Saturday, March 17, 2018

Wind River

I rarely recommend movies, especially recent ones.  I do recommend, with provisos Wind River

I won't give away the plot--the least you know going in, the better, I think.  The script and acting are excellent, and the scenery, as some have said, is a character.  Although it addresses the plight of the Native Americans, it does not beat the viewer over the head with it and the characters are not stereotypes.

Granted, it's rough to watch at times and not for children, so you are warned.  But it's a compelling movie, and I don't know why it was not nominated for an Oscar but Lady Bird (which I paid money to see) was. 

Let's Try this again: My new book!!!

I'm proud of this one--my first mystery.  If you know me, I can get you a signed copy for 6.00.  Kindle only 2.99.


The textbook I am using for the Interpersonal Communication class decries stereotypes, but allows that they are not necessarily always untrue.

A recent Ted Talk I saw by an African woman states, "Stereotypes are not wrong because they are untrue, but because they are incomplete."


I think this is sending a mixed message.  While it might be true that there has been some basis in reality for some stereotypes, I think overall we do better to denounce stereotypes.

Some are, or might seem, harmless, "Black people like fried chicken."  "Latinos value family."  "Asians have strong work ethics."  And if you were to do real research, these might hold up, to some level.  I don't think the alleged harmlessness of a stereotype dismisses its lack of logic and potential damage to thought processes. Plus, don't white people do all these things?  Is it possible Asians would like fried chicken if it had been part of their heritage?  Do Black people not value family?  Why are these attributes treated as the sole possession of one group? 

I say this partly because these messages about stereotypes being partially true or incomplete bothers me.  They are the height of illogic.  But I also preach against stereotypes because all of us are the victims of them and they are at least galling if not discriminatory.

Case in point:  Evangelical.  Many of us evangelicals are seriously considering not using the term for self-reference any longer.  The word has become toxic to so many, mostly due to the evil media and a little bit due to our own fault (or the fault of high profile leaders).

I am proud of what evangelicals were and what we stand for spiritually, socially, and Biblically.  I'm not so sure about what we stand for now, especially with the political ramifications.  We are being stereotyped as a group that values political power (i.e., allegiance to Trump and Trumpism) rather than obedient followers of our Savior.  We are being stereotyped as hypocrites who criticized Clinton roundly for his sexual behavior but overlook Trump's.  Some pastors and parachurch leaders have been too vocal in their support for a man who really doesn't get what we are about.

I find the man, his behavior, and his communication style appalling.  Let me say that clearly.  I do like some of what he has accomplished, though.  I realize that is difficult for some on both sides to take.  The sign of a good mind is being able to hold contradictory thoughts at the same time, but that also sounds like an excuse for sitting on the fence.  It seems that we must find a way to call him to repentance and yet value what he does correctly (which is less and more than some might think).

Kallman's Syndrome, Revisited Part II

I have been surprised to see, according to this software, that sites about transgendered people are coming to this site.  I'm thinking, "I never write about that topic--what's the connection?" I realized the other day that it is probably my posts on Kallman's Syndrome, which are among my most visited.

"Coming out" about Kallman's has been painful but I hope it helps some to know that you can get through this life and condition and have fulfillment.  Of course, my fulfillment is mostly because of the grace of Jesus Christ. With the identity as His follower, physical conditions come fourth or later.   

As a patient of Kallman's, I do not know what the connection to transgenderism is.  I never felt that I was a man living in a woman's body or even a non-woman.  I have all the working parts, just no gasoline.  I have been pregnant and had a child.  Granted, some aspects of stereotypical womanhood are puzzling to me, but I think that's because I was raised with brothers, married into a family of all males, and had a male child. Lots of women with plenty of hormones like outdoorsy activities (see my post about guns below) and are less emotional than "how women are supposed to be."

On the other hand, I do understand the common female tendencies to discount our abilities (women will not apply for higher level positions because they believe themselves not ready, whereas men will apply for them with the attitude they will learn as they go, which seems the healthier attitude), to overapologize, and to defer to men of lesser ability for no reason whatsoever.  I am applying for a much higher level position right now and experience the "oh, my, why am I doing it" feeling every day, and have to interrogate why.

