Choosing a random start slide and have the slides go on their own both seem to be configurable options with bxSlider.
I was a little confused about how one goes about configuring them, but I found it on the bxSlider examples page: Pass an object with your options to the "bxSlider" function in your code.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean by this. Please elaborate.
You have the following JS near the top of your page:
All you have to do is pass an object to that "bxSlider" function, with your config options. For example:
Wow. Who knew it was that easy?! Thank you so much!
For future reference, a look at any of their examples shows how the object of config options is passed to bxSlider function.