What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

09 September 2012

Be Light Made

I'm reading along in a textbook about oral cultures and their sentence structure, formulas, clichés, and so on (and it's fascinating, btw; I think I made need to explore this more), and I come across two examples from Genesis 1: The first is an early translation, still influenced by oral culture; the second is a more modern, American, literate version. Have a look:

In the beginning God created heaven and earth. And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters. And God said: Be light made. And light was made. And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness. And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day.
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters. Then God said, 'Let there be light', and there was light. God saw how good the light was. God then separated the light from the darkness. God called the light 'day' and the darkness he called 'night'. Thus evening came, and morning followed—the first day.
A page from the Gutenberg
Bible. I don't read in Latin.

Like so many people my age or older, I grew up hearing the King James Version read in church and at home. I was a teenager before I found out there were other versions. Ong goes on to explain after these passages just why one or the other appeals to a brain trained by orality or literacy, but (surprise!) despite being a literate person in a literate culture, I prefer the first passage. Why? Because from my earliest days, the Bible has been spoken word.

That isn't to say I don't read the Bible. But I've found in recent years that I prefer to read from a paraphrase in modern English rather than a strict translation. However, if I'm reading aloud or hearing it read, I prefer those older translations. And now I'm wondering if that isn't because the older versions adhere to the conventions of oral tradition they descended from (the Old Testament, at least, was spoken before it was written, whereas much of the New Testament was written with the intent that it would be read aloud). Those conventions make them easier to read aloud and easier for the hearers to remember them.

What's my point? Some things were meant to be read aloud, and some things-- the Bible among them-- were meant to be shared. I wonder if Christendom hasn't lost something as we've gradually made Bible-reading a solitary, rather than community, act. I wonder if by focusing on snippets and bits at a time, as we often do in Bible studies or sermons, we miss out on the joy of the whole.

I don't know the answer. But I do know that I'm going to suggest to my husband that we regain some of that community by reading together, instead of alone, and see what happens.

Do you read aloud? (Anything, not just the Bible.) To adults, or children, or both? Does it feel natural?

Source: Ong, Walter J. (2007-03-16). Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word (New Accents) (pp. 36-37). Taylor & Francis. Kindle Edition. 

04 September 2012

Teaser Tuesday #29

Source: Goodreads.

Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen, Anna Lappé and Bryant Terry

It's as if someone asked, What would happen if we decided what food to grow and feed the country based not on the greatest health return to all of us, but on highest financial return to a few? Well, we've found out.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be ReadingAnyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

03 September 2012

First Week

The University of Texas at Austin does not start classes on the last Monday in August like every other university (at least, all the ones I know of) in Texas. Oh, no. They wait and begin two days later, on Wednesday. I was cool with that.

My graduate school (Texas Tech) does not have this policy. They started on Monday, by golly. I was less pleased with this.

But hey, I'm an online student! And my one and only class meets on Wednesday! So, I still started on the day that I've come to think of as THE DAY for school starting. Result!

My tendency, as an online student taking one class, will probably be to slack off. Being as I've already had to read a crap ton of rhetorical stuff, I think slacking off will be the worst idea ever. So, I'm reading.

My first class? I brought home my work laptop so that I could use a newer, faster, and (according to all the Mac ads) less-likely-to-crash computer for the online meeting. In real life, this sleek little computer froze up, twice, in a 90-minute period. Plus, the discussion was so far over my head that I couldn't keep up anyway.

Yeah. So, first week as a grad student was not so grand. But the fun, paper-writing part is still to come, so it's bound to get better, yes?


02 September 2012

Running Toward You

Sometimes I ponder my tendency to only post Christian-related things on Sundays. I don't intend to give the impression that Christianity is a Sunday game. I don't believe that at all.

I hope that I'm following Jesus all the time. I hope, if nothing else, I can leave behind encouragement where I go, at least most of the time, and not leave despair in my wake. If I'm spreading bad vibes all around, it's time to reexamine my life. Again.

Maybe I'm searching for reassurance today. An acquaintance said earlier this week that Chad and I have left our God. I don't even know what that means, but I wonder what made him say that. My suspicion is that we were an easy target for something else gone wrong in his life right now, but it could be that with this person we got it wrong. Maybe the encouragement I was seeking to spread a few days ago seemed more like sarcasm or superiority. Or maybe, like so many other things, loving Jesus isn't something that you can easily see over the internet. Maybe that's why Jesus visited before mobile phones and Blogger, before TVs and radios and Facebook. There's no substitute for a person standing beside you, offering a hug, holding your hand, no matter how kindly worded 140 characters may be.

I don't believe I've left God. I'm still running toward him. But I don't want to knock anyone over in my rush to get to my destination, because it turns out God is running alongside me the whole way. And the people in the road with me are kind of the point: there's not reason to be here if I can't spread some kindness. And although the distance and interwebs may separate us, dear friends, I hope I can send a spark of joy your way, too.

What's making you joyful today? Or, if you prefer, is there something I can pray for you today?