Friday, July 12, 2013

Living on the internet is funny.

With Google Reader's untimely demise, a lot of changes have been occurring across many of the blogs I frequent. People are taking it as an opportunity to stir things up and try new things.

And I have caught the bug.

In addition to the whole peer pressure aspect, I'm coming up on Paper Crane Library's second birthday next month. And I've been thinking about just how much has happened in the last two years. I am not where I thought I'd be--professionally, personally, physically even--and neither is this blog.

I started it because I thought I'd blog through library school, like I'd seen many people do. But honestly blogging about library school turned out to be almost as boring as library school itself. Now don't get me wrong, library school is alright, and I'm definitely going to finish it up. But if you've been around here long enough you probably know that it's not the end-all, be-all for me.

So I'm creating a webspace that feels more natural. A hub of sorts where my interests and identities can coalesce and where people can find me and my work. Part portfolio, part about-me, with a blog attached.

The content of the blog will probably be more or less the same: just whatever I feel like posting, whenever I feel like posting (maybe I'll bring back Theologian Thursdays one of these days). But without a cute name or the expectation that it's supposed to have a theme or be about something in particular.

I'll be leaving this blog up, for linking purposes, mostly. But the domain will not be renewed, so if you have any links you will want to change or remove them.

I hope you'll join me in my new space, and stay connected.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

On Being Pretty (or not) in Academia

I've wanted to write for a while about the effect of women's appearance in academia. First it started as "Just because I like cute clothes and lipstick doesn't mean I'm not smart." But then I realized that in many cases having a more-or-less conventionally "pretty" appearance can actually result in people being more likely to listen to you rather than less.

And so emerged the double-edged double-standard that women have become so used to facing.

Be pretty--because no one will listen to you if you're plain--but not too pretty, because then people will think you're dumb.

I remember agonizing over this back in March/April when I was preparing to present at my first academic conferences. I painstakingly picked out my outfits, trying on everything in my closet to find a balance between pretty and professional, dressing my age but not too trendy. I wanted desperately to stand out, and also to be taken seriously. My age and gender alone achieved the former, as I was almost surely always the youngest in the room, and usually one of only a handful of women. But the latter proved a bit more challenging.

Would people still hear what I had to say if I wore a makeup-less face and my hair in a ponytail?

Do people take me more seriously when I wear my glasses?

And this is a struggle women are met with every day. It's the performance of femininity in a delicate balancing act with a proper projection of power and meekness, authority and sweetness.

Sure, I can't really know what people think about me. And maybe it's my own neuroses, but so often I get the feeling of people being like, "Awww, look at that cute little girl doing theology." Or, my favorite (which actually happened), "You're too pretty to be a librarian."

There are plenty of pretty librarians. There are plenty of homely librarians. Both and either can be great or terrible at their job. Is there any industry (besides, perhaps, modeling or Hollywood) in which a person's appearance actually affects their job performance? Really?

And of course this is pretty much never an issue for men.

I think I'm beyond asking why appearance matters so much--it's become a given, fostered by patriarchy and capitalism, creating women and our appearance into objects for consumption instead of human beings to engage seriously and honestly. I'm more interested in just challenging this assumption, without overtly bringing attention to it (except for this blog post, of course).

I'm just going to keep reading. Keep writing. Keep at that academic hustle.

I'm also going to keep painting my nails with glitter and wearing bright lipstick.

I'm going to engage you (male or female or otherwise) sincerely and critically.

And I just ask that you do the same for me.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Pug Mug Monday

After all the feels last week, I think some cute pug pictures are in order.

Happy Monday.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Gay Marriage and the Christ/Church Analogy

Disclaimer: if you are a complementarian, you will not agree with my argument, so it's no use reading this or debating. It only really works if you believe that men and women are equal and do not have assigned life roles based on gender.


Perhaps you have heard (or even used yourself) the argument against gay marriage that goes something like this:

Marriage, between a man and a woman, is a symbol/sign/sacrament that reflects the relationship between God/Christ and the church, and gay marriage does not do this.

