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Steaming Smoke Screen August 23, 2009

Posted by Emma Jayne in Poetry.
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A picture and a poem by my good friend Cindy…

Steaming Smoke Screen

Steam is running so fast, going off the rails but staying on track.
The smoke which gets in the eyes, obscuring sight but not the vision.
Puffs of grey and spouts of white, smoking engines heart embers burning.
Spinning wheels, cogs rotating. Rods anchoring the wheels in motion.
In the commotion, the direction is lost. The tracks are straight. There’s no escape.
Smoke exhaustion, sleeping denied. Running on empty, steam all dried.
New recognition. Coal shovelled in and water poured from the heavens.
Mechanical engine, or living being? Locomotive heart is being driven.
The Great western, Firefly, Hawthorn, Star, Consolidation.
Run away train I can’t quite catch, sitting inside but out of reach.
Atmospheric gases, smoke inhalation. Steaming ahead, standing still.
Transparent water to steam vapour, heated coals to fuel exhausted.
Back in the yard standing alone fire extinguished. Brain still smoking.

Hell: God’s Greatest Dilemma August 20, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Christianity, Theological Reflection.
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It must be so bloody annoying.

Universe created, evolution ticking along nicely, more or less the way it should — apart from these wretched humans who think they know better, building their stinking cities everywhere and going around slaughtering one another as if there’s no tomorrow.

I mean, what’s a God supposed to do? Wind ’em up and let ’em go, I guess: live now, pay later or something, just give ’em hell.

Neat. All the evil sods who thought they’d got things their own way and spent their lives ruining other people’s all lined up for a bonfire party that’s gonna make a star going nova look like a kid’s firecracker; and they’re gonna be in it, not toasting their bagels on it.

Then what happens?

Some bastard carpenter comes along and blows the door off. Bloody menace: now what are you gonna do with ’em?

Go figure.

(Thanks to my friend @bourach for inspiring me to write this. Bourach, sweetie, you’re not going to hell: the Bastard Carpenter wins over the Angry Deity every time.)

Notes from a Gay Christian Woman August 7, 2009

Posted by Emma Jayne in Christianity, Church, Life Issues, Theological Reflection.
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Being gay is not a lifestyle option.

I didn’t wake up one morning and decide, “Now I shall be gay.” Nor is it about something that I do or how I behave in bed. Being gay is a part of who I am, and when you tell me — in your condescending way — that you hate the sin but love the sinner, you’ve completely missed the point.

Do you tell a black woman that you hate her skin but love the person within? How then can you tell me that you hate my being gay but love me?

But you say that’s different, that she was born that way, whilst I was born — well, what do you know about how I was born? You look at the outside: only God can see the heart.

You say it’s OK to be gay as long as I don’t do gay: that I must remain celibate. You say that sex is for marriage, but you deny me that privilege. You put fences around me — for my protection, you say. But that’s not true, is it? The fences are for your protection, to keep you safe from me, from the threat that I and my friends supposedly present to your nice, clean-cut clearly defined community.

But I won’t play your games. And so you drag me before your angry God, with your stones in hand, ready to throw at his command. “We caught her in the act,” you say.

He looks at me and he looks at you and he shakes his head and bends down to draw a line  in the sand. He writes above the line. He writes below the line. He crosses the line. But you can’t see what he’s writing: you’re standing too far away, not wanting to be contaminated by my ‘sin’ … my lesbian love.

There. I’ve said it. Yes, I’m what you call a ‘dyke’, a woman in love with a woman; and this angry God of yours: he looks at me and he loves me and he understands and he accepts me. He looks at you and offers you the same but somehow the stones in your hands that were meant for me have turned into a hammer and nails for him.

He stands and faces you, holds out his hands.

“We want to help her,” you say.

“Whoever looks at a woman lustfully has already raped her in his heart,” he replies. “Is that how you would help her? By planting your seed in her belly to make more of you? Has she not already been hurt enough?”

I listen, amazed. I look at my body. How little you know, I think. This body of mine that you would take and break and make into one of your own: how little you know. My body — is this my body? It has never bled like other women’s bodies: I have never known that gift, that glory, that … indignity. These seeds you would plant would not grow, could not grow: an infertile field, with no hope of a harvest. But you: what do you see?

“She is evil,” you say. “She has a devil.”

“What?” he asks. “Are you not devils, making these accusations? Is this how you drive out devils?”

He holds out his hands again.

“She is a sinner,” you say. “You’re supposed to say, ‘Go, and sin no more.'”

He smiles. “Go, and sin no more.”

“No,” you say, “to her, not to us. Look — we’re the ones with the stones, the hammer and the nails. We can kill both of you.”

His smile disappears. He holds out his hand, draws me to my feet, whispers, bids me depart: the scene, he tells me, is going to get messy…

Which one is your church? August 7, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Church.
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It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes facebook’s context-driven advertising is spot on. Alongside a discussion about church:

Spot the Difference

Can you spot the difference?

I guess the difference is, in MafiaWars, everyone knows it’s a game and it’s free; in church, sometimes they really are out to kill and they expect you to pay for the privilege…

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