Few things have saddened me more in recent days than the unjust murder of George Floyd. First is his death, and second is the response certain Americans have given to the type of protest seen in Minnesota, including the mocking of it.
“It was wrong for him to die but it was also wrong of THEM to riot and burn a Target,” some Americans say.
Who are these THEM? Why are we devolving into US vs THEM language again?
Because it’s about control.
The African American community has been ushered into oppression for hundreds of years. No matter what form of protest they attempt, it’s seen as wrong – taking a knee during sporting events, to now riots. How are they to be heard?
Most people I see denouncing the riots claim to be Christians. I came across this tweet on my Facebook timeline this morning and it makes a solid point:
As someone who is a Christian and familiar with this specific text, I wanted to take a closer look at it, because having some theological background really hits this tweet home.
Jesus Clears the Temple Courts
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”[c]
18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name.[d]24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.
Okay, why are you reading this?
Well, let’s examine what exactly these temple courts might have been. Some theologians, such as the biblical historian Ray Vander Laan, speculate that the temple courts mentioned were the Gentile Courts, where the Gentiles were allowed to worship JHVH in the temple.
Jesus was enraged not only by God’s house being used as a market, but also by the specific place where the money changers were conducting business – the Gentiles could not worship God there in peace. This was ethnic injustice.
So, what did Jesus do? He rioted. Literally.
You could be wrong about the Gentile thing.
But even if I’m not, Jesus did literally do that whole riot thing. He turned over money changing tables. Cash was lost. Is that theft? What is that? Is that looting?
You are thinking in a worldly, not heavenly mindset.
Yes, Jesus alludes to raising Himself from the dead and us all having eternal life through Him. But that didn’t stop Him from action while He was on Earth, as we should not waste our time here.
I think it’s also important to note that nobody understood Jesus when he said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” We often misunderstand each other. These gross misunderstandings and exploitations of them are contributing factors of injustice.
You are saying controversial, ungodly things and people will unfollow you.
Yes, I am. But I’m saying them in one of the few ways I know how. And I must say something.
On zoom a very good friend of mine and I have a bible study for just the two of us almost every day. It’s a good way to keep connected, learn more about ourselves, each other, and Jesus.
Right now we are studying Philippians and one of the last questions for the study yesterday was something along the lines of how you learned where you needed to improve and how you could implement it.
I struggle with being joyful, and I told my friend that perhaps being reminded of the joy I have in the Lord would help me. Maybe I could have visual reminders?
Next I recounted an anecdote about Stephen Colbert and how he supposedly kept Hebrews 1:3 on his computer monitor.
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of majesty in heaven.
Hebrews 1:3 NIV
I could try sticky notes around my office space. Then my friend texted me the verse.
Hebrews 1:3 is pretty deep. It reminds me of the sun and moon, how the sun nourishes all living things and we can walk by night by the moon’s reflection of the sun. And both of these heavenly bodies are, well, in heaven. I know it doesn’t mean that at all most likely and means more than that, but this is an allegory that comes to mind.
Jesus is powerful, and he loves you tenderly. Have a little joy in your heart from that! I’ll try to have some in mine.
My wedding planning book is going through a few iterations right now. I hope to still work with my editor after doing something really really stupid (in a pain flare I should never email people at night). The plan is to focus on mobility aid users and the chronically ill. It casts a wide net. There are many conditions specifically included, but a few from the categories can be chosen to apply to someone whose condition is not specifically listed.
I’m a bit nervous about the rewrite as it’s a blow to my ego, but I have to remember the point is to help people.
I do think this book could be a game changer if I work hard enough on it.
I’d also appreciate comments on whether or not excluding sight and hearing still makes the book marketable, and how much you like the new title.
If you’re interested in helping, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am back in the saddle again with my book, The Disability-Friendly Wedding Planner, and I’m telling you, it’s gonna be a long road.
The book’s purpose is to help disabled and chronically ill individuals plan their weddings, but I’m not entirely sure it’s doing that right now. I’m talking to one agent who hasn’t gotten back to me yet after submitting my manuscript, and I nervously await the next steps.
Additionally, or not additionally rather, the book has been slashed a bit. It no longer covers as wide a net of disabilities as I had once liked to. Now it only covers mobility, chronic illness, and chronic pain, which when you think about it is pretty huge. There are lots of chronic illnesses and chronic pain conditions out there, and lots of varying degrees of mobility.
I have lots lots lots of research to do, and if you’d like to help, email me.
There’s been a lot of talk about neurodiversity in the media at large in the past few years. 99% of neurodiversity talk has been aimed at the autism spectrum and how autism is basically just fine and spiffy, just different.
While this is good and I’m happy for any positive representation a group is getting, what if I told you there were different ways of being neurodivergent?
Just as autism exists on a spectrum, there’s a spectrum for pretty much everything, from gender to sex to fibromyalgia. And when it comes to neurodiversity, I’d like to introduce you to the horror film of spectrums: the schizophrenias.
If you’ve ever been in a group mental health setting, you’ll quickly realize something: the people with depression quickly achieve “most normal” high status, followed by those with anxiety, then those with a mix of depression and anxiety. I know those with depression and anxiety have rallied for years for representation and less marginalization, and I’m telling y’all, you basically have it in an IOP, therapist’s office, or mental hospital. Then, most people hate bipolar people because they have a fucked up mom or kid who can’t do jack shit. This is in the mental health facility. Still in the facility, the descending rung is borderline personality disorder, because those people WILL fuck you up and run off with your wife or something? Give you heroin? And way down, low in the mud, not even on the ladder, are the folks on the schizophrenia spectrum.