I'm going to make a few assumptions about this argument which will inform the rest of my post:

  1. In the analogy, the man is God/Christ and the woman is the church (a la Ephesians 5)
  2. A same-sex relationship cannot carry the analogy
  3. The analogy is a necessary part of the marriage relationship

So the analogy necessitates the two pieces--God and church.There is a significant qualitative difference between these two entities. Most people would probably contend that God is transcendent, or holy, or perfect, while the church, which is made of humans, is not. Interesting that the man, then, gets to be "God" in the analogy, while the woman gets to be the church which is dependent upon God. This analogy is clear that God > humanity, and therefore man > woman.

Obviously this is problematic.

If we believe that men are not inherently more holy or better equipped for leading than women, then we can swap the gender roles in the analogy.

So let's do some gender bending!

What if the woman could be God/Christ in the analogy? Could Ephesians 5 read, "Wives, love your husbands, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, wives ought to love their husbands as their own bodies. She who loves her husband loves herself" ? or "Husbands, submit yourselves to your own wives as you do to the Lord" ? (The previous verse does say "submit to one another," after all.)

Why not? Still seems like a marriage to me. Taken out of context, one might not even notice the roles have been flipped.
And if we can swap them, if women can be both Christ and the church, then why not two women in one relationship being both Christ and the church?

Why can't all loving, mutually submissive relationships (even deep friendships) be a symbol of God's great love for God's people, and the church's love and respect for God?

Furthermore, the original analogy, with the necessity of both a man and a woman, implies that men and women are qualitatively different and somehow incomplete--that they need each other. This really can't be true. Men are created fully in the image of God, AND women are created fully in the image of God. We are not two halves of a whole. To say that we are is to diminish the imago dei in each of us, and what's more, it devalues the lives of our single and celibate brothers and sisters. Are they somehow unable to display the love of God because they are missing the other half of their "analogy"? Of course not. (And this reminds me, we need to dispense with the whole Platonic soulmate thing too.)

So what do you think? If this Christ/church analogy is such an integral part of marriage, and it can still be achieved in a same-sex marriage, can we be done with this argument?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nice, Cozy Echo Chambers

After the SCOTUS overturn of DOMA and Prop 8 today, and the epic filibuster over SB-5 in Texas last night, social media was ablaze. It was all I could do to keep up with my Twitter and Facebook feeds (especially since I still don't have internet at home!).

And something came up a couple of times--echo chambers. The idea that if your feeds were a reflection of your own views and responses, then you are living in an environment without challenge to those views, without having to engage with the "other." It's usually painted as a bad thing, implying that if you only listen to people who agree with you, you'll never grow, nor will you make a difference among those who believe otherwise.

However, I don't know that it's such a bad thing.

There have been times in my life when I was definitely not living in an echo chamber. Or maybe I was, but it was more like being held hostage in the other side's echo chamber. Either way, I've been in situations where I am literally forced to reckon with people who don't see eye to eye with me every single day.

And that's exhausting.

I absolutely believe in dialectic, in dialogue and the necessity of opposing forces and ideas. I love having my ideas challenged and trying new things on. But I don't love being forced to, and certainly not constantly.

Right now, I'm enjoying a season of life where I am being embraced by likeminded friends. It's refreshing to not have to defend myself at every word. It's nice to not be subject to the hatred being spewed all over the internet. It's my Facebook feed after all, why should it feel like punishment to read?

There's something to be said about hospitality, and venturing out to meet the other, but I don't think that being hospitable precludes a safe space where you can be yourself among your people.

For more on why echo chambers might not be all bad, check out this piece by David Weinberger.

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Church (and the Library): It's Not Dead Yet!

A couple weeks ago, a few of us Twitter folk (including Carol Howard Merritt, Ben Howard--no not that Ben Howard--and others) met at Michael's cafe, which is home to some amazing cake, and talked about the state of the Church.

We tried to focus on that big-C Church, and we talked about its overall decline in membership and incline in the membership's age, the rise of the nones, and the pesky problem of exclusionary theology. But as we talked in these generalizations, I kept hearing the same refrain--"That's not my experience."

For as many stories as we had about seminary degrees gathering dust and bigoted Christians, we had just the same stories of growth and love and rebirth in what we still could only call the Church, or perhaps more accurately churches.

It reminded me of Monty Python.

Then it reminded me of libraries. Every single stinkin time I tell someone I work in a library and I'm getting my degree in library science, they always want to challenge me about "The Future of Libraries," and "Aren't they all going to be extinct anyway?" Anyone can Google anything they want; we don't need libraries.

That's not my experience.

