Care Spoons

A long time ago, I read an article by Christine Miserandino about Spoon Theory. By now, pretty much everyone has heard of a paraphrase of her ideas. It explains how people with hidden illnesses run out of energy much quicker than people without them. You can read a cached version of her article here

Recently, it has occurred to me that people in the caring profession have a problem that is analogous, that I would like to call “Care Spoons“.
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Your Life Goals are not My Life Goals

Life is not Monopoly.

Monopoly is the kind of game where you get to pick a little model, a dog, or a top hat to represent you, and then everyone takes it in turns to move around the board. Success is measured in only one way: Money. Funny Money. The one with all of the money at the end wins.

Life is not Monopoly.

There is a tendency in modern society for everyone to assume that we are all playing the same game. That we all have the same win condition. That everyone’s win condition(s) are the same. Family, Money, Children. That these win conditions are what everyone should be compared too.

People are tricked into believing this, because like so many MMO’s, we are all playing on the same server. We can see everyone else’s character, and we are all stuck by the same set of game mechanics, rules, and laws. For many people, this means that we must be all working to the same set of win conditions.

It is this frame work that mean that people feel that it is necessary to point out how far ahead of the ‘game’ they are to all those around them. Look at me, I’m winning.

“Your Job earns 15K? well, yes, mine only gets me 21K…”

The problem is that we’re not all playing the same game. We’re just in the same world. My goals, are not your goals. We might have the same set of achievements available to us (Get Married: Achievement Unlocked, Get a House: Achievement Unlocked…), but that doesn’t mean that we all want them.

The best analogy here is that we’re all playing different character types. You’re playing, say, a Money Grabbing Bastard, and I’m playing, say a Filthy Hippy. This means that sure, I can Get Married, and get the bonuses that go with it, but they don’t have as many bonuses for my character. In fact, having money isn’t going to get me as much life XP as it would for your Money Grabbing Bastard. You can also get the achievement “Went To Glastonbury, and do not remember”, but you wouldn’t get anything out of it.

The problem with the Media, with Television, and with the appearance of popular culture is that everyone is playing Basic White Male as a race, and Money Grabbing Bastard as a class. Except that we’re not. In the last update, the worked out that gender is predominantly irrelevant to most achievements, and so is race. Our Character Model can (and should) look however we damn well please, because that shouldn’t stop us from getting the most important achievement “Happiness”.

Society would be so much better if people were just honest about it.

We’ve all had conversations where we say things like “I’ve just got achievement X, I’m so psyched” to have someone respond with “Oh, yeah, but I got X, then Y.” generally in a dismissive term. For them, they are far ahead of you in the game, and they are showing how much better they are at it. What they fail to understand is that achievement has a completely different meaning, and requirement for your Race/Class/Goal combination. If everyone just realised that, when someone shares their achievement, it’s because from their perspective, their character, their goal, it’s a big thing, not a challenge, not an attack, not a test to see who’s winning, but simply wanting to share with a friend their achievement, and everyone just damn well celebrated the world would be a better place.

Life is a game. It’s not competitive. It’s generally co-operative. Sure you can play it competitively, but mostly your playing against yourself, or your own imagined competitor. Even those who seem to be playing the same game as you, are playing a subtly different version, with different difficulties and side-quests.

That’s why someone gives up a career to live in Borneo. That’s why someone else works in a job they hate. They are playing a different game.

We can help each other, we can show other people cheat guides. We can give in-game money, support, and products to other people. We can show them the routes we took. We can give them all the advice about the things we’ve learned. For some it will help. The core mechanics are the core mechanics. We can’t however demand that they chase our goals, because that’s not their game.

If you are one of those people that believes that this game of life has only one set of goals, one set of win-conditions, and are instant that that’s the game everyone should play, stop it.

Seriously, Stop It.

Your ruining the game for everyone.

~BX

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Homosexuality and the Bible – An accepting view

Recently, I’ve been having a debate about why I think that God is okay with homosexuality. The debate has been often rather circular, so in order to aid that debate I thought I would outline my thoughts in a post that might help people understand my perspective, and along the way deal with any criticisms that may crop up.

Reading The Bible

The first that that has to be dealt with is how I read the Bible. This is the first thing, in my opinion, that needs to be dealt with whenever such debates are entered into. Most people are not aware that they are reading the Bible in a particular way, but the way in which someone approaches the Bible will inevitably affect the way this debate proceeds.

Roughly, there are two major camps:

1. Literal Readings : This position suggests that every word in the Bible is literally true. Thus, Genesis 1 and 2 do not contradict each other, but are clarifications of one another. The World was literally created in 7 days.

