31 October 2007

Happy Hallormation Day!

So the other day I took some pictures of Sparky for today--one of him "reading the Bible," which was conveniently perched next to his tank, and the other of him surrounded by Halloween candy. He was celebrating Halloween as well as Reformation Day! Unfortunately, Kodak Easy Share wasn't so easy to share, so no pictures :(

We all know what Halloween is, but for those of you not in the know, Reformation Day (which is NOT the Christian anti-Halloween, it's just incredibly convenient that they're on the same day) is the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the chapel in Wittenburg, Germany, therefore starting the Reformation and changing the face of the Church forever. While nailing ideas to the door of a church may seem like a radical statement today, it was actually quite normal--the doors of the church were like a community bulletin board where people could put up notices and ideas for academic debate.

So, Happy Hallormation Day!

27 October 2007

Plane People: The Other Side of the Story (Part 2)

When we last left off, Chuck, my fellow community-building plane person, was about to make a crucial decision: risk social awkwardness and start a new topic of conversation or turn back to his spot in line and pretend to read his book.

The choice was his.

I could practically hear the gears turning in his head.





Chuck smiled (albeit defeatedly) and turned around, flipping the pages of his book to get back to where he left off. For the rest of our time in the line Sarah and Michael chatted, but I wasn't listening. All I could think about (in a non-creepy, non-stalkerish kind of way) was Chuck and his failed attempt at harboring community. Why had it failed? Every once in awhile he'd glance back, defeat written all over his face. Was he not friendly enough? Were these seemingly friendly college students really just a group of anti-social hooligans who were there for the free food and a brush with literary fame?

Okay, the free food was definitely a draw.

And the brush with literary fame was really why all of us were there.

So why didn't Chuck's attempt work? Because, as much as I share Chuck's passion for harboring comunity and as much as we were all perfectly pleasant, we weren't receptive to it. It's not that we purposefully ignored Chuck, but we also weren't willing for some reason to contribute any more than was necessary to the conversation. See, that's the other side of the story of the Plane People. That woman that I sat next to on my flight (the one with the Funions) may have been the world's best Type 2 person having a bad day. She wasn't open and receptive to my attempts at building community just like I wasn't open and receptive to Chuck's attempts at the same goal.

I've had this entry saved for a few days, trying to figure out the right way to end it with a witty phrase or a cute anecdote. I've got nothing. All that I can say is that being receptive to a new friend is just as important as trying to be one yourself. We can have the most elaborate pity party in the world over our lack of friends, but if at the end of the day we turn down an invitation to grab lunch or watch a movie with a few people, what does that say?

26 October 2007

What's the Story, Morning Glory?

In a bit of liturgical spontaneity, here's a morning prayer written by Martin Luther. I like it.

My Heavenly Father, I thank You, through Jesus Christ Your beloved Son, that You kept me safe from all evil and danger last night. Save me, I pray, today as well, from every evil and sin, so that all I do and the way that I live will please You. I put myself in Your care, body and soul and all that I have. Let Your holy angels be with me, so that the evil enemy will not gain power over me. Amen.

23 October 2007

How Come Dumbledore Has a Boyfriend and I Don't?

I'm a self-avowed fan, a connoseiur of all things Harry Potter...a Pottermaniac if you will. Sure, I'm not quite to the level of going to midnight launch parties at Barnes & Noble dressed as Hermoine, but I did read each of the books in less than two days and was actually depressed when I finished the last installment. I love Oxford (in part) because I think it looks like Hogwarts. I've often wondered what butterbeer would taste like. I waited in line for two and a half hours for the midnight showing of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" when it came out this summer.

I'm not quite as obsessed as I sound, I promise.

With this kind of Potter-fan street cred (and an obviously Christian world view on life), one would think that my response to the news that Dumbledore, the venerated Hogwarts head master, is gay in the eyes of J.K. Rowling would be somewhat extreme. To be completely honest, when I heard the news yesterday I responded with a resounding and impassioned "okay, and?"
I may have shrugged.
I may have rolled my eyes.
But mostly, it was "okay." C'est la vie, let him be a gay wizard.

