Friday, April 26, 2013

We're not all like that

Living in the buckle of the Bible Belt has both advantages and disadvantages. I'm sort of blanking on the advantages at the moment, but I'm sure there are some. Unfortunately, the disadvantages come to mind much quicker than the advantages. Don't get me wrong, I love my hometown and I have every intention of spending my life here. But there are things I see and hear sometimes that I could do without.

There are a lot of people (some of them well-meaning) who broadcast a number of viewpoints under the guise of Christianity that I simply don't agree with. I don't claim to know every little thing in the Bible nor do I claim to know God's exact stance on the hot button issues in our society today. But I am fairly confident in saying that some of these things I've seen and heard are flat out wrong.

For example, Westboro Baptist Church is wrong. The people crossing the country with Fred Phelps as he pickets the funerals of soldiers and talks about how much "God hates fags" are wrong. That man does not represent my faith in any way, shape, or form. In fact he makes me sick.

The other thing I'm confident in is the knowledge that these people are making it harder for other Christians to reach non-Christians. A lot of people will talk about how Christians are persecuted in the United States, and to an extent that's true. But for the most part, Christians have a pretty sweet set-up here. We can practice our faith openly and since the majority of the country identifies with some form of Christianity, we benefit from a number of small privileges throughout the year (such as getting time off for Christian holidays like Christmas). The other thing about the persecution of Christians in the United States is that it's people who claim to be Christians who get the ball rolling--and I'm not just talking about the blatantly obvious Phelps of the world.

I would say that most non-Christians don't harbor ill-will towards Christians. They are happy to respect our beliefs, provided that we respect theirs. When you come across someone who is particularly outspoken regarding Christianity it's because they've had some sort of run-in with someone who maybe isn't the best example of the faith. There are some Christians out there who don't see the importance in respecting the beliefs of others. Granted, a lot of them are still devoting a fair amount of time to exposing Barack Obama as a secret Muslim and/or attempting to ban both sex education and evolution from being taught in the public school systems which leaves little time in one's schedule for tolerance.

Here are a few things I've seen and heard lately that make me shake my head:

  • "We believe in God. Join the Right Club. John 3:16" bumper sticker (and apparently a billboard that I thankfully missed). If you read the story, you'll see that the whole thing was one church's childish response to a billboard put up to advertise a convention of non-believers.
  • "God doesn't believe in atheists" bumper sticker. I saw this little gem on the way home tonight. Am I the only one who thinks that the tone of this bumper sticker would be best followed by Nelson Muntz from The Simpsons saying his classic, "Ha ha" catchphrase? It strikes me as so obnoxious. God loves atheists just as much as he loves the rest of us. A real Christian knows that God loves all people regardless of how they feel about him. Does a parent stop loving their child because he/she makes some bad decisions? No! And that's what God is; he's a father. He's always going to be there for all of us, no matter what. To me, this person is telling whoever follows their Ford Taurus that if they've turned their back on God then he's turned his back on them as well.
  • "Each gender should conform to the set stereotype" philosophy. As my friend Chad pointed out the other day, this simply isn't Biblical. There's no line in the Bible about how boys must like playing with army men, shooting hoops, and firing BB guns. Some boys don't like those things, and you know what? That's 100% OK. Some girls don't like makeup, dresses, and the mall. Again, that's 100% OK. The world would be pretty boring if we all fit in these standard molds based on gender. There are some Christians who have strong opinions about the so-called "sissification" of boys which offends me on two levels. As previously stated, I'm offended by the notion that we have a pre-determined set of behaviors that we need to adhere to. I'm also enough of a feminist to be offended when people view a boy/man adopting a behavior that society has deemed "feminine". It offends me because those people see woman as inferior to men; they don't want a boy doing something "girly" because they view it as being beneath him. But I could go on and on about this topic. Maybe I will...another time.

I suppose I've ranted enough for tonight. I just want to go on record saying that a lot of people claiming to be Christians in this world do not represent me.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Get Outta My Ball

I found this on Pinterest the other day and I am seriously considering having some business cards printed with this image so that when I meet people I can simply hand them a card and then walk away.

I also really wish I had a giant hamster ball. There's an episode of The Simpsons where Bart gets Panda Virus and has to live in a bubble for a week. And also Lisa pretends to be a college student. It's a good episode. It's called Little Girl in the Big Ten and it's in season 13 (because I know you needed all that information). I'm going to refrain from telling you what disc it's on.

I appear to have gotten sidetracked on that one. So, Bart has to be in one of those big bubbles and he seems to enjoy it. He also helps out the nerds and spins in the mud and gets people dirty; all in all, a good day in my book.

Back to my original topic: I'm pretty introverted. In the words of April on Parks & Rec, "I hate talking. To people. About things." The thing about being an introvert is that it's really easy for people to just think that you're a bitch. I mean, I am a bitch but that's a completely unrelated characteristic and something that people should discover after they've discovered my introvertedness. I also make up my own words, which is just a characteristic of being awesome.

I did actually reach outside my giant hamster ball and manage to send out some friend requests to people I work with. I've been there since August, so I think it's safe to add these people on the platform that is social media.

I know I missed a bunch of people, but I got exhausted from all the social butterfly action of scrolling and clicking on names. But I'll get them all...eventually.

So now I can creep on them and they can creep on me. What could be more social than that?

