October 3rd, 2012


brand new look, same great taste

LiveJournal has some truly hideous layouts. I kid you not. Perhaps their designers were seeing whether the monkeys-writing-Hamlet hypothesis actually worked if you let the chimps randomly fling paint against a canvas? Or is this all a fiendish plot to get us to upgrade to a paid account, where the designs are marginally better? I honestly have no clue.

Why bring this up today? The Christian blogosphere is abuzz, as it is every year, over ChurchRelevance's release of the top 200 church blogs. It's being criticized - again, par for the course - for being majorly light on non-white, non-male bloggers. And reading the conversation it struck me: even if my blog was big enough to qualify for something like this (it's not) or even if I particularly wanted to be included on this list (I don't), my blog doesn't really have the kind of "brand" that would work there. I guess you could call it "Marta's Mathoms," which is the title I've had since LJ made me type something in when setting up this account.

But I wanted something a bit more meaningful and less generic. And I wanted a better layout, too. Ergo: the new title + skin.

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And really, that's what I'm trying to do here, in a nutshell. On my best days, and with my deepest thinky-thoughts. There will continue to be cute cats and political musings and fannish fun, and hopefully actually fanfic. To say nothing of RL happenings.

That's a long explanation! But I thought it might help, since on its own it might seem like I'll only be talking about religion. Or that I'm downplaying science, or think you have to have religious faith to get to understanding of any kind, or don't want to hear from my nonreligious friends or anything. Not true. It's just a useful phrase that, to me, stands for the moral side of learning and knowing.

Btw - if anyone finds a better LJ skin or wants to design me one, I wouldn't say no. The one I ended choosing isn't bad, and aesthetically it's definitely the best one I saw, but the header graphic is something of a non sequitur.

Meyers-Briggs results

Over at LJ, someone posted a picture of various animals + Meyers-Briggs personality types:

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Besides being cute, it got me thinking about the Meyers-Briggs personalities. I didn't even know the name until I looked into it. Or at least I didn't connect the name to the four-letter labels people throw out. So I looked at some descriptions of Meyers-Briggs, and I took an online quiz. My results:

  • Introverted (89%/11%)
  • iNtuitive (73%/27%)
  • Thinking (90%/10%)
  • Judging (55%/45%)

The bigger the divide, the more heavily I fall into each category. I think a lot of this makes sense. While I am definitely rational (former math major and current analytic philosopher here), I obviously also comfortable with a certain degree of uncertainty. Or at least I see the uncertainty and am uncomfortable denying it. As for the judging/perceiving bit... I think on different days, in different contexts, I could easily be a P. This is probably because I am preparing for a language exam these days so I am thinking very much in terms of processes - do 'x' amount of fun stuff means review 'y' pages of the French book or translate 'z' amount of some text. Also the lack of external structure (no teaching) means I'm hyper-aware of all the things I have to do so I don't just waste the day away. If I do that or think I do that, it feels like I'm being self-indulgent. All of which says while I'm probably a "P" a lot of the time, lately I've been more aware of my "J" side.

I'm curious. Do these results surprise you? You guys know me. Would you have pegged me differently? (For an overview of Meyers-Briggs characteristics, see this checklist.)

Also, what type are you, and did that surprise you?

on stay-at-home dads and such

Rachel Held Evans, a well-known Christian author and blogger, hosts a "ask a...." interview series on her blog. This week she interviewed a stay-at-home dad.


My own comment over at the post:

I love this interview so much, like all the others. A lot of what you described about the church's reaction reminded me of the way some churches treat "out" homosexual Christians. I'm not talking about the outright condemnation, which of course truly stinks, but also the sense of not quite knowing how to react to people whose life can't be analyzed in terms of the June Cleaver myth of masculinity/femininity. It also reminded me of my own experience as a thirty-something perpetually single woman who is happy as such.

This made me wonder how many other "silent victims" there are out there, to our need to cram square pegs through round holes. God bless you, sir, and thank you for your courage.

Also: Kai is so CUTE! and full of life. He is obviously a loved and nurtured child. You're doing something right, that much is plain to see.

Really, I can't recommend it highly enough. It's human and full of life, and also a telling glimpse at the way the Christian church this man found himself in, that they could not support him as perhaps they should have. Not just the church, either. People seem to have a hard time dealing with people whose lives can't be translated into the normal kinds of experience patterns.

It made me sad, not only for his sake, but for my own experiences as a thirty-year-old woman who's not angsting over the fact she hasn't found her man yet. I really have no problem with this and am happy with my friendships. But I have been to cocktail parties and Bible studies and the like, where people simply don't know what to make of me because I don't fit the normal mold. It was even more true before when I wasn't in grad school and was working temp jobs. The fact that I had no long-term career prospects at the point was sad but not the end of the world. The fact that I was a woman and not moving toward marriage was more noteworthy and more dangerous. (Was I secretly gay? Was I just a paradigm-buster that I didn't care about the thing women were supposed to care about? Didn't I know I'd never be happy without a family and wouldn't get one later on?) Yeah, there's sexism in those expectations and the resulting awkwardness - but the sexism cuts both ways.

But this interview also made me happy because it reminded me there are people out there who are just so human, ordering their life based on what works for them rather than what some abstract theory says is best - and it's just so uplifting and full of life. It reminded me that I didn't have to fit that mold either. And it made me think of my own SAHD cousin and my male friends in grad school who are their young children's primary caregivers because grad school means flexible hours. How good they are with their kids, and how well it works for them.

Do read it. Most of these interviews are worth reading, but this one really hit home for me. Wonderful read.