silly picture

Aside

Yknow, there’s nothing like getting two-word well wishes on your Facebook wall from people who haven’t talked to you since you were in middle school.

Rantings and Ravings

This post has no purpose. I’ve given up on trying to write about half-way intellectual topics, because-lets face it- i’m not much of an intellectual. Sure, I’m smart, but I don’t have an opinion on the latest clean energy debate or whether or not we should be funneling more money into the economy or whatever. It isn’t even that I don’t care about such issues, I just don’t think my ill-informed opinions add much to a debate.

besides, I’m much more concerned by my Roasted Garlic Hummus, which is simply not as good as it was last week. If i were any less hungry I’d check the container for a use-by date but as it is I think i’m going to live in happy ignorance and hope I don’t get ill.

In other food news, I’m quite thrilled by the (re-)introduction of Real Sugar Pepsi, but at the same time disappointed by the “Limited Time Only!” sticker on the label. To be honest, I can taste a difference in flavor and I’m not sure I like it as well as the more familiar Pepsi, but the absence of High Fructose Corn Syrup more than makes up for it. HFCS is one thing I’ve really started watching labels for. The more I learn about it the more disgusting I find it. So, I applaud any company that is willing to find a way to take it out of my food, and hope some other soft drink companies will follow suit.

Did you know that the Gauls and the Celts are the same people? 23 years and a degree in European History and I just made that connection yesterday. In my defense, in all my studies they’ve been kind of stuck on the periphery of the subject–enough to be mentioned in passing but not ever enough to learn much more about them. Now I’ve decided to investigate them further, and so last night I picked up a book on the Celts. So far I find it madly confusing (the introduction consisted of a debate as to whether the Celts ever actually existed or if they’re a figment of the modern imagination—a proposal that strikes me as absurd) but this is probably nothing more than a testament to how poor my reading comprehension is after 10pm. I’ll try to reread it later this afternoon and see if i can make better sense of it.

There is currently a huge hawk sitting on my birdfeeder.

oh wait. he flew to the ground. He’s eying the fishpond. poor fish. hope they’re smart enough to dive a little deeper.

I think that is all I have to say today.

toodle-oo until tomorrow!

About that Mosque…

Y’know, I don’t mean to make this a religious blog, or a political one, or a pop culture one, or anything else of the sort. I just want to make a habit of writing regularly, about anything, and decided this would be as good a place as any. I would like to write a little bit every day, just to get myself in the habit of doing so and to create situations where I force myself to think critically and and carefully about a subject. Writing helps me do that.

I thought about writing a long, opinionated post about the Ground Zero Mosque and Cultural Center, but then decided that if I were to be honest with myself, I don’t really care about whether there is a Mosque there or not. I do care about the hateful attitudes of many Americans toward their Muslim neighbors.

Y’know, I recognize that many of the objections to the Mosque are completely legitimate. But at the same time, I’m not sure what there is to discuss. Whether you believe it or not, the people building this building are not here illegally. They are men and women who make their permanent homes in America, many who were born here and are citizens just like us. These are people who have had a presence in this community long before 9-11 happened. They are not criminals. They have not broken any law. They are not sending letters to President Obama and lobbying for taxpayer money to aid their building program (unlike some certain christian churches in the vicinity). They do have the legal, constitutional right to build a building on this location if they so choose.

And I’m sorry, but all the arguments along the lines of “well, I don’t see any Christian churches being built in Saudi Arabia” are irrelevant. So what? This is not Saudi Arabia. This isn’t a country where it is illegal for people to practice freedom of religion. It is absurd to me that people seem to believe that disallowing this Mosque to be built helps uphold and protect American values. There is no sense in withholding rights from Muslims on the basis that some other country withholds rights from Christians. As Christians, should you not instead do as the Bible says and love one another, just as Jesus reached out his hand to Jews and Samaritans alike?

