Salt and light

It seems this is the first chance I’ve had in a long while to sit and write. I’ve typed out some replies on my phone here and there, but between work going crazy, my computer dying, and losing my internet service for over a week, I haven’t made the time to post. Significant things are happening in my life, including a strong possibility that I will return to my natural northern habitat (and potentially leave the city for clean country air) in a year’s time.

This morning at work, one of my co-workers told me about a conversation he and his wife had about me. They currently live in a 2-bedroom apartment with another couple, but are in the process of moving into their own place. Apparently they were looking at a place, and talking about how nice it would be to have a backyard. My buddy mentioned that he would have to buy a lawnmower, and his wife said “Moose would get one of those old-fashioned reel mowers.” My buddy replied “Moose? No way. He’d be out there with his pipe in his mouth cutting the grass with a scythe!”

I hear stories like this all the time. There are three recurring jokes about me: How masculine I am, how frugal I am, and how Christian I am.  The other day, my boss introduced me to one of his bosses: “This is Moose, he likes to pick up small cars for exercise.” When people see me eating anything, the running joke is to ask if I got it out out of the trash, ever since I saw someone throw away half of a still-warm pizza and rescued it from the trash can (it was still in the box). I regularly get told that I “wouldn’t have to eat out of the trash” if I didn’t give 20% of my paycheck to my church and various mission/gospel projects. And then there’s the running joke that “Moose won’t vote for a President unless he promises to make stoning gays legal.”

Now let me remind you that Christianity, masculinity, and frugality are all in short supply today. Even a modicum of any of them is likely to garner one some ribbing about his “taking it too far.” So you should be getting teased about these things. In fact, it is a good thing if you are teased about them, for several reasons. First, it proves that you have some small level of these virtues–you won’t be ribbed about being overly masculine if you’re the most effeminate guy in your group. Secondly, and more importantly, it spreads your values and proselytizes for you without you doing hardly anything.

The other day, while talking about potential spouses:

Person 1: “You want to find a woman that’s a real slut, ’cause then she’ll be good in the sack and really like sex.”

Person 2: “Moose here wants to marry a virgin! (laughter)”

Person 3: “Really?”

Me: “Yup.”

Person 3: “But with all the divorce today, don’t you want to, you know, make sure they’re the right one?”

Me: “Actually, a number of studies show that likelihood of divorce rises with the number of a woman’s sexual partners. A virgin bride equals a much lower likelihood of divorce.”

Person 1: “So it’s not a religious thing?”

Me: “It is, but its one of the many things where science agrees that God was right.”

If it weren’t for someone poking a little fun at me, I’d have never gotten to share information about how studies show that Biblical advice works. Perhaps that conversation will make a big difference in someone’s life–perhaps it will be what causes them to pick up a Bible out of curiosity and thumb through it. Every time someone pokes fun at you for a virtue, you have this chance to spread your message.

Maybe you’ve been hanging around here a little while, but you’re careful in what you say and how you act so no one will make fun of you for being a Christian, or masculine, or frugal. You go to church and read your Bible at home, but are afraid to say “Thank God!” at work. You try to cut your expenses, but never say “no thanks” when your co-workers invite you to go to lunch, even though you brought a brown bag, because you’re afraid of being called a cheapskate.

It’s time to change. Embrace having a little fun poked your way. Invite it. Use it to grow your message.

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

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5 thoughts on “Salt and light

  1. Why is it that people insist when shopping for anything BUT a wife, you should prefer new to used merchandise?

    The WW2 generation – those who grew up during the Great Depression are mostly gone. I learned the virtue of frugality though. (And especially food – I hate to throw away any or watch it go bad).

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  2. I gladly own the title of ‘cheapskate’ [or in local slang, ‘tightarse’], Im getting older [50s] and I don’t care what others think. Im still wearing the runners I had intended to throw out last December, even though I already bought a new pair. joy!
    I don’t have to impress anybody, and I’m not looking for a wife [been divorced over 20 years], so I can enjoy my frugal ways. To God be the glory.

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  3. I’ve been thinking about exactly this ever since joining the workplace. My personal policy up ’til now has been been to never say anything about my beliefs and opinions because I have a tendency to ramble, thus wasting a lot of time explaining, and the very liberal place I work implies that my beliefs are so far outside the local Overton Window that I’d have a lot of explaining to do. In the interest of laziness and efficiency I have just kept my mouth shut. I guess that a policy of “never say anything” is probably sub-optimal, but my natural policy among friends is “never shut the fuck up” so, I’m not sure I could strike an effective balance at work. Also, being young, people would almost never rib me for my masculinity–I just look too much like a boy. I’ve gotten the frugal jabs, though.

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  4. Pingback: Notes on becoming and guiding | Moose Norseman

  5. I have a reel mower. It does not cut grass as well as a gas-powered mower, but it is quiet, does not smell, and it would be very difficult for myself or a family member to accidentally cut off an appendage. You must oil them regularly, and sharpen the blades at least once a year. (I use valve grinding compound.)

    I dig lubricating the gears and smearing VGC on the blades. SCHWEE! SCHWEE! SCHWEE! as it spins and brightens along the blades. You have to enjoy the work. That’s the main thing.

    Now let me remind you that Christianity, masculinity, and frugality are all in short supply today. Even a modicum of any of them is likely to garner one some ribbing about his “taking it too far.” So you should be getting teased about these things. In fact, it is a good thing if you are teased about them, for several reasons. First, it proves that you have some small level of these virtues–you won’t be ribbed about being overly masculine if you’re the most effeminate guy in your group. Secondly, and more importantly, it spreads your values and proselytizes for you without you doing hardly anything.

    Good words. The ribbing shows they are paying attention; that influence is being felt, and it is making them uncomfortable with their preconceptions.

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