Sunday, October 9, 2011

Today's Tom Sawyer

Today's Tom Sawyer

It's 4am here and this occurred to me strongly enough just now to have me say it just now.

For Vic, Ken and the rest of my Christian friends, as well as Michele, Kathryn, and others who get twitchy when I bring up the Bible.

I had breakfast with my friend Vic a little while ago and we had some of this conversation--I mean this conversation. The one we've been having if you've read any of this stuff around here, or if you've been to see me at my Facebook, or on the sidewalk or whatever. Vic is a Christian, and about as solid a practitioner as I've ever met. He "works" as a prayer director for one of the internationally influential untaxed Christian pseudo-businesses one might easily enough find scattered around town here in Colorado Springs. Years ago I lived in Lindale, Texas and I used to say Lindale was the buckle of the Bible Belt. Now that some of the big organizations down in Lindale have disappeared due to fraud and embezzlement and the like and some of the people I knew down in East Texas have moved to this very town, I sometimes say America's waistline has risen with age and the buckle has found a home in Colorado Springs.

Anyhow, Vic is an affable guy and a good friend and we had a good time over our platesful of arterial lubrication such as we Americans like to do at breakfast. He said he had read some here on these e-pages--I aaalmost cringed because of a certain propensity of mine. Then I remembered one of the axiomatic rules I've taught my kids since they started picking up English: "There's no such thing as a bad word, only bad timing."

It's time for this.

Vic said he found some of the thoughts he'd come across here, "interesting," and mused that I had a bone to pick with "organized religion," which is true, but hasn't really come up at hipgnosis just yet, I don't think. I cringed a bit at having utilized terms like "motherfuckah" while discussing a Bible tidbit known as the Beatitudes from a longer passage known as the Sermon on the Mount. It's one of those axiomatic sets of rules for lots of Christians, and for many who've never set foot in a Christian edifice as well. One finds the passage, (from the book of Matthew, chapter 5, in the Bible, if you're interested), hanging on wooden plaques and the like in people's living rooms and over their toilets and chapel entrances all over the world, and I suppose in every tongue still in print. I felt a familiar twinge of embarrassment at the time, that I get now and then from carry on so strongly about such grand subject matter knowing well that I'm no saint myself. So I brushed my way by that one at the time, and we went on with breakfast, and with other portions of the Conversation. That's why this is for Vic at the top of the page, not 'cause I mean to point him out as a prime exemplar or anything.

I have lots of Christian friends, and I often claim that very appellation amongst them, (though not so often amongst the "Romans"); some of them may now  think of me as shooting my own foot as I continue. I also have friends that are occultist dope fiends. They'll find this bit rather more amusing, I expect, but I'll implicate myself with them too, when I get a round tuit. This is not about organized religion--it's personal, you see, and directed at people I know, among others  including myself where it applies, by which I mean, "where it applies." Not, "where it applies unless it's uncomfortable to apply it there like Mercurochrome or something."

Christians are full of shit as a defining point--the idea of Christian full-of-shitness is all over the New Testament. Many if not most of them have not the merest clue about their own doctrine and those that do spend hours and hours at intricately complex and totally reducible discussions about irreducible complexity and such while ignoring the business of Love so central to their own foundations. (Recall my comments about pseudo-statements now, if you will). One of the so-called Ten Commandments reads, "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain," in that poetic old Frank Bacon English I love so much, (Exodus 20:7, if you give a damn). I'm not gonna dig out a Hebrew lexicon to make this point, and some translations say "misuse" or something instead of " vain". Whatever. You Christians quit tapdancing and think about this.

Just about any Christian will get at least a little uncomfortable if you say, "God damn it." There are injunctions in the doctrine warning them away from curses, as well as oaths, unpiloted tongues, and "coarse language". They don't so often know the difference and figure this sort of thing for "taking the LORD's name in vain." Think about this: When a woman marries a man in most contemporary societies, she takes his name, (though this is no longer so mandatory as it had been given the slow and incremental abandonment of the notion of women as property in vogue these days). If a woman, say, marries some patriarchal Dude and then goes to work for some pimp on the side, she's taken Dude's name in vain. So when Christians do their little equivocation around points in their own bedrock supposedly established by Gawd Himself and endorsed by His Only Begotten where they've not-quite-deliberately, (that's a dance move called an "NQD" in the studios, BTW), failed even to drill for pylons, they join the Golden Calf Party and according to their own lore will be consumed in the fires as they fall through the very fissure in that bedrock I describe here now.

This is the same sort of thing going on when a guy zips up his fly after reading about turning the other cheek and steps out to shoot his quota of Afghans for the day. Or votes a "hawk" into office at his 8-year-old's school assembly room. Or works up a smokin' hot head of steam about the crackhead that broke into his garage to feed a real live demon that lives in any crackhead's pocket and gets real hungry and cranky, (snicker), when its belly is empty. And practicing the sort of bullshit Christianity that allows for this sort of Gene Kelly move is like sailing down the mighty Mississip' on a flat Tom Sawyer raft made of the concrete that you ought to have been using to build your foundation instead. You're already at the bottom of the river and the Water of Life is flowing right by your drowned bones.

I'll be danged...the Sun is coming up over a fine Colorado Sunday morning and I've just come to wrapping up a genuine sermon, complete with brimstone. Who'da thunk it?

