Some Families Play Sports….

But my family plays board games like it’ll bring the economy back. And it gets really intense. We’ve been known to barely speak to one another for days if a game of Settlers of Catan gets particularly underhanded. Monopoly almost ruined a year of my childhood. One of our favorite games is Mao, which is essentially Uno run by a psychotic and petty dictator. Another fave is Fun Fun Fun, which is mostly fun for whoever ends up on my sister’s team, and noticeably less fun for everyone else. (I think it’s been two years since I had to play a game against her – part of my ongoing strategy is to always. be. on. her. team.)

Hubby has a name for my I’m-not-having-fun-anymore face – Gamezilla. Gamezilla doesn’t remember that it’s just a game. Gamezilla will cut you.

And Gamezilla is nothing to Gayle Waters-Waters, the protagonist of my family’s favorite webseries, “GAYLE.”  As the creators describe the series in their new kickstarter video, “Imagine watching the everyday happenings of a suburban family, but raised to the stakes of a Tom Clancy novel.”

Which brings me to the other thing we do in my family – weird, spontaneous acts of performance art. Like pancake-eating pushup contests staged at 3am on the sidewalk outside the diner where we came up with the idea mere minutes before. Or deciding it would be hilarious to write a mock GAYLE episode in which we wrote her into a pancake-eating pushup contest. And then writing and filming it.

All told, our goofy little venture took about 3 and a half hours, including writing, rehearsing, filming, and the 40 minutes it took to drive to IHOP and back. (It did take an extra two days to edit it coherently, but that was a separate process).

I can’t decide if it’s better to watch ours first before you have expectations, or to watch the original first to offer some context. So I’ll just put them both here and you can decide. 😀

Ours. (Please note – the actual “episode” is less than 4 minutes. The rest is outtakes.):


Hope you enjoy! We certainly did!

PS – Here’s what hubby got me for Christmas – Firefly the board game!! Does he know me or what? 🙂

Like I said. Complicated. 😀

A post shared by Meghan Bechtel Lin (@meghaneblin) on



Filed under Uncategorized

Helloooo 2014! Please be an improvement.

A word of caution: I have no plan for this post, no goal, not even a topic. It just seems that it’s been waaay too long since my last post, and I should write something.  So off we go…..

The problem is that my existence seems so unbearably dull, all the time. Even while it’s stressful, it’s dull. Starting to teach in November totally freaked me out, but I don’t particularly want to talk about it. Teaching is still like trying to juggle knives while also riding a unicycle, reciting Hamlet convincingly, and herding cats. Except not as fun. Nothing new under the sun.

December was completely flush with family and joy and happiness, so many visitors! We had sleep-overs every weekend! We made a mock episode of our favorite web series! (Which I would love to show you if we can get copyright permission). We played games until our brains turned to jelly! And now everyone is gone, and I am (again) numb to the world, angry in general, petulant, moody, and bored out of my mind.

I’ve made goals and resolutions for 2014, but I’m not sure I believe in any of them enough to actually say out loud.

One and a half years in this apartment, and still the closest thing I have to friends in this neighborhood are the barristas at my favorite Starbucks, who know my name and order and will make small talk with me briefly every morning.

Even my thought life has grown dull.

I seem to be almost willfully bored – propping up this wall of apathy because…..why? Because the reality hiding behind the apathy is so very fearsome? I have wrestled monsters in my psyche before, I prefer to think of myself as bold and courageous, but the current evidence suggests otherwise. The hiding/evasion reflex is so deeply ingrained, it seems closer to me than I am to myself. It kicks in and bolts down the safety lock before any of my other alarms have even come online. I recognize it only by the numbness. I don’t know what got locked down this time, what could have seemed so threatening that some reptilian part of me would shut it out before it could grow into a conscious thought, but I’m getting tired of not being able to taste my food.

Fortunately, I believe that God is also closer to me than I am to myself, all tangled up in whatever knots are tied in the dark down there, and I believe that God turns deserts into streams of living water. I just wish I believed it better. I feel like the waiting would be less painful if I believed it better. And so this is my prayer these days: I believe – help my unbelief!


