Month: July 2014

Day 137

I just read a really terrifying article sent to me by my partner. Basically it outlines how the Western standard 40-hour work week is designed to limit people’s free time and consign them to living out their leisure time on weekends and evenings, where instead of spending quality time doing enjoyable things for free (reading a book, walking through a park, etc.), people spend money to be highly entertained for a short period.

What a sad article. What a sad reality.

“All of America’s well-publicized problems, including obesity, depression, pollution and corruption are what it costs to create and sustain a trillion-dollar economy. For the economy to be ‘healthy’, America has to remain unhealthy. Healthy, happy people don’t feel like they need much they don’t already have, and that means they don’t buy a lot of junk, don’t need to be entertained as much, and they don’t end up watching a lot of commercials.”

— David Cain, raptitude.com

This kind of thing is a reminder of why I hate dislike strongly disagree with (screw it I’m going to go with) hate our consumer culture. The problem with a self-interested capitalism, in my book, is that people are assholes. Sinners yes, but assholes more so.

I deleted a big impending rant about “rich people” because I’m just angry. I don’t want to hate on people who want money and security and all that. I think they’re wrong, in that money will not bring happiness or security, but whatever. (As an aside, do I want to make enough money to be able to travel and do fun things? Yes. I don’t want to be a hypocrite here but I mean there has got to be some kind of reasonable limit. Also, I really respect Bill Gates, because he’s a prime example of someone who is rich as f*** but uses his money and influence to do good things in the world. /aside)

Ultimately, successful businesses do hire more people and give others an opportunity to make money. Cool on that. But if all it does is perpetuate a cycle of spiritual poverty then what is the point?

Some days I want to move to a commune. Some days I want to start a commune.

I just want to gaze into my navel and see God there. Is that so much to ask? 😉


Numbers 20

The people cry out again about being stuck in the wilderness, wondering why there is no water and no food. Moses and Aaron, clearly the “Buddy Cop” duo of this whole story go talk to God once again.

God tells Moses to take his rod and go speak to a rock and the rock will bring forth water for the people. Moses and Aaron go back to the people and I think they have reached their breaking point. Moses condemns the people and declares in Numbers 20:10,

“Must we bring water for you out of this rock?”

The rock, sure enough, cracks open and water spills out, enough for the people and their livestock to drink. But God is not happy.

The problem here is that Moses and Aaron took credit for the whole thing and failed to glorify/acknowledge the Lord. They did not “hallow [Him] in the eyes of the children of Israel” (Numbers 20:12).

For the rest of the chapter, Moses tries to negotiate passage through the land of Edom (ruled by descendents of Esau, who I totally forgot about) and is denied. So Israel journeys elsewhere and ends up at Mount Hor, where God tells Aaron to prepare to die.

The priesthood is transferred to Eleazar, Aaron’s son, and Aaron dies upon the mountain, paying in blood the cost of his rebellion.

Day 136

Hey, check that out! I come back and the fan (???) had blown the pages of my Bible back to Genesis 40, which talks about Joseph and his whole dream-interpretation thing in Egypt, which coincidentally I just talked about with the Jehovah’s Witnesses this morning! I think they think they’re getting closer and closer to converting me. I don’t see that happening, and I don’t think God does either, but I do enjoy the talks.

Man, I feel like I had some really profound revelation earlier today but I can’t remember what it was! That’s going to irritate me.

The best I can remember is that there is another verse 3:16 that I learned about today, as opposed to the popular one from John. The JW showed me this today, and I’ll quote from their translation:

“All scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”

— 2 Timothy 3:16-17

I like this verse because it almost makes the origin of the Bible irrelevant as the subject of argument. All scripture is inspired of God. Done and done. But not only that! Because it is so inspired, it is beneficial in many ways. I have heard Christians liken the Bible to an owner’s manual for life. I can see that. It just takes time and patience to learn how to read it.

Alright, down to business.

Numbers 19

God’s commandment here is to slaughter and burn a red heifer so that it’s ashes can be used for purification. There is a whole step-by-step process on how to do this right.

This chapter is some very interesting fodder for people who talk about old religious prescriptions as having healthy and practical purposes: in this case, God discusses the fact that handling a dead body makes one unclean, or that if a person dies in a tent, anything stored in an open container is now unclean. This sounds like the kind of thing we know from modern medicine: dead people rot and carry diseases.

I wonder if the ashes of the cow somehow had a soapy or cleansing effect. Perhaps I’m reading too much into things.

Anyway, I’m seriously falling asleep in the chair, so I’m going to bed.

Sleep well, and peace be upon you.

