EFordwrite

Saturday, April 29, 2006

some more journal paragraphs:

The Presbyterian Church, although not alone in their struggle with accepting homosexual congregation members, are rather vocal about this issue they see as a problem. Keith Hartman, a social critic, wrote Congregations in Conflict: The Battle over Homosexuality in which he states, “Homosexuality is the most divisive element facing the [Presbyterian] Church today” (Hartman, vix). It has openly been an issue since the early 70s. Meredith Ashbaugh suggests in her article, Homosexuality in the Presbyterian church, that the Presbytery is “escaping from its previous morals,” and that is the real issue at hand, not homosexuality, yet it is something else (Ashbaugh, 1). It took the Presbyterian Church over seven decades to ordain women into ministry; with that thought, society must recognize that homosexuality in the Presbyterian Church has only been an issue since the 70s (Ashbaugh, 2). Judging by the history of the Presbyterian Church overcoming challenges, this issue is far from over. The Presbyterian denomination is known for not interpreting the Bible in such a literal sense; however this has become increasingly more prevalent in recent years (Ashbaugh, 1). “Reinterpreting the Bible to meet the needs of…society,” best describes the way in which the Presbytery applies the words of the Bible to life (Ashbaugh, 2). According to Meredith Ashbaugh, homosexuals are among those who practice a more relaxed interpretation of scripture. There are still those conservative members who wish for policies and traditions to not be change or updated. It is not uncommon for heated debates to arise every couple decades, due to congregational fears that the Church is wandering away from their stated principles (Ashbaugh, 2). It would be interesting to see the relationship between the geography of Presbyterians and their view on the issue, since there has been a sudden influx of Presbyterians in the south. Or is this perhaps related to the current average age of the Presbyterian Church, which Jennifer Ashbaugh reveals “…is around 60” (1). The Presbytery will not allow any Presbyterian Church to open its doors for a ceremony uniting a same sex couple in a civil union or marriage. When interviewed, some heterosexuals claim that their struggle to accept homosexuals in the Presbyterian Church stems from their fear if they accept them would result in destroying the traditions of the Presbyterian ministry.
Many scholars believe that Christians struggle with this topic of homosexuality in the Church for three main reasons. Many anti-homosexuals, have difficulty accepting homosexuality as a result of “social and psychological reasons…religious considerations…and informal reasons” (Scanzoni and Mollenkott, 45). Homosexuals as well as Presbyterian Ministers could argue that other parishioners have more minor arguments, resulting from insufficient knowledge of homosexuality. While interviewing more conservative Presbyterians, I found that socially they feel that it is inappropriate for their children to witness homosexual couples interacting, believing that it provokes interest that they wish for young eyes to not see. This argument is no concrete, not all homosexuals display public affection just like some heterosexuals refrain from it as well. Most homosexuals are aware that public displays of affection could offend others, so they refrain from holding hands, touching each other, or kissing. This issue is also discussed in Andrew Sullivan’s Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con. More liberal open minded individuals could be argue that, our society has long kept homosexuality as a quiet personal matter, and to now make it publicly acceptable is perceived by many as flaunting immoral behavior. This case against homosexuals is more concrete, which I believe is the truth behind the issue.
Another complaint questions why homosexual couples can’t worship in a more liberal environment; perhaps they would be more comfortable among those who have the same views as they. Some of those whom I interviewed believed that homosexuals have committed an ultimate sin, sodomy and that if homosexual acts are approved of they will “…have lost [their] spiritual home” (Kirk, 13). Possibly some of the more informal reasons that anti-homosexual parishioners have difficulty with the issue is that they do not understand why homosexuals are rocking their church’s world, and why they wouldn’t wish to worship in a place more accepting of their sexual orientation?
The most traditional parishioners who do not wish to even worship among homosexuals take their arguments from the Bible, where they read that it says homosexuality goes against God. Moreover, pro-homosexuals believe are the old rules which are no longer applicable since Christ died for all of our sins or so the church tells Christians when it wants to. Using the Old Testament as evidence, parishioners say that homosexuality is wrong and should be frowned upon. Scripture from Leviticus 18:22 says, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination”. Furthermore in Leviticus 20:13 it states, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (Scanzoni and Mollenkott, 60). Many refer to the chapter of Genesis, which supposedly condemns homosexuality, referencing 19:1-11. The description given in Genesis 19:4, “But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:” delivers a clear message with the intent of a homosexual rape. Homosexuals argue that this is not condemning all homosexual practices, it condemns such in “the context of gang rape, idolatry, and lustful promiscuity” (Scanzoni and Mollenkott, 111). Scanzoni and Mollenkott, who have examined homosexuality from religious, sociological, and human sexuality views, provide sophisticated views from homosexuals who have dealt with tribulations regarding their sexual orientation. Among one of their participants is a female homosexual minister, who opposes arguments against sodomy, saying “The scripture makes it clear in Genesis that God’s creation has unlimited variety, and we are part of that variety. God looked at his creation and saw that it was good” (Scanzoni and Mollenkott, 41). The Bible indeed states in Genesis 1:31, “And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good,” however this does not make settling this debate any easier.

Friday, April 28, 2006

working on a few new paragraphs of draft 2:


In fact the Christian faith, in particular the Presbyterian denomination has had a very difficult time dealing with the issue of homosexuality. George faced a faith that did not support him when he needed it the most, during the most trying hurdle in his life and yet his belief in God kept him company with nothing else did. The anti-homosexual parishioners share varying degrees of concern; some in support of homosexuals protest that homosexuals share some of the same morals and values of those heterosexuals. Many of the anti-homosexual parishioners feel as though homosexual couples should not be welcome to worship among the members of the church. Homosexuals argue that they should not be discriminated against when all they wish to do is worship the God who they share with their neighbors, and feel as though the church should be a haven where they can be accepted despite their sexual orientation. The controversy continues on with many issues arising which contribute to a deeper more passionate debate.
The Presbyterian Church, although not alone in their struggle with accepting homosexual congregation members, are rather vocal about this issue they see as a problem. Keith Hartman, a social critic, wrote Congregations in Conflict: The Battle over Homosexuality in which he states, “Homosexuality is the most divisive element facing the [Presbyterian] Church today” (Hartman, vix). It has openly been an issue since the early 70s. Meredith Ashbaugh suggests in her article, Homosexuality in the Presbyterian church, that the Presbytery is “escaping from its previous morals,” and that is the real issue at hand, not homosexuality, yet it is something else (Ashbaugh, 1). It took the Presbyterian Church over seven decades to ordain women into ministry; with that thought, society must recognize that homosexuality in the Presbyterian Church has only been an issue since the 70s (Ashbaugh, 2). Judging by the history of the Presbyterian Church overcoming challenges, this issue is far from over. The Presbyterian denomination is known for not interpreting the Bible in such a literal sense; however this has become increasingly more prevalent in recent years (Ashbaugh, 1). “Reinterpreting the Bible to meet the needs of…society,” best describes the way in which the Presbytery applies the words of the Bible to life (Ashbaugh, 2). According to Meredith Ashbaugh, homosexuals are among those who practice a more relaxed interpretation of scripture. There are still those conservative members who wish for policies and traditions to not be change or updated. It is not uncommon for heated debates to arise every couple decades, due to congregational fears that the Church is wandering away from their stated principles (Ashbaugh, 2). It would be interesting to see the relationship between the geography of Presbyterians and their view on the issue, since there has been a sudden influx of Presbyterians in the south. Or is this perhaps related to the current average age of the Presbyterian Church, which Jennifer Ashbaugh reveals “…is around 60” (1). The Presbytery will not allow any Presbyterian Church to open its doors for a ceremony uniting a same sex couple in a civil union or marriage. When interviewed, some heterosexuals claim that their struggle to accept homosexuals in the Presbyterian Church stems from their fear if they accept them would result in destroying the traditions of the Presbyterian ministry.
Many scholars believe that Christians struggle with this topic of homosexuality in the Church for three main reasons. Many anti-homosexuals, have difficulty accepting homosexuality as a result of “social and psychological reasons…religious considerations…and informal reasons” (Scanzoni and Mollenkott, 45). Homosexuals as well as Presbyterian Ministers could argue that other parishioners have more minor arguments, resulting from insufficient knowledge of homosexuality. While interviewing more conservative Presbyterians, I found that socially they feel that it is inappropriate for their children to witness homosexual couples interacting, believing that it provokes interest that they wish for young eyes to not see. This argument is no concrete, not all homosexuals display public affection just like some heterosexuals refrain from it as well. Most homosexuals are aware that public displays of affection could offend others, so they refrain from holding hands, touching each other, or kissing. This issue is also discussed in Andrew Sullivan’s Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con. More liberal open minded individuals could be argue that, our society has long kept homosexuality as a quiet personal matter, and to now make it publicly acceptable is perceived by many as flaunting immoral behavior. This case against homosexuals is more concrete, which I believe is the truth behind the issue.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A review of the screenplay: A Raisin in the Sun


