Archive for September, 2009

30
Sep
09

Having It Both Ways by Miz Pink

pink-popcicle-2Just a little rant today.

So I was doing some online discussion at a board and having around in an off topic/anything goes part of the place and responding in a religion thread. I mentioned I had some liberal view. Okay a lot of them. And that I was Christian too.

So I get a response that with beliefs like that I’m obviously a Christian who doesn’t follow Jesus. And some comment about when he said he would spit out those who were lukewarm, he wasn’t talking about fellatio.

Now I don’t think it was crazy to think I was dealing with someone who was Christian and took exception to my political views so I noted how liberal and progressive many of Jesus’s views and actions were at least on a social level.

Then I get the surprise response that I’m just one of those judgmental sheep who believe in oral stories passed down from sheep herders.

This comment was from the same dang person!!!!

After a while I realize I’m dealing with an atheist who wants to have it both ways by saying I’m not Christian enough to be taken seriously and too Christian to be looked at as anything but a mindless plodding obedient drone.

So do I have a mind that I am using to pick and choose my beliefs and be reasonable or am I an idiot who simply does what the Bible tells me to do mindlessly. Apparently according to this guy I’m somehow both.

He also informed me that according to the bible I’m going to hell because I don’t follow everything perfectly even though he doesn’t believe there is a hell.

It’s all just too wonderfuly surreal and amusing for me to even get mad.

30
Sep
09

An Itinerant Deacon?

So, I find myself wondering: Am I am itinerant deacon in some strange sense?

What I mean is that nearly a decade ago now, I was ordained a deacon by my father-in-law, crossfoglakewho at the time was also my pastor. The church was small. Very small. Which I actually think was a plus, as we could have discussions and Bible teaching/debate as often as sermons—and sometimes both in the same hour to hour-and-a-half sermon.

So, I didn’t have a lot of duties, really. It wasn’t like doing the Lord’s Supper (communion) was all that taxing, even though I had to serve the entire congregation myself. I said it was small, right? I didn’t have a lot of greeting to do at the door. But I helped. And when I wasn’t helping during services, I was a sounding board for my father-in-law, and I did other support duties for him, like trying to set up a rudimentary online ministry, editing religious writings he was doing, and things like that. Even after I moved hundred upon hundreds of miles away to relocate in New England, I have done things like transcribe tapes of a book he was writing about the role and nature of Satan.

Since coming out here more than seven years ago, I haven’t really served much as a deacon. Part of that has been the lack of a church home for much of that time. We would find a church to attend, and find it reasonably tolerable or even promising, and then after some weeks or months, we would find some fatal flaw in regard to staying there (crazy heretical things cropping up, people treating our multicultural family with the cold shoulder, sexism or homophobia, etc.). Wisely, I haven’t made a point of mentioning my deacon work in the past when I have entered a church, not wanting to be put to work and getting sucked in when I’m not even sure it’s a church I want to join.

At one church, I did make my deacon past known, and it was a small church of size similar to my father-in-law’s, and I helped with communion there a couple times and some other stuff, but then the pastor started getting a prophet complex, started preaching a lot of prosperity/name-it-and-claim-it stuff, and started preaching about how if you weren’t speaking in tongues, you weren’t born again. I clammed up about being a former deacon at the next several churches we tried after that.

For almost a year now, we’ve been members of a church. It’s a fairly big church (for this area, that is), and it’s involved in the community a lot and people are pretty nice. The sermons can be a bit light sometimes, but the liberal bent is more in line with the views of myself and my wife, since the more conservative churches seem to like to campaign against legalizing same sex marriage, stomping on women’s right, and wonderful things like that. I’d rather have a church that errs on the side of equality and human rights and kindness, rather than one that preaches nasty attitudes.

The pastor hasn’t really called on me to serve, and it doesn’t look like there’s much need for me anyway.

So, what is my role? Am I really a deacon?

I like to think that I am, and that is where the whole itinerant deacon concept cropped up in my mind. Itinerant preachers are those who travel, and don’t really set up shop in a particular town or church. I think that’s what I am, because of the Internet presence I’ve created for myself. I talk about spiritual and religious matters (among other things), and having a blog that can be read by anyone in the world, I “travel” in a way. But am I serving as a deacon? I think so. I am lifting up Jesus and serving church needs, in the global sense of the church of Christ. I sometimes find inspiration in posts from sermons that my current pastor gives, and so at times I am helping him get his words out there, however indirectly.

