Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bible Study: Did You Even Read This Thing?

The Bible I am working with is a New Living Translation "Live" Bible, geared toward teenagers and other people with no critical thinking skills. It is therefore interspersed with bizarre additions, such as little articles proclaiming the goodness and glory of God, crappy amateur photography with ambiguous names that are completely irrelevant to anything, and chunks of pages left blank and dubbed "creative space", as if having a little 2 by 3 square to doodle in is going to inspire great masterpieces or spiritual revelations. (Maybe it's for writing "Jesus loves me" surrounded by little hearts. I'm not going to pretend to fathom their minds.)

What I find most interesting about this, though, is their painful attempts to tie in the sordid, sickening stories of the Old Testament into the lovey-dovey stuff of the New Testament. For instance, there a little article titled "Jesus Sighting" in Deuteronomy, which discusses the story in which Jesus says that the most important commandment is to love God and have no other God before him:

"Here, God commands us to love him above all else. Jesus' answer gives us a glimpse into who he really is - no some score-keeping, rule-obsessed* deity ready to whack your hand with a ruler when you misbehave. Rather, Jesus shows us that behind all of these seemingly nit-picky laws in Deuteronomy is a loving God" (Baker et. al 183).

This saccharine little line runs completely opposite to the past seven chapters of Deuteronomy. Exactly adjacent to it is this:

Deuteronomy 7:2 - "When the Lord your God hands these nations [of Canaan] over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy."

Did you even read this thing!? You're going to go on about a loving, ineffable, infallible God, directly across from a section in which he instructs the Israelites to pillage and burn and kill indiscriminately. Commit genocide, effectively. Are you paying attention at all?! Sure, it's great that Jesus is the picture of Aristotelian morality, but you're going to proclaim that on the same page where the Israelites kill thousands of people?! Are you awake in there? How did your copy editors not see this?

*Leviticus 10 - Nahab and Abihu, Aaron's sons, use the wrong kind of incense fire on the Tabernacle, and are summarily barbecued.
Numbers 15 - A man was gathering wood on the Sabbath, and so the community brings him before the Tabernacle and asks God what to do with him. God tells them to stone him to death. So they do.
Nope, not nit-picky at all! Ahahahaahah!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bible Study: Not Understanding Sarcasm

When I first read this line in Deuteronomy, I was certain it was sarcastic, or at the very least hyperbolic. It was intended for emphasis, surely, and not to be taken seriously.

6:8 - "Tie [the ten commandments] to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders."

This was written in a long list of things to do to remember the Ten Commandments, such as telling your children and thinking about them when you're going to bed and getting up in the morning. I figured this was just another way of explaining how important the Ten Commandments are. But they didn't actually tie the Ten Commandments to their heads and foreheads, surely. That would look really silly!

This illustration was actually in my children's Bible.
Have you heard of the pharisees?
I don't know if this is still a practice in Judaism, but I know the pharisees of the Bible did, in fact, put the Ten Commandments on scrolls into little boxes, and tie the boxes to their hands and foreheads.
I don't mean to deride anyone's cultural practices, because, culture, hey, culture is great. In my culture we wear funny things, too.
But, doing this religiously, don't you think you're taking this a bit literally? This seems pretty obviously hyperbolic.

On the other hand, I guess you can't blame them for taking everything God says literally, given his propensity for incinerating people who step out of line in the slightest.
"We're starving and have been wandering in the desert for years!"
"Why is Moses constantly telling us to do stupid things, like not eat bacon?"
"Do the sacrificial goat intestines go on the left side of the altar, or the right?"

Yeah, I guess I can't blame them for their caution.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Please assume the party escort submission position

A Party Associate will be along shortly to direct you to the party.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Eerily Similar

Extra emphasis on the eerie.

This is from Doctor Who, Series 4: Silence in the Library.
Hey! Who turned out the lights?
This is from the Scooby-Doo episode Spooky Space Kook:

Admittedly, one is a guy in a scary suit trying to protect his oil or something, and the other is literally a skeleton in a space suit after the guy it belonged to was devoured by living shadows, but, well, still. Freakishly similar, am I right?

Can you tell this makes my day?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Arts and Crafts and Paper Chains

My wind chime materials don't exactly...chime. Maybe I should call them mobiles. Kinetic sculptures? All of the above just sound so...I don't know, official. A higher class of art. It's not really a sculpture. It's the result of hanging things from other things. 

Then and again, maybe the definition of art is "random things thrown together in a way that can be interpreted symbolically." It would certainly explain all of the pieces made out of sticks and sheep excrement that I saw at the Tate Gallery this summer.

Paper stars on paper chains. I just loved that line.
Also, I just noticed a creepy mask cameo.

Admittedly, it is a little late for Christmas, but I still think it's pretty. Wintry. If only I can find a way to hang it in my dorm room...

I Spy - Two barrel monkeys, a small jar of Nutella, a plastic snake, an apple, an empty spool of thread, and a bell. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Clyde the Window Cat

So named because it looks as though he was catapulted into a window. Isn't he cute, though?

He looks slightly more deformed in this photograph than he does in real life, for the record.
Unlike my other creations, he also sits up by himself! How super, right?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Of all the traditions we follow, New Year's Resolutions is possibly one of my favorite. Though it frequently ends up being silly, and consequently derided, I still like it, because it's one of the few traditions that tells you to seriously examine your habits and values. Few people seem to do this regularly, so it's nice our culture gives them an invitation to, even if most of the resolutions they make aren't followed through upon.
These aren't all of my resolutions, but they are resolutions none the less.

1. Eat cake. Enjoy the cake.
2. Make something beautiful.
3. Make wind chimes. Leave them in interesting places.
4. Think.
5. Draw with color more often.
6. Crochet a Party Escort Submission Position doll.

Should be a good year.