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[personal profile] bibliogramma

The Dancers of Mulukau, is the second of Charles R. Saunders' books about Dossouye, a woman warrior whose background is based on the history of the women's army of Dahomey (now Benin).[1] Saunders, best known for his Imaro cycle, began writing a short story cycle about Dossouye in the late 1970s; these stories were much later reworked into a novel published in 2008, thanks to the great revival of the "sword and soul" fantasy genre - African themed sword and sorcery stories - that Saunders pioneered.

First, a confession. I love Dossouye. She's a kick-ass fighter, and has no doubts about who she is or what she wants to be. She's intelligent, a competent strategist and tactician - no iron-thewed dunderhead here. She fights astride a freaking bull water buffalo trained for war. She lives by an internal code, and as she learns, her code adapts - flexible, open-minded, but with a solid moral compass. She's one of the great female warrior heroes of the fantasy genre, up there in my mind with C. L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry, Jessica Amanda Salmonson's Tomoe Gozen, Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarrion, Joanna Russ' Alyx, and Tamora Pierce's Alanna.

In The Dancers of Mulukau, Saunders is doing much more than telling the tale of a great hero and her adventures. He has crafted a story about difference and diversity and the necessity of acceptance and inclusion, even if it must be fought for, and about the chilling, crushing effect on creativity and inspiration of a way of life that demands that all conform to the One Truth. And, as always, he is countering the racist and imperialist lenses through which the West continues to view Africa and the peoples of the African diaspora.

As the novel opens, Dossouye, with her war-bull, Gbo, has travelled far from her homeland of Abomey, to Djarro, a trading city where no one has ever heard of her people, or of anything like a woman warrior. In his descriptions of Djarro and the surrounding lands and peoples - inspired by the historical trading empire of Timbuktu - Saunders reminds - or instructs - us about the diversity of real African history and cultures

Seeking employment, she tries to hire on with a mercenary company contracted to guard a travelling party of sacred dancers. Even after she defeats one of the mercenaries, they refuse to hire a woman - but Ukenge, the leader of the dancers, approaches her directly, hiring her as a bodyguard.

We soon learn that the Dancers of Mulukau are not ordinary entertainers. When Ukenge asks Dossouye what she knows about the Dancers, she replies: "... you are dancers, and you wield great magic, and you are said to be both man and woman in the same body .... Whatever and whoever you are, you must be extremely important people with many enemies to require an armed escort to get where you are going. In my country you would be called People with Name."

Ukenge adds to Dossouye's observations: "Our dancing is more than just entertainment. Our dancing has kyame - magic - in it. The gods and goddesses act through our dancing. Here in Djarro, our dancing enhanced the sorcery of the djiffares, to make certain that the buildings of the city will remain intact during the wet season.... In Khutama, where we are going next, our kyame will help to ensure that the wells upon which its people depend do not run dry."

Ukenge also explains that all of the Dancers are androgynes: "We dancers are not what we are by choice. We are born as we are. We are indeed both man and woman. ... In the old days children like us were killed at birth without remorse or question ... until one child was born whose mother and father did not want hir to die regardless of tradition. Instead of allowing her to be killed they took hir away to a faraway land called Ujini where others of our kind were known to dwell. As this child grew up the kyame of MawiLesi - the deity who is both man and woman - grew in hir and s/he discovered how to work hir kyame through dancing. Hir name was Mulukau."

Now, all androgyne children are brought to the Dancers hone base in Ujini to be raised as a part of their community. From Ujini, troupes of Dancers travel journey to many places to dance their magic to the benefit of all. However, they have enemies - a secretive people called the Walaq. As Ukenge explains to Dossouye: "The Walaq are fiercely intolerant. They believe that only they possess what they call the Truth, and that everyone else is unenlightened and deficient. They consider what we do and what we are to be hukuza - an abomination of their Truth that must be eliminated at all costs."