A Raisin in the Sun is a captivating screenplay written by Lorraine Hansberry in the late 1950s. Ms Hansberry was only the second African American woman to have a show début on Broadway; needless to say it won many awards and is considered an American Classic Today. It was Ms Hansberry ambition to write a realistic play, which everyone could relate to, she wrote on the American Dream.

The setting takes place in Chicago in the early 60s, in a black family’s apartment. The storyline revolves around dreams and hardships, but most importantly the insurance check that will be coming in the mail from their father/husbands death. It was always the dream of the parents to own their own house, their own piece of earth. Of course, Momma wanted to make their dream a reality, when the $10,000 check came. He had worked all her life, cleaning other people’s dream homes; she wanted one of her own. Momma, a gentle and kind woman, looked out for the best for her children and grandchildren. Her grown son on the other hand, Walter Lee, was a bit selfish and careless. He lived in his parent’s home with his wife and son. It was Walter Lee’s dream to open a business of his own; in this case it was a liquor store he wanted to open with some of his shady pals. He was selfish in the fact that everything was always about him, him, him and he thought that his wife, Ruth was not supportive and only drug him down. The fact of the matter is that Ruth was his backbone, he just didn’t know it. She cooked, cleaned, and made sure that his life was pretty carefree for the most part. I think that she is perhaps the most selfless character next to her mother-in-law, Lena. Ruth worked to contribute to the household on a whole, she worked to put clothes on everyone’s backs include her sister-in-law, Benny. Even still, Walter Lee was careless; he didn’t know how to invest his money in a business endeavor, so in turn he got burned. He paid little attention to his wife and son and was more concerned about people supporting him, when everyone else in the family supported each other.

Furthermore Benny, the younger sister, was a little self centered as well. She wanted the insurance money from the death of her father to help her pay for medical school. This would not benefit the family, just her, since she had plans to go to Africa after Medical school. She planned to leave her family after she benefited and would not give them anything in return. Through many battles and arguments Momma and the rest of the family finally reach a census in achieving their hopes of an American Dream.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Letter of Revision within my group:

Kat,

I think you did an excellent job with this paper, it was an easy read and really easy to understand. The layout was very effective though you may want to cut some of the research out, and paraphrase some of the longer quotes, but keep the long quote if they are from Robbie’s family.
It is my impression that you are writing this journal to tell the world or your audience about the repercussions of shunning homosexuals in the Catholic Church. You walk your audience through the challenges and hardships that Robbie goes through as a young Catholic homosexual. I think that it is your goal for your audience to really see how it affects homosexuals when they are treated as they are in the Catholic Church as well as being a young person in a society where they are teased relentlessly. I think that your paper is informative, it reads in a narrative sense, and it is a bit persuasive. I think your paper gives an in depth look at topic/problem on a whole, and not only do you inform your reader of that, you also give them a first hand example, which is more of the narrative aspect. Personally I am persuaded by your paper, it opens my eyes to another side of homosexuals being shunned by the Church and the affects it has not only on adults but the youth of America as well. As a reader we learn all about the issues that Christians have with homosexuality, we learn about Robbie through is sister and mother, and the different organizations of support that are offered to homosexuals and the benefits from them.
I believe that based on the identified audience, those who read the Journal of American Catholics, this essay provides enough background information. You may in fact have too much information because many Catholics know about this debate and their beliefs along with the belief of their church. I have found your paper and topic to be engaging and your concepts along with your ideas connect and flow very well.
I know that you are very creditable with this topic and all the information you have included in your works including this one thus far, however you may want to make some changes to show your blind reader that you are creditable. For example you may want to include that you have interviewed his mother, Leslie Sadasivan and his sister, Danielle. You have done a good job discussing the different views on this topic and have included a history, however I think paraphrasing some of your long quotes would make you a more creditable writer. By doing this the reader would see that you are not just including long quotes to get the hard facts out there. I think you have also shown that you are a creditable source through your organization of ideas. I feel as though every audience would know that you are just trying to tell a victims story, and that you had honest intentions.
I think that you convey the topic to the reader as they finish the first paragraph and they discover that Robbie is teenage homosexual. Then as they read the first word of the next paragraph they see homosexuality again so it’s nailed in their head. As they finish the first sentence of the second paragraph, you wrap it into homosexuality within the Christian religion.
I feel that the relevance to me as a “Catholic reader” is that I should take a stand within my Catholic Church, as well as taking a stand regarding how young adolescents view homosexuality. In general if this is your argument, make it more obvious throughout the whole paper, say that adolescents need to be taught not to tease people who are different, etc. Aren’t you fighting for teens and people like Robbie, aren’t you trying to stop this from happening again, tell your audiences and wrap it up in the conclusion in you think that it would be more effective. Overall it was a great paper, interesting and a good read, great work!

Emily

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Theatre Reaction Journal:

After reading Chapter 14 and then watching the video today in class I felt like I would write a journal for the two together. The video we watched today reflect all of what Chapter 14 covered. The two reviewed what goes on behind the curtains and all the rehearsals leading up to the opening night. They both analyzed all the different roles, from very minor like the guy who held the steam maker, to very major roles like the designers and producers. It all appears to be very stressful and intense, which I obviously knew but did not realize in such detail. I was particularly interested in the role of the men who had to direct the monster on stage, what a task and challenge.

I found it quite interesting that the stage is laid out similar to that of a ship. There is a deck, loft, canvases or curtains for sails, wrenches to crank everything up, down and open, just a sailors use them. I was quite surprised to learn the opera was about 17 hours long, how exhausting, furthermore people fought to get in opening night! I was amazing the amount of people that complete the stage crew, the dressers, makeup artists, the costumers, who all can work up to about 80 hours a week to complete all that needs to be done. I however would not mind making the money they do at 20-25 dollars an hour to the members of the unions.

I found the video to be much more helpful when trying to understand this aspect of theatre; I thought that the book was very confusing. The book failed to thoroughly explain all the elements and roles that lurk behind the scenes.

