Michael Gurley’s post called “Algorythms for Life” intrigued me. Check out his blog Here
Recently I began reading The Ecumenical Cruise and Other Three-Legged Chicken Philosophy Tales by Walter Benesch. This book is a comparative study of religious philosophy in which Benesch approaches general issues by citing various passages from religious texts and creating a premise which he explores through clever and insightful short stories. Although I enjoy the approach, I was dismayed to find major hermeneutical flaws in the first chapter, “Queen Vashti Goes to Heaven.” Benesch’s premise for this chapter is that although God’s initial intention was gender equality, the writers of religious texts have intentionally perverted this original message with overt messages of misogyny. Although I cannot speak for the other religious texts cited by Benesch, I will show that the Christian Bible does not lessen the role of women; rather, it liberates them.
As though taking repose from a lifetime of toil, a crude, aged fishing hook rests under the soft lights of the museum’s display case. Fascinating precision joins two pieces of dark, sea-stained Douglas fir together, forming a distinct V shape. As if prepared on a lathe, the pieces begin their journey as one. Thin strands of root snugly wrap the pieces together, holding their base tight. They split above into two separate pieces. One side is a thin rounded piece with concentric rings carved on its outward facing side. Perched on its tip is a mystical creature, half otter, half man. The opposing beam is straight and thin, with a long barb formed by a black-stained, 16-penny nail lashed to the tip of the wood with dark spruce root.
Growing up in Sitka, I immediately recognized this piece, and knew that over a century ago, an anonymous Haida, or Tlingit fisherman was hungry, and crafted this beautiful fishing lure to feed his family. I’ve always been fascinated with the wild stories of Annahootz and Katlean. The rich history of the Natives in this area is strong; you can almost feel it in the cold wind and rain. As a young boy riding bikes through Totem Park, and through the old Russian town, I learned to recognize that these peoples were unique among Alaska Native groups. Dugout canoes, bentwood boxes, and fishing lures alike, they always married function with beauty and art. It was clear that passion was stuffed into everything they produced. Incredibly, long ago a man wanted fish, but in his quest for fish he created a beautiful piece of artwork, not knowing that one day archeologists would place his fish hook in a museum for people to admire.
I just watched a Summit Leadership Conference video of Patrick Lencioni speaking about the five dysfunctions of a team, great stuff. Lencioni brings incredible insight into the realm of organizational leadership with his edgy peronality. Check out his blog called Pat’s Point of View.
“Ok, so how many of you have read the Christian Bible?” she asked, gesturing with her right palm upward while cocking her head to the right. Hesitantly the majority of the class raised their hand. “Very good,” swinging her hand in front of her she followed, “how many of you have read from the Apocrypha?” Raising her hand she scanned the room to see that I was the only student with my index finger poking up. “See, we are talking about what can be considered general knowledge.” Her eyes narrowed as a furtive smile crossed her face. Pulling in both elbows, and thrusting her index fingers toward me in a drawn gun pose, “Now, how many of you have read the Gnostic Christian gospels?” All eyes in the classroom directed at me.
“No, I haven’t read much more than small excerpts. But I’m not really interested in them.”
The New Testament argues against Gnosticism in many books, especially the stuff written by John. It really bothers me when I see these books placed within the Christian section of bookstores; and, they are marketed as Christian Gnostic books. Hello, Gnosticism is one of the 1st century heresies that the apostles fought tooth and nail; why would I want to read it? I know that for some the excitement of an off-limits text makes them get jittery and excited like they are being exposed to some repressed revelation. And to others, it may be nothing more than fantastical literature. For me, I see the Christian Bible as the inspired word of God, and to me, these others are pretenders. Frauds that confuse God’s elect.
Nestled deep in the brackish bayous of Central Louisiana, near the muddy rouge banks of the Red River, just a stone’s throw north of Lake Buhlow on Highway 165, sits a small green roadside home. A pock marked, reddish gravel driveway skirts a flat green lawn of creeping monkey grass. Southern Pines surround the home on three sides, their bare trunks rising one hundred feet before the first looming branches begin. Dark Cypress punctuate the backyard, their thick canopies shading the forests black. Dense Bamboo shoots form an impenetrable fortress over a small, long forgotten backyard lawn. Above, Winslow sparrows dart among the shadows, as soft hues of orange and red crest the evening sky.
The constant whir of a window-mounted air conditioner intensifies the sweltering evening heat. The blistering outside air is thick, and muggy like a Chinese laundromat. A clammy pair of blue jeans, and a damp t-shirt cling to my body, making me sticky and uncomfortable. Glistening with sweat, my nose, eyelids and forehead hold a permanent sheen of grease. Moist air gathers on the thin skin between my fingers creating an unquenchable desire to wash my hands.
Beads of moisture begin forming on my arms and temples, as the rising barometric pressure thrusts the humidity over the threshold like a daily crescendo. Ominous clouds darken the orange evening skies, and warm drops of rain begin pounding the earth beneath. Through the sultry night the mounting roar of a tin roof joins the intermittent hissing of passing highway vehicles. Guardian trees begin staggering above the frail dark house.