book rec

Feb. 15th, 2013 09:13 pm
deird1: a cross, on a rainbow flag (believe out loud)
Read a book today. A whole book - in one day. Not unprecedented, but it only happens with books I'm utterly fascinated by. And this book was, indeed, fascinating.

The book in question was Torn by Justin Lee, who runs the Gay Christian Network. I've read a number of posts, interviews, and articles by Justin over the last few years, and have always been very impressed with him. He is committed to following Jesus no matter what trouble it gets him into - and it shows.

If you're a Christian, I recommend you get a copy of Torn, and read it. If you're not a Christian... get a copy of Torn, and read it. Cause seriously, guys, it's awesome.

many things

Feb. 5th, 2013 08:51 pm
deird1: a chibi of Kitty from P&P, with text "what do you keep winking at me for?" (Kitty winking)
Quiet evening at home. Hurrah! Haven't had one of those in quite a while.


TV I am watching
Recently, I have been re-watching episodes of:
- Sarah Connor Chronicles
- the Lizzie Bennet Diaries
- Once Upon A Time
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
- Leverage
- Yes Minister

All of them are very awesome, but in very different ways.


Lent...
...will start in about a week. In previous years, I have done many different things, including giving up chocolate, television, and unnecessary spending. The unnecessary spending worked well; the chocolate less so. It's not that I can't give up chocolate - but instead of making me focus on God, or on how little I need possessions, or on more spiritual things, it just makes me focus on how much I love chocolate. Which kind of defeats the purpose of the whole thing.

This year, I'm being a bit restrictive: I'm sticking to only fair trade tea and chocolate. Inconvenient? Focusing on other people in financial difficulty? A good discipline? Yep, yep, and yep. We'll see how it goes.

(One year, I'm so going to give up electric lighting. But that will not be this year.)


My washing
I just did it. For the first time in a month.

I can tell this, because my clothes-horse is now holding 25 pairs of undies. I didn't even realise I had 25 pairs of undies...


iPad Apps
There are so many.

Just about anything you could ever think of trying to plan - seriously, anything - will have an app already waiting, with in-built checklists ready to go. Very helpful. (Except that the app will be totally convinced that no-one could ever colonise Mars without inventing faster-than-light travel first, and will keep putting little "remember to install your FTL drives!" reminders in your to-do list, even though you have no intention of doing anything of the sort. Kind of irritating - and makes me feel like I'm terribly untrendy because I'm not fixated on conquering hyperspace and just want to get to the fun part of the Mars colonisation project*.)

* This, for the record, is the bit where we discover the ruins of the ancient Martian civilisation underground, and decipher the codes for creating wormholes using Martian technology...
deird1: lilac flowers, with text "how do they rise up" (Default)
Another Slacktiverse repost, to match my previous one.

“Does it ever get easy?”
“You mean life?”
“Yeah. Does it get easy?”
“What do you want me to say?”
“Lie to me.”
“Yes, it’s terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and we always defeat them and save the day. No-one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.”

   -- Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Lie To Me”



What are you supposed to do when your faith collapses in ruins around you? Start a drug habit, maybe? Or take the logical route and find a new religion?

Me, I opted for television.

vampires, Slayers, and how they affected my faith )
deird1: stick-figure Aang, controlling elements (Avatar xkcd)
Reposting this from the Slacktiverse, because, after all, I wrote the thing.


Faith and Hope, 20% off!

I think, in the end, it was the teddy bears that did it.
They were big and fluffy, in boxes that said they’d “introduce children to prayer” and “teach them how to talk to God”. And they were creepy.

If you pressed their paws together, they’d start talking: “Hi! I’m Happy Bear! Would you like to pray with me?” A second tap, and the prayer would begin: “Dear God. I am HAPPY today, because you made the world!” …and on it would go. Eventually, you’d reach the end of the prayer cycle, and the whole thing would start over again.

the perils of Christian culture )
deird1: Anya looking stern (Anya glasses)
I really hate people calling the Bible "the world's greatest instruction manual".