As the novel begins, the Walaq have mostly kept to themselves, only venturing out from their own country - which lies on the other side of a nearly impassable desert - to trade salt for other goods, though they have at times hired outsiders to harass the Dancers. But unknown to others, the leadership of the Walaq is in flux. Where their leaders in the past have maintained a strict isolation to preserve their purity, a new philosophy is emerging which would see the Walaq spread the message of their God to other realms and cleanse them of impurity. The Walaq have become dangerous - not just to the Dancers, but to the peace and security of the entire region, and to the new abomination the Walaq have learned of - the strange woman from afar who fights like a man.



[1]http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/dahomeys-women-warriors-88286072/

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[personal profile] yhlee
if my characters ever come to life I AM SO DEAD PLEASE GRANT ME ASYLUM IN THE CULTURE.

Computer Woes — Update

Jul. 7th, 2015 05:54 pm
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[personal profile] alexandraerin

So, after writing about how I was going to make due with my slow backup computer that was just as old as the main computer, I had it hang up on me completely twice and slow to an unworkable crawl more times than that throughout the morning and early afternoon. On top of that, it wouldn’t stay connected to the internet. I still kept trying to power through it, making the most of it, but I was near tears when Jack reminded me that he keeps a household emergency fund, and that me not having a working desktop computer is an emergency, as it essentially puts me out of work.

So we headed out for what I expected to be a short shopping trip. It’s been a while since I’ve been desktop shopping (did I mention that both my computers were from 2009?), so I grossly overestimated how much stock the stores would actually carry. Our Target essentially has gotten rid of their computer section. Best Buy had a decent selection of desktop computers, but they were split about evenly between way less than I needed and way more than I needed, with one computer that was tantalizingly almost in our price range and way beyond the specs I was looking for.

We ended up going on to H.H. Gregg, where the staff was very helpful, very knowledgeable, and very apologetic about the fact that their desktop section had been almost entirely replaced with more expensive all-in-one computers. Seriously, one of the best customer service experiences I’ve had in any kind of store, and almost unheard of in an electronics store.

We tried Office Max, where the staff was apathetic and seemed disdainful of assisting anyone who wasn’t a cis guy. I located a model on the floor that both fell within my technical needs and my price range, but it was almost impossible to flag down a staffer to retrieve it from the stockroom, as Office Max doesn’t have anything but the display models on the shelves. It’s not that there weren’t plenty of staff. It’s that they had no interest in seeing us. To no one’s surprise, the lone female staffer we spotted was the first one who actually recognized our existence, but the male associate she paged for us didn’t seem to think we were worth his time. When he came back from the staff room and reported that there was only one left and he couldn’t sell it because it was damaged… well, I’m not sure I believe that. The impression that he didn’t want to sell me a computer was that strong.

Staples also seems to have replaced all their in-store computer stock with all-in-ones and tablets. At this point, I was feeling pretty dispirited. It seemed obvious we weren’t going to be able to solve my computer problem today. I figured I’d come home, find something online—all these stores surely had more models available online than they carried in store—and then just focus on writing on my laptop while I waited for it to arrive.

But the pickings online weren’t that great. Everything in my price range was coming up as refurbished, which I did not want to roll the dice with again, or had a “decent RAM, decent processor, decent hard drive: pick two” thing going on. When I finally found one that hit all three categories and wasn’t just like new but was new-new, it was at the very top of the price range… and when I told Jack, he said, “If it’s that close, do you want me to just take more money out and we’ll go back to Best Buy?”

So we did.

Jack had to take a call when we got there, so I headed straight back to the computer section. There had been so many reversals of fortune and disappointments in the past two days, I was still braced for disaster and disappointment. And when I checked the shelves, it looked like my luck was holding bad: all the boxes were for the next model down, which was only $50 cheaper but half the hard drive and less RAM.

So I got an employee (much easier than at Office Max) and asked for help in computers. When he asked what I needed help with, I showed him the model I was looking at. His first response was a cheery and enthusiastic, “Oh, you know what you want! Great!” and his second response when he looked at the specs and price was, “Wow, that is a great deal!” Then he started checking the boxes, and I explained that I’d looked and they were all the other model. He of course double-checked them all anyway, as I would have expected, but he didn’t invalidate what I was saying, which was great.

