Author Archives: Joe

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces.

Answer

Thanks guys for all your feedback. Getting my nipple pierced is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and with your encouragement, I think I’m finally going to get it done. It’s supposed to be a nice weekend, especially on Saturday, so I think I’ll drive up to Burlington and get it done. I have not decided on which place to go to yet, but I’ve narrowed it down to three places. I’ll decide before I head up there on Saturday.

Tonight, however, I am going to the Vermont Burlesque Festival. At least that’s the tentative plan. I think it will be a lot of fun. I’ve been told it’s fun, and I’ll finally get to see the inside of the Barre Opera House, which is where tomorrow night’s part of the festival is being held,


Question

How old is too old to get a nipple piercing? You see, I’ve always wanted one. I’ve always thought they were very cool and super sexy. I always told myself that when I got into shape, I’d get my nipple pierced. I did get into shape once, but I didn’t feel like I was in good enough shape at the time to warrant fulfilling the promise to myself. I don’t think anyone is really satisfied with their bodies, and I should have been back then and I wasn’t. Ok, I’ve gotten off topic. The thing is, am I being silly wanting a nipple piercing at 40 years old and out of shape? It’s something I’ve really been contemplating lately. I’ve even had dreams about it. So please give me your honest answer. I kind of feel like I’m being silly about it, and I’ve passed the age when I could have had it done. Plus, I’m not in shape, which has always been one of the things keeping me from getting my nipple pierced. What do you guys think?


Interview Retrospect

The interview seemed to go fairly well. I answered the questions to the best of my ability, and I think I did well. There were only two possible problems. First, the interview was incredibly short. It only lasted 15 minutes. The other possible problem was that of the committee members only one asked any questions. Granted, the person asking the questions would be my boss and everyone else was librarians who I’d be working with, but I expected someone else to ask questions. At least the one woman who did ask questions was very nice and we seemed to get along really well. One way or the other, I should know by the end of the week whether or not I will be going there for an interview. So we shall see.


Interview

I have another interview today. This one is for a university out West or maybe it’s considered Midwest, I’m not sure. Anyway, it’s another oral history position. I seem to be getting good at getting interviews for oral history jobs. Of the three I’ve applied for, I’ve had interviews with all three. I hope today’s interview goes well. It’s another Skype interview. The last time it was a Skype interview it didn’t go so well since Skype never would work. I hope it works today. Wish me luck.


Let Justice Roll Down As Waters

But let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Amos 5:24 (ASV)

One of the most moving tributes I’ve ever seen is the the Civil Rights Memorial dedicated to forty-one people who died in the struggle for the equal treatment of all people, regardless of race, during the Civil Rights Movement between 1955 (Emmett Till) and 1968 (Martin Luther King, Jr.). The LGBT Rights Movement has had its own martyrs. The Civil Rights Memorial Center lists Billy Jack Gaither, a 39-year-old gay man, was brutally beaten to death in Rockford, Alabama, simply because he was gay. But there are many others: the thirty-two people who died when an arsonist burned the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans, Harvey Milk, Brandon Teena, Matthew Shepard, Barry Winchell, and so many others who were killed because they were gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. The list is further expanded when you add in the number of LGBT suicides, especially of teenagers, because of bigotry and hatred often fueled by religious fanaticism.

The Civil Rights Memorial may only list the names of those who died because they believed in equality for African Americans but it also stands as a testament to all those who have died because of differences perceived by others. It is to remind us of the fight for equality. The concept of Maya Lin’s design of the Civil Rights Memorial (Maya Lin’s most famous design is the Vietnam Memorial) is based on the soothing and healing effect of water. It was inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s paraphrase “… we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. …”, from the “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963:

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

No matter who is fighting for rights and equal treatment, the message is basically the same. The Supreme Court gave us marriage equality, but we cannot be satisfied with that. We need to end discrimination of any kind and for those who claim that they can discriminate because it is their religious right and they are only fighting for their religious freedom are in reality fitting for their own bigotry, no different then the white supremacist of the 1950s and 60s. Amos is a very appropriate prophet to look at when discussing equality. Throughout the Book of Amos, Amos voices prophetic rage against the injustices of the day. The entire book is given to denouncing the excesses of eighth-century B.C.E. Israelite life and reminding people of their true covenantal obligations. Those who are “at ease in Zion” and “feel secure on Mount Samaria,” who “lie on beds of ivory” and “eat lambs from the flock,” will “be the first to go into exile” (Amos 6:1-7) because they have forgotten the plight of the poor and mistaken religious observance and piety for moral responsibility.

If Amos were alive today, what might he say? Perhaps the most famous line from the book is the one King paraphrased from Amos 5:24: “But let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” The context of this powerful statement is a prophetic denunciation of the “sacrifices and meal offerings” of a people who have failed to keep the covenant, which is constituted by justice and fairness. Throughout Amos 5-6, the prophet lashes out against those who have become rich at the expense of the poor and against public—but hollow—displays of piety. According to Amos, God says, “I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies” (Amos 5:21). Religious devotion is meaningless if it is accompanied by unfair taxes on the poor, backdoor bribes, and working against those in need (Amos 5:11-12).

