Ever since October 2015, I have been working on a full revision.  The original was about a teenage girl abducted to Nazi Germany by a time-traveler; the new version has become far more complex.  Now woven in are various themes such as narcissism, authoritarian religion, deconstructing from Fundamentalism/Evangelicalism, purity culture, and falling for a Svengali figure.  The themes of a Christian society falling for the lies of an authoritarian state, and how warfare is conducted, are also increasingly relevant to our times.  There are Gothic tropes as well as science fantasy.  You can read about my revisions in my writing blog.

Revisiting: Putin as Antichrist?

A couple of years ago, during the “Trump’s the Antichrist!” fervor on Twitter (sometimes tongue-in-cheek, sometimes serious), I posted the following:

Trump, Putin, and the Antichrist

(I also wrote more on the subject here.)

I noted that people were seeing Antichrist signs in Trump–heck, I was, too–but that Putin seemed a more likely contender.  Of course, as even the Bible notes, you can have a bunch of antichrists before the end of the world (1 John 2:18).  And there are many potentials in the world right now, as we have many authoritarian regimes.  We voted Trump out, and cut off a large part of his power, which hopefully kept him from turning into Antichrist, even as people were revering him as the messiah and King Cyrus.  Of course, this is still up in the air, because he still has so many minions trying to make it easier to steal elections that don’t go in his favor.  But at the moment, he’s relegated to the old man yelling at clouds.

I also noted that even if Putin (or Trump) is the Antichrist, that doesn’t mean the world is ending, because so many Antichrist figures have already passed through this world without it ending.  Hitler sparked WWII and yet the world didn’t end.  But then again, I noted, we now live in a time of nuclear weapons and climate change leading to disaster.  Maybe the end of the world is indeed nigh–especially when that madman in Russia is threatening nuclear war.

Turns out many other people are looking into Putin’s eyes and seeing not a dedicated leader, as Bush did, but a psychopath with no soul, as I’ve seen for many years.

Ever since an article in US News and World Report 20 years ago exposed all the reasons why he could be dangerous in the future, I’ve been wary of him.  And this has been proved out over years of him invading countries, poisoning his enemies, fixing elections, jailing protesters, interfering with other countries’ politics, doing everything that screams “dictator.”  We were warned back in the early 90s of what could happen if the void in former Soviet Russia was not filled quickly with a strong alternative to communism.  In the late 90s, Russians were in poverty.  And look who swooped in and took over.  Now, according to experts such as Fiona Hill, it’s not Soviet Russia he wants to rebuild, but Imperialist Russia.

Now that Putin has invaded a sovereign nation without provocation and is bombing it into submission (and yes, it’s wrong for the US to do it, too), the cries of “Antichrist” are rising.  See the following:

CBN–Who Really Is the Antichrist? Bible Expert Explains After Ukrainian Archbishop Calls Putin the ‘Antichrist of Our Time’

The Bible expert in this article notes the difference between fundie and Orthodox versions of the Antichrist because the archbishop said “of our time” instead of “the End Times.”  He sees the many different antichrist figures throughout history.  But Kinley takes the usual literalist view of the prophecies, which doesn’t give you the full picture of what they’re saying.

With literalism, you miss that many parts of the prophecies were fulfilled a long time ago, or how segments of Revelations are basically an ancient worship service.  You miss how much is metaphor or allegory, and how the same prophecy can be fulfilled in the past, is being fulfilled in the present, and will be fulfilled in the future.  You simply can’t approach them expecting everything to exactly match when it’s talking about beasts with seven heads rising from the sea.  A more metaphorical, allegorical, and liturgical interpretation allows you to see how the Antichrist story plays itself out over and over again throughout history.  The maniacal leader rises up, gets a cult to worship him and act as his religious backer, gains power, crushes his enemies, persecutes the resisters, and finally falls.  Revelations is a primer on how to keep yourself from falling for the next Antichrist.  If people looked at it that way, a lot fewer people would currently be kissing the ring of Trump–or of Putin, for that matter.

Kinley says Putin can’t be the End of Times Antichrist because he uses war to get his way.  But that doesn’t fit my reading of Revelations, for one–the Antichrist is very warlike–and for another, we know that Putin has many dedicated followers.  We hear about dissenters, but from my own personal experiences and the stories of people who know actual Russians, it’s very common for them to think he’s performed a “miracle” in Russia and that Russian propaganda is the truth.  A couple of weeks ago, a dear online friend scolded us all for listening to “state media” when Putin was not invading Ukraine, but working to get rid of a fascist regime!  The Antichrist figure may not start out making war, but first gains the love of his people by turning their lives around.  Hitler did the same thing.

Now for articles about the Orthodox Archbishop who points to Putin as the Antichrist of our time:

THE PATRIARCH’S COMPLICITY IN THE INVASION OF UKRAINE by Igumen Vladimir (Tobin)
Ukrainian bishop says Putin is the ‘Antichrist of our current time’: ‘Against God’s law’
Ukrainian Bishop Calls Putin ‘The Antichrist of Our Current Time’
Ukrainian religious leaders liken Putin to anti-Christ, Hitler
Address by Metropolitan Epiphanius (February 27, 2022) (You can run this through Google Translate.)
The BBC interview with the archbishop (This seems to be it, though “interview” seems generous.  It was just a couple of minutes, halfway through the podcast.)

Update 3/10/22: Evangelicals are getting into it, too: Russia’s war on Ukraine has some Christians wondering: Is this the end of the world?

Update 3/13/22: Articles examining the religious element of the invasion:
War is Evil–So why does religion inspire it?
Next Year in Kyiv?  When it comes to Russian Orthodoxy, Kyiv is essentially Jerusalem.

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