People still need libraries, just like people still need churches. They both foster the love of truth that is not going extinct, and a place for shared experience that you can't replicate by pointing and clicking. 

Churches and libraries are not dying. They might not look the way they used to, but they are still here, and they're sticking around.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pug Mug Monday

Ebenezer is loving Nashville.

The only bummer is that there aren't a lot of places with fenced yards. So he has been spending lots of time on-leash, and relishing weekly trips to the dog park.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Donut Tourism: San Diego

Before we left San Diego, Curtis and I were able to check out the newly opened Donut Bar downtown.

The previous week, they had gotten a ton of media buzz, resulting in a ton of business, and so there were already all these reviews on Yelp about how they kept running out of donuts and should have known better and were creating scarcity to create hype blah blah blah.

Regardless of the drama, this place is good. The owner was there, and he was so nice and excited to be there and apologetic (because they were about to run out of donuts again), and I just love seeing people happy and living their dreams. It's so inspiring.

Anyway, we got the Saigon Cinnamon and Sugar, Old Fashioned Glazed, and... I think that other one is Vanilla Bean?
 I don't really remember, but what I do remember is that THEY WERE AMAZING. The Saigon cinnamon is something else. It's made with Vietnamese cinnamon, which does taste different. More spice-y I think. And the old fashioned was hot and fresh and just-glazed.

We had to take our donuts and coffee ($1, btw) to go because there's no seating in there (yet) and no parking to speak of (it's downtown, after all). And their menu changes every day, so now I wish we could have gone a few more times to try their different donuts.

Definitely check this place out if you are in San Diego.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Book Review: A People's History of Christianity

Last week I started riding the bus to and from work, and it has given me so much time to read! My first bus book was A People's History of Christianity by Diana Butler Bass. It was pretty good, but perhaps not what I was expecting.

Given the obvious rip-off of Howard Zinn's title, I thought the book would be more about the "losers" of church history who haven't gotten their story told--the heretics, the faithful poor, the obscure upholders of Christianity. But it seemed like much of the same mainstream, rich, well-educated dudes that everyone knows about. Mother Julian, St. Francis, Martin Luther, George Fox etc. Perhaps it's more a credit to my professors that few of the stories were new to me.

The book did remind me of some forgotten favorites (who I plan to feature on upcoming Theologian Thursdays), and it did leave me feeling hopeful for the church in its floundering entrance into postmodernity--a testament to the positive tone of the book, which I appreciate, even if it did gloss over some of the sticky, more painful aspects of church history. She focuses on the idea of "generative Christianity" rather than militant Christianity.

Butler Bass weaved together the stories of the church with stories of her academic journey, and how the context of her life affected her reception of the history she was learning--something I can surely relate to. The personal narrative alongside the historical one gave a unique context to what could have been a rote history.

I'd recommend this book to people who are interested in church history but have not studied it much before. It's an accessible read about a not-always-so-accessible topic.

Friday, April 26, 2013

TTLA + Finding my Place

Today I got to hang out at the Disciples of Christ Historical Society for the meeting of the Tennessee Theological Library Association. It was so, so much fun being surrounded by people who have, more or less, my same professional interests.

Theological librarianship is a pretty narrow field, so it's always been kind of a novelty to find people who were part of it. But since working in the Divinity Library it's become an everyday thing! I am so thrilled to be working here with such interesting and intelligent people who geek out over the same things I do. I keep saying how wonderful it's been to feel like I'm among "my people."

So as much as I miss San Diego (although I still don't think it's really sunk in yet), I am really overjoyed to be here learning and experiencing this new and exciting environment. It's so certainly where I belong.

Friday, April 19, 2013

We made it!

I know it's been super quiet and sad around here the last few weeks. But we finally made it!

Curtis and I are safe and sound in Nashville. Today marks ONE FULL WEEK of being Nashvillians, and the end of my first full work week. Needless to say I am exhausted. But the best kind of exhausted.

I'm actually almost feeling like a fully-functioning human being for the most part (getting caught up on school work, not having to use a map to drive to and from work), so I expect I'll be back to blogging soon. I didn't realize how much I've missed it!

If you want to check out some photos (like the one above, which I took on the road in Arkansas), you should check out our Nashville Diaries blog.

For now though, I wonder if you all have any MUST-SEE Nashville places we need to check out.

