July 2012 Archives

For the last few days, I have been wanting to do this extensive blog post about oppression and how to deal with people who want to counter definition 1 (involving the systematic denial of rights to a group of people) with their own, personal oppression per definition 2 (aka oppressive feelings, something psychological).

On Saturday, Michael and I hiked more than halfway to the peak of Mount Tamalpais, and after that we went to a friend's house for a lobster and clam bake. We encountered a bobcat and a rattlesnake. 

On Sunday, I had my regular teaching parish at St. Mark's, a congregational retreat at St. Francis, and an hour and a half at Up Your Alley Street fair to act like a married couple in public gawk at all the sights. 

Baby pepper plants.jpg
Today I dropped Michael off for a day work trip down to Los Angeles, did some shopping at Berkeley Bowl then spent much of the day planting 45 pepper plants that I have been growing from seed. It's time consuming work and I have not had the opportunity to do much else I'd planned. I'll be going to see a fellow intern off this evening, shortly.

To kvetch a moment: incidentally, I find it annoying that neither Home Depot nor Orchard Supply Hardware, with their huge garden department, carries cheap plastic plant containers. Luckily, just down the street in Emeryville, there is this wonderful store that I had never seen before: Complete Garden Supply. They had the exact containers I needed for 55 cents apiece.

 Alas, my post on oppression will await another time when I'm not feeling so ... oppressed by how busy I am.
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Man of God

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I was looking at the conversation of a Facebook friend a couple of days ago, and she made mention of me without mentioning my name ("I have a friend who is a Lutheran minister who is gay...").  The response she received from her Catholic-in-Conservative-Cause-only was "Gay people can't be men or women of God..." without any additional explanation.

Why should this have bothered me so much? I know there are a huge number of people that feel some level of this all over the world, and I need to accept that there will always be a large number of people who feel this way; but there will continue to be people who change their opinion as well.

Last summer, I did my required unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, which is effectively acting as a chaplain in an environment such as a hospital where people are in crisis and life and death events happen on a daily basis. I was assigned to a nursing center outside a city in the Southeast; where I was joined in a team of five other people who were taking this required course. One of the other members was an older woman, an ordained Baptist pastor. I was not aware of it through the summer, but I was to find out at the end of summer that she had never accepted my being gay as being compatible with the ministry and worked with me in disbelief. It was not until getting to know me and watching me work, that she really felt that my call was as legitimate as hers.

So, here I am, putting a few really good posts out over the course of a week, and then bang! I'm all juiced out. Dried up. I find myself struggling to open up OpenOffice writer to type words on the page. It is not so much that I do not know what to write about, I have lots of things that I think I know something about and that I can go on and on for a length of time.

But I do not want to write. I want to do other things. Compulsively eat. Clean my sock drawer. Threaten to wash the dog. Download last night's Futurama. Play on Facebook. Read Huffington Post (but only the non-political sections). Check AWStats to see yesterday's site hits Anything, anything, but write an interesting and informative blog post about some topic that people will enjoy reading.

I set an unreasonably high threshold for myself, one that deep down inside, I knew I would likely fail at, only to get myself into a good habit. Now that I have started to fail, there is a little voice inside of me that says, "Why bother? It's not worth it. Nobody really wants to read what you have to say. Your writing is unpolished. Your research is lazy. Your opinions are shared by nobody but yourself. You think you know things but you really don't know anything." And on and on.

And that, there, is the part part of the cycle that I am really fighting to break. I do not know if this is legitimate writer's block. I have ideas pouring through my head, and to be honest, I have no problem actually typing them on to my OpenOffice page. The block is, for all intents and purposes, in actually getting myself to the page. It is some sort of psychological disorder that will not allow me to do something I really love to do. It is less of a writer's block than it is a writer's paralysis.

