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Sunday, March 08, 2009

To be a jalapeño or fishflakes?

The problem that i see with bludgeoning someone with a point is that there comes a moment when you have driven the point home perfectly, they get it, no further shillelagh work is necessary, message received, please stop.  But unless the subject cries "uncle," or "aunt" or "mom" or "total stranger who i just met at random due to a Google search!"  The point maker is likely to continue the battering well past this all critical moment and with each subsequent blow actually degrade their pupil's ability to retain knowledge.  It's a philosophical conundrum, that's for sure.

So, as i look around for my tomahawk, if your skull's feeling a bit like a brown banana you might want to duck into some LOLcats or iTunes or something.  Or better yet, try some reality television, that stuff is guaranteed to calcify the interior of the old brainbox.  Sort of your noodle's natural defenses taking over.

i have spent a large portion of my life wondering what i'm for.  Since i have no trouble believing that there is a God, He loves me and has a purpose for my life as well as everything He does, it seemed an appropriate use of my time and energy.  The problem is, it isn't.

All that time thinking about my purpose became time thinking about me.  i became the focus.  In short, because i wasn't doing something i wanted to do, i assumed i was doing something wrong.  And i was, but the wrong thing i was doing wrong wasn't the right thing.  You see?  Why do you look all bruised and mushy?  As i've chronicled here ad nauseum, i was waiting for a change in circumstances.  A change in environment to lift me out of the malaise i was in and transport me to some higher ground and some Fricken shaped niche that i was designed to fill and i would suddenly blossom like Baryshnikov discovering ballet, into who i was meant to be.  And more importantly, start enjoying this life i'd been given.  

Well, if you take that thought and plant some peppers, frijoles and corn with it, you should get some real good chimichangas by fall.  God has planted you, my hot little jalapeños, in exactly the garden he wanted you in, all we have to do is stop spewing fertilizer and bask in His light and soak up His Living Water.  'fore you can say, "yo quiero Taco Bell," you'll be spicing up whatever batch of chili life whips up.  i guaran-fricken-tee it.  How can i be so sure?  One word:

Jonah.

It's a familiar story, even pagans can summarize it.  But in case there aren't any pagan's around to explain it to you, i'll sum it up real quick.  

God said, "Go here, do this," to Jonah.
Jonah said, "blow it out your ear."  Then he went down dockside, found a boat going to edge of the known universe and he was out of there.  Along comes a storm.  Now the sailors in this boat, they knew how to handle this situation.  They threw everything overboard to lighten the ship, did all their sailor-y stuff, battened some hatches, furl't the mains'l and all that.  When that didn't work and it became obvious the ship was in danger they started praying to their gods, the gods of their own understanding.  No atheists in foxholes or foundering ships apparently.  When that failed to appease Triton they searched the ship and found Jonah sleeping.  "Dude!  Wake up!  Pray to your god, maybe he's got some pull with the mountains of water trying to bury us!"  They drag Jonah up on deck and they determine that someone has truly teed the gods off.  So they cast lots, draw straws, roll dice, flip a coin, play a quick game of hackey-death and surprise, surprise, hello Jonah.

Jo 'fesses up.  The sailors ask, "alright, cool, what do we do to make this stop?"
"Simple, throw me in."
Now, i dunno about you but i chalk being swallowed up by the sea right up there with falling backwards off the slide, being caught in a bear trap in bear country and slowly being compressed into a jello cube on my least favorite ways to check out list.  i don't think Jo would have gotten past the word "throw" before he was practicing his doggie paddle had i been there.  But these sailors were actually pretty human dudes.  Even after he told them this they went back to trying to muscle their way out of the storm to shore.  As we know, it doesn't work, the sailors reluctantly toss him overboard and Jonah gets to be grouper chow.  The storm stops and the sailors convert to Judaism on the spot, offering sacrifices and vows to the God of the Hebrews.

So the Moral of the Story is…do what God tells you to do or He’ll kick your butt.  Yeah, maybe.  But recently he gave me something else to chew on.  He told me that He loved a bunch of scruffy sailors.  And that he used Jonah to present the Gospel to those sailors.  He showed them that they needed to be saved.  He showed them that their gods couldn’t do that saving.  He told them that someone had to die for them to be saved.  Still they tried to do it on their own, well-intentioned works!  "No God, killing is wrong!  We can try harder!  We’ll get it right this time!"  But in the end, someone had to die.  Someone willing and those sailors got it.  And He got all that done, not with some great champion of the faith who lived a blameless life, but with a grumbly, disobedient, self-centered jerk who didn't want to go where God put him and do what God told him to do.  And I find that very encouraging.

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