He ended up having to go check on the computer to make sure it was in stock, then came back to tell him that there was definitely one, it was definitely in the building, he just had to find it. He was very apologetic about the wait, but it was way less time than we spent cooling our heels in Office Max and what’s more, I don’t actually care how long it takes someone to do something for me if it’s getting done. The way we were treated at Office Max gave me no confidence that the guy I dealt with was actually doing anything for me when he was out of our sight. On the other hand, Best Buy’s Ruben made sure that we knew he was taking care of us at every step of the way.

There were some tense moments along the way, like when we couldn’t find the model on the shelf, and when it rang up at its normal price rather than the reduced price listed on the sticker. It turned out that the promotion had actually been meant to end yesterday (4th of July sale, I guess?), but nobody had reset the shelf and so we got it for the sticker price.

So, today was not the awesome work day that I envisioned or hoped for, but it had a happy ending. I now have a computer I don’t have to fight with at all… which honestly, even when my main computer wasn’t rejecting its RAM, it was a lot flakier than I like to acknowledge.

I’m writing this on my brand new desktop, so I can testify that it’s working fine. It’s not quite work ready yet. I’m going to be installing my programs on it and then syncing my cloud folders and stuff this evening so that tomorrow morning I can get up, hop on, and get to work exactly like I wanted to today.

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write. Please leave any comments there.

Tsipras

Jul. 7th, 2015 05:46 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Has picked which book I review on Sunday. Have fun speculating which Disco Era book I have in mind.

a gift and a question

Jul. 7th, 2015 03:48 pm
twistedchick: mountains, Jackson Brown quote: You do what you can to keep your love alive -- try not to confuse this with what you do  (love alive)
[personal profile] twistedchick
One of my cousins sent me a huge box of get-well things, including a little notebook that our mutual grandfather had, with all sorts of things in it. English was his second or third language, so he wrote down a lot of words as he learned them, but also phrases and notes to himself on money owed or lent, and so on. I am getting a much better sense of him from this than I have from memories; this is making him real.

But there is a sentence that I know is a quote -- it is not something he would ever say -- and I cannot find what is being quoted. So I am asking you -- does this sentence look familiar to you in any way, and if so, who was the author and what was the source? The sentence is:

Being what they are, it is to be doubted if a single person failed to get his money(’s) worth and the seats cost plenty.

I am keeping this firmly in mind

Jul. 7th, 2015 12:47 pm
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[personal profile] badgerbag
No matter what hurt we are going through right now I firmly believe that we have all contributed to making many good things and have done good work. That work has been worth a lot. It was worth doing. It wasn't perfect and it hurt people along the way including all of us. I know no one wanted that. And including many times perpetuating the harms we were trying to counteract. We made mistakes and keep making them. The work stands as good for many people. I look at many many flowerings of new orgs and energy and publications and know that we are in the geneology of it (like in skud's talk about GF's origins and roots and inspirations, we are now in that chain) That good energy and effect can't be denied. Our flaws individually and collectively don't invalidate that. And they will carry on doing some good things. I feel sure of it.
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
[personal profile] snarp
Dave, Aradia, Damara, and Caliborn-as-Caliborn aren't programmers, so our options are basically,

1) the Squiddle/Outer God Time player (unlikely),

2) Lord English (probably most likely given that most software developers are in fact screaming space skulls),

3) some iteration of Aradiabot who downloaded a bunch of ~ATH tutorials into her robot brain and spent a few stable timeloops learning to code (likelihood???),

4) the Handmaid doing the same thing but without the robot brain (??????),

orrrrrr 5) some combination of these individuals angrily reversing one other's commits every five meaningless-Time-player-minutes.

Someone please draw fanart of this last possibility.
oursin: My photograph of Praire Buoy sculpture, Meadowbrook Park, Urbana, overwritten with Urgent, Phallic Look (urgent phallic)
[personal profile] oursin

Pills, thrills and polymer gels: what's the future for male contraception?

