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Author Topic: PC134: Corinthians  (Read 10552 times)
Talia
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« on: December 07, 2010, 11:45:07 AM »

PodCastle 134: Corinthians

by Sam Schreiber

Read by Tatiana Gomberg

Originally published in Cavalier Literary Couture

God chuckled at that, a basso rumbling that tickled the hairs on the back of your neck. He said He remembered buying the Sergeant Pepper LP like it was yesterday, which made a sense when you stopped to think about it. Then He told you how He met Paul McCartney at a bar in Manchester in the seventies. How they had both agreed over rounds that the rumors of their respective deaths had been greatly exaggerated.
It’s not hard to see why so many people love Him. Of course, long before you were born God was considered something of a bad boy, at least within the theological community. You’ve seen William Blake’s painting with His shaggy hair whipping through the air like a rock star’s and His byzantine muscles gleaming with cosmic power. Somewhere down the line, you think around the Italian Renaissance, God started to mellow out a little. These days His hair is white and puffy like Christopher Lloyd’s, but the look works for Him. He’s also put on a little weight over the last few centuries but that just makes Him feel safer somehow. Like a big, tame animal.


Rated R for: sex, adult themes
« Last Edit: December 28, 2010, 02:03:13 PM by Talia » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2010, 12:35:50 PM »

Well, this one was... weird.
I personally don't like the second-person-omnipotent way of telling a story. It reminds me too much of the choose your own adventure books, and those were fun, but trashy. It also doesn't ever seem to make sense to tell a story like that. I mean, if I know what happened, since it happened to me, why are you telling me? In a choose your own adventure book it makes sense. In a letter it makes sense, but as a story? I think not.
The content of the story was kinda fun actually.
I like the idea of treating god and the archangels as people running around New York. It kind of fits nicely.
On the other hand, I'm conflicted as to whether this whole story isn't a parable for somebody's (the author's?) relationship with god or their own faith. There were enough puns in there to make me doubt the "innocence" of the story. (Innocent meaning it's just a story, no deeper meaning implied. And before the flames start: that is not a simple equation, puns=deeper meaning. It's just that here it seemed to fit. Those puns sort of implying something else.)
But all that (except for the first part) was on retrospect. While listening I found it easy to lose myself in the story, and I was swept up by it, although those questions did bother me a little from the corner of my mind. The lack of closure or a resolution to the story left me feeling a little at a loss though. When the theme music came back on I was like "Wait, it's over? How is that possible? That wasn't an ending!" As if the author had run out of words or perhaps hit some ambiguous goal ("After 3 hours I stop writing").
The little love story was sweet, and interesting, if only for the people who were in it. (Is god a people?)
But what I mostly enjoyed was the reading. Very well done. And I like how the rabbi was supposed to have a nice Jewish Brooklyn accent, but she ended up sounding like a nagging Jewish mom from Brooklyn. Which was cute. And funny.
So, yeah. I have very mixed feelings about this story. And I'm not even going into the religious ramifications.
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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2010, 01:53:37 PM »

Blasphemous or not, I enjoyed this piece.  When stories like this come up, I try to put my religious bias asside, and enjoy it from the author's intent.  I only dislike it when it becomes obviously condescending or disrespectful to religion and/or God.  I don't think that was the case here--a bit irreverent perhaps, but in a playful way.

I definately see a parallel between the doubt and vunerability one feels in a romantic relationship, and how an atheist or skeptic feel in their relation to God.  Whether intended or not, I think it was well done.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2010, 06:19:16 PM by Swamp » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2010, 04:36:54 PM »

Dave: I don't know if you're already a fan, but if not I'd like to recommend Slacktivist to you. Come for the take-downs of Left Behind*, stay for the social theology. Speaking as a life-long atheist, it's the best theology blog I've ever seen.

http://slacktivist.typepad.com/

*So far he's worked his way through the first book, the movie adaptation, and is about half-way through the second book.
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« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2010, 05:07:55 PM »

Dave: I don't know if you're already a fan, but if not I'd like to recommend Slacktivist to you. Come for the take-downs of Left Behind*, stay for the social theology. Speaking as a life-long atheist, it's the best theology blog I've ever seen.

http://slacktivist.typepad.com/

*So far he's worked his way through the first book, the movie adaptation, and is about half-way through the second book.

ZOMG I LURVE Slacktivist  Grin  This one, in particular, made me incredibly happy. I haven't read all the Left Behind posts, but I really should change that Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2010, 02:41:54 AM »

I liked this story. I had to chuckle several times and I am glad that I was able to understand the religious insider jokes. I hope some religious person will get offended by this and complain here, an American fundamentalist would be funny.

The ending was a bit sudden, no resolution to the story made it just a snapshot of the main character's feelings.
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kotyonok
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2010, 07:26:05 AM »

I did not like this story at all.  It's concept is not to my liking and it is blasphemous in my opinion.  I will not listen to it all the way through.  Kotyonok
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Heradel
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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2010, 10:17:30 AM »

Well, LaHaine got their wish in fairly short order.
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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2010, 11:35:55 AM »

I hope some religious person will get offended by this and complain here, an American fundamentalist would be funny.

