Tag Archives: religion

Stranger Pics & The Pope

Contrary to the title of this post, this is not an essay about stranger pictures and the Pope, but rather two separate essays for Role/Reboot. This week, I wrote about the first rule of fight club: don’t take pictures of strangers without their permission. Very obvious corrollary: Don’t post pictures of strangers that you took without their permission.

On rare occasions, stranger pics are meant to celebrate and compliment, in which case, ask permission before snapping and sharing. The rest of the time, when we are taking photos of strangers with the intent to mock, we are actively contributing to a culture of bullying. We all do embarrassing things, accidentally wearing a shirt inside out (a stranger photo recently seen on Twitter), or trying to surreptitiously pick a wedgie (Instagram). If you would like your moments of private shame or your brief lapses in fashion judgment generously overlooked by the Internet, you have to give people the same courtesy. “Being in public” is not equivalent to “giving permission to be photographed and/or mocked/idolized/lusted after/bullied/captioned/edited”. Maybe legally it is, I have no idea, I’m not a lawyer, but ethically it is not.

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Last week, after the Pope commented that married couples without children will find bitterness and loneliness, I wrote about what he calls “the culture of well being”, and why wanting to be a parent is the best possible reason to become one, and not wanting to be one is a pretty damn good reason to not.

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Related Post: Stranger pic example, hot girls of Occupy Wallstreet.

Related Post: “Don’t take my picture,” “Come on! You’re at the beach!”

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Filed under Gender, Media, Politics, Republished!

Update: He Died.

Yesterday, when I wrote this, Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist Church, was still alive.

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Related Post: More hateful stuff from Rush Limbaugh

Related Post: An atheist and a Christian walk into a skype call. 

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An Atheist and a Christian Walk Into a Skype Call

An atheist and a Christian walk into a skype call…

Sounds like the beginning of a terrible joke OR a super fun conversation between two very different people with very different experiences. My friend Jonalyn and I spent some time a few weeks back discussing the separation of church and state, gay marriage, tolerance vs. acceptance vs. celebration, and many other fun things in a….shall we say… wandering conversation for video series Emerald City

For those of you paying attention, we did this once before and discussed what kinds of sex count as real sex, intimacy, and “stewarding virginity” which is just the greatest phrase ever.

Check us out:

Related Post: Jonalyn inspired this piece about friends across the aisle

Related Post: Our past conversation on sexuality and virginity

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Filed under Gender, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People

Friends Across the Aisle

Last week I recorded my second skype chat with Jonalyn Fincher, the Christian blogger I talked with that other time about what sex counts as real sex. Remember that? Wasn’t it fun? We sure thought so, so we did it again and it’ll be posted soon!

After our conversation, we were musing about how fun and rare it was to have these kinds of curious, respectful conversations about touchy topics (this time we talked about the Bible in politics, marriage incentives, and divorce, among other things) with people on the “other side” of the issue.

I don’t know about you, but I feel very isolated among the likeminded. It’s a product of growing up in Boston, where I went to college, where I work now, and the internet communities in which I participate. The “other side” that manages to make it to my newsfeed is always the most extreme, most egregious, most politicized distortion of the views of ordinary people. Talking with Jonalyn is an opportunity to remember that crossing the aisle for these convos doesn’t have to be done gloves-up, full of scorn.

So this week for Role/Reboot I wrote about how rare and delightful (and important!) these conversations are:

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Related Post: Friday at temple, for a change.

Related Post: I met a Republican.

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A Christian and an Atheist Talk about Sex: Watch What Happens!

I am SO excited about this post. A few weeks ago, I wrote about what counts as “real sex.” I find that our traditional definition, (penis in vagina) is pretty limiting and sometimes damaging because it a) is insulting to queer people who have sex in non-p-in-v ways, b) reinforces a pleasure disparity (because the “main act” is something that most women don’t orgasm from) c) perpetuates the mythic importance of female virginity d) contributes to rape culture by deeming certain forms of sexual violence “more traumatic” than others.

A blogger named Jonalyn politely pointed out that she had a few issues with my piece, and when we started to tweet-debate the topic, she suggested we take our conversation to a bigger stage. Her site, Soulation, is a hub for people who want to explore Christianity compassionately and thoughtfully. We recorded a video debate that was supposed to last for 15 minutes and went on for 40 because we were having THE BEST TIME. I’m not kidding, it was by far the most fun I had that week.

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It may shock you to hear that I am not, in fact, a Christian (I know, SO shocking). When Jonalyn reached out about recording our conversation, I was initially wary of jumping into unfamiliar waters where our perspectives would inevitably boil down to a clash of “sex is for fun!” vs. “sex is for God!” I am pleased to say that we both played nicely and used our listening skills to try to find common ground. Surprisingly, there was lots of it! 

It’s not often that I get the opportunity to debate this stuff with someone who approaches it with the same level of enthusiasm that I have for sex talk and approaches from a different angle with different core assumptions. Such a treat!

Get more of Jonalyn on Twitter!

Related Post: Talkin’ harassment on Vocalo.

Related Post: Can you be married and sexist? Yep.

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How Does the Arc Bend?

Back in 2008, in a speech commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, President Obama elaborated on his famous “arc of justice” quote:

“Dr. King once said that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. It bends towards justice, but here is the thing: it does not bend on its own. It bends because each of us in our own ways put our hand on that arc and we bend it in the direction of justice….”

My best friend and I find ourselves gchatting the same thing to each other at least once a week: “people are the worst.” It might be in response to a political ad, or a terrible headline, or a horrific crime, or just the way the world seems to be behaving at the particular moment in time. It seems a lot less common that we get to say the phrase I infinitely prefer, “people are the best.”

The photo of Balpreet posted on Reddit

So this was a special week when twice–twice!–I got to crow about the goodness in people, the badass-ery of people, the decency and strength of people. First, you may have read about a Sikh woman whose picture was posted on Reddit and then insulted by a bunch of ignoramuses. Some people would cry (and maybe she did, I probably would have), some people would rant and rave (I definitely would), and some people write extremely eloquent, articulate explanations and seek to educate instead of judge. This woman, Balpreet Kaur, is one of those. Read her letter and then response and you will find yourself thinking, for once, people really are the best.

Then, yesterday, a story broke about a Wisconsin anchorwoman who took the uneducated, rude, hurtful words of a viewer and made the story not about her weight, as he would have liked her to do, but about bullying. Jennifer Livingston, like Balpreet, just calmly explains exactly why this approach to her is disrespectful, damaging, and unwarranted. The viewer accuses her of being a poor role model for girls because she is overweight, when in fact Livingston’s response shows she is exactly the kind of role model I would want for my children.

Seriously, you guys, sometime people are just the coolest.

Related Post: Just another horrible story I’ve been ignoring…

Related Post: Thumbs up for the 6 billion

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Video Wednesday

I’m busy, and sleepy, and my coffee consumption is about 8oz behind where it needs to be, so ignore your email for 10 minutes, go find a quiet conference room, and watch some videos that will make you smile:

The Austin Police Department released an It Gets Better video:

Soledad O’Brien is on a serious hot streak. Here she is up against mega pastor Joel Osteen:

Does anyone else have a super crush on The Ill Doctrine’s Jay Smooth? Here’s Jay on why Obama’s leaked tape from 2008 isn’t the same as Romney’s 47%. Can he just talk to me sleep every night? We don’t even have to cuddle.

Related Post: Youtube win: so this is why people hate feminism!

Related Post: The Youtube video that made Elizabeth Warren famous.

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