I have no pride…

I have no pride about my situation, because I didn’t create it – what I do with my circumstances is the thing that I wish to be praiseworthy. I am defined by my performance and not by the stage on which it happens.

A truth that I have held for a long time now, and a friend’s comments reminded me of this.  We are the mistresses and masters of our fate – what will you do with your life?

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The “biblical” definition of marriage


Marriage (Photo credit: Lel4nd)

Billy Graham supports Mitt Romney, in part because he believes in “the Biblical definition of marriage“. Marriage involves at least three separate components that I can think of, and only one of them is relevant in a biblical sense.

The first component of marriage is the personal commitment to your partner, to be their other/better half, to cleave to them only, to be with them through sickness and health, richer and poorer, etc – this is a personal commitment which varies from person to person and between cultures, but this is not biblical. It’s a commitment that can be made in the absence of any religious or societal component, and, for most people outside of the accepted marriageable groups, this was as far as they could go (I’m thinking specifically of gays and lesbians, but it could equally apply to interracial relationships, or other “unacceptable” partnerships). This commitment has nothing to do with the validity or acceptance of the bible definition of marriage.

The second component is the cultural/societal/legal piece. There are regulations in Canada (and equally in the US and most other nations) around what marriage means, as a contract between the partners, and regarding the rights and privileges (and occasionally obligations) placed on the married persons in the eyes of society, the law, and the government. From a positive standpoint, this includes access to the benefits of the partner, the right to inherit when the partner dies intestate, the right to have access and make decisions about long term care when the partner is incapable, and the obligations of support for children of the marriage and the partner in case of marital dissolution. An aspect rarely discussed in the US is the number of partners involved, as it is assumed that this will always and only be two, but there is a legal definition, and associated penalties, for the commission of bigamy. These rights and obligations are based in civil law, with contractual and legal enforcement, beyond and outside any biblical definition of marriage, and can even be found in explicitly atheist states.

The final component is the moral or religious aspect. Surprisingly, the New Testament is mostly silent on the topic of marriage, with the passages about bishops being the husband of one wife seemingly implying that more than one wife could be the norm for other marriages. Additionally, the Old Testament contains numerous examples of polygamy (polygyny specifically), and has at least one injunction that could require polygamy (the surviving brother marrying his sister-in-law to ensure that she will bear a son to carry on her husband’s name). Interestingly, “fundamentalist Mormons“, who haven’t fallen away from Joseph Smith’s original revelation, still practice polygyny despite the proclamations stating that the Mormon church (cult?) no longer supports new polygamous marriages as of the late 19th/early 20th century. Regardless, if the modern church wishes to define marriage “biblically” as one man and one woman, they are welcome to it – however, this celebration and restriction is not impeded or encouraged by either the commitment element (lots of loveless marriages out there) or the legal/cultural component. The only remaining concern for Christians should be that, as churches, they could be FORCED to perform marriages between unacceptable partners, such as two men, or a black man and a white woman. However, I’m not aware of any law, or proposals for laws, that would force a religious celebrant to perform such a ceremony – if nothing else, membership in the congregation by one or both of the partners is often a requirement, and I can’t see that hurdle being willingly leaped by any of the unacceptable couples.

Bottom line seems to be that the religious right in the US is using the excuse of “the biblical definition of marriage” to support legal and cultural discrimination against gays and lesbians, to prevent them from receiving the same benefits, rights and obligations as the heterosexual couples do. Seems very self-serving, and totally unloving – but it’s the first plank of the Billy Graham organization’s direction for its supporters to use in picking a candidate to vote for, and is important enough to allow them to accept a Mormon as their choice for next president of the USA


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Don’t re-post or share this (unless you want to)!

I’m not checking to see who wants to stay on my friends’ list, and I’m not promoting some worthy but currently unknown cause.  I’m not going to monitor who likes this post, and I have no idea what you’ll think about the fact that I posted this at all.  But if you find this amusing, or it made you think, or you just need some random external content to post on your wall, feel free to share and re-share this post!

For those of you who have posted the friend list check, sorry that I didn’t “like” it – it wasn’t because I don’t want to be your friend, but because I hope that I mean more to you than one like, and that missing the post wouldn’t cause you to un-friend me.  For those of you that have posted a link to a worthy cause, I won’t “+1″ if you don’t let me know WHY it’s so important to you – if you do, I’ll even “upvote” the fact that chocolate cookie dough ice cream allowed you to re-connect emotionally with your cocker spaniel, or that the latest sale at Shoppers was a transformative experience for your psyche!  For those that tweet nothing but quotes from others, I’m likely to stop reading your feed, because I don’t care nearly as much about the doubtless timeless words of wisdom from some stranger as I care about you and why I connected with you in the first place.

I  know that it’s all “on-line”, and “virtual” for most of us.  But I keep telling myself that there are REAL people behind the bits and bytes, the pixels and pointers, and that REAL person, with a life that means something special to YOU, is what I want to know about.  I love the pictures of your kids, or the view out your resort room window, or your family finish in a race.  I click through to special causes and articles that you post when you tell me WHY you care, or why you think that I should care. I even like the outcomes of the endeavours of strangers that you care about, if their achievements inspire you, or me, to be more or better.

Let’s be real with each other, and not randomly post status updates copied and pasted from somewhere without saying what makes it so special to you.  Because, when it all comes down to it, I “like/+1/RT/upvote” you for YOU!

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Guilt prone people make better leaders!

Interesting article, in light of the link I posted earlier this week about authentic apologies.  The conclusion seems at least somewhat counter-intuitive, but makes a weird sort of sense as well.

