August 24th, 2016

(no subject)

Today A. asked me what to do with the Bible she was given. She'd been asked if she'd read it and had explained that she'd read the King James and was told "This is better" and was given a copy. A. and I talked about the "This is better" and I suggested she keep it as a reference volume, so that when people referred to it, she'd know what they were talking about. What neither of us had to say was that the book was a conversion attempt - our whole conversation was an indirect check on how to handle such things. There were Christians present, however, and they thought we were just talking about the book. I found the whole thing interesting, because it means Moslem Australia and Jewish Australia share a set of codes when faced with well-meaning conversion techniques and both try actively not to be offensive to Christians.

On social media one of those "We will make you feel guilty" headlines asked me just now "When did you last speak to a Moslem?" Today. And this was the conversation. And I was given a tiny pandan kue: she knows I love pandan and we were trying to find a non-Malaysian way of describing it (for neither of us are Malaysian, but I cook my kue in Malay, due to the friends who taught me how).

I wish there weren't a parallel potential headline that says "When did someone last try to convert you?" Mind you, I've been lucky recently on that front. Possibly because I can get very technical and go into Christian history just a bit too far for the comfort of the well-intentioned. I ask for personal opinions about the relationship between the Father/Son/Ghost and whether the early councils got it right. I also ask about whether they've given any thought to the neat resolution that the Gospel of Nicodemus provides to the issue of those-who-went-before. And other things. I have an almost unlimited supply of related subjects that I'm interested in discussing.

While I'm considering dates and conversion attempts, it's now 17 years since the Mormons have tried to convert me. One day they'll forget the last conversation we had... which is a pity, for I'm still waiting for an answer to my question.

People stopped giving me Bibles on the street when I asked technical questions about translations. I don't ask things merely to stir. I genuinely want answers, and I want those answers from the people who have indicated their willingness to talk by sharing their religion with me through the intent to convert me. They present the opening that changes the code I use in conversation. It allows me to be far more direct and open than I was in the veiled conversation today. Mind you, I get judged for being open and direct. I am expected to accept the book and the leaflets and listen to the spiel, not to ask the questions I want answers to (or more answers - I'm interested in them from more directions).

I do wonder, if people stopped trying to convert others in public places, whether it might be easier to be open about our religions in casual conversation. Then there would be no shock value in headlines about talking to neighbours and students and people met in libraries.

Speaking of pandan (for today everything links with everything else), Peter Beagle had a roof thatched with pandan in the short story I read on the way home from teaching. Apart from it being a waste of food (I'd rather wrap rice in pandan than weave it into a roof), does anyone have any examples of a pandan roof? Preferably photographs. I am having trouble visualising it, My brain keeps defaulting to the kue and to sweet sticky rice parcels.

Since I'm talking about food, my task for this evening (already complete) was to make a two litre jar of liqueur from the peel of that amazing citrus. I've enough ingredients to make another, smaller jar later in the week. Next week I'm going to preserve some of the peel in sugar and then enrobe it in dark chocolate. Possibly I need saving from myself...