2. Interpretive Readings : These positions says that the Bible is a complex book, and needs to be read with different kinds of tools, such as context, general knowledge, and so on.

First, let me say that the above two camps are of course the extreme ends. There are nuances and mixtures to the two approaches. Generally, the more ‘literal’ approach denies that there is any form of interpretation, though the further you move from every word being literally true, the more interpretation there is.
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40 Questions about why I support Gay Marriage

As a socially-liberal Christian, there are now many reactions around the world in reaction to the USA’s acceptance of single-sex marriage. It’s odd that similar results in other countries have not produces such reactions.

I have, of course, been in debate over this issue for many years, and many friends have sent me a link from a website that offers 40 (yes 40!) questions aimed at those of us that support single-sex marriage. Having read them, some of them were quite thought provoking, but generally their tone is designed to lead people into a “gotcha”. That is, that in order to answer the question as frased, you have to agree with the posters argument.

So, to help all those that find these questions difficult, here are my responses.

1. How long have you believed that gay marriage is something to be celebrated?
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The Roman Catholic Church, and Single-Sex Marriage

In a rectent news article in the Independent, the Catholic Synod moderated it’s language towards single-sex couples.

While the Synod continues to uphold the current line of the Catholic Church, and does not seek to change that, it does offer a way forward. It comes on the back of Pope Francis’ statement last year to the LGBTQ community “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?”.

The full document itself is lengthy, and does attempt to explore what the Catholic Church means by family. It explores in depth the problems faced by families in the social context, raising the problems of isolation and children born outside of marriage seen in the west, and the practice of polygamy still seen in many places in Africa.

It is as the discussion on what it means to be family develops does the Church find that it needs to say something on the nature of same-sex relationships

In the section entitled Truth and beauty of the family and mercy the document has this to say:

21. The Gospel of the family, while it shines in the witness of many families who live coherently their fidelity to the sacrament, with their mature fruits of authentic daily sanctity must also nurture those seeds that are yet to mature, and must care for those trees that have dried up and wish not to be neglected.

22. In this respect, a new dimension of todays family pastoral consists of accepting the reality of civil marriage and also cohabitation, taking into account the due differences. Indeed, when a union reaches a notable level of stability through a public bond, is characterized by deep affection, responsibility with regard to offspring, and capacity to withstand tests, it may be seen as a germ to be accompanied in development towards the sacrament of marriage. Very often, however, cohabitation is established not with a view to a possible future marriage, but rather without any intention of establishing an institutionally-recognized relationship.

23. Imitating Jesus merciful gaze, the Church must accompany her most fragile sons and daughters, marked by wounded and lost love, with attention and care, restoring trust and hope to them like the light of a beacon in a port, or a torch carried among the people to light the way for those who are lost or find themselves in the midst of the storm.

Here the church begins to wrestle with the reality of life that is experienced by most people. It affirms, of course, the stance on marriage, but also makes the point that there are those who have formed non-traditional unions that show the hallmarks of what would be held up as the hallmarks of marriage.

It is good that the Roman Catholic Church has faced this issue head-on. Jesus himself had a non-traditional family, and it is about time that the Churches that attempt to live by his teaching try to minister to all of God’s Children, just like he would have.

~BX

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Can you be an intelligent believer?

Stephen Fry is a man I have a lot of time for. He is funny, thoughtful, brave, and generally all-round talented. The thing that we would probably disagree about is Faith and religion, and a lot of other things in the same ballpark.

What he seems to hate is the exploitative nature of some of the practices. Homeopathy being chosen instead of science, rather than along-side it, the casting of Runes used to lock people into a dependent life-cycle.
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Do you need to be baptised to be a Christian?

Baptism with water is, and has been for a long time (at least the 3rd Century AD (Burnish, Raymond, The Meaning of Baptism, (London:SPCK), 1985 p1). However, the centrality of baptism does not necessarily make one a Christian. While for the Anglican churches of England and Wales, baptism is the de-facto sign of membership, membership of a Church, nor baptism, makes one necessarily a Christian.
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This Anglican is for Marriage Equality

Following the CofE Bishop’s Response to the matter of single-sex marriage, I was a little… irritated.

For many, both members of the Church, and non-members, they find it difficult to see how the fact that there are provisions in law is not the same as equality. This is no-more obvious than when it’s seen in a Christian context. They say that it’s not inequality if they can have secular “marriage”. I wrote the following response:

The inequality is blindingly obvious. It’s not one form of love for any perceived “them” and one for a perceived “us”. It’s equal or nothing. And no, Single-sex partnerships do not have the right to be blessed in church. Single-sex unions cannot marry in church. THIS IS NOT EQUALITY.

