A funny thing happened this week on Facebook. I was “outed” as a feminist. To my knowledge, that had never been a secret, but it caught some folks off guard. Apparently, their ideas about feminism clashed with their ideas about Christianity, and they couldn’t wrap their heads around someone who believes in both.
Rather than ask questions, they went for the jugular. They called me names, called me insane, and a great cry rose up to “block” me. (Oh no. Please. Don’t block me.) To be fair, that’s standard Facebook etiquette. I just found it a little hard to swallow when those same people went on to post lovely pictures with inspiring Bible quotes about kindness.
“[Feminism] is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” –Pat Robertson, as quoted in the New York Times, August 25, 1992
It’s an old quote but it’s making the rounds on Facebook, to thunderous applause. Or teary-eyed laughter, depending on your bent. The quote itself is bizarre on so many levels. I wondered why anyone would forward it. But after consideration, I see that this quote precisely encapsulates some people’s fears. And those who misuse the name of God to manipulate followers (::coughPatRobertsoncough::) capitalize on those fears.
Why would they do that? Besides the obvious (humans resist change), there is a more pressing concern: Politics. It’s interesting that this quote stresses political motives three times. If you’re a student of the Bible, as Robertson says he is, you know that the number three is of special significance. When something is said three times, take notice.
If we take out the emotion and the non-repeating accusations in Robertson’s quote, the one main point we’re left with, the reason for the scare tactics, the point he says three times–socialist, political movement, destroy capitalism–is fear of political change. And that is the reason this quote is still popular 25 years after it was first printed. Politics in the US is scary right now.
So, anyway, the Facebook people felt that I misrepresented myself by claiming to be a Christian for 38 years, studying the Bible, writing about Jesus, staying happily married to a man for 32 years and counting, staying home and homeschooling my five children, and admitting to feminist leanings only whenever the subject came up. I can see how that might confuse people into concluding that I’m a sleeper agent that will one day talk straight, Christian women into leaving their husbands to become Wiccan lesbians. Because, socialism.
My grown kids tell me it’s a generational thing. It’s the word that’s offensive, not the idea. They say the term feminism no longer means equal rights; it means anti-male. For that reason, a lot of people who genuinely believe in equality don’t call themselves feminists.
I get that. Some women who hate men call their hate feminism. Some men hate women and call it traditional values. Haters say anything to justify their own bad behavior. I’m still not throwing out the word.
A woman who seeks to put men down is a sexist. A person who seeks to lift women up to create equality is a feminist. The men and boys in my life know that I’ll fight just as ferociously for their rights as I do for females. They also know I probably won’t have to.
Why not use a more neutral term, like humanism or egalitarianism? Because humanism includes rejecting a belief in a Higher Power, so that doesn’t fit my Christian faith. Egalitarianism encompasses so much more than male/female relationships. And it’s tame. When we hear the word feminist, the female cannot be ignored.
I will continue to call myself a feminist as long as women and girls worldwide are considered the property of men; as long as women and girls worldwide are denied education, jobs, and decent healthcare; as long as women and girls are blamed for “provoking” or “allowing” violence against themselves; as long as preachers blame wives for their husband’s infidelity, and encourage women to stay with abusive men; and as long as the Constitution of the United States does not guarantee equal rights to all persons regardless of their sex.
When injustices against women and girls are righted, we will no longer need to keep emphasizing female empowerment. Until then, I’m a feminist. Deal with it.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28, NIV
1/22/2017 UPDATE: More Facebook drama ensued after I posted the link to this post on my wall, as one dude started right up with stereotyping. That led to a back-and-forth between us. I stopped, and he and his buddies continued. At the end, it was one dude literally saying nothing else except for calling me a “feminazi”.
Anyway, one of my real-life friends told me face-to-face that I sounded angry in my response to the dude on Facebook. I wasn’t angry. (If I get angry, I say so.) But since I respect my friend’s judgement, and I know she’s got my back, I deleted the comments, but left the link.
Whew! I’m glad this week is over. Be well, peeps.
Good New Year, Writer Peeps!
The writing mantra, “It doesn’t have to be good; it has to be done,” has served me well in my years of corporate writing, periodical writing, ghostwriting, and copy editing. Because you will never sell what you never finish. Fact.
So, when I talk with writers, I ask about their progress, even (especially) when I suspect they’ve made none. I roll my eyes when they claim they’re too busy to write. I stare down pre-published hopefuls and demand, “You make the time!” In short, I’ve been kind of a bully–but I hope in a benevolent, head-matron kind of way.
