Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Feelings- Mari's Future Predicitons

Okay, if I could I would bet money on these.

More recent: I have a feeling, not super strong, but a feeling, Brett Kavanaugh won't be confirmed. When I told my husband this and he asked why. I said his hair was too poofy. Yes, I know that is a stupid reason. If you want a good reason, but not the reason that made me come to that conclusion, there are enough Congressmen and people who want to push back or RESIST Trump to fail him.

Speaking of Trump, I have a feeling, he'll be re-elected. This is not wishful thinking. Believe me, I'm not wishing this on us.

I also have a feeling that William Shatner and Ruth Bader Ginsburg will go around about the same time. The Notorious RBG might actually outlive the Trump administration. Spite, it's what kept Castro alive. I have no idea what's keeping Shatner alive.

If you know me and want to bet

Thursday, June 07, 2018

The Roman Empire- An appreciation

So if we're not completely pooped my husband will read a chapter or section of verses from the Bible before praying and passing off to sleep. So Paul has been running around the Roman Empire and makes his way back to Jerusalem. I was impressed with his travels because after the fall of the empire this would have been much harder if not impossible.

A few months ago I was going through a fall of Rome kick. I was greatly enjoying Wondery's Fall of Rome followed by Tides of History, and some Great Courses on the topic. The Roman Empire had a very functional transportation and trade system. This system that connected the southern part of Britain to Egypt and Mesopotamia. More importantly it connected a middle eastern backwater to this whole system. Super duper bonus points if you remember that Paul (the murderer formerly known as Saul) was a Roman Citizen, and he did whip out his citizenry to complain about his treatment at the hands of locals.

If Jesus came before Israel became a client state of Rome how far would his message get? The Egyptian Empire was comparatively small and not as diverse. And what do we remember that Empire for? Wealthy kings and queens and pyramids. Also the Jews may have spent too much time complaining about the Egyptians treatment of them during the time of slavery if they were the client state of Egypt.

If Jesus came after the fall of Rome, probably the same result. Maybe the Gospel would have to compete with Islam . It probably would not go farther than where ever Jewish merchants and other Jews were settled.

So here's to you Pax Romanus! Yes, the oppression was bad. You did kill our savior, but there is plenty of blame to go around for that. You provided the roads and merchant networks that allowed the author of a huge chunk of the New Testament to run around, meet various cultures, tell them of how great Jesus is, because he is, and providing the symbol of death that showed his triumph over it.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Forgivness, what it is and isn't

steeple damageThis is a cross post from another blog, Financial Eldercare Abuse Observed.

This Sunday was my monthly visit to my husband's church and the sermon topic was taken from Matthew 18:21-35;  Romans 12: 9-21; Colossians 3:13, forgiveness. Sonya, my sister in law, did something horrible. She stole and she lied. She inadvertently placed a burden on her brother, because conservatorships are a huge expensive PITA, that constantly set him up for failure. Eldercare abuse takes years off of the victims and in my eyes her actions killed her mother. I also know that I will forgive her. This was the sermon I needed to hear.