Filed under Uncategorized

The Thankscraziness Post.

I was going to put off all further blogging until Dec., when National Novel Writing Month will be over, but I find myself ruthlessly procrastinating today anyway, so I may as well be procrasti-writing.

First, a sincere and heartfelt thank-you to those of you who expressed sadness or frustration that the blog fell asleep for so long. I’m touched. Really. Thank you for reading.

Second, here’s some of the stuff I’ve been up to in the meantime:

1. Ahem. I wrote a little play. It’s called Her Story in Blood, and it revisits and reimagines the story from the synoptic gospels of the woman who bled for 12 years. You are more than welcome to read it while you are waiting for the next blog post. And, you know, pass it around to your friends and plaster it over social media and let me know if you know anyone who wants to stage it. 😉  [BONUS: You get to see who I really am! With my real name and everything! Well, my professional pen name anyway. More professional than “Fairy Bear.”]

2. It’s National Novel Writing Month! And I have a little over 5,000 words to WIN! So I am seriously going to be buckling down and writing for real. Write* after I finish procrasti-writing this post.

*I was going to go back and edit that last sentence to read “Right” at the beginning, but I decided to leave it. That’s where my brain is. That’s where it should stay.

3. I finished shooting a short film with a friend! I have a few still shots, but I don’t think I’m allowed to show them to you yet.

4. I started teaching again! And I also have made peace with it. More or less. I think. We’re starting with a fun social studies unit, anyway, in which I get to bring in my friend’s TARDIS and take the kids time-traveling to ancient Greece. Yes, I brought togas. (Properly, peplos, as togas were Roman, but essentially they’re togas.)

5. Traveling! I went to visit my sister for a week in Florida to help her pack up her apartment. And also to help me say goodbye to the apartment, which really was heavenly. Two words: Rooftop pool. Okay, two more words: Harbor views. She will very happily be staying with me for much of December, so I don’t have to say goodbye to her just yet, but leaving the apartment was hard. Even though it wasn’t actually mine. Not gonna lie.

PS – I took some photos of the amazing sunrises I got to see in Florida. They’re posted on my Instagram. Which is named after my professional pen name. Which you can find if you link to my play. Hint.

Then of course there’s been all the regular life stuff. Like grocery shopping, burning eggs to rubber because my brain starts to atrophy with boredom when I cook, mulling endlessly over emotional obstacles because I’m *that* kind of person, and getting a paper cut that made my whole hand swell up. I am also slated to visit with three families this weekend – my nieces, my hubby’s family, and my best friend’s family.

All that together in a 30-day month makes this a Thankscrazy season! And I am crazy thankful, emotional obstacles not withstanding. Here are a few things I’m thankful for this month:

1. My patient and dedicated hubby.

2. 8 perfect St. Pete sunrises.

3. Being able to quote the entirety of whole 80’s and 90’s movies with my family.

4. Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Lattes.

5. The dedicated and fabulous early-morning crew at my favorite Starbucks, who are ludicrously cheerful and efficient at 6:30am.

6. Hubby driving me to work in the mornings.

7. If I have to teach, at least I get to do cool stuff. Like travel in a TARDIS.

8. Heat. Especially on days like this.

9. Enough money that I can eat breakfast at Starbucks if I choose instead of burning eggs.

10. This wonderful computer.

11. Scrivener software. Seriously, where have you BEEN all my life?

12. Wine and beer.

13. This song. For real. I can’t stop watching this.:

14. My mom, who is awesome.

15. Pottermore, even though I’m suddenly spending waaaaaay too much time on it. So much so that I’m embarrassed to tell you how high my dueling score is after a mere week of practice. (Ravenclaw in da house!). Still. There’s something kind of meditative about the dueling format – it forces me to be totally in the moment. I find it very calming.

