Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bloggers unite!

I am having a blog spree because it has been rumoured by the otherwise sensible and respectable Lucy and Mel that the world of blogging is being overshadowed by the world of Facebook.

Oh no.

Blogs are about effort, creativity and the occasional bit of humiliation. Hot and cold spells. Like a long-term relationship. Facebook is a series of one night stands.

Quick, everyone, get blogging.

(Or am I overreacting......?)

self perception

Self-perception....it's a funny old thing.

I am not a large person. But there are days when I become convinced I'm fat. This is sometimes due to the wonders of the monthly hormone tournament, but not always. Today I was feeling fed up about being flabby. I then went to the gym and, surrounded by mirrors, felt pleased with a reassuringly thin reflection of myself. What a wally!

Generally, I don't do too badly at avoiding the world's obsession with looks. But maintaining a healthy self-image is a struggle.

Preoccupation with how I think others 'perceive' me is another tendency of mine. It can get extreme: without realising it, I can act, speak and decide things just because they fit with my automatic analysis of others' expectations of me at a given moment.

These are not good things, really. I will try to enjoy and be free in who I am (externally and internally.) That's harder said than done in a society obsessed with image and immediacy. But it has to be possible, nontheless. And, in the words of that great inspirational force, L'Oreal, I'm worth it!

A biblical burlesque?

I've been learning about the Old Testament book of Esther this week.

It's a wicked story. Readable, gripping. Famous for making no mention of God at all. I knew it quite well already, but guiding me through this time is a commentary by Professor Carol Bechtel. Among my discoveries so far, according to Bechtel, are:

1. The story is probably mostly fictional (not that the author or readers of its time would have understood a distinction between history and fiction in the way we do today.) The author uses dramatic irony, exaggeration, suspense, to create tension and entertainment. Comic 'burlesque', occasionally veering on the edge of tragedy, is how Bechtel describes the genre. The question is, does one attempt to pose to an evangelical Baptist audience the theory that part of the Old Testament is most likely fictional?Hmmmm....

2. The existing Jewish festival of Purim is all about Esther's story. Traditionally, at Purim, the book is read aloud in its entirety, with the audience booing and hissing at the mention of the baddies and cheering when Esther's in the picture. It is also customary for everyone to, quite deliberately, get very drunk. It's the only festival where that's an official part of the proceedings. Think it's ok to mention this fact, as long as I don't advocate it as a way forward for the Baptists.

It is also an inspirational tale for anyone who feels vulnerable, at the mercy of life's circumstances. Esther was essentially a refugee who became a sex-slave. Yet in her most vulnerable position, she made decisions that saved the Jews from annihilation. Think such strength in weakness is seen elswhere in the bible, too.......