Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In Memoriam: Maya Angelou

Tears and reflections today in honor of the death earlier this morning of Maya Angelou, poet, memoirist, dancer, survivor of childhood abuse.

May she rest in peace.

She spoke at California State University, Northridge, in about 2011, telling students they each have gifts to use in this world, to have courage and persevere in being all that they can be.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings tells her early story.  If anyone had all the odds against her in life, it was Marguerite Johnson, raised by her grandparents in Stamps, Arkansas.

Praise to the Creator for the beautiful witness of her life.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mammograms or Mammon?

There are forces out there that want to cut back on mammograms to save money for health insurance companies and federal and state health insurance programs.

Dr. Daniel B. Kopans wrote about this problem on the opinion page of last Friday's Wall Street Journal.

If I hadn't had my annual mammogram, I wouldn't have been told I needed additional screening (in my case, an ultrasound).  I wouldn't known about the mass in my left breast, which was biopsied and turned out to be stage 1 cancer.  

My cancer wouldn't have been detected for another year or two--and by then, it would have been stage 2 or greater.

I'm grateful for my mammogram and for the radiologist who looked at it and recommended follow-up screening, even though on the basis of the x-ray alone my breast looked "normal but with dense tissue."

Hooray for Dr. Geeta Iyengar at Women's Imaging, 2811 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA.  Her recommendation may have saved my life.

40% of women have dense breast tissue, which causes a mammogram to show lots of white lines and patches, perhaps none of them cancer.

Women 40 and over need to get an annual mammogram, and if we have dense breast tissue, we also need an ultrasound.  Women under 40 who have family history of breast cancer need to start screening earlier.

The US Preventive Services Task Force decided in 2009 to recommend a cut back on mammograms, saying women don't need them annually until age 50 and older.  Why?  To save money.  At that time the Affordable Care Act was being debated, and cutting down on medical services was a way to make the ACA look less expensive.

God or mammon?  Women's health or saving money?

As the King James Bible says in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 6, verse 24:

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

I began another blog just for notes and news on breast cancer, which I will mostly keep out of this blog.  To see today's post responding to the issue raised by Dr. Kopans, go to the blog and select the post for May 27, 2014.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Spicing up Jesus

Why do people insist on adding a sexual life to the historical records of Jesus?

Some, like Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code, want Jesus to be married to Mary Magdalene and want him to be a champion of some underground fertility cult centered on intercourse.

Others just want him to be married to anyone, like the forger who created the fragment with its accompanying fragment of the Gospel of John discussed in Christian Askeland's blog. 

Thank you to Eva Mroczek writing on Religion Dispatches and critiquing Askeland for calling the Gospel fragment a not only a "sister" to the "Jesus' wife" fragment but an "ugly sister" at that. 

Of course the "ugly sister" trope in literature and media is sexist.  Of course metaphors matter.

It's sad that Askeland has curated the replies to his blog post so that sensible challenges and questions are deleted, like those asking what he means by "historical feminism."  

Thanks also to Mark M. Mattison for letting us know about Eva's helpful critique through his post on the conversation pages of the EEWC-Christian Feminism Today community group.

Perhaps it's easier to have a Jesus who is sexual and more like us than to have a Jesus who says things like "none of you can be my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions" (Luke 14:33).

Married men don't usually say that, and I think Jesus means your preconceptions (racist, sexist, classist and otherwise) as well as your physical possessions.