Saturday, September 03, 2005

Email: Pushing and stretching [SD]

I have said this from the time you began reading Pia's book: You are taking on months and years of change all at once, so just be aware of that and act accordingly (as you see fit). You may not even have the body and emotional awareness that [others have] accumulated. It's not so much the lies of Satan as normal human desire to avoid discomfort and pain. Fleeing can turn that into an addictive cycle though. Exercise will take care of almost any stress you're going through. After all, it's normal and healthy; a lack of it is abnormal and unhealthy.

It is an awful lot and my point is that no one said you had to take on this much at once. You have choices in this too. It's natural to want some respite and it's healthy to take some. It's like you're cramming to study for a whole semester all in one week. Take it as it comes. That doesn't prevent getting stretched (as when hurricanes pile on top of everything else) but the important thing is not to go looking for stress; the normal demands of a life of growth will present enough as it is.

Email: Feeling beleaguered [SD]

You are in a very stressful time and you should take that into account; go easy on yourself as much as possible.

If your memory is "under attack," it means you're emotionally overloaded or overwhelmed. From what I hear, a low-acid (alkaline) diet and regular exercise will turn that around.

Feeling defeated is also being overwhelmed; you've reached the end of your rope. Hang on till the end, trust God, and look to those who you can trust. You're not dumping; in fact, you're making the first mention of how seriously you're under the weather.

Feeling defeated can also come from feeling that things are happening to you instead of your choosing to change them. (Not every person is ready or strong enough to do this, so don't worry for now.) Mainly just come to see that it is not all out of your control, that you do have something to contribute or change about it, when you are ready.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Email: Durant le deluge [JB]

The only people in N[ew] O[rleans] for the first several days were the Coast Guard and local police, Red Cross and Salvation Army. Nobody from the federal government for four days, after Bush ended his vacation (no change in his original plans). I just can't believe the cluelessness and callousness of Bush and his whole cabinet.

Your ideas for a double levy and using school buses to evacuate everyone are excellent.

Now that the Astrodome is full with 11,000, overflow is going to Dallas and San Antonio, El Paso and elsewhere.

Internet: Hurricane Katrina relief resources in Houston

(from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Houston via JS)

Below is a list of resources for Katrina relief efforts. You will find information on shelters, donations, local drives and fundraisers, and volunteer opportunities.

The United Way has informed us that volunteers are needed as soon as possible at the Astrodome. If you would like to volunteer, please go to the McNee Street parking lot entrance off of Kirby and report to the second floor of Reliant Center (that?s the big convention center building). Due to this need, BBBS offices are closing today at noon so that we may participate in these relief efforts.

Shelter Information
Dial 2-1-1 or 713-957-HELP (4357) for shelter information provided by the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast.
The Red Cross has opened 17 shelters in the Greater Houston area. Call Red Cross 1-(866) GET- INFO. Due to the high demand, the Houston Chapter has opened a local phone bank to provide information on Houston Area Red Cross activities at 713.313.5480.
The Salvation Army has several open shelters. For information, please call 713-752-0677
Many additional shelters are open throughout the area. Please visit the Houston Chronicle?s special section on Katrina to find updated information at

The Houston Food Bank is requesting a specific list of donation items. Please visit their website for more information at
Free meals available 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 4- 6 p.m.; sack lunches available any time at the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center, 2407 N. Main, Houston, 713-224-2875.
Free meals available 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 4- 6 p.m.; sack lunches available any time at the Salvation Army Montgomery County Corps Community Center, 304 Avenue E, Conroe. 936-760-2440.
Free dinner 6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Deer Park First Baptist Church, 438 East 8th.
Free dinner 5-6 p.m. Thursday-Sunday, First Baptist Church Houston, 7401 Katy Freeway.
Copperfield Church, 8350 Texas 6 North. For food and shelter availability, call 281-856-2273.
Kosher meals from the Chabad Lubavich Center, 10900 Fondren; 713-777-2000 or
11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, North Channel Assistance Ministries, 138371⁄2 Bonham.
8 a.m.-noon Tuesdays and Thursdays, St. Peter Claver, 6005 N. Wayside.
11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Langston Family Life Center, 2814 Quitman.