Blog from 4/24/06:
First Draft of Journal Paper


Throughout high school and college George was a sought after man, quite popular with the ladies to say the least. Tall, dark, and handsome is the perfect way to describe him, he stood about 6’3’’ with an olive complexion and ice blue eyes that could mesmerize anyone. George enjoyed the popularity as a typical “frat boy” at a large university. After college he returned to the small town where grew up. George despised Franklin; he hated the people and the way they knew everyone’s business. He felt as though he needed to be in a metropolitan city, some where bigger, perhaps Philadelphia, Pittsburg or D.C. This move George was ready to embark on would be his escape from the world that did not understand him.
Later that summer, after George had found a job in D.C., he spent plenty of quality time with his family before venturing out on his own. He attended church with his parents, did odds and ends around the house, and made a great effort to see his three siblings and their families before his move. One afternoon while helping his father, Jack, in the yard he, rather bluntly, told him that he was gay. Immediately Jack was in denial, there was just no way was that George a homosexual, he was always popular with the ladies and was such a gifted athlete. Jack led George to the garden and said, “Let’s pray”. It was Jack’s hope that praying to the Lord for guidance, understanding, and forgiveness was the only answer, or the only thing he knew to do. Jack simply could not understand why his son chose to be a homosexual. George thought to himself “Great! What is this fool of an old man trying to make me do? This is absolutely ridiculous.” He finally spoke out to his father “Dad, things aren’t going to change if we pray to God. I am gay, not sick. God cannot change me, he created me, and this is who I am.” The truth of the matter was that George never chose it, he just finally accepted it enough to share it with his father, which was the most difficult thing he did. He felt as though he was letting his father down, disappointing him in some way and that he would be ashamed of him.
These was not the feelings George had when he had told his sister, and mother several weeks prior. They simply accepted his sexual orientation, they loved him, and what else were they going to do. The next challenge was to face his two brothers and their wives, both of whom were older and had families of their own. He questioned how they would feel; they had all boys, would that be an issue? Would they not feel comfortable with George around the boys? How was he supposed to tell his older manly brothers that he was not like them he was just the opposite? Bill and John were a bit taken back. John took the news a little more gracefully than Bill; he too was in denial along with his narrow minded father. It was actually John’s wife, Bailey, who would be his biggest backing and sounding board for the rest of his life, when others turned their backs to him along with the Christian faith.
In fact the Christian faith has had a very difficult time dealing with the issue of homosexuality, in particular the Presbyterian Church. George faced a faith that did not support him when he needed it the most, during the most trying hurdle in his life. Parishioners shared varying degrees of concern; some in support of homosexuals may protest that homosexuals can indeed share some of the same morals and values of those heterosexuals. Many of the anti-homosexual parishioners feel as though homosexual couples should not be welcome to worship among the members of the church. Homosexuals argue that they should not be discriminated against when all they wish to do is worship the God who they share with their neighbors, and feel as though the church should be a haven where they can be accepted despite their sexual orientation. The controversy continues on with many issues arising contributing to a deeper more passionate debate.
The Presbyterian Church, although not alone in their struggle with accepting homosexual congregation members, are rather vocal about this issue they see as a problem. Keith Hartman in his book Congregations in Conflict: The Battle over Homosexuality states, “Homosexuality is the most divisive element facing the Church today” (Hartman, vix). It has openly been an issue since the early 70s, Meredith Ashbaugh suggests in her article, Homosexuality in the Presbyterian church, that the Presbytery is “escaping from its previous morals,” and that is the real issue at hand, not homosexuality, yet it is something else (Ashbaugh, 1). It took the Presbyterian Church over seven decades to ordain women into ministry, realizing the length of time it took to overcome that challenge, society must recognize that homosexuality in the Presbyterian Church has only been an issue since the 70s (Ashbaugh, 2).The Presbyterian denomination has always been known for not interpreting the Bible in such a literal sense; however this has become increasingly more prevalent in recent years (Ashbaugh, 1). “Reinterpreting the Bible to meet the needs of…society,” best describes the way in which the Presbytery applies the words of the Bible to life (Ashbaugh, 2). Homosexuals are among those who practice a more relaxed interpretation of scripture. There are still those conservative members who wish for policies and traditions to not be change or updated. It is not uncommon for heated debates to arise every couple decades, due to congregational fears that the Church is wandering away from their stated principles (Ashbaugh, 2). It would be interesting to see the relationship between the geography of Presbyterians and their view on the issue, since there has been a sudden influx of Presbyterians in the south. Or is this perhaps related to the current average age of the Presbyterian Church, which Jennifer Ashbaugh reveals “…is around 60” (1). The Presbytery will not allow any Presbyterian Church to open its doors for a ceremony uniting a same sex couple in a civil union or marriage. When interviewed, some heterosexuals feel that by accepting homosexuals into the church, would result in destroying the Presbyterian ministry.
Many scholars believe that Christians struggle with this topic of homosexuality in the Church for three main reasons. Many anti-homosexuals, deal with the difficulty of homosexuality as a result of “social and psychological reasons…religious considerations…and informal reasons” (Scanzoni and Mollenkott, 45). It could be argued that other parishioners have more minor arguments, resulting from insufficient knowledge of homosexuality. While interviewing, I found that socially some feel that it is inappropriate for their children to witness homosexual couples interacting, believing that it provokes interest that they wish for these young eyes to not see. This issue is also discussed in Andrew Sullivan’s Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con. Though it could be argued that, our society has long kept homosexuality as a quiet personal matter, and to now make it publicly acceptable is perceived by many as flaunting immoral behavior. Another complaint questions why homosexual couples can’t worship in a more liberal environment; perhaps they would be more comfortable among those who have the same views as they. Some of those whom I interviewed believed that homosexuals have committed an ultimate sin, sodomy and that if homosexual acts are approved of they will “…have lost [their] spiritual home” (Kirk, 13). Perhaps some of the more informal reasons that anti-homosexual parishioners have difficulty with the issue is that they do not understand why homosexuals are rocking their church’s world, and why they wouldn’t wish to worship in a place more accepting of their sexual orientation?
After living in numerous major cities in the United States, George now resides close to a large city, where he went back to school to obtain his master’s degree in Education. He is now the dean of students at a prominent, private Catholic school in the heart of the city. George has immersed himself in the lives of children and their families, who know nothing about his sexual orientation, nor do his co-workers, he is simply George. Through many difficult and hurtful experiences, he says that he has learned that sometimes is not worth the battle, the hurt, and the pain. It is just better to keep his personal life very private, there are only a handful of friends that he can share his sexual orientation with. In an effort to separate his personal life from his professional life, George resides in suburbia about thirty minutes from his school. The fact that George’s sexuality is not flamboyant at all, allows him to live a very discrete and satisfying life.
Gay rights are going to be an issue in states on an individual basis for a longtime to come. Gay rights has always been a taboo issue for many Americans, perhaps that is why America is split on their feelings involving gay rights. These issues have been addressed on a National and State level, which in many cases has led to action involving the Supreme Court. Though the state of Virginia does not recognize gay partnerships, just recently the state has permitted that same sex parents can have their names on their child’s birth certificates. Moreover, gays and lesbians are also allowed to adopt in the state of Virginia along with eighteen other states.
In addition there are plenty of legislative issues to be brought up in many states across the country. Some of the hot battles for recognition of gay partnerships are in New York, California, Maryland, New Jersey, Florida, Washington, Alaska, and Montana. There are however some states that recognize same sex couples, but do not honor same sex marriages or unions. Based on statistics from the “Human Rights Campaign”, “gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees can be fired on the basis of their sexual orientation in 34 states”(www.hrc.com).
How can churches discriminate against allowing homosexuals in the doors of their church, so that they can worship and find fellowship among other Christians? The Christian faith is being hypocritical, when they say that differences should be embraced and not reasoning for one of their brothers or sisters in Christ to be shunned. It seems as though resolution to this issue will land on the shoulders of each Christian and how we view it. It will also mean the all of the mentor in schools and in churches will have to help guide everyone into a better acceptance and understanding of homosexuality.

