Lest you think “it doesn’t happen here”

A friend of mine describes the following. Yes it was local to the Albany area:

Went to buy ice at the store across the street. It is owned and operated by a very nice family of middle eastern ethnicity. The jerk in front of me in line was telling the (particularly shy and nice) man (not the owner though) running the register that, “You’ve got a nice store here, and you’ve had a good run, but there’s a new president, and it’s time for you to go back to your hut.” He continued on this vein even after he’d paid for his purchases (“keep the change, you’re gonna need it to move”). (Cashier) whom I’ve conversed with many many times, basically pretended he didn’t understand the language. The bigot was getting agitated because (cashier) wasn’t rising to the bait. I was afraid to interrupt because this guy was itching for an excuse to become violent. He finally left, and I apologized in tears to (cashier) and told him that guy was a jerk. I’m still so angry.

Life update late 2016

I thought it might be time to get a proper update posted. A long while ago I wrote a post in which I said “God is all my friends” because God is supposed to be there for you when you need him. I saw that in the many friends who comforted me. At the time my husband and I had been working with an adoption agency trying adopt a baby. It is a long emotionally fraught process to adopt a healthy infant domestically. There are certainly other emotionally fraught adoption processes, but we had not experienced any of those. After filling in a ridiculous amount of paperwork, we had a match and expected to adopt a baby girl. This however fell through. The day we learned it wasn’t going to happen after all I was quite devastated. My friends were supportive and I was and continue to be thankful for them and their kindness.

Fast forward several years and we were still with the same agency, but still hadn’t gotten a second match. We decided to sever ties with the agency. I realized kids were not in our future and tried to figure out how to live my life under this assumption.

In late 2015 I was working to convert the spare bedroom into a project area. We got an urgent message from a friend of ours “possible adoption opportunity 5-year old”. I was hesitant. I didn’t know how to raise a half-grown kid. What if it fell through? Now fast forward to today. We have adopted our 6-year old and our family is doing well. Another drawn-out and emotionally fraught process had to be undertaken in the interim. Things are busy now and happy and difficult and rewarding and emotionally fraught. My life has changed a lot. I pay attention to different things. My child is of biracial heritage, and I worry about the challenges my family and my child will face. I don’t know what the future will be like. In my next post I will talk about hopefully restarting the church project anew and how it relates to the changes in my life.

Out for a while

I’ve been very slow in my latest update but it’s finally done. I’ve been sick with either a cold or flu and it’s made me extremely tired. That much tiredness has also been somewhat demoralizing. It feels like I’m never getting better even though intellectually I know I will. I missed church again today. Hopefully I can get myself together and feel better on all levels very soon. This is no fun!

Christmas Eve Services

So I scoured my visited churches (those with webpages) for Christmas Eve services or Midnight masses. I found a handful of listings for very late services and want to record them here. Next year I can use this list as a go-to instead of searching my entire list over again.

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Midnight mass
I have it from someone at St Francis that the Cathedral is the only Catholic midnight mass around Albany.

Cathedral of All Saints (Episcopal)

Delmar Presbyterian Church

I’m kind of upset with local Presby right now. Doing a web search turns up a website that appears to be theirs advertising an 11pm service. We tried to go last night and found it ending, having started at 10pm. So that’s either an old website or a current website that hasn’t been updated. Either way it’s bad and especially disappointing since I mentioned a broken website to them last time I visited.

Delmar Reformed Church
Confirmed! This is the church we eventually went to.

First Church in Albany (Reformed)

St Vincent de Paul (Catholic)

St Andrew’s (Episcopal)

First United Methodist in Delmar

St Peter’s Episcopal

Five things

Today’s sermon had some really interesting things to say. Among them, the pastor said, if we criticize five things about our church but find nothing wrong with ourselves we are doing it wrong. Now, I plan to do a full write up of my church adventures of the day, BUT I think this idea deserves it’s own post. In fact I’ve decided to take it as a challenge. Since I regularly do criticize churches on points I feel they need work, it’s only fair to think up five things that I need work on.

1) I get angry.
I get angry and loud and occasionally mean. It’s stupid and unproductive and needs work.

2) Sometimes I have a little too much fun criticizing a bad job.
It can be productive to talk or write about a problem that needs work. However, I sometimes overlook the fact that sincere people may be behind it. It’s no fun to be on the receiving end of snarky criticism. I should probably give others the benefit of the doubt more often and be little nicer with critiques.

