Archive for August, 2005


John Granger has written another piece on the Alchemical Skeleton of Harry Potter.

I personally think that Alchemy does its level best to turn Christianity into a mystery religion, which doesn’t make sense with the whole ‘truth shall set you free’ thing.

That being said, many of Granger’s theories have come to pass in regard to the books thus far. There is a lot of further talk dissecting the books along these lines at Harry Potter For Seekers. Much of it makes my head hurt, but it is fun for those days when you want to immerse in Potter Arcana beyond ‘shipping and slash.

In a semi-related note, the geekworld is speculating about book 7 being released either on 7/7/07 or 7/31/07 (Harry’s & Jo’s birthday)

Read Full Post »

A.C. Kleinheider, lazy man that he is, asks me the $64K question:

What is a Mennonite anyway?

So here’s the more-information-than-anyone-needed answer, which I’ve moved out of the comments section, because if I spend more than five minutes on it, it’s a full post.

1. Mennonites are Christians.
We believe in the diety of Jesus, His death, resurrection, and atonenent for sins. Our doctrinal beliefs are very similar to Baptists in most respects.

2. Mennonites are Anabaptists
Mennonites are one of the sects of protestantism that sprung up to advocate adult baptism. Other Anabaptist sects are the various Baptist churches, The Campbell Church of Christ and our much-noticed cousins, the Amish.

3. Mennonites are Pacifists
Like the Quakers, Mennonites are considered one of the Peace Churches. Don’t ask me how I reconcile my support for the Iraq war with my Mennonism, because it is a long and complicated story that involves my ultimate decision to believe that there are some things worth dying for. And those things would include the freedom for people in other countries to worship as they choose. My Anabaptist ancestors were historical martyrs to their faith. I feel that it dishonors part of the spirit of our faith if we are willing to die for creed but not for kin.

4. Mennonites believe in The Church In Action
You will see spontaneous and organized charity from Mennonites, as we believe the best practices of charity are in helping our kin. Many other churches believe in what is commonly called “storehouse tithing”. That’s where you give your tithe to whatever church you attend which that church then spends as it sees fit. Mennonites believe that any gift to anyone in need is the basis of the true practice of tithing. Many Mennonites don’t even meet in a church building, electing to instead spend the building money on outreach.

5. There are several different types of Mennonite.
Old-order Mennonites are often confused with Amish, because they have similar Plain ways. (“Plain” in this context means the rejection of modern conveniences and styles of dress.)

I am an Evangelical Mennonite, which (oddly enough) was once refered to as “Egly Amish”, since we got our start from a dude named Henry Egly, who founded the “Defenseless Mennonites” in Berne, Indiana. So, we’re enough like the Amish in our beliefs as to have carried that nickname for a hundred years or so. We’ve elected, however, to not adopt the Plain tenets of other Mennonites.

6. Mennonites differ from Catholics
From what I know of Catholicism, the main difference is of course our belief in Adult Baptism by immersion versus infant sprinkling. We also disagree with Papal Authority, the Bishopric system of the Catholic Church and the focus on the Church Edifice.

7. Mennonites Know How To Cook
There’s no way anyone will go to a Mennonite gathering and come away hungry. If you walk away hungry, we’ve not done our duty to show you the Lord’s gift of Hospitality. It’s a cultural thing that often involves chicken, pie, scrapple, hot potato salad corn and cheese.

8. Mennonites Are All Over The World

but they are sparse in Nashville. The one we attended met only in the evening so that the few members would be able to have their children meet with youth groups at larger churches on Sunday morning.
Tim and I now attend First Baptist simply because we felt the call to a downtown church with an active ministry on all levels.

I hope that answered some questions. Ask away if there are others.

At least I blogged about more than Gay Hobbits today.

Read Full Post »

Katrina Relief

As we have been for hundreds of years, Mennonites will be at the forefront of relief for victims of Katrina. I’ve donated to MDS for years, and know them to be a caring, compassionate and efficient charity.

Read Full Post »

I’m married. Happily.

My husband is a cyclist, and Labor Day Weekend for him means the last Century of the season. For the uninitiated, that means he will be riding one hundred miles on his bicycle. That also means that we will not be going to Dragon*Con.