First the pastor defined what forgiveness was not. It is not forgetting. As long as we can remember this episode we will remember. However, my husband is taking on my aunt's (and mother's) habit of 'selective memory' as a coping mechanism. I remember too much. It is not denying pain. And there is pain. Some of the pain is part of the lies told by Sonya regarding other things, such as her children's custody. I can attest to the financial pain. We used funds from our emergency fund to pay for the lawyers for the conservatorship. Money set aside to cover our mortgage was taken to pay for my mother in law's medications. My mother in law, like my husband, can get some things very close to the vest, but there were hints that she was hurt by her daughter Sonya, and probably felt betrayed. Forgiveness is not denying there are consequences. Pardon is optional. It seems my husband has given Sonya pardon by not pursuing pressing charges against her as the conservator of his mother and her estate. I highly doubt he will before the statute of limitations runs out. His mother is dead. The credit bureaus, Social Security, Kaiser Mid-Atlantic, the bank, CalSTRs, and everyone who needed to know,  have been informed she is dead. Her death was a consequence of what her daughter did. The money Sonya spent on trips to Wal-Mart and Ubers for her son, was not there to fix her mother's teeth, That would have been $8,000. The money used to support Sonya and her lifestyle was not there to allow her brother to place their mother back at the Atria, and thus she had to rot in the cheapest accommodation in San Jose, where there was nothing left to do but wait for death and watch TV. Forgiveness does not mean you have to trust the person. Loss of trust was another consequence of this whole episode and it unfortunately globed on to other people. Most of the time my husband is a very trusting guy, maybe too trusting. He does not trust his sister, There are some other family members who were bit players, and innocents who are seen with a bit of distrust as well. He's not sure if they are in league with or under the influence of Sonya. And there are those we know weren't siding with Sonya and were also hurt by her, that my husband is not too sure of either. I don't like this side of him, it makes him seem paranoid. We don't trust Sonya, she has lied too much. Forgiveness does not mean you have to like the person. Jesus calls us to love our enemies. Love meaning wanting the best for them. We want Sonya to get the professional mental health services she needs, and we want her to stick with a good program. We want her to keep a job and serve her clients by being dependable. We want her to marry someone who can help provide stability for her remaining minor child, or at least learn to love herself and not feel that she needs a man around. Lastly, forgiveness does not mean you throw out justice. An injustice was done. A woman who trusted her daughter to care for her, gave that daughter access to her nest egg and made herself vulnerable. That daughter took advantage and has not been made to answer for the crime of financial elder abuse. That sense of injustice is why I wrote the blog, Financial Eldercare Abuse Observed.

But then what is forgiveness? Forgiveness is letting go of the anger and bitterness. This is slowly happening. It happens with my husband because of that 'selective memory'. By going over the financials, I think it is getting out of my system. Sonya is more than likely homeless, due to her mental illness and inability to support herself, I can't really punish her more than what life has already done. Forgiveness is not bringing it up again. We are commanded to stop treating the person like they still owe the debt. She couldn't pay the debt even if she got her life together and if by some crazy miracle she got a million dollars, who would she pay the debt to? The victim is dead. We can't un-cremate my mother in law and bring her back to life with all the money in the world. Forgiveness is giving G-d the ultimate vengeance. We are all sinners. I believe Sonya will have to answer to the Father, even if she doesn't believe in him. There is another point but it doesn't fit neatly so I'm leaving it off.

Jesus has forgiven us for the heap of sin we placed on him and that he washed away with his blood. Like the servant in Matthew 18, we owe a huge debt that we could never repay* and it has been forgiven. We can stand to forgive others who, comparatively owe us a smaller debt. I will forgive Sonya as we continue to clean up the mess she made and the damage done.



*Debt is one way of seeing it, trespass is another, but let's go with debt since we're hanging with the Presbyterians.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Marriage- the topic of this week's homily

This Memorial Day weekend my regular priest was off with some GW students running around Rome so we had the former Anglican priest. Also the crowd was light, and the regular people who take the collection were not there as well, so I and my Protestant husband decided we would take the collection. Because I normally am not the lead I was trying to figure out at what point in the mass do we walk up and walk our way back taking collection, and we had a 8 mo baby with us, I really wasn't listening closely to the homily.

It didn't help that the priest didn't seem to have his microphone on, but the topic was marriage. I accept and hold the Church's teaching on marriage. I am aware that another parishioner struggles with this teaching, and he and his non-Catholic partner/spouse were in attendance. So I was slightly concerned about them, in between searching on line to figure out when were we supposed to collect the money (I don't pay attention, I just know it comes at the end of the prayers of the people). After taking communion I patted his shoulder to sort of relay, 'hey, I want you to stick around and keep on struggling.'

