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Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Got two topics today. Not sure how much i have to say on either one but i do know that i could probably blather on about having two topics for a nauseatingly long time before someone of you would get in your car, come here to the coop and bludgeon me about the head and shoulders in an altruistic and much needed effort to stop the madness.

Therefore, topic number one.

i've been aware of the shift for some time. Picture yourself in a room, a gymnasium perhaps, with about two hundred and fifty million other people. You are all facing north. You are all one arms length from your nearest neighbors and evenly spaced to form ranks and files. You form a single entity in some ways, though made up of two hundred and fifty million separate parts. Anything that happens in that gymnasium will effect you all. Now, let's suppose that someone, number three hundred and seventy-eight thousand, two hundred and twenty six over there along the westernmost wall, let's suppose he farts. You didn't smell it but you heard it and the rumor coming along the ranks and files is that it's a bad one. A real stinker. Next thing you know, you look around and no one is near you anymore. Hardly anyone is still in rank and file. In fact, they're all milling about by the eastern wall, pretending they're not in the gymnasium anymore.

On second thought, that's a horrible analogy. Let's toss that one and start over. On third thought. Let's not. Let's turn that offal into the analogy. i, scruffy, have made a bad analogy. My name is now forever tainted with that degrading piece of brussel sprout. If i now CHANGE my name, does it somehow go away? Am i now better cuz i'm going by the name of slovenly? No! It's ridiculous. It's spin. Changing my name neither erases nor disavows me of my earlier cock-ups. A rose by any other name will still reek of cow-pie if you drag it through pasture.

i guess i first noticed this trend in regards to Americans. When did being an American become a sign of disgrace and embarrassment? In this form, the tendency to deny one's identity out of shame only tickled my grumpy bone, i'm not a flag waving jingoist. i'm eight generation American, was born here, will most likely die here and have no problems with that but that's me. You wanna call yourself a Slobovian-American because your great-grandpapa rode over on a boat and loudly proclaim that you voted democrat so everyone will think that somehow your not involved in all the ugliness then fine. Good luck with that. Tell Sean Penn i said, pblbpblt.

When my dander really got up though. (There's an expression that has possibly outlived it's relevance.) When this self-delusion really hit home for me though was when i started hearing it from christians.

No wait, they're Jesus-followers now. Or was it Jesusians? How about cock-a-mamies. When did Christian become a bad word? And how does calling yourself something different fix any of the problems, PR or otherwise, that christians may have? Maybe i'm an idealist but wasn't the entire point of christianity, the whole flippin' grande enchillada carne Jesu about how "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us..."??? Our sins are forgiven, both past and future. The ones we committed before we were followers of Christ or little christs or "christians" AND the ones we committed and will keep committing despite our greatest wishes or most fervent attempts, since we became christians. If we don't like a couple of folk who are abusing the name christian, or if we don't want to be associated with some brothers and sisters in Christ who publicly display un-Christlike behavior, how does changing our name solve this? In point of fact i would venture to say that it sends exactly the wrong message. Cover up your sins, change your name, pretend they never will all blow over in time. We're not with those people.


We don't cover our sins. God does, with his son's perfect sacrifice. And not when they are hidden, but when our sins, public and private are exposed. The debts they incurred, the damage they did not whisked away with a feather duster but paid in full, healed, cured, completely, fairly adjudicated by The Judge of the Universe. Then and only then do we get a new name, because then and only then will we be a new creation. We're christians because we admitted that we need that and that only Christ can accomplish it. And trying to hide behind a new name only proves the point. i could go on from here but i'd just be repeating things Pastor Billy already has on mp3 files in the Spiritual Stuff section.

Second topic will have to wait...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Goin' for a walk

Sing it with me... It's the most..fra-antic time..of the year!

The mad scramble has begun. When the tree is put up and decorated not on a day chosen by family tradition or greatest symbolic effect but by the iron dictates of the almighty schedule. Christmas is still two weeks away and yet, as i take this one sadly short moment of relative calm to view the river of life as it rages past me in a mud churning, tree uprooting, furious torrent that rails against its banks and carries all with it to the inevitable waterfall at the end...
As i stand here mesmerized by its irresistable force, its overt malevolence, its ruthless efficiency as it carries all of humanity downriver in a primal roar...
As i watch some poor souls tumble, some float face down, others clutch whatever piece of flotsom in their lives that has held them up for this long, while others cling to each other, little colonies using collective buoyancy to form human rafts, other vicious souls climb on top of the weak or the willing...
Every once in a short while, some torpedo, a tree, a rock or car or house, comes ripping through the struggling swimmers and knocks them loose from their securities, proving them false. They scream for as long as their heads remain above water and then begins the terrified search for some other method of staying afloat...
And here i stand on the bank for just a few more precious minutes in my luau trunks, snorkel and rubberduckie floatie ring. i say a little prayer, probably not unlike the one said by Peter before he hopped out of the boat that night. i take a deep breath. Closing my eyes just makes the roar of the mad river that much more vivid, the screams of those who fear losing the fight accost my faith so i open them again and stare eye to uncaring cataract of the beast and as the Lord makes me able...

i step out onto the water.

Merry Christmas.