Monday, September 29, 2008

RCIA Day Four

Two 'sections' or 'lessons' tonight:

The Bible -

What it is, who wrote it (a variety of authors, most of which we do not know the identities of for certain). The Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old it the history of God's chosen people, leading up to the birth of Christ, the New Testament is the story of Christ's life and the birth of the Church. Understanding how the Bible is broken down, book, chapter, verse. That the Bible is considered the inspired Word of God, and therefore always correct.

Saint Jerome, in 360, translated all the extant texts that the Church was using into latin, creating the Latin Vulgate, which was sanctioned by the Church at Tret in 1546 as the official Sacred Scriptures.

The difference between the Catholic Bible and Protestant Bibles - Catholics have all the books. Protestants have removed seven, and use a shorter version of Esther. Also, some language has been changed.

Interpreting the Bible -

Pentatuch - "Torah", "Jewish Bible", the first five books of the Old Testament. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magesterium are the Deposit of Faith.

Major sections of the New Testament: Gospels, Acts, Epistles (Letters of Paul & Catholic Letters)

Sacred Scripture can be interpreted in four ways - literally, historically, spiritually and allegorically. One must look at the context of the scripture to understand how it is to be applied, though they all have multiple levels of complexity.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Just discovered sister is moving to Texas next Saturday.

Dear Texas,
I'm sorry. Gird your loins.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

RCIA Day Three

It was last Monday, but I've been busy.

More basics, the structure of the Mass, the meaning of the Mass. The layout of the church building itself and the purpose of some of the objects that we don't see in a Protestant church. The weather was horrible, so we didn't get a chance to tour the church, but we will at some later point.

Aside: I am so looking forward to the movie 'Religulous'.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hijab v. Niqab - Modest v. Covering

Odd, the thoughts that come to me when I'm walking the dogs.

So, I'm interested in women who cover from all cultural and religious traditions. I was reading some of the arguments between Muslims about whether or not the niqab (face veil) is required or not. The current general concensus seems to be (and I could be wrong), that the niqab is beneficial, and a good thing to do, but that it is not required in Islam.

The term is used, generally, to describe the headscarf the Muslim women wear. However, the term is actually meant to describe the modest clothing that the woman or man wears, their entire outfit. I don't recall what the requirements are for the men, but for a woman it is basically that the only part of her body that can be shown around men who she is not related to are her hands and face. The clothing must be loose, not form fitting. This is, according to what I have read, to protect her. This way there is nothing showing that could encite a man to lewd, inappropriate thoughts. She is guarding both her own modest and dignity, and helping the man to guard his. Hijab is, for most Muslims, the standard. There are, of course, some women who don't agree that covering the hair is required. But their opinion is not, so far as I know, widely accepted.

Niqab -
The niqab is the face veil. Some Muslims argue that the surah and ahadith speaking about the veiling of women actually mean that women are to cover everything except for one or both eyes, to see. They say that the hadith saying that a woman can show her hands and face in public is weak, and therefor suspect. Some women, obviously, agree, and veil everything while in public. I've seen some niqab that include screens for the eyes, so that, while the woman can see out, people can't even see her eyes. They also wear gloves, and, I think abaya, which are the loose robes that ensure that their figure can't be seen.

Now, not being Muslim, for me, I think that the niqab is a little...extreme. It's just my opinion, and I think that the women who do so, because they believe that it is commanded by God, should be supported, not ridiculed. The niqab is seen, in general, as something that is beneficial, but not required.
I feel more kinship with the hijabi, I think, because it's a more familiar look to me. I can see their faces, I can read cues off of them. However, the thought that came to me was this: Christian women who cover, all the time, are the niqabi of Christianity!

Modest- Now, most Christians, no matter the denomination, will agree that we are called to be modest in our dress. Not everyone agrees on the exact definition of 'modest'. Some insist that it means women must wear only dresses and/or skirts, never pants, because pants are men's apparel, and when tight, are not modest under any definition. Of course, tight pants aren't modest on men either, but that's another problem. And some don't think that modesty applies, anymore. They want to wear tight pants/skirts/dresses, see through tops, etc., because it's become the cultural norm. However, modesty is the generally accepted norm of Christianity. Whether that means loose fitting pants and tops or skirts and dresses only. No over the top makeup, etc.