I was a little taken aback, yes, but in the same way I would have been had I found out that Dumbledore was a widower or had an illegitimate child. He's the kind of trustworthy, fatherly character that is blissfully conflict-free--isn't the possibility that he could've had anything to do with the Dark Arts what bothered Harry so much in this last book?

Call me what you may, I just don't see what the big deal is either way, and to be completely honest, I think J.K. Rowling's a little bit of a fool for bringing it up now. If it was that important of a plot point she should have put it in the book, and bringing it up now seems a little useless. Romantic relationships have never been a central theme of the book. Love was, but never in a romantic sort of way. Sure, there was that tension between Ron and Hermoine, and Harry and Ginny ended up together in the end, but those were side plots that always took second fiddle to the main story. Dumbledore never had a relationship with anyone in any of the books, so why should it matter now? More so, are we to question the sexuality of every character in the book who doesn't have a relationship? Perhaps Professor Trelawney was in a secret lesbian relationship with Professor McGonagall and that's the real reason she was asked to leave in book 5! Maybe Madam Hooch had another type of profession on the side. We were all a little weirded out by the close relationship that Flich had with his cat, Mrs. Norris...perhaps it was more than owner and pet. Scandal!

Really, people.

I say let the magical world of Harry Potter reside between book covers. Since the last book was released, Rowling has revealed a lot of facts about the characters that weren't in the books. Personally, I'd like to remember Harry, Ron, and Hermoine the way I read them, so I think I'll take Rowling's revelations with a handful of Bernie Bott's Every Flavor Beans...avoiding the earwax flavored ones, of course.

22 October 2007

Plane People: The Other Side of the Story (Part 1)

I met a celebrity last weekend.

Are you familiar with the written word?

Are you familiar with a certain #1 bestselling novel entitled "The Devil in the White City"?

Are you familiar with Erik Larson, the author of the aforementioned novel?

I'll give you a moment to be impressed.

Okay, maybe 'celebrity' is a wee bit of an exaggeration, but I was excited to take a ride out to the 'burbs and spend an hour or so with an amazing author, a full punch bowl of apple cider (see previous post), and about 149 of my closest friends. He gave a short lecture which included a brief but thrilling homage to the wonders of Google, to which my friend Sarah and I raised our hands in college student triumph, illiciting a point and smile from the bestselling author...it pretty much made my life complete. Afterwards, as I waited in line with Sarah for the book signing, I saw the other side of the moon, so to speak.
There was a "plane person" trying to build community. And I was part of the community to be built.

That's right, my one-person-community-building-machine met its match at a booksigning next to the punch bowl.

Sarah, her boyfriend Michael, and I were standing in line, discussing how rather impressed we were with our college selves for rolling out of bed and to a library on a Saturday when the man in front of us (who I've endearingly named Chuck) turned around, "Really, what college?" We stopped. He really asked us a question? Sarah, ever the extrovert, answered him while I tried to smile pleasantly and Mike sipped his cider, avoiding eye contact. We chatted for a few minutes about the average waking time of college students during the weekend and I, being a fellow community-building machine myself, knew what was coming next: the topic was exhausted, it was time for a new one. I looked at Chuck, trying to silently encourage him in our joint pursuit. "I understand" my pleasant gaze said, "You have to come with this on your own though." He looked a little bit like one of those puppies in the pet store that wakes up from a nap only to find 10 eight-year-olds staring at him. "Why are you staring at me like that?" his eyes responded.

Would he ask another question to keep the conversation going or would he turn around and pretend to read his book?

Find out next time! Same bibLooHoo time, same bibLooHoo channel....

16 October 2007

Blog Lust

I made a huge mistake today.

I read another blog.

