The death of a bigot

Note: In a departure from the usual fare, I thought I’d try my hand at fiction. Nevertheless, there are several important ideas in the following short story.

 

The man Leslie was currently calling “Dad” found it.

He wasn’t really Leslie’s dad–Leslie had never met his dad, but he had called 11 men dad over the past 10 years. At 14, Leslie couldn’t really remember much before that.

“Just wait until your mother comes home” the man had said. Leslie sat on the edge of the bed and wondered what his mother would do. Like everyone else Leslie knew, his family was Christian. Like all the other children in his neighborhood, Leslie went to public school, where he had been taught all about Jesus and Christianity. Christianity, he had learned, was all about loving your neighbor, tolerance, and not judging. Or, more accurately, only judging certain things: certain sins were of course antithetical to Christianity’s ethos of tolerance and therefore anathema. These cardinal sins included racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and slut-shaming.

Jesus was the only son of God, and She had sent him to earth to teach people about the errors of the aforementioned cardinal sins. Jesus was a man, but he was a gay black man who liked to fuck his disciple John, and so the savage, patriarchal, hetero-normative people he had been sent to enlighten killed him. This made him a hero and a martyr, despite being a man, and demonstrated how God, in Her goodness, could use even men for good despite their predilection to all the cardinal sins. The first step was to realize that as a man he was inherently sinful, and follow the instructions of his female betters, just as Jesus had followed God’s instruction. From the time Leslie could remember, he had been told to be like Jesus. That’s why he was in trouble now.

Leslie had hidden it under his mattress, and the man he was currently calling dad had found it.

Leslie knew it was a stupid place to hide it, but he had been secretly reading it at night in his bed, and it seemed too risky to try to move it every day. He wondered how the man he was currently calling dad had known. Still, he was glad the man hadn’t called the police. He wondered if his mother would call them. Leslie had been scared of the police as long as he could remember. It didn’t help that he was now taller and larger than any policewoman he had ever seen. He knew that the police were allowed to shoot any man who displayed “patriarchal or threatening” behavior due to the inherent violence of all men. Ever since he had found the book and started reading it, he had gotten in regular trouble at school for patriarchal posture.

Leslie thought briefly of calling the police himself, and reporting that the man he currently called dad had the book. He really wanted to, and certainly wouldn’t mind seeing the man hauled off or shot by the police. But he couldn’t. Before he had found the book, he could have–and certainly would have–but now he couldn’t. Leslie knew that possessing a copy of the book had been illegal since 2020–the year of perfect vision. He had learned a little about the book in school, where they always called it “The Book of Hate.” According to his teachers, it was a book of heinous blasphemies and hateful bigotry written by the very men who had killed Jesus. It claimed that God was a hateful bigot, and many people used it to justify their bigotry and commission of the cardinal sins.

Leslie hadn’t even known what it was when he found it. After all, he didn’t know it had any name other than The Book of Hate. He had started reading it out of curiosity, because he had never seen a book like it. It was tiny, much smaller than any book he had ever seen, fitting easily in his pocket. The cover was red, with a picture of some kind of vase inside a circle, and the title was New Testament. It was written by someone named Psalms Proverbs, which Leslie thought was a funny name.

After he realized that it was The Book of Hate, Leslie kept reading because he thought it was funny to read all the lies. But as he kept reading, he started to wonder if maybe it wasn’t so wrong. What if it was his teachers that were wrong? He almost threw the book away several times, but for some reason he just couldn’t. It was like the book had a perverse hold on him. Leslie wondered if he was a just a bigot. He didn’t want to be a bigot, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that the book convicted everything around him.

“Leslie”

Leslie looked up. His mother was standing in the doorway with an old grey-haired woman who was holding the book and wearing a pink suit that assaulted his eyes with a large bag over her left shoulder. “This is Bishop Jendricks” Leslie’s mother said. The old lady stepped into the room, and Leslie’s mother disappeared from the doorway. Leslie stared at the old lady. He had never heard of a bishop, except in the book. His brain was spinning at maximum speed.

