Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Bear Necessities

In 2 Kings 2 we read about Elisha on his visit to Jericho. The people there were whining about not being able to grow crops for lack of water, so Elisha decided to come to the rescue by dumping salt in the water and thereby curing it. So far Elisha seems like a pretty nice guy.

His work in Jericho complete, Elisha decided to head up to Bethel. En route, a strange thing happened, which we read about in 2 Kings 2:23-24:

23 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.

24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

First of all, what kind of weird kids lived in Bethel? Did forty-two kids all come out of the city at once and say in unison, "Go up, thou bald head."? Had they been practicing? Did they do this for comic effect? What would possess such a large group of kids to say such a weird verse, and then repeat again? Was there nothing to occupy them in Bethel? Couldn't they have got together a game of football or baseball or something?

Whatever the reason, why did Elisha get so pissed off. Was he really bald? If so, and he was so self-conscious, couldn't he have worn a wig? And what the hell was so bad about what the kids said? If he was going up, were they not just telling him to continue, while making note of his lack of hair? Were their words not better than something like, "Move your ass, you old fart!"?

Regardless of what they said, could Elisha not just see that they were children? Had he been a little angel during his childhood? Had he and a group of friends never hurled insults at a strange looking adult? Or was he pissed off because as a kid he never had any friends? As for these kids, were they the first to comment on his bald head? Had the insults just been building up? Could he not have gotten some medication to help him with his stress? Did he not think that calling down the wrath of God was not a little out of line?

But the big question is, what the hell was God thinking? Could God not see that Elisha was overreacting? Did God agree that 42 little kids deserved to die just for calling a bald man bald? Was there a missing Commandment that Moses had lost that had said, "Thou shalt not call a bald man bald."? And even if such childish disrespect pissed off God, could He not have gone about it in a different way? Did He have to send a couple of bears to kill the kids? Could He not have sent a couple a counselor to give the parents some help?

On the other hand, is it possible that this never happened? I mean, with the kids dead, Elisha would have been the only witness and I hardly think it's something he'd be bragging about.

However, in Leviticus 26:22 God makes it clear that He's not opposed to sending wild animals to tear little children apart, for there He says:

I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate.

Were the people of Bethel thankful that their cattle were spared? And what's the deal with these two bears? How could two bears tear 42 kids apart? Did the kids all stand there and wait their turn? Couldn't the other 40 have run away while the first 2 kids were being torn asunder? Were these bears special terminator-bears, capable of mass smiting? Were they God's familiars?
Can they be called down upon adults as well? Are all bear killings some sort of divine retribution? Must we fear bear attacks if we fall asleep in church? Or if we fail to give 10 percent of our income in the collection plate?

On the other hand, can we call out these divine intensive-care bears ourselves if somebody pisses us off? I mean, God liked Elisha, right? So if we get on God's good side too, can we access the power of the bears? Can we go strutting through the ghettos in confidence, knowing that bear protection is just a call away? Can we call them out against the IRS if we get audited? Are they there to help us if we get pulled over for speeding? Where are the limitations on the uses of the special God Bears?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Off To See The Wizard

In Leviticus 19:31 God says to us:

Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.

Look how God ended this. He wants us to know that this was written by Him, and not just some simple scribe, so it must be pretty important, huh?

So what the hell constitutes a familiar spirit? Am I allowed to regard those with unfamiliar spirits? Should I call the liquor store and ask what brands they have before I go? Must I not look the clerk in the eye if the only spirits he has are those that I do know? And what about people with team spirit? Should I shun those who show spirit for the teams with which I'm familiar? And what the hell was Bullwinkle talking about, with his "Eenie Meenie Chili Beanie, the spirits are about to speak!"? Was Bullwinkle defiling me since my childhood? Is this why The Rocky Show had to be cancelled?

And why is God so down on wizards, and why does He think we'll be defiled if we seek after them? I mean, if God's worried about us sullying our reputation, why not tell us not to seek out prostitutes? Or used-car salesmen? Or lawyers? Or politicians? What's God got against the wizards? Is it because they look like Him, with their long white hair and the beards? Or is it because they can do magic, and God wants to be the only one to bring magic to our lives? But then who gave them the magic, if not God? Is God trying to say that there are other forces out there besides Him?