I did not like this story at all.  It's concept is not to my liking and it is blasphemous in my opinion.  I will not listen to it all the way through.  Kotyonok

Well, LaHaine got their wish in fairly short order.

Yes, but I think kotyonok's opinion is valid and understandable.  He/she simply stated their opinion and did not get rude about it.  Differing opinions are expected.  LaHaine seems to imply that anyone who would not like this story based on their religious views is foolish.  Untrue.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2010, 11:42:41 AM by Swamp » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2010, 03:47:20 PM »

Well, yes, I certainly wasn't implying Kotyonok was a fundamentalist. Honestly I haven't yet listened to this story, and I'm sure that it could be reasonably found blasphemous from the other comments on the thread. I was just more commenting on LaHaine's conjuring skills.
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« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2010, 05:35:45 PM »

I don't really know what this story had to say about a person's relationship to God.  Is there some deep symbolism I'm missing, because it seemed to be a pretty banal break-up story with the word God substituted for the older-wiser-cooler boyfriend's name.  I don't really understand what the purpose of it all was and didn't find it unique and enjoyable enough for the exercise to have had no purpose at all.

I'm a great fan of blasphemy (because I can't pull it off myself) and would have liked a little more.  Or a little more depth.

Ouch.  I sound grouchy today.
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Lena
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« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2010, 08:48:00 AM »

I REALLY liked Tatiana's reading of this. She really improved the liveliness of the story with her voice and story-telling ability.

As for the content of the story: you could read it figuratively as a person's struggle with their faith, as opposed as a literal break-up story. Maybe it's about a very devout person who starts doubting their faith, then finds it again. Still, I'm not a religious person, and I got a few chuckles out of the literal interpretation: The portrayal of a god and other supernatural beings as some sort of womanizing frat-boys.

So yeah, it is definitely a blasphemous story, in the sense that it is irreverent towards an entity considered sacred or sacrosanct by others. But in my view, saying something is blasphemous is just short-hand for saying some people will disagree with it, which is true for pretty much everything a person can say. As long as things are kept civil, polite and respectful, there's nothing wrong with that.

Jeroen
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AliceNred
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« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2010, 08:45:01 PM »

For some reason, I like fantasy stories about god when he seems human-ish.

This may be the only story I have ever come across where the second-person-omnipotent worked. Although it still bugged me a little. It's not that I couldn't see myself dating God. I was into God when I was younger and we, like most, grow apart.

 Tatiana Gomberg deserves some sort of award for her reading.

And frankly, I am little surprised a man wrote this. Although, honestly, as much as women would like to believe that MEN are from someplace where you don't understand all of the customs and there is a bit of a language and that other dross, I think, guys have the same stuff inside, we just express it differently. I think.

I really liked how smart the story was. In my writing group, if this was passed around, I think there would have been notes on the vocabulary. But I think it was true to the character and therefore perfect. Plus it captures that air of college land.

I am sure many will consider the story to be blasphemes. But I loved how God was one of us and wasn't. I loved how more than Christianity was placed into the story. I loved how she was forever changed by his love and it hurt, like love does, but she was richer for it. Don't you want God to enrich your life? At least I want lit to.

This was hoot and to those who might not have cared for it, relax, and have a drink. I bet The Big Guy picks up the tab.



« Last Edit: December 11, 2010, 02:23:02 AM by AliceNred » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2010, 02:30:35 AM »

I do like a good parable.  Love and religion as metaphors for one another is hardly a new idea, but this story does it well.
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« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2010, 09:49:21 AM »

I have to wonder why second person was chosen for this story.  The use of it in this story seemed smoother than most uses of 2nd person, but in this case it reaches a high point of "it only bothered me a little".  The only reason I can think of is so that the line "He's just not that into you" could be written in the narration, to parallel the book and movie title of the same name.

I really enjoyed this story as I was listening to it, especially little silly jokes like the fact that God is a keynote speaker at a theology seminar, and the fact that her know-it-all boyfriend literally knows it all.  It was definitely blasphemous, but I don't necessarily see blasphemy as a bad thing.  If it allows you to explore the religion in new and interesting ways, or to think about some religious practices in a new light then it can still have value.  You don't have to BELIEVE in the events of the story, but that doesn't mean that you can't think about them.

But after I was done listening to the story, the luster has quickly faded.  Thinking back, it just seems like a standard breakup story, but with God's and Gabriel's names swapped in.  I'm not so sure this is actually a metaphor for losing faith.  It strikes me more as a metaphor for a breakup, particularly from the side of the person who never wanted the breakup and who puts the other person up on a pedestal, deifying them in their nostalgic memory.  The more I think about it, that seems the more likely, and now the story is quickly fading into other breakup stories in my memory.
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« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2010, 01:23:53 PM »

Dave: I don't know if you're already a fan, but if not I'd like to recommend Slacktivist to you. Come for the take-downs of Left Behind*, stay for the social theology. Speaking as a life-long atheist, it's the best theology blog I've ever seen.

http://slacktivist.typepad.com/

*So far he's worked his way through the first book, the movie adaptation, and is about half-way through the second book.