16. My spiritual community. Especially Transmission, and my two book clubs, and my writer’s group(s).

17. All the pep talks from NaNoWriMo people who keep me writing this novel down. And the ones from my sister. And my hubby.

18. The opportunity to catch up with my brother and talk business and marketing and all kinds of other things not normally related to my day-to-day.

19. A perfect Sabbath this past Saturday, which included the 50th Anniversary global simul-cast Doctor Who special.

20. The Whodle created by Google for the occasion. 🙂  I can’t find a working one archived anywhere (please let me know if you know where to find it!), but here’s a most impressive round by someone who was definitely not me:

21. Nerdy friends with whom to bond over things like Doctor Who and Pottermore.

22. Twitter. I love Twitter. Who knew?

23. Wine and beer.

24. Yoga. Hot yoga. Vinyasa yoga. Ashtanga yoga.

25. All the books who walk with me through my life, keeping me company and carrying hope. A Secret Garden. A Little Princess. Heidi. Harry Potter. Narnia.

26. New books that offer me hope. Pastrix, by Nadia Bolz-Weber. Also Occupy Spirituality, by Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox, which I was supposed to review on this very blog probaby weeks ago, but I keep crying every time I pick it up, so it’s slow going. Crying in a good way. It’s very beautiful to me.

27. The opportunity to see my nieces in two days.

28. Being cozy on a rainy November night like tonight.

29. My facebook community. Seriously. I love Facebook. I don’t think it replaces face time in pure quality, but it’s wonderful for keeping in touch with people who are very far away, especially for someone like me who is even worse at letter-writing than at cooking.

30. You, dear readers. I know, I’m getting squeamish at how that sounds too, but really, if you read this, I’m thankful for you, because you remind that I’m not alone, and that perhaps my many words are not completely wasted. Cheers.


Filed under #OccupyWallStreet, Harry Potter, personal

The First Rule of Blogging.

The first rule of blogging is to keep a regular posting schedule.


Rules are overrated.

I am sorry for dropping out of the blogging game at random, unannounced moments, for those of you who actually read this. I hit a slump a few weeks ago and haven’t quite managed to make myself functional again yet.

It’s not really a mystery why I hit a slump. I looked at the calendar and said, “It’s September. Time to start teaching again,” and I called up my old job and asked if I could come back. Just like that. I didn’t really think about it. I didn’t even pray about it. I certainly didn’t discuss it with my husband. It was like some kind of automated shame reflex. “I haven’t been miserable for a year, so I haven’t earned my existence.”

And I was really, really hoping that my coordinator would say, “Oh, I’m sorry, the funding has been cut for that program, we don’t have enough work to take you back.” But they didn’t. It’s kind of a curse to be really good at something you really hate. Cuz people keep asking you to do it. They said, “Oh, thank GOD, we were going to call you this week anyway to see if you would consider coming back. How many classes can you take?” It’s so hard to walk away from a place where you’re so needed and appreciated, even if you hate yourself for selling out.

And I haven’t done a single creative thing since. Well, I painted a picture on my last sabbath. Of a tiny boat in a storm. Here:


Here’s how I feel about teaching:

I hate teaching.

I hate teaching.

I hate teaching. I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.

And the thing is, I actually have a perfectly viable plan for making a living in a way that doesn’t involve teaching. I lost some steam when we had to go to Taipei, and when we came back, instead of building up steam again, I let inertia take over and then my reflex kicked in and I called my old job, and here we are, in full shame spiral.

Examples. Here are some things I was planning to blog about:

1. The end of the Fundiementals series – my favorite topics, too, on authenticity and vulnerability.

2. Anniversary posts – lots of gooey reminiscing about B’s and my wedding last year, as well as reflections on married life and maybe a delirious ode or two. Like, that was pretty much going to be the whole month.

3. More Bible reflections.

4. Thoughts on Taipei, family, the Canfield Fair, travel.

5. Post on mindfulness.

Here is what I have actually been spending my time on:

1. Facebook.

2. Twitter.

3. YouTube.

4. How I Met Your Mother.

5 Project Runway.

6. Analyzing Miley Cyrus. (On Facebook).

WTF? Why am I a special kind of crazy? That’s all for now. Sheesh.


