Wild Hairs, Milkshakes and Manners

I am at my usual salon to get a haircut. Behind the front counter is a young lady I have not seen before. Ah, they’ve hired a receptionist, I tell myself. It didn’t take long to disabuse myself of that notion! She is on her cell phone exclaiming loudly, “Oh my goodness.”

She is asked to go to the bank to get some change. From behind the desk, along with herself, comes a cardboard dish of fries laden with catsup and a styrofoam cup. All the while this girl is giggling, mumbling to the air as if it is listening. It is hard to discern any content  because the french fries she is stuffing in her mouth are competing with her words.

Sure now that she must be an employee’s daughter, I watch her slop what turns out to be a milkshake all down the front of her shirt, on the counter and floor. Another, “Oh my goodness,” and she’s off presumably to clean up. Herself, that is. The floor and counter don’t get a second glance. I am sure she is conscious there were customers waiting because she is eyeing us with that you-are-watching-me-aren’t-you-but-I’m-not-looking at-you look peculiar to teenage girls and cats.

She leaves. I go to get my haircut, ask the question and discover, yes, the girl is the owner’s daughter. Well, that explains that, doesn’t it? I say not another word.
Ah, she reappears, this time at my chair as if I am going to be her best friend for the next 30 minutes and wonders aloud and giggly to my haircutter, “You don’t want me here, do you?” He had asked when school started for her. I lowered my eyes. Not because of the question, but because her mouth is again (or still) full of half-chewed fries and that is one of my pet peeves! Of course he had not say that, but I caught the perceptiveness in her question.

I wondered why then, she was not aware that her demeanor was totally less than professional and did not reflect well on her father. By this time she had made known quite plainly, giggly, and with a swaggered shoulder shrug…also peculiar to teenage girls…that this was, after all, HER fathers shop!

I stopped myself right there. Thoughts at random in my head…I know nothing about her home life. Does she have a mother? This looks like a bid for attention. Is her dad aware of her behavior? How can he not be? Can I just chalk this girl’s behavior up to teen-ager-hood?

All of a sudden she was gone. The fries and styrofoam cup was gone. The shirt she had folded and left on the front counter was gone. The counter was clean. The floor still wore the milkshake puddle.

Obviously, dad was aware!



Mary, Mary, Wherefore Art Thou?

In “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene” by Mark Adamo, Jesus is asked to pass judgement on Mary Magdalene as an adulteress.
Being an opera, conflict and theatrics are necessary to the telling of the story. The composer’s fanciful expression has combined biblical characters to provide the drama. The author admits he purposely seeks to unsettle what we take as truth and to question Jesus’ motives. He did enough research to realize that the long held perception of MM as a reformed prostitute is fiction and yet he so portrays her.
This is yet another example of how so many false notions about what is in scripture get started. Jesus Christ Superstar (Webber and Rice) also played on unproven notions about Mary Magdalene. Accepting my human fallibility, I actually enjoyed that musical. But I did so fully aware that it was fiction and replaced traditional views with more contemporary language and allusions. It never purported to be more than a loosely based story built on imaginary interpersonal struggles not discussed in the Bible. It did not build on ideas discounted by the scholarly community.
I, personally, don’t think it is necessary or desirable to treat the Bible as art rather than a lawful guide to living. Is it even wise? Does it present a respectably true picture to those unfamiliar with the Bible? We certainly story-up the humanity of biblical characters in our literature, plays, paintings, etc., but does it help our understanding of the spiritual to fictionalize Bible stories and characters? Doesn’t it tend to put those we want to emulate in the “like us” rather than the “us like them” category?
I don’t necessarily believe that Jesus cannot be shown outside a sacred mode, but I have yet to see an undistorted depiction in a secular setting. Even the “Passion Play” has under gone much elaboration and expansion of what it was originally. People continually get tripped up by the difference between “Jesus” and “the Christ.” Jesus’ story may have dramatic, but it was not theatrical. Until we can make that distinction clearly we need to tread carefully when we enter God’s country.

No where in the Bible does it give evidence or intimation that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, the woman who rubbed oil on Jesus’ feet, or anything other than a disciple of Jesus. An excellent article on this subject can be found at: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/magdalene.html

Grand Opera Jesus – Listen Magazine


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