Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sequestered by God

Hey folks! Well, I spent another Saturday evening at Brotherly Love Ministries. I took some photos (and then had some fun with photoshop!). It's really a neat project, and even though I have some pretty sharply divergent theological views as the people there, I really, really like them. They have what I term a "hyper-literal" way of translating the Bible, but in a way, their views are much more tolerant and loving than other extremely conservative Christians. Still, some of the things they believe are, well, pretty unbelievable. For one, they only use the King James. When the Book of Revelation says the gates of heaven are wrought from a single pearl, that means either it's a really big pearl, or we're gonna be really small when we get to heaven, but whatever the case, those folks who believe that the gates are made from lots of pearls are wrong, 'cause that ain't what the Bible says. It's one pearl, and that's that! And when it says Jonah was swallowed by a whale, that means a whale, not a "jewfish" or whatever...I don't even know what they're talking about there. Hey, for what it's worth, it was the most interesting sermon I've heard in years.

Still, I'm already learning to set my own prejudices and snobbishness aside. I might think that their beliefs are bizarre compared to my own, but their beliefs are based on a rich and complicated life that I can't begin to yet understand. Besides, once you believe that somebody actually turned water into wine and rose from the dead, isn't it all pretty much fair game after that?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sentences like these should just be illegal

From this week's reading by some French anthropologist named Pierre Bordieu:

The theoretical construction which retrospectively projects the counter-gift into the project of the gift has the effect of transforming into mechanical sequences of obligatory acts the at once risky and necessary improvisation of the everyday strategies which owe their infinite complexity to the fact that the giver's undeclared calculation must reckon with the receiver's undeclared calculation, and hence satisfy his expectations without appearing to know what they are. In the same operation, it removes the conditions making possible the institutionally organized and guaranteed misrecognition which is the basis of gift exchange and, perhaps, of all the symbolic labor intended to transmute, by the sincere fiction of a disinterested exchange, the inevitable, and inevitably interested, relations imposed by kinship, neighborhood, or work into elective relations of reciprocity: in the work of reproducing established relations--through feasts, ceremonies, exchanges of gifts, visits or courtesies, and above all, marriages--which is no less vital to the existence of the group than the reproduction of the economic bases of its existence, the labor required to conceal the function of the exchanges is as important an element of labor needed to carry out the function.

Dude, buy a period already and stop hurting my brain.