Monday, September 15, 2014

Blogaround

Image source.

1. Why Did Obama Say ISIL is Not Islamic? Because He’s not a Fool (posted September 11) "Arguing such tactics don’t follow true Islam delegitimizes the motives for Islamic terrorism."

2. Rape Culture in Celebrity Photo Theft (posted September 3) "The next basic argument is that celebrities don’t have normal human rights."

3. Civility, Outrage (posted September 7) "You notice someone arguing we should shame poor kids in order to reduce welfare participation. Arguing that it wouldn’t reduce welfare participation is one route, and you do this — but there’s something else you want to argue against, too: the idea that being a person who shames poor kids is acceptable."

4. A list of unarmed Blacks killed by police (posted August 26)

5. Letting Go of God (posted August 5) "Your 'God' is not God."

Friday, September 12, 2014

I seem to have won some kind of Chinese boating contest

Behold:


You guys. You guys.

So let me tell you how "moving" works in China. When someone "moves out" of their apartment, they don't actually move out, they apparently just take the stuff they want and leave everything else. Which is why I just moved into an apartment full of somebody's random junk. Like, old shoes, toothbrushes, cables from some sort of TV perhaps, cigarette butts, etc etc.

Eww.

In America, you have to clean everything when you move out or you don't get your security deposit back. In China, not so! (If you're lucky, your landlord might hire someone to "clean" it before you move in.)

But, lucky for me, my new apartment also came with the item pictured above. Some kind of golden boat on a pedestal. It's 18 inches tall and looks like a trophy, right? Cool!

But it can't be a trophy, because it has a bunch of phrases like "一帆风顺" which means "smooth sailing."

So I don't really know what it is, but man that's cool. ^_^

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

After the Healing

Image source.

"While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, 'My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.'" Matthew 9:18

-------------------------------

Well, it's been almost 10 years.

At the beginning, it was really great. You know, Jesus had healed me. My parents say I had actually died- but I don't remember it. I just remember feeling so weak and sick, and then suddenly being woken up and Jesus was there and I didn't feel sick anymore. Seriously, that feeling is the greatest thing I have every experienced.

The whole town was excited. I had tons of relatives (and random people I didn't know) visiting me, saying how happy they were/ how amazing it was that I was alive. Many of them talked about how they had prayed for me, and their prayers were answered.

So that was my five minutes of fame. But, life goes on. Jesus isn't here anymore. My dad got really sick and people were praying for him, but in the end he died. I remember how he talked about faith- how when I was sick, he went to find Jesus and he had faith that Jesus could heal me. Later, Dad told us about how Jesus himself had died and come back to life, and now he would be with us always.

But why didn't he heal my dad? I know Jesus used to always talk about "faith" when he healed people- well Dad had faith.

I don't understand.

Is God with us, or not?

And there's no one I can talk to about this. My closest friends and family actually saw me die- any time I bring up my doubts, they remind me that I owe my life to Jesus, so how can I question him?

I am grateful. And sometimes I feel bad about asking why Jesus doesn't do more. But man, my dad said Jesus promised to always be with us. And he promised that faith can move mountains. Am I allowed to wonder why I don't see that happening?

Jesus did this one thing for me almost 10 years ago. But life goes on, and I have other problems now. Apparently I'm supposed to have some kind of lifelong devotion to Jesus, but ... I don't think he's relevant to my life anymore.

He's a good man, really. I remember when I met him, his eyes, his voice- I really believe he really cared about me and understood me.

But that was 10 years ago.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blogaround

Image source.

1. How Does Your Favorite Star Trek Series Fare on the Bechdel Test? (posted September 1) "The future society portrayed in Star Trek was supposed to show greater equality for women (as well as people of color, although it seriously overlooked LGBT characters)."

2. The Single Parent Double Standard (posted September 2) "...many of the beliefs about single parents stem from the view that single fathers have admirably risen to the challenge of parenting by choice, while single mothers are assumed to be parenting out of a necessity resulting from bad judgment, accidental pregnancy, or the failure to maintain a relationship."

3. How Turbans Helped Some Blacks Go Incognito In The Jim Crow Era (posted July 19) "Routté had traveled to Alabama in a turban and robes, put on an accent, and quickly realized that it was quite easy to fool everyone there into thinking he was a foreign dignitary — and to be received as one."

4. confused cats against feminism. Here's a fun little tumblr.

5. 21 Photos Of Jennifer Lawrence You Should Look At Instead (posted September 3) Awesome.

6. "Astoundingly huge" dinosaur skeleton unearthed in Argentina (posted September 4) I want one! I need to change careers.

