Tuesday, September 27, 2005

my latest accomplishment

First, this is what a kiwi fruit looks like:

And here is my latest accomplishment:

Sunday, September 25, 2005

who is good but God?

Joe's got a great little post over at Brooklyn and Beyond referencing Jon Stewart's words from the other night, addressed to God: "What part of God bless America don't you get?"

Joe's point was that part of what it means to be a Christian is an (endless?) quest for consistent language about how God works in the world. Specifically, if God's in charge of procuring my parking space (Hallelujah!), then how 'bout them hurricanes, eh? That's not to say there aren't a whole lot of inconsistent Christians out there. There are--otherwise, why make a point about the necessity of this quest, right?

Around here, snuggled deep in the comfy bosom of the Reformed Tradition, the response to these things always comes back to one thing: sovereignty. God's sovereignty. God's big, we're puny. God's powerful, we're weak. God knows, we don't. God Created, we are created. God does what God does, and if we don't get it (and don't like it), well, that's just to be expected, isn't it, 'cause God in his sovereignty didn't equip us with the necessaries to even begin to question him.

I don't know why this is satisfying to people. When I want to know about God and the hurricanes, I don't think about God's sovereignty. I think about God's goodness. And I think, some things about this world are obviously not good. I can see that. There's no doubt about that. If I can see that, so can God. And surely God can see it so much more clearly and painfully than I do. Some things about this world are not good.

So what? Well, I personally like to inform God, just in case God missed it, or really, just to reinforce what God has undoubtedly already surmised. Shit happens down here. And I like to point out to God that God is in a position of responsibility. Sometimes this is phrased elegantly in my discussions with God: "Creator of all, nothing exists except through you. Have compassion on your creatures" or sometimes it comes out more like, "you started it!!!"

It can degenerate from there. I'm not saying I'm a Martin Luther or that guy from The Apostle or anything, but, well, when a conversation is private and in your head you can feel rather uninhibited.

But I'm not afraid of it, of affirming God's goodness to God's face and demanding, why aren't you doing what you ought to be here? Why did you leave us with this mess? Why are things this way? Don't you love your creation anymore? Doesn't it make you sad to see it wrecked? Don't you want to make it right? What are you waiting around for? Haven't you made some promises you ought to be delivering on right about now?

I think, rather, that God wants us to get worked up and and good and pissed when we see this obvious discrepancy between the goodness of the Creator God we praise and the muck of the creation we live in. I think God is proud of us when we realize that goodness is goodness, and evil is evil, and when all we can see tells us that God is less than good, we should be pointing that out, not making peace with a vision of God who is less than the good God we used to believe in. I think God rejoices when we see this clearly, rejoices that despite everything we see around us, instead of capitulating to the evident evil in the world, we stubbornly continue to believe in a good God throught the very act of challenging God in all God's goodness to appear and prove it.

I imagine that, if I were a mommy with an extremely precocious toddler, that I would feel more proud than pissed if little Susie pointed out some obvious, gross injustice in my behavior and held me up to the very standard I'd taught her. Because good is good.

Friday, September 23, 2005

like, duh!

Oh, the amazing opportunities for procrastination afforded by the Internet.

I totally stole this awesome link from the Feminarian, like, the Big Ten say stealing's like, not so hot, but, like, there's nothing about blogs in there, and anyway, what's a blog?

New American Valley Girl Version

1 THEN Gawd spoke all these words, saying,
2 I am the LORD your Gawd, who totally brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3 Like, duh! You shall totally have no other gods before Me.
4 Like, duh! You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is totally in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
5 Like, duh! You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your Gawd, am a jealous Gawd, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,
6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 Like, duh! You shall not take the name of the LORD your Gawd in vain, for the LORD totally won't leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is totally a sabbath of the LORD your Gawd; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your stud or your Valley Girl servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.
11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is totally in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
12 Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your Gawd gives you.
13 Like, duh! You shall not murder.
14 Like, duh! You shall not commit adultery.
15 Like, duh! You shall not steal.
16 Like, duh! You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 Like, duh! You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his stud servant or his Valley Girl servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Friday, September 16, 2005

busy busy busy

Saw Vonnegut on The Daily Show a couple nights ago: reminds me that "busy, busy, busy" is the phrase invoked by Bokononists in Cat's Cradle when "a lot of mysterious things are going on."

So things have been busy.

