Apostolic Pretzel

23 Mar

So I’ve been trying to outline 1 John for our commentary project. “Trying” being the key word. As much as possible, I’ve been trying to deduce the structure without leaning on other commentators much; yet after several days of staring at 1 John saying, “Umm…” I finally gave in and began researching for some sort of outline.

Turns out nobody can outline 1 John. It made me feel better and worse all at once.  Better because, “Yay! I’m not the only one who has trouble with this.” Worse, because, “Oh, no! This really is just that hard to sort out.” I decided it’s like trying to outline a pretzel. An apostolic pretzel. A beautiful, moving, inspired apostolic pretzel. John’s thoughts flow really nicely from one point to the next, but there’s not much of an overarching progression of the whole work. He starts a theme, branches off and develps another theme, and then returns to his first theme with a slightly different angle. Beautiful reading. Difficult outlining.

I am making headway though, and I’ll post my thoughts once they’ve had a little more time to simmer.


Posted by on March 23, 2007 in 1 John, Bible


20 responses to “Apostolic Pretzel

  1. Christine

    March 24, 2007 at 12:06 am

    How about an Apostolic Klein Bottle? It doesn’t sound as cool as an apostolic pretzel… but I think it’s even harder to map. And somehow, your description of John’s writing made me think of a Klein Bottle. I don’t know. I can’t explain it right now. My brain just makes weird connections sometimes.

  2. Amanda Beattie

    March 24, 2007 at 3:59 am

    Uh, sure… what’s a Klein Bottle?

  3. Christine

    March 24, 2007 at 7:57 am

    Oh yeah… not everyone I know talks about the same stuff all of the mathematicians I went to school with talked about.

    A Klein bottle’s inside is it’s outside. It’s essenially… well… umm…

    OK, so I just looked it up to see if wikipedia could describe it better than I could. And it uses language from topology… which was my most difficult math class in college… that I took while getting my math degree. So never mind that one! (A really interesting branch of math, though, if you’re into that stuff.)

    My physics teacher in high school described it in really simple, almost-understandable terms. Too bad that was about 7 years ago and I can’t remember what he said.

    Have you ever heard of a mobius strip? It’s kind of like that.

    I really need to start studying math again. I hardly remember what a lot of this stuff even means anymore!!! That’s REALLY sad.

  4. Christine

    March 24, 2007 at 8:06 am

    Yeah, so this was driving me crazy and I kept looking. This site explains it reasonable well.

  5. Amanda Beattie

    March 24, 2007 at 3:24 pm


  6. Christine

    March 26, 2007 at 6:53 am

    So, when you say “weeeeeird,” which of the following would that be in reference to? …

    a) Me
    b) The Klein Bottle
    c) My lame attempt at describing the thing
    d) That website
    e) All of the above

    ??? 🙂 ???

  7. Amanda Beattie

    March 26, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    b) The Klein Bottle

    Just kind of marveling at the one-sidedness and also a bit perplexed as to what the point of is.

  8. Christine

    March 27, 2007 at 11:27 am

    Oh, goodie. It wasn’t me. 🙂

    Yeah, the thing is pretty crazy. I think the main point of it is to let mathematicians have fun and be fascinated by something new. That’s what you do when you reach a certain level of math. You discover new things and make new things up… and prove stuff about said things. And sometimes you get to draw really cool pictures. And most of it is really abstract and weird… and hard to assign practical purposes.

    Yup… that’s one of the potential lives I left to become an intercessory missionary. (Lots of fun pictures in Knot Theory… my newest fascination in math.)

    Anyway… the Klein bottle was such a “new thing”… this time, a new kind of surface. Oh the things mathematicians will spend their lives studying. (I say that somewhat mockingly, but really, it does fascinate me quite a bit.)

  9. Christine

    March 27, 2007 at 11:28 am

    Wow… did you notice how my comments are like… WAY longer than all of yours in this little comment conversation?

    (I was going to estimate or actually calculate a word-length ratio… and then I realized I should have been in bed 4 hours ago… and that would have made me look just a little bit TOO nerdy. Maybe I’ll get over it and calculate it tomorrow anyway.)

  10. Amanda Beattie

    March 27, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    Your comments are way longer because you are brilliant in this area and I am utterly ignorant. So it’s more like,

    Me: “Huh?”

    You: Really intelligent response.

    Me: “Uhh?”

    You: Really intelligent response.

  11. Christine

    March 28, 2007 at 5:48 am

    If my responses were really all that intelligent, I am convinced that they would be significantly shorter.

    In case you care to know, the ratio of your words to my words is approximately 1:15. Yeah… that’s a HUGE difference.

    (This is exluding my first comment and our later discussion of the comments. So… starting from your response to my first comment. With all of that, you have 31 words, while I have a whopping total of 459. Oy.)

  12. Dorean

    March 28, 2007 at 11:23 am

    You two are TOO funny! Christine, I think you’d like Brian. He would also sit down and figure out the ratio of the words! I thought he was one of a kind! By the way, sometime I’d love to hear what the heck Knot
    Theory is. Is it related to String Theory?

  13. Christine

    March 28, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    Dorean – I think you are right. I just read his Lucky Charms comment on the marshmallows post… definitely enoyed it. I tend to thoroughly enjoy every comment that the two of you leave on this blog.

    Sadly, Knot Theory and String Theory are not related… except that the most likely person to be able to describe both of them to you would be a math and science geek. Maybe I’ll get back into math again someday so that I can pursue applications of Knot Theory to String Theory. Surely there’s some way in which the two can be brought together.

  14. Dorean

    March 29, 2007 at 12:27 pm


    You mean you’re not going to tell us what Knot Theory is??? I can’t take the suspense! How will I sleep??? Pleeeeeeese?

  15. Amanda Beattie

    March 29, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    Here’s my theory. Take two ends of a piece of string, rope, ribbon, or other long, skinny, floppy substance. Loop the ends over each other and weave and intertwine them…

  16. Christine

    March 29, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    Dorean – I suppose that telling you about Knot Theory would help you sleep… in that it would bore you to sleep. I’ll have to figure out how to describe it. It’s disappointingly uninteresting if you aren’t a math freak.

    During my senior year in college, my one professor let me sit in on his Knot Theory class. It was a graduate level class. I’ll see if I can find a way to include pictures in my description. It’s nothing without the pictures. 🙂

    Amanda – Close… so very close. 😛

  17. brian

    March 30, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    I think of the average daschound as long, skinny, and floppy. Would the ASPCA share your definition of knot theory? I have no doubt they would offer a differnt assessment – but I’m inclined to try it to find out…

  18. Dorean

    March 30, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    I reject the idea of using wiener-dogs. I think snakes would be much more practical

  19. Amanda Beattie

    March 30, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    Wow… What am I going to do with you two?

  20. Dorean

    April 1, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    Well, I don’t know, but from the tone of this conversation, I think giving us pets sounds like a bad idea…


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