Improbable Phrases

Who says that?


I listened to two of my 5th graders perform this song today as part of a singing competition held by the Primary Department. They also sang the English translation, but I can’t find a version that does not sound awful. So here are the English words. It’s a nice little song, and certainly something I hadn’t heard before. Not a bad way to spend the morning, though I could have done without the mandatory line dancing outside in 90 degree weather that preceded this.

I have know the Father’s care for me
He’s been good
He’s been good
Through it all He’s always there for me
God’s been good to me

Through the storms
Through the night
Come what may,
Everything will be all right
I have known the Father’s care for me
God’s been good to me

Good so good
God’s been good to me
Good so good
God’s been good to me


Two Days Off.

We have two days off from school next week because of ascensions. Mohammed’s ascension is on Tuesday and Jesus’s ascension is on Thursday. I don’t believe I’ve ever gotten time off for anybody’s ascension before I moved to Indonesia. Because there is no separation of church and state, we close for a large number of religious holidays. I’m not complaining, but I do think it’s interesting. Thanks to Lebaran, I get a summer break that’s twice as long as it would be otherwise. This is absolutely fabulous.

What I do think is funny is that due to a quirk of the Islamic lunar calendar and the Christian lunar calendar, they’re in the same week. My guess is that doesn’t usually happen. To be honest, I’ve always wondered why we have standardized Christmas but continue to use the lunar system for Easter. According to wikipedia, it’s because of the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. I’m a little amazed it didn’t ever get changed after that. But I guess some traditions stick a little better than others.

Like I said, I’ll take it.

No, It’s the Other Mother Mary, I Think.

I’m not sure when this started, but sometimes at Mass we sing….questionable songs. They’re not out and out inappropriate, but they are not religious. We’ve sang a breakup song by Beyonc√© because it had the words ‘Ave Maria’ in the refrain. We also tend to sing the Beatles classic. You know the one, about Paul McCartney’s mother? Let It Be? Yeah, that one.

I dunno. The thing that I like best about the video is that you can see the priest and the acolytes walk out pretty early on in the video. And we keep singing for quite a while after that. Dedication, is what that is.

Nobody’s Taken on the Nicene Creed Yet, Though

From Wil Wheaton’s blog, awhile back. There was discussion of penance, and two someones rewrote the Hail Mary and the Our Father to fit the Doctor Who universe. What’s most interesting about them, I think, is how recognizable they are. The cadences are right and everything.

Hail Bad Wolf, full of light; space and time are with you.
Great are you on Satellite Five,
and great is the power within you, the Heart of the TARDIS.
Bad Wolf, destroyer of Daleks,
guard us on earth, now and with the name you scatter across the universe.

Our Doctor, from Gallifrey.
With TARDIS through time you come.
Beloved Grandfather, Dandy and Clown, Big Hat – Big Scarf and Celery stick.
Coloured Coat and Umbrella, from Sight-to-Sound and back around.
The War was fought – destruction wrought, and Ears returned to save us.
Scruffy Hair, Raggedy Man and now we have a New.
Companions all we are, our numbers no longer few.
Davies and Moffat bless you.

That’s all. I just thought you should know that this is out there on the Internet.

Sexual Violence: The Story of a Mennonite Theologian

I have tried for weeks now to write a blog post that explains how I feel about the life and behavior of John Howard Yoder, and I am no closer now than when I started.

This article,
and this one,
and the articles collected here,
all indicate to me a huge issue.

How can I reconcile the thoughts and writings of this man with his actual actions? How can I accept his viewpoint on God and humanity in light of what he thought about 50% of the population and how he treated those who were nearby to him?