Pay attention Christian: The World doesn't hate you because you bring Jesus up all the time. It hates you because you sully a beautiful thing. It hates you because you're an abject hypocrite, the worst variety of an asshole! And they can smell it, even if they can't articulate the thought. And none of this is wrong; the fact that it's coarse is a separate matter. I may have blown my disguise for's OK, I'm still pretty clear with my own notion of where I stand, and this is for you at least as much as it's for my own amusement. To paraphrase Gandhi, "I'd be a Christian if it weren't for the God-damn Christians." That nor any of the above has nothing at all to do with whether I'm actually a Christian or not, nor does it have to do with "religion", organized or otherwise. It's about that personal relationship you guys keep talking about. It's dysfunctional, Yo, and it's up to you to straighten yours out while I worry about my own.


  1. Hey Steve.
    I am the Steve that preaches the Gospel downtown. An interesting blog post, but not sure what point you are trying to make. Jesus said that they world will hate you(Christians) and I know that comes with the territory. This seems true in your post, as you don't even know me, but you say that you hate me. I have come down to the Park and proclaimed the truth of the Gospel. It is not about me, as my heart is corrupt, just like yours. Please understand that we are not down there to show what great people we are, but to show how great God is. God has saved me in spite of my sins, and He can save you too.

    Keep warm! See you soon. Repent and believe the Gospel!

    God bless,
    Steve Johnson

  2. Oh, Steve. We need to talk, brother. Point out that spot where you find me saying i hate you. I don't see it. It's not explicit here, but allow me to make it so: the common conception of the Gospel is crap, and fosters hatred all around. You have claimed this "gospel." I hate that you've missed the boat, and i hate you not one jot or tittle. And the world does not hate you because Jesus said they would. You know where to find me--do come visit. We'll get away from all the noise some, if it will help.

  3. Thanks Steve!
    Yes, let's talk. I have to say, however, that your blog post specifically points out that Christians are all hypocrites and a**holes. That is a very personal attack on me. When you reject the Gospel, you reject God who you will have to face when you die. If you want to spew your hate, please include the God who made you and loved you enough to send His Son to die for your sins. My words are only that of God's Word and if you have an issue with them, take it up with God. I am not judging you, but you are judging me. Why not take all this up with the Creator, Sustainer, Lawgiver and Judge of the universe. He has done so much for you and you hate Him anyway. His gift of eternal life is one that He gives freely, but cost Him dearly. You can reject it, but you have heard the truth. You will be reminded of the truth when you face God. Humble yourself and repent today. Trust Christ and receive the gift of eternal life. Do it today and live.

  4. Steve, thanks for coming by again; i think you may have missed the significance of this statement:"This is not about organized religion--it's personal, you see, and directed at people I know, among others including myself where it applies, by which I mean, 'where it applies.' Not, 'where it applies unless it's uncomfortable to apply it there like Mercurochrome or something.'"

    Truly, this was a bit of pretty strong writing, and i could have been more...diplomatic. I have been aplenty though, to no avail, and if nothing else the aggression in those words established a dialogue between the two of us.

    I am indeed pointing out that ALL Christians are hypocrites, though you missed my suggestion that this is supported in the Bible. "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" did Paul bewail in Ro 7:24. Why so, do you suppose? I suggest that he knew his own soul well enough to recognize its essential hypocrisy. I further suggest that the overall state of Christianity is very much in the vein of the relationship of "The Pharisee [who] stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican," in Lu 18:11.

    If you fall under none of the applicable definitions, why there is no need to apply them, eh? I'm a bit suspicious, granted, but my opining affects your position in the overall Universe not one iota, nor does it contain hatred or its expression.

    Frankly I strongly suspect that Christians often court hatred, at least unconsciously, by failing to deliver their points with any tempering of Love whatsoever. in fact this is at the core of the premise behind "Today's Tom Sawyer." Don't overbroaden that statement when you personalize it though--I did note that your position with the crowd at the streetcorner there shifted substantially toward the favorable when you changed your presentation at the end, when i last saw you there.

    Finally, for now, the comment boxes are probably not the best forum for a necessarily much longer discussion about why i see no reason whatsoever to assume the Bible is any closer to the Source than any other sacred writing, and that falling back to that eroded fortress is a very poor means for effecting a reasoned stand indeed, even if i am utterly wrong in former assessment. I'll get to that beyond the bare mention i've given the thought elsewhere in the blog in subsequent posts.

    For now--the invitation to talk stands. I mean to make it to your church if i ever find time, but you are welcome to contact me through the messenger at to set up something privately, (which i can be more likely to attend). I promise, i don't hate you. I won't promise not to issue strong statements though, given that after all i'm kind of an asshole.

  5. Thanks Steve. Yes, let's talk. You are right, though. I am a hypocrite. As well as a liar, a thief, and all those things...just like everyone else. But God has saved me in spite of myself. I ask you, in love, to repent of your sins and trust Christ to be saved. You will still be a hypocrite, and a liar and all those things(like me), but you will be less than you were before. This is because you have been give a new heart and a hate for those sins. Do it today and live!

  6. So, sadly, Stephen Johnson has abandoned our little game and i'm only having a conversation with myself when i mention this now. I was going to say i don't know why the business of taking God's name in vain irks me so, but i guess i do. God, being Love, possesses a specific character, even though we have trouble parsing its finer points. When we divert our concerns to silly bullshit we miss the one boat that actually still holds water--follow? My friend Ken has simply insisted during conversation that it matters not what i say, he will continue to believe that cursing: "God damn it," amounts to the taking of the Lord's name in vain. If you've read all the way down to here you may understand that it does indeed, but not because that curse defines the phrase. It does, however exemplify an abandonment of Love. How can one beseech God to damn another out of Love? One simply cannot. This bit helps add flesh to the notion; from Proverbs 30:
    7 "Two things have I required of thee;
    deny me them not before I die:
    8 remove far from me vanity and lies:
    give me neither poverty nor riches;
    feed me with food convenient for me:
    9 lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord?
    or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.