Sunday, September 22, 2013

Onward and Upward

I finally broke down and got a notebook. The electronic kind. I figured there was no reason to get one with all the computers at school and everyone here having them too; but then Mom's computer stopped working wirelessly, condemning it to the upstairs office where there is no place to put it except on the floor; and there are so many more students this semester than during the accelerated ones that computer access at the campus is iffy. Plus, I decided it was time to completely disconnect the old dinosaur computer I had in my room, since Andy is becoming far too savvy with YouTube.

All of this right before I discovered that many of my ASL tests/projects this semester will require webcam. So it was time to shell out the money. And I'm not sorry I did. I got a secondhand Google Chromebook, and it seems to be just what I need. Small and light, but not a touch screen. I'm happy with it.

The Princess is talking. A lot. She started telling everyone to "Stop!" recently. That's what they tell her to say at daycare, instead of screaming and hitting. So of course she started saying it whenever anyone spoke to her, looked at her, etc. Lol. My sister has been telling her that's rude, so what did she replace it with? "SUT UUUP!"

Yep. Loud and clear. At the top of her voice. So polite. Big brothers are such good teachers. Oh, and uncles too. Especially the 17-year-old ones. The ones who berate me constantly for not making my kids better mannered/more controlled/less picky/you-name-it. Maybe we could just call him "Uncle Hypocrite?" Hehe.

She has fallen in love with the "Little Bear" show. I found a few of the DVDs recently. It's such a favorite of mine. I absolutely love Nelvana productions, and this is the best. I also replaced our Planet Earth and Blue Planet collections with my latest Financial Aid refund. Ours were quite destroyed, and I personally feel no home is complete without them. Such amazing views of our planet! Meanwhile the boys have discovered MineCraft, and it's all the rage at school. I'm actually rather glad. It's one game where they aren't killing each other and they can build things. And although I still prefer Legos, those tend to cause friction with my Mom, who wants everything cleaned up the instant it's not being played with any more. Virtual is better for now, particularly with the cold weather coming.

I'm so grateful this summer has been cool. I hope it doesn't foretell a bitter winter, but I can always get warmer. Oh! That reminds me that I made out wonderfully at the kid's consignment sale this past week. I got all the clothes they should need until next spring, with the exception of a winter jacket for Andy and snowboots for both boys. We have time for those, however, so I will keep checking the secondhand stores and the sale next month near our church.

One of my courses this semester is "Experiences In Diversity." It's fascinating. I had no idea that intersex births (infants born with ambiguous genitalia) were so common (roughly 2 percent), or that surgical correction is automatically done in the U.S., which has essentially the same effect as female genital mutilation. That's terrible. I am a firm believer in allowing children to make life-altering decisions for themselves when they are of age, if their health is not at serious risk in the meantime. And these surgeries often carry long-term complications too, so the risk would have to be greater than that.

The more I learn about scientific reality, the more I reject the religious perspective that sex was meant for procreation alone. Everything in nature goes against that. Infertile women and men would be unable to enjoy sex if that were true; and to avoid hypocrisy, shouldn't the church refuse to perform marriages for adults past childbearing years or with a family history of infertility? I had this argument just briefly with our priest before joining the Orthodox Church, since of course the Church's position is not to accept practicing homosexuals at communion. They talk about the immorality of sex outside of marriage, but Delaware recently began to allow gay marriages, making that guideline invalid. So the actual issue is that sex without the possibility of procreation is not condoned. Yet they do not forbid couples who are past childbearing years, or who have decided not to have more children, from having intimate relations. And intersex persons pose a similar problem. I do not think it right to expect that certain persons refrain from sexual relations their entire lives based merely on the way they were born.

According to our professor, the Olympics did chromosomal testing on their female athletes for a while in an attempt to prevent transgender women from competing and having an advantage. They had to stop because so many female athletes turned out to have a Y chromosome, yet were born female by all appearances. Since female is the default fetal state, it would appear that every now and then a male fetus simply fails to develop male genitalia and reproductive organs. That should tell people something about the reasonableness of this strict approach to gender and sex.

Anyway, food for thought.


  1. Wish I could remember the book I read about someone born intersex, but I too was surprised by the number of children born that way. Sorry I haven't commented in a while; still catching up, but glad to see you posting here!

  2. Hi Rose,
    As an Orthodox priest, I would like to suggest a more probable reason why the Orthodox Church marries only men and women (one man and one woman). It has to do with iconography. When St. Paul talks about marriage, in a kind of revery, he says, "But I am speaking of a mystery, of Christ and the Church." Human marriage is an icon of God's relationship with humanity, both corporately and individually. That is, God is always masculine, and humanity or each human soul is always feminine. This is why Christian mystics of both genders always refer to their souls in the feminine. Sex is part of the revelation of God and, the Church believes, it can best manifest (as an icon) this revelation in the marriage of a man and a woman. Pleasure, children, companionship, intimacy, these are important aspects of the revelation, but only aspects,not the whole icon.
    Having said that, the Church recognizes that in a fallen world, marriages sometimes sadly fail (this is why it allows, with reluctantly, divorce in some circumstances), so marriage does not always (perhaps seldom) manifests clearly the prototype. Nonetheless, we believe that only in the monogamous marriage of a man and a woman can the icon of marriage reveal God's relationship with humanity.

  3. Thankyou for your reply Fr. Michael. I would make the argument, however, that rarely does a marriage reflect anything resembling the relationship of God with humanity, and that it is therefore unreasonable to attempt to limit intimate relationships to this model. I also do not at all believe that God is masculine. The Scripture does say that "God created man in His own image.... male and female created He them." I take that to mean that both sexes are created in the image of God, which transcends gender.
    At the same time, I will not presume to understand the mysteries of Christianity better than the Church Fathers. My argument is more along the lines of acknowledging areas in which science seems, from my perspective, to disprove some of the historical beliefs regarding gender and sex. I know that the Church does not view persons who are outside of her with the same contempt and judgment that many Protestant communities do; but it still seems to me that we should take a closer look at our criteria for excluding persons. Just my personal opinion, as I said. It's important to me to feel that all rules, laws, etc. are reasonable and fair towards everyone they affect, and this feels unfair to me at this time.

  4. Dear Rose,
    I so appreciate your honesty. God bless you.
    Fr. Michael