So, I am a helper, and a representative. I guide people where I can to examine scripture and to look for answers and spiritual growth, and those seems to me to be very deacon-like things.

So, I’m ordained, but not called to a specific place. I am no Bible scholar, but I believe I have deep enough spiritual discernment to be of help in presenting Christianity, the Bible and Christ in a good light.

I am, in the end, a servant. Albeit a servant who sometimes cusses and sometimes is irreverent. But you know, Jesus had a sense of humor and sometimes a short temper, too. So I’m in good company there.

And so, for now, I remain your humble itinerant deacon.

25
Sep
09

TMI. No, really, TMI! by Miz Pink

Too much information is what TMI is, for those of you not in the know about such thingies. MacKenzie Phillips, co-star of the “One Day at a Time” sitcom from the 70s or 80s (I forget and I’m too lazy to look it up) is spending a lot of time hawking her book and talking about her incestuous relationship (supposedly) with her daddy. Mind you apparently the first time was a rape she says but the other times were consensual but she did it because of all the drugs she was taking.

I understand that parents do some sick things. I understand that many of my fellow women get raped. I don’t understand how you come out talking about how you willingly had sex with your daddy as an adult particularly when said daddy is dead and unable to defend himself. Airing dirty laundry and making yourself a freaky public spectacle in what seems to be an attempt to drum up people to buy your book.

What, VH-1 and MTV finally got tired of reality shows for washed up celebs and you couldn’t get yourself a gig there MacKenzie.

TMI baby. We don’t want to know that many sordid details of your life. If you were doing work helping survivors of incest or something instead of hawking yourself for money I might understand more.

TMI.

And what’s more let me pull out another internet abbreviation. STFU.

22
Sep
09

Cleansed by Fire, Part 60

For the previous installment of this story, click here.

Or, visit the Cleansed By Fire portal page for comprehensive links to previous chapter installments and additional backstory and information about the novel.

Cleansed by Fire

Chapter 9, Reunions and Seekings (continued)

Strange  bed-partners indeed, Bechan Adym reminded himself yet again as he waited for the Voudoun priest to see him. Rabbi Brifel Mann had told him to seek out the bechan-adymhoungano Varshtis Maongi for aid, and so he was here. But it was already hard enough being a good Jewish boy looking for help from another religion; so much the worse to have to look to help from one that had so many inadvertent spiritual ties to the Vatican thanks to the the mixing of Catholic, Haitian and tribal African religious traditions some 2,000 year or more earlier to create Voodoo—which was transfigured some four centuries ago into Voudoun.

When the houngano finally emerged from his office, Bechan was surprised to see how Asiatic the man’s features were, having completely forgotten how rapidly Voudoun had spread through nations in the Asian Republics—Chinan, Krishna and Dehli excepted—over the past century. Varshtis had obvious signs of Caribbean or African blood in his veins, but his Pacific Asian heritage showed so much more strongly.

The houngano greeted Bechan warmly, and introduced his priestess wife, the mambin Heathri Maongi, whose ancestry surprised Bechan even more, since she was as pale and blonde a Scanda as he had ever seen outside of high-art grid-vids from Denmark or Swedelund.

The negotiations for the Voudoun’s aid and how Brifel or Bechan would repay it later went well overall, and it was a pleasant enough transaction, though Bechan was uncomfortably aware of the sliptrans implants that the couple wore so prominently on their necks and brows, as did almost all hounganos and mambins.

The Voudoun is probably the only religion that can truly say its gods talk to its practitioners, Bechan pondered, thinking about the history of their religion. The Vatican had virtualized the memories of its popes with the Godhead, but they didn’t try to virtualize God. The Voudoun, on the other hand, have at least 13 AIs scattered across the planet, and maybe elsewhere in the solar system, each of which was a virtualization of one of their L’wha—their godling representatives of their Great Good God Bondye. For all I know, one of the L’wha is riding Varshtis, or Heathri, right now. I can’t know if I’m dealing with a human or an AI that thinks itself a minor god.