3) I take things personally.
So you’d think since I am good at criticizing others I’d be great with them when they happen to criticize me. Not really! I hope this blog never achieves fame because I’d be stuck with a lot of messages that make me sad.

4) I ignore.
I am great at ignoring when it suits me. I should probably be all super citizen and vote every election, adopt every highway, volunteer at more than one charity organization, and speak out on some issues. I don’t. I ignore big problems facing society because I’m either afraid to help or think I can’t matter. That is stupid. If everyone decided they couldn’t matter, democracy, charity and other collective efforts would fail.

5) My patience level constantly needs work.
This one often ties back to my first problem with anger. I jump too quickly to react with anger and negativity when it isn’t called for. And I hate waiting in general, so I get frustrated before I’ve actually found out if the thing I’m waiting for is ultimately negative or positive.

So there’s my list. I struggle with this stuff quite a bit. Sometimes I think I make a little progress. Maybe someday I’ll have it figured out.

Episcopal thoughts

I’m heading to an Episcopal church this morning and want to predict it will be extremely boring. Episcopals so far seem so reasonable and normal. The Episcopal church here in the US even approves of homosexuality AND has a blessing which can be given to same sex couples. Come on Episcopal church! You are impossible to pick on. That’s my rant for now. An actual post about the church will be along soon I hope.

God is all my friends

Church said God would be there when you need him. Church said God knows our hearts and that he hears us when we are sad. Church said God comforts us when we feel our hearts are breaking. Today, God is all my friends.
Thank you.

An important Update

My life has suddenly become very exciting and very busy. I may have to miss a few Sundays. There will be a better update for those curious in a few weeks.

Pope remarks- gay lobby

So I’m late to this, but I wanted to get a few of my thoughts down on *paper* (cyberpaper?). In an interview the Pope gave on a plane, he was asked a question regarding a so-called gay lobby at the Vatican. So first thing I wondered is, what the heck is a gay lobby? This is a term being used by the Italian media to signify a supposed set of gay priests who may have influence in the Catholic Church as an entity. Apparently it stems from something vague the Pope said in June about gay influences in the church. I’m not gonna try and get at what he said then, because I’m more interested in what he’s just said. Here is the direct quote (translated from Italian):

When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept The Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency is not the problem. They are our brothers.

That is what he said and I left context in place as best I could. You would not believe how hard it was to find this quote. Most sources have shortened it to a soundbite: who am I to judge?
I am including a video of his remarks so you can see it for yourself. He mentions alot of things, and all in Italian with translation at the bottom of the screen.


As for what I think? It’s nice the Pope is making it clear he isn’t out to remove celibate gay priests. He is again symbolically reaching out in friendship and welcoming gay church membership. We can split hairs over the act itself later (which the church still considers a sin). At least it’s a start. And it’s a far cry from saying gay=pedophile or from Former Pope Benedict saying homosexuals have no business being priests. I’d also point out that sex outside marriage is also still a sin, as is divorce NOT via annulment. There are plenty of places where nobody is bothering shunning the people that commit these sins.

Minus 2 for bible trivia!

The church I visited this week played a bible trivia game with the congregation. I noticed they got two of their own questions wrong and that means you get to hear about it!

Question: To whom did the angels announce the birth of Jesus?
Wrong answer: The wise men.
Better Answer: The Book of Matthew specifies that the wise men showed up because they followed a star. There is no mention of angels. The book of Luke says the angels appeared to shepherds but does not mention wise men. The other two books do not mention the birth.

Question: Who lied to Eve?
Wrong answer: The serpent.
Better answer: Ok, stay with me on this one and feel free to get your bible out and check me. After creating Adam, God tells him not to eat the fruit of the the tree of good and evil, because if he does, he’ll die. Presumably Adam shares this information with Eve. The serpent talks to Eve, asking her what God told them. Eve recounts the mandate pretty much word for word; that they face death if they eat that fruit. The serpent says ‘Um, no you won’t die. You’ll be smarter.’ And he’s right. Once both of them eat the fruit, they realize they are naked. Their eyes are opened. And they’re not dead. So as I read it, the serpent just asked pointed questions. It was God who actually lied to Eve. It’s confusing because when asked by God what happened Eve says, “The serpent deceived me.” What’s she gonna say? You deceived me?