This is something that I've been seeing reported over and over again as only just over the horizon since, what, the early 70s (Trousers rolled? check. Hair parted behind? jury still out. Peach Y/N? Mermaids singing but not for me.)

So, you know, pardon my cynicism that this is ever going to be A Thing*. And in the 70s there was a significant uptake of vasectomy, which seems to have declined, which may have to do with the various long-term Pill use concerns in long-term relationships back in the day rather than the horrid irresponsibility of Blokez 2Day, though this does seem to be showing up over a relatively short term, go figure.

And on the burning question 'Will men use it?', absolutely no surprises:

Men in stable relationships were more receptive than men in casual sexual relationships and men with healthy lifestyles were more positive than less healthy men.
Which is really no different from men in the past taking responsibility for contraception by the methods then available, i.e. in marriage or relationships thus approximating. Up until the Pill, the condom or good old fashioned withdrawal remained overwhelmingly the most used methods.

*And saw somewhere that A Thing is supposed to be some newfangled kidz 2day expression. WHUT.

97

Jul. 7th, 2015 11:39 am
[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by Tiara


We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

STATUS: Tuesday, July 7th

Jul. 7th, 2015 11:49 am
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[personal profile] alexandraerin

The Daily Report

I have been having a hard time finding my footing lately, after spending the first half of June sick and the second half swamped with outside obligations that would have been less of a big deal if I’d had any momentum going, creative or professional or whatever.

I had this big plan coming out of WisCon that I was going to start keeping to “office hours” much more rigorously, work to a schedule as much as the muse allows. The whole being on my back for more than a week kind of took the wind out of those sails pretty quickly. We’ll see how it goes this week.

The State of the Me

I have a headache today. I did not sleep well all last week, and I feel like I am paying for that now. Separately from the physical stuff, I am going through some personal turmoil. I am resolved that it is best both personally and professionally to proceed as normal during my work day, to get in a solid block of time when my mind is occupied by Other Things.

Plans For Today

Today, I have been and will continue to be spending an unknown amount of time installing and updating software on this computer, and otherwise getting it in working order. I will definitely be writing this afternoon, though I can’t say how inspired it will be after all this technical drudgery.

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write. Please leave any comments there.

Computer Woes

Jul. 7th, 2015 11:02 am
alexandraerin: (Default)
[personal profile] alexandraerin

This week, I am back from a busy week and nigh unto miraculous week of family-ing in Nebraska. Yesterday I’d intended to throw myself back into it, but my main work computer died on me. It froze up completely while I was downstairs getting lunch, and would not finish booting after that. It gets as far as the “Starting Windows” screen, but the Windows symbol never starts to form. Startup Repair hangs as soon as the “loading files” bar is full. Safe Mode will show the list of system files being loaded and then freeze.

It did this shortly before my trip. I was able to determine that it wasn’t detecting one of the RAM cards, and re-seating all of them apparently fixed it. This time, no dice.

I still somewhat suspect the memory to be the problem… like one or more of the cards has gone a little off without failing completely, and so the whole thing breaks as soon as the computer needs to do anything terribly involved. The computer and its components are more than five years old. It doesn’t feel like it’s nearly that old because most of its lifetime was during the time I was bouncing between states half the year.

Progressive RAM failure isn’t the only possibility, but it seems the most likely one given that reshuffling the cards did briefly extend the computer’s usefulness. I suppose trying to boot up another operating system might help confirm if it’s a hardware issue or a Windows issue, but I have limited resources for dealing with this kind of problem at the moment.

I do have a backup computer, which is what I’m using now. It is another 5+ year old desktop unit, one that’s quite a bit less powerful but which has been used less often and has been far less finicky, hardware-wise. My currently-dead computer was a refurb model and it’s always been a bit strange about its RAM.

Still, this is not a long-term solution… this thing is so slow even just switching tabs in a browser. It is not very good at running the programs I need for things like editing and laying out books. Even just typing this blog post, I have to keep stopping to let the screen catch up with my text.