I expected more from you, John Tesh

Oh, no big deal...just an awesome national radio host
commenting on my Facebook status.
I'm a little irritated with John Tesh right now. This is going to require a little background information. Every morning, on the way to work, I listen to The [hilarious] Bob and Sheri Show. Not only does the show crack me up, I always get to hear the "Morons in the News" segment which cracks me up. Plus, I'm friends with Sheri on Facebook and one time she liked one of my statuses and I was all, whaaaat?! And then I made a status about her liking my status and she commented on it so now we should just be friends.

Anyway. So when I get in the car after school, my radio is still set to the adult contemporary station that plays Bob & Sheri. In the afternoon, they play The John Tesh Radio Show. At first I hated it, but then I realized that it's like The USA Today of radio shows. He's always got some interesting factoids for my drive home; like the 5 things employers say will get you the job, or whatever. He also has a lot of relationship advice, and I like to compare his advice with what I'm actually doing. Just the other day he taught me what guys consider to be the perfect amount of PDA (a quick kiss on the lips, FYI) as well as how they prefer to hold hands (interlocked fingers as opposed to palm-to-palm). Thanks, John.

So I'm listening to John yesterday when he tells me some story about a doctor refusing to see a female patient because she weighs 200 pounds. He talked about how it was actually legal for the doctor to do that and why some doctors are refusing to see "obese" (although I don't think 200 pounds is obese). And in case you were wondering, he seemed a bit appalled by the story. I've been thinking about that story and thought I'd write about it. But then I went to find a link and realized that this all went down in August 2012.

John was trying to act like this just happened. Now I feel as though I can't gripe about it because it's not particularly recent. So first I was irritated at this doctor, and now I'm irritated at John Tesh. Whether or not I stay mad at him hinges completely on what advice he gives me tomorrow. And just in case you want closure on the whole doctor issue, here we go:

This doctor is now turning away patients over a certain weight because [allegedly] members of her staff were getting injured assisting these patients. She refers them to a nearby hospital that has some special center for obesity or something. I cannot imagine how mortifying it would be if I were to be turned away from a doctor because I'm overweight. As though I don't have enough of a complex about that anyway. And although 200 pounds isn't skinny, it's not what most average people would consider to be obese.

In my mind, obese is a lot bigger than 200 pounds. And, they made no mention of how tall the woman is. If she's really tall, she's going to be heavier to begin with. So maybe she's really tall and just a bit overweight. What about a 200 pound man? Would they turn away a man that size? It's the same amount of weight, just in a different distribution.

I will say that John Tesh made some solid points about doctors refusing overweight patients. He pointed out that it takes more time to see overweight patients because it takes longer to examine them and therefore doctors see less patients in a day which equals less money. It's also easier to misdiagnose something in an overweight person so the risk of getting sued is higher and some doctors just don't want to deal with any of that.

So much for that Hippopotamus Oath, as Homer Simpson calls it. Yes, I know it's actually the Hippocratic Oath but I like calling it the Hippopotamus Oath. The whole reason you became a doctor was to help people...turning them away doesn't seem helpful. It's one thing if the person is like 900 pounds and the doctor's office literally doesn't have the proper equipment, etc. but to turn away someone whose weight [in all honesty] probably isn't that much more than a lot of our weights is ridiculous.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Exciting News!



I've decided to go to China this summer! There's a mission trip to teach English to middle and high school students in a city called Shangri-La in July and I signed up. The trip is from July 10-30. I just signed up fairly recently and it's been a bit of a whirlwind ever since. I've been working on writing my sponsor letter in order to raise money since the trip costs $3,500. I've created a Facebook event to try and advertise about the trip as well.

Shangri-La is in the Yunnan Province of southwest China. It's a fairly small city, inhabited by mostly Tibetan people. The city is up in the mountains; the city itself is something like 10,000 ft. above sea-level but the mountains around it are as high as 16,000 ft. sea-level. And it hasn't always been called Shangri-La; the name of the city was changed in 2001 to promote tourism in the area.

And speaking of the trip, I've got to get on addressing all my letters!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Developing

Part of being a teacher is obtaining professional development hours. We're supposed to have at least 24 hours each school year. These are hours outside of the normal school day in which we attend various sessions in order to better ourselves as teachers. Like most things (for example, communism), it's a good idea in theory. But at the end of the day 24 is a lot of hours.

At the beginning of the current school year, I signed up for a series of professional development activities designed specifically for world language teachers. There were supposed to be 2 or 3 full day sessions in which we would collaborate with other world language teachers. Well, we ended up having one of the sessions and then somebody dropped the ball or something. This would've been the bulk of my PD hours for the year. But instead, I found myself up PD creek this semester in desperate need of hours.

This results in me signing up for every available PD course offered by the district; whether the topic applies to me or not. I've sat through quite a few sessions that were very interesting (and others that were not remotely interesting, let's be honest) but there was no practical application for me as an elementary Spanish teacher.

So in practice, the concept of earning these professional development hours is tricky. I currently have 19.5 hours. After today, 20.5. I'm slowly creeping towards the requirement.

That's not a particularly interesting topic, but I'm killing time here and have felt like a lazy blogger as of late. I am proud to say that my student quotes blog is coming along quite nicely.

I'll be closing with a random thought. The other day I determined that there has to be a section of hell in which you're just trapped behind a slow moving vehicle on a tiny two lane road and it's impossible to pass them. I know when I'm in that situation, it's hard to imagine anything else.