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Jeff and I have been married almost twenty-three years.  At least once in each of those years, we have a conversation that goes something like this:

Jeff: Here, try this wine.

Me:  It's red wine.

Jeff: Just try it. :::hands me his glass of wine:::

Me: :::smells glass of wine, then takes a moderate sip:::  Eugh! ::makes horrible face and swigs water:::

Jeff: You didn't like that?  How do you not like that?

When other people find out I don't like red wine, the reactions span the range of blank looks to gushing about how red wine is wonderful, goes with everything, and how can you not like it?

It tastes like vinegar.  I don't understand how y'all can drink a full glass of something that tastes like vinegar.  I don't think God invented grapes for that purpose.

My blog is probably not the only one you read, or at least I hope it isn't.  There are blogs out there for everyone: if you want to read about it, someone is probably writing about it, whatever that "it" might be.

I have several blogs that I read too, and I thought it might be cool to showcase some of the blogs I really enjoy and promote their authors.

So this month, I'm promoting the blog of someone I know in real life.  Anna and I met when we were children in the same little town in central Illinois, and we have been friends ever since.  Since then, she has moved around a lot, hence the Adventurer.  Anna made her home base in Venice, CA until about the middle of last year, and since then, she and her husband Matt have traveled all over on an extended vacation.  How cool is that?

But Anna is also a writer, and an extremely talented one at that.  She is a storyteller too, and shares her stories on stages all across the US.  She has published one book so far, and is hard at work on her memoir, which is going to be quite a bit of fun to read. (She gave me a preview last year.  Be jealous.)

So go read Anna Metcalf: Artist/Adventurer!  Leave some encouraging comments, tell her how cool she is, and have fun.

Actual conversation I had with my best friends Holly and Carolina yesterday:

Me: Mmmm, vegetarian chicken noodle soup.

Carolina: that can't be vegetarian. how is that vegetarian?

Holly: yeah....methinks there's something wrong with that title


C: then not chicken soup. soy soup, or whatever those are made out of

Me: It's not soy.

C: it's also not chicken

Me:  It's delicious and you're just jealous

C: no.  i like chicken in my chicken soup

Me: Well real chicken is gross.

C: no. i disagree

Me: Well, you're allowed to do so. I mean you're WRONG, but you can disagree.  😉

C: ::snort:: i still think you need a different title for your soup. it's not chicken.

Me: It's vegetarian chicken.  I said that! 😛

H: vegetarian chicken is an oxymoron

C:  chicken cannot be vegetarian. you need a different name.

So I'm sure you're asking yourself, as many people have asked me over the years, "How do you not like chicken?"

I'm a germaphobe and take food safety to a ridiculously unnecessary extreme.  I'm the person who throws the milk and the yogurt out the day after the sell-by date.  I haven't eaten raw cookie dough in years if it contains eggs.  Leftovers get tossed after day four (and until recently, it was day three).  Raw chicken is teeming with bacteria and it's wet and slimy and disgusting.  When I still ate chicken, my silliness reached a point that I made Jeff cook the chicken, and then I would ask him at least once if the chicken was really done.  Finally I just quit eating it (I think we're all happier that way).

Chicken doesn't really taste all that good.  The white meat is bland and no matter how it's cooked, it's usually dry.  The dark meat doesn't have much more flavor than the white meat.

I'll take my vegetarian chicken any day, thanks.

What something you don't like that other people think you're crazy for disliking?

I know y'all have been waiting at your computers for two days for an update.  ::snicker:::

Thanks to the good people at Micropower, most of the files on my flash drive were retrieved.  I was especially relieved to see that the 15,000+ word story I'd been writing was completely intact, because there were some files that just didn't transfer over the the new flash drive.  Fortunately for me, I was saved a major meltdown and lots of work because I had copies of all of those files on my computer.


So what have we learned, ladies and gentlemen:

  1.  Take good care of your things; and
  2. Have more than one backup of all your computer files.

I think once I get this new flash drive organized today, I'm going to store all my files in Google Drive too.  I don't know that my brain could take this kind of stress again.  Technology is great when it works, but sometimes it's finicky.


