Day 6. Well, I got busy and skipped a few days. Sketch of my daughter, age 17.
Day 5: Western Redbud after the rain.
Day 3. Sketch of mushrooms.
Day 1. Sketch of my hand holding an orange. Started off with a piece of pie but when I kept eating the pie, I had to switch props.
Historic Mission Inn in Riverside County. Can’ t believe that it was slated to be torn down for a parking lot. Luckily it is now listed as a historic monument and protected.
I’m not a Christian, but I’ve always enjoyed reading books that examine the background of Christianity. Jonathan Kirsch's The Harlot by the Side of the Road: Forbidden Tales of the Bible is a favorite, as was Moses, by Kirsch as well.
Recently, at an old friend’s recommendation, I read The Wife of Jesus, Ancient Texts and Modern Scandals by Jonathan Le Donne. This book examines from a historic context whether Jesus had a wife or not. Of course, we were all titillated by the Dan Brown's suggestion that Jesus and Mary Magdalene was married and had descendants in the fiction the Da Vinci Code. I wanted to see if there is any scholarly and historic basis to the claim.
The Wife of Jesus examines the ancient Jewish traditions of marriage, family obligations of the eldest son in a family (Jesus), women’s roles, the place of asceticism in Jewish culture, and different people’s attempt at attributing Jesus with certain practices to suit their group’s needs. It argues that Christianity’s interpretation of Jesus changes depending on the mores and values of different groups at any given time. For example, Mormons, the gay community, the Catholics, the Jews, etc., all claim at one time or another, that Jesus must have practiced, or endorsed what their group does in one way or another to suit their interests in promoting their causes.
The book does a good job examining historic texts that may or may not be part of the bible and seem to ultimately come to the conclusion that Jesus was most likely unmarried, but not for the reasons that various groups claim. It also demands that we all look inside ourselves to determine what we are seeking to answer in wanting to find a “Wife of Jesus.” I also took home the notion that Jesus is more of a cult-like leader similar to modern day David Koresh, etc., preaching that people should give up their families to follow him. I wonder what this says about me: That I’m a non-Christian?
Would I recommend this book to casual readers? YES. Very readable and enjoyable.
Day 4: pencil drawing of Swiss Chard I got from Westwood Farmers’ Market.
Day 2:Trying to draw one sketch a day. Pears and plum.
I’m not an activist. I’m just not the type who would go out there to protest in public about situations I dislike. The first time I was exposed to political action was perhaps on the Wellesley College Campus where I was persuaded by some students to donate my meal tickets to Oxfam and forego eating a meal for a couple of days to help those in the world who are hungry. I don’t know if my action helped, but it felt right to do my part.
In 1983, I spent my junior year in Scotland at the University of Edinburgh. I lived in an apartment with four local Scottish students and came to realize how politically aware and active the European students were. I answered a phone call reminding my flatmates to attend a meeting of the “Anti-Apartheid Society.” Embarrassingly, I didn’t even know what apartheid was at the time. No teacher or students in my American high school or college ever taught or mentioned the situation in South Africa. My flatmates were also actively involved in the “Free Nelson Mandela" movement, and double embarrassingly, that was the first time I even learned who Nelson Mandela was.
During height of the Free Nelson Mandela Movement.
My Scottish flatmates were also boycotting products made by Nestle Corporation. Why? Because at the time, Nestle sold baby formula to mothers of third world countries by persuading them to buy costly formula as if the formula was more nutritious than mothers’ milk, which it wasn’t. Babies were dying of malnutrition because mothers who couldn’t afford the formula diluted it to feed their babies. Well, my flatmates convinced me to not purchase Nestle products such as chocolates or coffee. I was amused, but did do as requested, and ate Cadbury chocolates instead. (My favorite was the milk chocolate bar with raisins).
The few years after I returned to the United States, the student and academic movement to convince colleges, universities and governments to divest from South Africa in protest of apartheid and the continued imprisonment of Nelson Mandela intensified. (Or, perhaps I just became more aware of the movement). I remember signing petitions to ask Wellesley (or was it Columbia University by then?) to divest from South Africa. I don’t remember what the outcome of the student petition was, and I seem to remember the United States refused to divest. Yet I can still recall the emotion I felt a few years later when Nelson Mandela was released from the South African prison, and how apartheid was finally dismantled. I learned that overwhelming international grassroots pressure can effect governments to make changes for what is right. And this applies to actions against corporate behavior too. I remember that Nestle finally agreeing to adjust its strategy with regards to baby formula marketing.
Now, things comes to a full circle with Oxfam, the first organization I supported to end world hunger. Oxfam and its famous actress spokeswoman Scarlett Johanssen ended their relationship over Johanssen’s promotion of SodaStream, a company with its base in the occupied territory of the Palestinian West Bank and employs Palestinians there. I am disgusted by Israel’s disregard of Palestinians’ rights in the occupied territories, yet to my dismay, I also own a SodaStream soda maker. Once aware of this situation, I realized that there is only one course of action for me to take: I tossed out my SodaStream, and as with my 20 plus years of boycotting Woody Allen movies (that’s another story), I prepared myself to never watch a ScarJo movie again. (Sad to say, I loved watching the Avengers). Call me naive, but I think I can choose to not spend my money to enrich companies or people whose actions I can’t believe in. After all, there are plenty of other sodas I can drink, and other actresses and movies I can watch. It’s soft drinks and entertainment after all. I think the Huffington Post refers to stance such as mine as an “ethical consumption choice”. LOL
Am I doing enough? Probably not. Maybe I’m the only one who is made to feel better about myself. But if enough people who think like me do the same, maybe things will change.