Give me your hand out of the depths
sown by your sorrows.
You will not return from these stone fastnesses.
You will not emerge from subterranean time.
Your rasping voice will not come back,
nor your pierced eyes rise from their sockets.
Look at me from the depths of the earth,
tiller of fields, weaver, reticent shepherd,
groom of totemic guanacos,
mason high on your treacherous scaffolding,
iceman of Andean tears,
jeweler with crushed fingers,
farmer anxious among his seedlings,
potter wasted among his clays--
bring to the cup of this new life
your ancient buried sorrows.
Show me your blood and your furrow;
say to me: here I was scourged
because a gem was dull or because the earth
failed to give up in time its tithe of corn or stone.
Point out to me the rock on which you stumbled,
the wood they used to crucify your body.
Strike the old flints
to kindle ancient lamps, light up the whips
glued to your wounds throughout the centuries
and light the axes gleaming with your blood.
I come to speak for your dead mouths.
Throughout the earth
let dead lips congregate,
out of the depths spin this long night to me
as if I rode at anchor here with you.
And tell me everything, tell chain by chain,
and link by link, and step by step;
sharpen the knives you kept hidden away,
thrust them into my breast, into my hands,
like a torrent of sunbursts,
an Amazon of buried jaguars,
and leave me cry: hours, days and years,
blind ages, stellar centuries.
And give me silence, give me water, hope.
Give me the struggle, the iron, the volcanoes.
Let bodies cling like magnets to my body.
Come quickly to my veins and to my mouth.
Speak through my speech, and through my blood.
(Segment I deleted from The Unwritten Blog, which explains my disappearance. It’s goofy, so I’m leaving it here, just for the hell of it.)
If Twitter were a character on the show Firefly…
…then Twitter would be Book. Y’see? Book is obviously… no, wait. Facebook would be Book, of course.
Twitter would be Wash. No, who am I kidding, Wash is so totally Yahoo.
“This is a fertile land and we will thrive. We will rule over all this land and we will call it… This Land.”
Yup, that’s Yahoo.
Could Twitter be Kaylee? Yeah, maybe if… unless… is she Pinterest? Hmmm, let’s see…
“Look at the pretties!”
“No, it’s shiny! I like to meet new people, they’ve all got stories.”
“You don’t seem to be lookin’ at the destinations. What you care about is the ships, and mine’s the nicest.”
“[pointing to a pink frilly dress] Say, look at the fluffy one!”
“Don’t you just love this party? Everything’s so fancy and there’s some kind of hot cheese over there.”
I don’t know, I’m still not convinced that Kaylee is…
“[Sits on her bed, eating finger foods, listening to classical music and staring at a fluffy dress.]”
ALRIGHT! Fine! Kaylee is Pinterest.
But then who the hell is Twitter? Simon is obviously WebMD, Zoe…Amazon (heh).
Inara? Could Inara be Twitter? Well Inara is a companion, so… Youjizz.com? DAMMIT, Tarol! Don’t be such an asshole! Inara Serra is a capable, strong woman and NOT an example of sexual objectification! So… xvideos.com? Wait, no. That’s not what companions are about at all. Yes, they provide sexuality, but that’s not the point of it. As a companion, Inara is smarter than you, offers support and information and she helps you get to where you’re going in life if you’re lost, but only works when she wants to andOHMYGOD INARA IS GOOGLE! It makes perfect sense! Also, if Inara had married Capt. Reynolds… Well that would’ve sucked. Damn, that might have ruined the whole show.
So… I guess that makes Capt. Reynolds, Youtube? At least I think he’s Youtube. He disables comments…
“[Book] Captain, do you mind if I say grace?”
“[Reynolds] Only if you say it out loud.”
He regularly picks fights with large groups of unified people…
“[Reynolds] Wha? I didn’t start it! Just wanted a quiet drink.”
“[Zoe] Funny, sir, how you always seem to find yourself
in an Alliance-friendly bar come U-day, looking
for a ‘quiet drink’.”
And oh yeah, I once saw his naked ass even though I didn’t want to. There’s no doubt about it, Capt. Tightpants is Youtube.
Saffron is Tumblr, that’s easy.
River is… um… what the hell is River?
“The human body can be drained of blood in 8.6 seconds given adequate vacuuming systems.”