I’m fine with it. Really.

I just realized that these last three posts really unveil the depths of my total geekitude to the world at large. Wow. Good thing I decided to not post my thoughts on Susan Polgar. People might think I was a nerd.

Read Full Post »

I will be spending my Labour Day (sorry, Patrick) LABOR day weekend watching the entire extended edition LOTR trilogy. I figure this is good for about 20 hours of pure fun.

I love these movies, but I’m trying to figure out how to not fall asleep during the looooong sequences with Merry, Pippen and Treebeard.

Read Full Post »

Spleenville assembles the data and breaks the bad news:

Elijah Wood just might be a little bit gay.

I should clarify: This is only bad news if you are one of the three girls who is in the love with him and hasn’t already figured out that the mere fact you are a 9th grader in East Gimcracky lets you out of the marriage pool for ol’ Lije. For the rest of us, who care not one whit about the sexual preferences of strange men under 6 feet tall the whole thing is merely amusing.

Read Full Post »

Nothing at all to say.

Just love that line.

Read Full Post »

I write about my conversion to rap music over at Glean Dean’s new group music blog Tangled Up In Blue. All music, and technically no politics. Given the fact that we all seem to be Dylan Maniacs, I imagine some allusions to politics might be made. Or Not.

Check it out. It’s fun.

Read Full Post »

Mel is reading The DaVinci Code. Poor thing just couldn’t take the relentless societal pressure. Her opinions are her own, of course (and usually good ones) but she did say something that triggered that spark in my brain.

…I’m not convinced it is a modern day classic, not any more than a Stephen King or Tom Clancy

Common wisdom seems to hold Entertainment Fiction in a hermetically-sealed, seperate bag from Literate Fiction, with the twain not only never meeting but (judging from many pieces of Literate Fiction I’ve read) not even cross-pollinating. If you read it in the airport or at the beach it isn’t a Truly Good Book. Anyone who knows me for more than five minutes is usually treated to a tirade about how this is so very wrong and very elitist and Anna Karenina sucks. (That story is told much more efficiently, but no less annoyingly, in that stupid Doobie Brothers song.)

Leaving aside Female Suicide By Penis Substitutes and returning to actual Great Literature for the moment, allow me to humbly submit The Stand by Stephen King. Forget all you know about Molly Ringwald and the guy who played Max Headroom . Let the miniseries, with its hamhanded use of Blue Oyster Cult recede from your mind.

This book is a masterpiece descended directly from the great Epic poems of Homer and grandfathered by A Canticle For Leibowitz. We are introduced to dozens of fully-realized characters who react to extraordinary circumstances in ordinary ways. This has always been the hallmark of Great Literature, from Aeschylus to Zora. Grace notes from The Grapes Of Wrath can be seen as those characters who survive the initial apocalypse press toward their climactic fates. In fact, this description for Grapes can be equally applied to the entirety of The Stand.

…depicts the lives of ordinary people striving to preserve their humanity in the face of social and economic desperation

I would argue that by moving the Joadian struggle to a more stark and abandoned post-apocalyptic world, King creates a realm where humanity is truly challenged by eternity. The dust and poverty of Grapes transmutes into the ash and abandonment of The Stand, leaving the characters to react to God on a grander scale. God, a remote and useless presence in so much of what passes for Great Literature in the latter half of the twentieth century, is a fully-realized presence in The Stand. More importantly for the human audience is the presence of true faith and action. Not since Pilgrim’s Progress has there been as exacting a picture of the mystical journey undtertaken by the ordinary faithful.

And, you know, The Stand is just fun to read. I realize that many times that is a cardinal sin in the annals of Literary Thinking. We’ve come to view our Great Books as the brussells sprouts reading we must do before we can escape into the pudding world of the books everyone is actually buying and enjoying. I love that King has done what Joyce could not. He created a masterpiece for the masses. Kind of like those guys Shakespeare and Dickens.

Read Full Post »

Okay. I’ll lay even money that I’m NOT the only woman who had to see if it felt even remotely like a bag of sand.

(Answer: It doesn’t.)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »