Friday, April 25, 2008

IKEA Hack


Another blog I follow is called IKEA hacker. People submit their really cool personalizations that take out the boxy, sameness that some may critique IKEA. Now, I'm not that cool. We just really needed a rug in front of the couch, and we needed it cheap so I bought three of the bigum rugs, stitched them together with nylon thread, and voila! a 4'x6' area rug that's not that Walmart hard carpet sample.

Reservation please?

Okay, I read a lot of blogs: theology blogs, craft blogs, people I know blogs, book blogs, and yes beauty blogs. So this morning I open up my reader and see what's in my daily candy blog. And I find out how to reserve my spot in heaven. The website, reserveaspotinheaven.com, offers no-waiting service to the afterlife with a 100% guarantee. Gimmicky? Yes. Funny? Yes, but in a slightly scary John Tetzel, indulgence type way. It's a little more risky than the LOLcat Bible. It reminds me of the wash your sins away soap. But I'm shocked really that it came up in daily candy the source of high priced luxury items that I love to look at but could never buy.

If you're interested, you have also reserve a spot in hell for your not-so-loved ones...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

God's Grammar Rules

Have you ever heard of God's Grammar Rules? I read about them in Joanne Weaver's Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. (Don't judge me. I'm learning about spirituality in all forms: hokey and academic.) She says there are two:
  1. Don't put a period where God has placed a comma.
  2. Don't put a comma where God has placed a period.
Now the first one I've seen before on a United Church of Christ banner. It's commonly used as an argument for continuing revelation--most famously for acceptance of homosexuality. At it's worst it's used to erode biblical inerrancy. But Weaver's point wasn't nearly as heretical--just that God may have a plan to persevere through hardship as seen in raising Lazarus from the dead.

The second point I had never heard before, but that doesn't mean it's not out there. Basically it was the don't be a stumbling block lecture that I'm being to think is all Christian books of this ilk.

My big problem is that there's no indication of when to apply which grammar rule. You know you have "I before e except after c...", but that's not how this works. A period and a comma are both pauses, but how do you learn which stop it is? Prayer? Maybe if you believe in continuing revelation and the pipeline theology that God telepathically inputs the right answer into your brain. I'm an advocate of: Sure pray about it. It might help you get over yourself, but don't expect a clear sign post. Just use your God-given brain and go forth. "Sin boldly but believe more boldly still," as Martin Luther said. So that's my two cents.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

OMG ROTFLOL

So you thought the Message was the most contemporary version of the Bible? It's been pwned, dude. Check this out. It's not for the faint of heart or the highly sensitive, but barring that you might pee your pants laughing. It's based off those cute cat pictures with txt type language. (I don't know what it's called, I don't text message really.) It's definitely a way to spice up daily bible reading. Man, wikis are amazing. I love the internet.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

OT Lovin'

I am really loving all my Old Testament reading. I mean Leviticus, man, it's supposed to be really boring. But today and yesterday have been about not sacrificing your children to Molech. And that takes me back to my Intro to Lit grading. They read the poem "Howl" by Alan Ginsberg (I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness), and he references Molech and so the students had to trace down the reference. And see this is what I love about Literature, it's the hunt for allusion and figuring out why the author plucks from ancient near eastern diety from one of the most obscure books of the Bible and runs with it.

I've been playing with literature a lot recently to prep for this online summer course on Religion and Literature so I've been reading Shakespeare and Dostoevsky and Flannery O'Connor and all sorts of people who are great, but somewhat unaccessible. And I don't mean that in a bad way. It's just that if I had a choice between reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Brothers Karamazov, Harry would win every time. And it's the same way with Leviticus. There are much more interesting parts of the Bible. But you need someone (in my case an unidentified blogger who is probably really just a computer spitting out so many verses) to make you sit down and read the tough stuff so you can say "Wow! I'll be okay if I never have to read that again, but I'm really glad I read it at least one. There's some good stuff there."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

God in Big Brother

Okay so we can debate the "value" of Big Brother, the CBS reality tv show where players compete for Head of Household, Power of Veto, and alliances, but have you ever noticed how much God comes into play? Today in the 10 minutes I watched before Desperate Housewives, which also prominently featured Christianity, one of the Big Brother contestants was wondering what Jesus would do during the Head of Household competition. Would Jesus throw the competition to let the only contestant who hadn't won HoH and gotten a letter from home even if it meant that he might be sent home? Is the suffering I'm going through hanging in this box parallel to the suffering Christ suffered on the cross? Too bad it's from the annoying person.

Oh the Irony!

Today in my Bible Reading blog both Proverbs 31 (the ideal Hebrew wife) and I Timothy 2 (learning in silence and submission) appeared. It's times like these were I learn to appreciate God's sense of humor.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Naming--Part II Delayed...

Ha! I just found Naming Part II in my drafts. Whoops! And it's blank. Crazy! But I do have something to talk about...

