Unlikely Meal

Rania pulled into Steve’s driveway and the two of them went into the apartment, Steve carrying pizza and Rania carrying food from her native Syria. Opening the pizza box once they were seated at the table, Steve said, “No pepperoni, no pork!”

“Jazak’Allah*”, Rania replied.

Before they started eating, Rania said, “Bismi’Allah**” and Steve said grace.

Steve turned on the news and saw a report on a suicide bombing in Egypt, and heared inflammatory comments from the US government.

“Turn that off”, Rania said, “an American and Syrian sharing a meal; that’s what’s important!”

With that, they kissed. 

*Jazak’Allah means “May God reward you”, a Muslim way of expressing gratitude.

**Bismi’Allah means “In the Name of Allah”, commonly said before eating.

This is a post for Friday Fictioneers by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, photo by Dale Rogerson

Busted!

CRASH! A window shattered. Then…THUD! Something slammed on the car, causing the woman inside to spill her coffee. A guy jumped down, saying, “Sorry, Miss. My name is Adam,” and tossed her a business card.

“Jane”, she replied firmly.

Adam then hopped on a bike and left. Soon two men in suits showed up, flashed badges, saying, “Federal agents, have you seen this man?”, showing her Adam’s photo.

BOOM! A building blew up and Adam went by on a motorcycle, tossing smoke bombs. Then the police arrived, grabbed the men in suits, and said, “You are under arrest…”

This is a post for Friday Fictioneers by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, photo by Jellico’s Stationhouse

Unusual Plan

Agent Robert Thompson handed his partner Agent Jennifer Green to the traffickers in exchange for money. “I’ll kill her myself!”, Bobby said, “Jenn, I’m doing this for the kids, remember what I said!”

A ray shot out of his gun and Jennifer grew, clothes, accesories, and all. She placed her foot on the traffickers. “Where are the girls?”, Bobby demanded.

“There is a giant shoe on us!”, one cried, and revealed the location, while the leader insulted Jenn.

Jenn tossed her pendant aside to signal the rescue team. Once the girls were rescued, Jenn pressed her weight down on the traffickers.

This is a post for Friday Fictioneers by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, photo by Jennifer Pendergast.

A Day in the Life of a Bug

Harry the insect leaped off the pole and landed by a couple. The woman wore a black pantsuit and low heeled dress shoes, the man a jogging suit and sneakers. “Hey, hon, your shoes look nice on you”, the man said. 

She looked down and shouted, “A bug! I got it!”

Suddenly her shoe approached Harry. He saw the tread design get closer, until the sun was blotted out. He helplessly squirmed as weight pressed down on him…

Harry shot up in his bed. “Is everything ok, hon?”, his wife asked.

“I just had a really bizarre dream!”

This is a post for Friday Fictioneers by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, photo by Shaktiki Sharma.

Hashtag, Storm Chasers

A cloud started spinning, heading downwards. Julie turned the engine and started driving while Mike snapped a picture and posted it on Twitter, #StormChasers. They sent updates to the Weather Service, and Mike live tweeted. Torrential rain and golf ball sized hail pounded the truck, and an uprooted tree flew overhead. Suddenly Julie slammed on the brakes, saying, “Let’s get into the ditch!”

“Well”, Julie said, jumping in the ditch, “Maybe loafers weren’t the best footwear”, her feet getting wet.

“Beats heels”, Mike replied.

She laughed, then CRASH!: A telephone pole fell on the truck. Mike’s phone said, “No sevice”.

This is a post for Friday Fictioneers by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, who also provided the photo.

Being a Feminist: Between Clichés and Truths (by Sarah Andres; translation mine)

This post is a translation of a post on Sarah Andres’s blog. The word “post” links to the original. Now, for the words of Sarah Andres:

For many, “feminist” is an insult. A cuss word. A synonym for a bossy, domineering woman [French, dominatrice, “dominatrix” is an alternative translation]. Castrator. For this article dedicated to my[Sarah’s] life facing sexism, I’m making a compilation of remarks I receive when I say I’m a feminist. These come from those close to me as well as from strangers. They’re recurrent, and full of clichés to deconstruct.

“You’re a feminist? Well, you must be a lesbian, seeing that you don’t like men.”

That was said to me one day by a man I bumped into at a soirée. It was said without spitefulness, without aggressiveness, it was nearly a constant. You’re a feminist THEREFORE you don’t like men. Eh, no, my dear fellow. Whether or not I’m a lesbian (because we beat our mucous membranes) it’s not men that I dislike, but patriarchy. True, not all men are bidet scrapings. But even if not all men threaten women, all women are threatened by men. Sexism, like every other oppression, is institutional and systematic. It sets up a system, and that is really the problem.

Being a feminist is wanting equality. A man isn’t worth more than a woman, and vice versa. It’s not men that feminists dislike, it’s sexism. Is that really so hard to understand?

“Concretely, I don’t understand how one can be a feminist today! You women now have the right to vote like men, thus there is nothing else to demand.”

There again, this type of reflection often pops up in my face when I talk about feminism. The fight for gender equality doesn’t just stop at voting rights, abortion, contraception, etc., though they’re essential, as these rights are endlessly put in danger. On my blog[that is, Sarah Andres’s blog; link above under her name, site in French], you’ll find a plethora of articles on my daily life facing sexism.

