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Message: 3

Date: Thu, 29 May 2008 14:14:43 -0700


From: E Field <gswarthoute@hotmail.com>
Subject: [MindHub] (com-soc) response to Steph / all comments.
To: mindhub fresno <mindhub-list@list.mindhub.org>
Message-ID: <BLU146-W236915DBCDC68483BBCC5CA8BF0@phx.gbl>
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Stephen / All.

This is an interesting situation for me.

On the one hand?


Friend attacks length of posts,
questions writings as having any value whatsoever,
and if anybody else reads,
(and what does everybody else think?)

Well, wasn't that nice.

Then some sort of moment of truth happens, folks respond, and yours truly's
(recently) bearded jaw hits the floor.

I think it safe to say that most folks in the area know Steph better than myself.
We go back all of about... a year and change? (mostly Rogue stuff,)
and I will say this:
In person, Steph will give you the shirt off his back, does amazing work, and is
actually a real sweetheart.
My time around him (again, Rogue,) has always been wonderful, and it's been great
to be a part of his efforts.
In short? Nice guy.
Nice guy who writes awful stuff sometimes, --but still, very nice guy.

It's a strange, thing, in terms of considering how it all plays out.


-Is some sort of membership revoked?
-Do I get pushed off the cliffs at the edge of the village by an angry mob with
pitchforks and ADD?
In this life, I have found that if you seriously believe something, and take a stance
on it, ---or at times are able to get others to think and go deeper, --NOT everybody
is going to 'feel you,' and it doesn't always go well.
...Well, then there's the third option, just doing somethign so stupid that there's a
beat-down and it's sort of natures way of deleting fools from the pack.

Not even half awake, I could plead guilty on any of those fronts, I'm afraid.

But still, quite alive on this end.


No gunshots from drive-by fellow creatives (nor editors, nor those who know what
to do with all these nifty punctuation marks.)
Not even the spelling people have revoked my keyboard.

I guess they let anybody above this barre.

I cordially invite (still, as in, 'I think that's why it was created,) anyone's opinions,
gut feelings, half-wimper or tirade on these or any subjects.
If these things are what we're living through, it would appear that they are worth
talking about as well.

In fact, I opted not to say anthing for a couple of days, because I didn't want the
subject of the last post to be a 'pro-or-con,' Eric Field thing.
To me that's a waste of effort and thought.
Of course the answer is 'both.'
We're all etheral and beautiful beings that desperately need baths at the end (or
the beginning,) of the day, and this shall be our lot in life until glory.
-Even in a literary sense.

For those of you who wonder why I write, and how I write?
Another aspect of this whole thing (which I did not expect,) was my being
contacted by some folks who wanted to ask about the why's and such of my
writing.
We're working on that, and I'll let you know how it goes. (Yes, it's awkward, I'm
actually somewhat shy,) But I like to answer honest questions honestly, so we'll see
how that goes.

For those of you who weighed in on my writing being little more than digital
diddling on plasma screen?
I can't begin to tell you how moving that was.
I never know what to do with praise, (other than to deflect it up...)
But, being an old painter and somebody who has had great mentors in life, I really
do welcome honest critique, ---and yours has been quite honest, stunning to
experience, and I really appreciate the time and effort that folks took from their
(very) busy lives to say anything.

Truth be told:
A lot of my writing gets responses that are quite eloquent, often very touching,
always very personal, and have conveyed a trust (in me,) by perfect strangers, that
I can only liken to that which is given a priest or minister (which considering my
background and vocation, is very very humbling.)
I don't what folks see that causes this. (Aarons posts about my faith literally had
me quite choked up, as did others,) but in a great sense, he got it.
The God I serve, though God, --was documented as being sorta plain, and perhaps
a bit on the chunky side.
Leaving no draw due to flash and glamour, but genuine caring.
If I've been able to convey that, that I'm a very very blessed person, ---at the age
of near 45, He may be getting somewhere with me.

So, again, thank you for your honesty and time, and, hopefully without sounding
like it's a brush off, (and greatly the reason why I wanted to comments to die down
and the subjects at hand to be focussed upon,) I'd like to direct things back to
them, to you, and to what these things mean.

Okay?

Oh, one more thing...


While sitting there, quite taken aback by Aarons remarks (which really hit a lot of
points that were very personal, and again, quite moving,) there was something
written about my being for '...gays, the poor, (somethign else, I think,) and 'hot-hot
unobtainable married women.'
(Not sure if I read that right,,, it was an emotional time, and Lord knows what I
saw there...)

