Wednesday, June 25, 2008

hair... the long and the short of it

As I've mentioned before, I have great hair. This weekend, I had a little fun with it...

I started by putting it up into little ponytails then cutting them all off for a chunky, edgy, spiky look. Surprisingly, this worked pretty well.

But I got to thinking... my hair has been about this short before... why not take it to the next level? I have always been a bit intrigued by the thought of going super duper short... So with the help of my lover, I made the plunge.

Why? Aside from just feeling up to experimenting, I have been feeling a growing desire to go back to my natural color, and embrace my patches of prematurely gray hairs. I've always got a kick out of coloring my hair, I have been fiery red, deep auburn, had blond highlights, been inky black, and, of course, all manner of lovely browns. My own true color is something along the lines of a ferrous metal (ie, iron) and now it is liberally sprinkled with silver especially over my ears. As the distance between my last application of warm brown henna hair coloring has lengthened exposing those iron and gray roots, instead of feeling the need to run to the store for more of that lovely herbal hair stainer I was instead feeling more and more of an urge to cut off all those tinted locks and get back to my roots (so to speak). This was not a spur of the moment thing... I have been contemplating this for several weeks (that counts as pre-meditated, right?)
Anyhow, well see how this goes... particularly as I approach the awkward fuzzy in-between stage of this buzz. But, for now, I am really enjoying this zero maintenance summer haircut!
(And you should have seen the look my bishop gave me on Sunday!)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Misquoting Jesus (misquoting Joseph?)

Yes... I am 50+ pages deep in yet another book, this time it is Misquoting Jesus, by Bart Ehrman. I'm going to have to put it aside to focus on Ehrman's God's Problem, but I can't wait to go back to it.

So far it has been along the lines of a Gospel Doctrine teacher's dream... oh so much proof that the Bible is full of mistakes (both accidental mistranslations and intentional alterations).
For me, it has been eye-opening in another way. As Ehrman has laid the groundwork for the emergence of Christianity from Judaism (to show the formation of the written Bible as we have it today), I see a lot of parallels with the emergence of Mormonism from Christianity; A movement started by a charismatic young visionary, growing out of an older pre-existing tradition, gaining a devoted following (that are persecuted by members of the older tradition as well as the political leaders), the calling of other leaders to help manage the growing numbers of members (and the changes these new leaders bring to the movement), the martyrdom of the original charismatic leader but the continued growth of the movement anyways, the politics of leadership within the organization, the clashes over doctrine, the eventual solidifying into a cohesive acceptable doctrine and practice, the emphasis by the leadership on the 'apostolic tradition' of the church as the antidote to questions over scriptural interpretations (i.e. they have the "authority" from God and are divinely inspired to know the true interpretations), the cleansing of the church by casting out 'heretics' who's interpretations do not meld, the fringe groups, the splinter groups, etc...

Ehrman's intent has been to show how far removed the 'official' collection of writings that make up the bible is from the actual life and teachings of Jesus.

Likewise I can't help but think how far removed from Joseph Smith the current LDS church is today. Harold Bloom commented " an outsider, I am puzzled by the current SLC hierarchy. If there is any spiritual continuation between Smith and Gordon B. Hinkley I am unable to see it." -Sunstone March 07 pg 18

It seems that both movements use their respective founders as mascots for organizations that have little in common with the founder's original intents.

Of course, this isn't what Misquoting Jesus is about, I just couldn' t help making my own (uneducated and un-researched) connections.
(Growing I was always taught that Joseph Smith, like all the prophets, was a type and a shadow of Jesus Christ. Perhaps this feeds into my reading.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

God's Problem

(also posted at the Exponent II)

Anyone up for a group discussion of Bart Ehrman's book God's Problem?

