How to b.s. a church history paper, part 3

They Had Risen Indeed: Christian Pluralism, Cigarettes, and Donuts in the Roman Empire

THROUGHOUT THE MISTS OF TIME, people have bickered over which soteriology is the most salvific. The doctrinal anarchy of the π th century was no exception. From Jerusalem to Byzantium and back, the metallic crashes of clashing gastronomical theologies and their aromatic diversity filled the air. In the east, a smattering of fermented laypeople had theurgical epiphanies that inspired Docetic donuts. Meticulous ecumenical calculations in the west gave us the Kabbalah kabob, partially inspired by widespread Platonic pizza of centuries of yore. Meanwhile, renowned heresiologist Zarathustra-Tertullian IV’s self-proclaimed orthopraxy in cake-baking brought him to conclude that he was qualified to wield the Orthodox Stick with his attacks on rival Christologies. This paper will not concentrate on Docetic donuts or Kabbalah kabobs, but the objects of Zathustra-Tertullian’s (hereunto, ZT) most well-known theological foes, the Baguette Brothers of Pelagnism and Semi-Pelganism, and Quasimodo of the Quasi-Biblical Non Sequiturs.

Quasimodo of the Quasi-Biblical Non Sequiturs was originally known as Jerome Bacon. Jerome Bacon grew up in a boarding school that focused on producing informed hermenuticists. The story of how Jerome Bacon became the figure ZT would later flagellate with the Orthodoxy Stick is one of mildly-gritty, but not obnoxiously gritty, coming-of-age-ness. Like many who feel stifled by desk-ridden academia, Jerome Bacon became very bored and annoyed with his lot in life. Eventually, instead of spending his nights knee-deep in his prescribed studies, Jerome ended up chilling at a gay bar, where he would end up having the revelation that transformed him into Quasimodo of the Quasi-Biblical Non Sequiturs.

The gay bar happened to be the very close neighbor of ZT’s monastery. Scholars throughout the centuries have suggested that it is this and not the far-fetched claims of Quasimodo’s Gnostic gluten-occultism, is the real reason that fired up ZT to write lengthy exegesis against Quasimodo’s work and proposed edicts that were strategic in outlawing certain Quasimodo’s doctrines. ZT had nothing against gay bars, per se, but this gay bar had an unusually large demographic of chain-smoking clientele. ZT’s window was the closest in the monastery to the gay bar itself, thus he was most privy to the pervading miasma of second-hand smoke. Can ya blame the guy for having a chip on his shoulder? ZT had a bad case of asthma. Just sayin.

Aaaanyhizzle, the work that ZT would later condemn as anti-canonical apocrypha (and Quasi-Biblical Non Sequiturs) was a sort-of beatnik take on various wisdom literature: terse proverb-like non-proverb stuff and Ecclesiastes-esque musings against petite-bourgeois consumerism. One of Quasimodo’s works held up Courtney Love’s “Doll Parts” as a perfect example of the disillusioning effect of objectification via capitalism. This made Quasimodo a prophet since both capitalism as we know it and Courtney Love were things of the very-far-off future. Which might also be why it was such a strong point of contention with ZT: although such anachronistic pop culture references were a part of Quasimodo’s spiritual reality, they were not included in ZT’s.

ZT also raised gender issues in his criticisms of the plausibility of the vision that would turn then-Jerome-Bacon into the Quasimodo of Quasi-Biblical Non Sequiturs. The vision then-Jerome-Bacon had was of a female figure named Christine who bought American Spirits by the carton – something else that ZT would dissect as a non-God characteristic, because, surely, if who ZT presumed was Jesus in Quasimodo’s text was really Jesus and Jesus was really smoking American Spirits, he would not buy them, but conjure them, collecting sticks, syringes, and other debris and supernaturally transforming them from the previous matter into smoke-able products. (Was that a run-on sentence? Guess who doesn’t care.) The conjuring would make strong associations with the water-to-wine miracles of the Gospels, and therefore making the Jesus-ness of the character more plausible. ZT also had a bone to pick with the kind of American Spirits “Jesus” was smoking: “If Jesus was a smoker at all,” ZT wrote, “he would not smoke menthols. That’s the rule I made up just now.” You may be wondering why ZT keeps referring to Christine as “Jesus”. This is where the gender issues that I mentioned in the topic sentence of this paragraph come in. Took me long enough, right? ZT was so in denial about the possibility of a woman-deity-figure existing in the Judeo-Christian consciousness, even in the case of someone he deemed a heretic, that he assumed “Christine” was a typo where “Christ” was originally intended. Therefore, ZT concluded, this apparent “Christine” was definitely “Jesus”. Even in the utterly impossible event that this supernatural femaleness could occur, ZT figured, it would not happen in a gay bar, as clearly male homosexuals were woman-haters by nature. This is insanely ignorant. But it’s not my opinion, it’s ZT’s. I’m just quoting him.