"Now that's not such a big deal" you may say. "It's not like you're cheating on yours." But it is. Oh, it is. This wasn't a normal blog that one of my friends writes in every once in awhile ("today I had tea and went to class...") this wasn't even one of my professors' blogs ("deuterocanonical hermeneutical patristic blabbidy blah blah blah"). This was a real. good. blog. A Brad Pitt meets Orlando Bloom meets George Clooney kind of blog. One that, dare I say, I experienced blog lust over.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet my

It started out simple enough; trying to elude my homework once again, I resorted to checking out the Blogs of Note on the Blogger sign-in page. "Maybe someday my little blog will be noteworthy," I thought to myself, glancing down the list in the guise of looking for something interesting but secretly hoping to see 'bibLooHoo' amongst its ranks. No such luck. I did, however, find something fairly interesting looking: a blog named [redacted]. "Now that's interesting." Thoughts of Biblical text redaction ran through my mind, maybe we could partner up, bounce ideas off each other, blog on common ground!

My geeky heart racing, I clicked on the link. Mistake #1.
I started to read. Mistake #2.

This. guy. is. good.

really. good.

So. good. that. he. doesn't. feel. the. need. to. put. periods. between. all. his. words.

Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy my blog. I think it's fun. I think it's enjoyable. I think it has a certain amount of chutzpah. But let's be honest people, this is like putting my next door neighbor Todd the Accounting major against Matthew McConaughey. It's just not a fair fight. I sat in awe of the writing, the layout, the intense wit of it all--it was like the lovechild of the "Gilmore Girls" writers and Robin Williams. For about thirty seconds, I considered putting brackets around my title to make it look cooler. I was experiencing serious blog lust--wishing that I could have another blog; bigger, better, more witty! This blog was definitely the Beauty, and mine is definitely the Geek.

After sitting at my computer for awhile trying to write an entry but failing for lack of confidence, I realized something. Remember that scene in "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton" where Tad (the hot movie star) buys a farm and Pete (the geeky best friend) offers to show him some farm chores? They both end up shirtless, with Tad showing off washboard abs and Pete....well, not so much. I'm not gonna lie, I'd take Pete over Tad any day. I realized that my blog is Pete. It may not have a link to a magazine or 28 comments per post and counting, but it's fun. It's genuine. It has a witty description. It could delve into the field of redaction if it so felt the need. I don't need to wish that mine were so much like another to appreciate it. I like it just the way it is, thank you very much. Today I choose to appreciate blogs that are better than mine as well as what I've got.

So now I must bring some virtual flowers to my blog and apologize for my brief fling with another. It won't happen again. I promise.

15 October 2007

bibLooHoo Goes Green

Did you know that today is Blog Action Day?

Exciting, isn't it?

When I saw this most auspicious of holidays on the Blogger homepage this morning, images of bloggers in superhero costumes came to mind. What, praytell, are we supposed to be taking action on? Making like the cat, I let my curiosity get the best of me (although I am still here...curiosity, you may have gotten the cat, but you're no match for me! muahaha...) and clicked on the link. Turns out that Blog Action Day is all about raising awareness for the environment, and for this occasion, bibLooHoo is going green!

(...okay the color scheme has always been green, but today we're seeing as well as acting green.)

To be completely honest, I'm not sure how I feel about Global Warming--is it just a natural cycle that the Earth goes through? Is it something that humans alone are responsible for? I honestly have no idea.

I'm a Bible student, not a Climatologist, and if you think that the Bible has nothing to say on this topic, then, my friend, today is your lucky day...

Genesis 1-2--agree with this story of Creation or not, you can't deny that it's important in the greater scope of literature, culture, and religion. What's more important, it's chock-a-block full of "green" themes:
The first setting of humanity is in a garden. You really can't get any more green than that. And this isn't purely a Biblical motif either, gardens are one of the most frequent archetypes through every culture in the entire world--it's right up there with flood stories and serpents in terms of interculturality.
2:15--God puts Adam in the garden to take care of it, implying that taking care of the Earth is a God-given responsibility
The very name "Adam" implies connection with the Earth--the Hebrew word used here for land is "adamah." Therefore naming man "adam" is not only a witty wordplay, but a testament to the relationship between man and the land---which isn't to say that it's a holy one, as the only way that "adam" was given life was through the breath of God.