Now it’s my turn to hang my head and mumble, “I’ve been dealing with a lot of stuff.” Since March 2016, my family literally has not gone one month without a major crisis or event. I keep thinking I can get back to normalcy, and then something else happens. Not the least of these problems is my recurring iritis, which comes with a treatment that causes glaucoma, and threatens to end my editing career altogether.
If you don’t know what iritis is, imagine gouging out the irises of your eyes, little by little, with a pickle fork, then shoving hot metal skewers through sightless sockets into your brain, over and over and over again. But iritis hurts quite a bit more. It’s good I’m not a spy. During a bout of iritis, I would–without hesitation–blab state secrets for a shot of morphine.
Anyway, that’s why I haven’t been writing blog posts. Sometimes, life really does get in the way of writing. Apparently.
There it is–my excuse. I hope that you’ll cut me some slack, and I guess I can cut you some slack in return. But don’t you dare let me off the hook. I’m no sissy pants. It’s not impossible to write a blog while wearing sunglasses, with the computer screen magnified to 300%.
And I’m not letting you off the hook either. You need to get your book finished. No one else can write your story. If you don’t write it, you will leave the world with an empty place that can never be filled. And that would be sad. Dictate into your phone’s recorder as you walk. Carry a notebook and pen and scribble notes while you wait in lines. Find the time! But only, you know, if life isn’t really getting in the way too much. Take care of your family and your health first.
“Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.” –Stephen King
A LITTLE HELP?
While I hopefully have you all softened up with my tearless sob story, I’d like to ask a favor. I’m steadily redesigning this site to merge with other sites I had. I want this to be a central hub. Right now, some catagories and links are still a little wonky, and I’m on that. But I need someone with normal eyes to answer my question. Is the font on this site too small? How is it coming through on your device? If you could let me know, that would be a big help. In fact, if anything is coming through “wrong,” I’d like to know, so I can fix it.
P.S. I didn’t forget Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. But I don’t have anything prepared to honor the day properly. I recommend you check out MLK Day: Meet 9 lesser known women behind the civil rights era’s biggest achievements by Alison Durkee at .Mic. I found it informative, fresh, and an encouragement to me, as a woman, that women have always and will always play an integral role in social change.
April 22, 2016. Passover starts at sunset tonight. I’m not celebrating this year because of my current circumstances. Maybe your circumstances are preventing you from celebrating, too. If that’s the case, you and I can be encouraged together by the Biblical account of a Passover when so much went wrong, but even more went right.
One Passover, King Hezekiah sent invitations to the people of Israel, Judah, Ephraim, and Manasseh to join together to celebrate the LORD’s Passover. He’d chosen a date that was a month past the appointed time according to the Law, because that seemed right to both the king and the people, due to their circumstances.
A month late, the people came in droves, and many took the elements without first purifying themselves as commanded in the Law. They were eager to jump right in and to get right with God, but they unintentionally violated God’s written commandments. What do you suppose happened? Rejection? Disease? General smiting?
No. God pardoned “everyone who sets their heart on seeking God…even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary” (2 Chronicles 30:19). God healed them, and their prayers reached heaven. Everyone was so blessed by their experience that they stayed an extra week, rejoicing and encouraging one another.
“The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced, along with the priests and Levites and all who had assembled from Israel, including the foreigners who had come from Israel and also those who resided in Judah. There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place.” (2 Chronicles 30:25-27)
Contrary to popular belief, God is not looking for some slip-up to blame us for. God is loving and kind! If we “set our heart [determine] to seek God,” he will hear our prayers.
Why do you suppose that Hezekiah decided to set up a Passover celebration a month late, instead of waiting for the appointed time the next year? What do you think made him believe that God would pardon the unpurified? Under similar circumstances, I’m not so sure that I would have made the same choices. What about you? Why or why not?
May God bless you and hear your prayer every single day that you determine to seek him.
Pssst! Hey Christians: Did you know that the Last Supper that Jesus took with his disciples was a Passover seder? Find out what Passover looks like for followers of Jesus in the 3 minute video below.
I’m distracted. My conscious thought is pinballing between dozens of logistics and social commitments, regrets and what ifs, bits and pieces of about six works in progress, the memory of an arcade pinball machine that my dad once brought home as a surprise, and wondering whether I brushed my hair today and what my kids are eating for dinner and how my mom is doing and…
My daddy died. He was 86, ambulatory and lucid right up to the end. He and Mom had just celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary. He died peacefully in his sleep after an evening of visiting with family, including playing on the floor with his great grandson, whom he adored. Not a bad way to go. Still. My heart is broken.