So how the hell am I supposed to act to keep on good terms with God? Do wizards in any form cause me to be defiled? Must I have my computer exorcised to rid it of its Custom Installation Wizard and Recovery Wizard, and any other defiling wizard that may be hiding within? Have I condemned my children to eternal damnation by purchasing for them a Math Wizard? Why was I not warned about this back in April when I consulted the IRS's Tax Wizard? How can I become undefiled now?

And what are we to do with the constant bombardment of wizards by the entertainment industry? Why must these defiling wizards always be portrayed in a positive light? Are we in danger of the fires of hell if we visit Disney World? Did Mickey Mouse not defile himself years ago as The Sorcerer's Apprentice? Was Gandalf the reason that there were no churches in The Shire? Can no one save the poor, defiled Hobbits? And why were Harry Potter's aunt and uncle made out to be the bad guys? Were they not trying to save the young boy's soul in their attempt to keep him from the evil Hogwarts? Wasn't Hagrid the evil one, for leading the boy to Dumbledore? And why was the Witch of the North called "Good"? Did she and those horrid little Munchkins not send the innocent Dorothy on the road to the defiling Wizard of Oz? Should not the Witch of the West be known as the good one? Was she not protecting Dorothy by trying to keep her away from Oz?

But can a witch be good? In Exodus 22:18 God says:

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

So God's just down on anybody else with magic, huh? Is this why Bewitched and Sabrina the Teenage Witch were taken off the air? What about Jeannie? Are genies safe from the wrath of God? Why does Salem, Massachusetts call itself "The Witch City"? Should God not rain down some fire and brimstone up there in New England? Even Sodom and Gomorah didn't have the nerve to call themselves "Witch Cities." Is Salem just mocking God? And must I shun those places that rent out Ditch Witches?

So what the hell am I to do to protect my children? Should we burn all of their books save for the Bible? Should we cancel Hallowe'en? Must we suppress any and all forms of imagination in our children in order to save their soles?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away (Noah's Ark Part II)

(Noah's Ark - Part 2 of 2)

In Part One we left Noah after God had instructed the poor old guy to build an ark to ride out a global flood, making it of such length that it would not be seaworthy, using an unknown wood, and then filling it with two of every beast, fowl and creeping thing on the earth, all within seven days. Would this be a problem for a 600 year old man with no shipbuilding experience? Apparently not, for in Genesis 7:5 we read:

And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.

Probably the thought of drowning gave Noah a pretty strong incentive. Then in Genesis 7:7-9 we are told:

7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.

8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,

9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.

So how did the animals make it from the far reaches of the globe to Noah in only seven days? How could a pair of sloths or a pair of koalas travel trough the jungles unmolested? What did Noah do if only one showed up? Or three? And what about Noah's neighbors? Would they not get suspicious when Noah, who was always walking around with God, builds this massive ship in only seven days, and then starts taking a bunch of animals on board? Did they not ask questions? Did they not figure out what was going on when God stopped his walks with Noah and the rains came? If these people were wicked and with evil thoughts, why did they not swamp the ark? Did they just stand there, thinking evil thoughts and scratching their heads as the ark floated away? Did Noah have no compassion for his friends and neighbors who were destined to drown?

Whatever the case, the rains did come and we are told in Genesis 7:20-21 how great and devastating the flood was:

20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.

21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:

Is this a misprint or were mountains smaller in those days? Is 15 cubits not only around 23 feet (7 meters). Couldn't people survive on the roofs of their houses in only 15 cubits of water? If the ark was only 30meters high, would the bottom not be scrapping on the mountains? And what about the birds? Once all the land was covered and the ark was the only thing to rest on, would not every bird in a 10 mile radius swamp it? Did Noah have to continuously shoo them away? Did he have scarecrows on deck?

Genesis 8:3-5 says:

3 And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.

4 And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.

5 And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.

Where did Noah get fresh water from once the rains stopped? Did he bring enough with him for all the animals for ten full months? And had any consideration been given to the mess that tens of thousands of animals must have created during that ten months? Noah and his sons, when not shooing birds, must have worked 24/7 shoveling shit overboard. And even if the crap could be disposed of, how could they survive with the stench, not to mention the smell of urine. With tens of thousands of animals pissing everyday, would not the entire hold of the ark be filled with urine? Were the wives bailing out the hold while the men were working the shovels? What did PETA and the SPCA think of animals being kept in such appalling conditions? Could there not have been an easier way to do this mass smiting?