This is obviously an incredibly minute slice of the pie in terms of references in the Bible and how the Christian community is reacting to environmental issues, so I urge you to check out the following sites:

Professor speaks about Christians and stewardship of the Earth
The Christian Environmental Studies Center at
Montreat College in North Carolina

...and for those interested in making a difference while staying beautiful,
www.lush.com carries environmentally-friendly soaps, cosmetics, masks, shaving supplies, you name it. A friend and I got pulled aside at the Lush at Marshall Fields in Chicago once. It was amazing. If you want to hear why, I'll give you the most amazing testimony ever. Trust me. This stuff is good.

12 October 2007

I Thought Jesus Would've Had a More Masculine Voice...

One of my professors showed this in class today. Seriously, he did.

Please click the link.

10 October 2007

The Glories of Fall

Um, I love fall. That's it. And to prove why you should love fall too, I've compiled the following list:

1. Leaves. Did you know that the state economy of New Hampshire actually depends on people coming to look at their leaves in the fall? They even have a cute term for those tourists--leaf peepers. Clearly, dying foliage must be gorgeous for an entire economy to hang on it, and besides, think of it as God's painting. :)

1a. Leaves on the Ground--not to be confused with just plain old leaves, leaves on the ground are much more fun because they can be either jumped in, stepped on (to produce a wonderful crunching sound), or some combination of the above.

1b. I only included this because a certain professor of mine insists that outlines can only have an a if they also have a b. Take that.

2. Apple Cider. Seriously. What day isn't made about a billion times better by a warm mug of apple cider?

2a. Carmel Apples--nothing takes the nutritional content of fruit down quite like molten sugar. Yum!

2b. Apple Pie--as American as baseball, hot dogs, and really nice teeth.

3. Pumpkins. They're orange and globular. You can carve them to make funny (or scary) faces. They make tasty pie. Really, where's the complaint?

3a. Okay, pumpkin in any sort of bread form is a peculiar allergy of mine, but I choose to ignore that this time of year. Viva le pumpkin!

3b. See 1b.

4. School. Yes I'm a geek, but admit it, you like going back to school (even if it's only for a day) in the fall, too.

5. Weekend Trips--for some reason they're always more fun in the fall. Example: I went home last weekend. It was lovely. How lovely you ask? Well, I got a half birthday party, my sister and brother-in-law came over, we went out to an amazing dinner, and my mom read me a bedtime story--except instead of a story, it was the Yale Divinity School faculty profiles and she kept tripping over words like "deuterocanonical" and "Pentateuch." It was glorious.

I vote we all go out and enjoy fall this weekend. Last to jump in the leaf pile is a rotten pumpkin!

The Power of the Gospel--Part 3

So now that we know when the Gospels were written, on to another (seemingly boring but surprisingly fascinating) topic: their genre.

Stick with me.

It may seem, like so many things, inconsequential to wonder what genre the Gospels are, but it actually makes a huge difference in the way we read and understand them. Think about it: you wouldn't open up a Dan Brown novel and expect a romance novel would you? (Well, apart from his obligatory awkward hook-up in the last chapter of every novel he writes, no.) You wouldn't crack an Agatha Christie and expect historical fiction just as you wouldn't open "The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire" and expect a thriller. You know what to expect because you're aware of the book's genre. The same holds true for the Gospels. We may assume that the Gospels are their own genre, and for awhile Biblical scholars would have agreed with you, but it's actually not the case.

The Gospels are biography, right?
Well, half wrong.
In reality, they're a type of Ancient Biography, which is quite different than our (modern) idea of biography. Ancient Biographies don't put any emphasis on the subject's psychological development (which if you think about it, makes sense since psychology is a relatively new science), they put heavy emphasis on the subject's death, and use quotes loosely so that they can be changed to fit the occasion or argument of the author.