“Where did you find this book, Leslie?” the old lady asked. “In the old hotel, in the basement” Leslie answered. “Are you really a bishop?” The old lady looked at him. “Yes, I am. Do you know what that is?” “Not really” Leslie admitted. “But doesn’t a bishop have to be a man?” The old lady sighed. “You’ve been reading this book, haven’t you?” Leslie nodded, his eyes focused on the book. “This book is full of lies” the old lady continued “Lies about God, lies about people, lies about Jesus, and yes, lies about bishops. When I was a young girl, some people thought that I should not be a bishop because of what that book says. But the year of perfect vision, that book was outlawed because people realized how dangerous and bigoted those lies were.”

The old lady sighed and opened her bag. “You’ve read a lot of this book haven’t you?” she asked as she put the book in her bag. Leslie nodded, keeping his eyes on the book until it disappeared into the bag. “I’m going to show you that the book is full of lies” the old lady said, pulling a board from her bag. Leslie saw that the board had the letters A-M written in one line on it, with the letters N-Z in a second line underneath, and the words “yes” and “no” written in a third line below the first two. The old lady laid the board on Leslie’s bed next to him. She reached into her bag again and handed Leslie a triangular piece of plastic. Then she smiled at him. “I’m going to give you a rare privilege. I’m going to let you talk to God. I’ll ask the first question.” Leslie was confused. For two weeks now he had been talking to God–praying. He wasn’t very good at it, and he never heard God talk back, but he was pretty sure that anyone who wanted to could talk to God. Then the old lady bellowed in a loud voice “who are you?” and motioned for Leslie to place the piece of plastic on the board.

The moment the plastic touched the board, Leslie’s eyes opened wide in fright. He could not lift the plastic up again or release it, and some unseen force was dragging it across the board, moving his hand and arm. Leslie watched as it stopped on the letter G, then O, then D. “See?” said the old lady. “God is willing to answer your questions. Why don’t you ask Her if that book is true?” Leslie prayed as best he could. Suddenly, a change came over his face, and a depth came into his eyes. The plastic dropped from his hand as it left the board and he stood with his eyes focused on and hands raised towards a spot on the ceiling. “Help!” cried the old lady, trying to slide her chair away from Leslie and stand up at the same time.

At the first cry from inside the room, the four policewomen standing outside the doorway flowed in, rifles at the ready. Two went left and two went right, driving into the room and bringing rifles to bear on Leslie, who was still standing with his face and hands raised. A strange glow seemed to emanate from his face. Slowly, Leslie turned and faced the old lady, who had now comported herself and was staring at him as if transfixed. Leslie’s arms came down as he turned, his right dropping to his side and his left pointing at the old lady. In a slow, measured voice that somehow seemed to shake the entire building, Leslie spoke. “In the name of Jesus Christ, come out of her!”

The policewomen were all trained professionals, so Leslie was dead before he hit the floor. And yet his final act of bigoted violence–somehow accomplished through speech alone–was still terrifying. When the ringing of the shots had faded from everyone’s ears, the bishop was still writing on the ground. She was rushed to the hospital by paramedics, and released the next day, but something was different about her.

Two years later, about nine months ago, handwritten copies of the New Testament began to show up all over the city, causing no end of problems. It was eventually discovered that Bishop Jendricks was behind this string of hate crimes, and she was convicted and executed. However, the viral, addictive nature of hate had caused nearly a dozen persons to be infected by that time. Two have been captured and executed already, but the others remain unidentified, and it is feared that each of them may have infected at least two others by this time. The Bureau of Hate Investigations is working overtime to try and stamp out this bigotry, but needs the help of the citizenry. Please report any suspicious behavior.

Kicking the goads

For some time now, I’ve been getting the impression that it’s getting harder and harder for Roosh V. to kick against the goads.

