Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Faholo and other Abbreviated Thoughts

Nestled in Grass Lake, MI is a little abbreviation called Faholo.  A Scrabble-playing Assistant District Superintendent's wife had coined it after a fit of prayer, seeking His word or phrase to call the new Bible camp--the Lord told her to merge three words from the Corinthians 13 passage.  You know, the one a narrator of any given Jean-Claud Van Damme movie might utter before the climactic combattre de trois:
And now these three remain:  faith, hope, and love.  
The way St. Paul puts it there is perfect for us (we Americans, I mean) with our unmatched faith in the institution of marriage and eternal love.  Maybe it's why we recite the entire chapter at weddings, as if previous relationships were just about whittling it down, a tournament, a death match that ends in matrimony.

The Bible goes on to declare the winner:
The greatest of these [having won more NCAA titles than the others, presumably] is love.
That's how the reading always ends at weddings, with love getting the knockout.  But at Faholo, at least nominally, love had no superior footing on the other two.  It was depicted in Christian illustrations as just the blondest and hottest of three hot chicks.

We were mostly poor kids of desperate parents who camped at Faholo.  We grudgingly wore depressing T shirts that proved we were  radical for Jesus.  We forced ourselves to listen to Petra and Jars of Clay and took some solace in the rap stylings of P.I.D. (Preacher's in Disguise), never having heard actual hip hop and not knowing what we were missing.
We learned the 66 books of the Bible by memorizing Stephen Wiley's "Bible Break," released in 1985 but "eternally relevant."

Our fathers drove camo vans and had basements stocked full of Campbell's Pork and Beans and survival knives with the hollow hilts packed with matches and fishing hooks like the one Rambo used in First Blood II.  We milked goats and lived in houses with wheels on the bottom in "parks."

Our guidance counselors urged us toward the career center's wood shop and cosmetology studies, and behind those huge glasses it was clear that his biggest concern for us was that we didn't murder anyone or attempt suicide, since that would mean a lot of awkward talks and paperwork for him.

One of us wore a beret and enormously baggy weightlifting pants cinched at the ankles, name brand Zubaz.  It was part of a whole look he suddenly cultivated that had no real stylistic root; he was pudgy and on the sallow side and had a shitty mustache--the kind that, if you put some milk on it, the cat could lick off, or so the saintly old Brother Nagy said.  We called the kid Pierre Von Squa (spelling unknown), a name Mark Dorman had coined and which seemed to us to be appropriately faux and appropriate for a 16-year old portly kid in billowing pants and theoretically (how would we know?) Parisan haberdashery.  The name infuriated him, but we still called him it, until it made him fall into a rage and pull a survival knife on Mark Dorman.

But then we went to Faholo and Pierre Von Squa came forward to accept Jesus and the evangelist Doug Hammond, whose knees for a physiological reason could not spread more than three inches from each other, laid his sweaty hands on Pierre and cast out any demons in the area, and Pierre fell backwards, and he wept and wept.  His big belly hung out of his Lord's Gym shirt, and he didn't care in the least.  There were tissue boxes everywhere, and we kept him going.  He wept and wept, and then afterwards he giggled and said he wanted to go to the canteen, and we sat and it seemed like we'd gotten rid of the stuff that usually goes on between high schoolers, notably, by calling him his Christian name rather than Pierre von Squa.

A year later Pierre's father was arrested and sent to prison for sexually abusing his daughter repeatedly and in the most terrible ways imaginable.  Pierre, it came out, had been abused and was also involved in the abuse of his sister.  I'm not sure of all the details, but he was sent to a juvenile center.