7. I Allowed People to Mispronounce My African Name for 25 Years (posted September 1) "Despite my Ghanaian parents’ urgings, I allowed and encouraged my name to be mispronounced as “Mamie” instead of “Mame” (mah-may) for nearly 25 years."

8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (posted August 25) Bahahaha.

9. If Straight Men Were Raped: How Pronouns Change The Conversation About Victim Blaming (posted September 5) "We would never say these things about victims of sexual violence if the victims were straight men and boys."

10. Gay Teen Kicked Out Of Home Diverts Outpouring Of Donations To Homeless Shelter (posted September 5) "Approximately 40 percent of homeless youth nationwide identifies as LGBTQ."

11. 19 #WhyIStayed Tweets That Everyone Needs to See (posted September 9) Trigger warning: domestic violence.

Monday, September 8, 2014

NASA Wishes Us a Happy Mid-Autumn Festival

Image source.

From 腾讯新闻 (Tencent News): 美国航天局发月球照庆中国中秋节 [NASA posts a photo of the moon to wish China a happy Mid-Autumn Festival].

Today (September 8) is Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节 zhōng qiū jié). It's a Chinese holiday to celebrate the harvest and full moon. People get a day off, and get together with their families. And eat moon cakes. Which are pretty good, as long as you don't go into it thinking you're gonna be eating chocolate, because you will be highly disappointed.

Image source.

Anyway, NASA posted a photo of the moon on 微博 (Weibo, Chinese equivalent to Twitter) to wish us a happy mid-autumn festival. Thank you NASA!

And have a good Mid-Autumn Festival, everyone! There's a beautiful full moon tonight here in China.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Frogs. You guys.


Pretty much like this. Image source.

Yesterday I was looking around in a fancy imported-food grocery store, as part of a seemingly endless search for pancake syrup. Seriously, you cannot get syrup in China. (Well actually I did find some at this imported grocery store, but it was super-expensive fancy maple syrup, and I just want Mrs. Butterworth, come on.)

So anyway. I'm walking through this grocery store, and I see a tank full of frogs.

Like, living frogs. Big bullfrogs, bigger than your hand. A whole bunch of them, just sitting in this tank with a bit of water in the bottom. Frogs. Big bullfrogs. Living bullfrogs, you guys.

Frogs.

Frogs. Just a freakin' tank of bullfrogs. Just sitting there. And then one of them waddled around a little bit.

I wish I had a photo to show you, but I was just so shocked/ it's not really polite to gawk at and photograph what's being sold in a grocery store.

FROGS!!!!!

Living frogs. Really big bullfrogs. With a little sign in Chinese that said "牛蛙[niú wā]" (bullfrogs) and the price per 500 g.

So... so people buy them and take them home and kill them and cook them and eat them? Does the grocery-store attendant put the frog in some kind of plastic container with air holes? How would you kill a bullfrog? Ewwwww...

There were frogs, you guys.

I've seen live lobsters and fish for sale at grocery stores in America. In China even more so. But I've never seen live frogs for sale. And of course, in my mind frogs are completely different because they are cute while the lobsters and other seafood aren't.

Oh my goodness you guys, these frogs were huge.

Wow. I've never seen anything like that.

Bullfrog dish. Image source.

Oh by the way, I've eaten bullfrog before. The meat was really soft, and the taste was pretty normal. Maybe like chicken. It's a very normal food you can find in Chinese restaurants.

Still totally shocked to see live ones for sale at the fancy imported grocery store. Wow. Frogs.

Frogs.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Blogaround

Image source.

1. 16 Vintage “Gay” Advertisements That Are Funny Now That “Gay” Means “GAY” (posted 2012) "What a gay assortment!"

2. When Chinese children forget how to write (posted August 26) This is so true. People are so used to typing- which doesn't require you to remember every stroke of the character- so it's easy to forget how to write some of the more difficult characters by hand. Like how autocorrect ruins people's ability to spell, but worse.

3. 4 Ways To Honor Native Americans Without Appropriating Our Culture (posted August 26) "Many Americans have a disconnected relationship with indigenous peoples: We’re fine as romanticized historical centerpieces and entertainment props, but mocked and ridiculed when we decry the materialistic use of sacred objects like headdresses or call to remove a dictionary-defined racial slur like redskin from the NFL lexicon."

4. This made me lol:

Image source.

5.  This too:

Image source.

6. Autopsy Report Indicates Police Cover-Up of Man Who ‘Shot Himself’ While Handcuffed (posted August 27) Lord have mercy.

