Rebuilding and Jesus

In my quest to read through an abridged version of the Bible in time for the World Gathering of Young Friends I’ve finished the first testament and got a good chunk through the second. The first ends when the Israelis get allowed back to Jerusalem by the Babylonians and they rebuild it and the temple and all live happily ever after.

Then one day a woman who never had a child and who’s husband is a distant grandchild of King David gets visited by some angels and gets told that she will have a child who turns out to be Jon the Baptist who is later revealed to be Elijah, some profit dude. A few months after Jon is born he gets a cousin by a woman called Mary. Mary, Joseph and Jesus have to run away to Egypt to not get killed by Herod. When Herod dies they come back and live a perfectly normal life until Jesus turns 30 and starts going around preaching to the masses and doing miracles. He does lots and lots of miracles and starts claiming to be the messiah which means he ought to bring peace on earth. But he fails to do this. Understandably this annoys the religious leaders somewhat, if you’re going to be the messiah at least do the job properly and actually bring peace on earth. So they plot to kill him, which seems like a bit of a drastic reaction. When Jesus arrives in Jerusalem the crowds welcome him with palms and cheering but later when Pontious Pilot asks the crowd who they want to kill they all want Jesus killed, it’s not clear at all what makes the change. He gets tortured to death and put in a cave but then comes back to life and starts talking to people again most of whom don’t recognise him. Jesus is a definite improvement over the old testament god with his new improved love your neighbour and enemy attitude but I find the “just believe I’m the messiah or you’re all sinners” attitude a bit unfair, people demand proof and quite right too. Since he doesn’t live up to the description of the messiah and doesn’t bring peace on earth there’s no reason to believe him and call him christ.

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Kings, Exodus

Kings is a long and boring part of the Bible. It starts with David who seems to disobey pretty much every commandment this is (murdering Goliath, lots of adultery, suggestions of a homosexual relationship too which is quite refreshing) yet ends up being considered a wise King. Then there is a long line of kings none of whom are very interesting. Some a good because they believe in god which means god helps them kill all their enemies, most are bad and worship other gods/idols which means they get beaten by all their enemies. There’s one recognisable story when a profit called Jonah is sent by god to tell the King at the time that he’s not being respectful enough and is about to be thrashed by some Philistines. Jonah gets scared and runs away to sea but god sends a storm and the sailors throw him overboard to stop the storm and Jonah gets eaten by a fish. Jonah prays a lot and god lets him out so he delivers the message to the King who them throws him in jail. Not sure what the message is in that.

Eventually they all forget to worship god and everyone gets captured by King Nebucanezzer of the Babylonians. He’s cool because it’s named after Morpheous’s ship in The Matrix. Some of the Israelies get high up positions in Nebucanezzer’s government because they worship god and It helps them advise the King. Daniel is one of these and the other advisers of the King get jelous and get him thrown to the lions to be eaten, only they don’t eat him because he worships god and Nebucanezzer throws the advisers to the lions instead, they all get eaten.

There’s a mention of a saviour who will be sent by god and bring peace on earth, which I suspect is leading into a sequel.

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Judges, Kings

In this book Joshua led the invation by the Israelies of the land called Canaan which is now Israel and Palestine. He did a nifty trick of circling the city of Jericho for 7 days then blowing some horns and the city walls fell murdering everyone in them. He succeeds in taking over the whole place. Eventually he dies and a generation later all the Israelies forget about him and start worshiping other gods. God god gets jelous and lets other nations start invading the Israelies until they have to start worshiping God god again and he helps them kill all the invaders. This happens several times, apparantly the memory of these people is only one generation long. Samson is probably the most famous of the leaders during the strange phase. He gets his super powers from his hair and stupidly tells his wife that who then tells the invading philistines who chop it all off. Then he kills them all by collapsing a temple on them. Charming.

One day the Israelies are really distrustful of God god and they decide they need a King, so God god gives them a King who was called Saul. Saul gets superhero powers and goes around causing genocide on anyone who isn’t Israelie. Except that during one genocide he decides to spare some sheep and causing God to get mad and take away his superhero powers and make some dude called David King instead.

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Harry Potter Launch in Edinburgh

This is as close as I could get to the castle espianade where Joanne was reading from the new Harry Potter. 90 children got to use the Tatoo stands to watch her read with nifty lighting and fire on the castle. Everyone else only got this view.

This is the start of the queue at Waterstons on Princes Street.

And several hundred metres away this is the end.

I need a tripod.

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Exodus, Numbers

After Genisis (the book where God decides to drown the entire population of the planet except for one family) things turn a bit nasty as God gets dictatorial (lots of commandments, and “cursed is he who..”), homophobic (I checked that up, the book I’m reading puts that sentence in suspiciously stronger language than the King James Bible) and racist with his “chosen people” who march around the Middle East waging war against nations ansd taking over the riches of other’s land. Suspiciously similar to current day politics infact.

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New home, New Edinburgh Suma, Grow Wild

Moved to a new flat in Polwarth so I’m looking for a flatmate now.

Just took order of a muckle Suma order, every self respecting modern hippy buys their food in bulk from Suma, the wholesales people for all the health food shops. Probably the cheapest way to buy organic food. They have a curious attitude to potential customers, if you live near a health food shop they won’t give you an account. Of course you can always get away with using someone else’s account if you know it. I’m not sure what possessed me to buy 5kg of apples but it’ll be interesting finding things to do with them.

I’ve ordered a fortnightly fruit and veg box from Grow Wild to further reduce my need to ever leave the flat. Quite disappointed, you don’t get much for your 10 quid, there’s no tatties and none of the produce seems to be paticularly local. We were getting much more from East Coast Organics but they have an even worse website.

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The Story

Today I started reading a book called The Story which is a readable version of the bible. This is preparation for the World Gathering of Young Friends where there will be lots of Christian types so I thought I should catch up on the whole idea a bit like having to read Lord of the Rings before the films came out. It starts of with sexism (man is incharge of woman), has crazy continuity errors (how did Cain marry when there was nobody else around?) and then there’s incest with lots of marrying close family members. God seems to be just about the most cruel creator you could imagine, as soon as people start achieveing anything he punishes them so Adam and Eve got kicked out their garden for being inquisitive and the people got split up into speaking different languages because they were achieving too much (Tower of Babel etc) as one group. There’s this guy called Job who gets his farm slaughtered, family killed and given a nasty plauge just because God wanted to see if Job would still worship him. And that’s just Gensis. Sounds like just the sort of God I wouldn’t want to worship. I believe he gets a makeover in part 2 but that’s still a long way off.

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Dancing

Everyone in this country is familiar with Ceilidh dancing. What makes Ceilidh dancing good is that you can learn a dance in 5 minutes. None of the moves are very subtle and everything is coreographed so you get told where to step and when.

By contrast Salsa dancing is freeform which means you have to decide what to do and you keep bumping into people. Salsa has 3 or 4 basic steps which all involve stepping off and onto a central point, you always rest on the fourth beat. The leader (male) has to give hand signals to the follower (female) on what the next step will be. That’s tricky, especially when you’ve been taught by different teachers with different ideas of which hand signals means what.

The Edinburgh Tango Society do free beginners classes on Sundays. Tango is even more subtle than Salsa. There are only 3 basic steps: back, foward and sideways. Generally the leader only does forwards and the follower only backwards. It’s very easy to bump into people if they arn’t going fast enough. You have to be graceful too, whereas in Ceilidh and Salsa you’re ment to bop around lots, in Tango you have to keep your head steady when walking around. You signal with your body which means the follower has to spend their time staring at the torso of the leader.

Suggestions for other interesting styles of dance to learn welcome.

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