Friday, January 31, 2014

Quote of the Day

The "gays are politically powerful" theme is part of a long-standing effort to falsely paint lesbians and gay men as wealthy, privileged, sophisticated people who don't need legal protections against discrimination.  It is a dangerous idea, and totally false.

-- Kate Kendell

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Quote of the Day

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.

-- Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Quote of the Day

It is always important to know when something has reached its end.  Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn't matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.

-- Paulo Coelho, The Zahir

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Quote of the Day

Still, I think words are abstractions, and abstractions become expressions that frame our understanding of our experiences, expectations, culture—everything. Language is an interface, and if an interface can mold behavior and perception, than [sic] language does that to your life.

-- Frank Chimero, "The Inferno of Independence"

Monday, January 27, 2014

Quote of the Day

The irony of course, is that while advocates of biblical patriarchy accuse everyone else of biblical selectivity, they themselves do not appear to be stoning adulterers, selling their daughters into slavery, taking multiple wives, or demanding that state laws be adjusted to include death sentences for rape least not yet.  Those who decry the evils of selective literalism tend to be rather clumsy at spotting it in themselves.

-- Rachel Held Evans, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, p. 52

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Quote of the Day

When you love something like reading -- or drawing or music or nature -- it surrounds you with a sense of connection to something great.  If you are lucky enough to know this, then your search for meaning involves whatever that Something is.  It's an alchemical blend of affinity and focus that takes us to a place within that feels as close as we ever get to "home."  It's like pulling into our own train station after a long trip -- joy, relief, a pleasant exhaustion.

-- Anne Lamott, Stitches, p. 22-23

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Quote of the Day of the biggest challenges posed by my blog was the doubt raised by my own inner critic...I didn't want to be like the novelist who spent so much time rewriting his first sentence that he never wrote his second.

-- Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project, p. 78

Friday, January 24, 2014

Quote of the Day

The Bible got slavery wrong.  It got other things right -- the Golden Rule, the Greatest Commandment -- and yes, some people were inspired to combat what the Bible got wrong ("slaves, obey your earthly masters") with what the Bible managed to get right.  (Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.")  The Bible is a sprawling and contradictory text and bad people have used the Bible to justify bigotry and oppression and good people have used the Bible to fight bigotry and oppression.  That only shows that the Bible is only as good and decent as the person reading it.

-- Dan Savage, American Savage, p. 269

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quote of the Day

Here, for public use, is my very own template for a response to people who offer to let me write something for them for nothing:

Thanks very much for your compliments on my [writing/illustration/whatever thing you do].  I'm flattered by your invitation to [do whatever it is they want you to do for nothing].  But [thing you do] is work, it takes time, it's how I make my living, and in this economy I can't afford to do it for free.  I'm sorry to decline, but thanks again, sincerely, for your kind words about my work.

Feel free to amend as necessary.  This I'm willing to give away.

-- Tim Kreider, "Slaves of the Internet, Unite!"

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Quote of the Day

Hugh Mac­Leod says the price of being a sheep is boredom, and the price [of] being a wolf is loneliness. My experience as a wolf says he’s right, but I think it’s bullshit, so I am writing this. There are lone wolves, but wolves are also pack animals, so how do you reconcile the two? How can we be independent together?

-- Frank Chimero, "The Inferno of Independence"

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Quote of the Day

... I have come to regard with some suspicion those who claim that the Bible never troubles them.  I can only assume this means they haven't actually read it.

-- Rachel Held Evans, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, p. 51

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Quote of the Day

I talked in a general way about what good people can do in the face of great sorrow.  We help some time pass for those suffering.  We sit with them in their hopeless pain and feel terrible with them, without trying to fix them with platitudes; doing this with them is just about the most gracious gift we have to offer.

-- Anne Lamott, Stitches, p. 17

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Quote of the Day

Between the ages of twenty and forty we are engaged in the process of discovering who we are, which involves learning the difference between accidental limitations which it is our duty to outgrow and the necessary limitations of our nature beyond which we cannot trespass with impunity.

-- W. H. Auden

Friday, January 17, 2014

Quote of the Day

The debate topic implicitly endorsed one of the two big lies pushed by (the National Organization for Marriage): There are Christians over here and the gays over there, they are two warring tribes, and a victory for the Gays is a defeat for the Christians and vice versa.  In reality most LGBT Americans are Christians, many Christians are gay (Episcopalian Bishop Eugene Robinson comes immediately to mind), and not all straight Christians are anti-gay.

-- Dan Savage, American Savage, p. 262-263

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Quote of the Day

It shouldn't be professionally or socially acceptable -- it isn't right -- for people to tell us, over and over, that our vocation is worthless.

-- Tim Kreider, "Slaves of the Internet, Unite!"

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Quote of the Day

Once the work is done, it's not yours anymore.  You draw the comic, write the book, make the app, and then it makes its way out into the world.  And it starts to talk back to you.  It's the weirdest thing -- if the thing you make goes anywhere, it's because other people carried it.

-- Frank Chimero

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Quote of the Day

Despite what some may claim, the Bible's not the best place to look for traditional family values as we understand them today.  The text predates our Western construct of the nuclear family and presents us with a familial culture closer to that of a third-world country (or a TLC reality show) than that of Ward and June Cleaver.  In ancient Israel, "biblical womanhood" looked different from woman to woman, depending on her status.