Surely, building democracy and protecting basic freedoms doesn’t happen just by going into other countries and setting up puppet governments that mimic our own, it begins with those of us at home who give others  the rights we have sworn to uphold, even if it makes us a bit uncomfortable. This doesn’t mean that we allow ourselves to be walked on. It doesn’t mean we are disrespecting the memory of those who died at the World Trade Centers. It doesn’t mean we are embracing Islam. It just means that we Americans are standing by the Bill of Rights written by our forefathers and which millions of our own brothers and sisters died for.

These rights–freedom of speech, freedom to freely practice religion, freedom to own property–are available to Muslims too. Whether you consider the site to be “sacred ground” or not, there is no invisible fence circling around Ground Zero, and in which Muslims are not allowed. To reason that no Mosques can or should be built within some arbitrary distance of Ground Zero, while people of every other religion might carry on in that area as they please, is blatant racism and discrimination, and sets a dangerous precedent for our Country. It doesn’t matter if you think Muslims deserve this treatment, its still fundamentally wrong.

It always astonishes me that Christians are so quick to distance themselves from terrorists who commit crimes in the name of Christianity, arguing that those people have their doctrine wrong and aren’t  “true” Christians. However, we refuse to see any other type of Muslim than the vengeful, greedy, bearded stereotype who  spends his time scheming on new ways to take down America.
I’m sorry everyone, but this is not the case.

Searching for Truth in Comparative Religion

When Liam and I have a great idea, it usually stays an idea. Somehow we rarely manage to bring these ideas to life. Or, we might stick with it for a week or two before deciding it is too much trouble or   otherwise unmanageable. This is frustrating and disappointing to me in some ways, but at least we keep trying to come up with new things to do together, rather than giving up.

We both read Life of Pi this week. Before we began, Liam warned that he didn’t have much time in the day to dedicate to reading, so it might take him a long time to get through it. He also claimed he wasn’t much good at book discussions and would probably have little to say. Even with these potential difficulties in mind, we agreed it was worth a try.

We began reading on Monday with the goal to have each gotten through at least the first 20 chapters (out of a total of 100) by the end of the week.

By Wednesday, Liam has already flown through all 400 pages and is anxiously and persistently demanding i also finish ASAP so he can talk about it. I’m on page 50. Go figure.

I managed to finish the book by Friday, and we sat down and talked about it for nearly two hours. I thought Life of Pi was a great book overall, but was not as impressed by it as Liam seems to have been. While reading, I mostly admired the way author Yann Martel was able to make the most boring and mundane existence imaginable–trapped alone in a lifeboat for the better part of a year and spending days idly cracking the shells off sea turtles–into a story that is captivating, adventurous, and exciting enough to stretch over 400 pages. Perhaps the greatest aid to this effect is the immense amount of detail and information packed into the story, on everything from animal behavior to how to a solar still works, which also helps make the otherwise absurd story seem surprisingly believable. Liam, however, picked up more on the allegorical nature of the story than I did, and thus initiated an interesting discussion on faith and belief and the role of religion.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book and always appreciate a book that makes me think, but was troubled by the implication that all religions are seen as stories that outline the same greater truth, the same way that the two stories Pi tells of his journey are essentially the same and end the same, despite different characters and anecdotes along the way.  This is unsettling to me, as I’ve always lived with the assumption that religions-whether they preach exclusivity or not-are mutually exclusive. They can’t all be correct. The basis for this belief of mine is that while i can understand that God might speak to different cultures in different ways and in a way that will best resonate to them, I don’t think he could fundamentally change his nature for them. I don’t see how God can be a triune God to Christians and not to Jews, or Buddhists, or Muslims, or whoever else. even on a less basic level, there are a plethora of differences in doctrine and tradition between religions. How can God be all these contradicting things at once? Either someone is wrong or God is lying to someone about himself. In which case, how can we trust anything else he says?