Finally in Genesis 8:13 it looks like Noah's nightmare might be coming to an end:

And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.

But did Noah rush from the ark? Did he and his family burst forth, gasping for fresh air after being cooped up with smelly animals and creepy things for so long? Apparently not, for in the next verse we read:

And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.

Now what the hell was Noah thinking? If the water was gone the first time he looked, why did he stay on board for another seven weeks, shoveling shit and bailing out piss? Had the animals caused him to lose his mind? Was he really surprised after finding the land dry, that it was still dry seven weeks later. Did he think that maybe God had missed a creeping thing or two, and was going to flood the planet again for their sake?

Perhaps Noah was just waiting for the order to disembark, for in Genesis 8:17 God finally say:

Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.

So how did all those fowl things and creeping things that creepeth upon the earth make it back home? Could Noah not have made some stops as the waters were receding, and dropped the beasts off in their natural habitats? What protection did they have on their return journey? Were some eaten into extinction during that time? Is this what happened to the giant sloth? And unicorns?

But other animals weren't the only thing that the survivors of the ark had to worry about. Despite God's command that the animals be fruitful and multiply upon the earth, Noah apparently had a score to settle with some. In Genesis 8:24 we're told:

And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar

Were these clean beasts the ones who fouled the ship the most? Did he get carried away and burn some into extinction? How big a fire did Noah make to burn of every species? And where did he find enough dry wood?

Fortunately for Noah, God liked a good barbecue and He wasn't pissed. In fact, in Genesis 8:21 we read:

And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

So what the hell is the point of this story? Is it that God made a colossal mistake that took the lives of almost every living creature on the planet, and only when it was too late did He regret it? Is there any comfort in that for us? How should we react? Should we too burn some animals to make a smell pleasing to the Lord? In that way, will He also forgive our evil ways? What would PETA say about this? What can I do if my community has regulations restricting open fires? Can I make any other smells that would be pleasing to the Lord?

And what ever became of Noah? How did he deal with his house full of mud, and dead and decomposing bodies of men, beasts, and even creeping things all over the land? Well, in Genesis 9:20-21 we're told:

20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:

21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.

Should we emulate Noah in this sense too. After a stressful task, should we too become intoxicated and lay around naked? Is this the true secret to finding grace in the eyes of God?

Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again (Noah's Ark Part I)

(Noah's Ark - Part 1 of 2)
In the early chapters of Genesis, not long after creating man, God started having second thoughts about what He had done. In Genesis 6:5-6 we read:

5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

But back in Genesis 3:3 did God not say :

Behold, the man is become as one of us

So what the hell happened? If man was created in God's image and later became as God, how did he get so evil? Is God saying that the (forbidden) apple doesn't fall too far from the tree? Why didn't God nip this wicked behavior in the bud if it pissed Him off? Why did He allow it to get out of control? Why didn't He correct man when he first started thinking those evil thoughts? Couldn't He have set up some sort of counseling? Maybe man just got bored. I mean, what the hell was there to do back then? Couldn't God have organized some sort of activities or team sports to keep man occupied and out of trouble?

Whatever the reasons, God wasn't going to share in the blame, nor was He going to take it any more. In Genesis 6:7 we read:

And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

Was this not a bit of an overreaction? Were man not God's children? Could God not have tried to rehabilitate them? And why was God taking His anger out on the beasts and the fowls, not to mention the poor creeping thing? What the hell did they do? Were they guilty by association? Why were they made the scapegoats? What about the fish and all those abominations of the sea? How did they escape God wrath? And by the way, what the hell is the creeping thing?

Well anyway, there was one old guy who hadn't managed to piss God off. In Genesis 6:8 we're told

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord

What did Noah do to make himself graceful? Should the Bible not tell us, so we to can find grace in the eyes of the Lord? Is this information not of paramount importance? And how did Noah remain graceful while surrounded by all that wickedness? Wouldn't the wicked guys have kicked his ass? Cain killed Abel when Abel was God's favorite, so how was Noah surviving as the favorite? Maybe the explanation is in Genesis 6:9, for there we're told that:

. . . . Noah walked with God

So was God like Noah's bodyguard? Sure, no one would kick Noah's ass when he was strutting around with an Omnipotent Being. But could it be that Noah was only good because God was walking with him? What if God had walked with others too? Would perhaps their wickedness not have been so great and their thoughts not so evil? Would it have hurt God to go walking with some others as well?

