A Curious Girl

The musings of a girl who is curious in both senses of the word. Life, God, and York. Oh, did I say York? I meant Bradford!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Mixed Messages

This morning I had a phone call. It was 8 o'clock and I was still eating breakfast. I was convinced it would be Work, asking me to do an extra call or something, but it was actually a science recruitment agency calling to ask if I was interested in a lab technician job in Selby. £6.40 an hour. Who the heck is at work at 8am?

It's a bit much to be expected to make a decision before you've finished your first cup of tea, so the woman said she'd call back at 8.45am.

I had the Sermon of the Mount open. I never get bored of the Sermon on the Mount. I sometimes wonder if some of Jesus' sayings were really as cryptic as they sound. Did the disciples go away thinking "Poor in spirit? What on earth does that mean?" (John 16:29 might suggest this is the case...) In the Message version he's a lot more lucid but even if I did entirely agree with the interpretation (which I don't. It all sounds a bit tame...) I am not sure that Jesus really meant to say, for example, "You're blessed when you get your inside world — your mind and heart — put right. Then you can see God in the outside world" instead of "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God". I suspect he was being deliberately provocative, causing the disciples to go home thinking "How shall we see God? What did he mean by "pure in heart"? Besides, paraphrases take all the fun out of interpretation.

Also there's this one:
"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat."

Which is a paraphrase of this one:
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

I don't think they entirely match, and I like the second one more. I find it enormously reassuring. He promises that anyone who is striving to be holy, justified before God, will be satisfied. There is something platitudinous about Peterson's version. It could mean anything from the NIV version to "God is nice, try him and you'll really like him". It seems a bit fuzzy and feel-good next to a word like "righteousness".

The thing is, I can see the point of having a carefully done paraphrase, as long as it doesn't defeat the purpose of the original text. For instance, if Paul wanted to write some helpful advice to churches, I doubt he'd have wanted it translated densely with lots of difficult words, especially if it was to be read by the young or people who have trouble with reading comprehension. And there is something nice about the way that a familiar piece of text can suddenly stand out:

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage." Matthew 5:13

Anyway, I've become a little sidetracked. A New Revised Standard Version Bible and a copy of Quaker Faith and Practice have been lying around the living room, and when eating breakfast or attempting to watch House on Male Quaker's laptop, I've been known to browse them. Oh, and Quaker Girl oddly possesses a Message New Testament. I've accused her of being an Anglican recently but The Message is starting to prod her into the Charismatic camp. Heh. Though she still reacts vehemently when I sing Shine Jesus Shine. So I suspect she will remain a Quaker :)

But anyway, I challenge you to consider any job offer normally when you have the Sermon of the Mount open in front of you.

It's one thing to very sensibly consider that a more reliable source of income, with regular hours, would be extremely helpful for the future, in oh so many ways.
And of course at times I get rather annoyed with my employers (don't they communicate?).
But there was the problem that a) though they reassured me I would get the job, they wanted me to give in my notice right away. This is because you get a trial shift rather than an interview, and if you're half-decent, you're recruited. But what if I don't like the job? I'm not giving in my notice before I'm good and ready.
b) It is a little in the wrong direction. Not that much, I mean, lab skivvying is not likely to drag me off into a career in Biochemistry because I have a 3rd but I'm not really wanting to pursue science right now, and if I want to apply for Social Work I desperately need more experience.
c) As much as I'd enjoy getting back into a labcoat, I don't think it compares to my job. Definitely as a suitable alternative to unemployment. Will consider it if I'm jobless in Bradford.
But mainly, there just seems to be something rather crass about giving up the job that I still like and that I know makes a big difference to people's lives, for a job I could have done with a Chemistry A-level. And when I say Chemistry A-level, I bet that my A grade makes me over-qualified. Even if, I tell myself, it would leave more time free for societies and volunteering. Even if it brings in more money, because do not store up treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy... I could imagine that my employers might understand it if I said I was resigning to take up a graduate position at GlaxoSmithKline or something, but "Sorry, I'm off to be a lab tech in Selby" sounds like an incredibly poor excuse.

Still, if anyone wants to be a lab tech in Selby, do get in touch and I'll give you the details :) Speaking of which, if anyone wants to be a carer in York, my area could do with a bit of help. My people are all nice so long as you're polite and don't mind a bit of swearing occasionally. And can make a good cup of tea. And know when to not to say anything. And can tolerate being called a Cockney despite a continual insistence that you're not actually from London. And can cope with such horrors as being given chocolate and having to turn down continual offers of a trip to Scarborough.

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