Now that I am finally able to post blogs again this is from Sunday 4/23/06:

Style Lesson 9: Elegance

Williams conducts his tenth lesson on style focusing on the element of elegance. He believes that this skill cannot be taught; it more or less developed over time. Elegance stems from studying different writing to numerous revisions of ones own works.

Williams advises that there are several elements that are key to achieving graceful elegance in ones writing. On page 172 he cites them as, “the simplicity of characters as subjects and actions as verbs; the complexity of balanced syntax, meaning, sound, and rhythm; [and] the emphasis of artfully stressed endings”. We are given examples of balanced coordination and uncoordinated balance. Heavy and light words provide works with rhythm and grace. It is advised that there are three ways to end a sentence, by using normalization, echoing salience, and chiasmus, the latter of the two balance two different parts to a sentence.

Williams also suggests that writers include metaphors into their works, it can add interest. Not only can metaphors be used for sentence endings and can also “vivify all kinds of prose” (170). He provides examples of all types of writers who use metaphors to enhance their writing, historians, biologists, and philosophers.

Overall, Williams tells the reader that one’s elegance cannot improve by reading this lesson; it will take a lot of practice and studying of others works. He does however provide us with a few simple words of advice to improve our elegance, “Less is more” (173).

Sunday, April 23, 2006

More Paper

Later that summer, after George had found a job in D.C., he spent plenty of quality time with his family before venturing out on his own. He attended church with his parents, did odds and ends around the house, and made a great effort to see his three siblings and their families before his move. One afternoon while helping his father, Jack, in the yard he, rather bluntly, told him that he was gay. Immediately Jack was in denial, there was just no way was that George a homosexual, he was always popular with the ladies and was such a gifted athlete. Jack led George to the garden and said, “Let’s pray”. It was Jack’s hope that praying to the Lord for guidance, understanding, and forgiveness was the only answer, or the only thing he knew to do. Jack simply could not understand why his son chose to be a homosexual. George thought to himself “Great! What is this fool of an old man trying to make me do? This is absolutely ridiculous.” He finally spoke out to his father “Dad, things aren’t going to change if we pray to God. I am gay, not sick. God cannot change me, he created me, and this is who I am.” The truth of the matter was that George never chose it, he just finally accepted it enough to share it with his father, which was the most difficult thing he did. He felt as though he was letting his father down, disappointing him in some way and that he would be ashamed of him.
These was not the feelings George had when he had told his sister, and mother several weeks prior. They simply accepted his sexual orientation, they loved him, and what else were they going to do. The next challenge was to face his two brothers and their wives, both of whom were older and had families of their own. He questioned how they would feel; they had all boys, would that be an issue? Would they not feel comfortable with George around the boys? How was he supposed to tell his older manly brothers that he was not like them he was just the opposite? Bill and John were a bit taken back. John took the news a little more gracefully than Bill; he too was in denial along with his narrow minded father. It was actually John’s wife, Bailey, who would be his biggest backing and sounding board for the rest of his life, when others turned their backs to him along with the Christian faith.
In fact the Christian faith has had a very difficult time dealing with the issue of homosexuality, in particular the Presbyterian Church. George faced a faith that did not support him when he needed it the most, during the most trying hurdle in his life. Parishioners shared varying degrees of concern; some in support of homosexuals may protest that homosexuals can indeed share some of the same morals and values of those heterosexuals. Many of the anti-homosexual parishioners feel as though homosexual couples should not be welcome to worship among the members of the church. Homosexuals argue that they should not be discriminated against when all they wish to do is worship the God who they share with their neighbors, and feel as though the church should be a haven where they can be accepted despite their sexual orientation. The controversy continues on with many issues arising contributing to a deeper more passionate debate.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

getting started with the jounral paper

Throughout high school and college George was a sought after man, quite popular with the ladies to say the least. Tall, dark, and handsome is the perfect way to describe him, he stood about 6’3’’ with an olive complexion and ice blue eyes that could mesmerize anyone. George enjoyed the popularity as a typical “frat boy” at a large university. After college he returned to the small town where grew up. George despised Suffolk; he hated the people and the way they knew everyone’s business. He felt as though he needed to be in a metropolitan city, some where bigger, perhaps Philadelphia, Pittsburg or D.C. This move George was ready to embark on would be his escape from the world that did not understand him.

Later that summer, after George had found a job in D.C., he spent some quality time with his family before making his own way. He attended church with his parents, did odds and ends around the house, and made a great effort to see his three siblings and their families before his move. One afternoon while helping his father, Jack, in the yard he told him that he was gay. Immediately Jack was in denial, there was just no way that George was a homosexual. Jack led George to the garden and said, “Let’s pray”. It was Jack’s hope that praying to the Lord for guidance, understanding and forgiveness was the only answer.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Entering the Real World

Being a senior is stressful enough, but finding a job to start after graduation is stressful beyond words. I have watch many of my friends pull their hair out because they are completely over trying to find a job. Because employers include experience as a must it makes it difficult and frustrating to recent college grads, which want and needs these entry level jobs that require previous experience. The question for most is where do we find this experience and get paid enough to live? Today I went for an interview, I was interviewing for a position on a development team who builds multi family housing. This is the job of my dreams, I have interned for this firm for two summers and worked for them every break I have been home for, I have been dedicated in hopes that I would be recognized for a position such as this. The interview lasted over an hour, I met with three partners in the firm, whom I have met before but never worked with. I felt as though I was on top of my game. Going into the interview I knew I had to convince them that I was the person for the job, it would be me who could pick up all the knowledge I needed to know very quickly. I reassured them that I was a self starter who was smart, outgoing, a team player, and a hard worker. Then I had to confess to them, when they asked what my weakness was, that I am a worrier. Though I am worrier, I feel like it makes my work better, because I check it, double check, and triple check whatever I do. So now for the next few days I am left here in agony, wondering if I have landed my first job, the one I have strived for.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Review of Death of a Salesman


Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman has been a well known read for youth throughout many generations. Miller’s main character, Willie Lowman, is a traveling salesman and has been for the majority of his life. The job of a traveling salesman in the 1940’s was an important one, before the age of technology. These salesmen would demonstrate and sell, sell, sell. Willie strives for the American Dream for his wife, Linda and their sons, Biff and Happy.

Throughout the play Miller flashes back to the days of Willie’s past, here the audience is able to see that he continuously failed throughout life. The audience is also able to see Willie’s mistakes as he relives them when his dead brother comes back to visit him. His wife provides him with undying love and support through all the hardships of his life. Truth of any kind is never spoken by any of the Lowmans they all blow hot air up everyone’s butts including each others. They lie so much, they begin to believe their own lies. It is their belief that if a man is impressive then he will be well liked and successful. During Biff’s time away from his family and mostly when he returns to his hometown, he realizes that everything is a lie, the hope of any future lies within Biff. The audience watches a Willie Lowman struggles to his death, which is like every other death of a salesman who strives toward the American Dream.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Reaction to reading Death of a Salesman

This was my third time reading Death of a Salesman. I read it one in high school and once my freshman year here at R-MC. I really enjoy reading and watching the play, however I have found that I get angrier and angrier at Willie every time I read it, which makes me promise myself that I won’t read it again. I think I hate him the most because he feels so superior to his wife, who he would not be able to live without. He treats her like dirt and continuously lies to her, which is what further angers me because she believes his lies. He continuously betrays Linda’s love, he buys stockings for other women while he watches her mend her own. In addition to that I probably am so annoyed because I hate liars. Even his kids believe the lies that their father tells as well, and they continue the lying themselves, they feed off each other. Writing this reaction makes me so mad I have found myself clinching my teeth.

