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posted on March 9th, 2014 under Etc..., Random Musings, Uncategorized

I am a graduate of the Boston University School of Theology.   Although students of many denominations study there, it is a United Methodist Seminary.  I try to donate to BU every year, especially since my employer matches my gifts, and I have always designated my gifts for the School of Theology.

The United Methodist Church has taken a harsh stand against homosexuality and gay marriage, even going so far as to defrock an ordained minister for presiding at the wedding of his own gay son.  This is in strong contrast to the inclusive environment of the school when I was there.  As I wrote out my check this weekend, I was presented with two boxes to choose: The School of Theology, which the form stated I had given to in prior years, or “Other” with a line to write in my designation.

It took me awhile to choose which box to check.  Do I give to my school based on my experience there, or do I choose another because of its affiliation with the United Methodist Church? I thought about how many members and ministers of the church disagree with its anti-gay policies.  Should I not give to support the education of ministers who might work from within, as so many Methodist ministers are doing?  But I also thought of a United Methodist curriculum on doctrine, one that would teach the official positions of the church, that homosexuality was wrong and that you should not condone gay marriage, even if it was your own child who was the bride or groom.  And I decided that I could not contribute to that.  I could have just not contributed at all this year, or I could have just chosen another designation, but I wrote on the form that I could not contribute to a United Methodist seminary until it reversed its policies on homosexuality and gay marriage.

I designated my gift to go to the School of Engineering, even though my only affiliation to the school was that I loved studying in their library.

I have felt pangs of sadness since I made my decision.  I had turned my back on the school who had given me a full scholarship, the school where I met my husband, the school where I learned Greek, the school where I had made close friends.  The school hadn’t turned it’s back on me, but the church had.  And this was one small way where I could make a stand.  I tried to do the right thing, but yet it still feels wrong.




posted on February 9th, 2014 under Etc..., Random Musings, Uncategorized

I have a lot of friends on Facebook and in life who cringe at every grammatical mistake. They post every instance of it they discover, post cartoons of people suffering harm from seeing bad apostrophes. There are even a couple of men who have made it their mission in life to go through the country with Sharpies allegedly correcting typos and grammar but in actuality defacing private and public property. They have a following. They were also fined for defacing historical signs in national parks.

Now, I consider myself to be fairly adept at grammar. Yes, typos and not diligently watching autocorrect have caused mistakes in posts. I edit them if I discover them, but I’m sure some are still out there.

Grammar is a set of rules and conventions many of which have evolved over time. A lot of people are experts at the rules, but their expertise in one field does not make them better or even smarter than those who are not as proficient. They just happen to be better at one thing in a world where there are infinitely many fields to accomplish.

I happen to be very good at math. I try to solve for x on at least a daily basis. I view it, not as something that makes me better than anyone else, but as my secret power. Yes, I have been forced to correct errors in basic arithmetic, such as when a former supervisor did not understand the commutative, association, or distributive properties, but I am sure (okay maybe not all that sure) that there were other things he knew more about than I did. But I never thought it made me superior, just better at math. I found his inability to grasp basic principles of arithmetic disturbing, but not offensive.

Even E. B. White, co-author of “The Elements of Style” wrote:”A schoolchild should be taught grammar–for the same reason that a medical student should study anatomy. Having learned about the exciting mysteries of an English sentence, the child can then go forth and speak and write any damn way he pleases.”

I’m not sure I agree with Mr. White, but neither do I obsess about grammatical mistakes.  Poor grammar is not the speech that I find offensive.  Speech filled with hate does.  Speech that resorts to nasty name calling when talking to people with different opinions offends me. Nastiness and purposely using speech to hurt others offends me. Using words that belittle the disadvantaged offends me.  Don’t worry if you misplace an apostrophe when talking to me.  I can translate if you say “their” when the correct word is “there.”  What matters to me is that you follow the guidelines expressed by Jefferson Smith in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: “I wouldn’t give you two cents for all your fancy rules if, behind them, they didn’t have a little bit of plain, ordinary, everyday kindness and a little looking out for the other fella, too.”

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Quote of the Moment:

“As a rule, indeed, grown-up people are fairly correct on matters of fact; it is in the higher gift of imagination that they are so sadly to seek.”
by Kenneth Graham The Golden Age. The Finding of the Princess