Monetary Donations
Adventist Community Services: 800-381-7171
American Red Cross: 800-HELP NOW (435- 7669) English, 800-257-7575 Spanish
America's Second Harvest: 800-344-8070
Catholic Charities, USA: 703-549-1390
Christian Disaster Response: 941-956-5183 or 941-551-9554
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee: 800- 848-5818
Church World Service: 800-297-1516
Convoy of Hope: 417-823-8998
Lutheran Disaster Response: 800-638-3522
Mennonite Disaster Service: 717-859-2210
Nazarene Disaster Response: 888-256-5886
Operation Blessing: 800-436-6348
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance: 800-872- 3283
Salvation Army: 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725- 2769)
Southern Baptist Convention -- Disaster Relief: 800-462-8657, ext. 6440
United Jewish Communities: 800-554-8583
United Methodist Committee on Relief: 800-554- 8583

Local Donations, Drives, and Assistance
The following information from the Houston Chronicle outlines a variety of ways to provide assistance:
The United Way has established a Hurricane Katrina Resource Guide that serves as a quick reference about the relief effort. It will be updated daily as new information becomes available.
The City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department in conjunction with the City Wide Club is collecting food and clothing to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Residents may place nonperishable food, clothes and toiletries in a grocery bag at the curb on their garbage day between Sept. 6 and 9 for pickup. Donations also may be dropped off at eight area locations.
Houston City Council is sponsoring a school supply drive for refugee children who need to go to school. The Children Caring for Children project encourages Houstonians to donate new children's school supplies, backpacks, tennis shoes and T-shirts to their local fire stations through Sunday. For information, call Councilwoman Addie Wiseman's office at 713-247-2008 or e-mail
The Star of Hope Mission is collecting items for the Hurricane Katrina refugees at several Central Bank locations in the Houston area. They need: towels, shampoo, washcloths, conditioner, baby needs, toothbrushes, diapers, shaving cream, baby food, razors, bottled water, deodorant, combs, lotion, hair brushes, clothing, cots, mats, pillows, bed linens, over the counter medications and feminine hygiene products.
The Montgomery County Food Bank is accepting food donations for victims now settling into Montgomery County. To volunteer, call 936-539- 6686 or 936-203-4161. Food donations may be made at 1300 S. Frazier, Suite 310, Conroe. Hours are expected to be 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, depending on the number of volunteers available. Cash donations also accepted.
Monetary donations for American Red Cross will be accepted from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at collection tents on Friday at Baybrook, Deerbrook, The Woodlands and Willowbrook malls. Additionally, these malls, as well as First Colony Mall, are collecting donations at their customer service centers.
Houston Community Management Services and Greatwood Community Association will hold a relief drive from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at Greatwood's recreation center, 7225 Greatwood Parkway in Sugar Land. Donations will go to Houston area shelters for Katrina evacuees.
Goodwill Industries of Houston is accepting clothes, shoes, furnishing and monetary contributions to assist victims of the hurricane. Volunteers are also needed to buy items at Goodwill stores and deliver them to victims. For more information, call 713-692- 6221 or visit
Six Flags AstroWorld and Six Flags Splashtown will donate $1 to the American Red Cross for each paid admission during Labor Day Weekend. Due to limited capacity, the theme parks' previous offer of free admission to evacuees is no longer in effect.
Donations may be dropped off 7:30 a.m.-noon Friday at the Golden Corral, 3033 South Loop West 610 at South Main. Needed: Water, nonperishable items, diapers and powdered milk. Sponsored by Houston City Councilman Ronald C. Green, the NFL's Bobby Taylor, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, BFI Waste, 100 Black Men of America Houston Chapter, Houston Black Fire Fighters Association and the National Association for Black Public Administrators-Houston Chapter.