Did that hit a nerve?

That nerve (which, if the above paragraph didn't bother you at all, should have been somewhere around "use quotes loosely") is because our modern concepts of truth and accountability in writing are very different than those ideas in the Ancient Near East. That's not to say that it was a free-for-all of authorship; the rules were just a little bit different. Hence why it's so important to keep the genre in mind whilst reading the Gospels. That discrepancy between Matthew and John? Probably an issue of what point they were trying to prove when they wrote their respective Gospels. Bothered because Jesus' childhood isn't documented. Sorry, but you'll just have to accept that that was the way biographies were written back in the day. We don't read Charles Dickens and expect Ernest Hemingway, so why should we read Matthew and expect Walter Cronkite? While the enduring themes of the Gospels (my next topic) are certainly applicable today, we must keep in mind that the times and culture were different.

Happy Birthday, Blog!

Yup, it's been a whole month. Here's to many more to come.

09 October 2007

Plane People: Part 2

Dr. Willitts, if you're reading this, I'm really sorry that I'm writing this instead of doing my synthesis, but sometimes a girl just needs a break from writing verbless, five-word titles to the entire book of John.

And so, with a clean conscience, I wrap up the epic tale of my quest to build some Christian community on my flight this past weekend. When we last left the tale, my Type 2 companion had taken a seat far away from me on the plane. It was back to square one. I attempted to form a game plan as I stared out the window, admiring the baggage handlers' toss and crunch technique.
Note to self: never check luggage again.
I picked up a copy of the in-flight magazine and started to page through it, still wallowing in despair over my botched plan. What to do? I could abandon my quest, do some homework for the duration of the flight, and try again on the return trip, but no! That's not what Jesus would do! He'd make a friend, gosh darn it! There was still a steady stream of passengers making their way down the aisle, so I figured this was the time for action. Putting my magazine away in the seatback, I buckled my seatbelt, folded my hands in my lap, and fixed what I deemed to be a friendly smile on my face.

Phase 2 had begun.

I looked every approaching passenger in the eye as they made their way past. It's only now that I realize I probably looked like a cult member eager to make my conversion quota, but let's not dwell on past mistakes, shall we? One by one, souls potentially in need of a friend filed past me. Perhaps it was my choice of row. Perhaps it was the (possibly) creepy smile on my face. For whatever reason, it took awhile for the seats next to me to fill up. Passenger #1 arranged her carry on in the overhead compartment and sat down, avoiding eye contact and arranging her personal effects, taking out her phone and checking it one last time before turning it off. "That's a slick looking phone," I thought, "It sort of looks like..." Eureka! I leaned over. "Is that the new Razr?" I asked, trying to look as unenthusiastically interested, yet still friendly, as possible. She smiled. I had struck gold again. "Yes, actually I got one of the old ones," she pointed at the phone in my hand, which so happened to match the description, "but then the new ones went on sale so I traded it in." It was friendship at first phone sighting. We chatted for a bit about the marvels of cellular phones (yes, I am old enough to remember a time when they didn't exist) until Passenger #2 arrived; a young woman not too much older than me plopping in the middle seat between me and my newfound companion. Still riding the high of finding another Type 2 to talk to, I attempted to engage her in instant friendly banter a la The Importance of Being Earnest. "Is that a camera bag?" I asked, pointing to the obvious baggage at her feet.
"So does that mean you're a photographer?"

I now know what it feels like to be some hopeless sap trying to pick up a girl.
Gentlemen, I give you credit.

I decided to try for one more conversation starter. It had to be good. Something timeless. Something that could form some community. Something foolproof.
Taking a breath, I ventured, "Are you going home or on vacation?"
"I'm going to see my parents. My camera's sort of going on vacation with me."
More than one word, but the strike out became obvious as she pulled out a bag of Funions and flipped open the latest copy of Elle. No Type 2 here, if only because the only thing more socially revolting than a full bag of Funions would have been a clove of garlic. I considered asking if she wanted the window seat so I could keep talking to Passenger #1 sitting in the aisle seat, but she too was reading a magazine now.

