tielan: Wonder Woman (Default)
Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 08:36 am
I ended up staying home today as well. Sat in the sun. Snoozed for a couple of hours in the middle of the day. Surfed the internet in the afternoon. Finished an assignment.

Read up quite a lot about Charlottesville and the responses from Christian leaders who haven't sold their soul to nationalism over evangelism:

Two from the Auburn Seminary:
Will Christian America Pick Up Its Cross?
Every word of every book in the scripture was written by a person who was colonized or under threat of colonization by empire. The good news of The Bible must be considered good news to the colonized!

What I Saw In Charlottesville
The courage of the clergy present inspired me. In public gatherings and in private conversations before Saturday, participating clergy were warned that there was a high possibility of suffering bodily harm. A group of clergy (pictured below) walked arm-in-arm into the very center of the storm, so to speak, delaying entry to the park as they stood, sang, and kneeled. (Lisa Sharon Harper shares her reflections here.) This symbolic act took a great deal of courage, and many who did so were spat on, subjected to slurs and insults, and exposed to tear gas. I hold them in the highest regard.


Even Tim Keller has something to say:
Race, The Gospel, and the Moment
First, Christians should look at the energized and emboldened white nationalism movement, and at its fascist slogans, and condemn it—full stop. No, “But on the other hand.”


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In Australia, the government has decided to waste $122million (estimated) on a survey of whether same-sex marriage should be legal. It's a survey because it's non-binding and non-mandatory vote. (A 'plebiscite' is a non-binding, mandatory vote on a constitutional matter, and a 'referendum' is a binding, mandatory vote on a constitutional matter. Aren't you glad I told you?)

*facepalm*

The most godly Christian response to the whole situation that I have yet seen has been given by someone who wasn't even on my radar in Australian Christianity. But it encapsulates everything that I wanted to say about what's going on and how Christians are reacting/behaving.

Hey Christians, Watch Out For That Plebiscite

As per usual, it is advisable not to read the comments.

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In 1939, I didn’t hear war coming. Now its thundering approach can’t be ignored... by Harry Leslie Smith, survivor and soldier of WWII.

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I know most of you are here for the fic and the giggles, and I imagine that you're a little pissed off that I'm putting up links about politics and faith. Fair enough.

Truthfully, I'm just having a perfect storm of real-world issues relevant to my interests as a Christian, as an Australian-born Australian of Chinese descent, as the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants and refugees, and as a woman.
tielan: (AVG - maria)
Friday, July 28th, 2017 08:37 am
Putin and his American Instrument: Putin and his Trumpet.

Silencing The Hillary Clinton Supporter: we've heard everything about the Trump supporters - to the point where mainstream media has been trying to 'humanise' right wing white supremacists, but nothing about the people who mostly supported Hillary - their hopes, their dreams, and what they lost when Trump was elected.

Brandon Hatmaker on Colin Kaepernick: Brandon Hatmaker is the husband (presumably) of Jen Hatmaker, an American Christian who spoke out in favour of LGBT in the church and had her books dropped from sale by one of the biggest Evangelical publishers in the US (and probably the world).

That Which Google Has Named Evil...: By co-opting a word with moral meaning to describe the functional impediment of technology without any specific morality attached, Google has effectively reframed the context of 'good' and 'evil' so that Google is God - the arbiter of what is right and wrong.

A Woman, Explaining Things: Yeah, you've probably seen this, but it's still good.

First They Came For...: New York Times, which means you might not be able to read it. (I saved it in Instapaper, which takes the page data and strips it down to the text and key images.)
This has come as a great shock and demoralizer to many Americans, not necessarily because they didn’t think Trump was capable of such depravity, but because they simply were unprepared for the daily reality of living a nightmare.

There is an enduring expectation, particularly among American liberals, that progress in this society should move inexorably toward more openness, honesty and equality. But even the historical record doesn’t support that expectation.
Some things get better, many things get worse.

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Australia has had an interesting week of governmental resignations (which everyone else would have missed while That Orange Guy was tweeting away).

Two Greens Senators and a Liberal (conservative party) Senator have had to resign because it turns out they have dual citizenship, which isn't allowed for serving members of Parliament. Another Liberal Senator no longer has a dual citizenship, but was only notified that he'd been de-citizened from the other country five months after the election that raised him to his position.

And, of course, he was one of the loudest voices criticising the Greens senators for getting it wrong.
tielan: (AVG - maria2)
Monday, July 10th, 2017 12:30 pm
DW customization: mobile and color by [personal profile] ironymaiden

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Indigenous Australians from a NYT American correspondant.