Though Willie is only striving to make the American Dream a reality for him and his family, he must remember that no one can get anywhere when they lie all the time. He is only hurting his family with his lying, by lying he is showing his sons that it is acceptable to lie as well. There is never a word of truth spoken in their home, its nothing but lies. He forgets and abandons his morals to get any sale which he sees as an opportunity to get him closer to the American Dream. Willie Lowman believes that the American Dream comes to those who are well liked. Willie is as jealous as the “Green Monster,” when it comes to the success of others who have made better decisions along the way.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Theatre Journal 23
Reaction to Chapter 23 beyond page 223


In Chapter 13 Tom Markus enlightens the reader as he describes the five kinds of scenery. The five included a Box set, a Realistic exterior, a Two-dimensional painted set, a Unit Set, and Projections. These different types of scenery are used when a set has to adjust to the size of the venture, the size of a cast, and amount of props which are used.

A Box Set is compared to a dollhouse, which has three walls so the audience can have the perspective that the fourth wall would have. The idea behind this is so the audience can feel as though they are a part of the production, almost like they are living within the setting. Markus warns that this type of “set won’t [always] have a ceiling” (224). It is the designer’s hopes that they will create the illusion of an interior space. Another set that Markus highlights is a Realistic Exterior set; here he cites that in some plays the action occurs outdoors. If the designer achieves their utmost goal they will give the audience the illusion that the play is taking place in nature.

I was most confused when learning about the Two-Dimensional Painted Set. I hope that I will be able to fully describe it; to my understanding it has scenery painted onto a canvas which is placed into a frame for the backdrop, each of these is called a flat. Markus tells us that “flats are placed on the side of the stage parallel with the proscenium arch” these are called the wings (225). Draped for the backdrop of the set are huge painted canvases. Another name for this kind of set is referred to as wing and drop scenery. Another type of set is a more permanent fixture, a Unit Set. This kind of set stays in place in the venue and never changes. The action of the actors leads the imaginations of the audience members, for example if there was a throne, and then an actor would kneel toward what would be a throne. This type of set is more commonly used for Shakespearean plays. Finally a Projection Set is simple. The background is provided with projections of slides onto a screen as a backdrop. Interestingly the projections are done from behind so that the actors do not cast shadows. This is a good way to achieve a very real location as the setting for a play.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Proposal for the Journal Assignment


For my Journal Article assignment, I plan to continue to work with my issue of homosexuality in the Presbyterian Church. I want to take a closer look to the hardships that a homosexual has to endure; I really want to tell their story this time. I would like to set it up similar to Chapter 6 of Fast Food Nation, “On the Range”. I hope to provide the reader with a personal connection of homosexual’s life I will be sharing, just like we became connected with Hank.
In this assignment I am feel it’s more like a last resort, just like Pastor John’s sermon was, I am going to try to pull on the reader’s heart strings. I feel as though it’s my only way to appeal to those who do not understand homosexuals. I hope to convince my readers that one’s sexual orientation is not something which they can control. I will use the support of some scripture, but limit it a great deal. I will mostly use the hardships and what a lonely path in life it can be.
I am looking at the Presbyterian's Armoury Publications as a possible source of publication. This journal is Australian based and “produces literature… in an endeavor to promote the truth revealed in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as it has come to be formulated in the historic Westminster Standards” (http://www.pap.com.au/index.html). However I am interested in a publication based in the United States, and am currently researching my options, but having difficulty finding one.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Style Lesson 8
After reading William’s Style lesson eight, I began to think more and more about writing as an art, since this lesson dealt with the shape of ones work. He stresses the importance of formulating both long and short sentences. The short ones need to be concise and to the point, just like the longer sentences, though they will most likely have more detailed and complex ideas. He falls back on the importance of clarity, a writer no matter how long the sentence is, should remember to ensure that their ideas are clear. Williams shares that writers must be quick to get to their subject and quick to the verb and object of the sentence as well, so they may achieve the most clarity possible. He gives a bit of advice to the writer, he suggests that the writer should read all sentences that are longer than two lines read aloud, which is a way to see how long it takes to get to the verb and if it takes too long or if you have too many interruptions while reading the sentence. It is also warned that a writer should be careful when using introductory phrases, never add them to create length, because you don’t know what else to do, you must make sure that it fits well and that the sentence needs it. Finally Williams concludes on the importance of punctuation, he reminds writers that correct punctuation, use of commas and colons can make a sentence, long or short, sound more clearly

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Another race...

I think it is now safe to say that I am addicted to running races. Today I ran my second race in three weeks, I just can’t seem to get enough, it is so rewarding. I love the rush and the excitement of the event though I do get so nervous before the start that I am ready to throw up.
I thought that I needed to run with someone to help me keep my pace and prevent me from thinking that stopping to walk was a good idea. However, this race, I proved myself wrong. I ran alone. I was a little uneasy when I woke up to the sounds of thunder, rain, and the sights of bright lightening at 7 o’clock, just two hours before the start. The rain continued up until the start, which made for a messy course. The course was one I had never ran on before, it was an all terrain course, which consisted of mud, sand, mulch, puddles, and cement, yep cement which does not give like asphalt. The air was humid and stuck to my skin which made me feel as though my skin could not breathe, as I was sweating profusely, it was 80 degrees. Since this race was in my hometown I was able to see all the landmarks I grew up around, and I knew the race course. Interestingly enough a portion of the course was the same way the school bus took me home when I was in middle school, oh the awkward days of hell. All I could taste in my mouth was the dryness which was almost like I had just chewed up chalk. I thought that I should just keep trucking through and not stop for water during this race because I felt like it had slowed me up during the last one. As I approached the finish I was determined to beat this older lanky man, who had been ahead of me the whole race. As I was in the last tenth of a mile, I gave it all I had and sprinted to the finish line, finishing third in my age bracket.

Friday, April 14, 2006

baby brother...

It’s funny the way things have turned out. My younger brother, Christopher, and I have become the best of friends over the past year or so. I can never really remember a time where he and I were not at each other’s throats or the world was on the brink of it, but today my best friend and little brother came home!

When my parent’s divorced while I was in high school, it was very hard on all of us, but especially on Christopher. He was just in middle school, the roughest years of every child’s life, when he became “the man of the house”. At that time I guess I became the sister from hell when I was forced to turn into mom. I picked Christopher up from school everyday, helped him with his homework, took him to sports practices, attended every sporting event he ever played, I was basically in charge of his wellbeing until our mom got home from work. I think the fact that I was forced into being superior to Christopher put a real strain on our relationship. It has not been until this year that Christopher realized I never tried to boss him around I just tried my best to lead him in the right direction, and it was hard to hear that from your older sister, when I was only 2 ½ years older than him. Christopher has always been there when the rest of the world hasn’t. Since our siblings had lives and families of the own when my parents divorced, we were all each other had. I have always been able to find the happiness and joy out of life when I know that it involves him.

This past year has been really difficult for me, well certainly more for him, but I have had a difficult time with him being at school and VMI, adding salt to the wound. Every week without doubt he would receive a card from me, just to boast his spirits, I would email multiple times a day and go visit with my parents every weekend possible. Though the roughest year of his life at college is now approaching the end, things still have not changed, I send him multiple emails daily, and he still gets cards weekly along with care books when I have time. I have been told by many people that the relationship he and I share is weird, but it’s really not, its special, he is always there no matter if anyone else is or not. I know I can always count on him.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Since I am at home for Easter and holidays are such an important time for my family to be together, I am going to post a blog each day reflecting on the relationships I have with each of my siblings.