Day 135

Numbahs! Numbahs everywhere! So this was supposed to be yesterday’s, and then I’ll also do today’s… and by the time I’m done, tomorrow will be today, but then I’ll do that today’s post later.

Capisce?


Numbers 18

Sometimes I just want to write these like crappy middle-school essays: “Numbers 18 is a very good chapter. I liked Numbers 18 because it has Aaron and Moses. Aaron and Moses are brothers.” Etc., etc.

So the deal here is that God tells Aaron that hey, his line pretty much has to bear all the responsibility for the tabernacle and will “bear the iniquity associated with [their] priesthood.” (Numbers 18:1) And God gave to his family the Levites to do all the heavy lifting.

God describes here that the service of the Levites and the priesthood are “gifts.” It should be seen as a Good Thing when God entrusts us with responsibility. The work will not always be easy but the benefits are excellent: God gives the hard tasks to those He trusts.

Also, speaking of benefits, God outlines all the fringe bonuses to taking on this extreme level of responsibility. Aaron and his sons, as priests, get this laundry list of stuff that they get from all the tithes and offerings and what have you. The catch here is that they don’t get any land as an inheritance, since all the duties and offerings and such are that inheritance.

God then reminds them to make sure to always offer the best parts, the consecrated parts to God, and then to keep what is left. Because seriously, God will fry you if you mess this up. There is no room for error.

See you at Numbers 19!

 

Day 134

It’s quarter after 2 in the morning. I want nothing more than to go to sleep. So why am I here, writing this blog? Essentially, God told me to.

I thought about whether or not I should do it tonight or tomorrow, because I know that tonight I’d just half-ass it since I’m so tired. I told Him as much. He already knows (duh).

His reasoning, apparently, is that I need to understand what I’m going to put my clients through tomorrow. See, I work with kids in behavioral health, and after some rough spots this weekend of them not listening to me, I need to meet with some of them tomorrow and re-establish some stricter expectations and consequences. In the end, it’ll be better for everyone: less stress for me because they’ll be more obedient and less tension for them since they’ll know exactly where the expectations and boundaries are. I want to run a well-oiled machine.

I’m sure some of you drew a pretty clear parallel between the above paragraph and the way God works. Since I’m going to ask these kids to lower their expectations of “basic” pleasures (games, ice cream, fatty foods, etc) and put in some work, God needed me to know what a pain in the ass that was. So here I am, after 2 in the morning, my body crying for a good night’s sleep (curse my poor time management), and I’m blogging.

When I started this post, the clock on this computer read 3:16. For some reason the computer is stuck in the wrong time zone and it’s an hour fast. Thanks, God, for the slightly snarky reminder.

I tell you people, it never ends.

Numbers 17

Let the half-assing begin! It’s a verb now. Deal with it.

God is sick of all this nonsense and arguing, so He has all these leaders prepare a rod with their name on it, one for each of the twelve houses. The rods are to go inside the tabernacle. In the morning, Aaron’s rod has not just blossomed as God promised, but had sprouted, budded, blossomed, and produced almonds. Delicious!

Moses takes these rods out, shows everyone Aaron’s rod (heh heh) with the blossoms and such on it, and the people kind of freak out. To be fair, several dozen people just got consumed in fire, three families were swallowed by the earth, and several thousand people died of a wrathful plague, all within the past few days.

ohnoesSo yeah, the people are pretty much convinced that they’re going to die. At this point, I think several thousand dead has finally made them realize how seriously God takes this “sin” business, especially the bits where His chosen people don’t even listen to Him.

Here I am, God. I feel like such an unappreciative child, but can I please go to bed now?

https://i2.wp.com/img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140401010012/disneycreate/images/6/64/Doctor_Who_yes_2.gif

Peace be upon you. 😉

Day 133

Went to church this morning. I don’t know if I was tired or what but it was not as emotional but it was enlightening. As an update/continuation from yesterday, I did indeed dream last night. It was a dream of war and international strife. I’m not so sure it was an actual war, though, because despite being decked out in combat gear and getting ready to get into a combat-ready vehicle, I think my “unit” was going to bring aid to some area hit by a natural disaster.

It was interesting.

But, in relation to my dream (and last night’s weather), I learned that James and John, two of the Apostles, were called by Jesus the “Sons of Thunder.” Apparently it is suspected that a) this has to do with their temperament or that b) the transliteration is not entirely accurate. I might say a little of both.

The word “revival” was in my head today at church. It’s a good description of my vision of the future, in terms of faith, but it’s already been appropriated and given meaning by various Christian sects. The other thing I got out of church came directly from the sermon, which spoke about finding God’s purpose for oneself.  The pastor talked about how in the Bible, there are many stories about someone waiting and having patience for God to act through them, but the pastor mentioned that it’s not just waiting — another term that is used is preparing.