Quasimodo detailed to the hagiographers at E-News the first appearance of the chain-smoking, gay-bar-dwelling Christine: “Thus, she approached and said unto me, ‘Jerome Bacon, you will now be Quasimodo.’ And I was like, ‘Why Quasimodo, LORD?’ And she was like, ‘b/c I think the name is cute, and someone will someday call the things you write ‘Quasi-Biblical Non Sequiturs’. I like alliteration. Furthermore, I need you to up and bail from this place in the time of 30-50 days and make a one-way pilgrimage to Notre Dame, where you will neither eat nor sex, but pen the musings of your heart during the time in which you are not ringing the bells.’ To which I said, ‘What’s this Nortre Dame place, and how do I know they will accept me as a bell-ringer?’ ‘Chillax, bro,’ the LORD said unto me, ‘I got this covered.’ Christine then also said that I would know what to write because she would direct my heart what to say.”

Thus, after a period of 31 days, in which he organized his affairs and his friends threw him bon voyage parties, Quasimodo got on a Greyhound bus for Paris. Our faithful and possibly-hallucinating pilgrim applied for the position of bell-toller at Notre Dame cathedral. Despite fierce competition – it was a very nonsexually sexy job, you see – the monks and nuns awarded him the title. I know. I was one of them. Quasimodo moved into the bell-tower, an established votary, who took on an ascetic lifestyle. The monks supplied him with cartons of menthol American Spirits, and he smoked them as he adorned the bells with iconography of his gay bar Christine, with abstract embellishments of Pollock-like paint splatters. Christine would eventually appear to him again, saying, “Alright, Quasi, don’t get me wrong or anything, I mean, the icons are nice. But I asked you to write the musings of your heart.” Quasimodo replied, “I know, LORD, but…I’ve got writer’s block. And I don’t know how to write. I know I didn’t mention it at the gay bar, but I don’t think I’m up to putting my thoughts into words.” Christine told Quasimodo that he should trust her and that she would direct his heart to write such things. After the vision, Quasimodo put off the writing for 15 more days, fraught with anxiety and smoking more cigarettes than he was used to. He didn’t drink any water, either, so eventually the smoking, mixed with the heat-wave that hit Paris that winter, made him get a migraine and puke his guts out. Quasimodo started crying and cried, “Okay, I get it. I realize this migraine was punishment for my procrastination.” Christine showed up posthaste and was like, “Hey, dude. That was no punishment. Punishment is not how I roll. You’re dehydrated and smoking more stoges than even I smoke. But, here, before this vomit dries – I’m telling you now – take this stick and dip it in and I will tell you what to write.”Quasimodo took the glittery fairy-stick from Christine and said, “What wondrous stick is this, LORD?” And Christine was like, “I see what you’re trying to do – don’t change the subject just so you can put this off more. I’m right here. I’m going to help you write this.” Christine then dictated to Quasimodo what to write and Quasi wrote it. His migraine eventually lifted, and once Quasimodo got going, Christine didn’t have to DIRECTLY dictate to him anymore, and his faith increased manifold.

There, on the floor of the bell tower, Quasimodo transcribed what ZT would later call Quasi-Biblical Non Sequiturs – a title which he meant to be derogatory, but Quasimodo’s followers adopted it lovingly, much like how “beatnik” and “Christian” were supposed to be derogatory terms and the actual beatniks and Christians made it their own. After he was finished, Quasimodo fell asleep in the corner. The monks arrived with Quasimodo’s menthol American Spirits, saw the dried up vomit, and were amazed. They ran down to their quarters to fetch their scrolls and inkwells, and ran back up the stairs to capture the vomit-writing in ink-writing, eventually waking up Quasimodo for some verification, since vomit-writing can be hard to read sometimes.

