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It is related, though. Possibly it falls under the category of things that made Small Miriam into Big Miriam.

Right now I'm somewhere in the application process of an organization that [livejournal.com profile] rumorofrain has been referring to as the Mennonite Peace Corps. It's not an entirely accurate description, as you don't need to be Mennonite, but it's close enough. They do want you to be an active member of a Christian church, and to agree to abide by their lifestyle expectations. Okay, fine, lifestyle expectations. I think that living simply and an agreement to not racially and/or sexually harass people are good things. And I'm perfectly willing to abide by the drug and alcohol policy. Personally, I don't expect to have issues following any of this stuff. However.

"MCC requires sexual celibacy for personnel outside of a heterosexual marriage relationship during their terms of service with MCC.

Persons of homosexual orientation who meet MCC personnel criteria as noted above will be considered for MCC service if they are willing to abide by MCC's requirement of celibacy for all outside of a heterosexual marriage and if they will not use MCC as a platform from which to advocate for same-sex sexual relationships."

Okay, they're a church group. If they want people to be celibate outside of a committed relationship, that's their prerogative, I guess. But I have serious problems with specifying that your committed relationship has to be a heterosexual marriage. And I think the little "the gays are welcome so long as they're willing to act straight" addendum almost makes it worse.

My mother's take on this is that that particular requirement and that particular phrasing is put in there to appease the funding base. I was still feeling somewhat grumpy about the whole affair, though.

And then I realized that part of the application included this question: Write about a time when you observed racism, sexism or other forms of oppression, or participated in efforts to work against racism, sexism or other forms of oppression. Please elaborate. )
3rdragon: (Default)
So all last weekend I was at an anti-racism analysis/training workshop (Damascus Road, if you're interested in details). It was:
-way more information than I have yet had time to process
-and sponsored/run by Mennonite Central Committee (among others).

This last was something I found particularly bizarre, since I have a number of issues with the broader Mennonite church, and it was very odd to be dismantling one -ism in a program run by an organization that I consider to be a perpetuator of others. (I will say, for the record, that I think MCC is better, as an organization, than MC USA, for example, but it's still all wrapped up in it. And a lot of the attendees come from MC USA churches.)

But this is causing me to put words to something that I have been vaguely aware of for a long time:

I do not know how to be a good Smithie when I'm in what-I-wouldn't-say-in-front-of-my-grandmother mode.

And S totally called me on it. My first reactions were justifications (Okay, I suppose that can be a gender-ambiguous name, but the main association in this country is usually female. Also, your fellow group member is definitely using female pronouns, which suggests to me that you're not out to your group (or have asked them not to out you to this group), and I'm supposed to pick up on it anyway? Etc). And as points, I do think they are pretty valid.

That doesn't change the root of this issue, though.
When I am in groups that I suspect or know to be more socially conservative, I am more socially conservative myself. I don't mean just in the not-being-stupid-and-getting-myself-in-trouble way. I make the composition of those groups more conservative, by the way I act, the way I dress, the way I present myself, what I don't say.
It's very easy to present myself as the modest, straight, mainstream-Christian (okay, mainstream-Mennonite, which is a} not the same thing and b} definitely an oxymoron), not-making-a-fuss girl, and keep my subversive thoughts inside my head. If I do it right, it doesn't require a lie -- it's just not telling the whole truth.

And I'm not saying that I lie. Not even to keep the peace with my grandparents will I lie outright. And I don't need to. In the situations I'm thinking of, it would never occur to most of these people to ever ask a question I need to answer with a lie in order to preserve the fa├žade. I just sit in the corner with my knitting, and bring my WWII book instead of my sci-fi short stories, and chat about fibercrafts and cooking and gardening, and while I say I went to Smith, most of the people around here don't know what that means well enough to understand what I'm telling them.