My plan had failed.

Nobody in the row exchanged words for the rest of the flight save for Passenger #1 offering Passenger #2 and myself a piece of gum during takeoff. My attempt at building community seemed to have failed...

...or did it? ::scratches chin::

08 October 2007

Giggle, Giggle

Sorry for the poor photo quality, I had to take this with my webcam, however, it's definitely
the funniest thing I've seen in a long time:

If you can't read what it says on the bottom, it says, "Hold on--I think you got my toast."

Get it?

It's Moses. teehee.

07 October 2007

Plane People: Part 1

This summer, I contemplated a lot on the nature of Christian community. I studied Ephesians, preached a sermon on it, thought about it. Recently, I've decided to do something about it--why should I be spending all this time studying something and not encouraging it? I will talk with people who need someone to talk with! I will include the left out! In short, I will be a one-person community harboring machine! I got my big chance to test my skills this weekend. During my trip to see my parents, in which I had a one and a half hour flight each way, I was determined to make a few more people in the world feel like they made a new friend that day. It was during this quest that I decided that there are two types of plane people in this world.

Type 1 is the person who sits down, turns on their iPod, and generally wallows in their cocoon of self-travel. These are the type of people who refuse any contact from the outside world--they don't ask for drinks or food from the flight attendants. They don't talk to anyone else. They tend to wince when spoken to.
Type 2 are the type of people who bring a book, but rarely read it because they're so busy talking to their fellow flight-goers. They're okay with taking the middle seat because that means there are more opportunities for discussion with two neighbors. They don't bring any music or extra work for fear of being shut off from the outside world save for a Sudoku book, and in all honesty that's only really a fall back for if they're surrounded by Type 1 people as described above. They tend to order the Bloody Mary Mix from the flight attendant. I haven't figured that one out yet.

I'm a bi-plane person if there ever was one. I can curl up in a corner, put on my iPod, and flip my hoodie up like any self-respecting college student, but sometimes I like to walk on the wild side, meet somebody new, have a conversation without even knowing their name. This weekend, I was the latter. I did draw the line at the Bloody Mary Mix, though.

My sojourn into community building began before I even got to the gate. I was standing in line at Potbelly Sandwiches, salivating along with everyone else in a twenty foot radius (in part because that's how amazing that place smells, and in part because that's how long the line was, which I suppose is a testament for how amazing the place smells) when I decided that I was going to be a Type 2 plane person for this trip. The man behind me looked pleasant enough, so I decided to make a friend. I started off easy, "Do you have the time?" This was quite ingenius in part because he had just looked at his watch (so I knew he did) and I actually needed to know what time it was (another convenience). "Five after seven" he replied, and promptly flipped open a copy of PC Magazine. This was a Type 1 kind of guy. Not to be out-geeked by PC Magazine, I contented myself by reading my Yale Divinity School viewbook. I'd like to pretend that he was impressed.

After getting my sandwich, I made my way to the gate. "Okay, you'll find yourself someone here" I told myself as I took my place at the back of the line and dug into my roast beef on wheat. The man in line in front of me looked over, "Is this the line for Baltimore?" Jackpot. I nodded, my mouth full of tasty goodness. He had made the first move, the next was mine. I gulped down my (probably too large) mouthful of heaven, so as not to miss the window of opportunity. "Are you going home or traveling?" I asked, trying to look as innocently inquisitive as possible. He smiled. Double jackpot. This man was a Type 2. "Home. You?" Triple jackpot. Explaining why going to my parents' house was sort of home, sort of not was a sure conversation starter. "Well, sort of," I answered, playing with some rogue lettuce that had escaped my sandwich, "I'm going to see my parents, but it's not technically home...we moved around a lot." My plan worked. For the next fifteen minutes or so we chatted about a little bit of everything, from where and why my family moved so much to his kids to my interesting choice of major.
"Theology?" he asked. I had never seen a look so mixed between incredulity and suspicion before.
"Actually, my concentration is in Bible, but the degree is Biblical and Theological Studies."
"So, what are you gonna do with a Theology degree?"
"Bible. And I'm planning on getting my PhD, teaching and writing for a few years, then pastoring when I'm older."
"Wow, that's impressive. I wish my kids could come up with a plan like that...so are you Catholic?"
"Well, no. I'm Protestant. I couldn't be a pastor if I were Catholic."
"What's the difference anyways? I bet a Theology major would know."
"I bet one would, but I guess you've got to settle for a Bible major. There are a few differences between Catholics and Protestants..."