I mentioned earlier that Americans are the most optimistic people in the world about faith and the institution of marriage, but there is a contradiction at the heart of our values, one the freshly divorced writer Sandra Loy is keen to point out:
In World Values Surveys taken at the turn of the millennium, fewer Americans agreed with the statement “Marriage is an outdated institution” than citizens of any other Western country surveyed (compare the U.S.’s tiny 10 percent with France’s 36 percent). We are also more religious—more Americans (60 percent) say they attend religious services once a month than do the Vatican-centric Italians (54 percent) or, no surprise, the laissez-faire French (12 percent). At the same time, Americans endure the highest divorce rate in the Western world. In short, although we say we love religion and marriage, Cherlin notes, “religious Americans are more likely to divorce than secular Swedes.”
Love may have won it all in Corinthians 13, and in America we surely love to hear this recited, and we believe it to be true, but in practice, we don't abide by it.  Faholo is a place to go to weep and put aside the flesh for a moment, nothing more.

Maybe a discussion of faith isn't appropriate here, on this crappy little blog devoted, usually, to cycling.  I'd thought of several farcical posts--Rugg Opens a Manscaping / Cycling Salon, Bike Doctor Not Doctor! (Never Finished Thesis!), The Incredible Baxes--A Profile of MABRA's Fastest Father and Son.  None of them came off, maybe because I'm thinking about Sandy Hook, or news of yet another divorce, or just the crotchety angstiness of being Uncle Paps.

Racing a bike is no less absurd than being a Jesus freak.  We have our services, our devotionals, our evangelists and our camps.  We have zeal, and then it wanes, and maybe it returns.  We face moments where what we thought was sublime was actually sordid--a horrible lie.

It's worth going to camps and shooting for sublimity.  It's also worth thinking about these scams, I guess is what I'm trying to say.  It's worth remembering that, even though love triumphs in that verse, there's stuff that remains, and it's far more than a slick abbreviation.


qualia said...

Amen, brother.

Expressjodi said...

Great expectations

Life is full of surprises, particularly if you are a newly - wed . Expressjodi you a glimpse into the future and tells how to be prepared to face married life

Love is all about romance whereas marriage is a lot about responsibility. When two different individuals from different backgrounds live together, differences of opinion on things like spending habits, career, having and raising a baby, sharing household responsibilities etc, are bound to crop up, the key is to broaden your outlook and accept all the changes that marriage brings, and to remember that marriage is a momentous change for you and your spouse. And, fear not, over a period of time, you will find a way to make it work.


With marriage comes a whole lot of responsibility. "From the time you ger married, the decisions you make will not be yours alone, but your partner's as well. This is because your choices will impact both of you. But this doesn't mean that you're tied to a ball and chain. "It only means you have a companion with you for life. In fact, in your capacity as a spouse, you become your partner's caretaker, friend, confidante and even punching bag etc.


Arguments over money are bound to happen, so be prepared for it. And unless you establish some ground rules for dealing with financial issues, you will continue to have these arguments. Bear in mind that you are now a part of a unit, and no longer flying solo.

In - laws or outlaws?

if you thought that marriage is all about sharing your life with your significant other, think again, and this time, factor in your in - laws into the equation. When you're used to a particular lifestyle, moving in with your in - laws can be a rude shock. You will be required to make changes in your daily routine. Like waking up a little earlier to help around the house or rescheduling your plans on weekends or even modifying some of your eating habits. these might seem like an additional burden, particularly if you are a working woman. Remember to keep an open mind when it comes to handling your in - laws. They may be rigid in their ways, but there is always a way to work out a compromise.

Sharing space

Marriage involves sharing everything - whether it is sadness or glad tidings, chores or finance, which can be a difficult task. This is why marriage necessitates an equal contribution from both side. " Sharing is absolutely essential for a happy marriage,. Besides making it easier to run the show, it also brings you closer to your partner, and cement a bond in a way that only experience can.
Differnces of opinion

Shaadi brings two different individuals together, as well as two sets of arguments for everything. Remember that your husband is as new to the marriage and the relationship as you, and he is facing the same issue for the first time as well.Irrespective of the nature of the relationship, any two people are bound to have differences of opinion at some point of time, It is how you handle these differences that mtters. The best antidote for deviant interest lies in adapting to the situation. "Be carteful not to retaliate for the sake of it,"