I had been making great progress on an e-book that I’m writing. Then, suddenly, it didn’t matter anymore.
Usually in times of stress, I immerse myself in writing and editing. Work focuses my mind and gives me a break from overwhelming feelings. But that is, for now, impossible, so I put aside my work in progress and decided to write my feelings instead, to turn all that emotion into a new creation. But the only word that came out was sad.
Daddy used to tell me, “Girl, there ain’t no reason on this earth that you cannot do exactly what you wish, if you put your mind to it.” (He pronounced the wish like whoosh.)
So, for my dad and for myself, I won’t stop writing. I’m carrying around a pad and pen and scribbling notes–even one word notes like “sad”–as random events and emotions come to mind. They’re not cohesive, but who knows what may come of it? And I’m writing this blog post, which I know isn’t formatted correctly to look right, but I don’t care today. At least I showed up.
I’m new to this phase of life, and I still have lots to figure out. But I “whoosh” to write. And I’ll find a way.
How about you? How have you dealt with following your dreams in the midst of soul-crushing distraction? I’d love to hear from you.
And if you’d like to leave a comment on my daddy’s memorial page, I’d appreciate that, too. It isn’t finished, because I’m distracted, but I’m working on it.
Ciao, writer peeps!
For those of you who find yourselves either without a style guide, or too busy writing the next great American novel to get bogged down in the nit-picky details, I made you a handy-dandy, quick-reference chart for punctuating dialogue in fiction. Since most fiction is written in Chicago style (CMOS), that’s the style I used.
Of course, the chart doesn’t cover every possible case of punctuation in dialogue, but it covers the usual suspects. You can always ask me questions in the comment section if you come across a grammatical stumper. I’m here for you. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find it for you.
I made the chart as a two-page, downloadable PDF, so you can print it out on two sides of one paper, then slip it into a page protector to keep for easy reference. You have my permission to download, print, copy, and share for personal use. I’d appreciate it if you link back to this blog post if you’re sharing.
Get the PDF here > Punctuating Dialogue 2016
For those of you who just want to look at it online, I made the JPEG below, but that didn’t turn out so well. Womp, womp. I’m better with words than with pictures.
Whichever you use, I hope this will free up your time, so you can keep writing. Only you can write your story.
Ciao, writer peeps! I still have this eye thing limiting my screen time. Surely, there’s a blog post in there about serious writers overcoming all obstacles to express their craft. But I didn’t write it.
Since I love you and want you to succeed, though, I’m using my time to turn you on to Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method for Designing a Novel. If you’ve been writing fiction for a while, you already know about the Snowflake Method, even if you don’t use it. If you’re a newbie writer, I promise you, this is gold.
I don’t know the man, and I don’t get any compensation for recommending this. I just want you to have this tool in your writing toolbox.
You can find the Snowflake Method in a nutshell at http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method/
Ingermanson offers software, designed for the Snowflake Method, available through his site, but you can use the method without the software. Make sure you skip down to the bio pic at the bottom of the page, where it says “About the Author” to sign up for his free Advanced Fiction Writing e-zine for more awesome, practical, writing skills.
Do you write by the seat of your pants, or do you plot out your work? (I’m a plotter.) How is your method working for you? Have you tried the Snowflake Method? Do you use another method that works better for you?
Many thanks to my friend and sometimes critique partner, John Brunson, for the following guest post. It is most appropriate for this Holy Week.
WHY THE CRUCIFIX?
by John Brunson
In my experience growing up, there weren’t many Good Friday services being Protestant. It wasn’t until I came to where I am now that I got a chance to attend one. And most churches I’ve attended display an empty cross. So why the crucifix?
Consider for a moment what you are looking at: A man, who has had his arms and legs attached to wood by driving a railroad-like spike through his wrists and his feet. No doubt the victim is in wordless agony. The pain is so bad that there’s a word for it: excruciating (literally “out from the cross”).
Consider again that the man on the cross is taking our punishment. The wages of sin is death. And here death is, in all of its repugnant horror, before us. So much so, that we are led to gasp, “Christ on the altar!”
Some will say, “But Jesus isn’t on the cross anymore.” And they are right. But without a Good Friday, there is no Easter Sunday. Without the Cross, there is no resurrection, there is no hope. Woe unto us because we should be pitied above all other men. And yet the cross is where sorrow and hope meet. Sorrow because the innocent God-man dies in order to save his creation. And hope because this isn’t the end of the story.
In the gospel of John, the writer makes an interesting point. He stated that Jesus “gave up his spirit” when he died. It’s a turn of a phrase that has always made me pause until… I remember Jesus’ words: “No man takes my life from me. I lay down my life and I take it up again.”
