No Outcasts on marriage in postmodern society

Ran across this in a blog that’s an outreach of the Diocese of Central NY that seems to be a proponent of the church of beer. (They have an open spirituality discussion that meets monthly at Empire Brewing Company, in Armory Square in Syracuse.) This essay talks about the implications of marriage in the afterlife, but I had one of those eye-pop out of your head moments when I read the latter portion of it:

Ironically, the emphasis today on marriage and family values has contributed to the loss of community. Isolated and without adequate social support, families are forced to rely on their own resources. The day to day stress on families has increased significantly as both parents are pressured to work more hours than their parents. Children hardly get to be children these days, passed as they are from one activity to the next, one parent to the next. The pressures and tensions are just too much for individual households to bear and literally pits family members against each other.

So beware of political candidates who claim to support family values, it actually demonstrates a lack of vision, an inability to imagine a better basis for our society.

Marriage cannot serve as the foundation of any society. Like Atlas trying to shoulder the weight of the world, marriage is crumbling under a burden it cannot possibly bear. Attempts to artificially reinforce it as the basis of society only make it a rigid and oppressive structure. And worse, insisting on this false foundation deprives us of the firmer ground we so desperately need.

Does this mean we shouldn’t get married? No, but marriage needs to be grounded in the larger context of a human community founded on compassion rather than oppression. If we remember to view marriage as a fragile relationship rather than an institution, we are much more likely to honor the humanity of the people involved.

The emphasis is mine, because it hits very close to home on a couple of points. Many gen-x-ers don’t trust institutions, and that includes both marriage and the church. Maybe that’s why the church of beer, as I call it, is what it is. Hanging out with friends over tea/coffee or a couple of pints and allowing conversation to flow freely may seem anarchic or subversive as a way of practicing faith in community to some folks. But for others, it’s freeing. Similarly, as DFH and I wrestle with what it means to be married, his distrust of the institution is clear even though I plead for us to approach it as a way of personally affirming our lifelong commitment to one another.

Anyhow, No Outcasts is a nifty blog, with a liberal dose of illustrations for those of us that think words are just the things that come between the pictures. You can check out the essay — and find the rest of the blog, which seems to be updated monthly — here.


Brewpub in a church?

[Backdated post — will likely show up in feeds in February.]

On the Cafe today, I picked up a church-of-beer story that’s a little bit backwards, as a decommissioned church is being eyed as a possible site for a brewpub.

It bears noting that such a place, in my mind, would be the perfect gathering place for getting the church-of-beer practitioners more comfortable inside a church, as the whole premise of my little idea is to get spiritual people who like to socialize over a couple of pints engaged in talking about faith in a small gathering place. Sure, it’s a little backwards to drink the bread (beer) and eat the wine (fruit), but this is all about turning convention on its head to draw people in.


…so the sky's gone out.

It's lovely Christmas inside, wet and miserable outside.

A squirrel just went up and pillaged the birdfeeder. No other word for it. Seed flying everywhere, birds tweetering from other branches because they couldn't come near the feeder.

The ducks just sat around clucking and laughing about the whole thing.

Word on the street is that Dahlak had an L&I violation last week and it may not be open. is on the case and will let us know by tomorrow afternoon.

Happy ho-ho, and to my friends who celebrate Christmas, may you share in the blessings and grace of the season as our new year unfolds.

And let there be peace on earth.

And party party!


dear loving flist,

Every time you use “Christian” interchangeably with “conservative
fundamentalist Christians,” you risk getting a sermon from me. We're
not all like that, and if you think those conservative fundamentalist
Christians are annoying to YOU…….


-the very socially progressive helcat

Proof that I'm not anti-beer

I'm home sick with a bad throatie-headache-exhaustion combo. I swear, I've had more physical maladies since coming off the pill than I have had in the past three years. Anyhow.

I just read the word “youngster” and had to read it twice, because I could have sworn it said “yuengster.”