So Saturday night, my USB thumb drive, which I've had for about six months, quit working.  My computer doesn't even register that the drive is plugged in.

It has all of my writing on it.

Yes, I have back-ups of some of it on my computer, but not all of it.  Including a story that's almost at 15,000 words.

It's my own fault.  I had it plugged in to my computer when I let the computer battery completely discharge a couple of times.  Apparently, that's a big no-no.


So today, I'll be venturing out to our local computer repair place to see if they can recover the files on there and get them saved to something else.

This is a very expensive mistake to make, people.  Don't be like me.

On a related note, what methods do y'all use to store your files?  Assuming you have more than one storage method, what are they?  I'm hesitant to store everything in the cloud, but I know that that might be the safest and most convenient place for storage.  What are the chances of your files getting wiped out in the cloud because of stupidity?

Suggestions are welcome.  Telling me what an idiot I am isn't.  I've been doing that for thirty-six hours, so that's covered.

My personality dictates that I’m a by-the-book person.  I have been this way all my life.  When one follows the rules, one doesn’t get into trouble.  When one follows the rules, one makes people in authority happy.  Since I don’t like conflict, and I prefer to keep peace between myself and the people I associate with, I follow the rules.

With this in mind, it shouldn’t surprise you that when I was younger, I was pretty conservative.  When I made the decision to follow Christ at the age of 16, my faith cemented my conservative beliefs.  When I was able to vote for the first time, I voted Republican, and I was proud of it.  Most of my friends were conservative, my boyfriend (now husband) was a staunch Republican, and I had been raised in a fairly right of center home.  God was on our side!  Not the side of those pesky liberals!

I stayed conservative until I was about twenty-nine.  And then I went back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree.

I’ll back up a bit now.  I had been concerned about the plight of the poor in our country for a while, and felt a strong call to work with the homeless “when I grew up.” (I’ll let you know when that grown up thing happens, ha)  I was interested in learning what I could do to help the poor.

I took a class on geopolitics my senior year of college, and some of the articles we read were about how what we do affects the poor in this country and all over the world.  One of the articles was about the use of land to raise livestock versus the use of land to raise vegetables and grains, and how studies have shown that more protein is available for food from land used to raise vegetables and grains than is available from land use to raise livestock for food.  After mulling that over for a while, and deciding that I wanted to support farm practices that are better for feeding those who are hungry, I became a vegetarian (technically a pescetarian, since I still eat fish, but I’m mostly vegetarian).  As I’ve explained before, becoming a vegetarian caused me to become more aware of the environmental concerns  surrounding eating meat, which led me to a greater awareness of environmental concerns in general.  This led me to becoming a practicing environmentalist, then into a MA program to learn about how what we do to the environment affects people all over the world and how Christians should become better stewards of the environment to show their love not only for God, but for the rest of His creation.  Learning about stewardship in one area led me to learning about stewardship in other areas.  But what this all comes down to is a single purpose: God loves the poor, and He wants us to love them as much as He does.

So many conservative Christians believe, and rightly so, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2: 8-9) and reject a works-based salvation.  Which is good and fine.  But they forget that right belief and right practice go hand-in-hand, because “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).  When it comes to salvation, what we believe about Jesus is important; however, our belief about Jesus is on the other side of the same coin that says that if we truly believe what we say we believe, we will put those beliefs to work in the world.  James, in his lead up to the last verse of the chapter, says it this way:

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?  If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,  and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!  But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?  Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?  And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”And he was called the friend of God.  You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?   For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

I bring this up now because a friend I’ve known since I was ten posted something on Facebook a few days ago about the Occupy movement.  This friend said that the pastor’s sermon at Church Sunday mentioned that while the Occupy movement is mainly concerned with the top 1% of the United States, from a global perspective, everyone in the United States is in the top 1%.  Which is true.  Even the homeless people in the United States are better off than the well-to-do in some very poor countries, because the homeless here can often find heated or air conditioned shelter and a meal at a moment’s notice.  They have clean water and can probably find a way to make money for the necessities pretty easily.

That’s not the way of the rest of the world.  In reality, all United States’ citizens are spoiled.