Quasimodo’s asceticism was yet another point of contention for ZT. Few movements of the day swore off food, seeing as the movements were mostly baked-good-based. ZT said that he would have found Quasimodo’s spiritual revelation more plausible if Jesus (Christine, really) prompted him to make and eat food instead of abstain from food altogether. ZT deemed Quasimodo’s anomalous asceticism unholy. Although ZT was essentially against Pelagnism and Semipelganism, he had some nice things to say about it, while he had no nice things to say about Quasimodo’s movement.

Pelagnism (seeded) and Semipelganism (unseeded) were conceived by JM and MM, also known as the Baguette Brothers. JM is short of Joesphus Meredith, this abbreviation causes him to be frequently confused with Justin Martyr in ecclesiastical scholarship, but, you can’t win ‘em all. MM is short for Meredith Meredith ,because, again, you can’t win ‘em all.

JM and MM came from a theological background of bizarre eschatology from an obscure cult of patristic nomads. Even the most radical on the outer-most fringe of Jewish Apocalyptists wouldn’t touch this theology. It was that weird. So very much so, that can’t begin to accurately describe it in this essay. So I won’t try. I mean, it’s a pretty long paper already. Despite being long-steeped in these creeds, JM and MM felt like they were out of their element, and broke off to establish a more conventional order in a suburban setting. This element of conventionality, however subtle, was why ZT managed to formulate a few, rare, nice things to say about their heresy. “At least,” ZT wrote, “JM and MM have managed to include a structured liturgy in their weird religious ways.”

The liturgy was like this:

Wake up 1.5 hours before sunrise. Make baguettes. Carry baguettes through streets much like how Episcopalians carry in The Holy Book and people kiss it (that’s what Episcopalians do…right?). Lead procession full circle back to the bakery. Have Eucharist with bread. Seeded for those who want seeded. Unseeded for those who want unseeded. Because that’s fair.

Quasimodo didn’t have a structured liturgy, and despite that, I think his story is more interesting, otherwise I wouldn’t have written so damn much about him about him in comparison to the Baguette Brothers. Despite having no evidence of how Quasimodo felt about the Baguette Brothers, and vice versa, we can infer that the Baguette Brothers ALSO thought Quasimodo was cooler than them, because…who wouldn’t?

In conclusion: while Docetic donuts and Kabbalah kabobs were very nice and had their place in the π th century churchy debates, ZT focused mostly on the Baguette Brothers and Quasimodo of the Quasi-Biblical Non Sequiturs. Now you know a lot about them. Even though you’re a professor, so, being the smart person you are, you already knew. #forthecupcakes



Give me an ice pick lobotomy. Get it over with.

I am terrible with infatuation. It’s the kind of thing where, once it gets into my bloodstream, my driver’s license should probably be revoked. I realize that it’s normal for people to “get the hots” – or whatever euphemism you like best – for other people. However, I don’t see any of my other friends getting bug-eyed and manic every time someone whose appearance they find to be exceptionally alluring walks into the room. Furthermore, I’ve never heard of any of my friends, with their pupils dilating at unequal sizes, damage private property under the misconception that such an act is commonly accepted as an equivalent to giving someone a bouquet of flowers.

That’s what it’s like for me. Interacting with someone I’m really into is more or less hopeless, because when I see them, it’s like my brain is a bathtub and a toaster has been dropped in it. Everything’s on the fritz, all systems are down. Lots of laughter. Laughter at inappropriate times. Laughter that won’t stop. And other stupid stuff like, if I were to learn that the Exceptionally Gorgeous Individual liked jigsaw puzzles, I might stuff both my mouth and fists with puzzle pieces and make laps around their front yard, or apartment building for that matter, spitting and violently sprinkling them (…if sprinkling is an act one can accomplish in a violent fashion…) all willy nilly, twitching, electric, uncontrolled, repeatedly screaming, “I FIXED IT! I FIXED IT!” Lord knows why those words in particular. I have no clue, despite the fact that they’d be coming out of my mouth.