Bart Ehrman was raised a devout Christian, spending an extensive college career devoted to the Bible and training to become a minister. After serving for some time in various churches he found himself becoming more and more conflicted about how the Bible (and the Christian tradition) tries to explain why people suffer. In God's Problem, Ehrman delineates the contradictory explanations put forth by the Bible, contradictions which he eventually could no longer reconcile, leading him to leave Christianity; "I finally... came to realize that I could no longer believe in the God of my tradition, and acknowledged that I was an agnostic; I don't 'know' if there is a God; but I think that if there is one, he certainly isn't the one proclaimed by the Judeo-Christian tradition, the one who is actively and powerfully involved in this world." (pg 4) The idea that there was an all powerful AND all loving God could no longer held any credibility for him in the face of "young children kidnapped, raped and murdered... millions starving, suffering horrible and excruciating lives that lead to horrible and excruciating deaths... [and] sadistic tyrants savagely [attacking] and [destroying] entire villages, towns, and even countries..." (pg5). He asks the poignant question: "If God is at work... feeding the hungry with miraculous multiplication of loaves, why is it that one child- a mere child!- dies every five seconds of hunger? Every five seconds." (pg 6)

In this book Ehrman addresses and compares the major explanations put forth by the Bible, including:

-suffering as a punishment for sin
-suffering as a test of faith
-suffering as beyond comprehension since we cannot understand God
-suffering as just the nature of things and needing to be accepted
and, of course...
-don't worry, God will eventually make right all that is wrong with the world.

Ehrman's conclusion is that,if there is a God, he could be either all powerful but doesn't care, or all loving but unable to help; however, in the face of all historic evidence, he cannot possibly be both. And if, on the other hand, he is too mysterious for us to understand, than it is impossible to make any statements about either his omnipotence or his loving nature.
God's Problem is a defense of that thesis.
(Go here to read an excerpt from God's Problem, or to listen to the NPR interview with Bart Ehrman.)

I realize many of you out there will want to tackle these (blasphemous?) charges right here and now, but please resit the temptation to do that. We will be discussing this book on July 9th, and I would LOVE to hear your responses to Ehrman's claims, and your own thoughts on how you answer the problem of why people suffer at that time.

Now for those of you really disturbed that we are reading a book by a Christian who lost his faith, hang tight. Next month we will read the spiritual memoir of an atheist who became Christian and has devoted her life to Christ's work of feeding the hungry.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

a good mail day...

I love it when my mail-person is this good to me in one day. Makes up for all the mountains of junk we get the rest of the time.
(time to disappear into a hot bath and go on a cover to cover binge.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


(sob....) this post is tearing my heart out!

Okay, now you know how twisted I am, that is not a post about suffering and trauma at home or around the world... just about biking to work.

The thing is... I HATE MY !@#$*! SUB-PRIME MONEY SUCKING BRAND SPANKING NEW COOKIE CUTTER ISOLATED SUBURBAN TRACT HOME!!!! (sorry for the cheesy explico-symbol gibberish... I still can't quite bring myself to swear in front of everyone)

That is so selfish... I know. Millions of homeless around the world, and I'm complaining about the luxury that is laid at my feet.

But it's the truth.

What I really long for is some tiny apt in town closer to... well, everything that I currently spend hours and hours each week driving to. I REALLY REALLY want to put my Little Buddy in our bike wagon and go to the grocery store or the library or the book store or the pool... but to do so I'd have to ride at least 8 miles away on roads
with no bike lane whatsoever where traffic whizzes by at up to 50 mph.

I love my bike. And I love using it to go grocery shopping etc... The first couple months of our marriage we didn't have a car, biking and busing is how we got to work and did shopping, went on dates, etc... and I loved it. That worked so much easier in tiny Provo as opposed to sprawling Tucson, but even Tucson would be fine if we didn't live out in what used to be just desert, and is now just desert with an island of suburbia profanely plunked in the middle.

But my pathetic whining isn't going to change anything. We are here, we signed on the dotted line. And we can't move, the house dropped in value the instant we bought it. So we are here... gotta make the most of it. There is plenty I can do, I'm going to drive less, consolidate errands (NO!! That does not mean I'll wander over to the super Walmart they put up 10 miles down the road. I will just map out my stops better), drag out the time between errand running, plant another tree... something!

I shouldn't post this, it is too embarrassing, our stupidity, and my pampered whining about it. I just read Chandelle's brilliant post on health care and being unable to go to the doctor because they can't afford it even though they think their son's leg might be broken, and I sit here in my three bedroom home (with a mortgage that we are currently able to pay) with two (now heavily necessary) cars out front, and somehow feel justified at complaining that I have to drive my car. Poor me!

I shouldn't post this... but I'm going to. Maybe I'll delete it later. Maybe tomorrow (today) after I am finally able to shake the insomnia and get to sleep I'll re-read this and delete delete delete...