Consider this excerpt from one of his recent posts:

Anti-evolutionary behaviors should have been weeded out of the gene pool according to the idea of natural selection, but the more I looked around, the more I saw nothing but my own behavior, of people who were actually frightened to death about being a parent even though they were healthy and could afford to raise children. In fact, the sum of Western ideologies seem aimed to specifically halt human reproduction.

Western people are structuring their lives in deliberate ways to not reproduce at all and where their cherished hedonistic lifestyles would be greatly harmed if children entered the picture, and while it’s easy to use evolutionary theory in describing which man a woman chooses to have sex with, how can that possibly be correct if the man used condoms or the woman used birth control? Darwin’s theory refers to reproduction, not recreational sex and definitely not a prolonged period of sterile sport fucking, which has no benefit to the genes of the “athlete.” Having an explanation for why a girl on birth control went home with the “alpha male” after meeting him in the club has nothing to do with evolution or natural selection, since they both knew that no child would result and used the full force of their consciousness to prevent the creation of life. If reproduction was the purposefully blocked intent, evolution was not present during the sex event.

How could Darwin explain the prevention of reproduction by deliberate and conscious choice from fit humans beings? How could he explain that the richest peoples of the world with no lack in resources, intellect, and functioning reproductive systems were consciously going against what evolution prescribed for them?

The one aspect of evolution, specifically, that does not hold true for modern humans, especially those living in the West, is that fit humans are reproducing up to the limit of the food supply, as stated by Darwin. In fact, the more resources a person has, the less likely they will reproduce at all, which you can witness at any time in a drive through the poor and rich parts of your city. Darwin’s theory doesn’t explain why this occurs, why the “strongest” and most “fit” are having the least amount of offspring or deliberately choosing not to have any offspring at all, even though natural selection specifically states that only the strongest can pass on their genes while the weak and infirm will not.

Most animals, plants, and bacteria do reproduce up to the limit of the food supply, or at least try to maximally have as many offspring as possible, but human beings have developed a consciousness that enables them to purposefully not reproduce even if they are able, and even develop a phobia to reproduction, and this has been in effect for at least 100 years in all major Western nations that currently suffer a death rate greater than the reproductive rate.

We must therefore conclude, with logic and rationale, that evolution is so flawed at explaining modern human reproductive behavior (and not merely casual sex where reproduction was never the intent), that evolution is not an observable or correct principle for human beings living in Westernized nations. We must discard evolutionary theory as applying to all humans through the mechanism of natural selection and begin a search for a new explanation that explains our current biological behavior.

If Roosh is serious about finding the explanation for current human behavior, he will find it when he acknowledges that his giving up of the natural function for the unnatural has the same root as the unnatural activities of homosexuals.

Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. —Romans 1:22-32 (NASB)

The Bible is the problem?

A friend shared a link with me, and I have been enlightened.

Believing the Bible Christian Fundamentalism is the root cause of sexual predators!

That’s why, despite never having seen more than a few minutes of the show at a time, and having no idea which kid was Josh, I was able to make this prediction. All I needed to know was that they followed Gothard’s teachings about sex and gender, and I knew that it was more likely than not that a sex scandal would surface sooner or later.

I know, I know, it sounds like he’s saying the problem is with the teachings of some guy named Gothard, but he later makes it clear that what he means by that is the obviously problematic Biblical teaching of pre-marital chastity:

And make no mistake, these teachings are NOT limited to Gothard, but have significantly infiltrated Evangelicalism as a whole. The root of the harmful teachings are an obsession with sexual “purity” and a terror that the kids might have sex before they are married.

It is this problematic association of sex with marriage that causes people to become molesters:

The hypocrisy is just astounding, and it is no wonder the media is all over this. This family, like Gothard and Phillips, made their fortune – millions of dollars – promoting a particular view of sexuality, and (in my view), trading on the pretty innocence of their daughters. And then used the platform to make unsupportable claims about LGBT people. And all the while, it wasn’t the gays that were fondling the daughters. 