Just ask my Satanist High School Boyfriend: if I don’t find myself all flustered and surprised that breakable things like microwave plates indeed break when I toss them onto the ground, then I’m probably just not that into you.

Because everyone knows that all the most romantic conversations must begin with, “Hi. I’m covered in algae. I was going to play an accordion under your window, but, puzzle pieces. Some of which I put in my mouth to impress you. And I may have smashed my face against your driveway a few times, not to impress you, but because I can’t control my feelings. Would you like a tooth as a token of my heart palpitations? BTW, you’re so dangerously gorgeous, your face should be illegal. Just sayin.” The phrases barely strung together, of course, through the aforementioned fits of uncontrollable giggling.

My landlord has graciously pointed out to me that if these Exceptionally Gorgeous Individuals really do like me, they’ll be able to handle my weirdness (or something). However, as disappointing as it is when some of them don’t, I really don’t need them to like me. I’m not looking for petty-misdemeanor courtships and padded-room romances – I am a nun, ya know. Even if I weren’t a nun, the fact would still remain that when I’m under this influence, coherent thoughts regarding such things are not impossible to formulate. Oh, no. With unbearable urgency, all I would want is enough exposure to their mind-numbing beauty to distill it into a serum and inject with a syringe, after which I would sit on the edge of the bathtub that is my fried, smoking mind, with the ordinarily-screaming woman in my head (who, in this scenario, is pacified with…well…a pacifier stolen from the resident toddler) and eat cupcakes made out of my uterus. Because, Gentle Reader, ripping out my uterus, sacrificing it to the first deities readily accessible in my orbit of consciousness, and making cupcakes out of said sacrificed uterus, is exactly the kind of thing I do when under the influence of infatuation.

Bonus points to you if any of that made sense.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have furball collages to compile and restraining orders to inspire.

On a housekeeping note: that b.s.’d church history paper I promised is on its way. It’s just taking a while because it’s being approached with as much foot dragging and superfluous whining as my real church history paper (which I have no intention of b.s.ing). All the more authentic, then, oui?


How I Wish I Could Have Replied When My Satanist-High-School-Boyfriend Emailed And Asked Me Where I Am These Days

Dear Satanist-High-School-Boyfriend,*

What a pleasant surprise to hear from you! And how thoughtful of you to inquire of my whereabouts! I am definitely NOT still living with my parents, sleeping in the same bedroom I was sleeping in when we dated ten years ago, and I definitely WILL NOT overcompensate for the flourish of insecurity such a scenario would inspire by writing a blogpost about it.

Furthermore, I am definitely NOT still slogging through undergrad coursework – I already have my baccalaureate in English literature, not just the Associate’s degree I have hanging on my wall, which my dad had framed because he was so excited that I actually accomplished SOMETHING in my adult life. In fact, I have a doctorate. That’s right. I am Dr. Sister Kathryn Stephanie English-Major, PhD. My adoring fans…I mean students…I mean patients(?) call me Dr. KEM for short.

I spent my early 20’s as a novice, then a nun, at the convent at Lilith Cathedral in South Narnia (no, not the fictional place, the place I made up. There’s a difference). I oversaw a massive and unpopular project to restore mandatory habit-wearing amongst the nuns. While receiving the imposition of ashes one Ash Wednesday, my glow-in-the-dark nail polish caught the attention of a cardinal, who nominated me to join the Pope on his semi-annual climb to the summit of Mount Everest. They insisted. I graciously accepted.

When the Pope and I got to the summit, we celebrated with Peach Schnapps while listening to the selection of Coldplay songs he had on his phone. Normally, I would have preferred something of the punk persuasion, but I was tipsy enough from both the booze and the elevation that it didn’t matter much to me. It was after our descent that I was awarded an honorary doctorate from Saint Thecla’s University. Even though it was honorary, I insisted on writing a dissertation anyway, because it was The Right Thing To Do, I felt. My dissertation used Buffy the Vampire Slayer to explain the πth century phenomenon of donuts and Docetism, for which I was awarded the Nobel Win-Prize. To celebrate, I got a tattoo of Anne Boleyn (because, who else?). Her body is on my forearm, and her head is on my ribs. I wanted it on my stomach, but the tattoo artist talked me out of it lest I acquire a beer belly or become pregnant (whichever comes first).