Two local businesses are collecting donations to be delivered to hurricane victims. A 48-foot trailer will be set up at 5735 Westheimer at Chimney Rock, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 5-12. They are collecting: Paper goods, diapers, cleaning supplies, plastic bottles of water, single-serve nonperishable snacks, peanut butter, canned food and other nonperishable food. For information contact the Houston Food Bank or call 713-223-3700. The sponsoring businesses are New York Pizzeria and M.E. Taylor Trucking of Baytown.
The Houston Asian Junior Chamber is collecting toys, books, games, hygiene items, baby items and canned foods at the Welcome Food Center, 9180 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday- Sunday. All proceeds to go to American Red Cross. To volunteer, call Linda Wu at 832-282-2688 or email her at  
KSBJ-FM and the Greater Houston YMCA are collecting prepaid grocery, gasoline and phone cards. Donations will be accepted today at Sharpstown Mall, today at Memorial City Mall and Friday at Almeda Mall, noon-7 p.m. each day. Houston-area YMCAs will accept cards through September.
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston will conduct a special collection at weekend Masses. Funds will go to Catholic Charities USA.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston is accepting tax-deductible donations at or Jewish Federation of Greater Houston Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Fund, 5603 S. Braeswood, Houston, TX 77096.
The Islamic Circle of North America is taking donations at and by mail at ICNA, P.O. Box 572181, Houston, TX 77257.
The West Houston Church of Christ, 17100 West, is collecting phone, gas and grocery cards through September for distribution to Red Cross shelters. Call 281-856-0001 or visit
The Katy Chamber of Commerce, 2501 S. Mason, Suite 230, Katy, is taking donations of goods and services. Visit or call 281- 828-1100 for more information.
The United Way Katrina Refugee Relief Fund will raise money for evacuees staying in Houston. Donations are to be made at any Amegy Bank of Texas or mailed to United Way Katrina Refugee Relief Fund, Account No. 3601021, Attn. Teller, P.O. Box 27459 Houston, TX 77227. Clothing and toy donations are also being accepted. Please call 713- 957-4357.
The East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry Food Pantry, 425 Stafford Run in Stafford, is collecting nonperishable foods 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays. Call 281-261-1006.

The Buzz, KTBZ-FM (94.5), is auctioning off autographed guitars and rock memorabilia at
Telemundo affiliate KTMD (Channel 47) and La Mera Mera KROI-FM (92.1) are collecting checks, payable to the Red Cross, as well as bedding, water, toiletries, new undergarments for children and adults, diapers, baby formula and first-aid kits at Telemundo offices, 1235 North Loop West.
Randalls shoppers may add donations to the Spirit of Texas Hurricane Relief Fund and the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund to their grocery bill through Sept. 11. Co-sponsored by KHOU (Channel 11) and radio stations KTRH-AM (740), KHMX-FM (96.5) and KKRW-FM (93.7).
The Chabad Lubavitch Center, an Orthodox Jewish organization at 10900 Fondren, is seeking volunteers to provide Jewish refugees with hospitality, kosher food, clothing and emergency cash; 713-777-2000 or
St. Luke's United Methodist Church is accepting donations. Send checks marked ``Disaster Response'' to the church at P.O. Box 22013 , Houston 77227.
St. Vincent de Paul Society, 2403 Holcombe, needs volunteers. Call 713-741-8234. Also needed are nonperishable food, clothing, new underwear, new children's sleeping bags, pillows, slippers, pajamas, crayons, coloring books, personal hygiene items and pet food. Drop off donated items, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, at Washington Thrift Store, 2020 Washington; Bellaire Thrift Store, 5236 Cedar; and Ozanam Outlet, 610 Memory Lane.
Episcopal churches will take an offering Sunday to buy food gift cards for evacuees. Send contributions to Hurricane Relief, Episcopal Diocese of Texas, 3203 W. Alabama, Houston 77098.
The Union for Reform Judaism is collecting donations online at; mail checks payable to URJ Hurricane Relief at Congregation Emanu El, 1500 Sunset, Houston 77005.
The Houston-based Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church is accepting donations through local Methodist churches. Online donations may be made at

Share Your Home
Operation: Share Your Home is an organization founded in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina hit. Its purpose is to match people willing to share their homes with evacuees who need temporary shelter. Visit the Web site or call 1-888-827-2525 for information. The nonprofit organization is getting calls from all over the United States and Canada.