No sir. The gays were not fondling the Duggar daughters. Nope. All they were doing was using their adopted son to create gay child porn. Not nearly as despicable. And it was probably caused by their Christian Fundamentalist beliefs anyways.

ykICI4f

 

But this disgusting Christian Fundamentalism isn’t just limited to the gays and some reality TV stars. No, it controls the entire culture. Even a mainstream publication like the LA Times is down with child molestation, with columnist Robin Abcarian writing that it is perfectly normal for children to “check out the genitals of other kids, especially their much younger siblings.” Ms. Abcarian wrote this in defense of the self-admitted child molester and noted Christian Fundamentalist Lena Dunham, who–like the Duggars–has a television show dedicated to teaching the Christian Fundamentalist doctrine of chastity.

No doubt Ms. Abcarian will soon have a new column using the same Christian Fundamentalist arguments to defend Mr. Duggar.  That just goes to show how insidious this whole believing the Bible Christian Fundamentalist thing is. If you’re still not convinced that believing the Bible Christian Fundamentalism causes child molestion, just peruse this study, which clearly shows that the vast majority of cases are perpetrated by the the boyfriend of the victim’s mother–a family arrangement far more prevalent among Fundamentalist Christian than in the general population.

Save a child. Prevent molestation. Don’t believe the Bible be a Christian Fundamentalist.

</sarcasm>

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. —2 Timothy 4:3 (ESV)

Satan is watching

It’s not what you’re likely to hear in church this weekend, but it’s true nonetheless.

Oh, you might hear “this world is evil,” but it seems no one is willing to talk about how it got that way. You might be told to resist the temptations of Satan, yet how often are you reminded that he is powerful, and he is watching?

Does all this talk of Satan make you uncomfortable? It shouldn’t. You must know your enemy in order to battle him. Failure to know the Devil makes it easy to mistake him for the Lord.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. —2 Corinthians 11:4 (KJV)

Now, someone out there is saying “Hold up! I don’t have to know Satan! I just gotta know Jesus! If I know the real thing I won’t fall for any counterfeits!” And maybe you’d be right, if you were five years old.

See, your mission is more than just “not falling for counterfeits.” You have to predict the enemy’s assaults upon your family (church, community, culture) and fortify the proper defenses. You  have to be prepared to make effective counter-attacks. You’re not a bank teller whose only job is to not accept counterfeit bills, you are Treasury Agent, actively hunting down the counterfeiters.

Wait, what’s that? You’re quoting 2 Chronicles 20:17 at me? Telling me you’re just gonna sit on your lazy ass and let God work it out? Well, I’ve got news for you: unless God specifically spoke to you and told you to knock off work, you’re just hiding your mina in a napkin. Aaron, Eli, Samuel, David–God didn’t just step in and take over the raising of any of their children. Paul didn’t write “God can do all things while I sit back and watch.” No, he wrote “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” That’s a pretty big difference.

You can’t win a war when you pretend the enemy doesn’t exist. Every time the Devil dynamites a bridge, you say “Odd that bridge fell down. It certainly looked sturdy–I guess you just can never tell. I better go reinforce my bridge.” Then you go add reinforcements to your bridge while studiously ignoring the fact that a demolition crew is rigging it to blow. No matter how strong you build your bridge, or how many reinforcements you add, it’s still going to eventually collapse if you don’t start shooting at the demolition crew.

Acknowledge the enemy exists, and learn to see him.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. —Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)

Speak softly and carry a big stick

For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. —Romans 13:4 (KJV)

Speak softly and carry a big stick.

Good advice, followed all too rarely.

Some, it seems, never get past the first two words.

Speak softly.

They never wield the big stick, and so their soft speech is only an effeminate emphasization of their weakness.

You have to carry the big stick. You have to bear the sword, and not in vain. Then you get to speak softly. When you speak softly thus armed, the softness is ominous, like the still before a storm. This is a world apart from the soft speech that rises from cowed timidity.

Learn to tell the difference. In yourself, and in others. Learn to see who has no stick, who has a stick but doesn’t know how to use it or is afraid to do so, and who is supremely confident in its use.

Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. —Luke 14:31-32 (ESV)

Notes on becoming and guiding

Reader palegoat writes:

Here I am, a young man, about to graduate from college in a month, and I feel so powerless to become more of the man that scripture commands me to be. Is there some mental or emotional switch that I can simply flick and grow out of this inept personality and temperament? (I know there isn’t!) Should I even bother pursuing a woman when I am so very aware and scared of the responsibility and privilege that comes with marriage and manhood? Should I grip the fear and use it to compel and motivate me to be more of a man?

Yes, you should. Whatever it is that you are afraid of is generally exactly what you ought to do. You are profoundly broken. We all are. Quit using that shit as an excuse.

As to improving personality and temperament, there are some switches you can throw to improve yourself. They are all things that you have already heard and know.  Listen to the Bible. For our purposes, start with Isaiah and work your way to the end of the Old Testament. Lift weights. If you can afford it start learning a combat sport. Ditch television. You can still watch a show now and then, but not another commercial. Cut the sports watching. If you currently watch more than one game a week, cut down to one, and listen to the others on the radio while doing something productive. Spend time outdoors in nature. Build or make something. Make a list of all the things you really want to do but are scared to try, and then start doing them.

Meanwhile, Donal is hosting a discussion on how to guide young men (particularly sons) in the old paths.

I think the biggest thing here is walking the in the paths you wish to guide your proteges in. They will tend to follow you more than your advice or instruction.

Finally, commenter Kidd Cudi wonders on how to be a beacon in a liberal work environment:

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.

While you should be willing to lose your job if that is what is required to stand on principle, you don’t need to actually say that much about your beliefs at work to spread your message. Often a well-timed smirk, an honest belly laugh, or what you pointedly don’t say communicates more than what you do say. When you do say things, mentioning random facts (particularly historical facts) and asking questions without stating your person opinion is useful.

For example, you may not be able to say that you think transsexualism is a mental disorder (Gavin McInnes got fired from his own company for saying that publicly), but you can say “I read an article in the Wall Street Journal by the recently-retired top psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins, in which he claimed that transsexualism is a mental disorder.” HR can’t fire you for saying you read an article in a mainstream paper. If someone tries to trap you into saying whether or not you agree with him, you simply say “I’m not a psychiatrist, so I’m really not competent to say. I just thought it was interesting to read what someone who is a well-known and highly-respected psychiatrist at a top hospital had to say about it.”

In hoc signo vinces… nihilo

Easter morning I attended a sunrise service at the beach. Because of the location, the general level of dress was significantly more casual than typical. Many of the men showed up in matching long-sleeve T-shirts which, though I had never seen before, I immediately knew must have been purchased by the men’s group. I knew this because the name of the church and the words “Men’s Ministry” were featured in small script at the bottom of the shirts. Far more noticeable was the shield, emblazoned with a blood-red crusader’s cross, which took up the whole front of the shirt. In large block letters down the sleeves were the words “MEN OF VALOR” in all capital letters.

I thought the words on the sleeves was tacky, but the Crusader’s shield and cross is a powerful symbol. It’s “bad ass.” And it seemed profoundly sacrilegious to see these men wearing it.

Grown men playing dress-up, pretending to valor until their wives tell them it’s time to go home, LARPing as patriarchs and defenders of the faith for a morning, like the fat guy in the outrageously fake “master funnery sergeant” uniform.

I wanted to punch them.

See, this is the same men’s group that gleefully passed around an obviously fake “letter” attacking fathers, exuberant over a chance to denigrate themselves and assure each other that, after all, their wives and children were perfectly justified in rebelling against their God-ordained leadership.

Then my anger faded, and I just felt sad.

Sad because those shirts show that those men really do want to be patriarchs, men of valor, defenders of the faith. They wouldn’t pretend to it if they didn’t value it.