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Bullying and the “Christian” community

I was bullied in grades 7 and 8.  There was one boy, who shared the same last name as a rock singer, who thought he was king of the little pile that we called Sheridan Park Public School.  He loved to abuse me, on and near the school grounds.  His favourite game was “kick Brian in the tail bone”, which he knew was a good game, because Brian had pacifist parents, who had taught him that the only time you’re allowed to hit someone is when they are your own children.  The bully also thought it was great fun to drop his heavy gym bag from the second story walkway in an attempt to hit Brian in the head while he was retrieving his bike.  Through all of this, I endured, teachers ignored, and the one time that I tried to do something about it, the crossing guard yelled at ME, the victim.  The bullying finally ended when I turned the tables on young Mr. Webster, and kicked his ass – I spent the next several weeks in fear for my life, as I was convinced that the bully would come to school with a knife, but I survived – no thanks to the the school system.  Why was I bullied?  No idea really, other than that I was pretty solitary and didn’t have any friends – but my tailbone didn’t care why it was getting bruised, and my fear was still real despite my lack of knowledge.

The Ontario government has just passed into law an act aimed at preventing bullying in schools.  The law makes very specific mention of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer community, largely (in my mind) because this community is often assumed to NOT be covered by any law that deals with fairness among humans.  This community is also, very often, the target for life threatening abuse and bullying, and they KNOW that it’s because their sexual or gender expression is NOT part of the majority.  Unfortunately, the attempt to explicitly protect a small group of our children from abuse has distracted people from the larger goal of bill 13, which is to protect ALL of our children from abuse and bullying.  And the “Christian” community is taking an unfortunate lead in this distraction.

Which I really don’t understand.  Why are some very vocal Christians so very homophobic?  It certainly can’t be Jesus’ example – he told the harlot that he saved from stoning to “go and sin no more”,  he told the rich man that it would be difficult for him to get into heaven, he drove the money changers from the temple, and he constantly harangued the Pharisees, but he never called out a gay man or woman.  It can’t be the words of the New Testament – there is no clear reference to homosexuality in the entire book, and all of the book (well, except for the nightmare called Revelations) is focused on love, understanding and forgiveness.  It can’t even be the Old Testament, if that’s what slakes your blood lust, as homosexuality, if memory serves correctly, is accorded the same punishment as a woman wearing man’s clothing, or use of false weights and measures – the ones that opposed bill 13 weren’t forcing women out of slacks, and protesting against the abuses of the finance giants.

I’m so tempted to throw in some sarcastic or ironic comments about the likely fears of the worst homophobes, but I’ll restrain myself to the following – very few gays or lesbians will make a pass at you if you’re not making it through their gaydar, and no one can see your mental fantasies, yet.

Why don’t we all work together to protect ALL of our children from ALL forms of bullying and abuse, regardless of whether we think that their sexual orientation or gender identification is in accordance with God’s will for humanity or not.  Your own beliefs say that God loves each of us, even the worst sinner, and there is none so lost that they can’t be brought to the kingdom of heaven.  How about treating these victims as God’s children?

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Fundamentals of weight loss

Posted on http://www.fitclick.com in response to another member’s request for advice on how to get started losing weight.  Member is 4’11”, a vegetarian who eats only carbs, and wants to lose 20 lbs in the next 3-4 months.

@savethewhales32 I think that the key will be to track your calorie intake and burn – over everything else, this has been the key to my successes, and seems to be the fundamental for most others. This site gives you lots of great tools with which to do that tracking, both for what you eat and what you burn, so take advantage of that.

You’ll probably also want to start some type of exercise regime, ensuring that you start at a rate/pace that is appropriate to your current level of fitness – if you’re not sure what that is, talk to your doctor to identify what a safe level of exertion will be. The key with exercise is not that you do it so very intensely, but that you do it – it’s better to go for a 30 minute walk 4 times a week, EVERY SINGLE WEEK, than it is to do the “Burn your Butt” workout with (insert your favourite fitness celeb here) 3 times, injure yourself (or depress yourself because you can’t keep up), and then give up on the exercise. As you get more fit, you’re likely going to look at increasing the intensity and duration of your workouts – I started with walking 3-4 times per week, to running a couple of times per week while still walking, to training for a 10K race, then a marathon, and now I’m up to 6 days/week of running, 85-95 km/week. I would never have thought it, but I miss not running (got very depressed when I took a week off after my last marathon!). But I didn’t start at this level, and it isn’t even necessary to be at this level – just exercise.

As you exercise, you’re going to want to add protein to your diet. I’m not a nutrition expert, so I can’t advise you on how to get sufficient protein as a vegetarian, but there are ways to do it. This is mandatory, because if you don’t have enough dietary protein, your exercise won’t benefit you nearly as much, because you won’t be able to build muscles, and you both won’t get as fit as you could be, and you’ll find yourself fatigued unnecessarily.

The last point is motivation – you have to want this, enough to persist through all the nonsense that you’ll face. 20 lbs doesn’t seem like that much to lose, but relative to your height, it’s proportionate to me (6’1″) having to lose almost 50 lbs – that’s quite the challenge! My motivation was breaking 250 lbs – I’d never been that heavy before, but when I saw that on the scale, I decided that I had to do something about it. I completely modified my diet, and when I plateaued with diet only, I searched hard for a solution, because I wasn’t yet where I felt I needed to be. Set intermediate goals to give yourself a reachable target, and modify those as necessary. And make yourself accountable to others – I told my wife, kids, parents and friends that I was determined to lose the weight, and the embarrassment of failing kept me going when other things wouldn’t have.

Long speech, possibly more than you wanted, but that’s my recipe for weight loss success :-). Best of luck!

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Interesting Nutrition for Runners (and Athletes in general)

I like this – blueberries, beer and chocolate milk!  Who said that exercise, building muscle and losing weight had to involve a boring diet?

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