Houston SPCA, 900 Portway, will provide pet housing if you are in a shelter that prohibits pets. Free bags of cat and dog food are available for evacuees staying with family members or in hotels. Bring a Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama ID to the SPCA.
Animal Emergency Clinic SE, 10031 Gulf Freeway, is open 24 hours until Tuesday for pet emergencies; 713-941-8460.

Thank you.


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Houston

phone: 713 271 5683

Email: Seeking vengeance [JS]

The news has been telling everyone that God sent the hurricane because people were so sinful in N[ew] O[rleans]? [Nuh-uh!]

I think hurricanes happen because weather is weather. They would still happen if there were no people on the earth. Supposing that they are God's instruments of vengeance does not describe any God I worship.

I'm not offended, but the vengeance angle is not on the national or local media, only talk radio (with its vocal fringe elements).

Thugs, looters and scammers are a blight on the good people of N[ew] O[rleans], I agree. Given that crime is a problem [there] (as any native will tell you), I anticipated this would happen if the National Guard didn't deploy promptly. Well, nothing happened while our president was on vacation; maybe we should give him a permanent vacation.

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Email: Sidestepping naysayers [JB]

It doesn't surprise me that [she, from your story] is (basically) jealous and lazy. Those are symptoms of judgmental fundamentalists: They fear to face who they really are but don't want to work hard to change it. They're not happy with who they are -- so they try to change others -- and they want to take the easy way to everything. When she can't be happy for the blessings she already has, it's an indication she has been trained to think negatively and not positively about herself. It's not a healthy recipe.

I like your sense of humor! I call it "messing with people's minds." You proved you were larger than the situation by showing him how an artist can be deep, not just "flighty." Now he will think she is flaky!

Email: Hurricane recovery efforts [JB]

Do you have any idea what goes on in New Orleans every Mardi Gras? God did not raze New Orleans just to prevent a "gay Mardi Gras" -- and any preacher who claims that New Orleans' annual Mardi Gras or its "sin" in general is the cause of Hurricane Katrina is no Christian at all, and should have to answer to the people suffering all up down the coast. Believers who promote anger and blame over love and compassion are no believers at all.

Churches in Houston are having a huge outpouring of compassion and service. Second Baptist is sending 200 volunteers a day plus truckloads of food to the Astrodome, St. Martin's Episcopal is doing similarly. I would think every church and synagogue is pitching in. Even before Tropical Storm Allison savaged Houston to the tune of $4 billion, Houstonians have a lot of empathy for fellow Gulf Coasters. If I were attending a church that didn't mention the need from the pulpit, I would never enter their doors again. This is the greatest national disaster since 9/11 -- and before that, probably the Galveston hurricane of 1900. Even when I lived in the north, our churches sent aid to the victims of Hurricane Andrew.

It's true that sending the airfare money for American mission workers could go for more supplies which foreign nationals could apply to their disaster recovery efforts, but the extra hands really can contribute more than the value of the airfare in effort, and another purpose of mission work is to teach Americans a greater awareness of other cultures and esp. compassion for those in need.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Email: Gas prices [SD]

Gas twice as high as last year this time and the government says it can't do anything about it? Sorry but I have predicted since 2000 that Bush and Cheney would screw us royally through their buddies at the oil companies [like Dynegy and Enron].

Internet: Fiascos K. Crap

You know that program spammers use to turn dictionary words into stupid-looking names (like Munificent Q. Fiscal)? Well, a spam just reached me from Fiascos K. Crap.

Email: Photos in time [SL]

I can't see how I can change much either; for instance, how much more hair can I lose?

Neologisms: funy

(rhymes with puny) Not so funny.