-- Rachel Held Evans, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, p. 48

Monday, January 13, 2014

Quote of the Day

Do not hunt for subjects, let them choose you, not you them.  Only do that which insists on being done and runs right up against you, hitting you in the eye until you do it.

-- Samuel Butler

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Quote of the Day

We live stitch by stitch, when we're lucky.  If you fixate on the big picture, the whole shebang, the overview, you miss the stitching.  And maybe the stitching is crude, or it is unraveling, but if it were precise, we'd pretend that life was just fine and running like a Swiss watch.  This is not helpful if on the inside our understanding is that life is more often a cuckoo clock with rusty gears.

-- Anne Lamott, Stitches, p. 13-14

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Quote of the Day

One reason that challenge brings happiness is that it allows you to expand your self-definition.  You become larger.  Suddenly you can do yoga or make homemade beer or speak a decent amount of Spanish.  Research shows that the more elements make up your identity, the less threatening it is when any one element is threatened.  Losing your job might be a blow to your self-esteem, but the fact that you lead your local alumni association gives you a comforting source of self-respect.  Also, a new identity brings you into contact with new people and new experiences, which are also powerful sources of happiness.

-- Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project, p. 78

Friday, January 10, 2014

Quote of the Day

Christians -- America's loudest, if not America's best -- are up in arms about the new law that makes health insurance available to millions of previously uninsured Americans.  Somehow more people with access to health care is an affront to Jesus and everything he stood for.

-- Dan Savage, American Savage, p. 223

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Quote of the Day

Practicalities aside, money is also how our culture defines value, and being told that what you do is of no ($0.00) value to the society you live in is, frankly, demoralizing.  Even sort of insulting.  And of course when you live in a culture that treats your work as frivolous you can't help but internalize some of that devaluation and think of yourself as something less than a bona fide grown-up.

-- Tim Kreider, "Slaves of the Internet, Unite!"

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Quote of the Day

Everything is raw material.  Everything is relevant.  Everything is usable.  Everything feeds into my creativity.  But without proper preparation, I cannot see it, retain it, and use it.

-- Twyla Tharp

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Quote of the Day

What they forgot to tell us in Sunday school is that the "gentle and quiet spirit" Peter wrote about is not, in fact, an exclusively feminine virtue, but is elevated throughout the New Testament as a trait expected of all Christians.  Jesus used the same word -- praus, in Greek -- to describe himself as "gentle and humble in heart" (Matthew 11:29).  Gentleness is one of the nine fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:23), and Paul told the members of the Philippian church, "Let your gentleness be evident to all" (Philippians 4:5).

-- Rachel Held Evans, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, p. 16

Monday, January 6, 2014

Quote of the Day

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had members of my churches say, “I would much rather you just tell me what to believe than ask me to think about it. You’re the professional. Not me. Just tell me and I’ll do it.” Unfortunately, being told what to believe and how to live is highly desired and sought by many.

-- David Hayward, "10 reasons why abusive churches succeed"

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Quote of the Day

My understanding of incarnation is that we are not served by getting away from the grubbiness of suffering.  Sometimes we feel that we are barely pulling ourselves forward through a tight tunnel on badly scraped-up elbows.  But we do come out the other side, exhausted and changed.

-- Anne Lamott, Stitches, p. 10

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Quote of the Day

A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.

-- Anthony Trollope

Friday, January 3, 2014

Quote of the Day

The existence of gay Christians and progressive and tolerant Christians, however, demonstrates that being anti-gay is a choice.

-- Dan Savage, American Savage, p. 263

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Quote of the Day

Not getting paid for things in your 20s is glumly expected, even sort of cool; not getting paid in your 40s, when your back is starting to hurt and you are still sleeping on a futon, considerably less so.  Let's call the first 20 years of my career a gift.  Now I am 46, and would like a bed.

-- Tim Kreider, "Slaves of the Internet, Unite!"

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bookin' It in 2013

I set another personal best this year -- reading the following 24 books in '13. The titles in bold were particularly influential, inspiring or intriguing.

1.    Amy, My Daughter by Mitch Winehouse

2.    The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel

3.    Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres

4.    Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama by Alison Bechdel

5.    Who Farted Wrong?: Illustrated Weight Loss for the Mind by Syd Butler

6.    Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

7.    Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

8.    Society's Child by Janis Ian

9.    Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

10. Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son by Anne Lamott

11. Spit and Passion by Cristy C. Road

12. What We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell

13. You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know: A True Story of Family, Face Blindness, and Forgiveness by Heather Sellers

14. Blue Is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

15. American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics by Dan Savage

16. Horoscopes for the Dead by Billy Collins

17. Mentor: A Memoir by Tom Grimes

18. nakedpastor101: Cartoons by David Hayward

19. Six Years With God: Life Inside Rev. Jim Jones's Peoples Temple by Jeannie Mills

20. One Hundred Demons by Lynda Barry

21.  The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy by Robert Leleux

22.  A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband "Master" by Rachel Held Evans

23. The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin 

24. Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair by Anne Lamott