Thursday, June 30, 2011

Jehovah's Witnesses Revisited

In my post What to do About those Jehovah’s Witnesses I expressed a sentiment that the name of God is not all that important to me. It happens to be very important to the Witnesses so it was the first thing they asked: Does God have a name? What is it? You know, I knew what they meant. They showed me passages in the Bible etc. I mean they are Jehovah's Witnesses.

I had an anonymous commenter disagree and point to some parts of the Bible where this matter was discussed (Lords prayer and the ten commandments). I felt like he assumed that I did not know the Bible very well, I am sure that is not what he meant but I had not missed these passages. I said as much in my reply. In light of this I feel like I need to explain that point.

It is not that I do not believe in a specific God with specific attributes. It is very clear to me what my God is like and if I were to call him a proper name I would rather use the name Jesus than Yahweh. Three in one trinity and all that jazz.

Why is it that I don't see it as important, unlike the missionaries and the commenter. Well, let's use an analogy the ladies who came to my door used. What they said was: If there was a group of men and one of them was her husband if she just called out “man!” they would all turn, but if she called her husband by name only he would turn (well, perhaps another would turn too if there was more than one man with the same name but she did not include this in her analogy). My version of this is: My husband is not only a man he is my husband by virtue of our relationship and if I see a group of men and my husband is in it and I call out “Husband, get over here and get me my dinner!” ('cause I am a jerk). All the men that are husbands might turn around but only my husband would trot on over because we have a special relationship that requires him to do that. The other husbands would not recognize me as their wife so they would get back to what they were doing.

I see calling out to God in prayer to be the same way. Only my God would recognize me and come to me. My husband would not be offended if I were never to call him by his proper name again. I could just call him sweetie or honey or other saccharine things. He knows I mean him.

Also there is the assumption that there are other gods. The Jehovah's Witnesses are monotheistic but this analogy does kind of assume more than one entity listening to the prayer. I do not personally believe there are other entities out there to listen to my prayer and only the God I believe in.

So I am a little confused as to why it is a big deal especially since most translations of the Bible do not say Yahveh on these instances. My New Jerusalem Bible does. It is not usually used by evangelicals. We usually use the NIV. The Lords prayer does not use the name Yahveh even in the NJB. It just says “Father in heaven”. How ever His name is to be kept holy but does not mention what that name is so it is not really any proof for the Yahveh side of the argument. Hope that clears up my personal position on the point.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Victorian times

Sometimes I get really angry that I am a woman. I can't go pee in the woods with out exposing my bottom and the risk of getting my shoes wet. I am incapacitated for a day with extreme stomach pain once a month and gush out great quantities of thick blood after that for a week becoming anemic. I have had a human being grow inside of me and stretch me out and leave me scarred. I have to spend more than 50euros to get a contraption to hold my chest fat in place just so I can run with out pain. When my house is messy I am terrified people will see and judge me because society places all the responsibility on me as the woman to keep things neat even thou there are two adults in the house. I cannot cut my hair short because a shaved head would probably kill my mother, even thou they are ever so comfortable. People judge me more on appearance, something I have very little in control over, more than they judge me on intelligence and ability. I have to maintain my looks, it is considered my duty to my husband even thou a person has relatively little they can do to halt the ravages of age.

When ever I have these thoughts I try to remember I have so much more freedoms than women used to. I can wear comfortable pants, I can vote and I do not need my husbands permission to make simple decisions and legally I have the same rights as a man. If I cannot remember these things I read a Victorian novel, like Ann Veronica by H.G. Wells. Then I remember how lucky I truly am. This story is about a smart biology student named Ann Veronica who wants her human rights. She is in her early 20's she is smart and does well in her college classes. Yet she has to live with her father and ask permission to go to costume balls with her friends and can't even get a good answer as to why she cannot go. As a result she runs away to London hoping to get a job and freedom. Unfortunately neither is to be had for a woman of her times. She was never educated in the sexual politics between men and women and accepts a “loan” from an older man that is not considered a loan by him and he practically tries to rape her and she apologies for punching him ion the jaw and feels guilty for it. In one part she gets in a heated exchange with her male teacher. He is against votes for women, more or less, but mostly just enjoys the argument. She accuses all of mankind as treating women as a joke and not giving them any freedoms and that he, her teacher, could never understand the confinement until he tries to run in petticoats.

Reading this book made me appreciate comfortable foot wear, pants, the vote, and having full legal freedoms just like a man. I truly hate the Victorian era and it is a great contrast in its attitudes to mine. I wonder how women can faint with out the aid of corsets? I think it does not happen.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Great Detached Single Family Dwelling

Why are Americans obsessed with owning detached single family dwellings?

Not that there is anything wrong with it. Having a home of your very own is nice but the obsession with getting one is riduculous. I for one do not want a house of my own because there is all that yard work and responsibility in regards to repairs etc. and if you need to move you can't really. You and your assets are tied to this building and mobility for better oportunities is curtailed.

On the flip side I can see some positives. You can remodel and landscape with out getting anyones permission, heck you can knock down an entire wall and when you realize it is load bering you only have yourself to blame. Once the morgage is paid off, no more rent. Just property taxes and bills. You cannot lose you property to foreclosure anymore, or can you?

It has been hashed over and over again by much smarter people than me and better writers. The high rate of foreclosures a few years ago in the US was the direct result of this strange subset of the American dream that stated that you are nothing and you have not really made it until you are living in your very own single family detached dwelling, preferrably in a gated community or a culdesac. Never mind that the bank still technically owns it not you, you are just living in it and have the hope of someday finishing paying off the mortgage and really owning it when you are 63.

Finnish people like having their own homes too. They used to have an incentives program here that gave low interest loans to youn families to have their own houses. Now that is no longer the case. Now if you get more money the logical step is not to buy your own house but perhaps an apartment. Some older finnish homes are infact so tiny that you get more space in an apartment with the same number of rooms.

I also hear that renters in America are seen as shifty unsettled people. While that may be true is it better to get an adjustable rate mortgage on a house you have neither the brains nor the financies to afford?

Getting a detached single family dwelling in America is a faustian bargain. You risk a lot for it. You get a loan and if all of a sudden you are unable to pay it off you lose everything. You lose the place you were calling home, perhaps in the middle of remodeling, you had become attached and thought of it as your home. When it is taken away you feel a lot of anger and resentment toward the bank and you credit rating is ruined. Perhaps the apropriate emotion to feel might be some regret at making this bargain in the first place. By this I am not saying no one should get home loans, I am saying that if it ends up in foreclosure it might have been a mistake.