Yes, tumblr, I hate to tell you that there are disorders more than anxiety and depression. I would love to tell you that there isn’t prejudice and privilege within the mental health community. But as within any community, from the disabled to mental health, there is.
You have high functioning and low functioning, moderate to severe. People who are guaranteed to fuck you up. I’m not saying moderate depression or high functioning anxiety are cake walks but they’re walks in the park compared to the schizophrenias. This is due in part to representation. People who are “more capable” have the tools to have more of a voice and gain more respect from their communities. Stigma is generated for other mental health groups due to lack of resources to advocate for themselves.
Typically speaking, if you have time to advocate for yourself, you aren’t working. Which leads to scrutiny from society at large. Unless you can make it your job to be an activist, mental health of any kind gets swept under the rug.
Consider all the spectrums. You’re on one. I’m on several. We’re 15 billion different colors of rainbows. Let’s coexist.
Lately I’ve been getting up at 11pm, 1am, or most recently, 2am, and despite my best efforts, have been unable to fall back asleep. I’ve tried everything from meditation, medication, to alcohol, and I still can’t nod off. Unfortunately I tend to do stupid and impulsive things at night, especially just before dawn. I’ve compiled a list of things for my fellow insomniacs to do while they’re up in the early morning.
1. Read a happy book.
Don’t read anything scary. Not a thriller. Not a mystery novel. A book. A happy book.
2. Try one night cap a week.
I take a shot of whisky when I get really, really desperate. Just one. If you struggle with alcohol I’m sorry I wrote this part and please don’t do this. It doesn’t put me to sleep but it calms my nerves and I actually don’t do stupid things due to my anxiety and rumination.
3. Write something.
I work on my book, The Disability-Friendly Wedding Planner, blog posts, and my 27 memoirs, as well as my running diary.
4. Listen to binaural beats.
These have never in my life put me to sleep but they help with pain and anxiety.
5. Hop on Twitter and make friends.
Twitter is my favorite social media platform. I can spend hours on there discovering new things.
6. Daydream on Pinterest, but only a little.
Pinterest can be triggering for me, so I tend to stay off of it. But sometimes it can be fun.
7. Virtually volunteer.
I virtually volunteer at a few places and get my work done overnight, because I’m going to feel horrible during the day anyway.
8. Play with the doggy.
This is the best part about early mornings. I have an elderly dog, and she’s only active in the mornings and evenings. She sits in my lap, dances around, and acts cute. Unfortunately the affection ends after I feed her at 6am. Gee, I wonder why!
I hope this helps some of you. Insomnia can be a real bear. I haven’t figured out the cure for it yet. We’re all in this together!
Sometimes, when life gives you lemons, your brain makes lemonade.
Lately I’ve been dreaming of my Butterfly Tiny Ranch, my goal I’ve had since college to reduce my carbon footprint and feel like I could maintain a piece of land.
I don’t think I’ve asked too much from life when it comes to material possessions. At the same time I’m also the type of gal who likes to daydream and when all my little dreams I’ve had since childhood collide into one solid, beautiful picture, I get so lost in the idea I can’t sleep at night.
There are two things I’ve always wanted: a tiny house on some land and a bunch of dogs. A refuge away from the world where I could have snuggles, nature, and grow my own things from the earth.
By tiny house, I mean more like a tiny cottage – blue and white with wooden shutters, all on one level, with a Japanese soaking tub. It would be elegant and old-timey, like an 1800s guest house.
It would be just enough space for me and to entertain one person. That’s all I’ve ever needed anyway.
The land would have an elaborate rose garden with a brick walkway going through, followed by a vegetable garden, then an apothecary garden.
And then… there would be DOGS!
The supreme queen would be my dog of nine years, followed by a pack of Pomeranians and papillons, my two favorite dog breeds. I would have a dog wash station by the side of the house. A mobile dog groomer would come to pamper my pups.
I haven’t had a regular Monday morning since November of 2018. At the time I was a receptionist for a seedy car lot and trying my hardest to keep up. Every morning I woke up at 3am for my strenuous 1 hour morning routine, followed by my hour commute to start work at 5am down I-35 in ridiculous traffic. My car was a 25 year old clunker with no airbags. In short, it was a dangerous journey.
I didn’t get along with the folks at the car lot. I was too genuine, and too disabled. This was year two of my chronic vomiting, and one Wednesday I ran from the receptionists’ desk to puke for about five minutes. There was another receptionist at my post. When I returned, I received a harsh reprimand and was promptly fired. The whole incident was so jarring I haven’t interviewed for a job since and have decided to make it on my own freelancing.
That’s not to say I don’t want a job. I long for a typical Monday morning with three cups of coffee, doing my hair and makeup, putting on cute clothes and rushing out the door into the chaos of traffic. I know it sounds insane, but as someone that’s been homebound for two years now, there are some “awful” things I wish I had in my life. Some tethers of normalcy to give me the crown of worthiness.
However, there was a time I hated my morning or night commute. There may be certain things we hate in life or dread, but they serve a purpose. Our commutes in our little cars take up little spaces in the world and show us where we fit in society, seamlessly and dangerously, knowing one crash could take us out forever.
A commute’s potential purpose is to gain insight about the world. That asshole who cut you off – have you ever considered you might have been the asshole? Or maybe they were rushing a baby to the hospital?
Another is to gain insight about the world. We are cars on a road part of a system that crosses continents. We are so, so small part of something so huge.
What about gaining insight about yourself? What do you do in the car to stay calm? Do you listen to angry music? Soothing music? Podcasts? Do you feed your mind, your emotions, or your soul?
Whether you make it to your destination or not, I’d say your Monday morning commute is thankful for you. Negative experiences – or experiences we think are negative – are grateful for you because they get to serve their positive purpose: to allow illumination in their darkness.