Email: Control-freak Christians [JB]

Funny how those who don't know anything about you want to give not just advice but prescriptions on how to act and what to do (and you're wrongheaded if you see things differently). This is because true friends say "Here's what I think [the Lord might want you to consider]; you are free to [consider and] accept or reject it," but these people are insecure (and sometimes control freaks) because their motive in directing you is not to help you but to eliminate anything that would cause them to grow in their beliefs or see them in a new light. It's also interesting how some Christian married people want to "fix" Christian single people by imposing rules and standards on them that they themselves (trust me) never followed.

Why the hell (literally) would any Christian show you a movie of a man being tortured in hell, telling you that you must obey God? This is manipulation. It was never the message of Jesus. Where do these people get off? They are Christians in name only; unconditional love is not in them at all.

All she wants to do is harass you, and she will use any information you give her for that purpose. "You are to be alone with God" [indeed!] They want to shun you and use God to justify their whims. If this isn't evil, it's at least hateful.

They don't understand it is not for them to set your boundaries. That is treating you like a child. They have shriveled souls and don't know the first thing about truly growing in the Lord.

Email: Stubborn vs. smart [JB]

Stubborn is good, smart is better!

Email: Courageous Christian living [JB]

It's what I call "crowd-control tactics." The worst thing for conservative Christians is that a person would "sin" or become "cheap"; hence the metaphor of a china vs. a styrofoam cup (which everyone throws out, though you feel bad about it if you're environmentally sensitive -- which I guarantee fits in with What Would Jesus Do). Therefore the tight-lipped crowd tells women they are never to kiss a man until they are married. (Why don't they instead make men stop trying to kiss women?) Keep in mind now, I have published proof that they would like to do away with dating altogether and return us to the days of arranged marriages!

Normal Christians that are not so insanely paranoid, on the other hand, believe that if you keep your eyes upon Jesus and God's word and all the learning you can consider from wiser Christians, you will have the growing and deepening moral strength to make the right decisions in each situation you find yourself in, both now and in the future. This is how St. Paul lived -- leaping from height to height -- not as the fundies would have us all live, which is hunkering in a bunker, for fear that the sunlight shining on the cheek or shoulder of the person next to us might cause us to get a twinkle in our eye, which of course would be a sin.

It is the rod-up-the-back (and -butt) people who wax poetic about the "Proverbs 31 woman." Yes, let's all go back to living in the 1850s and earlier, please. These folks do not want women to think, work or compete with men in the marketplace. Their problem is that they want to equate the public and the private spheres. (They're still stuck in the 1960s, when Gloria Steinem broke that bubble.) A woman can be a competent professional in the public sphere while still being womanly, a good marital partner and mother and so on, in the private sphere. Funny thing, though: Men have to pay equal attention to their families and not just their careers, if they are to support their wife's reaching all her God-given potential; and it's harder to get men to be an equal parent than to get women to just stay barefoot and pregnant -- so that remains the status quo amongst those who prefer to take the path of least resistance.

When it all comes down to one thing, it really is about the men being in control of the women. The solution, in turn, remains this: Trust and nurture each other in Christ and be true partners, not authority and subordinate. This has all been spelled out for the past 18 years in The Priscilla Papers, written by Christians for Biblical Equality.

Email: Job-search bias [JL]

I know how hard it is to look for and find work; the system actually tries to lengthen the process, so you need to do whatever you can to shorten the process. Don't just do what they say or apply in the way they [say], because frankly the bias is to winnow people out, not review as many qualified candidates as possible. In particular, if you can make a personal connection at a social or professional event, that is probably the quickest path to a job ever.

The age thing is for your benefit, because often the bias is to find someone cheap, not necessarily experienced.

The rains [from Hurricane Katrina] stopped at the Texas border so we're fine; in fact, all the evacuees seem to have headed or are now headed here [to Houston]. We're glad to help in the relocation and restoration efforts.

Email: Big boys don't cry [JB]

I'm a big boy. Besides, being pissed (or miffed) is a way to avert feeling[s of] hurt (reflecting the feelings from the self toward the other).