But, it seemed to Bechan, if one of the L’wha was running the show at the moment, using either the priest’s or priestess’ body, then the gods must be with him, because the houngano and mambin were generous with their help and modest in their demands.

As they finished up, and he rose to leave, Varshtis paused significantly, slapped himself on the side of his skull, and laughed softly. “Oh, my Hebrew friend, I almost forgot.”

“Forgot what?” Bechan asked, trying to keep his voice mild.

“Why, your zombi, of course,” the houngano said, his gaze becoming briefly flinty before it softened back into slight amusement. “A gift for you.”

A short man in simple trousers and a long coat moved into the room, and settled himself into a casual stance a foot away from Bechan, all the world like a trained dog who had just come to heel.

Bechan’s stomach felt a cold clench of despair as he remembered his parting words to Brifel in Jerusalem, and his off-hand joke.

Maybe they’ll loan me a zombi for my journeys, I had told him. Something to do the heavy work and not force me listen to small talk.

There was no way to refuse this gift of a zombi, some person who had been largely turned into a human automatonwhether willingly or unwillingly Bechan would probably never knowbecause to do so would be to unravel all these negotiations for help.

It was disturbing in part because a zombi was something altogether illegal to possess in most nations of the world.

But what was all the more disturbing was that the houngano and mambin had known he had made the joke to Brifel. Because Brifel would never have passed along that comment to them.

As Bechan looked into the calm and confident smile of the houngano, he realized the message sent by gifting him a zombi.

We know more than you can imagine. The ears and eyes of our L’wha reach far. And your ancient religion is still tied too much to scrolls and rituals. While we have our gods on the SystemGrid.

It was a sharp reminder to Bechan that friends often came at a high price, and he hoped he wouldn’t have to make too many more friends in this journey.

(For the next installment of this story, click here.)

22
Sep
09

I’m all a twitter…how about you? by Miz Pink

I know I shouldn’t oughtta pick on Deke but he did swear never to join Twitter and yet there he is! So, a little tweak for the newly “de-virginized” Deacon Blue-Twitter.

You see, I saw this story:

Actual people physically gather to talk Twitter

Sept. 22, 2009, 7:20 PM EST

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Twitter was a trending topic Tuesday — and not just on Twitter.

Actual people were physically gathered at the Skirball Cultural Center for the two-day conference dedicated to the micro-blogging site. Company co-founder Biz Stone opened the conference with a 40-minute speech about the origins of Twitter and its goal to make a positive global impact, citing the site’s importance in organizing political protests worldwide.

Pro skater Tony Hawk, attorney Mark Geragos, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, actors Tyrese Gibson and Greg Grunberg and addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky took part in panels on Twitter and celebrity.

Yes, that’s right. People gathered for a two day conference to discuss a social media site that only allows you to post what…100 characters or something like that?

Pardon me while I ROFLMAO until I pass out.

I will tease you about you Twitter decision until the day you die Deke.

18
Sep
09

Dude-y Daycare

Little Girl Blue is now attending preschool. This necessitated a move from her daycare facility to a different facility, though both programs are run by the same organization. I’m not so thrilled with the lead teacher, nor is Mrs. Blue, but we were very pleased to see that the assistant teacher was one that Little Girl Blue used to have sometimes at the daycare.

Yay! Continuity is a time of transition.

Problem is, this teacher is a man.

This isn’t a problem for me or Mrs. Blue. You see, one of our daughter’s best teachers at the daycare was a man. In fact, that man sort of mentored the one who’s at her preschool now.

The problem is the mother who was quietly (but not quietly enough, which was probably her intention sadly) telling the lead teacher how her son was afraid of the male teacher.

I don’t normally judge by appearances, but the woman’s body language, facial expressions and demeanor made both me and Mrs. Blue think that the mama was projecting. That is, she ain’t comfortable with a dude as a teacher, and she wants to make waves to probably get him eased out of there.

I know that men in teaching, particularly at the daycare and preschool level, are not the norm, but this kind of prejudice and discrimination bothers me every bit as much as racial crap.

In this day and age when so many kids lack male figures in the household, I applaud any man willing to teach kids. Regardless of the age of those kids. Gender doesn’t dictate how nurturing you are. It may have an influence, but I think that influence is overrated.