I'm teaching a class in Interpersonal Communication this semester and the textbook author spends a lot of time in the book about gender differences in communication.  I've studied this a lot myself (my master's thesis was on this subject).  But such boxes have to be taken with a disclaimer, and I find myself outside the box frequently, as I imagine most people do.

I suppose I can see some connection with Kallman's, in some persons' minds, to gender dysphoria or transgenderism.  Despite any personal thoughts I might have on the subject, I would never publish them because I have not studied the situation or issue and it would be wrong for me to comment on something I know nothing about.  The reader who wants to find an issue in that or to read between the lines should not. It's immoral, in my opinion, to spout off on something I don't know about or understand.

In my seventh decade of living (oh,yes!) I rarely think about the Kallman's any more except for the lack of sense of smell.  My husband bought me some perfume the other day, and as always I just told him I would wear whatever smells good to him.  I do worry that the hormones I took for decades will cause some problems later, though.  

How Not to Be in a Cult or Create One

Fascinating video:

Reading the comments of viewers disheartens me, since so many equate their church experience with this kind of group.  I doubt many pastors expect everyone to live together or to have photos of the pastor in their houses or rooms.  With the exception of some megachurch pastors and some little popes in the pulpits in small churches, most pastors are feeding rather than fleecing the flock and are making sacrifices for ministry.  Christianity Today does a good job of focusing on pastors of small congregations (around 200 and less in attendance), which constitute the majority of them. 

In my humble opinion, pastors' first responsibility is to teach the Word, preach the gospel, and know and care for the flock.  Their second responsibility is to not let their ministry become a cult of personality, to not allow themselves to "attract followers."  Even Twitter feeds into this proclivity of strong people to gain "followers"--that's what the connections are called.  This blog, too.  (I have no worry about doing so--I'm pretty low on the charisma scale, in written form or in the flesh!)

The trick (if it can be called that) is to love and call to Christian obedience and to encourage  without taking away the other's responsibility and agency, their ability and obligation to make personal decisions.

In terms of not being in a cult, any time you are asked to do something because it's the whim of the pastor, or that you cannot find clearly taught in Scripture, then stop and think why this is happening, pray for discernment, and consider leaving.  If you confront the pastor and he/she tells you to leave, you probably should. 

(This happens a lot more than we want to admit.  Granted, there are serious troublemakers who are asked to leave; not everyone who confronts a pastor about a matter are right.  That's why discernment is necessary, and we should pray for our pastors diligently.)

Disclaimer:  I don't like the title of this video, mostly because the expression of "Holy" with excrement is blasphemous.  The people in this video were in a weird New Agey cult based on Hinduism, not Christianity.  The interview with the cult leader in the end is the most interesting.  I wonder how this guy makes a living? 

The social worker's comments are very good, as well.


St. Patrick's Day

This is my 1900th post!

Welcome to March 17, St. Patrick's Day.  The day that flagrant stereotypes are allowed.

We don't celebrate the contributions of the Irish this day.  We don't marvel at the story of Patrick.  We use it as an excuse to party and make fun of drunk Irishmen.

In the 1800s, the Irish Catholics were not considered "white" in this country, at least in the Northeast. That changed as racists saw the rise of African Americans and targeted them.

I have Scots Irish in my background, which is not really Irish. It refers to Scots who migrated to Northern Ireland before coming to the U.S. I also found through a DNA test that I'm 3/8 Scandinavian and 1/8 or 1/16 Mediterranean.   I was told for years I was Native American, but there seems to be some controversy there.

Read up on St. Patrick.  It's a great story of the early church. 

Family First

My son is attending the first two rounds of the March Madness tournament in Nashville this weekend.  He is in seventh heaven over it.  His tweets are funny. 

Wind River

I rarely recommend movies, especially recent ones.  I do recommend, with provisos Wind River .  I won't give away the plot--the least ...