Yes, even in this venue I do write to and with very hot-hot unobtainable married
women.
(Some of them have spoken about me in this 'Eric Read - Eric Ignored,' according
to Stephen' thing.)
I need to make this really clear.
They are amazing, talented women, who are exceedingly (both) pretty and
beautiful.
They are dangerous in all good ways.
They are all VERY married, and I know a bunch of their husbands (or have usually
met them, decent lucky bastids the lot of them.)
I'm quite happy that they're VERY married, and have no designs on them
whatsoever.

Truth be told:
I don't date a whole lot, and I don't even date women that are 'separated,' (sorry,
that's still married in my book, though I'll be a friend.)
I look at these (married) women as (both) individuals who are to be taken seriously
in their own right,
-as well as-
Part of a team and part of something which I hold sacred and beautiful, (with an
even deepening awe, often as I grow to meet the partner, and learn how their story
came together and is playing out.)
It's a funny thing to say, but I see BOTH of them standing there, ---even when I'm
addressing only the one present.
They're friends, and a blessing, and I pray for them as two that have become one,
that are still two. (And no, I can't explain the math and mystery of it.)

Lovely soccer moms out to turn me into a road pizza when I'm on my bike?
-more forces to be respected and feared, than things I wish to obtain.
Audrey Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, and Grace Kelly?
-yes, married, but dreams and crushes (though obviously unobtainable, and, um,
no disrespect, sorta dead.)
-I even have a thing for Virginia Woolf, Anne Sexton, and Emily Dickenson (and it
don't get more unobtainable than that...)

I suppose the only 'married,' woman I've ever had a seriously major 'thing,' for
(thing, meaning 'crush,' not 'thing,' meaning... um, 'thing.')
Would be EmmyLou Harris,
--Whom, if I ever got near this person, I'd either be struck dumb, or babble
endlessly, probably drool a lot, and pass out shortly after looking into her eyes and
hear her voice... (in other words, business as usual.)
-but I don't think it has anything to do with 'obtaining,' someone.

I don't chase after women in general, and I don't chase married women in
particular.
I've had more than my share of close relationships, have had my loves, (and
losses,) and at this point in time?
Whomever God wants me to be (or not to be,,,, no longer the question (they even
moved the stage this year, didn't they...)
--that's fine.
Now, having settled all that:

I agree wholeheartedly with other writers who have stated that (creatives, the
educated, the young who have futures and good decisions to make,)
---are leaving, and choosing not to consider THIS area...
BECAUSE, --despite all conversations, sometimes sincere effort, and a lot of window
dressing?
Folks are recognizing the handwriting on the wall.

They realize that: when you have something as basic as a J.O.P. marriage between
two gay folks being lauded by the local govt. as some sort of 'lunacy,' ---and
something damnable?
That fair and level does not exist.
(Even in a civil sense.)

Deeper?
Very rarely to even two people really have the same views on God, nor how they
are to react to said-same God, ---and they know that we all need the freedom to
work with our weakness, (or unique strengths and aspects,) WITHOUT fearing some
sort of cookie-cutter or die existance.
In short?
Everybody knows that there is going to be somethign that will NOT be considered
cricket based upon a church somewhere.
Locally?
Everybody knows how judgemental and legalistic the church can be...

My gut?
They're looking at the whole thing, seeing (again,) even the local govt. being of the
same mindset, and deciding to avoid the mess, thinking:
A.) it's a matter of time before they start coming after 'me,'
B.) a matter of time before they start coming after 'us,' or 'our family.'
C.) I don't want my kids growing up under that...

Which really?
Is a shame.

As a municipal govt. we blew it by allowing our own personal beliefs to deprive


others of fairness in life.
(It is what it is, you can call it other things,
---but that is exactly what has happened.
The target this time had a rainbow on it,
It is now down, there have been shots fired,
and if we look to the one with the rifle, we've found our assailant.)
---Who's holding that weapon?
---Are we going to tolerate this? (worse... is this actually to be seen as heroic
behavior?)

My angle?
There are people down.
Somebody who has not posed a threat has been awarded and sustaining heavy
injuries long enough.
-I want to assist them to be well and go on as regular folks walking down the road
who can choose to smile and wave or not (like anybody else,)
-And I want the snipers (which is a joke, actually... they don't hide in trees, they're
actually quite 'loud and proud and using Jesus name as cause,) to stop.