Sad because they have managed to convince themselves (at least partially) that they aren’t pretenders: that “True Valor” is assisting the enemy in slicing their own neck; that defending the faith means arguing with each other over words to no profit, such as whether the communion wine becomes Christ’s blood, or is only a very powerful symbol of His blood; that being a patriarch means following the whims of their wives and children.

How can such a strong delusion even be possible?

Unfortunately, the fault lies not only with the people, but also with the priests:

And the people will be like the priest, the servant like his master, the maid like her mistress, the buyer like the seller, the lender like the borrower, the creditor like the debtor. —Isaiah 24:2 (NASB)

For those who guide this people are leading them astray; And those who are guided by them are brought to confusion. —Isaiah 9:16 (NASB)

Consider this tweet from First Things, “America’s Most Influential Journal of Religion and Public Life:”

Go ahead, read that link in the tweet. I’ll wait, and you need to see what it says for yourself.

If you haven’t heard of First Things, here’s the blurb from its “About” page:

First Things is published by the Institute on Religion and Public Life, an interreligious, nonpartisan research and educational 501(c)(3) organization. The Institute was founded in 1990 by Richard John Neuhaus and his colleagues to confront the ideology of secularism, which insists that the public square must be “naked,” and that faith has no place in shaping the public conversation or in shaping public policy.

That’s the claim. But then you read the article linked above, and you realize that what First Things is promoting is that when the trumpet is blown, the lyre is sounded, and you are commanded to kneel before your new godyou do just that (and then give some money away afterwords to make it all better). After all, as long as you don’t make any money off of kneeling before the image, it’s totally OK. None of that standing tall on principle and being thrown in a fiery furnace bullshit.

All those inconvenient mockings, scourgings, chains, imprisonment, stonings, being sawn in two, being put to death with the sword, being destitute, being afflicted, being ill-treated, wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground–the modern Christian need not go through any of that shit! Just bow to the idol, and then give some money away–it’s like buying a clean conscience, and far more convenient than actually standing on principle!

The best part is, you can even wear a shirt with a crusader’s cross on it while you bow before the golden statue! That way you’ll be sure to feel valiant while you’re kneeling before Dildolech. If you start to feel like maybe kneeling to an idol isn’t an act of spiritual valor, you can always read the newest edition of First Things, where Andrew Walker will be happy to inform you that bowing really takes more moral courage than standing up and being cast in the furnace. If you work hard enough at it, you might just be able to convince yourself that the few people you do see standing up here and there really do deserve to be thrown in the furnace. After all, a True Christian is loving, and it isn’t very loving to stand up when everyone else is kneeling is it?

No, it is you, kneeling compliantly among the masses, that is the true man of spiritual valor.

O My people! Their oppressors are children, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray And confuse the direction of your paths. —Isaiah 3:12 (NASB)

This was a hard post to write. The prophet and the priest should be on the same side. Yet when the priest begins to teach the people to worship strange gods, he is no longer friend, but foe. The prophet’s role is to preach to both priests and people that the mighty, and fearful, and terrible day of the Lord is at hand, and to entreat priest and people to return, and serve Him.

This is why I write. I am a watchman. I must blow the trumpet.

If the trumpet gives forth an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?

Proclaim this among the nations:
Prepare a war; rouse the mighty men!
Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up!
Beat your plowshares into swords
And your pruning hooks into spears;
Let the weak say, “I am a mighty man.”

 

I’m impressed

wpid-wp-1428003572146.jpegThis arrived in the mail today. An old friend makes flasks, and I asked him to make me a custom one.  It took only 12 business days from the time I contacted him to receiving it in the mail across the country–and since I only gave him the vague description that I wanted “a moose,” the first day or two was used up by me looking at various options that he sent me and picking the one I liked the best. If you are in the market for such a thing (I never encourage an impulse buy, even from my friend), you can go here and click on the “Request a Custom Order” button to request your own custom silhouette. Oh, and the quilt in the background? It was given to me my a Dorcas society when I was a poor college student, and remains one of my prized possessions. In fact, I insist on turning the AC down to 65 at night, in even the warmest weather, so that I can use it.

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.