And it makes me upset to think how many mothers are bringing their kids to the center and seeing “potential child molester” instead of “valuable teaching asset.” Because judging by my impressions thus far, this mother is of a type that seems pretty prevalent among the other parents sending their kids there.

14
Sep
09

All In the Head?

openmindSo, I’m having a bit of writer’s block on the novel, so I guess another day or two will pass before the next installment(s), though I think I’ll be picking up steam on that project again soon. In the meantime, I’ll go and get spiritual instead today, since Miz Pink seems to have dropped off the radar again temporarily (I blame the dang kid that insists on being changed and breastfed regularly…two activities that I’m sure make typing pretty near impossible).

So, what I want to talk about is the whole idea of sinful thoughts being as bad as sinful actions. A popular belief among many conservative, Bible-belting-you-over-the-head types.

A belief which, I have to say, is a total load of horsecrap.

Jesus talks about this notion a bit, supposedly, as chronicled in the Gospel of Matthew, and here’s one snippet:

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh o­n a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew chapter 5, verses 27 & 28)

Now, by way of an aside, there’s an interesting discussion about what adultery really means, right here, but you can look at that later. It doesn’t have any bearing on my arguments here. Also, before I start making my arguments, I’ll remind those of you who are still confusing me with a theologian that I’m neither a linguist nor biblical scholar, so take my ravings here with an appropriate dosage of salt.

I don’t think that Jesus’ argument was really that thinking about sex outside of marriage, for example, or thinking about killing (which he mentions right before the adultery thing), for instance, are as sinful as actually doing the acts.

First, Jesus talks about the heart, not the mind. That is, we’re talking about true feelings. Intense motions. Intentions. Not mere passing thoughts. Fact is, as humans, it’s pretty much impossible to never look at someone with sexual desire. Flat out impossible. The issue is more this: Did you think about sinful activity with a real fervor and serious consideration about doing it?

If so, there is where your sin may lie.

But more to the point, perhaps, let’s look at the context in which Jesus is speaking. This was the ancient world. People didn’t typically live in cities, and cities of the time were still much smaller affairs than what we have today. Therefore, to look at, say, a woman with serious lust was a problem in part because this is a woman you have access to.

If I look lustfully upon a woman on the commuter train of a major city, chances are I won’t really have a chance to act on my desires. I don’t know where she works. I don’t know where she lives. The most pressing danger of “sinful” fantasies is that you might actually act out the sin. In the ancient world, looking at some dude’s wife with lust meant you might have a very real chance, regardless of which woman in town you chose, of knowing how to find her and giving yourself an opportunity.

So, the mere thinking of a thing isn’t sinful.

Because, let’s face it, if that were the case, good intentions would be enough to save us in the eyes of God. Because if thoughts are as good as actions, then wanting to do something good is just as powerful as actually taking action, right?

Of course not. We are supposed to take positive actions, not simply intend or wish them.

Finally, another nail in the coffin of the notion of sinful thoughts being as bad as sinful actions: Jesus thought sinful things.

Oh, don’t get ready to stone my ass, now. Satan tempted Jesus. Jesus led a sinless life, despite knowing the power and allure of sin. Jesus couldn’t possibly have gone his whole life without considering the possibility and implications and consequences of doing a sinful act. He had to be capable to considering the possibility of sin, or he couldn’t be tempted. He had to know what it felt like to desire things that were wrong, or he couldn’t have understood his human side. Plus, if he was incapable of even considering sin, then what was the big deal about his sinless life? If it was some cakewalk for him, then the whole exercise meant nothing.

Just because you think a thing doesn’t make it so.

Nor does it define your true intentions.

12
Sep
09

Oh How the Mighty Have Fallen

Now, on top of outing myself around here with my real name, I’ve joined Twitter (my handle is: thedeaconblue).

I swore I’d never join Twitter, but I’ve come to realize it’s probably a necessary evil for my marketing and promotional efforts. I have a Twitter feed in my sidebar at the right.

So, on a semi-regular basis, I’ll be a twit…

I mean, twat…

I mean, tweeter.