The other shame?


And this IS personal
This IS where I have to take responsibility, because this is my team.

The church has had opportunity since the time of Christ walking the Earth, ---to
literally go out and spread the gospel.
(Which means 'good news: (love and hope.)
(Yes, yes, I know, these days they'll say
'...go out and make disciples..' (great, twisting the scripture to power trip on some
of the most basic levels, in occasions where vulnerability is to be met with respect
and nurture... grreeaaaaat.)

No.
We as 'the church,' are to be salt
(seasoning, bringing on real flavor, healing, bringing on thirst, preserve and ward
off against ill health,)

We are to be light
(you know, LIGHT, --which means illuminating, chasing away fears, enabling things
to be done without bumping into stuff, providing the ability to see, to learn... and to
do so EQUALLY, --not if folks 'deserve it,' or 'see things our way.'
No...
light is light, light is benevolent,
not a focussed beam under the magnifying glass of a vindictive 8yr. old burning
ants.)

--and We're to guide and provide WATER


---literally, living water, (who EVERY Christian knows WHO that is...)

And this is where we've blown it...


---Did you know that two of the above aspects (salt/light) act to embalm and dry
up?
(ever wonder where the phrase 'go pound salt' comes from?)
---and we all know how lovely it is to be out in the middle of...... of..... HERE, ---
when there is no shade and it's already over a hundred and ten.
-Lets start handing out salt on hot days, ---no water, just salt.
---That's how you make dead people, ---that's how you preserve them...

It's this last aspect, 'WATER,' that is so vital.

A friend of mine, who was from Iran, one day told me,
'...you know, in my home country, we have this saying, Even a serpent, will not
bother another living thing if it's drinking, --because it knows that water is the
essence of life, and respects it...'

I don't know if this is true, actually, I've never been to Iran...

But, having lived in the woods for years and years, there are these things called
'water moccasins,' back where I come from.
Now... there is supposedly footage somewhere of people literally kicking at water
moccasins and such, and the snakes make every effort to get away, rather than
bite... (not very nice thing to do to the snake, he was minding his own business
sleeping on a log...)

But for the sake of arguement, ----and to illustrate the behavior of the church these
days...
I'm going to say that (at least here,)
the snakes don't always respect somebody who needs water, or who is at water.
(And looka that... even the 'foreigners,' are acting nicer, with their unChristian
religions, ---than the Christians are...)

(I hate to say it like that, but sometimes folks need to hear it in their own language
and terms.)

The Bible talks about times in the life of the church, where they've gotten so
messed up that even the 'heathen,' look at them and say
'...well, yeah, we may worship strange things, and we may be headed to hell, ---but
at least it's better off than what's happened to THEM...'
---(kinda like '...I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, ---but
not.)---

As a church we've blown it,


because our very nature and (one true,) directive is to spread hope, provide
healing, and bring water to the thirsty, ---and lead those who are searching to
nourishment.
---and out here? Most of the time? That's EVERYBODY.

It says nothing about us deciding 'who,' to love, 'who' to let live and encourage,
--and 'who,' to let die by the side of the road.
---What is so bizarre, is, we (as a nation,) consider it a trademark to be samaritans
who care for others in need.
---Yet, (in this case,) we are more than happy to deny fellowship, love, and nurture,
and then turn and say '..It's what God wants.'
(Izzat-so?)

Again, we're not on the 'administrative,' (read: Boss) end of things.


We're to minister.
We're to serve.
We're to love.
We're to follow the few directions that we have, because we call somebody else
(Christ,) Lord, --and not ourselves.

Just as the young professionals, and those who are fed up with the endless dog-
chasing-tail aspect of municipal life here in the 'no have voted with their feet?
Somebody who is 'alt,' (in this case 'gay,) clearly can feel the heat,
clearly can sense the hate, and sees a bunch of folks who are strapped into some
sort of 'belief,' and knee jerk reaction,
---by folks who are supposed to be intelligent, graceful, and forgiving to all, (as
they've been forgiven of all.)

And, strangely enough, as if the illustration was there to be picked from a tree:

--the essence of life in this (the one who we call Christ,) 'living water,'
---is not just mere essence, not just something we have in our little denominational
bottles, and not just a resource that we can vent or withold.
The resource, (water-Christ,) in this case is a being, who (if the book that speaks
so much about Him,) is true in any sense,
---is part of a Triune God who has been quite earnest about:
A.) conveying love to all,
and
B.) doing such despite the best efforts of entire religious and political systems who
wish to make that difficult and exclusive. (It's cool, we're cool, this is not unusual,
the Church wanted Jesus dead because he loved the 'wrong sorts' of folks too...
I think we're right on schedule, here, (I mean, headed in a wrong direction, ---but
definitely fulfilling the archetype.)