We talked for awhile more, pointing out the differences between the two sects in understandable terms--he pointing something out and me explaining it more for him (for example, as we were walking onto the plane, he exclaimed, "Protestants don't pray to Mary!" I tried explaining that technically nobody prays to Mary, they ask Mary to pray to God for them and the concept of the communion of saints, but that went over like a lead balloon). Right before we stepped onto the plane, he stopped to adjust his bag, letting me step ahead of him. Perfect. Now, the "who to sit with?" ball was in his court. I didn't look like the obsessive kid in need of a friend if I sat next to him. I made my way about a third of the way down the plane, found a comfortable looking seat, and turned around to say something to my newfound friend. Alas, there he was, albeit about ten rows behind me hunkering down into a seat. I had lost my Type 2 companion. It was time for a new gameplan...

Find out what happens next! Same bibLooHoo time, same bibLooHoo channel....

I'm Baaaaaaack!

Sorry for the absence there; an interesting combination of papers becoming due and a much-needed trip to see my parents prevented me from blogging for the past few days.

You know that old credo "If you love something, let it go. If it comes back, it's really yours"? Yeah, that's how I feel about this blog now.
I left.
I missed it.
I've come back.
We should be making it official any day now.

I'm going to try to update every day this week to make up for my recent truancy. No papers due next week, so there shouldn't be a problem. We'll see how it goes.

--If you want to leave comments now, you'll have to do what's called word verification--the form shows you a word and you have to type it in to prove that you're a human and not a spam machine. Don't worry, it's not anything weird, I just put it up because I got my very first comment spam the other day. Part of me is proud because that means that even the spammers know my little blog exists now. A bigger part of me is annoyed, and thus the extra security measure. Carry on.
--"The Power of the Gospel" will continue, I promise. Paper, parents, remember?
--I haven't forgotten that I promised pictures of Langsea Dibley from forever ago. As soon as the new parents get enough spare time to e-mail me the pictures they took, I'll put them up. Expect them about 18 years from now.

04 October 2007

The Particularly Prickly Professor

Ever since my days of giggly high school crushes, I've adopted the following mantra when faced with an intimidating person: they have to take a pee like everyone else. It's a little crass and a little immature, but really, try it out next time you get called into a meeting with your boss or that particularly gorgeous barista at Starbucks smiles at you. It's quite the equalizer.

I have a professor here at school who I just can't seem to get along with. When this person wants me to do one thing, I always seem to be doing the exact opposite: a paper is due one class, I thought it was due the next; they insist on being ten minutes early to everything, I miraculously seem to run late to everything they're involved with; they demand perfection, I can't seem to get it right. It's just not a good relationship. I've tried reminding myself that they too have to visit the commode at the end of the day time and again, but this has only resulted in my convincing myself that they don't--surely they are superhuman and subsist on vitamins and nothing else, resulting in a lack of commode-needing! My mantra has failed me with this particularly prickly professor.

Surprisingly enough, over the past few days, it has been this professor who has relieved a lot of my stress over papers and a disappointing semester, and they don't even know it. With only a few unusual comments and off-the-cuff discussions, they've made me feel a lot better about my situation. And that's surprising. So often we expect God to send us the kind angel, a Tiny Tim of sorts, to heal us in our hour of need, but what we really get is a reformed Scrooge. Maybe it's because God likes to be unpredictable. Maybe it's because we forget to look for the good in people. I'd like to think that it's because even Scrooge, in all his prickliness, also had to visit the chamber pot once in awhile. Maybe he found my professor there a time or two.

