Aug 18

New Look

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Aug 15

Where Is the Meaning? (Interpreting Spiritual Texts, part I)

Bloggernacle conversations over the past few months (especially those on women and temple covenants) have got me thinking about issues of textual interpretation. So, I decided to do a series of posts thinking about how we interpret spiritual/religious texts and whether or not there’s anything we can learn from people in the academy whose job it is to interpret texts (i.e. literary theorists). Here’s attempt #1. Continue reading

Aug 13

Please Welcome: The Bouncer

We at ZDs are happy to welcome our newest member, the Bouncer. The Bouncer is pursuing a Ph.D. in Auto Body and Creative Negotiations. As a child he received an Iron Sewer Rat for being the first Boy Scout ever to swim a mile through industrial sludge. He applied to law school hoping to become intimately acquainted with torts, but when he discovered no cake was involved, he instead graduated at the top of his class from the renowned perjury program at the University of Cosa Nostra (or so he says). Continue reading

Aug 11

Sunstone Feminist Blogging Session

I’ve been in Utah for the last several weeks, and yesterday I was able to attend a couple of Sunstone sessions, including the panel on Mormon Feminist Bloggers. It was really fun to put faces with some familiar names. I’m a little behind on sleep–it’s been a bit of a crazy week, and I’m about to leave to drive back to California. But here are some of my hopefully not too incoherent notes on what was said. Continue reading

Aug 08

Moving On

I have relocated living quarters 8 times in the past 6 years. The physical process of moving is no fun, especially if you’re severely depressed at the time. Still, I find the emotional process of moving on more difficult than physical relocation. Continue reading

Aug 07

The Grace of This Darkness: Surrendering to the Mystery of Suffering and Creation

The first and most severe episode of depression began the winter I turned thirteen and lasted eighteen months, at the end of which I was numb, seared, barely alive. During the summer that followed, as I began the slow process of putting my life back together–a process which would take many years, and continues still–every weekday morning I would get up, put on my old jeans or shorts and a T-shirt, go out into the desert heat, and cross the street and the blazing, empty parking lot where the seagulls congregated on the dumpsters to the junior high, where I had to attend summer school. This winter I will turn thirty-five. During most months of most of the intervening years, despair has been my quiet, constant companion, in Lauren Slater’s words, my country. After more than two decades of struggling against the illusion that comes with every intermission, the illusion I have conquered, and the fatal false hopes that it will not return, I struggle to face the prospect that despair may be the condition of the rest of my life. Continue reading

Aug 07

Finding Spiritual Sustenance

The neoscholastics saw grace as something entirely outside the realm of human consciousness. One participated in the sacraments of the church to receive grace, but this grace was essentially alien and separate from human awareness. This view was sharply critiqued by 20th century theologians who noted that under this framework, it was difficult to see why grace would really matter to anyone. Such an extrinsic understanding of grace, they noted, left people with the view that religious practice was something basically foreign and unconnected to the rest of their lives. Why, if it’s not making any discernable difference in your experience of life, would anyone have any sustained interest in religion? Continue reading