Monday, August 13, 2007

Struggling with Jihad

I know it's kind of a bad pun, but it's true. This is a tough assignment I've given myself. I hate learning things I dislike about other religions. I'm trying to keep a very open mind - and I've discovered some of the very basic differences between our religions, which then spark some really intriguing questions; but I wish I was back with my interfaith friends so I could talk with them about this. It's confusing to sift through all the viewpoints, and after my lovely attempt at the lifecycle rituals didn't go all that well, I'm not feelin' the confidence. Oh, well, I can only research so much.

BTW, love Reza Aslan's book, No God but God. He is a fiction writer as well, and he tells the story of Islam with such beautiful prose. He intermingles stories from Muhammad's life with discussions of doctrine in such a way that you don't really realize you're reading doctrine, but rather it's just a fluid transition from history to application and back again. Incredibly well written. Reminds me how good this stuff (religious writing) can really get. Plus, I am tickled that he's a friend of a friend. Always cool to know these things. He also worked for a time at my old job, at Annenberg's Center for Public Diplomacy, but dunno if he's still there.

Anyway lift me up, because I'm really pooped and I so want this summer's work to be over. I did a GRE practice test and I was not happy with how it turned out. The weirdest thing was that the math scored higher than the verbal. I guess I was less concerned about math and happier to wildly guess, and I've always been a good guesser. In verbal I psyched myself out. Even as I went over the answers, I was arguing with the software. I could make a case for all my answers. When I knew the words, that is! (I felt like it was throwing me the hardest possible vocab, just to mess with me) But I guess we don't get to argue why our answer worked, we just have to learn how to think like a test-maker. Which is why I'm using the "cheater books" as J calls them. I don't care. Clearly these things are not designed by human beings, but rather the Inquisition, brought forward in secret government time-travel experiments designed to keep graduate school enrollment low so that fewer people will be educated and challenge the status quo. That's my theory, anyway.

hey, it's not so far fetched. After all, nobody expects the spanish inquisition...

I'll stop with the silliness now. But that means I have nothing to say. Here, read this article about women eating steak. You go girls. I must object to the writer's use of the adjective "gut-busting" in relation to the In-n-Out double-double, though. Puh-leeze. Any Cali girl can put down that burger. Maybe not animal style with fries and shake, though. That must be what they meant. I know what I want for dinner!

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