It gave me a good perspective on my blog: perhaps this three year endeavor is preparation. For what, I can only guess. I sort of hope it’s in line with my vision, but I know that whatever God has me do will be good. He and I had a productive talk last night. I still have a lot to work on. A lot to prepare for.

The other thing, that came into my head while I was driving around for work today was a sort-of answer to a question I’ve had for a long time. So the conundrum goes like this:

The Bible exists. I’m staring at one now.

I have no way of knowing if anything (in general, but that’s another story) that happened in the past is actually true, therefore I can’t know that the Bible is true.

And then it goes on like: then why is it so important? Do I accept it just because I have no reason to believe otherwise? At that point, wouldn’t I believe anything that is equally a) distant in time and b) irrefutable?

So phooey on all that. I mean I know at some point, theoretically, people had to be around to witness events and write them down and its possible that they got embellished over time but how on earth do you explain something like the resurrection being written down but not actually happening because it seems like the kind of thing people would remember very clearly and the issue is that that event is like the whole crux (no pun intended) of Christianity but on the other hand even though overt miracles like that don’t really seem to happen any more the truth of the matter to me seems to be that every moment of our lives is miraculous and who are we as mortals to say that one miracle is more or less miraculous than any other but how in the world do you explain the resurrection using any kind of science because what the eff unless of course Jesus actually was God at which point I guess anything is possible but that can never be proven so then it all has to be accepted on faith which to an outside observer means and does nothing but the truth of the matter is that faith makes real changes in people’s lives.

Yeah, it’s a run-on sentence. What of it?

Anyway, the sort-of answer I got about all this is that ultimately I believe it because I want to believe it. But why? Couldn’t I then believe anything I “wanted” to believe? Isn’t that what everyone does?

So then the next question was, “Why should I want to believe it?” And the answer is tied to what I wrote above about faith: because of what it means to people, what it means to me. It is a transformative faith, one that brings about the betterment of human beings, individually and as a whole. We can be so much more than what we are, and this faith, this book elaborates on how and why that is as well as why we should seek to grow and how to achieve that growth.

I used to believe that we are who we are, and that’s okay. As I’ve said, there’s no guilt in who we are, but we should have the good sense to look higher, look at the possibilities of what could be, and have the good sense to be ashamed of our miserable state. People can suffer so much and yet never seek to change. The Bible has been good to me thus far, and God in combination with the book have done great things in my life. I want to see God do great things in other people’s lives too.

Numbers 16

Rekris. I click away for like a minute and come back and realize how much I wrote. This is part of why I didn’t originally want to do this tonight. Of course, if I weren’t distracted by the rest of the internet I’d probably be fine. Or I’d find a different distraction. My brain is dying fast; I’m super tired and going to wrap this up.

Basically, a bunch of Levites call out Moses saying essentially that they want to take over the priesthood and that Moses can shove it up his ass. So Moses tells them, alright, you’re-so-smart, get your holy censers and your incense and the 250 of you meet me at the tabernacle in the morning.

So this happens. And predictably, God shows up and tells Moses and Aaron to go right ahead and step back because He’s gotta waste some fools. “Consume them in a moment,” He says in Numbers 16:21.

Moses and Aaron convince God to dial it back a notch and just deal with those responsible. So everyone backs up from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, the three guys behind this whole debacle. Moses, says look, if I’m not the appointed priest, then these men and their families will die a nice natural death. But if I am, then they’re about to get eaten by the earth.

I’ll give you three guesses as to what happens, and the first two don’t count.

The ground shakes and caves in right below their tents. Them, their stuff, their families, just gone. So the people start freaking out and scattering, but… God just smokes em. Every one of the 250 dissenters is fried by holy fire. Oh, and Aaron takes the consecrated censers to hammer them into a covering for the altar, so commandeth the Lord.

Anyway, the next day, the congregation comes to Moses and Aaron and complains about all the people who died the previous day. God has had about enough, and barely gives Moses and Aaron warning before bringing death down upon the people in a giant wave of wrathful plague. Aaron lights his incense and runs out into the crowd to make atonement and stop the death. Sure enough, we get into a “Hold me back, bro! Hold me back!” situation where the plague literally stops in a line right where Aaron is.

You’d think by now the people would learn to stop messing up, right? Nobody’s perfect. :\

Good night, all. Peace be upon you.

Day 132

Shucks. The power just went out, and with it goes my internet access.