And that’s why the cross isn’t just a sorrowful memory. It’s a hint of the resurrection. Not even death could claim victory. It’s Jesus willingly laying down his life. His life wasn’t taken; his life was given. Meaning Jesus holds all the cards. Jesus is doing things his way. And he’s doing them on his terms. The Messiah is dealing decisively with Israel’s greatest nemesis. Not The Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks or even the Romans. Jesus is dealing decisively with death itself. It’s here that Jesus takes his place as the king without equal.
The crucifix, the place where sorrow and hope meet.
Kathy here again. What are your thoughts on the crucifix? Do you display an empty cross, a cross with the figure of Jesus, or no cross at all? Why? Explain your thoughts in the comments section.
Have a blessed Easter. Christ is Risen!
Purim begins Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at sunset and continues until sunset Thursday, March 24.
Purim is a freewill offering holiday, not commanded by the LORD under the Law of Moses, but rather instituted by the Jews to commemorate deliverance from a planned systematic genocide, as recorded in the Bible book of Esther. (See Esther 9:27-28)
Celebrating Purim includes four parts:
Optional: Get rip-roaring drunk. The Talmud (not the Bible) says, “A person is obligated to drink on Purim until he does not know the difference between ‘cursed be Haman’ and ‘blessed be Mordechai’” (Meghilla 7b). Maimonides wrote, “That one should …drink wine until he is drunk and falls asleep from drunkenness” on Purim (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Megillah 2:15). Tradition tells us to get drunk on this one day only, to strip away all pretense of social etiquette and reveal our true hidden natures.
I personally think we can skip the tradition of drinking altogether, or at least drink in moderation. In my opinion, too much harm occurs when rage, arrogance, or recklessness reveals itself through alcohol. And there is only the whisper of a line between getting drunk enough to “fall asleep from drunkenness” and getting drunk enough to die from alcohol poisoning or asphyxiation.
A traditional food that is eaten and given away on Purim is called hamantaschen, literally, “Haman’s ears.” Haman got into trouble by eavesdropping, but Haman’s ears are delicious! They’re three-pointed cookies filled with jams, poppy seeds, chocolate, or whatever you like.
Traditional Hamantaschen recipe
1 1/3 cup shortening (Fleischmann’s vegetable oil spread is pareve, if you’re cooking kosher)
1 cup sugar
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour + a little to dust the rolling surface
6 tablespoons water or orange juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
filling of your choice, such as poppy seeds, Nutella, jam, orange marmalade
plastic wrap, baking sheet, mixing bowl, spoon
Directions: (1) Blend shortening and sugar together until creamy. (2) Blend in eggs, one at a time, until creamy. (3) Stir in water (or juice) and vanilla extract until well mixed. (4) Stir in flour, a little bit at a time, until blended. (5) Put the mix onto plastic wrap, cover and chill thoroughly. (6) When chilled, dust a rolling surface, and gently roll or pat the dough to ¼ inch thickness. Use a round cookie cutter or the top of a glass to cut out circles. (7) In each circle, place a teaspoon of filling. Pinch into three corners, with the filling peeking out from the center. (8) Bake on an oiled cookie sheet at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until golden. Makes about two dozen.
Chag Sameach! (“Happy Holiday!”)
Photo by Francisco Farias, Jr at publicdomainpictures.net
Ola, readers! I have an eye thing and have to limit screen time for a couple of weeks, so today’s post will be short and sweet. It’s an editing trick I learned years ago, and still use today to help me decide whether or not to cut a line, a scene, or whatever.
In your manuscript, mouse over and highlight the text in question. Then change the text color to white. It will “disappear.” Don’t delete the space this creates, or you’ll delete all your work. Leave the white space. Go get a cup of coffee or take your dog for a walk. When you get back, reread that section without the text that’s been whited out. If it works better without it, delete the space (or cut and paste to somewhere else, if you think you’ll use it elsewhere). If you want it back, just mouse over it and change the text color back to automatic, and the text reappears.
I'm inspired, so I inspire
COPYEDITOR ~ WRITER ~ MERRYMAKER
A personal blog by John Parsons, author of the Hebrew for Christians web site.
COPYEDITOR ~ WRITER ~ MERRYMAKER
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Psalm 45:1
When you have NO money.
COPYEDITOR ~ WRITER ~ MERRYMAKER
COPYEDITOR ~ WRITER ~ MERRYMAKER
Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi
Celebrating Life in Jewish and Christian Harmony