03 October 2007

Just a Thought...

Warning: If my posts this week seem sporadic, it's because I'm working on a paper in my Hebrew Prophets class on the first chapter of Joshua. Oddly enough, I'm actually enjoying it. For the first time, I'm actually realizing how the Bible shows God's faithfulness--He makes a promise, He goes through with it no matter what. It may sound like a simple idea, but it's actually quite groundbreaking for me.

Joshua 1. Read it.

01 October 2007

The Power of the Gospel--Part 2

As promised, here's that first bit about the Gospels. Today I'm concentrating on when the Gospels were written. I'm getting most of my information from Richard A. Burridge's book "Four Gospels, One Jesus?" It's an excellent book (as noted in my "Books I Dig" list), and it's a really easy read. I highly suggest it if this is all interesting to you.

Like I said before, the Gospels are incredibly important, but incredibly misunderstood (they're the Gen-Xers, remember?) As one of my best friends put it, "It's like playing a 2,000 year old game of telephone," what was said at the beginning of the line isn't always what we get down here at the end. I'll admit that getting "Jimmy rode a squirrel to the fair" from "Timmy threw a scroll in the air" is more than half the fun of playing telephone, but when we're talking about things that people put their lives down for, misinterpretation doesn't seem quite as fun.

Last semester I caught myself watching "The View" (yes, "The View." It was after "Regis and Kelly," I was bored, and it was either that or "Maury" so I think I made the right choice), and one of the hostesses started complaining, "I don't get why [Christians] put so much faith in the Gospels, weren't they written like 200 years after the fact?" I have to admit, this is one of my biggest pet peeves ever. I didn't turn off the TV, though I should have. Instead, I settled for rolling my eyes in frustration. And so, I will tell you an incredibly important distinction: the New Testament as we know it was made into the canon (meaning, the books were chosen to be part of the New Testament Scriptures) over the course of a few centuries AD (or CE, for Common Era, depending on how PC you want 2B....like all the abbreviations?) This doesn't mean that the books were written during this time. This does mean that they were floating around for centuries before all that happened; putting them all together cemented common beliefs and excluded "gospels" out there that were contrary to Christian beliefs.

So that leaves the mystery of when exactly the Gospels were written. Fun fact of the day: the four Gospels that are in the New Testament--Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John--probably weren't actually written in that order. Why they were put in that order is fodder for another post. What most scholars agree on today is that Mark was probably first, followed Matthew and Luke (who probably used Mark's Gospel as a reference), ending with John. There are a lot of ideas about when each of these were written, but my opinion (after studying the topic incredibly briefly, so please don't take this as the end all, be all fact on literary timelines) is that they were all written sometime between 70 CE and the 90s CE. Here (in the simplest and most non-boring terms I can come up with) is why:

1) 70 CE is the date that the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem fell due to the Romans. I can't say how hugely terrible this was for them. It's my opinion that the Gospels were written in response to that and the crisis of faith that came after it--the Temple was the center of religious life for first century Jews, and since Christianity came from Judaism, a full fledged faith crisis came from that center no longer existing. Some scholars suggest that Mark wrote around 70 CE.
2) John, as the final Gospel, had to have been written by about 130 CE, since that's when the earliest manuscripts were dated. I think it's around the 80s-90s because if it were in the 70s, the book would have definitely mentioned the Fall of the Second Temple (which it doesn't), but if it were written, say a decade or so, later, it would be assumed that the readers already knew about it and not give the issue so much credence. Take, for example, an important document written in 2002--it would reek of references to the events of September 11. However, a document written today and four years from now would have significantly less reference to that event. This same idea applies to John's Gospel.

Get it? Got it? Good.
See you next time.