11
Sep
09

A Whole Old Me

Jeff-casual-2009_feb

Thought about given this the title “A Whole New Me” but that isn’t really accurate, is it?

After all, I’ve been Jeff Bouley longer than I’ve been Deacon Blue.

Anyway, most of the changes I’m making around here have been made. If you want to know more, got up to the links under the page banner, and click on “what the hell is this?” and “who is deacon blue?” and click on any sublinks on those pages, and you’ll get about as complete a story as you’re going to get (or want, for that matter).

You might also have noted the slight change in title for the blog from “Holy Shit from Deacon Blue” to “Holy Sh!+ by Deacon Blue.” I will still swear at times around here, but I figured that as a point of professionalism, I could at least be a little less in-your-face about it, while still making it pretty clear that things sometimes get salty around here.

This blog will continue much as it always has, though I will be more cautious about how I approach subjects related to work I currently do, and I will probably take the opportunity to pimp myself out a bit more so that I can drum up new and interesting work for myself (I hope).

Let me know what you think, and if you have any suggestions, I’ll be glad to take them in the comments section.

09
Sep
09

Pulling Off the Helmet

drfate-small-negativeOK, it looks like there will be some changes around here, and mulling over them, as well as getting ready to make them, will probably mean an extra day or two before I get to regular posting (i.e. more installments of the novel and making occasional spiritual/political observations).

Why? Because it looks like I’m about to “unmask” myself, and I have to consider the ways in which this blog will change (probably minor ones overall) and how I will use it in my life (which might be the bigger change).

For a long time, I have zealously guarded my anonymity here, and let only a handful of people outside immediate family and longtime friends know anything about who Deacon Blue really is.

I have done so in part because being new to blogging when I started this thing, I wasn’t certain if it was “safe” to let this information be known. I wasn’t sure if my subject matter and approach to it might attract violent people to threaten me. Sure, that might seem as melodramatic to you as it does to me now in hindsight, but I didn’t recall seeing any other foul-mouthed, opinionated deacons blogging, so I wasn’t sure, and my family’s safety comes first.

Also, as freelance writer and editor, I’ve been worried that my opinions here might turn people off from giving me work. Would my religious beliefs be a turn-off? Would people look at my attitudes and opinions here and decide I couldn’t be a proper “impartial” journalist? But it has also become clear that the economy has been my biggest enemy in terms of me losing clients and failing to replace them. That, and the whole nature of the new media. In short, the world has changed thanks to social media, the Internet, blogs and everything else digital out there that we now rely on. I can’t worry that this blog might lose me business; I have to find ways that it can help me become more marketable and employable.

I have to adapt, or I have to find a new career. So I am going the embrace the new media and try to figure out how to make it work better for me. That means making better use of Facebook and LinkedIn. That means joining Twitter, which is something I swore I’d never do. That means finding ways both to promote myself online and to find work through various online media.

That also means it’s time for me to be more complete and honest about who I am. It’s something I already have begun to realize, and a recent post by Chez over at Deus Ex Malcontent, along with long talks with my wife about my future, have pretty much pushed me over the edge on this.

I can keep hovering way back from the edge of the cliff, or I can get close enough to catch a nice view. And, if I’m daring enough and smart enough, maybe I can make some impressive dives into the water below and make a name for myself.

Who the hell knows?

In any case, you’ll be finding out who I am very soon. Not that my name or face will be anything special unless you happened to go to school with me, worked with me or are related to me. I will still be “Deacon Blue” here, but at the same time, my birth name, my background, and my life will be a more open book, and easily accessible from the sidebar sometime within the next day or two.

So, you’ve been wondering what I look like and who I am? Well, it won’t happen right away, because the helmet’s been on a while, but let me work at the catches on this helmet a bit…




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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Jeff Bouley

To find out more about me professionally, click here. To find out more about me generally, click here.

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E-Mail

You can reach Deacon Blue/Jeff Bouley at deaconbluemail@gmail.com.

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LinkedIn

For my public profile, click here.

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Tales of the Whethermen

My superhero fiction blog, click here

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Raising the Goddess

My parenting blog, click here

Copyright Info and Images

For more about images used on this site, and copyrights regarding them, as well as usage/copyright information about my own writing as posted here, click here.

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