As for my current place of residence, to answer your initial question, I live in a tent in the backyard of a Kindle-millionaire in Mount Shasta. I spend my days telecommuting to Saint Thecla’s (I teach in the departments of Psuedographia and Buffy Studies), and reading the numerous ARCs publishers send my way. I just finished Michelle Tea’s biography of Yours Truly, but declined to contribute a quote for the jacket, because, well, that felt pretentious and a little silly. Don’t you think?

I’ve also been tutoring my Shasta-friend’s toddler in Sanskrit, because of course I’m fluent in Sanskrit. It’s really the least I can do, seeing as she and her husband are allowing me to stay here while my mansion in the Rockies is being completed. It’s very complicated, you see, as it requires a cave to be dug out of solid granite with matching spiral staircases.

Also, in case you didn’t notice, I changed my middle name to Stephanie.


-Dr. KEM

* Was the boyfriend Satanist, or was the high school? (I’m not telling.)


Because, you see, I wanted all this to mean something. Or: The Wheel of Halted Progress.

Beloved Blog-Readers, Oh, Cherished Few That You Are, 

Very recently, I discovered that my survey teacher is also an undergraduate adviser for the English department – as, in my experience, survey teachers are apt to be. This taken into account, I’ve been contemplating visiting his office hours. When I imagine how such a visit would go, the opener goes something like this, “Hello, Sir, do you know me? I’m in your 18th and 19th century survey class… you once instructed me to slap the sleeping student in the desk that comes before mine and I was delayed in my response because I was lost in my notebook and only partially paying attention.” 

“Yes, Kathryn, I already know who you are,” he might say.

Oddly, this is how professors usually respond when I preface interactions with an explanation of how our lives overlap enough to justify my making contact with them. Somehow, this never ceases to surprise me. Maybe this is because I’m one of those animals who maintains the preconceived and long-outdated notion that if I sit anywhere from the middle to the back of the classroom or lecture hall and keep my head down, the professor (and everyone else for that matter) will somehow remain unaware of my existence, save for the initials scrawled next to my faceless name on the roll sheet. And every time, the recognition is not only unexpected, but mildly disconcerting for some reason.

But I digress. As I am wont to do. *Blogging Stick*

Then the survey professor might ask me if I’ve stopped by to see the painting that he mentioned in class that ties back to a poem we read, or if I had some question or insight about What’s-His-Name Goldsmith’s proto-feminist undertones in She Stoops To Conquer. To which I’d have to say, “Well, no. Not at all. I have worse reasons for being here, stupider ones, and I’d lie if I didn’t mention that I’m also here to scout out your bookshelves because I may not be well read, but I am rather fond of book spines, including but not exclusive to anthologies like the Norton Doorstop.”

“What might these stupid reasons be?” he’d say – a line of dialogue provided here to break up these enormous blocks of text which will, very shortly, grow to unreasonable proportions.

“I have inquiries as to how the gears of enrollment work at this fine institution, because I’m wondering what might happen if I take a semester off…”

And for the purposes of this blogpost, he wouldn’t directly answer my question as he undoubtedly would in Real Life. Instead he would say, “Why would you want to do a thing like that?”

To which I would respond, “Professor Sir, I wouldn’t say I’m at a crossroads, per se, in my tiny, suburban life, but a prolonged moment of stagnation that would be simple and effortless for anyone with half a brain to pull themselves out of. Alas, you see, access to cerebral faculties necessary for accomplishing such a task were rendered unavailable to me after I foolishly removed my brain from my skull, and sat on it, thereby making it go numb. Now when I try and use it, on those few and far occasions I get a response of any kind, it’s all pins and needles.