Email: Hurricane Katrina's aftermath [VI]

New Orleans, Louisiana (500,000 population) is under 2-20 feet water after three days, and it will stay that way until they can begin to repair the levees (possibly tonight). There is no power or phones, and airlifts of water and food have been steady. They are evacuating the rest of the city, including the hospitals and 23,000 who took refuge in the Superdome (which was rated for 150 mph winds, but [Katrina's] blew holes in); many of these are coming to Houston. It may take a month for initial stages of cleanup. Over-water highways north and east for miles were torn into chunks. The Gulf coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were hard hit, with at least 100 dead and rescue efforts continuing. This is the third-strongest hurricane and biggest (though not the most fatal) hurricane disaster in U.S. history.

I could say things about the government's delays in getting help to the areas, but let us be thankful for the help that has arrived and is arriving. Citizens are also pitching in from Texas and all over; DA has already left to work with FEMA.

We don't need the Bible to know there will be natural disasters; to avoid water and tornado damages, we might all just live on plateaus and mountains, but instead population centers frequently establish themselves at the confluence of two rivers or on flat low-lying land. Nor is there an increase in natural disasters (save for those with short attention spans), so the Bible isn't predicting "end times" yet (save for those of small minds who indulge in such wishful thinking). Of course it's sad when lives are lost; but for the most part, these were people who did not heed the warnings to evacuate the area or call the authorities for emergency evacuation to a shelter -- and still others went outdoors to experience the storm and were killed by falling trees. No one should stay in a city that is 10 feet under sea level and surrounded by the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, and vulnerable to storm surge from the ocean, when a category 5 hurricane 400 miles across with 165 mph winds is bearing down! This wasn't unforeseen. It was, however, unanticipated by too many.

[Aftermath is a word that means "lessons afterwards." However, the lessons that need to be learned later can be lessened when what is already known is applied before and soon after the disaster hits. While Katrina was an unprecedented storm, I would be shocked if the authorities didn't have emergency plans ready, and then put them in place the same day of the storm's arrival. Why aren't there more boats? Drinking water? Gasoline? Generators? Army trucks? Police and National Guard to control the looters? The Army Corps of Engineers can build a bridge across the Euphrates River in hours under combat conditions yet the gaps in New Orleans' levees aren't patched yet? Where are the cell phone companies who should already be restoring their service? Government officials and bureaucrats are still discussing what the priorities should be. Duh! Everyone knows the priorities are saving lives first; then evacuating people while also stopping the flooding and looting; then restoring phone, water and electric service. Anyone who can deliver these things to the affected areas will be a godsend. Meanwhile as the bureacrats observe and debate, the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and our first responders have stepped in the breach and are working around the clock. God bless America and our sister states in their time of need.]

Email: Inner tectonic shift [Sz]

We do need to take enough time for ourselves; it's vital to be fundamentally happy -- a state which cannot be achieved by wishful thinking or willpower but [only] by balancing one's needs and responsibilities with one's spirituality and personal growth. I think if we are not balanced that way, we miss opportunities for financial and social growth because people pick up on our subtle dystectonics (a word I just invented that applies the metaphor of tectonic shift or displacement -- earthquakes -- to our inner lives).

So long as we are distracted by the "neediness" of wanting something too much, we are still preparing to be ready for the fullness of it. Once we feel like we can go either way, then we are ready to choose either path freely.

Neologisms: dystectonics

Dysfunctional tectonic dynamics; tectonic shift or displacement; the preconditions or causes of earthquakes; metaphorically speaking of one's inner (emotional and spiritual) life, the mismatch between thoughts and feelings, intentions and habits, or words and actions that engender inner stress, conflict, unhappiness or mild depression.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Email: Celebrating the days [lt]

I'm glad you don't regret folding your [birthday] celebration into another one. You're an additive kind of person! Others who want a celebration all their own are subtractive kinds of persons.

Email: Mildly miffed [JB]

Just understand that for me, being pissed is like other people being miffed. The strongest I get is mildly miffed.

Internet: Librarian panties

Scroll down a bit to see "Librarians have the tightest buns"!

Email: When good people trust [JB]

Good people are trusting, and unfortunately, not everyone is worthy of unverified trust. It is up to you to decide, based on your observations of a person's words and actions, at what level you can trust him or her with your confidences.

