Archive for August, 2009

Why I play golf

Another photo shoot

I took photos for another friend and I know which one is my favorite, but how would you all pick between these three similar photos. Which do you like the best? You can vote in the poll in the sidebar.

A

B

C

Continuing the religious debate

I had a conversation on the way to the airport this morning. No, I’m not going anywhere today. It seems that thanks to yesterday’s post, I have stumbled upon three types of people. Those who think that you can claim a religious affiliation, but pick and choose which doctrine to follow, similar to picking coverage and deductibles on your automobile insurance. Those, like me, who believe that if you claim a religious affiliation, then you subscribe to the set of doctrine handed down by the religious leaders and do your best to follow all of that doctrine. The third type believes that if you say you are Christian—follow the Bible and the teachings of Christ—then it is obvious where you stand on abortion, gay rights, marriage, and any other hot topic.

To me, saying you are Christian is like saying you are a woman. Great, I know what religious genre to which you subscribe, but I don’t know how you interpret the bible. But he thinks that the irony in that story is so very obvious. That you can’t be against gay marriage and pro-divorce. To him, they are the same thing. All teachings of Jesus. I don’t think it is quite so obvious, but I do think it is ironic.

Now the first group of people, those who think you get to pick and choose the parts of the religion that you choose to follow—and I’m not talking about people who make mistakes, making a mistake means that you acknowledge what you did is wrong. I’m talking about the people who think it is okay to go to church and tell God that you believe everything the priest is saying, but at home and in your heart, you don’t believe, and you live a different lifestyle. These are the people that drove me out of the Church. All the fakes. All the people who don’t think about what it is that they are saying every week. Who just think that it is a meaningless ceremony. Then why do you go to church at all? Why do you say you are part of a religion if you don’t believe what they are teaching? This is another reason why I quit confirmation class. I couldn’t lie to God about believing everything the Catholic Church was telling me to believe. God knows I didn’t believe the drivel they were driving down my throat.

And besides, at 15, the priest told me I couldn’t be on the altar because I’m a woman and that I was going to hell for my sins. At that point, I was against drinking, against smoking, against sex before marriage, I hadn’t even kissed a boy. I’d had some bad thoughts, but if God couldn’t forgive me for those, then fine, I might as well start doing something that would make it worth my while to end up in hell.

So now I blog. ;-)

Ironic divorce

I retweeted someone else’s post on Twitter today:

Ha ha. I love it when f*ckin hypocrites are revealed: http://bit.ly/kQkiT (via @clarkcox)

I thought the comment was a little harsh, and I should have edited it, but I left it as is.

The backstory is that Doug Manchester donated $125,000 to help ban same-sex marriage in California. From this article in the NYTimes, he says

This really is a free-speech, First Amendment issue. While I respect everyone’s choice of partner, my Catholic faith and longtime affiliation with the Catholic Church leads me to believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

And now, he is divorcing his wife of 43 years, which is against the teachings of the Catholic Church. This is what I find ironic. And it is ironic, partly because I know more gay couples in long-term, committed relationships, but also because I believe that if you are going to publicly announce that you are supporting something because you are affiliated with the Catholic Church, even though divorce is a different subject matter than same-sex marriage, I don’t believe that as a member of the Church you should be allowed to pick and choose which doctrine you follow. If you say you are Catholic, then you believe what the Vatican says you believe. You believe that the Catholic Church is the one, right, true religion. You believe in all of the ten commandments. You believe that there should be no sex before marriage, gay lifestyle is wrong, and that marriage is sacred. And that is the reason I left the Catholic Church. I didn’t believe everything they wanted me to believe.

As a side note, yes, Catholics get divorced, but the Church doesn’t recognize divorce. In order to ever get married in the Catholic Church again, you must get an annulment. And if you have ever seen the questions or experienced the process of an annulment, you have to confess before God that your entire marriage was a scam from the very first day. And the Catholic Church teaches me not to lie, yet I think a lot of people lie their way right though that, which I also think is hypocritical.

And to me, gay rights and marriage fall under this whole Family Values ideal that people have been pushing. A friend mentioned that people of faith usually get labeled as hypocrites faster than others. The funny thing is that I didn’t even realize Manchester was Catholic until I re-read the article after my friend made that statement. I had initially just assumed he was a Family Values kind of guy. And I don’t think of Family Values as being something that is pushed by a particular religion. I actually think of it more as a political platform. But the same argument holds. I think that if you subscribe to some sort of doctrine, religious or not, that you don’t get to pick and choose which messages you follow. It is an all or northing deal. Especially if you are going to talk about your stance in the NYTimes.