First, there are those damn comps looming on my mental horizon. It's hard to explain to people who aren't facing them, or who haven't undergone them, what they are and what kind of awful pressure they represent. So I don't expect y'all outside this tiny little corner of the world to really get it (and you should thank God for the "bye"). But here goes. Basically, there are 5 exams: Ethics, History of Doctrine, Philosophy, and Systematic Theology; and one dissertation-topic-related paper. In less than a month, I am taking the first three: October 5, 12, and 19. I will go into a little room with a computer and an envelope on which are some questions, and I will then sit and write my answers to these questions for 6 hours or so.

I have a feeling that after the first, say, three hours, things will degenerate and I will start making a lot of obnoxious puns and inappropriate jokes and asides. That's assuming I make it that far; I might lose it long before then. I don't really know.

So, there's that. But a lot of my time this week has been absorbed into other activities (time, of course, that I have in increasingly diminishing and precious quantity as October draws nigh). This was the first week of the fall semester. So, now that I'm done with coursework, you'd think this wouldn't matter. But alas, I am involved in stuff. I am TA'ing (known for some arcane reason around here as "precepting"--I heard a professor this week admit that he didn't know why we call it that, which made me feel a lot better), for one thing, which meant attending a couple hour-long lectures, but even worse, I volunteered (never, never volunteer) to be the Blackboard coordinator for the course. Now, it's not that I don't know Blackboard; but troubleshooting for a course with 168 people enrolled in it, and 2 profs that don't know the program, turns out to take a lot of work.

So there's that. I've also, not exactly volunteered, but rather reluctantly consented, to be the female co-moderator-type for the PhD student organization. Mostly this means that I sit back and let my co-moderator, bless his little pea-pickin' heart, do all the work. But this week, even though I didn't do a whole lot of the prep work, required a physical presence and a lot of socializing. So I've spent a lot of time this week chatting and pretending I have the time to take a break from studying for comps and that I'm not worried about them in the least. In short, I've welcomed people to the PTS campus with a smile and 2 great big whopping lies.

So there's that. So, my advice, don't be checking this blog every day. It'll just sour your cheery optimistic dispositions with continual disappointment when you see the same old screen every day. But believe me, you really don't want me blogging my interior monologues at this point.

Monday, September 12, 2005


No time for a real post, y'all: so here's a picture. Consider it my usual 1000 words.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

kitty love

My cat is in love.

His name is Zeke. Zeke is a handsome cat, dark browny gray with black stripes and very lean and muscular looking. He lives next door, and he is a very nice cat.

But he doesn't like my cat. We tried to introduce them, and that's when it happened. Tiamat fell in love, and Zeke hissed at her and ran away.

I'm taking care of Zeke this week while our people-neighbors are away. Tiamat's figured out that I'm seeing Zeke regularly and is clearly jealous. At first I thought she was just miffed that I was dividing my feline affections with another cat, but slowly I began to realize it doesn't have anything to do with me at all. She's jealous that I'm seeing Zeke and she's not, not that he's seeing me. She follows me to the door whenever I leave, and she's waiting at the door when I come back. Yesterday she darted out the door and went straight to the neighbors' door, sniffing and looking for a way in. She goes to the door at night and yowls plaintively: in catspeak, I think it's something like, "Whyyyyyyyy don't you looooooooooooove me?"

I've tried to explain to her that if you want a boy to like you, rule #1 is do NOT chase him--let him come to you.

And Zeke, for his part, can tell that I am friends with the detestable cat next door and isn't so sure about me anymore, even though I do feed him and give him treats and clean out his potty.

I don't have a lot of hope for this relationship.

Thoughts on reflection: strongwilled, intelligent, aggressive women simply don't fare well romantically. Perhaps Zeke--like all those guys who never managed to ask me out in college--is just too threatened by my sleek, lovely, chaotic goddess of a cat.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

absentee living

What is there to say? I've been very absent and felt very absent lately. I don't know what else to say about it other than just own up to it.

Right now there are fire trucks and police across the street. We don't know what the emergency is. They don't seem all that frantic so it's hard to make myself care, despite the fact that these are neighbors (whoever they are) and there is an ambulance and police and firemen (there's one occupation that just can't be PC'd, eh?).

I've been feeling the same way about the hurricane: just uninvolved, absent. It's not that I don't care. It's just that I don't feel like I'm really all there. I can work up some indignation about the obvious racial issues. But it's an abstract indignation and not a whole lot of personal feeling gets stirred up.

Comps are a month away. It's hard to make myself care about that, too. When I think about it I get a little panicky--deeply ingrained performance anxiety reflex. But I find it fairly easy to shove it all away from me. I better snap out of it, because I am woefully underprepared. But I kindof don't care about that, either.

I'm hoping church tonight will wake me up. I have missed like three Sundays in a row, not my fault, just that things interfere. Going to church will be the restoration of normalcy, of involvement, of being present in my own life again. I hope.