Email: More on men [JB]

I hear you, and I hear the same from many others; it's enough to make me think 99% of all men are that way [conniving] (but I have hopes that as much as one-third of single men are sincere souls). You're just going to the wrong places and being approached by the wrong ones.

I suggest trying to meet men (when you're ready) in more "high road" settings such as college- or fine-arts-centered social events. Bars and the Internet are probably your worst bets, percentagewise.

Email: Cheesy church counselors [JB]

It's sometimes good to go to a church or pastoral counselor but only a professionally trained one and this one is clearly not, if she went to the pastor and betrayed your confidences without your permission; and neither is he behaving ethically, if he told other members, who told your children, and then you were "pushed out of the church" as you say. That goes against everything that professional ethics dictate for the counseling and pastoral professions.

In general, one would like to assume that ethical practices would be followed, but in practice, I suggest that counselees not only verify that a counselor is professionally certified, but that you question the counselor to verify under what conditions he or she will hold your confidences. Get a clear promise of confidentiality under all conditions or take a walk. These nimrods cast a blemish on the majority of counselors and pastors who are utterly professional and ethically above reproach.

Email: Being nonlinear [KF]

I can be linear and also be global and aesthetic too, ya know.

I think it's perfectly acceptable for friends or dating partners to teach each other how to treat each other. Not only does it build familiarity, but it stands up for self and therefore by definition avoids the vagaries of low self esteem, passive-aggressiveness and all the rest.

You're saying because you let up on email, I noticed and wrote you in return. OK, if you say so. I just remember finally finding time (on the weekend, as I promised).

Email: Taking the high road [JB]

It sounds like you are stretched thin emotionally. If you don't have the patience to wade through the good men (ignore the jerks), then you are right to not be dating online. You need to do what makes you happy, as opposed to taking any actions out of fear or insecurity or neediness. Just be safe and careful above all.

Be a grownup, not a bitter grapes person bitching about things that never happened the way you think. (Blaming others always comes from not accepting your own part first.) Also and more importantly, you receive [from others] the happiness or the anger that you radiate in your heart.

Don't focus on the hurt, focus on the healing. Don't complain or justify the bad things (that's accepting them), stand up for yourself and do whatever it takes to find or make a difference.

If you weren't Christian, [yes] you could have sex but it would be empty. Sex is meaningless without the context of an emotionally intimate relationship. Emotional intimacy feeds physical intimacy, not the other way around. (How many times do I have to repeat this post-adolescent truth to grown adults? How empty is a man who would accept a woman who is hollow herself?) Never do anything you are afraid of or are not ready for; you will surely regret it (and these days, such regret can also be your death sentence).

Don't start the whole "I'm wasting the prime of my life" bit; down that road lies desperation and regret. DO NOT ACT OUT OF FEAR OR DESPERATION. A human can only take so many broken hearts, and I know that if you continue in your state, you will reach your limit. You need to protect your heart now, not risk it. Please read Pia Mellody's The Intimacy Factor and find a counselor who is familiar with her techniques.

Your church members are trying to protect you too, though they're using metaphors ("be a china cup not a styrofoam cup") like a chimp might use a trowel. But just the fact that you've revealed so much of your "needs" with them (not a professional counselor) tells me that you absolutely need to learn about personal boundaries. Please read Pia's book (or the one by Cloud and Townsend, which every church bookstore carries). You have self esteem issues that must be resolved for you to be happy at all.

You need to find pride in yourself. Any time that you can stand up for yourself is a good thing.

There are ministers in name only that do hateful things (sometimes when dating, sometimes while destroying a church). That's why I say avoid self-appointed, uncredentialed and nondenominational ministers. They don't have the chops that a seminary-trained graduate-degree-holding minister with portfolio will have.

Think of what the high road is like, and take that, instead of the low road, which always cries out for desperate measures.