The Bible is many things – instruction manual it ain't. If you must compare it to a modern publishing genre to make a quasi-theological point, a better option would be "travel journal". (Which, yes, would be metaphorical. But not nearly so metaphorical as trying to claim that the Book of Joshua is a list of instructions for we the reader to follow.)
deird1: Katara looking pretty (Katara eyes)
One of the nice things about spending time with Baptists after several years as an Anglican is that Baptists pray properly.


No - I'm not talking about some Important Theological Point Of Great Meaning. I'm just talking logistics.

You see, in the circles I grew up in, group prayer goes something like this...

Person 1: Dear God, blah blah blah blah blah.
Person 2: Dear God, blah blah blah blah blah.
Person 3: Dear God, blah blah blah blah blah.
Person 4: Dear God, blah blah blah blah blah.
Person 5: Dear God, blah blah blah blah blah.
Person 6: Dear God, blah blah blah blah blah. In Jesus name, Amen.

And the "In Jesus name, Amen" bit functions as a nice little cue to tell everyone that we're done praying now, so it's okay to open your eyes and resume the conversation.


Whereas, in Anglican circles (at least the bit I'm now hanging out with), it's more like this...

Person 1: Dear God, blah blah blah blah blah. In Jesus name, Amen.
Person 2: Dear God, blah blah blah blah blah. In Jesus name, Amen.
Person 3: Dear God, blah blah blah blah blah. In Jesus name, Amen.
Person 4: Dear God, blah blah blah blah blah. In Jesus name, Amen.
Person 5: Dear God, blah blah blah blah blah. In Jesus name, Amen.
Person 6: Dear God, blah blah blah blah blah. In Jesus name, Amen.

...at the end of which, we all sit there in stunned silence for several minutes, sneaking peeks at each other to try to figure out if we're still praying or not. It gets confusing.


You don't realise how important the little things are until you have to do without them.
deird1: Kennedy looking stubborn, with text "And you'll be stopping me... how?" (Kennedy stopping me how)
I am quickly developing an utter hatred for Lent and all things Lentish. I WANT TO BUY THINGS DAMMIT.


I have this whole list of music I want to buy, clothes I want to buy, furniture I want to buy, and fun and silly things I want to buy. And I can't. Because, as I might have mentioned, I have given up unnecessary spending for Lent.

*glares at Lent*

And annoyingly, every time I start fuming about how dumb I was to give up anything for Lent, I have this voice in the back of my mind interrupt with "And why were you doing Lent, again?"

"To remind me that this stuff isn't important, and to focus on things that matter."

"Well?"

"Well... I didn't mean it. And besides, I want to buy stuff."

"You don't have a restriction on buying 'stuff'. Just on unnecessary stuff."

"But I want to buy this stuff. Now."

"Then buy it. As long as it's necessary."

"But I can't. It's not important enough to be necessary."

"Oh good. So you're getting the idea."

*glares at Lent some more*


For the record, I'm still doing my Lent thing. (Even though I'm thinking of tracking down whoever invented it and hitting them in the face or something.) I also have a long list of stuff to shop for - and it's getting longer by the day.
deird1: Faith looking thoughtful, with text "deep thought" (Faith thought)
One thing that really bugs me when discussing random topics with Christians is when someone will say:

"[this thing I don't like] isn't biblical."


You know what else isn't biblical?

- karaoke
- railway trains
- electric lights
- sushi
- hairspray
- skiing
- kangaroos
- tissues


The problem is, they're using "biblical" as the ultimate trump card, without thinking about what it means. "The Bible is good, hence 'biblical' is better than 'not biblical'," with no further justification needed.

And if I try to define what "biblical" could mean, well, there's "this thing is mentioned in the Bible", "this thing is approved of by the Bible", or "the thing could be argued for, using the Bible as support", for starters. Which might be perfectly relevant to the conversation - but if you don't say which one you mean...

