Dec. 18th, 2006

ceebeegee: (I can't take it any more!)
Title: My worst train ride so far

Today, on a weekday morning, at 9:30, I waited for 15 minutes for a train. Fifteen minutes. On a weekday. Fifteen minutes. I think we can all agree that's far too long. The platform at 137th Street was packed when the train finally arrived. This got things off to a bad start but the conductor/announcer compounded the error at EVERY SINGLE STATION--every time he'd open the doors he'd drone through this litany of announcements that no one was listening to, and that just took up TIME when we could've been MOVING. He kept saying--at every single station--"People on the platform, please wait for the passengers to get off before you get on." And sometimes he'd repeat it. And then he'd tell people in the car to move in closer. And not to push. And on, and on. All of this took up TIME, and we were already very late (because the train had arrived 15 minutes late). Then he started saying "People, there's another 1 train directly behind us." (Note to you guys--nobody believes that anymore. The one time I tried that on a crowded train, the next train was 10 minutes later, not directly behind. So, never again.) So we spent way too much TIME at each station--the worst was at the 72nd St. Station, where we must have spent at least 5 minutes. He just would not go. He kept making these announcements and everyone was grumbling and saying "shut up!" It was like some kind of special hell, where you're forced to stand in an extremely crowded train while the conductor keeps talking instead of making the train GO. Just GO. Stop talking and GO. Bottom line, due to the initial train delay plus the conductor's constant blathering, I came out of the 50th Street Station at 10:15, instead of 9:55. And although this is an extreme example, the "waiting-15-minutes-for-a-train-on-a-weekday" crap happens FAR too often--at least once every couple of weeks. If I messed up that badly, that often at my job, I'd be fired.

Thank you.
ceebeegee: (golden hearts)
As we all know, many of my friends are gay. And I'm a Christian--specifically an Episcopalian. I've often been forced to tread the line between validating my gay (and gay-friendly) friends venting/criticism about how Christianity has treated them, which has often been terrible, and at the same time, addressing what I sometimes feel is unfair characterization of all Christianity or outright Christianity-bashing. I often feel compelled to point out "not ALL Christians are like that, I promise." I myself am an example that all Christians are not homophobic--as is Paula, as is Ryan, as is my mother. My church has had gay priests, and has taken progressive stances on other social issues, like ordination of women, support of ERA, denunciation of apartheid, and most topically, specifically declared "homosexuals are 'children of God' and 'entitled to full civil rights.'"

A few years ago, the US Episcopal Church went a step further--the bishops elected an openly gay bishop, Rev. Gene Robinson. (They also just recently elected the first female Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church--yay us!) This set off quite a firestorm, as you can imagine. Quite a few parishes in the US denounced Rev. Robinson's election, citing "Scripture," and threatened to leave the Mother Church. Also, in the rest of the world, there was negative reaction, mostly from parishes in central Africa but from other places as well. It bears noting that a similar reaction was felt when they started ordaining women in the '70s.

And now, in the US, the dissenting homophobes have made it official--7 Virginia parishes have voted to pick up their toys and go home. (Which may be a hell of a lot more difficult than they expect--that property and all the attendants goodies belong to the Mother Church, not to the parishes--if they leave, they will be starting from scratch.) Oh and on a completely random note, I am one degree of separation from the Bishop Lee in the article--his daughter-in-law Celeste is the sister of my (and [livejournal.com profile] goldilocksprime's good friend Madeleine from Sweet Briar).

My initial reaction, to these dissenting erstwhile Episcopalians, was "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out." (Especially The Falls Church--although they're the eponymous church in my home town, I can't stand that parish. They tried to shut down a city street so they could have more room to park for their service--they failed and I now make a point of driving through that street as often as possible. Heh, heh, heh...) I laughed at their constant invocation of "Scripture"--we're Episcopalians, not Baptists. We do NOT hit people over the head with the Bible--the BCP (Book of Common Prayer, which has all the daily and yearly Offices (i.e., services) and prayers) is a MUCH bigger deal to us than the Bible. I've never even read the Bible all the way through--but I can tell you what the seven sacraments are (Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, Confession/Reconciliation, Communion, Ordination, Unction), and what the five texts that are spoken or sung through almost all liturgies (Kyrie, Gloria, the Credo, Sanctus-Benedictus, Angus Dei--if you've ever seen Agnes of God, she sings these texts off-stage throughout the play). To Episcopalians, the liturgy is a BIG DEAL--a former priest of my old parish in Arlington (who died of AIDS in the late '80s--we've had gay priests all along) was, like, OBSESSED with making the liturgy as perfect as possible. It was a point of pride to him when everything went off without a hitch, especially for major feast days. As important as the Bible obviously is to Christians, it's highly contradictory and confusing--Levicticus alone is craziness. Nobody follows all those rules--and I can guarantee you that the homophobes who are so quick to cite Scripture don't.

Notwithstanding my limited knowledge of the Bible, I have read the Gospels, and I can tell you this--Jesus's two most important commandments were Love God, and Love Each Other. He also never said anything about homosexuality. I think He had more important things to worry about than two people who love each other and want to get married--regardless of gender. As I so eloquently put it to my mother, "Jesus didn't say dick about dick." (My mother was slightly horrified--I said "Mom, sometimes you have to be vulgar to make your point.")

But now--although I'm still terribly disappointed in these prodigal sons, I can still be proud that most of the US Episcopal Church will hold together in the face of this challenge. That most of us are standing up and saying "We are ALL children of God. We ALL deserve the same rights." And not just in the US but other countries as well--the Anglican Church of Canada and the Scottish Episcopal Church have all taken similar steps forward in openly welcoming our brethren who happen to be gay. It's going to be rough for awhile and we may never get those prodigals back, but I believe eventually the majority of Christians will come around to this.

I just want you guys to know I am an Episcopalian (and therefore a Christian)--and I love you guys, and support every right for you. And not just me but my church feels that way as well.

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