Poem: A Valentine’s Wish, 2023 by Marie Cartier

What if everyone said everyone was their Valentine?
I mean you are walking down the streets telling strangers:
You are adorable.
You are my love.
Kiss. Kiss.
Well, maybe not, I am thinking of those candy hearts, with the sayings, my favorite Valentine’s candy.

But what if everyone in the world on Valentine’s Day, February 14th,
decided that that the world, the Earth, was their lover?
Squishy hugs and smacking kisses,
and loving her with what she wants.

What if we all decided for twenty-four hours to love everyone
in the way they wanted, in the way they needed?
To respect women?
To say please and thank you and excuse me?
To honor difference and listen to all these voices
who have been silenced?
To give the sweet chocolate of understanding to those
who have been so misunderstood?
To take fifty Happy Meals to downtown L.A. and pass them out to the homeless,
yelling, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”?

Continue reading “Poem: A Valentine’s Wish, 2023 by Marie Cartier”

My Funny, Queer Valentine by Marie Cartier

I wrote a short story in the spirit of both my book Baby, You Are My Religion and Valentine’s Day for this month’s blog. Happy Valentines’ month. <3 Marie

She remembered that is what it had said, “To my funny, queer valentine.” She had thought then, as she squatted on the toilet at the If Club in downtown Los Angeles, 1963, trying to read the graffiti in front of her that yes, that is what it said. She thought to herself, Shirl, that is some graffiti. It read, “To my funny, queer valentine: I’ll miss you. I’ll always miss you.” Shirl could hear in the background Lesley Gore singing her new hit, “It’s My Party.”

Continue reading “My Funny, Queer Valentine by Marie Cartier”

Identity and Marriage: Which Christian Conception? by Stephanie Arel

This post explores issues I present in an essay which will be published in the Journal of Theology and Sexuality. In that piece, I consider the term “identity.” I claim that identity and the categories it delineates often present dilemmas when it comes to gender, sex, and sexuality. This is especially the case when considering biological and social data related to sexual fluidity in women. While in the paper I argue that “identity” serves in many ways to stultify, I recognize that we can also interpret the eschewing of identity as something reserved for the privileged – who can afford to discard identity. Marginalized groups, on the other hand, are often at the mercy of identity – it is hoisted as a marker, one that cannot be displaced or removed.

Where I complicate identity relates to its ability to typecast and congeal a self into a definitive configuration. Categorization follows, serving specific ends and bolstering very specific institutions.

Let’s consider marriage. Continue reading “Identity and Marriage: Which Christian Conception? by Stephanie Arel”

Love and Happiness by Elise M. Edwards

Elise EdwardsAs Valentine’s Day approaches, it seems normal to think of love, perhaps with cynicism or hope or a mix of conflicted emotions.  Last year, I wrote a post on this site about Valentine’s Day, and I’m happy to contribute this year around the same time.  But this year I’ve been doing a different kind of reflection.  Maybe it’s because I just took my artificial Christmas tree down this past weekend, but I’ve been a little slow to get in the Valentine’s spirit, more specifically to reflect on the idea of a holiday dedicated to love.

It’s not that I haven’t been talking about love and relationships—I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.  I’m teaching a class that is currently in the middle of a unit on Christian sexual ethics, I’ve been conversing with friends about their upcoming weddings and future plans, and I have spent a lot of time on the phone navigating the terrain of a long-distance relationship.  But all this talk hasn’t left me too much time to reflect.  It wasn’t until last night, as the church choir rehearsal I was attending was ending, that my thoughts of devouring chocolate hearts were interrupted by a litany prepared by two choir members in honor of Valentine’s Day. Continue reading “Love and Happiness by Elise M. Edwards”

Living by an Ethic of Love by Elise M. Edwards

Elise EdwardsIf we base our love ethic in the love of God, we will be committed to the presuppositions that everyone has the right to be free and to live fully and well. We will not try to deny others access to safety, food, shelter, and companionship, nor prevent them from obtaining opportunities for growth and outlets for self-expression because of their gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, class or cost to ourselves.

I enjoy Valentine’s Day, and this has been the case for many years, whether I have been in a relationship or not.  I think romantic love needs to be celebrated, even if it is at the urging of greeting card companies, chocolatiers, florists and jewelers.  Of course, those of us who are even the least bit critical of consumerism and media propaganda will acknowledge that these companies try to convince us that we need to buy luxury items to demonstrate our love to the important individuals in our lives.  When our consumption of these goods hurts other people in our world and our planet (as in the consumption of blood diamonds or flowers that have been flown around the world, and thus contributing to environmental ills), we must recognize that they are not true reflections of love.   This is not to say that the intent of the giver or recipient is untrue.  I do want to challenge the predominance of these kinds of images of love, and provoke us to reflect on another way – an ethic of love rooted in the love of God. Continue reading “Living by an Ethic of Love by Elise M. Edwards”

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