So yesterday, "bible study" was a presentation on the Ladies Aid of our church in the 1950s. One of the members is a historian so when he found the minutes from the Ladies Aid meetings, he was truly fascinated. So we talked about the culture of the '50s and how much it's changed. One of the things was how in the minutes women were referred to as Mrs. Robert Smith. When he went to find the first names in the sign up sheets he found the same thing. Eventually he had to go to records of the 60s and trace back or track down still living members and ask what the first names of these women were.

And it makes me sad though it really shouldn't. Because the reason I'm sad is that I think these women had no identity, but that's not true. They had an identity just one intricately connect to their husband. I remember passing around the bible study sign in sheet at my old church, and some women still choose to sign "Mrs. Robert Smith." Wonderful and thank God I don't have to do that. I'm not good at letting people make choices different from mine, but I'm trying... So the point I gather: naming has always been important, but that importance takes different shapes and shades.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Naming--Part 1

I've always been fascinated by names. I remember the Olympics where Picabo Street was popular, and the commentators talked about how she picked her own name when she was little and her parents had to get her a passport. I was incredibly upset when my girl cousins were born, their names rhymed but mine didn't. I love palindromic names. I love the meanings behind names. I used to do that numbers thing with names.

So when I was seriously dating (and a bit before), figuring out the name situation was very important. I liked my name, and I was always a little wary of changing it. If a name is your identity, then changing it marks a change in your identity. And yes, it does make sense to change one's name at the time of marriage because that is a significant identity shift. But I do think it is very sad that there isn't an established societal norm for men changing their names. They're missing out (and no not just in the sadistic high school way of making people suffer like I've suffered).

But here's the flip of the coin. Just because one gets married, one's WHOLE identity changes. Basic personality, characteristics, temperaments, interests all remain the same, and that should be honored too. On top of that there's respect for where one has come from. There's a whole history attached to a name: individual, familial, and cultural. And this weekend I was really glad for my hyphen because it held my familial contacts tight.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Maybe this is why I should read the Bible...

Okay you need to know this: I am not good at daily Bible reading. I've tried reading in the morning, but I'd sleep the extra 15 minutes instead. I've subscribed to the Moravian daily texts email, but they want you to look the passages up (horrible I know!). And the Moravian emails do include two bible verses and a prayer, but they go to my aol account which I scroll through really fast so it barely comprehends most days. I like classes that make you translate the Bible so you HAVE to read it to get a good grade.

Then yesterday, I had read everything in my Google reader and they had some suggested blogs and one was all about the ESV (English Standard Version--one of the newer translations, pretty good) and it had a link to a daily bible reading blog (RSS feed, whatever).* So I've subscribed, if you click over you can see that we're in the middle of Leviticus (ugh even for a Hebrew person), a psalm or two, a chapter of Proverbs, and 2 Thessalonians. We'll see how long I last, because I'm a fan of the short blog post (which this won't be, sorry!). But you know it's God's Word and that's good right?

So that was the preface. Here's the story: I'm reading along in Leviticus 14 and I come to verse 34 “When you come into the land of Canaan, which I give you for a possession, and I put a case of leprous disease in a house in the land of your possession," Excuse me? God puts a case of leprous disease in my house? Instantly, I'm thrown back into numerous college and seminary discussions about omnipotence and why bad things happen to good people. Normally my answer is "sin in the world." But holy cow if that doesn't speak to sometimes God just does it. I mean it's the Job thing where God offers up Job for suffering just cause the devil's bored from wandering about the earth. ** It's "who sinned this man or his parents? Neither but to show the power of God" (or something like that). I find it very interesting that in Leviticus there is no discussion about why God would put leprous disease in the house. It's just here's the sitch, this is what you do. And it doesn't sit right with me. (It kind of makes me long for my self-study Bible with its unholy footnotes.) But sometime we don't have an answer.

So what's the point? I don't know. The problem of evil is more difficult than most of us can wrestle with in a blog post. But it keeps me from being dogmatic, from giving Sin more power than God, from being too dismissive about people's real and honest struggles. Maybe that's why I should keep reading my bible blog.

*Okay so here is the link to the main page thing. If you'd like to check it out, they have all sorts of options. I think it's pretty stinkin' cool.

** You need to know this is just a summary. It is not a well-thought out and worded synopsis. And I don't think I'm being flippant; I'm just trying to not let blogging take up my life. If you have any qualms with the theology of this blog please read the subtitle. Thanks!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Women's Leadership Institute

This weekend I attended the Women's Leadership Institute conference in Milwaukee, WI. The WLI is an "educational initiative" of my church body, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, to raise up women as leadership in the church from bible study to I guess national level. It's only a couple years old, we'll allow them to be a bit vague.

I went to network. And it would have been good if not for inner conflict of figuring out how to label myself (librarian, scholar, hopeful scholar, wishful wanderer). But I reconnected with some great friends. Talked about women's roles in the church which is always a blast. And saw Paul Maier who is a spitfire.

Overall, I'm glad the WLI exists. I'm glad people are trying to come together and talk about how women can serve in the church. I hope it stays a positive influence in my denomination and doesn't become another source of polarization.