The Shopping Cart Phenomenon

MP900444028Recently, a gentleman on the bus informed me that he’d singlehandedly solved the age old question that’s been irritating oh so many of us—why do some people push their carts directly down the middle the grocery store aisle?

“It’s because their houses are too square,” he said simply.  “They’re used to lots of room on either side of them when they walk around, so they really can’t help it.”  Apparently shoppers are like goldfish—they take up space based on the size of their home aquarium.

Despite their annoying behavior, he seemed to pity them.  And he theorized that the only way to fix their quirk was to change the shape of their homes (rectangular being the obvious ideal shape since it closest resembles a grocery store aisle).  He also worried that if houses continued to be built so boxy it could have more dangerous social repercussions like people driving right down the middle of the road. 

I guess, all things considered, maybe the shopping cart phenomenon isn’t as bad as it could be since the poor little shoppers really can’t help that they live in little boxes.

“Little Boxes”
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Facebook, Anyone?

facebook-follow-usFor those of you who don’t know, The Crunchy Urbanite is now on Facebook.  This means that subscribing just got a whole lot easier.  I also update my Facebook page more regularly by sharing quick notes and links that I usually don’t post on the blog.  If you’d like to stay updated:

1. Go to Facebook.com/CrunchyUrbanite.

2. Next, simply “like” the page to begin getting automatic updates set directly to your Facebook feed.  It’s that simple. Smile

Yep, I’ve Gotten Myself Engaged

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“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” ~Author Unknown

Well, my best friend and favorite nerd, Mr. M, and I have decided to make it official—we’re engaged!  

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Eve to the Rescue: Why “Helper” Doesn’t Mean Subordinate

Copyright 2011 Kelsey Hough.  All rights reserved. superhero_birthdaytheme

“It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. Genesis 2:18 (NIV)”

The reference to Eve in Genesis as a “helper” is one of those tricky Bible verses—confusing and often misunderstood. And, sadly, it’s even been used to justify women being treated as personal servants or doormats.

Biblical scholar and professor, Gilbert Bilezikian, says in his Book Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible Says About a Women’s Place in Church and Family that “In the past, uninformed teachers of the Bible seized on the word helper to draw inference of authority/subjection distinctions between men and women.  According to them, helper meant that man was boss and woman his domestic.”

Helper Doesn’t Mean Servant:

Thankfully, though, professor Bilezikian says that careful study of the word helper has “dispelled such misconceptions” because “this Hebrew word for ‘helper’ is not used in the Bible with reference to a subordinate person such as a servant or an underling” (Bilezikian 22). Instead of showing weakness, the word “helper” in this context actually highlights strength.

This Hebrew word for “helper” in the Bible “is generally attributed to God himself when he engages in activities of relief or rescue among his people.  Consequently, the world helper may not be used to draw inferences about subordinate female roles. If anything, the word points to the inadequacy and the helplessness of the man when he was bereft of the woman in Eden” (Bilezikian 22).  Isn’t that interesting?  It’s the same word used to describe God and no one would make the assumption that God was subordinated by his people because he helps them.  The fact God helps illustrates his strength and compassion.

Eve to the Rescue:

By himself Adam wasn’t able to fully reflect God because he was lacking in community. God intended to create people … not just one … for relationships/community. As a result, the fact that Adam was alone was even deemed “not good.”  So God provided Adam “with a ‘rescuer’ to become with him the community that God had intended to create all along” (Bilezikian 22).  Eve wasn’t a second thought, creating community was the plan all along.

Due to the strength of this word, Bilezikian says that “To wrench the word helper from this precise context, where it has the strength of rescuer, and to invest it with connotations of domesticity or female subservience violates the intent of the biblical text” (Bilezikian 22).

It’s funny how “rescuer” sounds more like a firefighter, brave soldier, or a superhero.  But the word “helper,” even though it could mean rescuing someone, tends to be associated with things like personal assistant or maid.  Perhaps in order to more effectively communicate the original intent of the passage, it’d be better if the word was translated “rescuer” or I’ve heard others suggest “lifesaver.”


Other Articles of Interest:

Gender Differences

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Stumbled across this interesting article on NPR’s website about gender differences.  Here’s an excerpt that I liked: 

“What makes us different? We do. We don’t just happen to be boys and girls, men and women; we identify with ourselves as such, and we shape ourselves to conform to the rigid matrix of ideas and values that make up our conception of what it is to be male and female …

“Gender [what’s socially defined as ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ like the colors pink and blue] is real. People are men and women. And this makes a difference not only to how they live, to how much they earn, to how well they perform, but also to how they experience themselves, their bodies and their lives.

“But gender doesn’t happen in the brain, whatever sex differences on the brain there are. Gender, rather, is something we enact together…” 

From “Social by Nature” by Alva Noë

Or as sociologists say, we “do” gender.

Just for clarification because the article wasn’t super clear: in sociological terms, "sex" is defined as biological (what makes someone male or female) but "gender" is defined as cultural (what makes something masculine or feminine whether it’s lipstick or a specific behavioral trait like aggression).  As a result, how people "do" gender (what society defines as being manly or womanly) varies based on our historical and cultural context.  The fact that gender is something we “enact together” doesn’t at all diminish it’s importance in our lives; it profoundly impacts all of us in a way few things do.

Hungry in Hungary

MP900424322“Oh, you’re just kidding! I don’t believe it.” My roommate said peering over her glasses in classic librarian fashion as she dangled her feet off the top bunk.  “There can’t be homeless people in America, Kelsey.  How is that even possible?”

Several evenings a week my five Hungarian roomies and I would sit on our bunks, comparing life in the States and life in Hungary (no, the capital isn’t “Thirsty” and people there aren’t “hungry.”  But if you do ever find yourself feeling hungry in Hungary, you have got to try a bowl of goulash).

Hungry Americans was a novel concept for my roommates.  The fact I not only had the word “homeless” in my vernacular, but I’d seen and even been on a first-name basis with homeless individuals was contrary to everything they’d believed to be true about my homeland.  My roommates, though, were not the only ones working through misconceptions that summer.  In addition to my toothbrush and a pile of extra socks, I’d packed my fair share of stereotypes, too.

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Concert Review: Sondre Lerche in Seattle

Sondre LercheGoing to a late-night concert where you can sing practically every song (and, of course, you do) probably isn’t the smartest outing the day after oral surgery when your cheeks are so puffy it looks like you’re doing a Marlon Brando impersonation.  But seeing Sondre Lerche (he did the soundtrack for movie Dan in Real Life) at The Crocodile last night was totally worth it.  The venue was small enough that there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. Although, I probably still managed to land the best spot—I could touch the stage! 

After seeing Sondre in concert a few years ago at Bumbershoot (the big Seattle music festival), I’d been hoping he’d make his way back to the Rainy State again for another fabulous show.  And he didn’t disappoint.

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