So what is this all about? I get a great anxiety when I am getting ready to do something that I really love to do and am actually pretty good at. Sometimes it is even a loathing. Writer's paralysis is a fairly apt description because it is only by a huge effort of willpower that I can even write the first word.

I think I know how to combat it, though. Keep plugging away at it. Do it despite feeling anxious and loathsome about it. Sit down and write. It does not matter if it is interesting. It does not matter if people are going to praise me for it. I should not even really worry about what people reading it might think, because this is me being accountable to myself.

That way I can get through those really awful periods where I just do not want to sit down and write about anything and actually have something to show despite the fact that I did not want to write about anything. And if you are reading this, have faith. Even during those times when I do not want to write but sit down and write about anything, it will not always be talking about writing and not writing and how I can get myself to write more effectively.

Because that would not be productive at all. That would be boring.

And boring all the time is bad. 

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I put the word out and asked people what I should blog about today (written 7/25/2012). I got a few ideas from people.

The first of which, from Dan, asked me to talk about life on Wikipedia and contrast it with my life today, in seminary; especially with regard to the numerous and diverse personalities "and the one true purpose." Well, that's a mighty big task, and in order to do it justice, I need to be more focused on it and have it more front and center. Right now, being on summer break and away from everyone; it just is not.

The other suggestion, from Tarin, was "[c]orn, wheat, farm subsidies, water shortages, US weather maps, the Dust Bowl. NB: I didn't know you have a blog, or what its theme may be, but I trust your ability to make literal or metaphorical grain fit your general scope." This is particularly interesting given that my next sermon is going to be based in the "Bread of Life" text from John 6.35, 41-51. It is almost eery the way that worked out.

(7/26/2012)

So, now that I've decided what topic to write about, I'm too tired to write for the second day in a row.

I have just come home from a fabulous Interfaith Tent of Occupy Oakland retreat and I have gained so much, but my brain is currently mush. Will try again later.

This story--Colorado Bakery Allegedly Denies Wedding Cake To Local Gay Couple--gave me such mixed feelings upon reading it. And I may not have my opinion settled by the time I finish writing this blog entry. And maybe not even then.

Bass-Deschenes wedding cake, June 9, 2012
Photo © Larry Rosa, all rights reserved

My first gut reaction was this: Why is this even news? What is the big deal about this bakery that you cannot find a hundred other Denver area bakeries who think that your money is more valuable than their outdated belief system.

Let's look at the facts: Same-sex marriage is not yet legal in Colorado. And if I understand things correctly, while "it is illegal [in Colorado] by discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in employment, housing, public accommodations, education and credit"1, that may not extend to business practices. Which means that if you are a narrow-minded bigot who wants to refuse to perform a service based on someone's sexual orientation, you are well within your legal rights to do so, in Colorado. And there is not a doggone legal thing that I can do about it.(I may be completely wrong about this, and if so, please feel free to correct me.)

Wow, what a title for a blog post! But wait, you say. The big controversy is about the owner standing by their anti-gay beliefs, right? That is what the big controversy is about, isn't it?

After reading the ongoing back-and-forth going on at the Chick-fil-A Facebook Wall. I felt the need to comment on some serious misconceptions that keep getting spouted off and should be addressed in a more effective manner. Let us start by effectively chipping away at the most egregious of matters:

Why boycott an organization because of the owner's Christian beliefs?

Well, actually, that is not what is going on. The company is supporting certain organizations. That has to do with the company, not the owner. People are boycotting Chick-fil-A because of what Chick-fil-A is doing, as a company, not necessarily the opinion of the owner. 

Why boycott an organization for standing by Christian values?

The values being demonstrated are hardly Christian; they are donating money organizations that are actively working to destroy families. That is a problem. 

Okay, five hundred words is a lot, especially on days that I do not have an hour to set aside to do it. So it is a commitment I will have to temper somehow and not kick myself in the rear when I fail to complete it. Come August and my internship at Christ Church Lutheran, I will have considerably less time for it.


