Today’s Feminist Theology assignment.

This week’s reflection/discussion assignment was to write a prayer (or other form of art or literature, for those uncomfortable with prayer), using female language for God. This is what I ended up writing.

God Most Holy, Creator of all:
      when the earth floated formless in Thy womb,
            a word waiting to be spoken,
      this soul’s hour was known to Thee.
Naked before Thee, I kneel.
Teach me Thy secret places;
      unfold Thy beauty for me in a twilight alcove;
      encompass me in Thy radiant darkness.
Welcome me into Thine hidden banquet,
      that I may feast on Thee.

Teach me to thirst for Thee,
      El Shaddai, God of suckling.
Let me crave Thee as my life’s-milk;
      give me peace at Thy bosom.
Through Thy tender care,
      make blossom the walled garden of my soul;
      breathe a warm wind,
            thaw these hardened banks of earth,
                  speed the coming harvest.

In humility I approach Thee,
      human prayers from a human heart.
Ignore my words,
      so distant from Thy truth.
Forgive my deeds,
      so easily callous.
Heed instead the spirit with which I speak.
Grant me the love to love Thee.
Forgive me, Eternal One,
      for the hours I have forgotten Thee,
      and bestow on me the first flush of ardor,
            until I delight only in Thee.



My restless soul is longing

It’s colder than before;
     the seasons took all they had come for.
Now winter dances here.
It seems so fitting, don’t you think –
     to dress the ground in white and grey?
It’s so quiet I can hear
     my thoughts touching every second
     that I spent waiting for you.

– VNV Nation, “Beloved”

A few photos from the first snow day of my life. Unfortunately, the sky was overcast, but I still wanted to capture it while it lasted. You can view the whole photoset here.

Boot-deep in snow A black and white Valentine's Day
Virgin piles of snow

In other news, my odd raffle-winning ability continues; after winning a free, expensive book in the last drawing I recall entering, I managed to walk away from Moka‘s Valentine’s Day event with a gift bag including $26 of Joseph Schmidt truffles. Not bad.

(<geekiness>What’s more, my entropy effects apparently also extend to Slay Machine, as a Div School friend can attest. I was annoyed at my own laptop breaking down, and when I touched his, a spark leapt from my hand and the whole computer died. Seriously.</geekiness>)

Love is like a bottle of gin

It makes you blind, it does you in;
     it makes you think you’re pretty tough.
It makes you prone to crime and sin;
     it makes you say things off the cuff.
It’s very small and made of glass,
     and grossly over-advertised.
It turns a genius to an ass,
     and makes a fool think he is wise.
It could make you regret your birth,
     or turn cartwheels in your best suit.
It costs a lot more than it’s worth –
     and yet there is no substitute.
They keep it on a higher shelf,
     the older and more pure it grows.
It has no color in itself,
     but it can make you see rainbows.
You can find it on the Bowery,
     or you can find it at Elaine’s.
It makes your words more flowery.
     It makes the sun shine, makes it rain.
You just get out what they put in,
     and they never put in enough.
Love is like a bottle of gin,
     but a bottle of gin is not like love.

– Magnetic Fields, “Love Is Like a Bottle of Gin”

Also, the best Valentine’s Day comic ever.

Whitey always tell him, “Ooh, he speak so well!”

The Racial Politics of Speaking Well, a great New York Times article about the use of the world “articulate.”

William E. Kennard . . . recalled that in his days as partner at a Washington law firm in the early 1990s written reviews of prospective black hires almost always included the words, “articulate and poised.” . . . “It was a law firm; all of the people interviewing for jobs were articulate,” said Mr. Kennard, 50, who is also on the board of The New York Times Company. “And yet my colleagues seemed struck by that quality in black applicants.”

A whiter shade of guile, a Guardian review of Blood Diamond that places the movie in a tradition of “white people nobly rescue oppressed blacks” films.

If there is anything black people the world over have learned from Hollywood – and there isn’t a whole lot – it’s that no matter how bleak the situation seems, they can always rely on some resourceful, charismatic and, in some instances, shapely white person to bail them out.