So far we've been to the Pharmacy (I had a FALAFEL BURGER!) and Nashville Biscuit House, plus I've driven through Bicentennial Park a couple times, and I could see the Parthenon at Centennial Park from my HR training room (though I haven't actually been there yet).

Where do we still need to go? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Subverting the Norm: Eucharist as Deconstruction

I know, I am SO BEHIND on everything in life right now.

I am still meaning to do a write-up about the Subverting the Norm conference, which was so SO awesome.

For now, though, I did want to make available the paper I presented there. I meant to post it beforehand, but I didn't want to give it all away before my session! I think it was pretty well received, and got some good conversation going--like, if Eucharist breaks down hierarchies, what are we to say about ordination, or the fact that (in many traditions) only certain people may administer the elements?

Anyway, give it a read and let me know what you think!

Abstract:The liturgy of Eucharist is a deconstructive act within the Church in that it calls into question and breaks down hierarchical social structures and individualized faith in order to create a true and unified body within Christ’s broken body at his table. In this essay, I will briefly attempt to elucidate deconstruction, I will make a few points regarding the Eucharist’s sacramental and unifying nature, and then I will show how the Eucharist deconstructs, but also re-constructs, the Church. This deconstruction and re-construction means  recognizing and remembering that we Christians are one, at one table with the Lord, and that for this to be so, we must submit to the breaking down of the structures in which we often find comfort, but which inhibit true communion with each other and with Christ. In order to be re-constructed into the real, present body of Christ, we must allow and embrace the Eucharist as deconstruction.

Paper: CLICK HERE for PDF.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Pug Mug Monday

I took quite a few Ebenezer photos this week.

Not sorry bout it.

One week til move day.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Donut Tourism: Seattle

If you know me, you know I love donuts (also doughnuts, but I prefer the simplified spelling). In fact, for my birthday last year, my coworkers built me a donut cake.

So I absolutely love trying new donuts and new donut shops when I'm traveling. I call it Donut Tourism, and I'm going to make it a recurring feature on the blog--especially since we'll be moving and I'll be sampling donuts all over the country! In fact, I also plan to do a couple retroactive posts now that I think of it (i.e. Voodoo Donuts from when Curtis and I went to Portland in 2011).


When we were in Seattle last week (which went quite well, and I should probably post about that, but FIRST THINGS FIRST) we did the normal touristy Pike's Place Market, and Curtis's college friend and old roommate who was our tour guide insisted that we try the cinnamon mini donuts from this little stall/booth.


As you can see from the photo above, we plowed through the first six donuts before I was like "OMG I NEED TO TAKE A PHOTO OF THESE. THESE ARE THE MOST AMAZING DONUTS I'VE EVER EATEN."

So warm. So cinnamon-y. So fluffy and airy and sweet.

Fried, dough-y perfection.

I told my mom she had to try these when she visited the next day, and I extend the commandment to ANYONE READING THIS. If you find yourself in downtown Seattle, nay, anywhere near the Pacific Northwest. You absolutely must make the pilgrimage to this donut place--Daily Dozen.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pug Mug Monday

Ebenezer got to stay with our friends while Curtis and I were in Seattle last week. We are so lucky to have friends who love him as much as we do!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

WTS Paper: Uzzah and the Hemorrhaging Woman

I wrote this paper for my Doctrine of Holiness class with Sam Powell in March 2010. And after THREE YEARS, I am so excited that it's finally getting to see the light of day. I'll be presenting it at the Wesleyan Theological Society on Friday afternoon.

Abstract: This paper explores two passages in which unclean hands came into contact with the holy: Uzzah and the Ark of the Covenant in 1 Samuel and Mark’s portrayal of the hemorrhaging woman and Jesus Christ. I contrast the two stories by demonstrating that in the incarnation the fundamental meaning of holiness seen in the Old Testament as separation is broken down and reversed, so that the character and function of holiness becomes that which does not avoid and destroy, but assumes and heals in love. In the incarnation, God is no longer separate from us, but has become like us in unholiness so that we might become like God in holiness. The uniting of the holy and the unholy in Jesus Christ mirrors the new welcome of the unholy into holiness, which will no longer result in our death, but in our healing.


Please let me know if you read it, and what you think. And feel free to ask any questions--I'll try my best to answer them.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pug Mug Monday

Sometimes Ebenezer falls asleep while chewing on a toy. It's pretty much my absolute favorite thing he does.