“Mind you, it’s not the ENTIRE thing that’s gone numb, just the parts that would enable me to pull myself out of this mess. And it is a mess, Professor Sir. Mostly shards of broken martini glasses, because there’s a petulant brat in my brain throwing them against the wall of a garden shed, embarrassing the ungodly hell out of her bourgeois parents at their bourgeois cocktail party in front of their bourgeois friends. She’s screaming the whole time, too, which brings me to repent for the error of painting her as being at an outdoor cocktail party in the company of people: that’s an intermittent delusion. In actuality, she’s in a confined space, and you can tell because when she screams it all bounces back in a horrible, endless cacophony of petty screeches, rants and caterwauls about how life’s not FAIR, and it’s always somebody else’s fault, and how she couldn’t wear the dress she wanted to wear today because it has yet to be acquired and the second-best runner-up is detained at the dry cleaners and for that someone should PAY. And how dreadful to confess that this woman is really me, but at the same time she’s separate enough that I can feel my patience rapidly thinning from having to endure her as I sit in a series of desks, day after undergrad day, with this cacophonous screaming and glass-shattering – it’s the screaming, mostly, that gets to me. Sometimes she’ll use her fists on the walls, too, either ignoring or in direct defiance of the fact that the walls that enclose her are actually the very brain – MY VERY BRAIN – that I’ve been sitting on all these years. It’s bruising and it’s hemorrhaging from her abuse, and it may be too numb for me to feel it, but suffice it to say, I’ve had quite enough. I sit in class and I dissociate with pen in hand because paying attention is hopeless (believe me, I’ve tried), and anywhere is better than here, and she’s everywhere because I’m everywhere, at least as far as my personal human experience is concerned. I’m tired of being insulated in this incessant shit, and I’m tired of standing there in the brain-room with her and being her, sometimes finding myself staring at an open exit and wondering why the fuck I can’t get myself to go through, and why, those times I do go through, it spits me out into the very room from whence I came.

“So I was thinking I would skip a semester and fly to the other side of the country, maybe even in an aircraft, to smoke ‘vegetarian joints’ with Igby Slocumb and Sookie Sapperstein in Central Park – have you seen that movie? I rather like it, myself – Come to think of it, this would reinforce insulation, because those people are actually fictional characters and when I would speak with them, I’d really be talking to myself and one thing would lead to another and I’d be back to listening to my own – her own – angry shouts like a boot stamping on a human face forever. And wasn’t Camus right when he concluded that all this philosophical consciousness is the perilous toxin of the human condition, and isn’t it a shame that all of our favorite paperbacks will inevitably eat themselves alive with their acid-paper, and isn’t it a shame, Monsieur Professor Sir, that none of this matters anyway? That the Myth of Meaning was such a seductive lie, just like those of Monogamy and Starbucks. But maybe – just maybe – if I took a break from sitting in these stupid desks and being a slave to the ingrained routines I’ve etched into my everything, I could listen to something else besides all this insolent noise. Maybe I could get that bitch to shut the fuck up once and for all and my ears could be tuned to hear the ocean instead, because that’s what happens when you put an empty beer bottle to your ear, isn’t it? And maybe I could realize that this ocean isn’t something I would drown in but something onto which I could set forth and have adventures like Robinson Crusoe, minus the slave-driving I would hope, which I never read despite you assigning it. And maybe this new noise would be empowering and maybe, in the event I find myself overboard, it would result in a tea party with mermaids and not some horrible drowning sensation that couldn’t be unlike the room I’ve been stuck in, unless of course I was ACTUALLY thrown overboard because the sea was upset from my disobedience and the crew caught onto the fact that I committed myself to their voyage not to live into a divine appointment, but to run from it, and being thrown into the tireless ocean wouldn’t result in tea parties with mermaids – however tea parties are supposed to work underwater – but would result in me sitting in the belly of a big fish until that day that may never come: the day when I come to my better senses and say, ‘Okay, Jesus, I’ll return to Nineveh University and complete the coursework for my already-ridiculously-delayed and subjectively-useless major.’

“So what do you think? Should I take a semester off?”

To which I imagine my professor replying, “Go home, English Major, and do your reading for once.”

Now, for the weather:


How to b.s. a church history paper, part 2a: in which I lay down the criteria

Several weeks ago, I announced that I would produce a b.s.’d church history paper based primarily on a list of vocabulary. Many days, lectures doodled through, and episodes of The L Word later, I’m more or less following through.

