Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I am officially tired of the claim that the toes of the figure in Daniel 2:31-33

This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

refers to the countries of Europe. You know, if my religion allowed me to wager, i’d place serious money on there being texts from the late pre-Xian era saying that the toes of iron mixed with miry clay referred to the Greek states or the Macedonian empire or somesuch.

Just give up on saying that the symbology of Daniel proves that the second coming is day after tomorrow, okay? It’s gotten old.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

In (dis)praise of simplistic arguments

I’ve heard it lots of times in church meetings, you’ve heard it lots of times:

Joseph Smith was a true prophet—and if Joseph Smith was a prophet, then The Church is true.

You know, that’s absolutely right! If Joseph Smith was a prophet, then the Community of Christ is…Wait, no, then the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—you know, the Strangite group—is…Well, um, then maybe the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message? The Church of Christ (Temple Lot)? The Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times? The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? Zion’s Order? The True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days? The Restoration Church of Jesus Christ?

Wait a minute—what was the question?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

In honor of Xmas

Family from overseas coming in semi-unexpectedly and spending a vacation in your house takes up time, you know? I guess it’s something you need to be better prepared for when you live this close to Disney World, but really, it’s time-consuming—and, of course, a few corners end up being cut. For me, one of the cuttable corners is this blog.

But, as penance for being out of contact for so long, a twofer mostly-serious Xmas special!

First: I make it a point to write Christmas as Xmas in most cases. I have two reasons for this. The first is that it annoys a certain sort of people i feel need to be annoyed. (Similar to the reason i don’t capitalize the word i, actually.) The second is that the sort of people who get annoyed by Xmas don’t get that the X stands for both Christ himself (the Greek letter Χ—a.k.a. chi—is the first letter of the Greek word from which we get the English word Christ, and it looks a lot like a Roman-alphabet X) as well as the cross that was a crucial part of his atonement for us.

Second: Some people think it’s way important what color Jesus’s skin was. (Some people have even formed whole churches based on what they think his skin color was!) The truth is, though, that we don’t know the vaguest bit about what he looked like, except maybe that he was probably bipedal—they didn’t have cameras back then, and we don’t have any surviving paintings of him from that time. However, most people from that part of the world have what’s generally called “olive” skin—kind of an in-between skin color. My uncle (a non-practicing Roman Catholic) once offered what I think is a deep insight about this—he said he thinks Jesus had in-between olive skin because that way if it’s important to you that Jesus had light-colored skin, well, that’s kind of light, and if you believe it’s important that Jesus had dark-colored skin, well, it’s kind of dark, too. The most important thing, really, though, is that Jesus lived. The skin color is just accidental.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tips for speakers

Here’s a tip for when you’re reading scriptures up in front of everybody and you don’t want all the linguists in the congregation to snicker:

The word shew sounds the same as show, not shoe.

Really, the ignorance of Early Modern English irregular verb forms in the church is shocking, just shocking.

Next lesson, bade and forbade.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Follow(ing) the prophet, part 2

Another thought (as promised) on one of my least favorite Primary songs: “Follow the Prophet”.

Part of the problem is that some of the coolest prophets are left out. Take, for example, the prophet described in Judges ch. 4—no mention at all in the song. Therefore, to rectify this situation, i provide the following (which works best, by the way, if the name in the first line is done with two syllables, and the name in the second line is done with three syllables):

Deborah was a prophet,
Israel she judged.
Led Barak to battle
When he wouldn’t budge.

Then they fought with Canaan,
Scared the king away.
And when it all was over
The women saved the day.

She was a great prophet—can’t imagine why we don’t sing about her. Can’t imagine at all—can you?

Verse copyright ©2008 David Bowie. May be copied for home, church, or other incidental noncommercial use. All other rights reserved. And yes, that really is my name—now you know why i just go by David B on the net.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I’m a man of wealth and taste

So i’m back after a week spent pretty much flat sick. Fever without chills for part of it—one of the weirder symptoms i’ve ever experienced. But i recovered enough to go to church today, and one particular conversation left me with a burning question:

Am i the only member of the church who isn’t convinced that rock music is proof that civilization is about to collapse?

Specifically, part of the conversation included the evils of the Rolling Stones song “Sympathy for the Devil”. Now, leaving aside the weirdness that is using a song from 1968 to indict popular culture in 2008, have any of the people who so intensely believe that this song was an attempt to get people to worship Satan instead of God actually read the lyrics?

No, sorry, silly of me to ask. Of course not. If they had, they’d’ve realized that the song really doesn’t present Satan in a very positive light—but why bother to actually figure out what a song’s saying when you already know what it means, right?