Hmmm, I’m still not sure what she is.
“I remember everything. I remember too much. And some of it’s made up, and some of it can’t be quantified, and there’s secrets…”
Damn, this is a tough one.
“I don’t belong… dangerous like you. Can’t be controlled… can’t be trusted.”
“No power in the ‘verse can stop me.”
I’m sorry, I just don’t know…
“I threw up on your bed.”
OH! 4Chan! Duh!
So I guess that leaves Jayne as Twitter. Which makes sense, I suppose. He almost always talks in less than 140 characters…
“Boy, it sure would be nice if we had some grenades, don’t you think?” (69 characters)
“We’re gonna explode? I don’t wanna explode!” (44 characters)
He ‘retweets’ things…
“Shepherd Book once said to me, ‘If you can’t do something smart, do something right.’” (86 characters)
He gets blocked by other accounts for trolling…
“[Jayne] You don’t pay me to talk pretty. Just because Kaylee gets lubed up over some big-city dandy doesn’t mean…” (108 characters)
“[Reynolds] Walk away from this table. Right now.”
He ‘tweets’ about his food and drink…
“Mmm. They call it Mudder’s Milk. All the protein, vitamins and carbs of your grandma’s best turkey dinner, plus fifteen percent alcohol.” (138 characters)
And finally, when he gets a lot of followers, he lets it go to his head and annoys everyone with an over inflated ego.
“[Jayne] No really Mal, I mean maybe there’s something to this. The mudders, I think I really made a difference in their lives. Me, Jayne Cobb.” (135 characters)
“[Reynolds] I know your name, jackass!”
So the point I’m trying to make, is that Firefly was fucking awesome. Wait. No. My point was… Jayne’s hat… um… no… DAMMIT JOSS WHEDON! You screwed me up again! You do this to me EVERY time!
( It's kind of a long story. )
...so, all that happened. *shrug* Reboot, anyone?
You'll recall that when we left our merry band, the remaining Titans had joined Kid Flash and Solstice in the 31st century, where Bart was apprehended and put on trial. Being in the future enabled Bart to break through his Echo-created "witness protection" personality and become the evil revolutionary Bar Torr again, and submitting to the trial was part of his scheme - with all his world's power brokers gathered to watch him hang, his forces were able to strike at all of them at once, to the Titans' dismay.
( We now join the battle already in progress )
Stay tuned, gentle readers! Same Titan time, same Titan channel!
People keep telling me this: “You don’t get to pick and choose.”
I keep saying, “Amen! Yes, exactly.”
But then it turns out we still disagree. It turns out they don’t mean the same thing I mean when I say “You don’t get to pick and choose.” I’m talking about people. They’re talking about texts.
Our disagreement and mutual confusion is exacerbated by the fact that my claim — “You don’t get to pick and choose people” — is itself based on texts. Not on a handful of clobber texts or proof texts or single, isolated verses of scripture, but on whole stories and on the whole story.
There’s Jonah, for example, who tried to flee because, unlike God, he wanted to pick and choose the recipients of God’s grace and mercy and to insist that God not be so unacceptably abounding in steadfast love for Ninevites. Jesus seems to have been fond of that story, reworking it and retelling it in parables like the one about the two wayward, “Prodigal” sons.
There are the Gospels as a whole, too, in which “you don’t get to pick and choose people” is a major recurring theme. That theme isn’t subtle. It’s pounded home again and again as a steady stream of the supposedly “unclean” outcast people line up to find refuge with Jesus the same way that the anachronistically “unclean” animals lined up to find refuge in Noah’s ark.
And then there’s the book of Acts, a text that could be summed up, start to finish, with that same phrase: You don’t get to pick and choose people.
These are all, again, texts — scripture. They are scriptural texts explicitly rejected and neglected by the very people loudly insisting that we aren’t allowed to “pick and choose” among texts. They are texts those people have chosen not to pick.
They have, instead, picked and chosen other texts — a small collection of clobber texts that they say carve out exceptions never mentioned in the larger texts they reject. These clobber texts, they argue, trump every other text that suggests anything else. And because of these clobber texts, they say, we have not only the right, but the duty to pick and choose people.
