Friday, 26 March 2010

7 Quick Takes (XXXIV)

1. Using Roman Numerals will become ungainly in time.
2. It's winter again. Blah. After such a beautiful month, too. I think we all saw it coming.
3. At work, I have been spending almost all of my time working with the children's programs. I've been running the Grade Five program for most of the week, actually. It's a good program, and fun. Unlike previous programs, each class is in only for either an afternoon or a morning. With only one group did I have to use my loud voice. I don't often use my loud voice. It is reserved for special occasions. This, however, was a special occasion. I rang The Bell, and they didn't sit down and shut up. That's not that they didn't sit down and shut up fast enough; they just ignored The Bell entirely. This was a mistake on their part.
But over all it had been a good week. I enjoy working with the kids. They can be pretty awesome, even when they're being total brats. I do still remember being that age.
I'll give you a 'for instance.' The program is basically a big two-hour game. I went up to each group during the game and gave them a hint. Actually, I forgot to mention the hint when explaining the game, so I had to go outside and tell them individually, but I phrased it as though I was doing them a real favour here. With one group, I came up and said, "I'm going to give you guys a hint." One of the kids turned to me and said, in all honesty, "No, no hints." One of his teammates (in the context of the game, family members), turned to him and said in a not-very-sotto voice, "Dustin, shut up!" It was hilarious.
4. I am really enjoying the Gospel of Luke. It's funny how every time you read the same thing, it's not quite the same thing. For instance, I am beginning to hear the stylistic and tonal difference between Numbers and Deuteronomy in my OT readings, and I'm feeling a quiet energy in Luke that I failed to detect before. Here's one that really stuck out for me this week:
On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching. The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man's hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.
But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, "Come and stand in front of everyone." So the man came forward. Then Jesus said to his critics, "I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?"
He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, "Hold out your hand." So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him (Luke 6:6-11, bold formatting mine).
What I like about this is here we get a deeper sense of what Jesus is about. He is working for Life, and he is working against Death. In this passage we see the beginnings of the squaring off between Life and Death (which are also Love and Hate, or Good and Evil): Jesus knows that healing on the Sabbath is a step in the walk to Golgotha, Place of the Skull, where he must die. But you cannot work for Life if you are unwilling to die for Life, and so he heals, an act on behalf of Life, when he knows it means his death.
You know, I sometimes wonder whether non-Christians are very familiar with Bible stories. I imagine they know the vague outlines of them, but would a non-Christian be familar with the one I just copied out? As much as Christian myth* is part of the whole Western cultural umbrella, I get a sense from media and conversation that it's not a well-understood part.
5. At home I have been reading A Ring of Endless Light. I read it at home largely because I don't want to be caught at work reading a "girl's" book. I classify it as a girl's book based on the plot: Vicky Austin must navigate her emotions regarding three different young men who are potential romantic interests, while dealing with the slow death of her grandfather and the resulting family dynamics. Female polyamory x feelings - (action + adventure) + dolphins = girl's book. That being said, it's a good book, full of honesty and compassion and respect and insight. It is written by Madeleine L'Engle, after all. It's also a hard book, dealing with tough subject matter. And it's well-written. A good, honest, tough, compassionate, well-written book is a book that I ought to read, regardless of its target audience. So I'm reading it. Best paragraph so far: "If I'm confused, or upset, or angry, if I can go out and look at the stars I'll almost always get back a sense of proportion. It's not that they make me feel insignificant, it's the very opposite, they make me feel that everything matters, be it ever so small, and that there's meaning to life even when it seems most meaningless."
At work I am reading The Educated Imagination, Northrop Frye's defense of literature and the study of it. It's a CBC Massey Lectures book. Americans and other non-Canadians: the CBC Massey Lectures are like the TED Talks, only less about new tech and more about life. Also, each person gave a series of lectures instead of a single lecture, and those series were often bound into book form and sold. The Truth About Stories and The Wayfinders, which I have written about before, are both Massey Lectures books.
6. My folks bought Inglourious Basterds the other day, which surprised me because they tend to dislike Tarentino movies. They liked it, but of course they did; as I discussed with my brother, as much as that movie is a very Tarentino movie, it is far more accessible than the movies he usually makes. The filming is brilliant and the plot, particularly Soshanna's part, is quite good.
7. I am less in the dumps about the world's prospects. If you don't know what I'm talking about, read my last post. Check out the comments, too; they're worth it.
What I feel I must do is write a book something like L'Engle's books, something like Lewis' books, and something like something else altogether, because rewriting what has been already written is no use at all. I'm not sure yet what it will look like, but... we'll see.
Make sure you visit our lovely host, Jennifer Fulwiler.
*"Myth," meant technically, does not in any way mean that the story being told is false; if this were the case, I wouldn't use that word. Myth, understood properly, does not connote falsehood.


Cait said...

Hands down my absolute favourite book is A Ring of Endless Light. My copy is in 3 different pieces I've read it so often.

Christian H said...

Bugger! I was planning on getting it for you for a belated birthday present. Now I need to rethink.

Thanks for rising to the bait of revealing whether or not you'd read it, though.

Jon Wong said...

I can't wait for 7 Quick Takes, edition 846.

Cait said...

Glad I raised to the bait :) I'm glad that you're reading it. It's quite a phenomenal book :)

Christian H said...


But that's over 15 years away.

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