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Technological Utopianism Will Not Save Humanity

There's a long section about the way we think, cultural bias and blind spots, and cultural hypocrisy. It's interesting that he likens technological utopianism and the belief in science (and in humanity as rational beings capable of becoming better through scientific discovery) to religion.
When someone sits there claiming that science will solve this and that at some unspecified future date, the ‘science as saviour’ narrative as I call it, I might as well just be listening to a religious fanatic extolling their faith because that is all it is.
I tend to call this 'the Gene Rodenberry proposition' - Star Trek, with it's fabricators capable of making anything, which thereby eliminates need in humanity, allow it to reach for the stars? AHAHAHA. No. We as humanity already have the capability to feed and clothe and give everyone a life; we just have no interest in doing it because there's nothing in it for our sense of social superiority.

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Urban Farming: Neither white, nor middle aged, nor midwest - not the typical image of a farmer, nor white, hippie, and new-age - not the typical image of an urban farmer...

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Hillary Clinton: Leader of the Opposition?

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The Gospel Of Jesus' Wife

The problem is not scientific testing to prove age and/or accuracy of material composition; it's possible to buy a piece of papyrus of the right age, make up ink, learn an ancient language, and fake something that's correct in all the material particulars and will pass rigourous scientific testing.

The problem is provenance - whose hands it passed through, the chain of people and memory and connection - the things which are much harder to fake.

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How Germany Resisted Populism

To me, this article indicates quite clearly why Republicans aren't interested in 'equality'. When people think they're hard done by, they fall back on racist animus and the "us vs. them" proposition - they close ranks and shut out the outsider, whether that's people of a different religion, a different skin colour, or a different mentality.

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How To Deal With North Korea (Or Not)

Why sometimes having the bigger weapon doesn't help.

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White Christian America Called: They Want Their Supremacy Back:
White evangelicals have entered a grand bargain with the self-described master dealmaker, with high hopes that this alliance will turn back the clock. And Donald Trump’s installation as the 45th president of the United States may in fact temporarily prop up, by pure exertions of political and legal power, what white Christian Americans perceive they have lost. But these short-term victories will come at an exorbitant price. Like Esau, who exchanged his inheritance for a pot of stew, white evangelicals have traded their distinctive values for fleeting political power. Twenty years from now, there is little chance that 2016 will be celebrated as the revival of White Christian America, no matter how many Christian right leaders are installed in positions of power over the next four years. Rather, this election will mostly likely be remembered as the one in which white evangelicals traded away their integrity and influence in a gambit to resurrect their past.
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Fines Don't Work: Library Axes Fines, Rate Of Return Improves:
‘‘When help is offered for no compensation in a moment of need, accept it with restraint. When a service is offered for a price, buy as much as you find convenient,” Gneezy and Rustichini wrote in their paper.

The Book That Predicted Trump’s Rise Offers the Left a Roadmap for Defeating Him

The activist parts that I've seen online seem more willing to take the suggested advice - to take on politics instead of just protesting or occupying or public shaming. Not all of them obviously; the endless round of links to petitions, or articles that declare outrage suggest that most people would rather click than call their rep. But it's a start.
tielan: (XM - scott)
Friday, April 14th, 2017 09:18 pm
Blogspot: Me-Made May - Sign Up
I'm trying to work out what to do for this - or if I do it at all. The challenge is usually to wear one thing you made every day of the month. I reckon it's easier when May is a month that's tending towards summer instead of one where everything is getting cold and rainy.

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Youtube: "Clarke and Dawe: Cyclone Malcolm. This is a Watch and Act Warning."
Unlikely any but Australians will get this. Laugh and cry and weep at the passing of a great comedian.

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The Guardian: The Destruction Of Hillary Clinton: Sexism, Sanders, and the Millenial Feminist Or: How To Burn Your Own Bridges While You're Standing On It Screaming That Someone In Politics Isn't Good Enough For Your Extremely Speshul Vote.

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Dreamwidth: Thoughts on racism, sexism, and fandom: How to Suck Less by [personal profile] beatrice_otter.
Thinky thoughts, or how not to get stuck at an intermediate step of sucking less in fandom.

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fic rec: Political Animal (Zazu/Triton, Human AU, Political AU)
From Yuletide, recced by someone else, it's both hilarious and hot!

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nngroup: Participation Inequality
How the voices we hear are not a majority of anything.

