Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fear and Loathing on the Metro

Tonight I was riding back from class on the metro with a classmate, when we noticed a couple get on the metro, walk to the seat across the aisle from us, and then turn around and walk away, because there was a cell phone and a cardboard box sitting unattended on the seat. On the box was a picture of some sort of electronic device with a screen, and there was a strap or cord of some sort hanging out of it. It was basically exactly the kind of sketchy thing you are supposed to be concerned about on the metro. Now I been riding the metro for years, undaunted by terrorist threats, sketchy/crazy/obnoxious/belligerent passengers and crazy crashes, but as I looked around the car I had that I NEED TO GET OFF THIS TRAIN feeling.

The box and phone looked so sketchy and deliberately placed that I was reasonably certain it was not actually a threat (one would expect a bomb would not actually look so bomb-like), but nonetheless it was exactly the kind of thing you are supposed to report. As we hesitantly discussed what we should do, more people around the train noticed the objects and started looking awkwardly around at each other. No one wanted to speak up, but all of these seasoned metro commuters seemed to be silently asking, "Should we be freaked out?" "Should we do something?" My classmate and I ended up getting off the train and going to tell Metro employees, who made a phone call but did not seem overly concerned. Having done our good citizen deed for the day, we hopped on another train 2 minutes later.

When we got on the shuttle from the metro station to campus, I was squeezed in next to two girls from American University, one of whom said loudly to the other, "Did you know if you want an abortion it costs $400 and Planned Parenthood is the best place to go?" She proceeded to talk about how annoyed she was that she didn't get any homework done because her roommate is pregnant and was on the phone talking about it all afternoon. For most of the ride back to campus she talked about how annoying roommate was stupid and deserved an unexpected pregnancy. Of course I remember some of the conversations my friends and I had on public transportation in college, but this was just seemed so completely inappropriate (not to mention unabashedly judgmental and mean... and ok both annoying and a little entertaining).

How weird it is that we are willing to have loud private conversations in front of strangers, but not to initiate conversation in a situation when common sense and the transportation authority say we should? It is totally OK to come off as mean, but not to seem too concerned. Sort of like we're still in middle school.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Drying Herbs and Future Scone-Plans

Yesterday I took a break from Wesley's sermons to dry some herbs from my mom's garden. It was beautifully sunny and warm, quite a relief after the cold and rain all weekend. I don't really use herbs much in my cooking, but that's partly because I never feel like buying herbs and spices so I usually avoid recipes that involve them. But I thought that since my mom has an abundance of herbs I would try drying some before the first frost.

I went with the freeze-dry method. I of course got directions on the internet. I cut basil, thyme, sage and rosemary, washed them, dried them, and put them in little ziplock baggies. They are currently living in the freezer. I have to wait "several weeks" to see how successful my experiment was. But since there is so much more in the garden I'm going to dry a bunch more and make some pesto on Friday.

My next quasi-domestic endeavor is going to be to try out a recipe I found for the amazingly melt-in-your-mouthy pumpkin scones I tried at Starbucks yesterday. My attempt at the vanilla scones was fairly successful last Christmas. I think I'm going to make both when we go to the beach for Thanksgiving. Both kinds of scones are delicious but having seen the nutritional information I can only justify making them at the holidays (and I almost never get them at Starbucks, although the petite vanilla scones are a good compromise).

I can’t wait to live in my cabin and cook with my home-grown herbs and bake scones. Another possible culinary endeavor: Ina Garten’s rosemary chicken salad served with cheddar-dill scones and herbed butter. Mmm….

Monday, October 12, 2009

God hates Cecil County? (and obviously gays and Obama...)

I know its been months since I blogged, but please indulge me while I rant a little. I learned from the Cecil Whig this morning that Cecil College is doing a 10th Anniversary performance of The Laramie Project tonight, and Westboro Baptist Church is sending protesters. Lucky us.

I won't waste much time trying to describe them, since you can look them up yourself on wikipedia, or their official church website (godhatesfags.com).*

Their mission is based on a message of God's hate. How is that the Gospel? Gospel means "Good News" and "God hates you" is not good news to anyone. I serve a God of love. Remember that guy who came to earth and invited in the people that the Pharisees were shunning as sinners? The one who said "let he who is without sin throw the first stone"? The one that shared meals with prostitutes? The one who was hard on the religious and compassionate toward those who the religious people were picking on.... what was that guy's name? Oh right..... JESUS. That guy, remember him?

This group makes me physically ill. I respect the opinion of people who believe that homosexuality is a sin, but I cannot respect people who distort God's message of love and forgiveness and use it to abuse, marginalize and terrorize people who are already marginalized and discriminated against in our culture. And having Will and Grace on TV does not make up for all the ways our culture makes it difficult for LGBT community. This group is picketing 14 different events today alone, in New York, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Maryland. This is how they are using their resources. This is how they are carrying God's message to the world.

The most frustrating thing is that they will keep doing this, and nothing can stop them. If I cancel my plans tonight and made a "God Loves Gays" sign and go up there with my Bible to explain to the WBC people that God is a God of Love and forgiveness, it would not make the slightest bit of difference. The freedoms of religion and speech that they would take away from people of other religions guarantee that they are allowed to keep on spouting their awful agenda of hate.

What I can do is try to live out God's love in ways that I think God is calling me to. And that means that I need to risk standing in support of the LGBT community more often. It feels risky to be too open about the fact that I believe God loves the gay community just as they are, no ifs ands or buts. That shouldn't be a risky sentence to write or say when serving a God of Love, but as someone who is ministry (and has not yet gone through the ordination process), that sentence could really bite me in the butt. Not to mention the inevitable arguments that people will try to start with me. It is a risk, but my love for the gay people in my life drives me to be more bold. I believe with ever fiber of my faith that God loves each person just as she or he is, and that the pain inflicted on the gay community by the church grieves God's heart. I just want people to know that. My voice can't drown out the hatred, but at least its one more voice trying to shout against it.

*I'm not kidding that's their actual website. It is as theologically rich and insightful as you would imagine. Much of their attention is fixed on the murder of Matthew Shepherd, the subject of The Laramie Project. The group lifts up this anti-gay hate crime and pickets performances of the play with signs declaring God's hatred for homosexuals. This was also the lovely group that picketed military funerals in Maryland a couple years ago, because they blame gays (especially those in the military) for terrorism. BTW they also have a documentary showing that Obama is the Anti-Christ. Yep.