The title of this post is from “These Are Our Heroes,” an excellent song by Nas. “Let’s hear it, one, for the coons on UPN-9 and WB, who ‘yes massa’ on TV. . .

Compassionate respect

For your weekend reading pleasure, a bevy of links related to women’s and gender issues.

An extremely negative review of 300. “I felt like I was being made to watch a Leni Riefenstahl movie, or the very worst bits of Birth of a Nation.” (As a side note: am I the only person for whom the movie’s odd, distorted, wannabe-video-game graphics aren’t attractive, anyway?)

Two reflections on woman-affirming internet porn: Obscene but Not Heard, a critique of Suicide Girls management and practices, and DIY Porn For Nerds (part 2 here), an interview with the woman who owns, runs, web-maintains, and stars in (Warning: the second interview does contain semi-explicit pictures.)

Gender etiquette, “Talking to Someone Whose Gender You Don’t Know.” A nice guide, designed for people without much experience with genderqueer folk.

It’s a few days old, but. A Tampa woman is raped, then thrown in jail and denied a full dose of Plan B. (Later, the police apologize.) Says the nurse who refused to give the woman Plan B: “I think it might have been a miscommunication. Clearly the poor girl was distraught.” Because, you know, it’s her fault that you didn’t listen to her request, which was repeated by the police officer. Gah.

This IS rape. Analysis of a “rape crisis scenario” and the reactions of various bloggers. Scroll to the bottom for the response from the makers of the rape education program, and for my response.

Finally, this isn’t a link, but I’d like to make a note to talk about the Feminist Theology class I’m taking, taught by Margaret Farley and Letty Russell. As well as the subjects we’re discussing, what fascinates me is the way that they’re deliberately changing our understanding of the classroom, despite the limitations of a very popular lecture course. Each week includes a discussion section that’s less about competing arguments and more about sharing our personal reactions to the material; the lectures have a snack, coffee, and tea table, and include breaks to talk to our neighbors about the subject at hand; the personal experiences of the lecturers and guest speakers are given as much value as their academic credentials. In short, they’re not merely teaching a feminist perspective on theology and scripture; they’re embodying the difference which that perspective makes to academia in general.

Burning things

I’ve spent most of the day in a haze of stuffy sinuses, dripping nose, sore throat, and coughing. (Yes, Sudafed, I know; I’ll be getting medicine tomorrow if this persists.) I was complaining about my plight to Brad – the not-breathing is the worst part – and he suggested a strategy, which I proceeded to carry out. I went to the kitchen, filled a glass of water, took out the bottle of Sriracha, and downed two spoonfuls of it, taking occasional breaks for water or cheese (mmm, fat and casein). Then, I hopped into a shower with the water turned as hot as I could bear it, and let the clog in my sinuses slowly melt away. It’s not perfect now, but at least I can breathe.

Also, a happy Groundhog Day, Candlemas, Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, St. Bridget’s Day, and/or Imbolc to you. The darkness fades; the light draws near.

Homemade Sausage and Chicken Gumbo (and rice!)

Sly requested my gumbo recipe after I mentioned it in my last post, so here it is. Sorry, no photos until I figure out where my camera decided to hide!

This recipe, as you’ll see, is long and labor-intensive, partly because it includes making your own chicken stock. The flavor at the end, though, is like nothing else; gumbo was my brother’s favorite food, growing up. I’ve divided the recipe into segments, and the instructions, though lengthy, are fairly easy; the only tricky bit is the roux. As a side note, you’ll see that this gumbo contains no tomatoes, seafood, or gumbo filé; feel free to add those if you like your gumbo that way!

As a bonus for plodding through the gumbo recipe, I’ve included my rice-making method at the bottom. I believe in the power of really good rice, which requires both quality dry rice and careful technique. It’s largely a matter of practice, particularly getting the ratio of rice to water exactly right, but the results are worth it.

Homemade Sausage and Chicken Gumbo
(makes 10-12 generous servings, but freezes very well)

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