Today, Michael and I took Banjo to Point Isabel after lunch with friends at Au Coquelet Restaurant in Berkeley. Banjo deserved the outing, but I did not make time to write.


I want to devote some time to the whole Chick-Fil-A awfulness, because a lot needs to be said about it and issues need to be answered in an intelligent manner (like the whole "It's not hate to be opposed to gay marriage" deal); but it is 10:20 pm and I have to be up early enough to get to St. Mark's worship service at 8:30am; so it will have to wait until tomorrow afternoon. I promise to get it to you with extra words to make up for what I have not written today.    

The Umbrella 4 hearing was scheduled for this morning at 9. To explain briefly, the Umbrella 4, Sri, Alexandra, Nichola and Rita, were all ticketed at Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland last November for a charge that was issued for not removing the umbrella that the Interfaith Tent was using after the Occupy Oakland encampment was evicted from the plaza weeks earlier. Without the details in front of me, the charge was one that is specifically geared toward permanent structures; while the Umbrella that we were using was one that was put up and taken down in the matter of ten minutes. The citations were inappropriately issued, and these four brave women were determined to dispute the charges, represented by noted civil rights attorney Walter Riley.

Interfaith Tent Umbrella 3 Jan 2012.jpg

I hopped aboard a 72R bus at San Pablo and 40th and rode down to the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse this morning to attend the hearing. There I met Nichola who was already talking with Mr. Riley, and soon Rita and Alexandra arrived as well as some other supporters (Sri's charges were never filed with the court and she was not present). The hearings scheduled for room 103 were moved to room 102, which is ordinarily traffic court, and had been rescheduled for 8:30 without notification of the pertinant parties. Riley stepped into Room 102 when it opened and returned shortly after, notifying us that the hearings had taken place. Alexandra and Nichola's charges were vacated because the police officers were not present, but Rita was found guilty, as Officer Romero, the one who issued her citation, was present, and Rita was not (not having been informed of the time change).

Five hundred words a day is a commitment I want to make to myself. It does not sound like very much, until you take into account the fact that during this summer, when I have virtually no responsibilities, it is difficult for me to actually do much of anything because I have so much free time.

By Producer (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Inkpot.png

I have been granted a gift--I do not say this to blow my own smoke, I am simply stating something that has been affirmed over again by friends and family and people I have never even met. This particular gift is one that involves a creative spirit and contains an ability to communicate with the written language. And even if this is self-deception; and it may very well be; it is enough that I believe that this gift exists and that there is a divine purpose in it. Knowing that about it, I further believe it is a sin to contain such a gift and allow it to fall into disuse. I should be writing. I should be writing regularly and frequently.


Lutherrose-rainbow.png
This is the picture that inspired my new title of this blog. If you are not familiar with Luther's Rose, here is the Wikipedia entry for it: Luther rose. The original was designed by Martin Luther himself.

You may notice a resemblance between one of the images on the Wikipedia article and the one I have here.  That is because I used an SVG file from Wikimedia Commons, which may be found here.

I edited the image in the Inkscape vector editing program.If you would like the original SVG file for your use, it is available here.The large bitmap file may be acquired by clicking the image to the right. 

Please, borrow it, use it freely. If you would like to credit me, feel free to leave a link to my blog. Words are meant to be shared and any links are helpful!
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I find myself realizing more and more that I have to maintain my habit of writing. Ten years ago, under the tutelage of Karen Dale Wolman, I was writing something like 2,500 words a day. Today it's a struggle just to write anything.

But, I'm making a commitment to myself to do better. Of course, I have to make this blog pretty before I do anything. 
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2012

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New blog entry. 

Seems I haven't written anything in nearly four years.  It's time to start again.  Let's see where this is going to take us! 

& Peace love Cary

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2008 is the previous archive.

August 2012 is the next archive.

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I *am* Cary Bass-Deschenes
Written by Cary Bass-Deschenes
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