This is not a new dispute. This exact same argument has been going on for thousands of years. It is, in fact, the very same dispute that caused the nameless smart-alecky genius who wrote the book of Jonah to put pen to parchment all those centuries ago. It’s the same dispute that got the Apostle Paul so angry that we’ve had to clean up his language in our translations of his letter to the Galatians. It’s the same dispute that Jesus took one side of in winning all of his arguments with the religious excluders of his day, and that he oddly took the other side of in his argument with the Canaanite woman — the only argument Jesus ever lost.
The particulars of the dispute have changed over the centuries, but the argument remains the same. The two sides of the argument are still arguing the very same thing. “You can’t pick and choose texts,” one side says. And the other side responds, “No, you can’t pick and choose people.”
St. Paul is sometimes called the “missionary to the Gentiles,” which is another way of saying that Paul’s entire life and ministry was about this very argument. It was, for Paul, an obsession. The apostle insisted, and all of his epistles insist, that we cannot pick and choose people — that we cannot exclude Gentiles as unclean outsiders just because of a bunch of clobber texts.
This was a tough fight for Paul because he didn’t just have to contend with a small handful of scattered scriptures. He was up against a vast, daunting wall of unambiguous biblical commandments. These Gentiles he was arguing for were uncircumcised, they were literally not kosher, they ate meat that had been sacrificed to false gods. These were not minor points. It was downright easy for Paul’s opponents to argue from scripture that such unclean, uncircumcised outsiders were emphatically and explicitly excluded by the text of scripture. And it was near impossible for Paul to argue that the text of scripture said otherwise.
But Paul, like the Canaanite woman, won the argument. You don’t get to pick and choose people.
And from where I’m sitting, that’s incredibly important. I’m a Gentile Christian in the home of the cheesesteak and yet, despite the vast sea of clobber texts that clearly forbid my inclusion and acceptance, I have been included and accepted.
That’s one reason this argument is so important to me. Freely you have received, freely give. Like the unforgiving servant in Jesus’ parable, I am obliged and compelled to show the same grace to others that has been shown to me. Or else.
It would be the definition of ingratitude for me to accept my hard-won exemption from the multitude of clobber texts excluding treyf Gentiles like myself while at the same time insisting that the tiny handful of clobber-texts that exclude some others must still be allowed to trump every other text and every other story. That would be ignoble, despicable, too dickish for words.
So that’s not an option for me. I don’t get to pick and choose sides in the ongoing argument over picking and choosing, because I’m only able to participate in that argument thanks to one side already winning one round of that fight. I’m one of those Canaanite “dogs” eating the crumbs that fall from their master’s table, and as such it would be foolish, inconsistent, unjust and abominably selfish of me to start pretending I’m some kind of special case. It would be every kind of wrong for me to say that in my case, you don’t get to pick and choose people, but in other people’s case, the clobber-texts must prevail — outweighing every other text, every other virtue, every other person.
But it’s not only a matter of gratitude. I also think that Paul and the church in Acts and Jesus and the smart-aleck prophet who gave us Jonah were all right. I’m not just grateful that I benefit from their argument, I’m persuaded that their argument was true.
I simply cannot make sense of the nonsense of those who argue that “You don’t get to pick and choose texts” in support of their claim that some texts should be picked and chosen over other texts. I simply do not agree with those who say that love is not the fulfillment of the law. They’re simply wrong. Paul said they were wrong. Jesus said they were wrong. The entire church in the book of Acts said they were wrong.
You don’t get to pick and choose people. If you’re picking and choosing your clobber texts in order to pick and choose people, then you’re misreading and misapplying those texts. You’re wrong about those texts and you’re wrong about those people.
And you’re probably also a self-serving ingrate, which doesn’t add much to the appeal of your argument either.
In celebration, two lovely things:
Neil Hannon and Yann Tiersen - or in other words, Amelie music with beautiful and tough and inspiring lyrics, sung by the gorgeous-voiced guy from Divine Comedy.
I forget how much I love Neil Hannon's voice sometimes. It is an oversight.
Literature of the English Country House, created by my University. It looks like a really fun and interesting MOOC, and I've signed up for it.
Sure, this touch screen wrist watch is high tech, but there’s just one little problem: How does it stay on??
Seems like the wrist should go through the band, yes?
Thanks to Steve and Didier, who both saw this disaster here.
( Behold: Huntress' dark(er) doppelganger.... )