Email: Drawing conclusions [CT]

I know people draw conclusions on their own (unilaterally) about others' intentions, but since I prefer discussion and closure (talking things through and mutual agreement or understanding wherever possible), I've never understood it when women assume the worst motives of men -- insincerity, lack of followthrough and so on -- based on little or no information. It's a different thing when the man gives concrete evidence of same (as he too often does), but [good guys] get tired of being tarred with the brush of the bad boys.

Musings: Up against the wall, you IT mothers!

It never fails to impress me that no matter how technical the job, before the end, it always involves crawling underneath desks and pulling PCs away from the wall (usually stretching the cords to their maximum) and dinking around with plug holes in the dark. It's enough to make you want a backlit makeup compact mirror.

Internet: Telemarketer deterrent

You have reached the CPX-2000 Voice Blackmail System. Your voice patterns are now being digitally encoded and stored for later use. Once this is done, our computers will be able to use the sound of YOUR voice for literally thousands of illegal and immoral purposes. There is no charge for this initial consultation. However our staff of professional extortionists will contact you in the near future to further explain the benefits of our service, and to arrange for your schedule of payment. Remember to speak clearly at the sound of the tone. Thank you.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Email: Everybody needs more Bible [ltt]

I think everyone needs more Bible study so I applaud you there. I only ask that churches use people with Bible degrees to teach Bible studies; I've heard so much ridiculous speculation come from relatively untrained laypersons.

Email: Balance and variety [Sz]

I'm a big believer in balance between love and work in life. I agree that being adaptable is very important [and] variety should abound in a relationship (from interests to lovemaking to problemsolving). How shallow do you have to be to run out of topics to discuss? Ways to make love? Ways to compromise then kiss and make up? What is so hard about being an authentic and romantic human being? Does selfishness really have that great of a hold on humanity?

Email: Catholic and single [JB]

You're probably best served, as a woman, to stay off Internet dating unless it's through something inherently Christian like eHarmony (though scumbags can slink onto there too). I have to realize that I am an exception when it comes to men on the Internet. In fact, that's why I stopped looking for someone with just a bachelor's degree; if I have to winnow through 7 out of 10 college graduates who can't spell much less express themselves coherently, it's just not worth it.

A man who wants to talk about sex right away is a man who wants sex right away. Furthermore, he has boundaries problems and is probably trying to manipulate you into a similar state. What you said resembles what I warn every [man or] woman I speak with and will teach in my seminars: "Men are strategic; they will say or do whatever it takes to get what they want." If any of this makes sense to you, please let me know; I can use the encouragement, since this world has enough naysayers.

Your artistic sense is special and to be celebrated. Yes, writers tend to be attracted to artists and vice versa, because they both have an esthetic intensity and an inner passion that others cannot understand. Though I have lived that all my life, MK first made me aware of that (in so many words).

You can and (I believe) will find someone special. It may take waiting until the moment when you no longer care either way. I am beginning to suspect that such moments of equanimity -- when we can go either way -- are a moment of grace in our spiritual and human lives. I suspect others would agree.

I do agree with you that there is a conservative way to live one's Catholic life, and a less conservative way; and that God smiles on either one, since he did not make us all the same in matters of taste, even if conservatives tend to more often than not turn matters of taste into matters of morality.

Email: Inertia vs. go-go-go [CC]

I think there's nothing wrong with getting hot and sweaty, usually outdoors or in a gym. There's a modern-day prissiness that comes from being in AC all the time and working at computers or playing at video games though; it's probably just laziness at its root. That, and self-appointed fashionistas seem to lead the world in going "Ewww!" at the thought of sweat. Being exercise and activity oriented is the best and healthiest solution.

Email: Arts community [JL]

Yes it's good to get out and see theatre. You may not like everything but at least you've seen it, and if you find it memorable, all the better.

I like it that the art community is just that: a community, even if it's small and needs to stick together for support.

Hm do they have llama fajitas on a stick yet? State fairs seem willing to turn anything into nuggets or put it on a stick.

Gosh now you've got me homesick about missing the Minnesota State Fair. Ah, nostalgia!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Email: Passages are good [SD]

Passages are good. You'll learn that more as you go through them.