Virtual Oases XXV

A little late or a little early, depending on your perspective!

  • Sometime commenter Bored in Vernal has found some excitement in her life — her own blog.
  • Eve’s brief essay on depression is painful with jagged, beautiful edges: I love the endless richness, bitterness, and complexity of Job. I love God’s long impassioned address out of the whirlwind, fiercely direct, beautiful, terrifying, performatively echoing the creation and laying out a vast and gorgeous order utterly alien to human demands for meaning. I love the vivid natural imagery that saturates that ancient, strange, and piercing summons. At my lowest ebbs I have always loved to be alone in the natural world, where there is no need to be other than what I am: broken.


  1. Re: Robert Kirby, I thought he might say something new or fresh, but I think he just restated all of the stereotypes that I’ve heard several times before. It was refreshing to read about someone going against the unwritten (or mabye its written) order of things, though.

    Perhaps we can commision an article from Peggy Fletcher Stack about visiting elders quorum or high priests group. Sometimes DH and I discuss the idea of me teaching a lesson in EQ, since he is the president maybe we could pull it off. 🙂

  2. Amy: I had a similar reaction to the Kirby article and debated about linking to it. It did make me think, however, about a particular ward where about once every couple of months some man would slip in because they just felt more comfortable with the women. I had one friend who finally agreed to return to church for a couple of weeks on the condition that he didn’t have to go to Elders Quorum — that he could come hang out in Relief Society instead. Luckily, this Cambridge ward was pretty open to such peculiarities. I think you have given yourself an idea for a future post, however.

    Starfoxy: My pleasure.

  3. At first the Kirby article seemed dumb, stereotypes and all that–but then he redeemed himself near the end. That’s what RS needs–more people getting up and saying, “You’re full of crap, Bill!”

  4. I have to admit, I liked the Kirby. (Not every one of his stereotypical expectations was fulfilled. He didn’t treats. 😉 )

  5. Amy,

    Oooh — fun idea, I hope it works. I can offer you two data points.

    Example A: A ward you know well; a mutual former bishop who could be described as not-exactly-progressive. I was the EQP, and we had a sister in the ward who I thought would be able to teach a good lesson — I think it was about the church welfare system. She was a social worker, master’s degree, well-qualified. (You know her.) Also possibly relevant data points (I’m not sure) — she was younger and single.

    She agreed, though she was a little puzzled. “Am I allowed to do that?” Sure, I said. I told the bishop she’d be teaching and he said “is she allowed to?” Sure, I said. However, he then talked to her and advised her not to. And so she backed out.

    So I had tried, but it ended up not happening. (Were you and L there when this all happened? I don’t remember whether that was during your stay.)

    Example B: My current ward. One day, the EQP announces that for the lesson, we’re going to learn about family history, and Sister Z, the ward family-history coordinator, is going to be our teacher.

    Sister Z is a ward pillar — mother of ten adult children; wife of bishopric member; decades-long member of the ward. She teaches the lesson, complete with handouts and computer instructions.

    None of the elders so much as bat an eye about the fact that they’re being taught by a woman. The bishop drops by in mid-lesson, nods approvingly, and moves on.

    They turned out really differently; I’m not sure why. There are various differences between the two that might in part explain the difference: In Example B the woman was an older, married, ward pillar type, rather than a (threatening?) educated single sister. Also, Example B used the official, assigned ward expert on the topic (family history).

    I don’t know to what extent those factors mattered, or whether it was just a case of different personalities, different places.

  6. I think it’s so funny that we take things like this so seriously, myself included. What do we think is going to happen? Do we think God really cares? Lately I’ve started to really wonder about the whole concept anyway and think it’s purely cultural. If we are teaching the same lessons 3/4ths of the time, and priesthood is about service, and RS is about charity, what is the point of having separate meetings?

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