I’ve spent the weekend browsing some Christian apologetics sites on the subject, looking to see if any had anything to say about the subject. Most of them are not satisfying in the least, resorting to lame and tired responses about how Jesus was either the son of God or he was crazy and a liar. And since he obviously couldn’t be a good man and still be crazy and a liar (this already illogical argument is further tarnished for being built on the assumption that everyone accepts that Jesus was a good man), Jesus must be the Son of God and therefore Christianity is telling the truth, and everything else must be false. In case you are still not convinced, this argument is usually followed by a detailed breakdown of the probability of Jesus being able perform all the miracles he did, making the point that none of the events recorded in the Bible–which of course DID happen because the Bible explicitly says they did–could have been an accident. Jesus must have been God. Jesus’ death on the cross must have happened as the Bible says it did. He must have been raised from the dead. He must be the only way to heaven, the only source of salvation, the only true religion.

Can any Christians out there offer an argument that is more convincing than this????

Anyway, I’m not overly familiar with other religions, but i do know that true Christianity leaves no room for others in its doctrine. Islam, also, presents its doctrine as the truth without a shadow of a doubt. However, despite their obvious difference I was intriqued during my recent study of Islam to notice that the ways Muslims yearn to experience the divine is not all that different from how Christians want to experience the divine, and many of the sects and traditions of the Muslim religion center around a central desire to understand God that I myself can easily identify with. All religions are looking to fill a similar role in peoples’ lives, and I cant go so far as to argue that the one person’s attempt to reach God is less valid simply because it doesn’t fit in with the tradition I was raised to accept. However, I also have to note that all spiritual paths demand some sort of real fulfillment. We’re all hungry to find some ultimate truth. How then, can we be satisfied in finding that there is no ultimate truth to be reached, that we’re all just floundering about in some great void with no concrete answers and a God who can mean anything to anybody? Even if, metaphorically speaking, all roads do lead to Rome, I’m not sure that’s enough for me.

In the end, I know that my perspective is biased by living in a western country with an overwhelmingly Christian upbringing. I can’t escape my own convictions and beliefs in judging a matter like this. I also don’t want to do anything but live wholeheartedly within my own faith (something I often fail at). I do want to understand and appreciate the perspectives of others, which is why I love and appreciate Liam and the way he challenges me to stretch outside my comfort zone on matters such as religion and faith, and to shows me where my logic fails and where I need to spend more time thinking and studying.

I don’t know if I’ve accomplished anything by writing this post, or that it was even helpful for me to attempt to sort out my ideas and confusions on paper. Even so, I’m always open to feedback, and look forward to hearing from anyone with something to say.

Jenny

Introduction

It has been a while since this blog was last updated. Combine Liam sadly moving to a new apartment without internet connection with general inattention by both of us, and you get one lame blog. I wish we could stick to things, but we seem to be the sort of people with lots of grand ideas and little followup action.

Because Liam is persistently absent, I’ve decided to take it upon myself to transform Lipstick and Aviators into a place for my own musings, observations, and opinion-sharing. If Liam can ever come back, I do hope he joins in, but for now I’m going to have some fun on my own.

For a while now, I’ve thought it might be fun to document our relationship, from how it started to how we go to where we are now, and where we’re going. In some ways, we’re really not that interesting, but in other ways I think we have a fairly interesting story to tell, in no small part because we live on opposite sides of the ocean. Of course, telling a story like this would require complete honesty (both with myself and with my audience) and I’m not entirely sure I’m willing to share everything with the world wide web. Thus, this particular story isn’t really going to follow a timeline from start to finish….it’s just going to be a compilation of various things i want to remember and ponder over. As we begin to have more adventures together (on the same side of the ocean) maybe it’ll function more as a journal.

So, All that said, obviously I have no idea what I’m writing about or how I’m planning to use this blog, as I simultaneously don’t want to share anything but really feel a need to have a space to get some thoughts out.

We’ll see.

anyway, love you all muchly.

whoever you are.

Angel Eyes

I’ll never let you go, you’re always on my mind
You’re the only one for me, you’re all I need
And I’ll never, never let you go

Angel eyes, my heart relies on the love you give to me
You never let me down, you’re always by my side
And I’ll never, never let you go, I will never let you go!

When my heart starts to crumble and the tears start to fall
You hold me close with tender lovin’, and give me strength to carry on

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

great song :) felt like sharing it on this otherwise uneventful Thursday… everyone needs somebody to love :)