Thursday, October 18, 2012


from here

I decided to choose the Jeremiah question I mentioned in this post because I figured that if I started by knowing absolutely nothing about the topic it would be far easier to measure how much I’d learned when I finally handed in my essay. This was a BAD. IDEA. I’m not sure whether it’s super impressive or just discouraging that after weeks and weeks of reading for this assignment I’m still unable to define ‘synchronic’ or ‘diachronic,’ let alone argue a case for which is the better option when it comes to understanding the book of Jeremiah. Google has been little help, which has been a shock; in the depths of desperation (after reading yet another article I couldn’t quite make sense of), I searched for the definition of ‘vorlage’ assuming it had something to do with a version of a text only to be told that it’s the position of a skier leaning forward from the ankles, usually without lifting the heels from the skis. It was exactly like how I imagine it would feel to be unexpectedly slapped in the face by a trusted friend. Were still not on speaking terms.

All of this is a long way of saying that I can’t really blog right now because I’m too busy weeping over all of the stupid things I’ve done in my lifetime, up to and including choosing this Jeremiah essay question, so I’ve instead compiled a range of blog posts and videos that I’ve recently enjoyed to keep you occupied until I’m back.

This video by Brian McLaren (called Toward the Other) is interesting. I cant actually remember what he says, but I know there were a few Huh!moments, as well as a Yes!“ and possibly even a “WOW.“ Are you convinced? It’s worth sitting and thinking through - trust me.

What list of mine would be complete without a link to Rachel Held Evans’ blog? This is a recent post of hers (called ‘I love the Bible’) that drew a whispered “Amen” from me.
I have wrestled with the Bible, and, try as I may, I cannot make it in my own image. I cannot cram it into an adjective, or force it into a blueprint, or fashion it into a weapon to be used against my political and theological enemies. It simply will not be tamed.
But oh, how I have tried to tame it!
Because a blueprint would be easier.
Because a to-do list would be easier.
Because an inspirational desk calendar would be easier.
Because an affirmation of everything I already believe would be easier.
But the Bible is not a blueprint. It isn’t a list of bullet points to be followed or a to-do list to be obeyed. It can’t be crammed into an adjective or forced into a theology.

My mum’s in love with Swistle’s blog and has pointed me to a number of her posts (including the Startling Expenses one I’ve linked to a couple of times now). This post, Spectrum, was a one I recently read that finally made me give in and start following her blog myself.
Okay, it’s like this. Let’s picture the WORLD, for a moment. The whole world. And now let’s picture a Dental Spectrum, representing the dental care levels of the world. At one end, we're going to have no tooth care at all, and adults with many missing teeth. No dentist, but maybe some local guy who will pull a tooth for you when it’s hurting.
One step up from that is going to be people who figure out a sort of self-care for their teeth: scrubbing them with sand and twigs or something. Still no dentist.
One step up from that is going to be a situation where you can buy the things you need: toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss. Maybe at that point in the spectrum there's a dentist, but maybe he's 30 miles away by foot, or maybe he's a traveling guy who only stops by every couple of years and anyway he still only does basic, basic stuff. No, like, root canals or crowns.
One step up from that.... Well, I don't think we need to do every single step. But here is what causes the smoldering annoyance: picturing the other end of the spectrum, the last tiny smidgen pressed right up against the far edge, where we have such things as “Making one's teeth WHITE enough” and “Making one's teeth STRAIGHT enough”and “Going to see the dentist every 6 months at great expense, whether you need it or not, or else you are unclean and irresponsible.”

I saw this article after reading through reading some vicious tweets and argumentative blog posts (I can’t even remember what everyone was fighting about). The tweets and posts made me wonder whether the internet did nothing but turn normal people into giant meanies; this article reassured me that this is not always the case.

I have no idea how I discovered this response from Tina Fey to a critic, but it cracks me up.

I really, really liked this post about swearing (‘In Defense of the 4-Letter Word’ by Addie Zierman), partly because it’s not a topic that comes up often, partly because the linguist in me is intrigued by the fact that some groups of letters are acceptable while other, almost identical groups are not, and partly because I agree with one of the commenters who said, “as a writer, I’m always searching for the best word not its second cousin, and sometimes, it isn’t the prettiest, most Christian approved one either.” See what you think... 

This post, called The inconvenient truth about your halloween chocolate and forced child labor is an important one about the origins of a lot of the chocolate we eat. It may be the last thing you want to have to think about, but I don’t know that intentional ignorance will be a decent excuse when God one day asks us why we did nothing about this. This post is written to an American audience, but a recent Fair Trade evening at our church made it clear that it applies just as well to us here in Australia (it seems like Cadbury has taken similar steps to Hersheys). A snippet:
But honestly, what concerns me even more is that we, as consumers, are not demanding that this be stopped. People continue to buy chocolate even after learning about the harm to children in Africa. I’ve heard excuses from people in my own life that sound pretty similar to the ones I made...  We rationalize that we can’t afford fair-trade. We joke about how addicted we are. We justify that we can’t change everything. And I think secretly, we don’t relate because these are kids in a far-off country, and not our own. It’s okay as long as we don’t have to see it happening right in front of us.
To wrap up, here’s one of my favourite songs from one of my favourite albums (Please Please Me). See you in a week and a bit!


  1. I was just thinking that I have been absent from my blog for a little too long and that I should do some kind of 'filler'.
    You beat me to it.
    Maybe I will just link to your blog.

    1. Great minds think alike! Or perhaps, in our case, the like-mindedness has more to do with genes...? Whatever it is, I'm sorry for stealing your thunder.