I have been privileged to grow up in a rather large family, two girls and two boys including myself, though I must include my brother-in-law as well since he has been around for the majority of my life. There are 5 of us. I have always loved my siblings and worshiped the ground that they walk on, we have been through a lot together, death, divorce, relationships, and plenty more. My two older siblings Tamatha and Todd are my half brother and sister from my mother’s previous marriage. More than anything it angers me when people tell me there are not my real siblings, what are they my fake siblings? Growing up my younger brother and I knew that they had a different dad, but it was never an issue, they called our father, dad as well. Todd and Tamatha were in high school when I was born. Todd and I are 16 years apart and Tamatha and I are 14 years apart. Then there came Christopher, two and a half years after me. Tamatha was in her junior year of high school and Todd was three weeks from his “Rat” year at VMI. Interestingly enough, my brother-in-law Michael, went to school with Tamatha and Todd and later attended VMI with Todd as well. He has known Christopher and I since we were born! Having a sibling or siblings to share life with is perhaps one of the greatest gifts. Friends can come and go, times a change, but there is a bond that siblings share, it’s priceless. Though there are years and marriages that separate us, it is priceless when we are all together. The times that bring us together are birthdays, holidays, family dinners, and other special occasions such as my upcoming graduation. I know many of my peers dread spending time with their families, but I could not imagine a better way to spend time than with mine.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A rough draft of the final play for Theatre:


Rough Draft: A New Understanding


Narrator- As students begin to file into the building for Grambling University’s freshman orientation, Bubba worries that he will have a difficult time making friends with his new peers.
Bubba- I wonder what these people will be like? I hope I like them, I hope they are normal. Look at these two, maybe they are in my orientation group.

Bubba-Maybe I should introduce myself. My name is Bubba and I am from a small town outside of Biloxi, Mississippi.
Sarah- Hi, it’s so nice to meet you. My name is Sarah and I am from Boston.
Jarvis- Hey, how are you? My name is Jarvis, I am also from Boston.
Bubba- Both of y’all are from Boston!!!! Did you know each other before you came here?
Jarvis- Oh yeah, we went to high school together, Sarah is my girlfriend.


Bubba- Are you serious?
Jarvis- Yeah, we grew up together, and dated since high school!
Bubba- And y’all decided to come here together?

Bubba- What the hell you think’n? Do you know where you are? You are at the most reputable historically Black Institutions and you are dating a white girl.

Jarvis- I don’t understand what the problem is? Why is this so hard to believe?
Bubba- Cause black men don’t date white women, at least where I come from.
Jarvis- There is nothing wrong with a interracial dating in Boston, where I am from.
Bubba- Well we aint in Boston no more! This aint the North it’s the South, this is Louisiana where there is something wrong with interracial dating.
Narrator- Though it is 2006, Bubba is still foreign to interracial dating. He comes from a small town deep in the heart of Mississippi, where the blacks segregate themselves from the whites. Their scares from the past still are not completely healed. The black community still has a deep fear of integrating themselves with the whites.
Bubba- Well my father taught me never to mess with a white man’s daughter.
Jarvis- Well my daddy taught me that there are plenty of fish in the sea, whether its catfish, or bass, I can chose whichever I like.
Bubba- Well what are we talking about, fish or women cause I could talk about some fish. Crocker, Tuna, Flounder….
Jarvis- No we are talking about women, what is your problem with me dating a white girl? I don’t even know you.
Bubba- My problem is that you are a Black man at Grambling University. You have 5-6,000 black women here, and you pick one of the only white girls??? Why????
Jarvis- See man, that’s the problem today. As blacks we were enslaved and treated harsh in the past. Our ancestors didn’t like being discriminated against because of there skin, so why are you discriminating against my girl because of her skin.
Bubba- Because the color of her skin is the reason why our ancestors were enslaved and hers were not. Listen man, you are one of the fortunate young black men who is taken a path to success, why do you feel you have to keep out black women in the projects while you live a high and mighty life with a white women.
Jarvis- Brother, it’s sad to see that you are so ignorant. Don’t you know that love is something that is deep. See my lady and I have something that no one can take away from us and that’s our friendship and love for each other. So before you go off treating people a certain way, think about how you would want them to treat you.

Sarah- Hey, what’s up guys? What are y’all talking about?
Jarvis- Nothing, just another one of those issues….
Sarah- What issue? The fact that I am white and you are black? That issue??? Well Bubba, the fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter what color your skin is, what matters is the bond, friendship and love between each other. You should not limit your options of meeting a significant other to the color of ones skin. There is more to a person than the color of their skin.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

J/ Identify dominant rhetorical strategies in readings and degrees to which they are successful persuasive techniques.

As an English major I have written many papers with the objective to convince my reader while arguing a point. I believe that there are two ways which a writer can persuade their audience, first they can present concrete evidence in the form of factual information or they can appeal to the reader’s emotions. One must carefully pick between the two, so that they can use the most effective method. For example if audiences typically have a difficult time seeing your side to the argument, one may want to use an emotional appeal, which can be very effective in instances such as this. Many writers use this method to pull on their audience’s heart strings, which I would agree with. As a writer using the emotional appeal you are more likely to convince some of the least likely readers in your audience. Many people allow their heart to think for them, not their head. On the other hand, if the argument is viewed more in a black or white sense, factual information may be more beneficial to your argument. This is where it may become more difficult, with factual support your audience is much less likely to challenge or not believe your argument, though it can also be more difficult to find evidence

Furthermore, another useful tactic is using benefits as well as the negative sides to help persuade your audience. When a writer includes the benefits the audience would see if they were persuaded by your argument, then they basically have the reader sold. This can also be reversed; it can also be just as effective when using the negative side to persuade the reading audience. There are many different tactics a writer can use to persuade an audience in regards to their argument, not just by utilizing these few examples there are many more. Perhaps for my paper a more emotional appeal to my reading audience would be more effective!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Analysis of the short story“Sweat”
Anyone in Delia’s shoes would have dreamt of another life, but not Delia she worked her fingers to the bone only to own her house and wagon in hopes to own her life. In Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat”, she portrays the main character, Delia, who is oppressed by her husband and awaits justice and the rebirth of herself. Hurston uses the skillet and snake imagery to study the theme of ownership, and the way ownership of self is affected by gender roles. Delia Jones is a woman who worked her whole life sweating, to earn money, independence, ownership, and most importantly overcoming the oppression of her husband.
Delia worked most of her life as a washwoman for the white folks within her small town in Florida; her work put meaning in her life. Her work also served as a source of conflict in her marriage to Sykes, he did not approve of his wife washing white people’s clothes in “his” house, when in actuality the house belonged to Delia. Sykes objected to the fact that she did white people’s laundry and does not respect or appreciate any power figure other than himself. This attitude of Sykes which is so clear reflects the gender role issues he has with Delia. However after Delia threatened him by telling him she would tell the white men what he was doing to her, he shut up.
Sykes feels very threatened by the fact that she is the breadwinner. He feels as though she is challenging the gender roles of society, because the townspeople think more of her than they do of him. However he seems not to be phased when he spends her money as his own to spoil the women he runs around with like Bertha. Sykes claims he is not longer attracted to Delia. The gender roles that supposedly anger him are not really a worry of his when he is reaping the benefits of all Delia’s hard work and sweat.
Delia owns the wagon and the house and is just trying to own herself while Sykes still tries to hold her down. Sykes shows this to the reader when he continuously plays on her fears of snakes. When he places the black bullwhip on her shoulders it is a dark and morbid humor, a bullwhip is used traditionally to control animals and at one time it was used to control slaves. Delia has overcome the oppression of her ancestors as slaves and refuses to tolerate any more brutal domination from Sykes.He does all the horrible things to her out of the jealously that consumes him as a result of her having the upper hand in life, through the non-traditional gender role and ownership.
Sykes represents everything evil and oppressive. The rattlesnake he brings into her home represents the image of evil, as it does in the Bible and folklore. More importantly in a larger allegorical reading the snake represents her moral battle evil, her husband, Sykes. The tables turn for dear Sykes when she raises her iron skillet to him, which shows a symbol of the female labor role of working in the home/kitchen. Through this action she is not only defending herself, she is finally standing up to him for the first time in her life. Delia is the only character in motion throughout this story everything else is static, including the townspeople and Sykes. She is a constructive, dynamic woman and she is the only one who can control her fate.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Style Lesson Seven:

In Williams’ Lesson Seven of his guide to Style, he reviews clarity again, however this time focusing on expressing our ideas concisely. He gives the reader five major guidelines to completing this task: deleting words that mean little or nothing, deleting words that repeat the meaning of other words, deleting words implied by other words, replacing a phrase with a word, and changing negatives to affirmatives. He reminds the reader again in this lesson that we, as the writer, may not always clearly express our ideas to our reader. By keeping those guidelines in mind it will help to clarify our ideas. Williams gives us examples of these common mistakes that we should consciously avoid. He also advises us to not include what the reader can infer. The meaning of your work can be better expressed in fewer words.

Williams also focuses on metadiscourse, though some believe that it is not needed, others think that it is needed in order to guide ones reader. Writers must remember not to abuse such phrases as: first, second, or more importantly. Williams believe that “more often than not …we can reduce [metadiscourse]”.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Theatre Journal

Analysis of Chapter 9



In Chapter 9, Markus discusses the tasks of designers. By walking the reader through the tasks of designers, it allows one to see what life is like for a design along the timeline of one production. First is the selection process, designers rarely ever select their own productions, producers or another team selects them. It is then the duty of the designers to read and analyze the script. It is essential for the designers to fully understand the action of the play and what all the actions mean. They must understand what each character is doing at all times, why they are doing it, and what it means, which is a very critical step. The designers must then research the world of the play. They need to do this both in a historical and metaphorical sense. It is important for them to create the world of the play from a historical perspective, while it also needs to have emotion and become alive, not dead like history. After completing this step, the designers move on to the initial design ideas. Here the designers come up with ideas of what the world is like, which tends to be a very rough phase of things. Nothing is set in concrete from this stage, many things change and there are many spin offs to the ideas create from this brainstorming stage. As much of the initial design step is completed on an individual basis, the collaboration step is where all the designers get together and sparks the more concrete ideas. The director also joins the designers for this step; they all bring their sketches and drawings to share with each other. When everyone returns home after this meeting, they rely on communication, via the internet, email, and express shipping. After this step, the technical drawings are completed. These drawings are used to describe ideas based from the designer’s heads. The designers have to be very specific and use great detail so that the technical drawings can be most effective. Finally there is the step of realization; here designers make sure designs are realized to their satisfaction. Lastly is the opening, the job of the designers is finally complete, they have no further responsibilities.

Friday, April 07, 2006

catching up on some theatre journal entries....

Today I spent 1.25 hours in the shop completing a number of different tasks. Today’s shop experience was more enjoyable than the others. The experience was more enjoyable perhaps due to the fact that there were not that many people there, there was more work available. I helped Inger cut the 1/8” plywood into strips. The strips are being used as hardwood flooring for the Drama Department’s upcoming show of Good. So after cutting 5 sheets worth of planks I took them all down stairs for staining, which I will work on tomorrow afternoon. I also helped those who were in the shop carry up a huge wooden crate to storage. The crate was used to transport an antique wheelchair for the production later this month.

Today I spent 1.25 hours doing work in the shop. I completed my hours today with Meredith and Jena, which was nice again because there were not too many people trying to complete a small task. We all laid out floorboards and stained them thoroughly. The floorboards are being used to make faux hardwood flooring for the upcoming production of Good at the end of this month. We were probably able to complete the staining for about 50 floorboards, which made a huge dint in the pile of wood. Believe it or not the work today was really relaxing, we were able to chat and catch up as well as relax while listening to some great music. I hope to get the opportunity to work on some costumes in the upcoming weeks.

Today I spent three hours in the drama shop. I completed a great deal of work in that time, which was a great success. I met some fellow Randolph Macon students that I had never even seen before and observed quite a bit. I noticed that the students in the intro class were more on tasks than the “usual crew”. I felt as though we put in a great effort today and that is why we got so much accomplished. We should all be at that ages were we can be mature when it is appropriate so that work can get accomplished neatly, carefully, and in a timely manner. I did however enjoy working with some of my classmates and getting to know them better, it was like we had formed some kind of a team today. I finished stained floorboards and helped the guys put them down. I also helped cut planks of wood into pieces that measured 1x3 to help out with building storage for the art department.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

some paragraphs from the paper that i have worked on:

He thinks to himself, “these are my brothers and sisters in Christ that are trying to isolate people like my own son, Miles, just because of their sexuality. They certainly did not choose to walk down one of the most difficult and lonely roads life has. True Christians are supposed to be completely accepting and pass judgment on no one.” John begins to ask himself during a moment of meditation, the silence was so thick one couldn’t cut it with a knife, “Are these people, who I once thought of as family, really Christians? They are hurtful and careless.”

The choir immediately begins to recite “How great thou art”. With that queue, he begins to make his walk, which seems like a mile, down the aisle to greet the member of the congregation at the door, he focuses on the lipstick red carpet. John then casts his eyes to the balcony, focusing on the intricate detail to the polished white woodwork, with his head up and his eyes forward it appears that he has great confidence and pride in the sermon he just deliver.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

