Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Public Service Announcement & A Little About Esther...

I had Bible Study this morning so James and I left the house about 9 o'clock. After Bible Study we picked Eddie up at his office and had lunch at a nearby Mexican restaurant (sidenote, it is not our Mexican restaurant and I've been sorely disappointed by it every time I've eaten there...too bad it's the closest one to Eddie's work). We didn't get back to our house until almost one o'clock and when I walked in the backdoor I thought I might pass out.


Because of the rotten-ness.

Let me just give you a little advice (and it's possible that you, too, have already learned the hard way).

If ever you boil chicken (I made poppyseed chicken for supper last night) it is imperative that you immediately wash out the pot you used to boil the meat and take out the trash where you threw the chicken "snickeys," (aka the fatty parts you don't want to use).

Holy cow at the disgusting smell. Obviously, I have spent part of the afternoon washing dishes, washing the sink, and taking out the trash.

(I'd like to state that I usually do wash the dishes and load the dishwasher at night but I had to enter two Willow House orders last night AND do four days of Esther. Procrastinate much???)

Ok, on to Esther.

I knew absolutely nothing about the book of Esther going into this study. I'm ashamed to say I'd never read it. The entire New Testament? Check. The Old? Ummm...No. I have been intrigued by this one!

Just a few quick observations. I'm not going to write out all of my notes, just a few things I've been learning:

* Setting: It's a time of kings and queen, of royalty. It makes me think of Narnia. The words "nobles," "officials," and "banquets," also give it a royal feel.
* Xerxes is throwing a party that is lasting a lonnnnng time. His wife, Queen Vashti, is also throwing a party for the ladies.
* Xerxes summons Vashti to his party. She is beautiful and he wanted to show her off. She doesn't follow his command. She didn't want to leave her own party? She didn't like being summoned? She didn't want to be objectified? Who knows, but she turned him down.
* Xerxes' men tell him to get rid of her and issue a dexree that women must obey their men.
* We learn that it's tough to be a woman in another woman's shadow. The whole study is about how it's tough to be a woman. Two things here: 1. Vashti's rebellion will cause men to be harder on "their" women because of her behavior. 2. The woman who follows Vashti will have a tough time.
* In Chapter 2 we meet Esther and Mordecai. They are Jewish exiles and Mordecai is Esther's guardian because she's an orphan. He's actually her cousin.
* Xerxes has appointed commissioners to bring women (virgins) to him for "try-outs." (Know where this is headed???) They are given year-long beauty treatments and then brought to the king for a night. They are then sent to live with his harem and will be called back if he's satisfied. At first, I was a little appalled and disgusted. Then, I realized we have a modern-day version of this now. It's called The Bachelor!
* Esther is polite and doesn't ask for anything more than what she's given. Not only does she win over the guardian of the harem and the king, she wins over her competition! Even the women like her! A bit unusual, no?
* Finally, Mordecai, who is one of the secret police, uncovers a plot to assassinate King Xerxes. He tells Esther (who has been chosen to be queen), who reports it to Xerxes, who has the men hanged. However, he neglects to give any credit to Mordecai.
* This week's point was that it's tough to be a woman in a world where beauty is a treatment. We discussed that while we feel pressure to look a certain way, we don't feel pressure not to look a certain way. Probably doesn't make any sense. We were asked to come up with a list of our beauty products under our sinks. The question was then posed: "What might a reasonable way to handle the pressure for those of us who are neither likely to nor under spiritual conviction to throw away all our cosmetics?" We wondered why we had to. Who cares if we spend a little time looking nice? I think the point was that we need to be working more on inner beauty and less on outer.

Chapter 3 next week!

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