“And what does your boyfriend think of this? I mean, it can’t be easy having a feminist for a girlfriend.”

You’ll notice the heterocentrism of the question. No, sorry, the affirmation. Note that at the time of writing these lines, I have never had a romantic relationship. Nothing to do with my feminism, but if you want to know more about it, here you go:

The line underneath says, “Feminism isn’t only reserved to women.”

“As long as you don’t show your breasts in public like Femen, it doesn’t bother me.”

In other words, looking at boobs in HD on porn sites and stark-naked women in advertisements doesn’t bother you. But should a woman parade by, airing her breasts, while making a political statement, that’s an issue. Basically, a pair of boobs should serve to breastfeed her kid, sell a vacuum cleaner, help you polish your broomstick, but it’s dirty if that becomes political. I can see we don’t live on the same planet.

Anyway, you aren’t credible; you can’t even agree with each other!”

It’s true that, when we look at the political parties, the multitude of social movements that exist or have existed, or even all the religions, all have the same political and social vision and ideological viewpoint in their thinking such that all agree amd are never divided. Bah, no. There are good women for bickering. Now, anyway.

“A feminist, that’s someone hysterical, sexually frustrated, hairy, ugly, frustrated, and with no sense of humor whatsoever.”

Well, I subscribe…

Why I Believe Jesus Is The Answer

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”(John 14:6)

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”(John 1:14)

It is no mistake to say our world is broken: as Dr. King said, “Dangerous passions of pride, hatred, and selfishness are enthroned in our lives; truth lies prostrate on the rugged hills of nameless cavalries; and men do reverence before the false gods of nationalism and materialism.”(From the sermon, “Transformed Nonconformist”, reproduced in Strength to Love, p. 18). This has been the case since King spoke the words, and has continued, though it’s been swept under the rug. But, in the last year, the rug has been thrown out. Racial injustice continues, expressed hostility to minorities continues. People group together in their tribes; politically the other side is demonized. Religious Fundamentalists seek to use religion(be it Christianity, Islam, Hinduism) to impose their hateful agenda on others.

I grew up in a Religious Right echo chamber: we were far right conspiracy theorists, liberals were demonized as God-haters who wanted to remove all traces of America’s Judeo-Christian heritage, Muslims were stereotyped and demonized as out to kill non-Muslims, a jingoistic foreign policy was advocated.

I look at the world, the violence, injustice, and deceit, then I look to Jesus, and I see Someone worth following, Whose teachings inspire me that it doesn’t have to be this way. He scandalized the powers that be by hanging out with those the establishment called “sinners”: tax collectors(basically Jews who collaborated with the Roman occupation), prostitutes, and others. However, Jesus interacted with all sectors of society: Roman soldiers(who were a foreign power occupying Judea and Galilee), tax collectors, prostitutes, Zealots(who called for an armed uprising against Rome), scholars, fishermen, etc. Why, He had, in His inner circle, both a Zealot and a tax collector. He spoke up for “the least of these”(Mt. 25). He criticized most harshly those among the leaders who cared more for rules than people, who laid heavy burdens on people, who took advantage of the defenseless. He challenged the systems of power and privilege, saying the first shall be last, and the last first. Jesus also said , “The kings of the Gentiles Lord it over them, and those in authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’  Not so with you; instead the one who is greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the one who serves.(Luke 22:25‭-‬26). In a time of imperialism He says to love your enemies, and that “He that takes up the sword shall perish by the sword.”(Mt. 26:52). 

While He was God, according to Christian teaching, Philippians 2 says that He gave up His divine privileges; according to other verses, this was to fix the brokenness of the world. In our world, people seek to go to the top, regardless of who gets trampled in the process, and jealously guard their position. Jesus shows a different way. In the second verse I quoted at the top of my post, it means that Jesus is essentially God’s moving into the neighborhood. In Colossians 1:20, it’s written that God is trying to reconcile all things to Himself through Jesus; in Ephesians 2 it’s written that Jesus destroyed the hostility between Jews and Gentiles (and thus between all groups in enmity), and the church concluded in Acts 15 that no culture has a monopoly on the Gospel. Basically, Jesus’ being the Way means that He is the Way from God to us; that He, by His life, showed us what God is like.

This allowed me to break out of my shell to reach out to liberals, Muslims, and the LGBT community. Many liberals dismiss conservatives, especially Trump voters. I didn’t vote for Trump; in fact, I think he represents many horrible things, and a lot that’s wrong with our world. But, I choose to interact with his supporters(mainly because they include my friends; by the way, I am mixed race). First, I was taught, growing up, that liberals are terrible, that abortion is killing babies, and thus depraved. However, upon interacting with pro-choicers online, I came to see their viewpoint. (I will not be discussing this, as I’m a cisgendered male who can never get pregnant; however, I do think there is too much dogmatism on both sides.) Jesus met people where they were, and guided them to wholeness.

Well, these are my thoughts, as a Christian. In another post, I will address some of the issues the first verse I quoted raises, and other issues raised by my post. I recognize that Christians aren’t the only ones with stories, or that can be good. So, if you are a non-Christian, I am willing to listen to your story if you are willing to share it; and, please, leave any objections in the comments, and I will try to include them in the follow-up post.