If you want to go to town over a few verses from the Bible, then feel free, however, I will suggest that a hermeneutic that finds this difficult and yet does not allow, say, slavery, is a flawed hermeneutic.

When I stand before a couple, and they marry each other (note, marriage in church has nothing to do with the priest), it is not my place to judge that marriage. We do not demand that heterosexual couples prove that they adhere to any of the other rules of the church before opening our doors to them, I don’t see why any couple is a special case.

When I offer God’s blessing upon a person, a congregation, a couple, I don’t stop to ask if they are worthy, deserving, or any of those other morally-presumptuious words, because simply put, God is MUCH BIGGER than that. It is HER blessing I’m pronouncing. It is HIS grace that they leave with. I may be a conduit, but I believe that if God wants people blessed, s/he is quite capable of doing that. God’s love is way bigger than that. I want to offer that love to everyone. There is no-one beyond it, there is no-one undeserving of it

If blessings can be given to animals, inanimate objects, and the 101 things we are asked to bless, then what’s the problem with blessing love? Surely, on a scale of things, it’s better to bless the hope and expression of love than, say, a book.

Love is, after all, what Christianity is about.

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Nelson Mandala’s Inaugaration Speech

To commemorate the death of Nelson Mandela, and listening to the way he tried to live his life, I could find no better tribute than his own words:

We dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines in this country and the rest of the world who sacrificed in many ways and surrendered their lives so that we could be free.

Their dreams have become reality. Freedom is their reward.

We are both humbled and elevated by the honour and privilege that you, the people of South Africa, have bestowed on us, as the first President of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa, to lead our country out of the valley of darkness.

We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom.

We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.

We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.

Let there be justice for all.

Let there be peace for all.

Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.

Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.

Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.

Let freedom reign.

The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!

http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Inaugural_Speech_17984.html

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Maleist Biblical Reading

During the course on Biblical Hermenutics, I was told that there were not many readings done from the perspective of a man, writing as a man. I thought that it was time that I tried to do some writing from this perspective, and so I have produced what I hope is a “Maleist” reading.

It’s based on one of the most difficult passages that I could think of, Judges 19. It’s about looking for what it means to be a modern man reading those passages, rather than simply accepting the standard position as being the “male” perspective.

I am hoping that this will spark debate, and not at least a few comments.

Thanks,

~BX

Malesit Reading

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“..heart of all our faith and belief there lie value judgements”

Reading a document I came across this line. It follows on from a debate that suggests that nothing in our faith(as opposed to religion) can be proved empirically, and that this leads us all to make value-judgements based on our understanding of our faith. There is often a core of belief that we have chosen to be of the utmost importance, and that there are things on the edges of our own personal faith that we are, in a sense, agnostic about. We accept them, but our faith does not live and die by them.

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The Litteral Adam

This is one of those problems that’s been bugging me since I began reading a blog post about why, theologically, we _need_ a literal Adam. Annoyingly I couldn’t find the blog post again in order to take the points individually, but the general debate is based on the problem outline by Peter Enns in a blog post about his new book.

The problem seems to be that without Adam, Sin looses it’s force. It’s something that is not transmitted to everyone in a physical way. Of course, for this idea, we have to thank Augustine, and the way in which he approached and outline the concept of Original Sin.

I have, elsewhere, spoken about how I find the concept of Original Sin as expounded by Augustine unhelpful,and in the modern world incomplete. It was only when confronted, theologically, with the idea that Evolution that I began to explore what this implication truly means.

For me, of course, Evolution doesn’t pose a theological problem in that way, and I hadn’t really explored what problems others had with evolution. It seems to be that the reason why some people deny, or have difficulties accepting Evolution is that it means that their understanding of Sin falls down without Adam.
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Inclusion, Women, and Homosexuality : A theological article.

An Article on Inlusion, Homosexuality, Women, and Culture

This article is quite an interesting one for me, touching as it does on so many parts of my own personal interest. I don’t have time to write a full description of it, so you will just have to read it yourselves.

~BX

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Another Take on the Flood Story in Genesis

*Another Take on the Flood Story in Genesis*

For a long time, the story of the flood in Genesis has been a source of theological problems for most theologians. On the face of it, it essentially shows God getting annoyed with the world, and drowning them en-masse apart from Noah and his family.

I’ve been wrestling with this passage, trying to see what it is that it has to tell us, in light of what we know about God, and what we know about context.
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