I’m not sure what I’ll do long-term. I’ve been mulling getting new RAM for my dead box, which would be a cheap fix if the problem is what I think it is, but kind of a waste if it’s not. The other alternative is to get a new desktop, which would be a bigger expense that I can’t really afford right now. Either way, I’ll probably be limping along as is for at least a week or two.

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write. Please leave any comments there.

telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
Spent the weekend at my mother's house, giving her the big photo tour of Japan (because we hadn't seen her since NOVEMBER AAAAGGGHHH), and then, as she is considering downsizing even more, going through a bunch of old photos and scrapbooks and various mementos of family (and people we don't even remember!). And then loading a selection of those, and half of her cookbook collection, into our car to take home.

As a result of all of this, which involved a lot of talking, my throat has been strained and is now sore. I haven't gone into full laryngitis, and my goal is to prevent myself from doing that by not talking whenever possible. (Oddly, as a child in Tanzania I wold periodically cause laryngitis in myself by sticking my head out of the window of the car and keeping my mouth open as we drove. I think I liked the sensation--of air entering my mouth, not the laryngitis. Perhaps I was a strange child.)

Anyway, there's one box that I haven't fully gone through which contains some old photos--either tintypes or daguerreotypes. I am not sure how to tell them apart, but I can tell they're the kind that will fade when exposed to light, so I need to ponder the best way to keep them preserved.

In other news, I killed a large silverfish in the bathroom last night. Am 99% convinced it came home with us in these old boxes. Call to exterminator on the schedule to ensure we don't get a population of these things started.

Also, here is a photo of the Bewick's wren that hangs out near our house. It was finally caught by the spycam.
Read more... )
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

“Because of Christ, the ceremonial law is repealed,” Tim Keller writes – a sentence that would have baffled Moses, Isaiah, Paul, Luke, and Jesus of Nazareth.

This idea of a distinction between “ceremonial law” and “moral law” isn’t something any of those biblical figures or biblical authors would have recognized. It’s not a distinction that can be found in the Bible, only one that can be imposed on it.

It’s folklore, not theology. And it’s dangerous folklore, at that — one that correlates with and contributes to all kinds of supercessionist business that, in turn, correlates with and contributes to our rather nasty history of Christian anti-Semitism.

And that, as we discussed here recently, is tangled up with what Willie James Jennings calls “Gentile forgetfulness” — a major reason why, as he says, “race has a Christian architecture, and Christianity in the West has a racial architecture.”

(A data point in support of Jennings’ argument: Keller’s post is on the “Gospel Coalition” site — a group that provides an eager platform for white supremacist “theologian” Douglas Wilson. OK, then.)

Keller’s post invokes two-out-of-three of the folkloric responses to the “God hates shrimp” objection that we discussed here last fall. Here’s what I wrote then about this “ceremonial law” business:

The problem is that this distinction between ceremonial and moral law in Leviticus isn’t actually a thing. It doesn’t come from Leviticus, but can only be retroactively imposed back onto it. And the text itself doesn’t welcome such an imposition.

This is not an accusation of hypocrisy. It is a request to clarify one's hermeneutic.

This is not an accusation of hypocrisy. It is a request to clarify one’s hermeneutic.

The people who first wrote and compiled and read the Hebrew scriptures didn’t make such a distinction. Nor did first-century Jews, such as Jesus and Paul. The categories of “clean” and “unclean” in the Hebrew scriptures don’t really allow for this distinction either. It won’t let us treat those categories as merely “ceremonial” and somehow divorced from the matter of morality.

This problem becomes more acute when we actually try to apply this anachronistic distinction. The first step is, of course, to classify all the dietary stuff as “ceremonial” law and all the sex stuff as “moral” law. (Thus, shrimp is OK, but butt-secks is still bad.) But then it turns out we don’t want to keep all of the sex stuff, just some of it. So we have to sift through the sex bits, reclassifying the laws involving menstruation as “ceremonial” while still keeping many of the adjoining sex laws as moral.

