Nithya and I were chatting this morning, and she said, "So what are you giving up for Lent?" I kind of blinked. My immediate thought was, "Way to assume everyone's Catholic," but I realized that I had probably talked at some point about doing a lot of church and so she made a reasonable assumption. (I don't actually know if she observes Lent herself.) I said that I grew up really low church Protestant and it wasn't until I was in college that I learned that Lent wasn't just a weird thing the Catholics did, and I'm not good at giving stuff up (it tends to become all about me and the thing I gave up), but I like the idea of adding some sort of spiritual discipline. She said she hadn't heard of that idea but that it made a lot of sense. I also talked about how Lent used to be a period of preparation for people who would be baptized on Easter, and she said she hadn't heard that but she'd heard about it as a period of preparation for priests getting ordained on Easter, which was a similar idea. I hadn't heard that, so I was Wikipedia-ing tonight (which had the catechumen thing but not the priest thing).
Wikipedia also said: "Traditionally, on Easter Sunday, Roman Catholics may cease their fasting and start again whatever they gave up for lent, after they attend Mass on Easter Sunday. Other Western denominations have also followed this general principle to a greater or lesser degree, although some do not practice Lent and see it as an obscure tradition that the Church practices without Biblical merit." I clicked on their citation: "The Restored Church of God: The True Meaning of Lent" and immediately felt like I was on the Jehovah's Witnesses' website. (They actually have an article specifically stating "We Are Not Jehovah's Witnesses or Seventh-Day Adventists," and the potential for conflation is obvious.) They seem way more focused on answering any questions one might come up with about Scriptural details, in contrast to the JW emphasis on having Biblically based answers for any and all How To Live questions. (My housemate heard me reading aloud from "How does one determine the beginning and ending of the Sabbath in the Arctic?")
One of the first articles I read was "How Often Should the Lord’s Supper Be Taken?", which is lengthy and the key points don't easily jump out from a skim and the logic is somewhat shaky, though there are lots of Scripture references. This is fairly representative of their body of literature as a whole, I found. Except for the multiplicity of Q&A's which are only a few paragraphs long (e.g., "Please explain the command, “You shall not seethe a kid [young goat] in his mother’s milk.” "), which contrast I found so jarring.
Their major hermeneutic is using the Bible to interpret itself, but how much they rely on the Bible in their arguments varies in ways which don't entirely make sense to me (even leaving aside the fact that my interpretive slants are quite different from theirs). See, for example, the argumentation in their answers to questions like "What does the Bible say regarding marriage between relatives?" and "Is it proper to wear wedding rings?"
I was also a bit surprised that "When Jesus Christ was crucified, was He nailed to a cross or a stake?" is answered in part:
The Bible does not specify the exact shape of the “stauros” or “xulon” on which Christ was crucified. If God thought it was important for us to know, He clearly would have recorded it, leaving us no doubts. The shape is not important, but Christ’s sacrifice is!I started to skim "Evolution: Facts, Fallacies and Implications" but could not handle it.
"The Trinity: Is God Three-in-one?" has ... interesting ... talk about "god-beings" and "persons." There are parts where they really seem to have integrity in accepting the somewhat bizarre ideas the Bible hands us, but there's also an excessive amount of them apparently willfully misunderstanding.
Their answer to "Does God command Christians to go from door to door preaching the gospel?" was not what I was expecting.
From "America and Britain in Prophecy (Chapter Eleven – Israel Lost to History—Why?)":
Not long after Israel was taken to Assyria, the Assyrians migrated to northern Europe and settled in what is now modern Germany. They took some of their Israelite slaves with them, eventually allowing these peoples to migrate further north and west and to regain their independence. They settled in northwestern Europe, including the British Isles and Scandinavia.From "What does God's Word say about the subject of birth control?":
We must consider the subject of birth control according to what God says on the matter. I Timothy 5:8 tells us that parents must provide for their children. This includes properly caring for and supporting their children until they reach maturity. Couples should not have children unless and until they are able to do this. If they are unable to properly care for them, they must consider some form of controlling pregnancies.From "Bible Authority...Can It Be Proven?":
Within a very short period after the Church was founded on the day of Pentecost, A.D. 31, a violent controversy arose concerning whether the gospel to be proclaimed was the gospel of Christ—Jesus’ own gospel that he proclaimed and taught, or a gospel about Christ. Jesus had come as a messenger bearing a message from God about the kingdom of God. That message was his gospel. But soon many were ignoring Jesus’ gospel—the kingdom of God—and preaching merely that Jesus was the Christ, preaching about the messenger, ignoring his message or gospel. That is still continuing today. In Galatians 1:5-6 we learn they were, only 20 years after the Church was founded, turning to another gospel than that which Jesus taught.From "Why did Christ tell Mary Magdalene not to touch Him?":
John 20:17 records this account: “Jesus said unto her, Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God.”
Christ was a holy sacrifice, the first human being to be resurrected to eternal life. His death (as the sacrifice for our sins) was symbolized in ancient Israel by the Wave Sheaf offering, which was offered at the beginning of the Spring harvest (Lev. 23:10-12). This duty was to be carried out only by the High Priest. If it were handled by anyone other than the High Priest, the offering would have been defiled (impure), rendered unacceptable to God.
Someone emailed the FCS listserv with the second paragraph of this review of The Life of Pi [edit: now with correct link], which made me want to read the book even though every time I pick it up at a book store or something I have no interest. (I talked to Gillian later, and she said she'd read the book and didn't remember anything in it about religion, so I don't feel bad about not reading the book.)
-mylittleredgirl [more info]
glee-verse for Mardi Gras thanks to Ari [p.s., Molly's email to the listserv tonight began: "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die to our false selves. What in you needs to die, to make room for spring plantings? We gather tomorrow for our Ash Wednesday service of repentance and renewal."]
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"Five good things about today:
On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'[Hosea 6:6] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Then John's disciples came and asked him, "How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?"
Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
-Matthew 9:10-15 (NIV)
1. Work folks actually went to lunch together as a group and it was mostly enjoyable.
2. I got various work things accomplished with less stress than I was anticipating.
3. As far as I was concerned, the walk home was really pleasant. (Earlier in the day, people were talking about it being extremely cold or whatever.)
4. Ari and I reading aloud pages from the Restored Church of God website to each other.
5. "Does that mean that having sex with Cat Valente means we get free tattoos?" -my housemate, after explaining the premise of Palimpsest
Edit: I meant to mention: not feeling anxious/stressed -- specifically about my current limbo state with certain beloveds. /edit
Three things I did well today:
1. I went to the [gym] <40min weight room (I upped the weights on most of my machines, which meant I went more slowly -- and meant that my usual 8lb free weights felt almost like a relief)
2. I deflected a complaint at work.
3. I messaged book group about dinner logistics for Friday.
Two things I am looking forward to (doing [better]) tomorrow:
["anything that you're looking forward to, that means you're facing tomorrow with joy, not trepidation," as Ari says]
1. Dinner at Mr. Crepe.
2. Ash Wednesday service.