What a cute little butthead.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Who decided that glasses were a librarian thing? I mean, I'm sure just as many doctors and baristas wear glasses as librarians.

Anyway, I was asked to review a pair of Firmoo glasses, and since glasses and librarians are somehow inexorably linked, I figured I'd do it. Full disclosure: the company sent them to me for free.

Even if you have to pay for a pair, though, you can afford them. These are the ones I chose, and they're only $16 (not including shipping). I guess they are so cheap because they come straight from the factory in China?  I'm not sure where the company is based, but their website is (adequately, but obviously) translated into English. 

The customer service rep I spoke with was kind and very quick at responding to emails. Shipping only took four days (from China), although it was a week from the day I ordered to the day they shipped. The actual quality of the glasses is about what you'd expect. I mean, I'm not afraid they're going to snap any second, but I'm also not expecting them to last forever.

The only big negative I have about Firmoo is their selection. It's nowhere near as extensive as Warby Parker or Coastal. It was pretty easy to narrow down my options.

Overall, though, definitely worth checking out!

Firmoo gives new customers their first pair of glasses free--you just have to pay shipping. Click HERE if you're interested.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Theologian Thursday Hiatus

I know I posted this on Facebook, but I failed to make an announcement here:

I'm going to put Theologian Thursdays on hold for the next 6 weeks or so, since I'll be traveling, then moving, then settling in in Nashville.

If you're interested in writing a guest post, though, I would happily take it! Just shoot me an email or leave a comment and we can work something out. I know I have lots of brilliant friends out there who want to try their hand at rating a theologian! Just let me know.

Enjoy your Thursday! This time next week I'll be in Seattle for WTS. So excited! I'll be sure to post my paper before I go.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My First Library

My last day of work at Point Loma is in three weeks, and three weeks sounds like so much less than four weeks (especially since I'll only be working two days, three days, and three days of those weeks), which means it's officially kind of scary and sad.

This is the library where I found my path. I remember that day my sophomore year, when I was sitting at the circ desk and thought, "Hey, I like working in a library. Maybe I could do this for real," and proceeded to Google "How do you become a librarian?" (Answer: a master's degree. Yay.)

Like everyone, I did so much growing as a college student, and so much of my college career was spent in this library--either working 9 hour days, 25-hour weeks (Shhh, don't tell. Students are only supposed to work 20 hours per week) or studying, reading, writing. And that one nap that one time during my last finals week.

I've gotten up at 6am countless times to open, and left at midnight to close. I've watched sunsets over the Pacific from the front desk and my office. I've told probably thousands of people where the bathroom is.

Honestly, I don't think I can properly put into words what a perfect environment this library has been for me. It's one of those things that makes me worry about the future because there's no way somewhere else could be as good. But my time here has prepared me for what's next, and I feel so well equipped.

Sorry for getting mushy on you, but I get really sentimental about things.

I have a feeling I'll be in ultra-mushy mode for the next month.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pug Mug Monday

Ebenezer is starting to get stressed out about all the apartment packing and the boxes piling up. He doesn't realize what an exciting adventure is just around the corner! It's going to be very interesting traveling across the country with him in the cab of a moving truck.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Nashville Diaries

Just dropping by to let you know that Curtis and I have stared a blog to document our move to Nashville.

If you're interested in following us for the move, the road trip, and living in a new city, you can check it out HERE.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pug Mug Monday

Happy Monday!

It's exactly 5 weeks until we leave for Nashville, so I'm beginning the work of getting things at the library squared away for my departure. Lots of manual and instruction writing await!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Good News!

Curtis, Ebenezer, and I are moving to Nashville!
We are really, really excited about it. I'll get back from Subverting the Norm on April 7, and on April 8 we'll hop in a U-Haul and drive across the country! I'll start my new job at the Vanderbilt Divinity School library on April 15.

In the meantime, I'm researching every bit about the city I can find. I've never been there before!

Have you visited Nashville? What do I need to know? What cool stuff is there?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pug Mug Monday

It's never easy coming back to work after a lovely weekend with an adorable pug, but this week I'm looking forward to and crossing my fingers for a couple things, so let's get on with it!