I was sitting in a local church, (huge expensive thing,,, lotsa lights and production,)
and the pastor was saying
'..can you imagine what it would be like if (this) church was not here, if (this named
church,) was not here,,,
-can you imagine what Fresno would be like if we were not here...' (They were
talking about giving money to the church...)

And I sat there thinking


'...um, Yeah.. I can,
---and the truth of the matter is:
Whether your church,
whether you,
whether this huge financial burden and program you've built were here or not?
God Himself
could just as easily (perhaps easier,) come down,
and reach into the heart of somebody who barely spoke any language,
sitting on an orange crate, with an open heart,
---and would be able to convey His love,
----and NONE of this (whole-big-thing that they're pumping money and loyalty to,)
-would matter one bit.

(That's been happening since the Garden, and shows no sign of stopping, actually,
---and plenty of big buildings, understandings and efforts, have risen and fallen,
----yet some kid on his tricycle who's singing 'Jesus Loves me...' has got it right
and can convey the whole deal to an entire block ---before lunch, -on a slow day.)

(Yeah, I can imagine what this place would be like without 'this,' church.)

I know this may seem too religious for some,


---but this is my camp, this has been my burden, in a sense, and is very much my
team's problem.
---I've been among this grouping and thought, (the exclusion and judgement,)
was raised in it, used to preach and believe it,
---and now see how damning and wrong it is.

God's sorta funny.


I mean, he doesn't need US (the Christians, the religious, the conservatives, ---
even the literate and educated,)
---and He certainly doesn't need our programs and expensive designs (Someday
look up the story of David, the oxcart, and the Ark, just for yuks,)
---Woman at the well (the Samaritan Woman?)
--Jesus deliberately sent the disciples AWAY to go get lunch, -because He knew that
they'd probably spook the poor girl, and mess things up, and He really needed to
talk to her and wanted to protect her dignity.
-How do we know?
-He had just fed five thousand people with some kids lunch (so he could have 'done
something,' for he and the boys when they were hungry,)
-And, upon their return? (When they caught up to Him?)
They were SHOCKED that he was even speaking to her, ---because, among the
religious, she was seen as a walking virus...

He's God.
He loves His creation, and he's got a desire to reach, be close to, and work out His
plans and love for all, (from Marlboro Cowboys, to White Hat Protestant, to
Brokeback Mountain ones...)

This 'water,' we're to bringing people to, has a mind of it's own.
It loved all of 'us,' (despite ourselves,) ---and continues to do so.
It knows how it's needed, it knows where, it knows what it's doing, ---and it will
carry out it's perfect work, (because it's not an 'it,' it's a God who loves.)

So Fresno...

For as much as I am adamantly speaking to the 'choir,' the openhearted, AND those
who think I'm a heretic (I'm assuming those who want me gone due to writing
style, have already switched off...)

In a way, it's not my battle.

I have every confidence that the Water will seek those who are in need, and that I
am to follow it, and give it freely, ---but even if that effort is stopped, dammed, or
diverted by any effort?
God still knows, God has not stopped loving, ---and, transcending all technical
ability, (and the arrogance of so many churches,)
A person, gay or straight, will wonder, God, are you there, and do you love me, and
will you hold me?
And the 'yes,' will fill like a groundswell.

The municipal stuff?


Will be battled out, and be talked about, no doubt for years.
--and then be nothing more than a mark in history.
'...yeah, we were like that, ---and we didn't let blacks and women vote nor hold
property either... stupid, I know...'

The church stuff?


Even easier to predict, and is where I intend to leave it.
So long as there is a God?
There is an eternal God.
And so long as there is an Eternal God?
There is Eternal Love seeking to be poured out.
--and so long as there are people created by this God?
There will also be (somebody,) wanting to walk up to (anybody,) and convey that
love.
Anybody.

Now...
regarding building a city, and actually keeping people 'here,' (creative or not,)
---who wants to live in life giving water?
(show of hands)
---and who wants to live in amonia?
(show of hands)

What are we creating, and bestowing?


And why?

I think we've found our answers.

-E.