Filed under personal

Leviticus – Fairness, Separateness, and Cleanliness

Leviticus is that book that I always have to just get through. Long lists of laws and regulations that are ancient, taken wildly out of context, and profoundly Other, despite their relative familiarity next to, say, the Code of Hammurabi. Not that there isn’t some really valuable stuff in there (see my notes on the Year of Jubilee – totally brilliant provision for economic equality), but it’s nearly impossible to feel like I have the whole picture when there are also strict regulations for the buying and selling of slaves, preparing animals for sacrifice, and all the things I’m not allowed to touch if I’m on my period. I feel like the image of life Leviticus paints is fragmented and distorted, not because it was that way originally, but because I am so far removed from its original context, I can’t see the pieces as a whole, I can only see them in individual bits, some of them bright and clear, and others cloudy or muddled. With Leviticus I get a mosaic but not a picture. I’m sure someone with more imagination/a graduate degree in ancient Israeli culture/experience in a traditional Orthodox community would have a different experience with this book, but that’s where I’m at.

For whatever reason, I didn’t feel moved to take notes on Leviticus until Chapter 14, so that’s where we begin:

Chapter 14 is so tactile. Lots of smearing and sprinkling and dipping of blood and oil.

Chapter 15: regulations for a bleeding woman. All this washing and refraining from touching sounds like the kind of precautions you take with an infectious disease outbreak or hazmat spill. While I’m a little miffed that my natural body processes were considered so suspect, as a general practice, it would have made the Israelites more endurable during plagues.

Chapter 16: The Day of Atonement is so very solemn. Double sacrifice, first for the priest’s  personal sin (a bull no less) just to be able to approach to offer the sin offering for Israel. And the other two men involved in transporting the animal parts have to wash their clothes before they can reenter the community. And during all this solemn sacrificing and cleansing, the Israelites are to be fasting and observing full Sabbath restrictions. Created an atmosphere where everyone would be hyper-aware of what was going on spiritually in the community. Not a holiday you could brush off or take casually. I believe to this day, Yom Kippur is the most serious of the Jewish holidays.

Ch 21: The high priest must marry a virgin, not a widow or a prostitute. Exactly the opposite of what God asked of Hosea (a prophet, not a priest).

Ch. 22: Women really were only counted based on who was responsible for them. An unmarried priest’s daughter may eat a priest’s holy food, but if she marries a nonpriest, she’s no longer allowed. She has no priestly status of her own, only in relation to her father or husband.

Ch. 25: The Year of Jubilee. Radical redistribution of property every 50 years. It wasn’t redistributed randomly – every family was given an original inheritance, and in the Year of Jubilee, all plots were to be restored to the families who had original ownership. 50 years was a span of time that would mean that if you were lazy or otherwise irresponsible, you became poor for much of your lifetime, but your children wouldn’t be permanently disadvantaged. If you were greedy, you couldn’t accumulate property indefinitely. A countering to the inertia of privilege and income inequality

v. 35-37 – “If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you…you must not lend him money at interest or sell him food at a profit.” – What a very different dynamic from the culture of predatory creditors and anti-food stamps.

Ch. 26 v. 9-13: One of the few places where God’s warmth and fondness come through – “I really really want to be friends with you, I just really need you to not be evil.” (Revised Meghan Version).

In reviewing my notes, apparently I did not feel particularly moved to make any notations on the most famous and contentious of Levitical passages today, the ones concerning a man lying with a man. I’ve written about this in personal notes to friends and somewhat over at Soulation, but here I think I’ll just link you to some other people who have said it more eloquently than I.


Filed under religion, reviews

Fundiementals 5: Back to Truth

So, this whole series on fundamentalism started with a conversation I had with a Very Concerned Relative over the meaning and importance of truth. To recap:

“But the Bible DOES tell us what will happen in the end times. How can you not care? It says right here,” she flips frantically to John 4:23, “that Jehovah wants worshipers who will worship in spirit and in truth, IN TRUTH, so how can you not be concerned with the truths of the Bible?!”