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And finally this Good Friday:

Common Grace: Siding With Jesus: The Real Cost
Following Jesus requires we love people in costly solidarity, and requires us to expose any ideology that pretends inequality is natural or ordained by God.
I have a lot of thoughts on this, not sure if they're coherent yet.
tielan: (aussie aussie aussie)
Friday, April 7th, 2017 05:11 pm
Do remind me. Because I do believe I've forgotten.

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I find it easier to call my reps when there's a campaign going - like this one by Common Grace for #SaveSaeed. (There's also an email option for my friends who don't like talking on the phone, but I think the phone call makes a bigger difference.)

I posted my notes to the Common Grace site, and to FB, Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr, and I'm about to put down a bigger link on Tumblr.

Common Grace is a Christian organisation in Australia with a particular focus on social justice from the perspective of the cross of Christ. I like them because they're active in faith, not just the #prayfor[insert latest atrocity here]. They have practical things for people to do, and have programs in place to support Christians in acting on social justice.

They have a Palm Sunday march in town for refugees; I was thinking of going, but then I remembered that it's the first hockey game of the season, and I might be playing both morning and afternoon games and I'll probably be wrecked as it is.

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Only a few links this week:

Common Grace: Ending The Great Australian Silence
How indigenous Australians are not listened to in the Australian church and how we can change this. Yes, the writer is still somewhat clueless of his privilege, although he has at least recognised the injustice. I appreciate him trying to redress the balance.

Susannah FullertonAre You A Librocubularist?
A small touch of hilarity in the midst of seriousness.

And a thought in the midst of chaos:
Your belief that all people are equal and deserve respect should not be conditional on whether individuals of a minority are nice to you.
tielan: (aussie aussie aussie)
Friday, March 24th, 2017 10:47 pm
When you can barely keep up with the incoming flow of information.

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Cracked.com: What Helped Convince Me To Stop Being Hardcore Right Wing

I think the most notable part of this is that people are more likely to listen to people who think the same as them 90% of the time, and are only 'crazy' 10% of the time. The 2nd most notable part was that more people are watching than you think.

Right now, I really needed this article. It helps.

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Vice: What Nuclear War Would Look Like with an interview with a former Secretary of Defence.

I barely remember the Cold War - I was 12 when it ended. But I was an avid and advanced reader, so I read all the 80s YA stuff about nuclear war and the aftermath.

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Word Of A Woman: The Myth That The Church Alone Can And Should Take Care Of The Poor it's a simple question of mathematics. Church-goer giving could never cover the burden of the poor.

Frankly, I think that a large part of 'charity' is just 'beneficience giving', that is, you give it to feel superior to someone else, because you are better than them, because you are someone who has worked hard and is worthy and the beneficiary is someone who is not so worthy. It's basically an egotrip the largely depends on whether or not the giver is feeling generous and would like to grant a boon. And, yes, I give to charity, but it's a pittance compared to what I pay in a regular year of taxes. Taxes are unglamourous, pedestrian, and yet considerably more practical IMO - plus, they pay for things which are for the public good: roads and public transport, hospitals and schools, cops, and fieries. I might wish it wasn't paying for pollies' salaries, but, eh. Sometimes you just have to take the crap with the good.

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I can't remember where I found it, but there was this very excellent question asked by a Christian leader. The upshot of it went something like this:
The question should not be 'Who Is My Neighbour?' as though we're trying to work out if other people are worthy of our kindness or not. The question should be 'Am I A Good Neighbour?' because in God's eyes, everyone is worthy, and we are called to 'go and do likewise' to the Samaritan who was a neighbour to the man found beaten and near death on the road.

Jesus didn't say who the man beaten up was or whether he was worthy of the Good Samaritan's help; he said go and be like the Samaritan - ie. BE A GOOD NEIGHBOUR.


Them's fighting words.
tielan: (race)
Monday, January 16th, 2017 09:24 am
I found it reassuring that the preacher at my Sunday service made a joke about "what superpower would you have?" and lists "flying, shooting webs from your wrists, Cold War Russia, telepathy*", then went on in the sermon to list Brexit, Trump's election, and ISIS as symptoms of a sinful and close-minded world driven by fear.

This is what I mean when I say that Australian Evangelicals are not quite like the American ones. We certainly have the American-like ones though (they're usually heavily involved in politics and political parties; that's how you tell).




[*] In a room full of 35-60s, that still took us a moment to get - Cold War Russia as a superpower; he thought it would be more successful at the 7pm service, which is full of young people. Yeah, no, I don't think so...
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tielan: (love)
Sunday, December 25th, 2016 07:46 am
Today, I celebrate the birth of a Jewish man of colour, born to an unwed teenager, who spent his infancy as a refugee before returning to his home country to hang out with sinners and drunkards, and teach a doctrine of love, equality, and forgiveness that included paying taxes, offering healthcare for free, and sharing resources within a community.

When Jesus said the world would hate Him and His, He wasn’t wrong.

O, come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!
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tielan: (HP - not strong)
Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 10:38 pm
First Dog On The Moon: featuring Brenda The Civil Disobedience Penguin.

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In the vein of 'actions, not just wishing and dreaming and hoping and praying for a better world', here's John Pavlovitz's take on Why Christians Need To Stop Praying.

prayer and action )

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Oh, and for a touch of blackly humourous sarcasm (the kind I really like), have some Roy Zimmerman, "To The Victims Of This Tragedy We Send Our Thoughts And Prayers":
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tielan: (SGA - teyla)
Friday, December 9th, 2016 01:55 pm
Reading up on Ralph Lawrence Carr, Republican governor of Colorado back in 1942 (for Reasons). Most noted for standing up against (Democrat) FDR's institution of the Japanese Internment camps with this speech before Colorado farmers:
But the Japanese are protected by the same Constitution that protects us. An American citizen of Japanese descent has the same rights as any other citizen.... If you harm them, you must first harm me. I was brought up in small towns where I knew the shame and dishonor of race hatred. I grew to despise it because it threatened [pointing to various audience members] the happiness of you and you and you.
It's believed that speaking out cost him his political career.

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Some links I've been collecting over the last couple of weeks.

Being White Isn't An Identity, It's Just What You Ought To Be.

Lessons from Jews: What To Do About Trump

Stephen Hawking says it's a Dangerous Time When We Can Destroy The Planet But Not Escape It.

I think the thing that Hawking misses completely is that even if we could escape it, we'd only take our humanity - both the bad and the good - with us.

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A little dark humour: For POC, the non-straight, and non-Christian, America died on November 8th, 2016. For white Evangelicals, however, it was just Tuesday.

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I admit, I'm liking a lot of what John Pavlovitz has to say about Christianity generally, but American Christianity specifically.

Jesus Is Just Alt-Right: Resisting A Racist Messiah

rambling ruminations )
tielan: (SGA - conversion)
Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 01:26 pm
Rachel Held Evans' piece on Life After Evangelicalism speaks powerfully to me.

The comments are as you would expect, though: concern trolls, mansplainers, HillaryButs, and #NotAllEvangelicals. 90% of them far more concerned with the state of their own reputation and (self-)righteousness than the wounded hearts of others.

I think that what I like is that she doesn't blanket advocate leaving the Evangelical movement in the essay, just lets the broken and hurting people know they're not alone and that they don't have to give up Jesus in giving up the Evangelical church - no matter what the Evangelical church claims.

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Possibly relevant for [personal profile] beatrice_otter and [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandrings: Light.

Ruminations )
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tielan: (aussie aussie aussie)
Thursday, November 10th, 2016 09:33 am
What do I say? What can I say when the policies won't affect me directly (but the attitudes of entitlement will)?

I wrote this this morning, I don't think it quite says what I wanted it to say, but it's peeling back the layers of how I'm going to live out my faith right now in the current situation and the clusterfuck that American Evangelicals have been a party to. (They're not the only problem, but they're the one I think I understand the most because there but for the grace of God is me.

Quenched: identity in Christ - a personal faith perspective. Don't feel you need to read it. It's pretty rambly, and more a reminder for me and a way to hold myself accountable in future.

In the meantime...

Can I help? Is there something that you need that I can provide? Distraction? Stories? Cat pictures? Anything?

(I was hoping to make this post 6 hours ago, when it might have been useful. Sorry. Life got away from me. As it does.)
tielan: Wonder Woman (stupidity)
Friday, September 30th, 2016 01:30 pm
I don't know why it came up on my Spotify playlist, but the song 'Great Spirit In The Sky' is the most awful pablum I've ever heard.

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How To Suppress Female Characters by fozmeadows

I've just heard the "well, the female characters are fine, but I just happen to prefer the male ones" entirely too much in my 16 years of online fandom.

And so few of the "I like female characters" club actually do anything with that like. So. Few.