First, it would be Good and Proper to lay down come criteria:

Each “paper” must:

  • Have a word count of 1250.**
  • Have the word count included at the bottom.
  • Use ABSOLUTELY ALL of the 42 words on the vocabulary list.
    • Modifications of the words on the vocabulary list are permissible within reason (i.e. “Apocalypse” or “Apocalyptic” may legitimately replace “Apocalypticism”).
  • Boldface all vocabulary words. To keep me an honest woman.
  • Not be researched.*
    • If any research is to be done, it must be insanely minimal (no more than the first sentence of a Wikipedia entry, or definition from dictionary.com).*
  • But, really, no research allowed.*
  • Include, in the conclusion, a re-statement of the thesis.*
  • Begin with something abstract, cheesy, and (if you teach history) cringe-worthy, such as, “Throughout the mists of time…”
  • Include anachronisms.* Bonus points for anachronistic moralizing.*

That, gentle reader, is what you can expect.


**  I figure the ABSOLUTE BARE MINIMUM page count for an undergrad, upper division history paper is about 5 pages, and 1250 words is roughly what that comes out to.

*  Denotes things I have heard one or more professors explicitly instruct against – sometimes even citing them as pet peeves.


How to b.s. a church history paper, part 2b

Here’s the final vocabulary list for the b.s.ing.
Thanks to Anita and the Time Machine Mechanic for tweeting their contributions!
The list is now closed.

1. Adulation
2. Apocalypticism
3. Ascetic
4. Apochryphal
5. Byzantium
6. Bisphoric
7. Canon
8. Doesticism
9. Edict
10. Eschatological
11. Euhmerism
12. Ecclesiastical
13. Ecumenical
14. Epiphany
15. exegesis
16. Gnostic
17. Hersieologist
18. Hermeneutics
19. Hagiography
20. Icon
21. Jerome
22. Judeo / Judaism / Jewry
23. Jerusalem
24. Josephus
25. Justin Martyr
26. Kabbalah
27. Liturgy
28. Monastic
29. Nomad
30. Orthopraxy
31. Orthodoxy
32. Patristic
33. Platonism
34. Pseudographical
35. Pelagianism
36. Soteriology
37. Salvific
38. Semipelagianism
39. Tertullian
40. Theurgical
41. Votary
42. Zarathustra

One person’s blasphemy is another person’s holiness.

One person’s blasphemy is another person’s holiness.

See: Mormonism.

And: gay pride.

And: the Protestant Reformation.

And... plenty of other things.

I’m sure you can think of some. Feel free to share via comment. (Thanks in advance!)

Now for a non-sequitur by means of musical interlude.

Edited out of an email, because I thought it wasn't necessary or appropriate. (Or: Publicizing My Disillusionment, Possible Retractions To Come)

All the dorm shenanigans I’ve heard of aren’t nice. Long-term-disillusionment-prompting. Drop-out inducing. Lots of people getting stomped on, and the people who do the stomping bite their lips and willfully-don’t/claim-not-to care. Little enclaves of hurting humans in their communities of trauma, each a tornado agitating and worsening the tornadoes around them. Life is messy. Nobody promised us a rose garden. I wish I remembered that book better. I read it at a very anxious time in my life. Does that ever happen to you? Where you read a book during a phase when you’re fraught with anxiety, and there’s a moment of, well...my eyes were -directed- toward the page...

I digress enormously.

It’s nice to think that not everyone has that dorm experience. Or at least doesn’t let those experiences color the whole time they lived in such a place.

I’m not Hagar, of course, but I think if I were Hagar, I’d be excruciatingly tempted to say, “I served my purpose. I let those people violate my body. Now please let me go somewhere else. Who died and made you God anyway?” (Then again, I’m the kind of person who digresses into whole paragraphs of scathing sentence fragments regarding dormitories.) To which, in the spirit of anachronism (a word which here only applies depending on who you ask), Jesus might interject, “I died, and I was already God.” You could illustrate different understandings of the divinity of Jesus with how he might answer that question. Docetism: “I died. But I’m not God, God just used me as a vessel. And forsook me.* If I lived, I’d take a time machine, join Hagar and bail to somewhere where the gay bars are better and it’s not illegal to smoke.”

Of course, this is nothing I’d include in a blogpost. Wouldn’t want people to get The Wrong Idea.

* Joke’s on me. I’m pretty sure this isn’t Docetism. I forgot the name of this particular strain of theology as well as the people who believe(d) it. And if it does turn out to be some strain of Docetism after all, the joke is dually on me, and I owe you a soda for my shoddy and semi-shameless scholarship.

(see post title)