To my Very Concerned Relative, the “truths” that would be most important to Jehovah God were about understanding doctrine correctly, having the correct answers to theological questions, or even about having the right translation of scripture correctly memorized. To her, truth is an exercise in intellectual prowess, and dwells within very narrow parameters – every question has an answer, and every answer is either right or wrong.

Love Naked Pastor

Obviously, I disagree with her. But if “truth” in the spiritual sense isn’t about intellectual prowess, what is it about?

I would like to make the case that in spirituality, truth is about relationship.

Yup. Naked Pastor.

That’s an obscure statement, so let me expand. Since I dwell in the Christian tradition, I will use mostly Bible verses to illustrate, although I’ll include secular references where I’m aware of them.

Truth = Absence of Deception:
Shortly after the initial conversation with my Very Concerned Relative, I did a concordance search for “truth” in the Bible. Do you know where the word “truth” makes its first appearance? In Genesis 42:16:

Send one of your number to get your brother; the rest of you will be kept in prison, so that your words may be tested to see if you are telling the truth.

Are you telling me the truth? Or are you lying? Thus asked my mother one fateful day when I had been torturing my baby sister out of sight, and then glibly pretended I had no idea why she might be crying. It is my earliest memory of the idea of justice, my first remembered prick of conscience, and my first awareness that it is wrong to use words to paint a picture that doesn’t match up with reality. At its most basic, truth-telling is about absence of deceit, manipulation, and spin. And truth-telling is harder than it sounds, especially in a culture like ours that is dedicated to success. Ask anyone in a 12-step group. A rigorous adherence to reality requires a willingness (a courage) to face life and self in all their horrifying imperfections and terrifying glory. I am a human being. I love fiercely. I make mistakes. I am beautifully and wonderfully made. I make promises I can’t keep. I have capacity for great joy. I can be resentful. I am occasionally a good listener. I have, on occasion, been mean to small children. I try to inspire people. I waste more than I should. I work really hard. I benefit from white privilege. My life has importance and dignity. I participate in corrupt consumer systems. Etc., etc., etc. Justice, fairness, and authentic relationship cannot happen without this most basic loyalty to the truth.

Truth = Transparency

Closely related – transparency, or the commitment not to lie by omission. The willingness to bring things into the open. The willingness not to hide. In the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve have sinned, the first thing they do is hide. They withhold themselves, withdraw intimacy, mask the truth of their nakedness with the trees and bushes. Just to be clear, I’m not advocating total openness with every stranger; not all people are safe, and there are perfectly appropriate boundaries to be drawn between new acquaintances. People earn the right to see your truth. But Adam and Eve had already been dwelling perfectly naked, in perfect safety, with God. Their hiding was a soft kind of lie, a pretending at invisibility, aimed at what they perceived to be their advantage – not getting caught, not getting in trouble, not being seen. It was a form of manipulation. How often do we withhold ourselves from others out of anger, shame, resentment, fear, or spite? It helps us feel powerful, it helps us perceive an advantage to ourselves (to keep us safe, to make us loved, to keep us in control, etc.). Such forms of lying and manipulation are a part of codependency. There are good reasons why Steps 4 and 5 in Codependents Anonymous read “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves; admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.” Honesty with self and others is essential for healthy relational functioning.

Transparency is an important standard of truth in organizations and institutions as well. The prophet Hosea says:

“Ephraim has surrounded me with lies, Israel with deceit….Ephraim feeds on the wind; he pursues the east wind all day and multiplies lies and violence. He makes a treaty with Assyria and sends olive oil to Egypt.” – Hosea 11:12, 12:1

Have you ever been in a work situation where you knew you weren’t being told everything? How did that work out for you? How about in politics? What if you actually knew who was paying your Congressman, and how much? Or your church? (I know many churches keep open books. Many do not.) Can you imagine a world in which WikiLeaks wasn’t considered a threat? Where whistleblowers were celebrated or even unnecessary because everything was already in the open? Can you imagine what kinds of atrocities might be prevented if institutional actions were always public and accountable? What would happen if governments and corporations couldn’t make two-faced deals behind closed doors in order to maneuver for leverage and advantage? Truth is a prerequisite for equality.

