After carefully picking an age-appropriate book about Jesus (Easter story! – not just the cutie-pie Christmas story which was way easier) and adjusting the book’s version of the story to make sure the history and theology are right, my three year old sweetie looks at me sincerely at the end of the book and says, “So there are not going to be monkeys in our house?” “Um, no, sweetie, no monkeys.” Sigh. Will try with this one again in a bit. I guess resurrection is just a bit much for him right now. #theologyfail
With all the dire news about the economy and world, and me feeling really quite busy and a little bit overwhelmed with school and work, I am very pleased to sit here and hear our neighbors talking to our cats from their window to the cats in our window. They have just moved into the building next to us and it must not occur to them that we are home (or maybe they don’t care) because they keep going, “Meooowwwww! MEEEE-OOOOOW. Mew mew mew! Hey, there’s another one! Wow, how many cats are there in that house? MEOWWWWW. MEOWWWWW. Mew mew mew. Hey kitty kitty kitty. Meowwwwwww.” It is very cute. Our cats are super impressed. Except Leo who is hiding. He is shy.
Now back to work.
So, I always like to post little things that make me laugh. I was looking up the phase “always already” which is a very hip poststructuralist sort of thing to say. Of course, I’ve heard it used a million times, but I didn’t know exactly who came up with it. I should have known. Of course, our old friend Martin Heidegger and then used liberally by Jacques Derrida. And I found this out at a hilarious posting How to talk like Jacques Derrida. I’m sure this must have been secretly circulated among many professors and students I know. Here is some of the advice:
Use the phrase “always already“: Not only is the meaning of language always slipping out of our grasp, it has already moved on as we attempt to grasp it. What better phrase to express the urgency of this dynamic than to jam together two words which lesser minds would never have in the same room together? Thus, we are always already finding ourselves closer to the Derridean mode of expression.
Become a thesaurus: Why use one word, term, phrase, idiom, when you can use many, multiple, a plurality, two, maybe five words for the same concept, idea, meaning, signified?
Never finish a sentence too early: Always there will come an impulse, a wish, a directive to bring a sentence to a conclusion (a linguistic parole – Barthes’ parole applied to his lang? – time off for good behaviour, the sentence is brought to an end, the meaning is no longer a danger to society: but what could be more dangerous than meaning?), to bring the discourse to a terminus, which is after all merely another starting point, but this desire must be resisted (often through creating another subordinate clause, a subordinate which may grow to resist its subordinator, finally becoming the dominant term in the grammatical relationship, which is, after all, an essentially political one), although when one is quite certain (which is to say, one believes oneself to be certain) that the reader will have forgotten (or rather, neglected to remember) how the sentence began in the first place.
It Was Like One Big Discussion: A Visitor’s Perception of a Unitarian Universalist Sunday Morning ServiceMay 1, 2007
So on Saturday we moved. And we hired two moving helpers off of craigslist. They were great movers, hard workers and we couldn’t have done it with out them. Thank you Eric and Chris wherever you are. I thought I would share an amusing conversation that Eric (one of our movers) and I had on the way from our old place to the new place. I wish this was some sort of anomaly, but I bet it isn’t.
And so goes the conversation:
Me: So did you guys grow up in South Boston?
Eric: Yeah. What do you do here?
Me: I’m in school.
Eric: What do you study?
Eric: So are you gonna be a minister or something?
Me: Well, I am a candidate for ordination in Unitarian Universalism although the process might take a long time.
Eric: My grandma goes to one of them churches. It was the weirdest fuckin’ place I’ve ever been.
Me: How’s that?
Eric: Well, first there was two ladies breastfeeding in the middle of church. [Dramatic pause.] And the people made me talk about what I believe and stuff. I HATE talking and they made me talk.
Me: They really shouldn’t make visitors talk if they don’t feel comfortable with that. I promise you that isn’t the case with all Unitarian Universalist churches.
Eric: Well, and then afterward they had coffee and stuff. And they kept talking. The whole thing was like one big discussion. I hated it. I told my grandma never to take me back there again. Wicked weird.
Note that I don’t wish that the breastfeeding was uncommon – I wish that the making visitors feel weird and pressured to talk was uncommon. Granted, perhaps Eric wasn’t as forced to talk as he might have perceived, but nevertheless, he seemed to feel very uncomfortable with the whole thing. I wish we could reduce the extent to which we come across as weird, although that of course raises the question how much you can seem “mainstream” and “normal” without compromising. The breastfeeding is a perfect example – I would hope most of us would not be willing to give that up on the chance that it would make visitors feel more comfortable. But the question remains – how much do you give up to seem more normal and mainstream? I think it applies not only to Sunday mornings but to UUism in general. I don’t have the answer…
I saw this confusing yet scary headline on Yahoo! News. I was envisioning parts of the country where they no longer use addition or subtraction. No more counting money, or miles, or hours. Then I looked again and realized that it was meth use that had declined, not math. Still, I got a kick out of envisioning what the decline of math use in some parts of the country might look like.
On another note, I turned my master’s thesis in today. Whoo-hoo! That means you can look forward to more posts on the sexual purity movement, drawn from the finalized thesis. I know. You are the edge of your seats.
And I’m home from Nicaragua, but missing my friends there (but not the dust). My hives (yes, I had five days of hives while there) are gone. Great memories, even with the hives, remain.
I tried to post this IN my blog so you could watch it here, but something was not working and it won’t let me. But I SO encourage you to watch this if you want to laugh. I thought it was unusually funny.
Even though I know such quotes have probably been circulated on bad email forwards for years, I still think they are funny, in many ways because churches that are meant (one would think) to do good things for people can end up doing so much harm on so many different levels.
Also, very cool is this site where you can make your own church sign. They don’t have a UU church sign up, but it is still fun if, for instance, you were putting off doing your German translations or studying for the GRE.