Because people like to coo over our baby son, and apparently taking the collection with a baby strapped to you is a huge hit, we didn't catch up to the other parishioner and his spouse until we spotted them in the self-checkout. Because they were nearly done and we were just about to start the conversation was very short. My fellow parishioner's spouse said he was asleep during the homily. So it's a non-issue for him. However the parishioner was awake, and they sit close enough to hear an acoustic priest, and he was very sure that the priest was incorrect in stating that cohabiting couples pretend that they are married. My husband and I both strongly disagreed. I have observed it with straight and gay cohabiting couples refer to their partner/boyfriend as their husband. My elder abusing sister in law did it with her baby daddy and numerous gay couples, or one part of the couple, have named their partner as 'husband'. He then responded about something regarding the city's laws regarding common law marriage.

Our conversation didn't last long. Both men were dealing with health challenges and needed to get home. I expect to see one or both next week or the week after that. I appreciate knowing them, even though one of them seems to trap you in conversation.

But on the topic of marriage, apparently common law marriage and getting legal recognition is tricky and not something you fall into. Marriage is also different than shacking up.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Rambling thoughts on poverty

BatesSt68kidsSo I'll probably need to make a list for confession. Recently, I have been imbibing in some rather mean spirited YouTube videos. They are feeding my judgy side. They are about a kind of people found in my ethnic group in my country who are a result of what happens when you have the Sexual Revolution and the Great Society running hand in hand in the sunset. The only good that has come from this, and I'll need to tell YouTube to stop having them appear, is they are a good reminder of why a guaranteed income is probably a bad idea.

When I first heard of a universal guaranteed income I thought it was a good idea. The idea being, get rid the various government agencies for the poor and just give the poor the money. I liked the idea of smaller government and believed that the robots will take our jobs. But then I was reminded of the negatives and the road to Hell the negatives paved with free government money.

The problem of growing single mother headed households is one. This I will put at the feet of the Great Society, which provided the financial incentive, and the Sexual Revolution which took away the shame. Yes, no one is going to get rich on welfare and food stamps. And yes, we should have a safety net. However, both have made my ethnic group suffer. Too many Black children are being raised by single mothers, which makes them poorer (spiritually and financially) than children with both parents and siblings where they share the same mother and father. I have recently become a mother and I don't think I could do this well without my husband. This is especially true when are darling little boy has deprived me of precious sleep and I am not fully functional.

What does this have to do with Christianity? Well Christ mentioned that the poor will always be with us. No generation will have the luxury of not having to deal with the poor. Besides making sure they don't starve, we do a disservice when we discourage the things that will get them out of poverty (good schools, teaching skills that are actually in demand, etc) and encourage things that make their life worse (broken families, passing students on to the next grade without the skills, excusing behavior that makes them unemployable).

Sunday, April 08, 2018

When the Seventh Day Adventists came over

My husband is Presbyterian. I am a Roman Catholic. Our son is an unbaptized babyman who we'll baptize as either as a Presbyterian or Catholic around the age most kids are confirmed. We live near several other churches and a mosque and there is a 7th Day Adventist church on our street that tries to be helpful with some of our neighborhood struggles (ie the old men on the corner who sell heroin). And we've tried to be friendly with various representatives from the church, including them in some block activities and maybe showing up at events that they hold open to the community.

One day in passing (Saturday most likely) I mentioned to a lady from the 7th Day church that my mother in law had passed away. Later that week I get an email from her asking if she and someone else from the church could stop by. So later in the week she and the pastor came by. We talked about the babyman, how great Mike's church is for families, how their church is trying to attract more families, and eventually Mike's mom. They also came with cards and gifts. The card was signed by various people in the church expressing sympathy. It was really sweet. At the conclusion of the visit the pastor led a prayer.

It was a Christian thing.

Nope not gonna nitpix about theological differences.

The body of Christ is good.

Amen.