He believed that good Christian people should stand up to abusive power, while he used his own power as a professor to force himself on his female students. If he had apologized and changed, I would be okay with that. But instead he wrote an unpublished work called “A Case for Punishment” where he makes it clear he felt he was simply being attacked for no reason. This excerpt which was highlighted in The Religion Dispatches article is particularly troubling:

More recently men as a class have come to be vulnerable in a new way, as compensation for pain suffered by women, when that pain can be blamed upon the prior patriarchal tilt of our society…There should be room, logically, for the objection that beneficent patriarchal care, properly understood and benevolently exercised, would not be harmful; that what has hurt women has been the violation, not the implementation, of proper fatherly caring. This excuse would however not change the retaliatory dynamics, since the root of the power of the punitive drive is located not merely in a mistake the stronger party made but in the weaker party’s anger at being weaker.

Bolded emphasis is mine.

If Yoder had been an engineer or an architect, he would simply be a jerk who built things. Because Yoder was a theologian dealing with human dynamics, I can’t help feeling that what he was invalidates his opinions.

It’s Always Something

Yesterday when we went in to the school for St. Peter’s Fest, I had no idea what to expect. Last year’s St. Peter’s Fest was an anniversary of some sort, plus they were unveiling a statue that had been made of St. Peter. It was based on a statue found at the Vatican. They had a verse from the Bible at the bottom in Chinese and English, but not Bahasa. I have no idea why.

So, I knew that we wouldn’t have a statue ceremony this year, but I had no idea what we would be doing. As it turns out, we had an all-Bahasa mass, and a performance. The mass was fine, I have no idea what happened, but I sang along with some of the songs. Not this one, though. I didn’t know it.

 Screen shot 2014-02-23 at 10.37.06 AM

Hannah and I think that it would make a great exclamation.

“Holy the Lord, Michael! What are you doing?”


“What in the Holy the Lord do you think you’re up to?”

The performances at the show after the mass ranged from very enthusiastic semaphore:

To some very interesting singing:

I’d have rather been in my bed, but it wasn’t a terrible morning.

Bad Family Dynamics

Guys, check out this 6,000 year old soap opera! This is the tale of Inanna and Ereshkigal: queens of heaven and underworld, respectively. They are immortal enemies.

Inanna is the queen of heaven and she goes down into the underworld to speak to her sister-goddess Ereshkigal, the queen of the underworld. Ereshkigal hears that Inanna is in her territory, and she decides that Inanna should go through an ordeal. This involves making Inanna move through a series of narrow gates, leaving behind a piece of her glorious heavenly accessories as she passes each one. After seven gates, Inanna stands naked before Ereshkigal and Ereshkigal kills her. Then she takes Inanna’s corpse and puts it up on a hook for three days. Inanna’s servant girl runs away and petitions the other gods for help. One of them helps to take Inanna out of the underworld. When she is told that someone must take the place she was vacating in the underworld, Inanna sends her husband. She felt that he wasn’t mourning enough for her brief loss. When her husband’s sister hears about it, she offers to take his place half the year. And so Inanna’s husband and sister-in-law take turns in perpetuity inhabiting the underworld.

The end.

I find this whole story fascinating. I’m taken with the little detail that Inanna sends her own husband to live in the underworld forever because she feels he wasn’t sad enough. She did it thinking she would never see him again. She might be the queen of heaven with pretty heavenly jewelry, but don’t cross her! She’s fierce. Because this story is part of a hymn of praise to Inanna, we don’t get a lot of detail on Ereshkigal. But I want to know why she put the corpse up on a hook. Was she hoping to keep Inanna as a trophy?

I became interested in this story after listening to an audio recording of Yoon Ha Lee’s 2011 story, Conservation of Shadows. It is based on this myth, but in Lee’s tale, Inanna is from the far future and she has come down to the underworld with violent intent. I found Lee’s story very lovely, but I couldn’t figure out why Inanna was so angry. So I went back to the source text and was floored. If Inanna has a right to be after anyone, Ereshkigal is certainly a prime candidate for violence. Though, I’d love to see a story of Inanna’s husband settling the score, too.

Inanna and Ereshkigal, the original queens of mean.