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As A Matter Of Fact, You Do Live In A Society Shaped By Christian Values: No, Christianity isn't doing so great a job of it these days; but it did give us ideas about the human condition that were utterly revolutionary in the old Classical times, and which we hold to these days without even thinking where they came from.

Does that mean you live in a Christian society? No. No, it definitely doesn't.

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How Trump Might Win: Terrifying reading. All the more because the kind of American Exceptionalism that American liberals like to believe they are free of is precisely and excruiciatingly defined in "I will not vote for someone I dislike because it goes against my conscience, even if the alternative means other people suffer".

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for fuck's sake Friday: the plain speaking politics version; no, I'm not nice about it )

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It's a long weekend. I think I need it. I'm on the verge of exhaustion right now. Unfortunately, I have an assignment to finish before 5pm tomorrow afternoon. Better go do some of that now.

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Finally, an interesting quotation from a 15 min podcast I heard from the Centre for Public Christianity, Sydney: "Part of the human condition is to always be uncomfortable in our skin." I guess I think of that as 'eternity set in our hearts'.
tielan: Wonder Woman (Default)
Wednesday, August 17th, 2016 10:31 am
A couple of blog entries of interest to me, re: politics and faith: may get kind of personal )

King George III voice: "President Donald Trump... Good luck!"
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tielan: (race)
Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 08:02 am
So, six weeks of Australian political procedure comes to an end this Saturday.

Our choices for leader of the country are 'Bad' and 'Not Much Better'.

There have been moments of hilarity, yes: the no-good terrible awful Tradie Ad and all the attendant mockery.

And while most people don't care much about the House of Reps (the leader of the party in power there becomes our Prime Minister - kind of equivalent to the US President), the Senate ballot is a tablecloth. At least the options have become simpler in the last year.

Of course, then there's the question of which party to vote for and what do they all stand for anyway? To say nothing of how to vote.

We do love a good laugh at our politician's expense.

I suspect most Australians don't really know who they're voting for; but we do have to make a decision at the polls on Saturday - even if that decision is just to go into the booth, wait for an appropriate minute or so, then walk out and post our ballots in the voting boxes without having put a mark on the paper. You just have to turn up to vote; you don't have the participate. However, I'm of the opinion that once you're there, you should vote.

And that you should vote, even if you don't like the options. The lesser of two weevils as the joke goes in 'Master And Commander'.

Why Should A Christian Vote For The Greens? (The Greens are the major left-wing, liberal party, who get at most a seat or two in the Senate, and a handful in the House of Reps. They're not the usual choice for most conservative Christians.)

The Christian Vote: Faith, Hope, And Love.

Mixing Faith And Politics.

Help! I'm a Christian, and I vote!

There was a very interesting article I read in the New York Times, by an American, who talked about the loss of faith for the white working class - Donald Trump's key group - and how the politicising of the Christian landscape in the US has resulted in the exclusion of the people the church is supposed to be serving. It intersected (for me) with the article by an abortion provider, who spoke about his struggle, and why he chooses to perform abortions - that the Good Samaritan was marked out for the suffering he chose to alleviate, never mind the way he might appear to others (as the religious leader and the civic leader in the parable chose to be concerned about).
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tielan: Wonder Woman (Default)
Thursday, May 19th, 2016 05:34 am
Link to the blog for the intersection of health and faith.

Warning for Christianity. *g*

Blessed.
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tielan: Wonder Woman (Default)
Friday, March 18th, 2016 07:16 am
So, the tingling has settled with the change of diet. One less thing to fret about. Alas, no more tomatoes! And lemons may also be out - a double blow of sharp-and-tasty things.

Ultimately, I'm going to have to become accustomed to a new definition of normal. Along with the ups and downs of acclimating to exactly where 'normal' lies for me.

This is going to be a challenge.

There's a part of me that wants to apologise for dragging you along the journey with me. Although you can always unsubscribe from reading this; fair's fair. I hope you won't, but I understand that looking after yourself is more important than holding my hand or offering encouragements (and it should be).

I've started a blog on which I'm going to talk more about my faith and spiritual things. It's kind of a midway point between FB and LJ/DW, because, frankly, I'm not entirely comfortable 'coming out' fannishly on FB, and I feel...self-conscious sharing about my faith here on LJ.
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tielan: (Elementary - Holmes&Watson)
Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 09:09 am
Any of the Christians on my f-list observing (celebrating) Lent? If so, what are you giving up/doing for it?

I don't usually, but I think it might be a good year to start. Not necessarily fasting, or even giving up something, but perhaps taking time to do something, to form a habit.

Thoughts?
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