7. This story. I lolled. (posted August 22)

8. Queering Theology: Christ in Stilettos (posted August 18) "But part of the issue, too, was that I didn’t have the language to talk about gender as a performance – as a staged play we all put on that has varying social cues and signals."

9. Face it, blacks. Michael Brown let you down. (posted August 21) "I’d offer myself, honestly. I would. But I got a D in Calculus once, so I don’t think I qualify. I’m not good enough." And see also the Slactivist's take on it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

How I Got Out Of Purity

Image source.

Read part 1: How I Got Into Purity.

----------

So there was this boy.

Yeah, really cute boy. Fun and smart and nice and all that. So, because I believed in purity culture, I followed the procedure I always did when I had a crush: Pray a lot. And get really worried. Because man, God might say yes! God might say no!

"Yes" meant I would be with this guy forever, happily married. "No" meant nothing nada none zero zip zilch and this crush has to end. That's how purity culture works, you guys. "God's plan" is definitely one of those 2 options.

Can you see why I would be totally terrified about my ability to hear God right?

If I date the dude, but he turns out to not be my perfect soulmate hand-crafted by God, then I'm a massive failure in the following ways:
  1. I will be less pure. Whatever physical or emotional (or *gasp* sexual) connection I have with the guy will tear huge pieces off my heart in the event of a breakup. Then when I do meet that special guy that God chose for me, he'll be so unhappy with me for what I did. I won't be worthy of love from a quality guy.
  2. The whole relationship will just be a horrible rebellion against God. Because of course, if I had listened to God at the beginning, I wouldn't have gotten into the relationship in the first place. Clearly God was trying to tell me "no" but I was just too selfish and didn't trust God. (Blaming the victim.)
  3. Wasted time. How long does it take to date, break up, and get over it? Like, a couple years, at least. I thought I was gonna get married right out of college. Clock's ticking, people. 
And I prayed and prayed, and chatted with this guy. I liked him a lot, but I was so afraid that by indulging the crush, even a little, I was "giving away part of my heart" and possibly doing permanent damage to myself.

Image source.

And then it hit me.

It was all about fear. All this stuff about purity and not knowing if it was the right choice or not- I was being completely controlled by FEAR.

What if God says no but I'm just fooling myself into thinking it's okay, and then I date this guy and I become a bad selfish person who doesn't listen to God?

What if I start to like him more, and then we date but we break up and I regret it forever?

What if I start dating him and then I'm carried away by emotions and I'm unable to make good decisions and I end up marrying him even though God was trying to warn me he's not right for me?

What if I end up kissing him or *gasp* having sex and then I won't be pure and I'll regret it forever?

Basically a lot of "What if [insert possibly likely or unlikely scenario] and I regret it forever?" What if I start dating him, and then through some unexpected and impossible-to-predict turn of events, it ends up being a bad idea?

It was all fear. It wasn't about obeying God. In fact, I firmly believed that God gave me freedom and wanted me to live in freedom. And all that purity stuff was just totally incompatible with that.

Every single reason I had for not pursuing a relationship with this guy was based in fear.

But on the other hand, this dude was so great. Hot and smart and nerdy and fluent in Chinese. If there was a possibility that I could have an awesome relationship with him, man I didn't want to miss that chance.

It would be a risk, yeah, because no one knows the future, but from what I did know of him, I decided he would be worth it.

So I asked him out. Totally without God's permission. And we became boyfriend and girlfriend. Yay! And it was actually really great for a while, but eventually it became really horrible and it ended.

I don't really know what to say about that. Overall, was that relationship a good experience, or something I regret? Maybe partly both? Maybe at the time it was good, and then later it was bad, but now it doesn't matter anymore because it's in the past.

But I really do think asking him out and starting a relationship was a good decision, based on the information available at the time. Here was this really great guy, and I had an opportunity to be with him and see if we could be a couple. And I can't live my life too afraid to take opportunities like that.

Image source.

I remember my first steps away from purity culture, back when I had just started dating him. I was breaking all the rules, you see, because I was texting him at night to say "I miss you, good night" and such things. Clearly a bad bad thing to do, because it increased my affection for him and emotional attachment to him without giving me any new information on whether or not we could get married.

I didn't guard my heart at all. And I'm so glad I'm done with "guarding my heart" because really, it was all about fear.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How I Got Into Purity

Image source.

Back in high school, when I first started liking boys, I wasn't really part of purity culture. Sure, at church I heard the youth leaders occasionally warn us about "giving away part of your heart" and how sex will make you dirty, and I read Focus on the Family magazines with articles about saving your first kiss and how "friends with benefits" is ALWAYS DEFINITELY BAD.