Because of these sentiments, this passage has become an important source for some observers of contemporary American religious and political culture. I think Amos would disapprove of the concentration of wealth and the corresponding increase in poverty, and he would rage against the displays of self-importance and exceptionalism in some quarters of American life.

According to Amos, a nation is exceptional by the measure of how it cares for the lowest members of society; and a nation of religious hypocrisy and injustice is one that will perish. John Winthrop expressed the message of Amos in his famous work “A Modell of Christian Charity” (1630); he knew that for the Puritan legacy to be a “light unto the nations” and a “city upon a hill,” the community would have to be based upon principles of justice, fairness, and regard for others, “that every man afford his help to another in every want or distress.”

No matter what religious fanatics and bigots say, God is on our side, and one day, truth, justice, and equality will prevail throughout the United States, and instead of the death and destruction that the bigots proclaim will happen, God and His peace and love will be there instead.  On that day,  justice will roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Adapted from a post originally posted on August 9, 2015 and reposted today in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.


2 Peter 3:9

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9

Peter continues to answer the mocking of the false teachers working among the Christians in the early church. They ask, “Where is this coming Jesus promised?” They teach that it’s been too long; Christ is not coming. Don’t resist immorality; there will be no judgment. In verse 8, Peter urged his readers to remember that the Lord is not bound by human time. For God, a thousand years is like a day and vice versa. Peter’s point is that God does not suffer the limitations of time, or confusion about it, the way human beings do.

Here in this verse, Peter insists that we cannot apply human demands about time to the promises of God. He is not slow in keeping His promise. God is the one who made the schedule: He cannot be “late.” Instead, God keeps every promise at the perfect time for His glory and for the good of those He loves.

In this case, Christians should view the delay in Christ’s return as evidence of God’s patience, not of His tardiness. In His love-driven patience, God is willing to give more time for more people to come to repentance. This is God’s plan to allow more people opportunity to place their trust in Christ in order to enter into eternal relationship with Him.

God doesn’t want anyone to perish or die. Peter likely refers to eternal death following God’s judgment on the day of the Lord. The overall message of Scripture is that God does not desire anyone’s damnation. That is, He would prefer that all would be saved. However, in His sovereignty and power, God decided not to demand—force—all people to actually be saved. If God is truly sovereign, He can sovereignly allow us to choose things He does not prefer, for His own reasons. Here, Peter shows us God’s heart for the people He has created: He wants them all to be saved, but He will not force them all to be saved.

As Peter tells us, that’s one reason God allows more time—the very time mocked by the false teachers—prior to the return of Christ. He is mercifully creating more space for more people to repent and turn to Him.

https://www.bibleref.com/2-Peter/3/2-Peter-3-9.html


Moment of Zen: Fishing


Opportunities

Yesterday, I told you about my job coming to an end. It’s amazing how new opportunities arise when you least expect them. Nothing has changed with my current job; however, I did get called for an interview for a new position. My initial interview for this job will be Tuesday. I don’t know if the job is a perfect fit, but it looks good and pays pretty well. The library is in cowboy country, hence the cowboy above. We will just have to see what comes of the interview.


Pissed Off

I am pissed off with my job. When I accepted this position, I was never told it was temporary. When I became aware that it was a temporary position (it was implied that 2019 would be the end date), I was told it was certain it would be made permanent. Then, my boss was put on administrative leave; the same boss that had told me so many lies about the state of my job. After she left, I found out my position is only supposed to go through October 2018. At this point, I have little hope of it being extended past that date. I was okay with that. Then yesterday, I found out that the powers that be want me gone before October. They want me to finish up the project as soon as possible, and then be gone. What this new timetable means, I don’t know. I expect it will probably be May or the middle of the summer; I just don’t know. I do know my museum colleagues want me to continue in a different capacity probably as a museum educator.

To be honest, I’m fucking done with Vermont. I want to tell the university administration to go fuck themselves. I want to put this job behind me and move on. I’m sick of being strung along. I do not believe they will create a new position for me no matter how much it is needed. However, I will, to the best of my ability, finish the job at hand. But I think I’m done after that. I just don’t see a future for me in Vermont. I think I have a few more months, and then it will be time to move on—hopefully, to better things.


Ding Dong

Ding-dong, the witch is dead! Which old witch? The wicked witch

Ding-dong, the wicked witch is dead

Well, she’s not dead, but she’s gone. My boss that is. She officially resigned. While I had never had problems with her, others did and I just didn’t see the full extent. Nor did I see the full extent of her wicked ways. Without a shadow of a doubt, she needed to be gone. While she resigned, it was a negotiated resignation. She didn’t have a choice but to go and go quietly or possibly to go in handcuffs. So now we have an interim director, and I have absolutely no faith that I will have a job past October when my contract ends.


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