P.S. It's already nearly March?!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Theologian Thursday: Mildred Bangs Wynkoop

Today's theologian may not be of great interest to those outside the circle of the Church of the Nazarene, but at the very least you'll get a solid book recommendation out of it.

I love how Mildred Bangs Wynkoop ended up in the Nazarene Church because, just like how I got here, it was just a happy accident--her parents happened to meet Phineas Bresee on their honeymoon, and so became members of his church.

She went to Northwest Nazarene College and then Pasadena College, Western Evangelical Seminary (now George Fox), the University of Oregon, and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary.

She was an ordained minister, a professor at Western Evangelical Seminary, and Trevecca Nazarene College, the president of Japan Nazarene Theological Seminary, and theologian-in-residence at Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City.

Basically she is a Nazarene rock star.

Wynkoop wrote a bunch of books and articles that were mostly focused on relational theology--how God relates to humanity, and how people relate to God and consequently each other as a result of the imago dei in humanity. She was also an Arminius scholar, and did important work in relating Wesley and Arminius and making them applicable in the Church of the Nazarene.

Also, she makes a damn good bobble head. Someone please buy me one of these.

What you should read:
  • A Theology of Love (for heaven's sake, read this book)
  • Foundations of Wesleyan-Arminian Theology
(To read more about my Theologian Rating System, click HERE
Gender Equality:
The Church of the Nazarene is awesome and has been ordaining women from day one. In fact, NTS has a center for women in ministry that bears Wynkoop's name.
Environmental Sensibility:

I think Wynkoop's theology of love certainly extends not only to the relationship of God and humanity and humanity with itself, but also to the relationships of God and humanity with creation as a whole. I imagine she would be completely on board with talking about care for creation as an extension of holiness.
Heretical Tendencies: 
There's really nothing heretical I can find in her writing or teaching, although there are some who chafe at this idea of "relational theology" and theology of "love." But I'd say that's a personal problem.
General Badassery: 
So maybe she didn't fight lions or anything, but Mildred Wynkoop is badass in her own way. She laid the foundation for hundreds of Nazarene women to study, preach, and write, and her influence in the church is still alive and well.

Finally, a short quote:
“The character of holiness is love.”

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pug Mug Monday #3

Here's Ebenezer looking cute on Saturday

You can also see a video of Curtis and Ebenezer dancing to Frank Sinatra on Valentine's Day HERE.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Theologian Thursday: Saint Valentine

It should come as no surprise that I chose to look at St. Valentine today. It is his feast day, after all.

The difficulty I found, however, was figuring out who exactly he is. The conflicting stories and accounts of St. Valentine--indeed, multiple St. Valentines, since it was quite a common name--are rivaled only by those surrounding St. Nicholas. And even then, most of the legends are talking about the same person.

Sidenote--isn't it interesting how the saints who have the most mainstream appeal and recognization are also the ones whose stories are so muddled? It's like a strange and unfortunate game of theological telephone. We'll see what I come up with for St. Patrick (spoiler alert: nothing to do with snakes).

Here's what we do know--Valentine was a Roman priest who was beheaded on February 14, 269. He is recorded in St. Gregory's sacramentary of martyrs and other martyrologies.

That's about it.

He is the Patron Saint of bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, plague, and travelers.

How Valentine's festival day became associated with love and romance is one of those weird, convoluted histories which you can never be quite sure of. Some sources say that he was an extraordinary lover of God and people, but honestly I don't expect anything less from a priest--especially a saint. Additionally, it seems there was a pagan ritual held in mid-February that included drawing of names and goddess worship having to do with Juno Februata. But even that is an uncertain legend and a tenuous link. Chaucer also had something to do with conflating St. Valentine and courtly love in Parlement of Foules, but it's unclear what led him to make that connection.

All this to say, this is another saint-related holiday in which the actual saint has hardly any relevance.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lenten Ashes

Dust you are, and to dust you shall return.

Welcome to Lent, friends.

I hope you were able to receive the imposition of ashes today, or at least take time to reflect on our creaturely contingency.

What other Lenten practices do you plan to observe in the next forty days? I plan to do a lot of reading, mostly associated with the idea of Atheism for Lent, which requires us to take seriously some critiques written by Nietzsche, Freud, and others. I expect it will result in a unique perspective on Easter once we get there.

Are you giving up on something for Lent? Or adding a spiritual practice? Do share!