yet another revision to this narrative

The bells of Royster Memorial rang at 11 o’clock on Sunday morning as John approached the pulpit, he prayed for guidance and grace. John has been preparing for weeks, more so than usual, to face his congregation this Sunday. The sermon he is about to deliver addresses the issue of homosexuality, which is splitting his church in two.
He would have never thought that the same lessons he preached 30 years ago at his first Presbyterian retreat on homosexuality would be the subject of another sermon in 2006. Although John is a well seasoned veteran of other Presbyterian ministry, he and his family of three have made Royster Presbyterian Church their home for the past fifteen years. Despite the ever changing community that he faces on a daily basis, a challenge like homosexuality has never made him question his calling.
Standing in front of 200 attentive faces, John takes a deep breath and welcomes the congregation with “Let us pray” and bows his head. He begins his sermon: “Dealing with the sexuality of your brothers and sisters in Christ. We believe that the Bible is the word of God, but in a secondary sense. There are many discrepancies within the stories from the Bible such as who was the first farmer, how many animals on the ark, and did Jesus ascend into heaven on Easter Sunday?” Even the Creation Stories in Genesis try to describe, the story is about Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Within Genesis, it is clearly outlined that heterosexuality is respectable, but does that automatically mean homosexuality is evil? Drawing such firm conclusions from silence is risky at best; many are just imposed by the reader.
Then he continues the sermon with a discussion about how many Christians cite Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 as proof that the Bible condemns homosexuality. “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination” (18:22). John asks his congregation, “How is it that we can discard abominations such as shellfish and pork while we take abominations such as homosexuality so literally?” The issue is not about setting aside certain scriptures as no longer applicable; the real issue is when do we set scripture aside and what principles and standards of interpretation do we employ? We must determine to which extent we are bound to the restrictions of the Holiness Code.
John finally asks the question all those who support homosexuality want answered, “why do we express such moral outrage against homosexuals within the church, while we seem to remain tolerant about other forms of sin?” He attempts to break it down in to specific examples to get his point across to his congregation, “we do not express such outrage against extramarital sex, greed, pride, gluttony, drunkenness, etc.” Peter Gomes, in his book The Good Book, says “the biblical writers never contemplated a form of homosexuality in which loving, monogamous and faithful persons sought to live out the implications of the gospel. All they knew of homosexuality was prostitution, pederasty, lasciviousness, and exploitation.”
John takes a sigh of relief with the anticipation of the conclusion to what some may find a bold sermon. Many Christians see homosexuals as modern day lepers, especially those homosexuals suffering from AIDS. We, as Christians, must remember Jesus’ own compassion he had for the lepers and try to apply that to our own experiences with the homosexuality community Jesus commanded for Christians to “love one another as I have loved you”. John begins to plead with his congregation as he concludes, “If we as Christians in the church do not choose to be a part of the solution, we then become a part of the problem. Since we are disciples of God, we have a higher calling, we have been called to love our neighbor as ourselves, and we have been called to be the instruments of God’s heading grace and peace,” Amen.
John felt it was necessary to give this sermon to his church in hopes that it would open their eyes to an issue they are looking at blindly. He begins to share, “over the years with the arrival of some of our gay members, we lost some members. Their reasons for leaving resulted from our attempt to be open and inclusive to homosexuals, it has been a challenge to say the least.” It proved to be very difficult for John when he lost some of his longstanding members of Royster. He felt as though he had almost exhausted all efforts to close the gap between homosexuals and heterosexuals. John taught many Sunday school classes, in which he gave his congregation the opportunity to better understand homosexuality and the Bible. He also held congregational forums, preached sermons, and offered counseling to those who were interested in bridging this gap. In his congregational forums, he “found that he was preaching to the choir, because many of those who were opposed to homosexuals were not even in attendance.” Though his experience he has found that people “don’t necessarily deal with the issue of homosexuality on a rational level.”
As John looks around the fellowship hall on Wednesday evening for Table Top dinner, he wonders if his congregation has learned anything from his Sunday sermon. He wonders if Mary is judging Catherine, who is sitting in the corner, awaiting her partner Sarah’s arrival. Mary was one of the members who came to him citing that she had personal issues with homosexuals; he found that she, along with others were taking a very literal interpretation of scripture. John previously agreed with Mary that the Bible does state in Leviticus 18:22 that “[homosexuality] is an abomination”. However, he reminded her that the Bible also states that it is an abomination to eat shellfish, pork, etc. John reflected upon their meeting, “I believe she was enlightened by our discussion. Moreover, I find it interesting that there are only six passages in the Bible that deal with homosexuality; it’s amazing that Christian can dwell on those six, some of which are not even trustworthy sources. Those who take the Bible such a literal sense fail to remember the complexity of it”.
Other anti-homosexuals believe that the homosexuals coming into the Presbyterian Church have an “agenda”. In all honesty they really do, they want to share their God given gifts and talents in the service of Christ and the church, which is what we all want. Those who have observed homosexuals immersing themselves in the church and becoming actively involved believe that they are trying to take over. To this argument John protests, “If six homosexuals could wrest control of the church from 320 heterosexuals that may say more about the straights than the gays”. They also want to continue their quest for justice and prove to others that they are human beings as well and they can have the same involvement in the community as heterosexuals.
Over the years many homosexuals have looked to John for counseling and searching for an understanding of their sexual orientation. He reflects and begins to ponder, “Many come with the understanding that their basic sexual orientation is a genetic predisposition and people do not choose to be homosexual; rather over time they come to understand that they are homosexuals.” After John listened to the painful stories from the homosexuals it became “increasingly clear to [him] that their sexual orientation was not so much as a discovery, a gradual and often painful and frightening discovery. As one [homosexual] put it ‘why would anyone in their right mind choose a life guaranteed to bring on such prosecution and suffering?’” If indeed it does turn out the homosexuals are “made that way” would their homosexuality be sinful?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

a portion of a revision


The bells of Royster Memorial rang at 11 o’clock on Sunday morning as John approached the pulpit, he prayed for guidance and grace. John has been preparing for weeks, more so than usual, to face his congregation this Sunday. John fears that the sermon he is about to deliver addresses the issue of homosexuality, which is splitting his church in two.
Standing in front of 200 attentive faces, John takes a deep breath welcomes the congregation with “Let us pray.” He begins his sermon: “Dealing with the sexuality of your brothers and sisters in Christ. We believe that the Bible is the word of God, but in a secondary sense. There are many discrepancies within the stories from the Bible such as: who was the first farmer, how many animals on the ark, and did Jesus ascend into heaven on Easter Sunday?” Even the Creation Stories in Genesis try to describe how we got here and how we were created. As some have put it, the story is about Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Here it is clearly outlined that heterosexuality is good, but does it follow automatically that homosexuality is evil? Drawing such firm conclusions from silence is risky at best; many are just imposed by the reader. Then he continues by discussing that many Christians cite Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, as proof that the Bible condemns homosexuality. “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination” (18:22). “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination, they shall be put to death” (20:13). Both verses are part of the Holiness Code, which was designed to keep Israel pure. As is seen in these verses, homosexual intercourse is punishable by death, however so are many other practices that Christian’s choose to ignore. It raises a question within the church; even those most fervently opposed to homosexuality do not say homosexuals should be executed.

Monday, April 03, 2006

My first 10k:

This past weekend I ran the Richmond Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k, my first ever race. I have always run for exercise, but never to train for an event quite like this. This was the sixth annual race benefiting the Massey Cancer Center at VCU. This 10k is one of the largest in the country, so well known that this year Barbara and Jenna Bush ran in it.
I trained for about two months with two of my close friends, while the rest of our team trained on their own. I found that it was really important to train with others because they will force you to run when you can’t seem to find the time or you just don’t feel like it. The excitement and the anticipation grew over the two months and two days ago at 9:05 am it was show time!
The excitement that I felt as I crossed the start line was indescribable. No one knows exactly what it feels like to be among 20,000 people and the excitement was flowing from everyone. Believe it or not it was very enjoyable to see the thousands of spectators cheering you on along Monument Avenue. To top that there were 25 bands along the way to keep you energized. There were cheerleaders from what seemed like every middle school and high school in the greater Richmond area, there were churches, different clubs and organizations throughout the area. Most importantly there were kind neighbors that had their garden hoses out to spray the runners down, since it was nearly 75 degrees, which was not the weather we had trained in. I cannot wait for the excitement and thrill of the event next year and I plan to run these races on a regular basis.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Style lesson 6:

In Style Lesson Six, Williams discusses the emphasis on using the correct words and phrases when writing. He gives numerous examples of how the reader will interpret your writing when you use certain words. One word in a sentence can change the whole meaning and tone of what the writing is attempting to convey to their audience. An example of Williams’s advice on changing up one’s sentence structure, “moving the important information to the end of the sentence is another way to manage the flow of ideas”. By using this method, the most important ideas are not “swallowed” up in the middle of a sentence. When the writer feels as though all has failed and nothing flows, Williams recommends that they should, “at least try changing the phrase to a pronoun” by doing this all the emphasis is thrown “on the words before the pronoun”. One should really stray from using difficult words in their writing, because then it is essential for you to define their meaning if those in the audience could possibly be unfamiliar with what is being discussed. In summary Williams discusses six ways to assist a writer with word emphasis: passive verbs, there are devices, what-shifts, not only but, and repeated words/pronoun substitution.