Planning for the future

As a single independent working woman, you may be used to your lifestyle, going on holidays or splurging on the latest pair of Jimmy Choos. But married life is a journey and you need to plan carefully to get to your destination. "Planning is the key. Make sure you and your husband are on the same page as far as long - term goal are concerned," "Whether or not you plan to have a baby or deciding on investments for the future and are thing that you should discuss in advbance, if you want to avoid unpleasant surprises in you married life,"

Expressjodi said...

Brahmin Shaadi
Historically, the Brahmins in india were divided into two major groups based on geographical origin of the people. The Brahmin groups that lived to the north of the vindhyas were referred to as Dravida Brahmins. Each group was further divided into five sections according to the regions of their settlement.

The Sagaai or the engagement ceremony symbolises commitment However, the South Indian Brahmin do not lay stress on the presence of bride and the groom in their Sagaai, rather it focuses on commitment between the parents of the groom and the bride. 'Latto' i.e., 'engagement plate' Which consist of coconut, flowers, turmeric, betel leaves and betel nuts hold more importance, in their engagement ceremony. The Maithil Brahmin bride of bihar makes her wedding affair stand apart by receiving the blessing from the Dhobi's (washerman's) wife - a compulsory tradition in the Bihari Brahmin wedding.

In Haldi ceremony turmeric powder is mixed with milk, almond oil and sandalwood and applied to the bride and the groom. In Kashmiri Pandit this ceremony has a twist becuase cold, white yoghurt is poured on the bride as an alternative to haldi. ritual is followed by a special custom called Shankha (shell) Paula (coral) in bengali Brahmins, where seven married women embellish the bride's hand with red and white bangles, the shell is supposed to calm the bride and the coral is believed to
be beneficial for health. Mehndi is also applied on every bride's hands during the Mehndi ceremony. However, a Bengali Brahmin bride applies alta (red dye).

After the ceremonious arrival of the groom, the garlands are exchanged between the groom and the bride, while the priests chant mantras. Jaimala is the symbol of unifying two souls into one. But in tamil nadu, "Oonjal", a unique jaimala ceremony is performed and could be best decribed as a tug of war. In this ceremony, the women sing songs to encourage the bride and groom to exchange the garlands while the uncles persuade the soon to be couple not to Exchange the garlands.Before the ceremony of jaimala, the bride makes a majestic entry in Bengali weddings.

Mangal Phere
Fire is considered the most pious element in the Brahmin weddings and seven circles around that fire holds the seven promises that the nuptial couple make to each other amidst the Vedic mantras. The Brahmin wedding is deemed incomplete without the seven rounds around the sacred fire. Unlike other Brahmin weddings, in Gujarati weddings only four pheras are taken which are called the mangalpheras where the pheras represent four basic human goals of Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Miksha (religious, moral, prosperity and salvation). Likewise in Malayalee Brahmin weddings, pheras are taken only thrice.

Post wedding ceremony vidaai
After pheras, the bride's family and friend bid her teary vidaai (farewell). The Kashmiri pundits make their vidaai even more special. their charming ritual, "roth khabar" is performed on a saturday or tuesday after the wedding. In Roth
khabar, the bride's parents send a roth (bread decorated with nuts) to their son - in - law's family. But the bride accompanies She stay with her parents and returns only when someone from in laws comes to fetch her back.

Griha pravesh
The new bride is greeted by her mother - in - law with Arti and tilak. The bride, who is regarded as the Goddess laxmi, enters the groom's house after the groom's house after kicking rice - filled pot. In Kannada Brahmin marriages, the groom changes the name of his wife in the name change ceremony where he decides a name for his wife and inscribes it on a plate containing rice with a ring. In Bihar, a very strange ritual is performs at the groom's place.