ZOMG I LURVE Slacktivist  Grin  This one, in particular, made me incredibly happy. I haven't read all the Left Behind posts, but I really should change that Smiley

I tried, a couple of years back, to read the Slacktivist Left Behind posts, but can't find the starting point. Could anybody help?
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« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2010, 01:46:35 PM »

Here's a pretty good index (by somebody else) of all Slacktivist's Left Behind stuff. Enjoy  Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2010, 02:50:28 AM »

nthing the love for Slacktivist, whom I generally find to be insightful and witty, and whose presence on the Internet is one of the few remaining reassuring things I read on a regular basis.

As for this story, I expected to hate it, just based on the use of second person and the fact that I tend to find religion-as-relationship stories unsatisfying at best.  It is a testament to the skill on display here, I think, that by the end of it I was pretty thoroughly engaged and went so far as to complete the unboxing of my new board game (Dominant Species!  It has hundreds of colorful wooden blocks and a hex map!  OMG OMG!) rather than go to start the dishes.  Well done, sir.  Well done, indeed.

I would have to agree, however, that the metaphor isn't terribly deep.  It works, but it's kept very much on a personal/human level without delving too much into the metaphysical ramifications.  That is, it's a very good romance/breakup story with a slightly gimmicky hook rather than a thorough exploration of the similarities and differences between faith and romantic love.  I would have enjoyed the story quite as much if the Ex-boyfriend had been a generic celebrity; the God thing added the potential for some humor and amusing blasphemies, but not much in the way of thematic content.
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« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2010, 06:32:33 PM »

Like other people, I think that this one was just a break-up story. There are two reasons why I think that this story does not work as a metaphorical story about faith. The first is that God doesn't leave people. People leave God and then God tries to get them to take him back even if they don't realize it. That brings me to my second reason which is that she really doesn't do much to rebuild their relationship. Sure, there were a few awkward phone calls, but those were more I'm-insecure-and-lonely than I'm-trying-to-stay-in-touch. She also studies theology which would be a good way to learn more about God and reconnect with him, but there is no indication that she's studying this for any reason other than academic ones. She doesn't pray, she doesn't go on a pilgrimage or retreat, she doesn't go out of her way to find something to be thankful for, she doesn't try to connect with other people of faith and she doesn't explore other concepts of God. You know, some of the many things someone might consider doing to strengthen his faith. Basically she isn't searching for God, she's spending years moping about how her boyfriend left. It sort of seems like her boyfriend being God was just added in to get attention.
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« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2010, 08:42:11 PM »

Like other people, I think that this one was just a break-up story. There are two reasons why I think that this story does not work as a metaphorical story about faith. The first is that God doesn't leave people. People leave God and then God tries to get them to take him back even if they don't realize it. That brings me to my second reason which is that she really doesn't do much to rebuild their relationship. Sure, there were a few awkward phone calls, but those were more I'm-insecure-and-lonely than I'm-trying-to-stay-in-touch. She also studies theology which would be a good way to learn more about God and reconnect with him, but there is no indication that she's studying this for any reason other than academic ones. She doesn't pray, she doesn't go on a pilgrimage or retreat, she doesn't go out of her way to find something to be thankful for, she doesn't try to connect with other people of faith and she doesn't explore other concepts of God. You know, some of the many things someone might consider doing to strengthen his faith. Basically she isn't searching for God, she's spending years moping about how her boyfriend left. It sort of seems like her boyfriend being God was just added in to get attention.

I personally don't really think it was meant as metaphor about faith.

You've several good points about her not really trying to get into a real relationship with God before or after they weren't together any more. BUT, and I mean this in a respectful way, she and the story saw God as man, like the Romans saw their gods.

It seems that you see God in a very different way.

I don't think for one moment the story was about her faith.

As for your last thought, about she, or the story, only picking God as a boyfriend as an attention getter, I can sort of see what you mean. But I'd be willing to beat, that it was a fun idea and one that had not been explored.

I am sure you are expressing what a lot of others are feeling. I think for some, that would've been the whole point of the story. But I walked away with a feeling, that God wasn't a bad guy and that she had sought him out and He had answered. For whatever reason, the one on one relationship was done with for him. There are times when something just ends, for no other reason than it can't go on forever, this person is not the one. And there are times, or at least I have been told, where an older man, and a younger lady, where she out grows him, that she has gotten what she needed out of the relationship. Perhaps he saw this.

Faith is personal. More personal than anything I can think of. And it is one thing that has shaped and changed my life for many, many years.






« Last Edit: December 13, 2010, 10:01:33 AM by AliceNred » Logged

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