...well, if you don't say, then I'm going to assume that you don't really know, because you've never had to put more thought into it than "is it biblical?" Whatever that means.
deird1: Mai and Zuko cuddling, with text "you're so beautiful when you hate the world" (Mai Zuko hate the world)
It occurs to me that loving your enemies can actually be a pretty effective way to love someone well.


Loving people you, well, love is all well and good, but often the loving intentions get mixed up with the loving feelings which get mixed up with all your other feelings, and pretty soon you're doing things that you want to do, with very little regard for what the other person needs, but with the ever-present reasoning that "well, I'm doing what I want to, and I want the best for them, so clearly what I want has to be what's good for them, right?"

It can get very confusing. (And even unhealthy.)


Loving enemies, on the other hand...

You'd have a fairly hard time mixing up "what I want" and "what is loving them" if what you want is to smash them in the face with a mallet and laugh at their pain. Loving them, by definition, will pretty much involve putting every single thing you want aside - and assessing, through gritted teeth, what would actually be good for them, even if you really don't want to do it.


Loving enemies is hard, and painful, but eminently practical. It has to be - because feelings just aren't going to cut it.

You can't simply sit there and think loving thoughts at them. You actually have to come up with something to do. Which is... good, I think. (Certainly more likely to be helpful than the vague waves of lovingness you'd be trying to think up.)



Just my thoughts. And it's possible I'm wrong.
deird1: Faith looking thoughtful, with text "deep thought" (Faith thought)
From the book Evolving in Monkey Town:



"Jesus came to offer more than just salvation from hell. I realized this when I encountered Jesus the radical rabbi and reexamined my life in light of his teachings. When I imagined what it would be like to give generously without wondering what is in it for me, to give up my grudges and learn to diffuse hatred with love, to stop judging people once and for all, to care for the poor and seek out the downtrodden, to finally believe that stuff can't make me happy, to give up my urge to gossip and manipulate, to worry less about what other people think, to refuse to retaliate no matter the cost, to be capable of forgiving to the point of death, to live as Jesus lived and love as Jesus loved, one word came to mind: liberation. Following Jesus would mean liberation from my bitterness, my worry, my self-righteousness, my prejudices, my selfishness, my materialism, and my misplaced loyalties. Following Jesus would mean salvation from my sin.

What I'm trying to say is that while I still believe Jesus died to save us from our sins, I'm beginning to think that Jesus also lived to save us from our sins."

my day

Dec. 15th, 2010 09:23 pm
deird1: Gunn and Gwen kissing (Gunn Gwen kiss)
I spent the day trying to convince the rail operators to let me do my job. The same job, coincidentally, that I have been doing for four years so far without them noticing - but now that we've been polite enough to start pointing out that we're doing it, they've started panicking and declaring that it's UNSAFE and ILLEGAL and JUST PLAIN WRONG.

Several frustrating phonecalls later, I had to give up, go home, and hope that my boss can sort out the whole mess.


(No, I can't provide more detail.)



This evening was mainly occupied by The Road To Bethlehem: an event in which you wander round a field full of lots of very exciting props and people wearing the standard Biblical costumes, and watch bits of Christmas story happening (amazingly) right before your eyes.

We started with Mary talking to Gabriel about babies, then walked through a marketplace and got a census decreed at us (is decreed a word?) by Roman soldiers, then after a brief stint at Herod's palace, and an exciting encounter with shepherds (that would have been much more exciting if we'd been there after dark and had lightning flashes and angels appearing out of nowhere rather than lights flickering and the angels very obviously hiding behind the big black curtain), we went into Bethlehem and met the innkeepers, before meeting up with Mary and Joseph again...

My favourite bit was the guards at the Bethlehem gates - purely because they started counting the number of people in Roman numerals, and then confused themselves debating over where all the I's and V's were supposed to go.



Am now back at home, feeling exceedingly tired, and too lazy to get off this comfy couch and actually go to bed.

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