Okay folks, turn on your sarcasm detectors. In the past I’ve done some verbal sparring over things I’ve written elsewhere. Most of the attacks have hit nothing sensitive because people make shallow assumptions about me. Rather than answer each attack by pointing out how they missed their target, I felt it would save time and effort to address the issues recurring most frequently. This way, people who want to object to what I have to say can stop wasting time. At the same time, everyone else can get a rough idea what makes me tick.
One of my favorite pretend games is imagining I am a real writer. A few of my contemptible scribblings actually get published on a webzine called Open for Business. For some crazy reason, the guy who runs it thinks my stuff is good enough he gave me a title: Associate Editor. It’s a slick way of getting just a little bit more attention when I write to honestly important people. So while there are some benefits to this position, I’m not paid a dime for my work.
In fact, I don’t do much of anything to earn any kind of pay. I’m a disabled veteran, and I get paid to sit on my duff and do nothing — your American tax dollars at work. There was nothing even remotely heroic associated with my disability rating. It’s mostly the result of birth defects the Army didn’t detect until after I had served awhile. They were willing to let me stay in longer, but only because they desperately needed warm bodies with some rank (I made it all the way up to Sergeant E-5) in my job specialty: Military Police.
Yeah, I was paid to be an annoying government thug. I wasn’t too good at it because I had a conscience about such things. I kept stopping to think, and governments don’t like for their thugs to think. Meanwhile, I learned all about the sort of people who rise to the top of bureaucracies. Most of them deserve to be shot on sight. The system would have spat me out sooner or later, because I would eventually have refused to do something senseless and oppressive, and I was too honest.
Sure, I could make a good living. In the past I worked in public education with certification in Social Studies (History, Economics, Geography, Political Science). I loved the kids, and loved the subject matter — earning a 4.0 in pedagogy and content classes, both — but I hated the system. Right now a company is begging me to work for them at some $20/hr. or more. The work is embarrassingly easy, and even fun. But a part of the job requires I turn a blind eye to fraud, waste and abuse. I can’t do it. I’d rather live in poverty so I can sleep with a clean conscience at night. Instead, I spend my mornings with my make-believe writing career. Then around noon, I get on my bicycle and ride 10 miles to a friend’s house. He’s nearly blind, and some five days each week I help him get stuff done, run errands, keep his computer running, and mostly just keep him sane as a friend. He pays me a little, but I would do it for nothing. Friends are a lot more important than money. (He died after I first wrote this.)
Then I ride home just about in time for dinner. It’s a rough, hilly route, taking me about an hour each way. Mostly I spend the time thinking. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the majestic failures of my nation, particularly the government. Of course, in theory, it requires the people’s acquiescence. Even if they were lied to, that’s no excuse for lacking skepticism. All humans fail, most are pretty weak and passive, and plenty are just plain evil. So our nation is going down the tubes, and I suspect our so-called Western Civilization is right behind it.
That’s probably just, since Western Civilization is founded on lies. There is this broad assumption human reason can handle everything. No doubt we could eventually figure out the mechanics of everything observable, but the most important stuff can’t be observed or tested. The real essence of reality can only be revealed, and only the Creator knows what can be revealed. Yeah, I’m one of those committed Christian types who refuse to entertain questions about our accountability to the Bible. I have a degree in Religion from a Baptist college. However, I’m not the kind of Fundie who calls the Bible “infallible” because that misses the point. Actually, that sort of thinking reflects a deep infection of Western rational thought. I adhere to the Hebraic cultural logic of the Bible, which is quite different from what most Western Evangelicals teach.
The entire frame of reference in most Western Christianity is rooted in Aristotle and Aquinas. Some branches are more Platonic, but equally mistaken. The Bible assumes a much higher logic. It’s not about what things do, or what is their nature (“being”), but about serving. The focus is on the process, the manner of doing, and questions of being are ludicrous. It matters not what you do or what you are, only whom you serve. That’s just the starting point, and it would take a whole library to explain the differences between Western Christian assumptions and those of the culture from which the Bible was written.
I suppose one thing I teach which most Christians would recognize is the vast difference between those who serve Christ and those who do not. You can’t choose to serve Him. If He doesn’t choose you, it won’t happen. That’s because your spirit is dead until He brings it to life with the presence of His Spirit. Until that happens, you can’t possibly comprehend what the Bible is about. Oh, you’ll believe you got it, but you really can’t get it. You are either inside Him or outside. Nor does that imply some snotty superiority, since not one of us earns anything. We remain pretty useless, except in those times when the power of His Spirit makes things work. The only thing we can contribute to the process comes from Him in the first place: a desire to please Him and serve Him.
If your arguments against my work don’t take into account the unique logic of the Bible, you lose automatically. Not because I don’t understand common analytical logic, but because I know its limits. I can be wrong all day long, and I’ll be the first to admit it when you show me. However, my God is never wrong. While it’s quite certain I don’t understand everything about Him and His revelation, I do understand what He demands of me at any given time. When you attack something I understand is required by Him, you become a sad and silly joke. Don’t waste your breath, because I’ll be dead before my commitment changes.
Frankly I expect to die over that very thing. The history of the world runs in cycles, and right now it’s running against people with my kind of commitment to God. Unlike others, I don’t consider abstract notions like Liberty worth dying for, so I won’t be fighting for it. I have no fear of incarceration, slavery or death. However, there are some folks in this world for whom I cannot make that decision. Talk all you want about abstract rights, but I don’t really care — when any thug attacks an innocent life, it’s my duty to intervene if I can. It won’t matter if that thug wears a government badge of authority, I recognize no human authority which contradicts my best understanding of what God requires of me. Given our long slide into a police state has just about reached the point of no return, I feel it’s likely I’m going to die in the near future protecting someone from oppression.
I’m looking forward to it. There’s really not all that much in this world which holds me.