That statement on Facebook led to a lively discussion about liberals, Socialist/Marxist thought, the American poor vs. the poor of the Global South, and what Jesus really thinks we should be doing.    So as not to offend my friend or any of my friend’s friends, I stayed out of it.

Because I’m not that conservative anymore.

Truth be told, I’m what people would call a liberal, but I really strain against that label.  When handing out political labels, opponents tend to use those terms – liberal and conservative – as slurs:  “those damn (insert opposing political affiliation here), they’re so stupid!  Always basing their politics on their feelings, and never thinking about what they really believe and the ramifications those beliefs have on the world!”  There also seems to be a strong feeling that liberals don’t follow the rules.

Am I wrong, or have I gotten the sentiment right?

I really, really don’t want people to think that I haven’t thought about my beliefs.  I really don’t want people to think I’m stupid or thoughtless.  And sometimes I think I horrify people I’ve been friends with since childhood because I used to be so conservative, and now I’m a vegetarian environmentalist with Socialist leanings — who likes to quote Scripture to back it all up.  When it comes down to it, I still like to follow the rules, but now I have a much broader perspective on what the rules are.

So, you think I’m liberal, folks?  Here’s what Jesus said and did:

When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.  And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,  saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” (Matthew 8:1-7)

Jesus healed people.  The Gospels are full of stories of people coming to Jesus for healing.  Sometimes they asked, sometimes they didn’t, but they all got healed – free of charge.


And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air havenests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”  (Matthew 8:20)

Jesus was homeless.  You know all those people that live on the streets, in shelters, or on friends’ couches?  Yeah, Jesus was one of them.  He was a vagrant, a tramp, or a hobo.  But the point is, He did not have a home.

Freely you have received, freely give.  Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts,  nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food. (Matthew 10:8-10)

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.  (Matthew 16:24-27)

Jesus told those who followed Him to leave their stuff behind and deny themselves.

Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”
Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is:‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.  And you shalllove the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.  And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:44-45)

But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.  To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.  Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.  And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.  But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.  Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. (Luke 6:27-36)

The Greatest Commandment is to love God; the second, which Jesus said was like the first, is to love our neighbor.  Jesus also said to love our enemies, bless them, do good to them, and pray for them.


Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:  “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’  And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)

Jesus told us to be humble, for in our humility, we are justified before God.


Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.  Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich.  And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.  And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”  So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.  But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”
Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”
And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;  for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”(Luke 19:1-10)

Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”
When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call therighteous, but sinners, to repentance.”(Mark 2:15-17)

The Pharisees, the ones who wanted to look righteous in the eyes of everyone, looked down on Jesus, questioning his character because He spent his time with tax collectors and sinners.

And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.  When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late.  Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat.”
But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.” (Mark 6:34-37)


Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.  But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, theblind.  And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:12-14)


Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.  But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father andyour mother,’and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth.  What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.  Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:16-24)

Jesus told the disciples to feed the people who had come to hear Him speak.  He told us to invite the poor, the lame, the maimed, and the blind to dinner and not expect anything in return.  And He told a rich man that to achieve perfection, he should sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor.


“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matthew 7:24-29)

“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.  For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:43-45)

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? (Luke 6:46)

And then Jesus told us to follow His commands, even going so far as to ask why we would call him Lord (from the Latin Dominus, which means “Master”) if we’re not going to do the things He tells us to do.

This guy is our example, people.  We’re told to follow a homeless man who didn’t give a rat’s ass about our possessions.  He told us to love the people that hate us, serve the poor, be humble, hang out with sinners, and — as if those things aren’t a kick to our pride and self-righteousness — obey him if we really want to call Him our Master.

He didn’t tell us that it’s OK to buy a lot of stuff, judge people for what they look like or who they hang out with, or ignore the poor.  Yet I see a lot of conservatives doing just that.

To be fair, the liberals aren’t doing so well either.

Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15)  His commands weren’t conservative or liberal; Jesus was a radical, and His commandments are radical.  They go against the very core of who we are as fallen people.  Yet, to truly follow Jesus, we have to live out these radical commands.

So to my friends, whom I love very much: I know I seem like one of those bleeding-heart liberals, but I’m just trying to follow my Master and obey His rules.  I fail a lot, but I just keep trying.