But on the other hand, I saw people kissing or holding hands in movies, and that seemed normal. My parents weren't massively into purity culture either- I mean, sure they said people shouldn't have sex before marriage, OBVIOUSLY, but things like dating and kissing are totally normal and fun.

I was very confused about what "the rules" were, but it didn't really matter then. I didn't have a boyfriend. I just liked boys, which is fine. No need to worry about the other stuff yet.

But then, I got hurt. Just some stuff about being in love and breaking up- and God saved me when I felt so hopeless. That's when I decided to really fully dedicate my life to God.

And I remembered those warnings I had heard years before, the voices from purity culture I hadn't paid attention to. This heartbreak had happened to me because I hadn't guarded my heart. It happened because every little crush was actively giving away pieces of me. It happened because I was more interested in boys than following God. (And maybe some of that is partly true, maybe not. I'm not sure anymore- what exactly is the normal-person view on dating and heartbreak?)

Anyway, I decided from then on, I would do things God's way. And, conveniently, there were lots of books to tell me what dating and marriage "God's way" was. Back then I thought if something was written by a Christian and advertising itself as "God's way" then it MUST be right. Ai ya.

So that's how I got into purity. I read and read, and put the pieces together to create a new outlook on dating.  

I learned that dating was bad and dangerous- unless God brings you together, in which case it's the most wonderful and miraculous thing ever.

I learned that we can't trust our emotions, we can't trust ourselves to make good decisions, and we can't trust our bodies not to spontaneously have sex with someone if we put ourselves in a situation with a lot of temptation.

I learned that God had a plan, a wonderful wonderful plan- and that if I pursued a guy without explicit permission from God, then I was wrecking the plan. Maybe in God's plan, I meet my husband when I'm 45- so, until then, God's plan is for me to NEVER DATE ANYONE OR LIKE ANY GUYS. Who knows?

I learned that I shouldn't love my boyfriend. Love is bad.

I learned to fear. Fear that noticing a cute guy would cause me to be impure and not good enough for "my future husband." Fear that if I started dating someone, we would later break up and I'd realize oh man, I knew all along God was saying no, but I selfishly didn't want to listen.

I learned that if I did start dating someone, I'd have to be jumpy and nervous all the time because we'd have to break up the instant we discovered an incompatibility- bail out as fast as possible so I wouldn't become even more impure, since the relationship is doomed anyway. How could we be honest with each other, then? How could we really get to know each other, if telling him my secrets might cause us to suddenly, without warning, break up?

I had many questions, but I trusted that God was there, and he would make it all work out. If it was God's plan, then I would have a perfect marriage. (God's plan was either a perfect marriage OR being single and devoted to God forever.)

Image source.

I got into purity culture because I really wanted to live "God's way."

I wanted God to protect me from the incredible danger that is romance.

And I was willing to do anything to follow God.

------------

Tomorrow, read part 2: How I Got Out of Purity.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Blogaround

Image source.

First bunch of links is all about #Ferguson:

1. Things To Stop Being Distracted By When A Black Person Gets Murdered By Police (posted August 12) "... the right to walk down the street without being a target for murder by the police isn’t a right one should have to prove themselves worthy of."

2. Michael Brown. Ferguson. (posted August 18) Good summary of the facts up to last Monday. Lots of links.

3. Mike Brown: Facts and dog whistles (posted August 18) "In other words, by releasing the video of Mike Brown stealing cigars, the police chief said, 'White people. It's OK. You don't have to care.'"

4. Tear gas is a chemical weapon banned in war. But Ferguson police shoot it at protesters. (posted August 14) 

And a couple other miscellaneous links:

1. I was 17, on death row -- and innocent (posted July 13) "The system does not identify and sentence 'the worst of the worst' to death -- just the most powerless."

2. Be Not Deceived: There’s No Such Thing As A “Christian Banker” (posted June 20) "There is no 'third way' on this issue, and if you try to find one, it’s only because you’re ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus and would rather deny him before men than take a stand against banking."

3. Please enjoy the genie/Robin Williams singing "Friend Like Me":



4. The 614th Commandment (posted August 10) "When we suggest that God has replaced Israel with the Church, what we’re really saying is that God has broken his unconditional, no-strings-attached promise to Israel: ‘I will be your God and you will be my People.’"

5. The Hole in Noll: The whiteness of ‘[White] America’s God’ (posted August 21) "The important thing there — what should be, for all Christians, everywhere, the most astonishingly important thing — is that America’s black Christians were right."