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Hello, you'll notice if you've been here before that I've done some changes to website. It used to be in rainbow colors, but I got tired of all the different backgrounds and such. I've also moved stuff around. See my What's New section for details.
If you're new, let me introduce myself. I studied physics for a while, and I'm officially a web designer now, but in private I'm really an obsessive, aspiring writer. I've been writing seriously since I was 12, and writing well since only the last several years.
I was born in Saigon, Vietnam, but have lived in America for (sheesh!) over 20 years now, and in Texas for most of that time. I'll answer to "Asian" for my ethnicity, but I mostly think of myself as just plain American. I do have an Anglophilic tendency, though, as seen in my interest in Sherlock Holmes and other British detectives.
This site is a personal, private refuge of mine, so that I can express anything I would otherwise let build up inside me in silence. Thus I can be a healthier person.
Excuse me if I ramble into weird topics; I'm disordered and conversational. If websites all turn out to be merely internet versions of stuffy resumes, then life will be very boring indeed.
As for my name, I've got what I consider a hideous first name that even I can't pronounce correctly anymore. So just call me crescent(, from Jessamyn West's novel of adolescence, Crescent Delahanty.
These are my permanent local webpages. Other topics leading to external links are covered in the My Links section, below.
Last updated Sept 9, 2003. Very minor changes this time. Added a new poem to the JB page and fixed some broken links.
This is my latest cause, of more immediate relevance than my idle interests in history and religion. The Plaidder has stopped updating her No More Blood webpage, but keeps up the good fight with her eloquent Livejournal.
I went to their page out of interest in this so-called secret society which dates back so far into history. Their pages so fascinated me that I felt I ought to include them here. So, if you've had no idea what I've been talking about in this whole paragraph, please do find out for yourself What is a Freemason?
The more I learn about history, the more I find religion tangled up in it. And I'm quite aware that I'm vastly far from learning and understanding a great deal of history still. You might be surprised by the position taken by my Top Ten on my Doyle page.
If my little features on Margery Kempe and Mary Magdalen didn't tip you off, I'll confess. I have become fascinated by the idea of women and Christianity. The paradox of how women were held to be the root of all sin through Eve, and yet were thought to be angelic creatures whose duty was to create domestic harmony and to raise children to be moral. The idea that women must be meek and quiet in church, even though the Bible shows that Jesus and his early disciples allowed women a more active role. It's tangled up in issues of patriarchy, too, making women either chaste ideals like the Virgin Mary, or so-called whores like Mary Magdalen.
Margery Kempe fascinates me in particular because she believes that her being a servant to God is of more importance than her being a servant to man, most especially her husband. She exercises her independence, fortitude, and moral conviction by preaching in public, yet always emphasizes the need to be humble and low before God as well.
These complex conflicts between feminism and religion are not just in Christian religion, but in other religions as well, such as Islam and Buddhism. Religion seems bent on making women bear great responsibility not only for humanity's sins, but for our morals as well. Are we inferior or superior to men? --It all depends on whatever suits their purposes at the time, it seems. That's why there's two versions in Genesis for the creation of humanity--one with man and woman being made simultaneously in the image of God, and one where Eve comes from Adam's rib to be his unequal "help-mate". (I suspect that the earlier version inspired the legend of Adam's first wife, Lilith.)
So I have a fixation on religion with respect to feminism, but also with respect to faith. I veer toward atheism and agnosticism at times, yet I'm all for the idea of people having a stubborn faith in something that cannot be explained, nor proven, because there are some things in this life that are worth this kind of belief, even when unpopular. I admire people in history like Margery Kempe, the Israelites in the Bible, Arthur Conan Doyle, feminists, and many scientists too, for this kind of unswerving conviction, when others doubted them. Yet I loathe people who believe unthinkingly and accept certain things for truths simply because someone tells them so. Reformers like the Protestants broke away from Catholicism because of its rote learning and its telling people to all believe one orthodoxy and to never create and feel one's own personal knowledge of God through the Bible. And I also certainly resent that Christians, who had been persecuted for so long by Romans, began to persecute other religions as soon as they got into power, portraying all pagan and naturalistic religions as wicked, primitive heresy to be stamped out by the "correct" religion.
As you can probably tell by now, I'm a mess of contradictions about religion, as I suppose all people are, whether they know it or not. I respect religious people for their faith, yet I'm also infuriated by them when I think they've gone too far. Like Christian missionaries who may mean well, but who go into countries subverting the native faiths as if the people there couldn't think for themselves and figure out their own perfectly healthy definitions of heavens and morality.
And sorry to be forceful, but who the hell do those people think they are who (especially in Texas) shout and yell about freedom of religion when they demand for prayer in school? They sit there looking all innocent and say, "Why should the expression of my faith make people feel uncomfortable or left out?" Excuse me, but you don't know what the hell it's like being an Asian girl in a school assembly or graduation and having everybody asked to lower their heads for a prayer to Jesus Christ. I respect the historical Jesus for being a teacher of ethics and love, but I'm damn well not going to pray to him as my almighty lord in heaven. You try sitting in on a ceremony at a Buddhist temple some time and being forced to mouth the chants to Buddhism's high religious symbols, and see how you like it. I've been forced through both ceremonies, and while I'm disconcerted and embarrassed by having to perform the rote motions of my parents' religion, I am categorically hateful of the superior-than-thou attitude of the Christian torture. So leave your school prayer and "moments of silence" and "voluntary, spontaneous prayer" (which are really planned and conspired for in advance) at school sports games to yourselves. Do what you're supposed to do, and teach your children your religion and morality at HOME!
Well, now that I've got that burst of violent speech off my chest at last, I'll say that under other, more usual circumstances, I'm generally accepting of religious differences, even to the point that I don't seem to have any spiritual convictions whatsoever, because my sympathies can simultaneously go to both sides of an argument.
My spiritual outlook is also influenced partly by a lecture given by my Mythology professor some years ago. He discussed a legal dispute in Africa [I can't remember which country] between a Westernized, modern widow and the dead man's family, who insisted on ignoring his will in favor of a traditional division of his property, to prevent ancestral curses upon them. My professor pointed out that ultimately it didn't matter how irrational or superstitious the family's tribal views seemed to a modern mind, because people will still live and die according to their beliefs. "It's not what's true--who knows what's true?--it's what they believe to be true that matters. What they believe to be true will be on their minds at the moment they die. To them, believing they are cursed, or actually being cursed, will feel exactly the same."
So, indeed I feel sympathy with people like gay Christians who feel it's their right to worship their God, knowing that He loves them just as they are, and that certain passages in the Bible have been wrongly used to denounce them. And I also feel, that just once, I'd like those smug people on that Touched by an Angel show to actually confront a realistic person who is secure in his or her beliefs (or lack of them) and who won't be swayed by all the bright halos and schmaltzy lectures about how God is waiting for you to accept Him in your life. But that's not going to happen, of course. The closest we've come yet is an episode of CSI, where Grissom resists the Catholic priest trying to convince him to come back to church after an innocent man is convicted of murder. I really admired Grissom's firmness.
Finally, to close, here's some wonderful quotes by Thomas Jefferson on religion, although, yes indeed, one can find quotes from Jefferson to support almost any viewpoint. He was a prolific writer and self contradictory, but then, that's what makes him so human and real. Try also the Jefferson Bible for a fuller view.
My pages are no longer color-coded, so see the table of contents to locate all my pages.