Written by Stephanie Moulton and originally posted on November 10, 2011 at Flood.

Most of the blogs I read center on religion.  I have always been fascinated by religion and myths.  I was reading Greek and Roman mythology seriously by the time I was seven or eight, but had no idea that there was mythology beyond that.  In junior high, I was introduced to Celtic and Norse mythology, and in high school, I had friends who were (are) Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Bahai, agnostic, and atheist.  We read the myths of these religions in our lit classes, and I had conversations with my agnostic and atheist friends about their lack of beliefs.

Religion still fascinates me, but now I also want to find out how others make their beliefs practical.  I don’t know if that’s a function of becoming an adult, having a higher education, just being a pessimist, or something else.  But I really enjoy reading about what other people believe and how they put those beliefs into practice.

And so the blogs I read are about what others believe and how they put their beliefs into practice.  One of the blogs I read regularly is Drew Jacob’s Rogue Priest.  Drew is a Celtic polytheist following what he calls The Hero’s Path.  (I would explain it, but out of respect for Drew, it’s probably better if you read his blog and allow him to tell you his story; I’m just bound to get it all wrong, and it’s an amazing story that shouldn’t be told wrong.)  In a post a few weeks ago, he writes about how he gave up a belief in the soul.  The blog post links to an article he wrote for another site that tells the complete story.

The comments on this post are what spurred what I write to you now.  As I said, Drew no longer believes in this thing call the soul.  One of his regular readers, who is also a polytheist but has differing beliefs, believes that everything on the planet is ensouled; not just people, but animals, plants, and if I understand what she said correctly, soil, rocks, and other inanimate objects too. (I would ask you to please not make fun of her beliefs, and I will make sure that any comments that do are removed).  Here is the part of her comments that jumped out at me:

The particular dangerous belief hidden in insistence that only brains create consciousness is one Christianity and materialism already embrace, that of a de-souled world, which leaves deserts and polluted wastelands in its wake. People who believe in ensouled nature usually take better care of the environment, because they believe in sustainability and regeneration, not exploitation. Truth? At this point, I think environmental degradation is an issue so desperate I don’t even care if it’s provably true or not, I want people to embrace any belief necessary to save our collective life support systems, because they are so horribly damaged and fragile. So yes, I actually do believe in nature spirits and reincarnation, but I want other people to believe in them too because I don’t see much else that will get people off their butts to protect the wilds which give our planet its lungs and recycling capabilities.

While I believe in the soul and that every human (at least) has one, I don’t believe in a completely ensouled world.  The idea of an ensouled world  is an old one that many modern Pagans/polytheists hold true, and it is the reason why many Pagans/polytheists are better at taking care of the environment than those of us who don’t believe in a wholly ensouled creation.  Think about it: if  you believe that every tree, blade of grass, bit of soil, and drop of water has a soul, you’ll be more likely to take good care of those parts of creation.  Those things aren’t just resources for you to use, they are living things with spirits that can feel pain or joy, and their worth is inherent — they are valuable in and of themselves, and because they were created by Deity. But if you believe that only humans (or humans and animals, at the most) have souls, you are more likely to see trees, soil, and water as resources to be used for our pleasure and gain, with no worth other than what we assign to them.  Even if you believe that God created all, you might think that He created all for our pleasure, purpose, and gain.

And this is why so many Christians think that taking care of the earth and being a good environmental steward makes a person a Pagan.  Because obviously, if you are taking care of the earth, you must believe that it’s because everything on earth has a soul and consciousness, which means that you don’t really believe in the Christian God, and therefor, you must be Pagan.  And good Christians stay away from anything Pagan.


Fortunately, the number of Christians who believe in taking care of creation is growing.  You don’t have to be a Pagan or a polytheist or an atheist to be an environmentalist, and being an environmentalist does not make someone a Pagan, polytheist, or atheist.  We believe in taking care of the earth because God created it.  While we realize that everything on earth is a resource, we dislike the word “resource” because it makes everything it touches a tool for our use with no worth beyond what we give it.  We recognize that we can’t live without the soil, air, water, and all the many things that are produced therein, but we also know that God created all things.  And because God created those things, they all have worth beyond what we humans could ever assign to them.  They are valuable because God created them, and they have value simply because they exist.  So while we must use those things to grow food, make clothes and houses, and all the other things we need to live, we also understand that using those things God created makes us responsible for taking care of those things God created.