I think I’m going to split this and put the rest in a second blog post or it’s going to be way too long. So – coming up: authenticity, vulnerability, wholeness and integrity. (Not necessarily in that order).


Filed under religion

Thoughts on Exodus (Part 2)

Ok, my bad. We got back from Taiwan and I immediately had a meltdown over having our first anniversary at home with nothing planned, so we made a last-minute trip to the woods and spent last week blissfully wifi-free, and I forgot to schedule stuff to pre-post, so that’s where that lag came from. And this past Monday I was going to post the final installment of Fundiementals, but I spent all day formatting the second draft of my play for my beta readers (Space. Space. Tab. Indent. Space. Space. Tab. Indent. Repeat. Etc. For Eight. Freaking. Hours. – “Her Story in Blood” – coming soon!), so I apologize that blog upkeep has gotten a little away from me.

Fundiementals 5 WILL be returning THIS Monday, I PROMISE, and here are the rest of my thoughts on Exodus in the meantime:

Matzah. Yum. Click thru for explanation of Passover.

Chapter 12 – During the final plague in Egypt, the Israelites are instructed to make bread without yeast and basically eat as if they’ll have to drop everything at any moment and run. Eating in haste like this is in stark contrast to the advice I got from my last church which was to “ruthlessly eliminate hurry.” But this just demonstrates that there is a time for all things: a time to eliminate hurry and a time to practice haste lest the moment get away from you.

And what do you do after passing supernaturally through a sea? Naturally, you dance! And sing! The arts mark special occasions.

Chapter 18 – I hope to always have a Jethro in my life who will sit down with me and say “Stop! Why are you killing yourself with all this unnecessary work? Break it down and delegate!”

The commitment to remember God first and also the commandments to honor your father and mother remind me of the principle in God Revised (which I reviewed here) where he was talking about the utter dependence of everything on everything else. I that’s what these two commandments are about for me. Remembering that your initial existence owes nothing to your own efforts, and your continued existence only relies on your own efforts in combination with an extraordinary chain of happy circumstances – the continued seasonal cycles, crops that grow, rain that falls, rivers that don’t dry up, etc. Remembering that God is your source for everything and remembering that he chose to make you further dependent on those around you too; you could not exist without the explicit cooperation of your parents. Even if you have really terrible parents (and I’m not saying that if you’re parents were abusive or neglectful or whatever that you can’t be angry and set good boundaries), to remember that your existence, up to a point, entirely rested upon their good graces. Helps keep me rooted in gratitude and helps keep my hands open because it reminds me how little I ultimately have control over.

Chapters 25, 26, and 27 are all about building the tabernacle, and when I first started reading them they remind me of iKEA directions without the benefit of the diagrams.

Credit to

Credit to

There are a ton of these. Google “IKEA instructions funny.” Or at least click through here to see “Litsabbur.”

I have trouble visualizing it in my head, and it’s about as exciting to read as you would expect iKEA directions to be, and I imagine it was kind of a nightmare to build without the diagrams. (Although, as a  side note, it occurs to me that there may have originally been diagrams, because it says a couple of times “Do this how I showed you on the mountain,” so maybe God drew diagrams for Moses? I don’t know.) But then I also started thinking this is not really like an iKEA piece of furniture – it’s more like the 9/11 memorial. And you know when you go to visit the 9/11 memorial, there’s going to be a whole section that will detail every step of the process – the designers, materials, techniques, and people involved – so it’s really more like that. It’s detailing this very, very important, momentous project that these people took on, at the very beginning of their freedom, a project which must have helped define them as a people in those nascent days. I think of how bonded I always got with theater casts – everyone gets so close, and you feel so affectionate for all these people that you didn’t even know six weeks ago, and you have all these shared stories and inside jokes and complaints that have glued you together as a community because of how many freakin’ hours you’ve sacrificed to this project for the last two months of your life. I imagine it was like that, and all these detailed instructions, repeated several times, are sort of like the theater cast sitting around re-hashing, in loving detail, every last rehearsal moment, every instant of inspiration, every stroke of paint that made strangers into a family.