Apparently God wasn't up to just walking with anybody, and so he continued with His plans for mass destruction. In Genesis 6:14-15, He says to Noah:

14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.

Is that not quite a strenuous a task for an old guy like Noah? In Genesis 7:6 we learn that the poor guy is 600 years old. That's well beyond retirement age. Should he not just be relaxing and enjoying his twilight years? Was Noah allowed to hire anyone to build this ship? If the whole world was indulging in wickedness, then are we to assume there were no honest and God-fearing shipbuilders that Noah could turn to? And if he hired a shipbuilder with evil thoughts, would Noah not be contributing to the evilness? But if Noah started building ships on his own, how would the Shipbuilders Union react? Would they not destroy his operation?

And what the hell is gopher wood, and where was Noah to find so much of it? Is there even such a thing today as gopher wood? Did Noah use it all up? Who was to teach Noah shipbuilding? And why did God chose the cubit for measurement? Could He not think of something more standard? If a cubit varies with the person, whose cubit is God talking about? Is it a man-sized cubit or a God-sized cubit? And how could poor old Noah build such a large ship? Would these cubits not make the ark about 450 feet by 75 feet (137 meters by 23 meters)? Could such a wooden ship even remain afloat? Would such a long ship not fold in the middle if carried over a large wave? Did smaller ships like the Schooner Wyoming and the HMS Mersey not suffer structural problems due to their length?

But the ark that God wanted old Noah to build wasn't just to be for sunset dinner cruises. In Genesis 6:17 we learn of God's plans:

And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.

Did God really think this thing through? Did He seriously ask a 600 year old guy to build an unseaworthy vessel from an unknown wood, for the purpose of riding out a flood of Biblical proportions? Does God not think straight when He's pissed? And again this obsession to kill everything? Has God no compassion? What about the elderly or the little babies? Were their deaths to be the first case of collateral damage?

Then to make matters worse, God comes up with some more outrageous instructions for Noah. In Genesis 6:19 He hits Noah with this directive:

And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

How was Noah to choose which animals lived and which died? Were there animals that had found grace and others that indulged in wickedness? In Genesis 3:22 did Got not say that only He and man could tell good from evil? Again, why were the beasts and the creepy thing made to suffer, and why was Noah made the bad guy who had to choose?

And then, what about the hermaphrodites, such as snails? Can they not act as male and female? How could Noah tell which was which at what time? And how much free time did God think Noah had? In the next two verses God goes on to say that Noah had to take two of everything, including birds and creeping things, as well as food for the whole gang. Could God have not given Noah a hand, since they were walking around together all the time? And was there even room in the ark, despite its huge size, for so many creatures? Is this why we lost the big mammals, like the sabertooth tiger and the woolly mammoth? Could Noah not squeeze everybody on? Why did he pick on the big mammals to leave out and not those creepy things? If something had to be left behind, why not creepy things? Or viruses? Or bacteria?

Well, apparently God thought there was extra room in the ark, for He told Noah in Genesis 7:2-3 to take even more of the clean animals:

2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.

3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.

Now, what was the deal with the creatures by sevens, the male and his female? Was math different back then? Could 2 be divided into 7 evenly? Was it something that only God could do? If not, were there not some clean males hanging around without their females?

Despite the amount of time and manpower required, God was being impatient. In Genesis 7:4 He says:

For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights

Talk about unrealistic deadlines! How could a feeble old guy do all that in only seven days? Did God not realize that quality is often sacrificed for quantity? Was Noah allowed to work on the sabbath? Did God not forbid such activities under penalty of death? Did God really mean seven working days? What kind of shifts did Noah put in? Was overtime authorized? Were there any violation of the labor laws that went unreported?

See Part II for the Great Deluge

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Something Fishy

In Leviticus 11, God torments Moses and Aaron with a great list of creatures that may not be eaten because if their lack of cleanliness. Now I would have thought that all sea creatures would have been excluded from this list. I mean, how can they get dirty if they live in the water. However, in Leviticus 11:9-12 God says:

9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.

10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:

11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.