It gets complicated. One has to read the Hebrew scriptures with a bunch of different-colored highlighters in hand — pink for non-binding “ceremonial” laws that can be ignored, yellow for “moral” laws that we can still condemn others for violating, etc. But how can we know which passages to highlight with which colors? The text itself wasn’t written in a way that would suggest — or allow — for such separate categories.

Keller takes another stab at how to make this distinction: “Christ changed how we worship,” he writes, “but not how we live.”

So, OK, biblical rules for “how we live” are unchanging and binding for all of time. Biblical rules for “how we worship” are simply “ceremonial” and, thus, were “repealed” by Christ.

That seems promising — until you start to look at the laws he consigns to the realm of worship rather than “how we live.” Eating shrimp? That’s worship. Menstruation? Worship. Promoting the welfare and prosperity of ethnic outsiders? Worship.

This distinction, as applied, does not seem obviously intuitive. It’s also just as anachronistic and absent from the text as the folklore about “ceremonial” law. Here’s Keller again: ” The coming of Christ changed how we worship, but not how we live. The moral law outlines God’s own character — his integrity, love, and faithfulness. And so everything the Old Testament says about loving our neighbor, caring for the poor, generosity with our possessions, social relationships, and commitment to our family is still in force.”

All that stuff — including all the sex stuff, and especially the sex stuff, that’s the prompt driving Keller’s post — is “moral law” involving “how we live,” not “ceremonial law” involving “how we worship.”

Contrast that with this passage from Isaiah 1 (the same passage we read Frederick Douglass quoting the other day):

What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.
When you come to appear before me,
who asked this from your hand?
Trample my courts no more;
bringing offerings is futile;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation—
I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity.
Your new moons and your appointed festivals
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me,
I am weary of bearing them.
When you stretch out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your doings
from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
seek justice,
rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
plead for the widow.

That passage — like the parallel rant in Isaiah 58 — isn’t asking us to distinguish between worship and morality. It’s telling us — both begging and warning us — not to distinguish between them. It’s telling us that how we live is how we worship:

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

… If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.

This, Isaiah says the Lord God says, is what keeping the Sabbath means. This is worship.

Inconveniently for Keller, this is right there in the “Old Testament” — preceding the coming of Christ. That monkey-wrenches the other favorite piece of folklore he repeats in his post: “If the New Testament has reaffirmed a commandment, then it is still in force for us today.”

That was item No. 3 in our discussion of non-responses to the “God hates shrimp” objection. Here’s a bit more of that discussion:

This principle seems to account for the particular matter of the shrimp/gay disparity, but I’m afraid it doesn’t fit quite so neatly when it comes to many of the other commandments from the Hebrew scriptures that we would need for it to explain away.

Consider, for example, the prohibition against lending at interest and the commandment that all debts be forgiven every seven years. These are explicit, unambiguous commandments in the Hebrew scriptures, both repeated many times over. They are also, inconveniently, both reaffirmed in the New Testament. Jesus himself upped the stakes on these commandments — not only must we not lend at interest, he said, but we must lend without the expectation of repayment. …

The initial promise of this whole approach begins to falter once we recognize that the Sermon on the Mount is part of the New Testament. That’s three solid chapters of commandments and teachings that most Christians disregard as thoroughly as the dietary laws of Leviticus. None of what Jesus teaches there about money and possessions shapes our behavior as Christians today. (Even the early church’s teaching that “superfluity is theft” greatly liberalizes Jesus’ teaching there.) That New Testament passage also gives clear commandments about violence, retaliation, and public prayer that most Christians do not treat as binding. The only part of the Sermon on the Mount that most white evangelicals treat as mandatory is the bit about divorce — so once again, rules for your sex life are binding, rules for my possessions are not.

This whole business about New Testament reaffirmation might be more plausible if it were coming from some Dorothy Day-type who clearly lived and worshiped as though the New Testament’s Sermon on the Mount were “still in force for us today.” But, interestingly, those types of Christians don’t usually cite this bit of folklore-in-lieu-of-hermeneutic as an explanation for why or how they pick and choose among what parts of the Bible they regard as binding. They’re much more likely to say — along with Jesus and Paul — that “love is the fulfillment of the law.”

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