Unlike this commenter, I do not think that every single part of God’s creation has a soul; but like this commenter, I believe that environmental degradation is a desperate issue and that our life support systems are damaged and fragile.  We go the way of the earth, and if we damage or kill it, we do the same to ourselves.  In our desire to use and consume our “resources,” we are slowly killing life on earth — including ours.

If you believe that God created the earth, it is time (if you haven’t already) to start taking care of the earth.  Do you believe this world is a gift?  Put that into practice.  Begin taking care of like it’s the best gift you’ve ever been given.  Take better care of it than you would your grandmother’s bone china or your great Uncle’s hunting rifle:  handle it with gentleness, keep it clean, treat it with respect.  If you wouldn’t feed something to your child, don’t dump it in the soil, water, or air.

God created the earth, and he left it in our hands to be good stewards.  If we believe that God loves us and created us, then it is time for us to be the environmental stewards He has told us to be.

Written by Stephanie Moulton and originally posted January 10, 2013 at Flood.

OK, look.  I know Amazon is cheap.  You can buy anything there and they have really fast shipping.  I used to shop there too, until I read an article a few years ago about how they treat their warehouse employees.  That article alone was enough to make me close my account and not look back.  And I keep telling people that Amazon is as bad to their employees as Wal-Mart (I don’t shop there, either).

Don’t believe me or think this is just one case?

Workers in Amazon’s LeHigh Valley warehouse worked in hot conditionsbecause the warehouse didn’t have air conditioning.  Mac McClelland wrote in April 2012 about Amazon’s (“Amalgamated Product Giant Shipping Worldwide, Inc.”) ridiculously high work goals for even the new employees and the sometimes inhumane working conditions.  Pay and working conditions have been the source of strikes at German warehouses.  The Seattle Human Rights Commission wrote a letter to Amazon’s CEO asking him to investigate allegations of human rights abuses against security officers.

Is that not enough information about how Amazon treats its workers to convince you to not shop there?  If not, maybe this article on how Amazon treats its white-collar management and administrative workers will convince you to quit shopping there:

  1. Workers are encouraged to rip apart co-workers’ ideas during meetings;
  2. Long work hours and working during off-time is almost-mandatory;
  3. Workers with medical or family issues are given low performance ratings and called “difficult” or “problematic”; and
  4. Recruiters from other companies hesitate to employ former Amazon employees because they are trained to be combative.

And why is all of this done?

The focus is on relentless striving to please customers, or “customer obsession” (No. 1), with words like “mission” used to describe lightning-quick delivery of Cocoa Krispies or selfie sticks.

Ladies and gentlemen, these shit conditions happen because we–you and I–want cheap goods fast, and rather than borrowing what we need from a neighbor, going to the locally-owned store to get what we need (and support local business), or going to a second-hand store to get what we want, we would rather buy our goods from companies that treat other human beings like subhuman creatures.

How can we care so little about how other humans are treated?

Please, people.  Stop shopping at Amazon.

Written by Stephanie Moulton and originally posted August 17, 2015 at Revolution.

If you live outside the US or you've been hiding under a rock, then you might not have known that last night was the State of the Union Address.  (side note: if you have been living under a rock and didn't know this, don't feel badly.  I didn't know the #SOTU was last night until yesterday morning when our son told us he had to watch some of it for homework.)

I don't want to talk about the whole address, because that would be excruciatingly boring for both of us.  However, I want to touch on one part of President Obama's speech.  One of his points regarding health care in the US was that we have made huge strides in moving towards eliminating several diseases, and he finally said, "Let's make America the country that cures cancer once and for all."

I'm all for that.  My world was turned upside down last April when my brother died after an eight month fight with colon cancer.  He was only 38.  Yesterday, a dear friend lost her aunt to a four year battle with cancer.  This morning, my cousin found out that a friend's five-year-old daughter has terminal brain cancer.  A year ago, I and a whole community of friends lost a dear woman to her second round of breast cancer.