At the end of chapter 27, I like how it says that Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the Lord from evening to morning. There was always light in the darkness at the tabernacle.

Chapter 29 – any unused meat after a sacrifice was to be burned, not stored, eaten, or re-distributed. I wonder if this had partly to do with trust, like the injunction to not hoard manna 6 days of the week. If the meat had to be eaten daily or burned, it would have engendered trust in the idea “I have enough.” It would have practically prohibited unholy gain by re-selling the meat to anyone who might have thought it lucky or possessing magical powers, or kept as security; the security would always be in the Lord.

Ch. 30 – All that talk of incense made me want some. Burnt some jasmine for the first time in more than a year, and it was lovely.

Ch. 31 – I love how the artists responsible for making the tabernacle were named and praised in the scripture itself – their service was deemed important enough to record.

Chapter 32 – The Golden Calf. I always wondered – why a calf? It always seemed so random to me as a child. Why on earth would you worship a cow? I mean, they’re cute and all, but powerful? C’mon. It would have made more sense if they had built a golden lamb, seeing as how that was the means by which the last plague passed over them in Egypt. I would understand mistaking the means and symbol of salvation (the lamb’s blood) for the source (God). Maybe (probably?) it had something to do with the Egyptian collection of animal gods, but I’m not educated enough in ancient Near Eastern religions to be able to comment intelligently on this.

Weird negotiation between Moses and God, where Moses convinces God not to destroy the Israelites by asking “What would Egypt think?” Maybe WWET bracelets will be the next new thing…

I always laugh at Aaron’s response when Moses confronts him about the Golden Calf (which Aaron is responsible for making) –

“I don’t know, I just put the gold in the fire, and out came this calf!”

Again, I am reminded of teaching –

“I don’t know how Susie’s chocolate bar ended up in my mouth, I just found it there and started chewing!”

The bloody purge recorded here is distressing, and I don’t know what to do with it. Moses comes off looking much more compassionate than God, which doesn’t really make any sense theologically. Although, honestly, I find that I’m relating to God’s wrath here more than I anticipated – I’ve certainly wanted to annihilate a class or two that was running wild, despite my careful and thorough and deliberate and persistent and exhausting attempts to bring them to heel. (I’m sorry, was I not supposed to admit that? I forgot. Teachers all love all children wholly and unconditionally and with perfect patience at all times and in all circumstances. Even when they’re mean cretins).

Chapter 33 (vs. 15) – I say this prayer all the time – God, please don’t send me unless you’ll be with me.

That whole story with God putting Moses in a cleft in the rock and passing by – deeply creepy, and I feel like there’s so much meaning hidden in the imagery, but it’s opaque to me.

Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk – repeated several times. (Repeated more times, in fact, once you count Deuteronomy, than the Levitical injunction for a man not to lay with a man. We throw out kosher law, but we keep the heteronormative sexual assumption? But that’s a conversation for another time….)

All kinds of ways to eat more consciously. Click through for more.

Back to goats- a way of remembering the earth around you and treating all creation with respect. Also the beginning of food activism and justice. Roots here not just for kosher thought, but also vegetarianism, and other aspects of conscious eating. Thinking about what your food means, what it says about your compassion and values. Thinking about the feelings (so to speak) of the baby goat. And really, what is a cheeseburger but a mother or baby cow fried up in its own breastmilk? Kinda nasty when you look at it that way. And I am, regretfully, a great lover of cheeseburgers.

Ew. Good article, though, on food sustainability, if you click through.

1 Comment

Filed under religion