The truth is, I don’t have a clue who did what and when, or how to find that information. I could endlessly run around trying to figure out who’s more in the right, but my conclusions would ultimately just depend on whose story I chose to listen to. And as anyone who’s ever had to break up a playground fight knows (and yes, I use that metaphor deliberately), there’s not really ever a great way to be sure. You can guess, based on the observed character and previous actions of the combatants, but even my sweetie-pie of a son is capable of some nasty, vindictive little behaviors when he’s in the mood.

In Israel, nobody really doubts that Hamas is made up of some really nasty dudes who probably oughtta be shut down hard. On the other side, we all know (having watched that fantastic documentary “The Gatekeepers”) that the Shin Bet’s made up of some really nasty characters, who likewise don’t mind killing innocent Palestinians to score a political point.

There is no one righteous. No, not one. Not even you…

josh barkey: why i don’t care about israel (but also kind of do)

There are few things more frustrating to me right now than the belief that the chief end of humanity is rational certitude… or that rational certitude is a precondition for loving-kindness.

Loving-kindness is the starting and ending point. It is the filter through which all propositional belief must pass. If your heart tells you that something is unloving or unkind, then all rational discourse to the contrary is WRONG. It’s possibly even evil.

This is why I often find theological and philosophical discussions to be so frustrating. Because when you come right down to it, it’s often just two people sitting across from each other with angry grimaces on their faces, using every semantic and logical-mathematical trick in the book to argue that it’s okay for them to be a jerk.

josh barkey: listen to your heart

Y’all are a real pain to write for.

First of all, there’s this endless, angsty feeling kicking around in the subcockles of my duodenum that I’m just not all that good at stringing words together. Like the way I ended that first sentence with a preposition. Or the way I started that last one with an adjectival-conjunction-something-or-other, which might or might not be bad grammar (and then how I did it again with this one, because I’m incorrigible).

Second, there’s the sneaking suspicion that the things I’m writing aren’t really worth reading… that not only am I bad at saying things, but I’m also picking all the wrong things to say. A good part of me is cocky/confident enough to say them anyway, and to believe you ought to read them (and share them on your social internets already, you ungrateful jerks), but still… I wonder…

josh barkey: sadomasochistic writing
The other night after my son was in bed, I heard him call out “Dadu!” That’s my name, so I said “What?” “Can you and me have a snuggle?” he asked. I crawled up into his loft bed, and he told me that sometimes when he’s sleeping by himself he gets worried, so he wanted me to come up and sleep with him. I asked him what he was worried about, specifically. He didn’t want to say, so I started telling him that I love him more than certain stuff. Like, “I love you more than ice cream,” and “I love you more than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick,” and cetera. After I’d listed a few things, he said, “Do you love me more than your computer?” Ouch. josh barkey: more than your computer

The first and last bit of erotica widely accepted by the Christian Church was published around three thousand years ago by a guy named Solomon Davidson, and through clever use of metaphor explored things like genitalia, orgasms, and maybe even oral sex.

Or, y’know, it could be just a list of details about plant and animal biology…

josh barkey: christian erotica

6 Daily Steps to Your Maximum-Utmost Life

  1. Wake up. Be grateful for what you have that’s good. Express that gratitude. Out loud. To the appropriate good-things-givers (Note to Atheists: you might be kinda screwed, here. But I’ll accept your gratitude by proxy, if you feel that’ll work. I take checks and money orders).
  2. Figure out what you don’t have that you want (and actually need). 
  3. If there’s something you don’t have but want (and actually need), then make one decision and take one action to move toward getting it - assuming it’s possible. If it’s not, you gotta let that go.
  4. Open your eyes to what someone else wants and needs that you can help with, and then make one decision and take one action to move toward giving it to them.
  5. Eat some good food with someone you love.
  6. Do a little dance, make a little love. Get down tonight.

There’s just no way I could understand what it feels like to be told from childhood that the face you were born with has to be “embellished,” or it won’t be attractive to anybody. I’m just a guy living and writing in a shed in the woods, sometimes not even bothering to put pants on until mid-day (if at all). Who am I to judge anyone else’s experience - especially a woman’s?

I do feel that women are being manipulated, though.

josh barkey: i like your face
Okay, so here’s the situation - you like someone. I mean, you liiike someone. A lot. And for the sake of this particular hetero-normative blog post, we’ll say you’re a guy and you like a girl. Now, you and I both know she doesn’t like you back. Not the way you want her to. It’s not exactly something she said - it’s the nonverbal clues, and the way she keeps telling you how great it is that the two of you can be such. good. friends. So, deep down in your emotions, you know exactly where she stands. But you certainly don’t stand there, so you ignore those emotions and you convince yourself that you ought to just tell her how you feel, because I mean… who knows, right? … josh barkey: lying to girls

Most of your life, you’ve operated under the guiding principle that for you to be wonderful and loved, you’re going to have to DO something, or several somethings. You’re going to have to take actions that will demonstrate you are wonderful to the world-at-large, so that the world-at-large can be a gigantic mirror that will show you who you are - someone who is wonderful, and loved. But that’s backwards.

Mirrors are always backwards.

You don’t have to do anything, because you are already something, and that something is wonderful and loved. So wonderful and loved, in fact, that it requires no explanation, proof, or affirmation. It just is. You don’t have to fight for it, demand it, or hope for it any more. But you’re free to accept it. So, accept it.

josh barkey: Wonderful and Loved: A Manifesto