Monday, August 30, 2010

Ground Zero Imam a Taxpayer-Subsidized Slumlord - HUMAN EVENTS

Ground Zero Imam a Taxpayer-Subsidized Slumlord - HUMAN EVENTS

I posted earlier about the mosque and my thoughts on Muslims, and where my head is at. Here is another article that is... disturbing. :(

Mosque

We all know the furor going on about the Park51 project. There's lots of trash being talked on both sides of the debate. I haven't talked much about it, because I don't think politics and religion mix well, but I've been thinking about this a lot.

I struggle with Islam and with Muslims in general. I have personally known a lot of very-not-nice Muslims who treated me and others like dirt, and who made comments about how we "deserved to die" and such. That doesn't help. Yet as someone training to be an interfaith minister, I continue to make an effort to understand, to expand my knowledge, because that just is what I should be doing.

This morning we had a conversation about Muslims in general. Someone pointed out that quite frankly, it wasn't 19 random strangers who plowed into the WTC, Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. They were Muslims, and made sure people knew about it. We were labelled infidels, less than human, and so were judged okay to kill by their understanding of the universe.

So... when going on a plane today, we are subject to random searches (acceptable and right, because it catches the random weirdos that come through). However... because of politics, not every Muslim going through security is checked. Our sense of "right" and "morality" tells us it's not fair to say "if 19 Muslims did that bad thing, all Muslims must be suspect." The problem is, many Muslims do not share that world-view with us. Their morals are very different from our own. What this leads to is the scary looking Muslim man getting on the plane without a second glance (well, okay with LOTS of second glances but with airport security's hands tied), and Granny being strip searched because she had her false teeth in a baggie of fluid she was taking in her carry-on luggage. *sigh*

One of the big reasons that this has bothered me so much is because sometimes, there really is something to worry about. Those 19 Muslims didn't spit in our soup, or say bad things about our parentage. They ran fully loaded airplanes into buildings that crumbled and fell and traumatized a nation. I have to think to myself, you know, it's okay to be worried about that. It isn't an imaginary fear. It isn't fear born out of ignorance or unwarranted hate. It's based on something real, something flaming and exploding and falling, something still killing firefighters and first responders today. It is real.

This is the same reason that I cross the road when I am walking alone at night and am being approached by someone in fatigues with a bald head and swastika tats all over. Sure, he might be a normal person just like me, but he might also be showing the world his prejudices and hatreds, proud of them. It's the same reason I feared to be approached by a black male in downtown Baltimore. It's the same reason I don't hang out in areas where intravenous drug users sleep. It's just dangerous.

Why is it considered politically acceptable to fear the black man, or the Neo-Nazi, or the drug abuser... but not the Muslim? Please note, I am NOT advocating hatred; I am talking about fear. I do not condone violence, and I believe very strongly that everyone should have the right to believe and worship as they wish, provided they aren't harming others in the process.

But I don't think we can legislate away fear. I don't think that having Americans being coerced into presenting warm fuzzies to Muslim people here is necessarily going to fix anything. Education (both for Americans who are not in the know AND for Muslims in and out of the United States) would help a lot. Trying to force them into "playing nice" isn't going to work, though. In my opinion, it will never work, until the Muslim nations begin playing by the same civilized rules as the rest of the world.

Frankly, I'm tired of being scared. I'm tired of having to try and think circles around my own brain in an attempt to be a good and ethical interfaith minister.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Weight and Words

Well, WW didn't go so well last night. I had a bad week with tracking. I didn't write down everything I ate, and I'm sure I forgot some things. We had a friend make breakfast, and it was incredibly good, and I ate three cups worth of it. Unfortunately it wasn't salad - it was eggs fried in bacon and sausage grease. Great taste, but terrible on the waistline. The final result was that I gained this week, which really disappointed me. Yet here I am, back again, both blogging about it and being transparent. My first week I lost 1.8 lbs, and my second week I lost 1.8 lbs, and this week, my third week (and fourth meeting) I gained back 1.2 lbs. I'm trying to get myself back on track, paying attention to what I eat at meals. I need to drink more, too. I'm not giving up, but I will admit it was terribly disheartening to see the numbers go up. *sigh*

On the poetry front, the prompt at Big Tent Poetry this week was to write about a mundane task done with your hands. I've had the ideas mulling in the back of my mind all week. I first thought to write about cutting an onion, perhaps, because I do it many mornings. I thought about grinding coffee, then the careful measuring into the coffee pot. Really, though, there's one thing that I do with my hands many times each day, and that is what I chose to write about. :)

Hands
I rotate my wrists,
Wincing at the snapping sound
Issuing forth from their interior.
My eyes fall to the skin on the back of my hands
And I note the dark spots,
Red knuckles and swollen fingers
That seem to have arrived there
Overnight
Some few months ago.
My nails need trimming
Before they begin to be caught
Between the keys as I type
And let out the muse within.
My index fingers drop to the pale keyboard
Instinctively finding the little bumps
That tell me they are securely on Home Row
Just as teacher taught me years ago.
From there, my eyes close,
And now my hands become my mind,
And words flow out,
Filling the page as they fly across the old,
Worn keys, clickety-clacking their way
Into poetry.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Big Tent Prompt - Wordle

This week's prompt at Big Tent Poetry was a Wordle, something I haven't run into before. They take some random words from a respected poet's published work, and make a visual clip of it. We then take those words and incorporate them into our own poetry. It's an interesting concept, one that I normally wouldn't use. It makes me nervous to think I might write something like what the original author wrote. However, they don't give a link to the actual poem until AFTER we've posted ours, so the risk is small. The words in this wordle were: cars, baked, blown, hose, deep, dry, moisten, plant, silk, pineapple, pots, stream, summer, zeroes. They come from “Last August Hours Before the Year 2000,” by Naomi Shihab Nye, available here. Here is my offering.

How did I get here?

The summer stream of dry air
Is blown past the cars that park
On the city streets.
I dream of the green hose my mother used
To hook up our sprinkler when I was a child.
The baked tar of the new section of road
Seems to moisten in the hot sun.
The 'oo' in 'school' painted on its
Deep black surface looks like zeroes
Added to the thermometer's numbers,
Telling me how hot it really is.
The summer stream bed is dry now,
Only baked rocks and browning plants
Decorating its banks.
I wonder how I got from there to here,
From city to farm,
From hectic to serene,
As I hook up the green hose
So like my mother's,
To moisten the soil of my plants.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Associated Press: Some Muslims question mosque near ground zero

The Associated Press: Some Muslims question mosque near ground zero

This is a good article that is not extremist on EITHER side of the debate. It talks calmly about a variety of issues surrounding the Park51 project. It's worth reading.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Transparency

Well, I joined Weight Watchers last night. I've been flirting with the idea for months now, as I watched my weight balloon upward. The bottom line is, I'm now tired of my feet hurting, my back bothering me, my bras not fitting, my jeans being so tight I feel as if I'll be cut in two when I wear them. I'm tired of feeling tired.

My starting weight is 211.8 lbs. I'm pretty bummed about that. Writing it out here for the world to see is pretty upsetting, too. However, I feel like it is something I should do to add to the accountability factor. So I'll try and remember to post my weigh in weight on Thursdays (my meeting is Wednesday evenings). My friend Karen did WW, and lost a ton of weight. She looks svelte and sexy and energetic, and she's my inspiration right now.