I can't think of a single person I know who hasn't had a friend or family member lose a battle to cancer.  This is an ugly disease, and it leaves grieving, broken people in its wake.

Who wouldn't want America to be the country that cures cancer once and for all?

So back to the #SOTU address.  When President Obama announced that he wanted America to be the country that cures cancer, almost all of the Democrats stood up to applaud, but a very large section of the Congressional Republicans remained seated and didn't applaud (at least that I could tell).

Who doesn't applaud for something like this?  Who doesn't want to cheer and scream and shout and support this idea one thousand percent?  If you know anyone in your family or circle of friends who has battled cancer, especially if cancer killed that person, would you not make curing cancer your rallying cry?

Apparently a whole section of Congressional Republicans at the 2016 State of the Union Address, that's who.

To those people who didn't applaud and support the President's call for a cure for cancer: why?  Do you not want to see a cure for cancer?

Or are you not supporting it because a Democrat suggested we should make it happen?

Is partisan politics that important to you?

If so, you make me sad.

I've started other blogs in the past few years.  I get really excited about starting one, post several times in the first few months, slow down, don't post at all for a year (or two), then get inspired to post again and do so for a while, eventually slowing down and posting sporadically.  I think I've decided that my problem isn't the writing itself but that the blogs I've had in the past have too narrow a focus.  I still have three that I post to occasionally: Flood started as an environmental blog, written through the lens of Christianity, and while it stayed mostly environmental, it also has lots of social justice posts and some touches of politics.  Which is fine, because when talking about environmental issues you really can't treat them as stand-alone issues; environmental problems are political, social, religious, spiritual, etc. issues too.

But then I found myself wanting to rant more and more about politics.  Up until about five weeks ago, I worked for the Illinois General Assembly.  Over the eight years I was there, I became somewhat acquainted with the governmental struggles the State of Illinois continues to not resolve.  I saw some of those same issues at the federal level.  I really have very little good to say about politics and politicians (with a few exceptions), but I didn't think posting my political rants on my environmental blog would be good for Flood.  So Revolution was born.

Right after I started Flood, I decided I wanted a place to talk about lighthearted stuff.  It was 2007, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows had just been released, and I wanted a place to talk about my Harry Potter obsession.  canary creams and foolish wand waving became that place.

As you can imagine, having three live blogs can either keep you really busy or overwhelm you to the point of not posting at all.  I'll give you a few seconds to think about which direction I've gone.

So.  Here I am.  Starting another blog.  What will be different about this one?


I've decided that rather than having a narrow focus, I'm going to be a generalist.  Many of the blogging gurus out there advise against doing so because writers should pick a niche and stick with it.  Writers should write about what they know and what they enjoy.

I 1. know I have opinions about anything and everything and 2. enjoy sharing my opinions.  Are opinions my niche?  Maybe, maybe not.  I haven't decided yet.  I'm well-trained in literary analysis, so my opinions are usually well-supported with citations.  But maybe what's more important is that I like to write about what I like to write about.  One day I'll write about an environmental issue (that was the focus of my Master's degree, and I'm not shy about talking about that), the next day a political rant, the day after that something fun like Harry Potter.

But I want to write about my unrepentant love for Harry Potter and Doctor Who fan fiction; how I don't read comic books (unless it's Calvin and Hobbes) but have really gotten into the Marvel and DC universes via film and tv; my obsession with 80s music; soup recipes I've made up; pictures of bread in my bread machine; gluten free recipes that actually work; why I quit eating food that makes me feel like crap; my husband and son; my parents; my sister-in-law, niece, and nephew; my brother who died much too young in 2015 from colon cancer; depression and anxiety; homelessness and hunger; non-Christian faith systems; being an introvert; probably countless other ideas, issues, and opinions; and my own faith (Christianity).

And quite possibly, how this bad vegetarian sometimes eats corned beef.

If nothing else, you'll get mental whiplash and have someone to laugh at.  I do enjoy a good laugh, sometimes even at my own expense.