12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

So if this is the case, why do our supermarkets dedicate entire sections to seafood? How can America call itself a Christian nation if our television stations openly promote the consumption of unclean creatures, loathed by God? Why are our politicians not protecting us from Satan's temptation in our eating of fruits of the sea? Why do we have no say in our taxes being uses to support sinful industries such as those concerned with fishing for abominations? Was it Alaska's lucrative crab fishing industry that made Sarah Palin step down as governor of that state? In one of her many conversations with God, did He tell her how she was damning her own soul by ruling over such an impious group of people?

But what can we do as good Christians to stop this reviling of God? Must we launch a crusade to destroy such heathen establishments as Red Lobster and Long John Silver? Must we shun the people who frequent such Godless eating establishments, as they have come in contact with the carcasses of such abominable creatures as lobsters and shrimp? Should they all be excommunicated until they repent their evil ways? And then are we morally obligated to stone them or burn them while their souls are pure, lest they fall back into temptation?

But what exactly are we to eat that are in the waters? God has said that we shall eat whatsoever hath fins and scales. Does His use of the word shall over can mean that we are obligated? How can I know then, what does have scales and fins and what does not? Are all fish included in this Divine directive? But what about catfish? Is it not true that they have no scales? Are catfish an abomination unto me? Will I suffer eternally for eating them? Should I only eat sea creatures on which I can visibly see fins and scales? Some spawn of Satan always removes them from the fish in the Frozen Foods Aisle! How then can I protect myself? Should the USDA not require that the absence or presence of scales and fins be listed on all labels? And what about mermaids? They have visible scales and fins! Are they safe to eat? Can I trust the mermaid's endorsement on the cans of Chicken of the Sea? And what about Pepperidge Farm's Goldfish Crackers?

God does not only forbid our eating the unclean creatures of the waters; He says that they shall be an abomination unto us. Does this mean that I'm morally obligated to loathe and despise most marine life? Did George Bush not tell us that humans and fish can coexist?Was this a religiously inspired message? Was God speaking through Dubya? But what exactly did George mean by "fish?" Does "fish" mean all sea life, or only those with fins and scales? Are the scaley and finny ones our friends, while the others hate us for our religious freedoms? What actions should I take if I'm confronted with one? If I'm wading along the beach and I come upon a jellyfish floating by, can I coexist peacefully with it by simply giving it a wide berth, or must I smite it, considering the abomination that it is? But if I should smite it, will I not then be confronted with it's carcass, which is an abomination in itself? Am I screwed either way? Must I avoid the seashore? What about those small aquariums at doctor or dentist offices? If they contain abominations such as frogs or snails, must I shatter them in a zealous fervor?

And what am I to do about the influence of Hollywood on my children, with its endless production of godless cartoons? Disney gave us a little mermaid who should have been pleasing to God, considering that she had scales and some fins; but then they had her associating with an abominable crab! And Nemo, also sporting fins and scales, was forced to hang around with a vile sea turtle! How can I explain such blasphemy to my children?
How can I keep them from the evil influence of SpongeBob and his despicable finless cronies? Even the old cartoons such as Squiddly Diddly and Aquaman are abominations unto our children! Are there no fishy Christian productions that we as parents can turn to?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Resistance is Futile

In Matthew 5:39, Jesus tells us:

But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Was Jesus aware of our Constitutional Right to Bear Arms when He said this? Is Jesus telling me to sell my gun collection? Does the Second Amendment not protect us from Governmental takeover? How can I stop the minions of evil from pouring into my home if I must not offer any resistance? Will Jesus post guards at my door to protect me? But how can they offer protection if they too cannot offer resistance? Are those who protect us, like law enforcement officers, really operatives of Satan, blatantly defying Jesus's directives with our own tax money?

What about our military? Does their preserving our freedom piss Jesus off because they're resisting the terrorists? Should we call them all back home so as not to go against His teachings? Were we wrong in resisting the spread of Communism? Should we have invited Stalin and his cronies here after World War II? And did we let Jesus down in the Second World War as well? In our effort to save the world from Fascism, did we plunge ourselves into sin? Was Marshal P├ętain a model Christian for surrendering France to the Nazis? Should the French rightfully be called the Chosen people?

And what exactly does Jesus mean by resistance? Is the deadbolt on my front door not a means of resisting? Are my family and I living in sin every night when we bolt our door? Will I have to answer for this at the Judgement Day? Should I leave the front door open as proof that I'm offering no resistance? Should we open the borders as well? How can we call ourselves a Christian nation when we have controls in place to resist the illegal entry of evil? What must Jesus think of us?