I'm not saying that I'm looking for fights. I don't feel any particular need to argue with my grandmother, or with the Mennonite Church as a whole. But I wish I knew how not to mislay my Smithie hat when I put on my Mennonite bonnet.
3rdragon: (Default)
We were at the house of my maternal grandparents for Christmas this year. This gets very long, and may be somewhat disorganized, due to being written over the course of almost a week. )

Happy new year, everyone.
3rdragon: (Default)
So a month ago, [livejournal.com profile] harp_of_israfel posted an entry bashing Advent (among other things - among talking about other things). I've been thinking about this all season. Because I love Advent. It may be my favorite liturgical season.

Advent is often described as being about waiting. And I suppose you can look at it that way. But I prefer the word anticipation. Also preparation. Waiting is something you do because you don't have anything better to do. Anticipation is something to be savored.

I think of Advent as a time of paring down, of slowing down, of focusing on the essentials. Hope. Peace. Love. Joy. Christ.
I like the Advent songs. They're distinct from Christmas songs, and while there are lots of obnoxious pop Christmas songs, there are many fewer obnoxious Advent songs. Advent songs tend to be a bit more reserved, and often draw from the Old Testament readings describing the coming of the Messiah. They're joyful, but in a different way than Christmas songs, and generally have absolutely gorgeous harmony. You just need to make sure that to sing them fast enough so that they don't drag.
And the Advent readings. The Isaiah readings are gorgeous pieces of poetry, even in translation (or maybe it's just that I'm inclined to hear Handel's Messiah whenever they are read aloud). And then there are the apocalyptic readings. I don't go to a particularly fire-and-brimstone church, so that "some shall be taken and some shall be left" sorts of readings are things that we really struggle with, which leads to interesting and thought-provoking sermons.

Perhaps I think of Advent as a sort of antidote to the secular celebrations of Christmas. I like the symbolism of Advent. It's not just that I'm fond of fire; there's something that really speaks to me about candles during the darkening months of December. A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Christmas Eve is the epitome of this for me, culminating in Stille Nacht as candles are lit around the room.

Perhaps later I will discuss why I found Christmas Eve this year unsatisfactory, and why the service yesterday served as a balm for my wounded sensibilities. Not at this particular moment. Do you people actually read when I babble about religion?
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Those of you who have been reading your Smith e-mail this past week will be aware that there was supposed to have been a power outage at 5:00 this morning, with power back on at 5:30 and lots of other stuff (like internet) down throughout the day as we update to co-gen.* My alarm clock has a battery so that it doesn't reset in instances like this, and I didn't notice anything unusual this morning. Turns out, the word on the street** is that whoever was supposed to turn the power off at 5:00 this morning didn't show, and so the whole thing has been called off. And while I'm glad that there aren't going to be freaking out people on my shift this morning, there will still be freaking out people at some point in the future, and since we did all the anticipating for today, it would've been nice to just go through with it and get it over with.
Ah, its/status says that it was canceled due to a family emergency.

It is officially summer. I took my first cold shower this morning and it was marvelous.

It's been quiet today, aside from the lady who wanted to print something and couldn't because the pay-for-print computer was having problems. Either she the computer was asleep and she turned it off instead of waking it up or someone turned it off over the weekend in preparation for the power outage. Either way it won't reconnect to the Pharos server, and the lady was not happy about it. I have to say that I'm really puzzled by these people who come down to print and say that they're in the middle of class and just ran down to print something. I mean, printing doesn't take that long if everything works, but it's still longer than I'd want to step out of class for. Of course I must admit that on at least one occasion I've cut my printing pretty close too, but I managed to be in class with my paper by the time class started.

I finished The Arm of the Starfish yesterday. Cut for maundering about books and religion. )
Next on my reading list: A Ring of Endless Light and And Only to Deceive.

Pharos is working again. Whoot.

Em and I went canoeing yesterday, but turned back almost immediately because it was thundering ominously.

I think that's all for now.

*I would like to state that while I entirely approve of co-gen, I fully expected today to be hellish because people often don't check their e-mail/don't think ahead and then bad things happen and they freak out at the nearest person who looks to be vaguely in control of anything: probably me, since I have a shiny nametag and sit at a special desk.

**And by, "word on the street," I mean, "as I was told this morning by the chatty library lady who gives me my keys every morning and whose name I don't know and should probably ask sometime."

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