Just now, for a moment, some people in the apartment complex went outside, heading out into the lightning-filled sky to escape the darkness of their homes.

For a moment, I looked at the angry sky, and I understood why man fears God.

For a moment, I wondered how the world would end.

Lightning struck hard in the distance, and I could hear the distant thunder rumbling in waves toward me. Lights flickered and the power came back on. I’m back inside now, and behind me, electrical discharges cascade across the sky while trees thrash about in the wind. I can hear the excited voices of the neighbors and their young girl as they discuss the storm.

I feel very small. But it’s somehow more than that. I feel very mortal.

The power just went off and on again. Darn router is going to keep resetting.

Meanwhile, my partner sleeps in blissful ignorance. She’ll figure it all out tomorrow, or perhaps when I come to bed.

Numbers 15 is interesting, and I found the contrast between “unintentional sin” and “presumptuous sin” to be interesting: when unintentional sin is committed, the community gets together to make a sin offering, but when someone commits a presumptuous sin, he shows that he has “despised the word of the Lord… [and] that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be upon him.” (Numbers 15:31)

I feel as though I have been a disobedient child. I’m not sure how to make it up to my “Father” or to myself, and at this point in my life, my rebel heart is particularly strong. The old animal urges never really go away, do they?

I’m glad I’m going to church in the morning.

That’s all I’m going to talk about tonight. I’d rather not be tied to this computer, staring into this screen. The world is out there.

I’m going to put this away for a while after I’ve updated, and I’m going to sit outside, in awe of the power of God.

Tonight, when I sleep, I will dream a dream of thunder.

Peace be upon you.

Day 131

Ahem.

Ahem.

A-he-he-he-hem.

A-HE-HE-HE-HEM.

The Fourth Book of Moses Called

numbersYeah, buddy! Been waiting on that one for way too long.

Now, where was I?

Numbers 14

So all the people, except for Joshua and Caleb, basically give up on the land of Canaan and wonder why they couldn’t just go back to Egypt or die right there in the wilderness rather than be slain mercilessly by the Canaanites.

Joshua and Caleb tell the people not to rebel, and that the protection of the Lord will be with them. The congregation decide that these two should be stoned to death. Shows you how much people push back sometimes against hope, eh?

God says He might as well just smite everybody right there, since He continues to give them signs and symbols and yet they ignore Him. (Gee, God. I’m getting the message. Some days, He isn’t so subtle.)

God even goes so far as to suggest that He will find a new chosen people. Moses reminds God (???) that at this point, everyone has to have heard of the Lord God who brought the Hebrews out of Egypt. If He goes and smites them in the wilderness, then it means that He is no good at following through on his promises. At least, I think I’m reading this right.

So anyway, God says that Caleb and Joshua, their families and the children of the rest of Israel (I think) will be granted the land of Canaan. But no one else! The rest of them will suffer for forty years and die in the wilderness.

So Moses spreads the word, and the people freak out, raising themselves as an army. “No, no! We’re sorry! We’ll go to Canaan and fight!” But God is no longer with them, and they get pushed back.

Good day, all.

Peace be upon you.

Day 130

Numbers 13

Sounds like a good horror movie title. Too bad it’s about… let’s see here…

Hebrew spies.

Not exactly the horror movie I was hoping for, but oh well. Maybe an international thriller?

But I digress.

Long story short, God calls upon Moses to send a bunch of spies into Canaan. Moses picks some guys out from each of the houses, and they go check things out. They scout the land, the people, the fruits, the whole shebang.

Forty days later, they come back. With good news and bad news.

Good news is, the land really is everything they could ever want. Good land, good fruits, etc. The bad news is… they can’t win the fight. The people are strong, and there are giants, men of great stature.

Now what?

Day 129

I really need to go back to church. I feel spiritually distant from God. I can almost imagine what Adam felt, in those first few minutes or hours after eating the fruit, when that slow dread, that feeling of guilt creeps up…. When I sit myself down in front of the computer and pull up this blog, I feel sometimes like this is my communion with God, this is the time that I dedicate to Him and to our … whatever it is that we’ve got going on.

And so there are days when I don’t want to write, when I don’t want to confront myself and bare myself to God because I know that I’m unworthy. I want to hide my guilt and my shame away from God so that I do not have to acknowledge it. Too bad it doesn’t work that way, right?

I feel like this is why there are (in popular imagination if not in real life) a lot of deathbed conversions. I think in our last moments we realize that no matter how much we thought we had figured out, we are suddenly confronted with a great mystery, the great end of our life and consciousness, and we know not what comes after but we fear the darkness; we dread non-life. Because ultimately life is all we know.