How about sports? Are defensive positions sinful? Should the defensive line open up and allow the ball to be carried over the goal line with no resistance? Would Jesus then be cheering from His Throne? Is defensive driving wicked? If someone wishes to run me off the road, should I offer no resistance? Should I simply drive in a ditch to preserve my sole? Should I cancel my appointment for a flu shot? If I offer resistance to the virus, am I in danger of the eternal fires of hell? Should we lay to waste the clinics offering such shots?

How about Jesus's directive to turn the other cheek when we are smitten? Which cheeks are being referred to here? Or is "cheek" just a metaphor? Should we always offer more to whosoever shall smite us? When the Japanese smote our Pacific Fleet, should we have offered our Atlantic Fleet as well? When the terrorists knocked down the World Trade Center, should we have led them to the Empire State Building? If the opposing team scores a touchdown, must we offer them a field goal too?

Or is Jesus simply telling us to never be in a position where we're on the defensive? He gave no restrictions about being on the offensive! Are we morally obligated to launch preemptive strikes? Is God on our side only while we're winning? If we strike first, are our opponents morally obligated to offer us no resistance? Should we walk down the street kicking ass before our asses are kicked? Should we kick the other cheek as well when it's turned to us?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Family Feud

I've heard it said that the problems with families today is that they don't know Jesus. With that in mind, I decided to look up Jesus's teachings on the family. Luke and Matthew both have some memories on that subject to share with us. In Luke 12:51-53, Jesus says:

51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:

52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.

53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

Are those words not a bit harsh! Was Luke hitting the bottle on that day? Did he write things down incorrectly? Well, perhaps not, for Matthew remembers the same thing. According to Matthew 10:34-36, Jesus said:

34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

Different words but the same meaning. So then, how am I to follow the word of Jesus? What division is Jesus talking about? Is this a mathematical problem or is he dividing families? If it's families that will be against each other, could we just play something nice like touch football? Or maybe team Monopoly? How about dueling banjos?

Must I always have three against two? Could I not even the sides up by inviting another into this fracas? What do I do if my family consists of more or less than five? What about the father-in-law? Why is it that he is apparently allowed to escape unscathed? Can he not join in to make it three against three? Or does Jesus consider him untouchable? Can I maybe invite some other in-laws? Could I perhaps get some cousins to wait on the sidelines in case someone needs a bathroom break? Am I allowed wildcard players?

What about the mother? Why has she been given the worst deal? She has not only the daughter against her, but the mother-in-law as well! Must the rivalry always be divided along the lines of gender? Jesus has dictated that it shall be females against females and males against males, but are we allowed to make deals and trade players from time to time? Can we have some days when it's father against daughter and mother against son? Could the mother-in-law sort of play the field, helping the underdog?

But what about this sword that Jesus will send? Will it be one of those soft, styrofoam ones? Or will it be a rapier or a sabre, or possibly something heavy like a longsword? Should it be the latter and it prove too heavy for someone like the mother-in-law, can I use a designated hitter?

Couldn't someone get hurt if it's a real sword? Is that the whole idea? Luke seems to remember Jesus saying something else, in Chapter 14 Verse 26:

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Won't all that hatred ruin the Monopoly game? How can I make a deal about Park Place with someone who hates me? Must I hate everyone at the same time? Can I even things out by loathing one and therefore just being piqued with another? Do I have to hate the players on my own team too? How can I plan any strategy with my daughter-teammate if I know she hates me? Maybe she's planning some strategy against me? And what if I hate my son and take a sword to him? Will that be child abuse or is there a religious exemption? Is Jesus saying that spanking is cool? How is a victor determined? Is it last man standing? Are those killed in these family feuds dictated by Jesus granted automatic entry into heaven?

And what about hating my own life? Must I hate myself, or just the life? Must I hate it to the point of taking it? If we all want to take our lives to be Jesus's disciples, then isn't this advocating mass suicide of the whole human race? Is this how it's all supposed to end? Is this the only way to be a disciple of Jesus? Were Peter and all those others full of hatred too? Is that why they couldn't agree and allowed Paul (Saul) to take over? But if I hate my life, why would I care if it's saved by Jesus? Is this not a paradox?