Covering - Done by a small, but growing, percentage of the general Christian population, this is a tradition that, arguably, comes straight from the Bible. The Amish and Mennonites are two groups that, for the most part, cover all the time. Others cover only when they are in church. However, it seems that more and more women are, independent of their particular denomination, choosing to cover full time, in addition to the modest dress that is required. There are many, many styles for the covering, some of which have cultural and ethnic signifigance, but the scarf or kerchief seems to be the popular choice. Women who cover quote Corinthians, saying that a woman might as well shave herself bald as not cover her hair. They argue that the covering of the hair is a part and parcel of modesty, and that they are obeying God in this command. I, clearly, agree with them.
But, in general, only modesty is required, while the covering, when it is not being denigrated as old fashioned or a cultural thing, meant only for the time, is beneficial, but not required. It's a bit simplistic, yes, but I see some parallels there.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Covering and Four Year Olds

So, the four year old was back at work today. Adorable kid, bounces off of everything, just full of energy. Anyway, conversation:

4yo: Why can't I see your hair?

Me: I wear a scarf over my hair. (trying for the really, really simple and easy explanation - she's four)

4yo: Why?

me thinking: 4yo answer, 4yo answer...

Me: Because God said to.

4yo: Where's God?

again, thinking: she's four....

Me: *pointing up* The sky, everywhere...

4yo: What's that? she's now moved on to the cicada skin I've got sitting in a tiny cactus on my desk

Monday, September 15, 2008

RCIA Day 2

I have come to two issues from this class. We were just covering basic things, what is belief, and what, basically, do Catholics believe.

And I already have an issue: I don't like the word 'begotten'. I mean, I believe that Jesus was both God and man. I believe that there is only one God. But the term 'begotten', to me, implies that God sort of made Jesus. And I know that that's just a limit of human understanding and language. But still. I don't like the word.

Secondly, when we were praying the Lord's Prayer, at the end, Dec. G was saying that when we ask God to forgive us, as we forgive others, that this is telling us that we must have forgiveness in order to receive forgiveness. Okay, but here's the thing - what if I can't forgive someone? I've tried. This is not a new concept to me, but I just cannot forgive him. And I know that I'm sort of shooting myself in the foot, only hurting myself, but that doesn't make it any easier.

Two goals have come out of this - 1. Pray for more faith. we always need more faith. 2. Pray for the ability to forgive, even in the face of all the wrongs that he has done to me. All the hell he put me and my mother and my sister through. That second one is going to be the harder of the two. I've hated him for so long I'm not sure what will be left if I ever manage to forgive.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Had a dream the other night that I went out without my scarf. I've got no idea what the rest of the dream was, all I remember was walking through our mall and suddenly realizing that my head was uncovered! Just that...'oh my god...' moment, and then I woke up. I wonder if other people who cover have dreams like that.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Not wearing it anymore. I've always hated the stuff anyway, I just started wearing it years ago because that was what girls were doing, and I desperately wanted to be just like them, and clearly the makeup would make me more outgoing and popular and all the things that I just wasn't. But, you know, I hated the stuff all the while.

And today? I just left it off. It was lovely.

Of course, I was also faced with the prospect of a four year old wearing makeup. But I have no say in this, despite the fact that I just find the whole concept of a child wearing makeup oddly horrific.

But I'm liberating myself from the whole mess. And working on a way to convince a four year old that she really doesn't like it anymore.

Monday, September 8, 2008

First Night of RCIA

First night. Just went around, making introductions, telling a little bit about ourselves. Getting a general outline of what the course is going to entail. We got out binder, with an outline of the course, etc. Met Dec. G, Dec. T, Fr. P, Fr. A. It went well, and I hope that it will continue to do so.

Sneak Wasp Attack

So, go into work today, first thing I see is that a little sign my boss had given us had fallen back out of the fake fern I keep it in. I'd been playing with a four year old that had been brought into the office on Friday, and she'd pulled the sign out, and I'd put it back, but it had fallen again over the weekend. I pick it up, slide it back in between the leaves, and feel a sharp stabby pain in my right ring finger. Thinking, What in the h*ll did I stick myself on, there's nothing sharp in there, I pull my hand back, and lo and behold, there's a wasp sticking out of my finger! I scream, and there was a reappearance of my sailor vocabulary as I start slapping the crap out of myself trying to kill the thing. It flew off or fell off, I never found the body, and everyone's just sort of staring at me, asking what's wrong.

A wasp. Attacked me. Out of a plastic fern.

Luckily, I am clearly not allergic, as my hand and finger just swelled and turned red, not other symptoms, and the swelling is going down. But still. Wasp. It's not even like I sit particularly near a door!
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