On the topic of people of faith being labeled hypocritical first, I think that people would be happy to point fingers at me if I used a Windows box at home. Or if I wrote articles against the benefits of same-sex education. Or if I drove an SUV. Or if I secretly smoked. I don’t think it has to do with having faith. I think it has to do with publicly voicing your opinion on something and then doing the opposite.

I had a discussion with another friend about this. He thinks you do get to pick and choose which values you uphold. And that you don’t have to uphold all of them. And that is why he doesn’t find this ironic. That may be true for picking a political party, but I don’t think my priest would agree. And Manchester himself is the one who publicly brought religion into this.

And yes, I agree with my friend who says,

As a person of faith, I’m grieved. Anyone who takes a dogmatic moral stand is always scrutinized. I dread the next time I screw up

I also dread the next time I screw up. But I should dread it if I publicly say one thing and do something completely different. I do have a right to change my mind, and I will have to explain why I don’t practice what I preach. I will expect people to think it is ironic. To mock me. I’ll deserve it.

Health care reform

I thought I could go to sleep without writing about this, but it seems I can’t. Anyd stopped by “my morning office”—otherwise known as the couch in the lobby—to tell me what he has been thinking about the whole health care reform ideas. And the point he makes is a valid one—why is health care tied to jobs?

He says, Why don’t we shop for health insurance in the same way that we shop for car insurance—on an individual basis. Why does my HR department decide what benefits I can have this year? Why can’t my wife get insurance on her own instead of being tied to mine? Why do people who don’t work, or work at small companies, have to pay extra for health insurance to make up for the good deals my large corporation negotiates for me? Why do I have to change my health insurance every time I change jobs and go without it when I’m between jobs? I’m not allowed to go without car insurance when I’m between jobs. I’ve had the same car insurance company for 15 years. I negotiate my rates and terms with them directly. I don’t have to call my HR department to deal with a car insurance claim, so why should I have to deal with HR for a health insurance claim. And isn’t that against my right to privacy?

There are so many benefits to what he is saying. Here are some of the things that should change.

1. Companies should stop offering health insurance as a benefit.

2. Companies can use the money they currently pay for health insurance to raise salaries to compensate.

3. Companies can eliminate positions of people who deal with health insurance (apologies to these people).

4. Insurance Plans start dealing directly with individuals and offer plans in the same way that we get car insurance (those people who lose their jobs from Companies might find a new one here). This should help make the rates more competitive for everyone.

5. People get to pick from all the available health insurance companies, not just the ones that their company offers.

6. People can keep the same insurance provider for as long as they want, not dependent on keeping their job or staying with the same company

7. People can choose a company based on what doctors they want to see rather than choosing a doctor based on what Insurance Plan they picked.

8. People should be able to change their plan at any time, not just once a year. (This will also force Insurance Plans to lower rates to be competitive)

I still don’t have a good solution for those who can’t afford to pay for any insurance. I think we need some sort of system in place. This is where car insurance and health insurance differ—I can choose not to own a car. But I’m also against free-loading.

I’m a big fan of the idea of non-profit health insurance. I don’t think that insurance companies should be getting rich from me being healthy. My being healthy should benefit those who are less fortunate than myself, not those who decided to place bets that I might be healthy. But I guess that is what insurance is all about. Legalized gambling on people’s lives.

So what do you think?

Um

How did I end up singing camp songs? I was happily hanging with the adults until I was rudely interrupted.

Travelling at home

I spend so much time going away that sometimes I need to explore what is near me.

A friend invited me to a girls lunch out in San Francisco. I decided to use public transportation, so my trip started at 9 am. I donned a bike helmet and rode my bike to the train station. I was purposely early so I could spend time visiting the farmers market where a woman taught me how to pick ripe peaches. I picked up a vanilla latte and boarded the train.

The plan is to get off the train in Milbrae and take the BART to the Ferry Building, pick up some fresh flowers and hike up to Coit Tower. It is about a mile and includes lots of stairs. Should get plenty of excercise today!

I know that taking public transportation takes lots of extra time, but I like that I can spend that time blogging or writing email without carrying my laptop around. It is sad that I now think of my laptop as being heavy and bulky. What did I do before my iPhone?

Posted from my iPhone

¿Cómo say what?

I’m starting a new blog today. “¿Cómo say what?” is at http://como-say-what.blogspot.com. I want to collect misinterpretations. What did you mishear or misunderstand. How did you interpret something in an unintended way?

Send me your stories!

Status quo

Seems that everything is back to normal. As normal as my life is. My new vacuum cleaner sucks—and that’s a good thing. My cats are sitting with me, watching the moth I accidentally let inside my now clean condo. Everyone seems healthy and happy and all is good with the world.

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