Thursday, 12 May 2016

Life on Facebook: Biblical Hedgehogs, Transgender Toilets and Cosy Cafes

I am so far behind on blog posts.  So many days out with photos.  And a couple of weeks of nice things from the gratitude diary.  I will catch up.  I will catch up.  I will catch up.  Saying it over and over as a mantra doesn't make it true any more than ten thousand people quoting Andrew Wakefield makes it true that vaccines cause autism.

Part of the reason for the lack of posts is that I haven't had the spare spoons for writing posts.  I haven't been doing well and spoons have gone on survival and on improving mental health by going to pretty places, or to less pretty places and buying liquorice.

Part of the reason is I keep getting distracted by Facebook.  I know Facebook is meant to be about sharing pictures of kittens and talking about babies, drunken nights and food.  But I can't stick to those rules and thankfully quite a few of my friends there can't stick to them either and post all kinds of interesting things.

Sometimes I do post about food.  Sometimes I post daft things that my head hasn't been able to avoid thinking about and analysing.  Sometimes I post serious things that are dear to me.

For examples, this is what I've posted in the last thirty hours.  Four posts.  With explanatory notes to follow.  As if the posts weren't tortuous enough.

Having written all those notes I realise I am still just as behind with blog posts.  Never mind.


Poll: 6-in-10 oppose bills like the North Carolina transgender bathroom law

Or to turn it around:

Nearly 4-in-10 Americans support laws to keep transgender people out of the restrooms that most closely correspond with their gender and a quarter of Americans strongly support such laws.

Even among American liberals, 1-in-5 say they support the laws.

I wonder what the statistics would be here.


Feeling very sorry for hedgehogs in the New American Standard Bible and wondering what the translators have against them.

First God is having somewhere made into a swamp for them to live in. (Isaiah 14)

Then they're being made to live in a land where the ground is unquenchable burning pitch. (Isaiah 34)

And then it turns out that hedgehogs are having to roost at the top of columns, which does not seem to me to be a completely natural place for them to live. (Zephaniah 2)

This persecution of hedgehogs by God never came up in any sermon I preached, back when I preached sermons.


Really very overloaded / overwhelmed in town. But I decided to stay out and try a cafe I haven't been in before.

It's nice but I would prefer it with no music playing. Glad to have headphones nowadays and to know it's okay.


Meet The Doctor Social Conservatives Depend On To Justify Anti-Transgender Hate

Today is like most days. Because this guy's name has appeared on my facebook wall.

Yep, nearly every day I see his name. Probably every trans person I know has seen his name sometimes.

He is a Doctor. But he is one man. There aren't many like him, which is why he is quoted so often by so many people.

They say "trans people are female impersonators". They say "Surgery for trans people is a bad thing and must be because they stopped it at Johns Hopkins." They say "We shouldn't encourage trans people because then they'll be suicidal." They say that "transgenderism" is a myth, a pathogen that is destroying society. They say that transgender people really have autogynephilia - that is, we get so sexually aroused by our own genitals that we completely change our lives.

They say all kinds of things and time and time again it stems from this man or is backed up by something this man said.



I find it interesting to be part of a marginalised group - in fact part of several marginalised groups.  For most of my life I lived in such a way as to not be part of any of them.  Because I was straight, male, cisgender, neurotypical and followed the official religion of my country.  Well, that's the person I presented as anyway.  While out today I used the toilet in the cafe and of course used the women's loo.  The thought that one in five American liberals (and a higher proportion of every other group) would support a law to make it illegal for me to do that raises certain issues.


Yes, I know that other translations don't say hedgehog.  Quite why the NASB translators chose hedgehog when the Hebrew word so obviously means something else is a bit of a mystery to me.

My hedgehog thoughts arose when a preacher I know in Blackpool (one of the good guys) posted his daily five facts and/or thoughts.  Today they included the word "wankers" which is a word many preachers wouldn't use.  Yesterday they informed us that the cat is the only domestic animal not mentioned in the Bible.  I check facts if I can.  Sometimes I check unimportant ones.  And sure enough, the fact was wrong.  I used the Wikipedia list of domestic animals.  No, the Bible does not mention the zebu, water buffalo, llama, alpaca, yak, gayal or ferret.

I wasn't sure about hedgehog so I looked it up and found that while many translations don't mention hedgehogs, the NASB does.  The King James Bible has bitterns living in swamps, not hedgehogs.  It could also be an otter, a porcupine, or an owl.  Hedgehogs share that fire land with three other animals - all of them birds.  The first of these is mostly called a pelican.  But the Emphasized Bible calls it "the vomiting pelican" which is nice!

Christian fundamentalists often talk about the "plain, simple truth of Scripture."  You just tell it as it is and believe it, literally.  I think that, whether you broadly want to believe the Bible or not, that's a laughable and dangerous viewpoint.  If your Bibles can't even agree whether a word means hedgehog, owl, bittern or otter you have problems being able to read anything like the "plain, simple truth" from it.

Yes, my head often takes me further than it reasonable into looking at things.  And while I never preached about hedgehogs, I did once include a section about the occurrences of laurel trees in The Bible in a study I led at a Baptist Church.  Possibly the most over-detailed series of Bible studies ever led in Lancashire on the first half of the book of Zechariah.  I can now remember pretty much none of what I talked about so it was probably not particularly important.


Yes, the cafe.  Place of my use of a toilet that a fifth of American liberals would want to make illegal.  Not my only women's toilet use this week.  And other such restrooms contained other women.  Guess what?  Nothing happened.  I honestly hope things are different in the UK and rather less people would support a change in the law here.  Probably things are different here.  I'm choosing to believe that.

Almost a food post.  But just a tasty smoothie and a comfy chair to sit in.  And photos that will end up in the gratitude diary probably and so reappear in another post here.

The cafe is Super Natural, Upper Princess Square, in Newcastle.  It seems pretty good and the salad bar is decent.  They're starting a second cafe with an expanded salad bar and with all the profits going to some charities.  It's likely I'll be trying it at some point and returning to the first cafe which would be a good place if meeting someone.  The cafe next to it, Painted Elephant is a vegan place and is meant to be great in terms of both friendliness and the quality of the food - though I confess I still miss the cafe that was there before it, The Laughing Cat, one of only two cafes that I've written an entire blog post about.


The name of Paul McHugh has cropped up quite a bit recently.  More so with all this fuss about American toilets and cisgender heterosexuals saying they want to ban transgender people of any variety of sexuality from toilets because cisgender heterosexuals sometimes do despicable things.

But today I made a mistake.  I answered back to someone posting about him.  I don't usually do that.  But for some reason I was annoyed at a guy laughing out loud because he agreed with the claims that "transgendered" people are impersonators, counterfeits.  Annoyed because I know that I am me.  Simple.  Annoyed too because I fell into the trap of being annoyed by someone whose opinion on the matter should not matter in the slightest to me.

So yes, I argued.  With Mr. Colditz.  I'm sure he's a nice guy, just one who happens not to agree that I am me. (Is that part of the definition of nice? You tell me.)  In any case, like anyone else he's doing his best.  I didn't know until I first saw his name that people were called Colditz.  I am stopping arguing now and thus I find I have Escaped from Colditz.

Sorry.  Couldn't resist.

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