And in the end, the question “Why have you forsaken me?” comes not from us to God, but from God to us, the sinners, for it was we who turned from Him, and not the other way around.

And I don’t know about the rest of you, but when confronted with that question, I weep. I am ashamed… but am I ashamed enough to change? I am ashamed now, but will I listen to that feeling and do what needs to be done?

I really had to force myself to sit down and do this. I’m three days behind, and I don’t have any good excuses. I didn’t work yesterday or the day before, but I still couldn’t didn’t bring myself to do this simple task.

Numbers 12

So, in Numbers 12, we have Aaron and his wife Miriam who seem to have some kind of kosher beef with Moses. Specifically, they get all snarky (it seems) with God, and ask if maybe God speaks through others and not just Moses.

God tells them that if He wants a prophet, He’ll give the prophet some crazy dreams, but it is only Moses to whom He speaks face to face. So God gets upset with them, and he pulls a Last Crusade on Miriam and withers her into a leper. Aaron and Moses sort of freak out about this, because I mean come on, but God says look, put her out of the camp for seven days, and then off you go. Let her dwell on her shame for seven days.

Maybe that’s what I need? God, I hope not.

Anyway, they leave Hazeroth (World of Warcraft, anyone?) and head to the Wilderness of Paran.

So endeth Numbers 12. Peace be upon you.

Day 121-128

“It will be worth it,” He tells me.

I was driving home from work, thinking, dwelling on, and discussing my iniquity with God. A good part of that iniquity revolves of course around this blog and my shortcomings therewith. I think about God every single day, often throughout the day, and I think about my duties to Him and what I should be doing for Him and for myself.

I guess thinking about those duties and actually doing them are two different things. Anyway, the above thought came into my head from Him when I wondered about how long I would have to deal with these constant struggles and stresses. I essentially asked, “What if I have to wait until the end of my life to finally be at peace?”

“It will be worth it.”

So sayeth the Lord. He hasn’t lied to me yet.


We still have no internet, so I’m using my phone as a hotspot for my laptop. I’m getting really tired of having to do this over and over, because it doesn’t work so well compared to streaming, high-speed cable.

Oh, hey! While I’m updating you about the minutia of my life, I might as well tell whoever is still reading this that I had a discussion with my bosses about how I’m probably clinically depressed! Yay! I’m supposed to be in behavioral health, not, you know… in behavioral health. But this seems to be the reality of the situation. Apparently both of the clinicians at our office have noticed a change in me before I even said anything.

For some reason, finding that out was simultaneously encouraging and heartbreaking. Encouraging because at least I know it’s not all in my head, and heartbreaking because oh God it is actually in my head.

I think that’s the last joke of that format I can do tonight, but I’d like to milk one more if I can swing it. They make me smile.

I’m still trying to read Numbers 4-11. I’m stuck on Numbers 7 and my eyes are glazing over. I don’t think I’ve gotten more than 8 hours of sleep in the past 48 hours and my brain is just fried. Gee, I wonder what on earth could be contributing to my depression?

Oh, Jesus. Chapter 7 is so long. And it’s all offerings!

… It’s all the same offering, over and over. They just copy-pasted this whole thing to mess with me.


Okay, so God once again shows me His mysterious ways. I was going to go through Numbers 4-11, all of them, but honestly they’re about the armies packing up and counting off and setting out and all that business.

And then I arrived at…

Numbers 11

…which is the last of the chapters I had to catch up on today.

I can’t even be mad any more! I was going home, and thinking about a story I heard in church the other week, and how the story was very pertinent to me and had a similar moral to a story I’d written, and just wow. So now, today, I wondered to myself if there is a story in the Bible about a righteous man, perhaps one of the old patriarchs or somebody, who begins to stress out and almost resent their destiny and their duties.

Man, fuck Numbers 11.

In verses 11-15, Moses finally gets fed up of all this bulls*** and rages against God. He wonders why on earth he should have to care for them and shepherd them, asking

“Did I conceive all these people? Did I beget them?”

Moses even asks God to just kill him if this is the life he is to live. So it seems I am far from the first person to feel this way.

God tells Moses that he will have others share the spiritual burden, and also that all the whiners down in the camp who want to eat meat will get their meat. God seems to be just as fed up as Moses:

“You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but for a whole month, until [meat] comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you.”

— God to Moses, a message for the Israelites, Numbers 11:19-20

In the end, it’s the people that are going to be fed up. Eh? Eh?

gluttony

He gets it.

Anyway.

Moses is incredulous because he doesn’t know how God is going to provide meat for six hundred thousand people, and wonders if all the fish in the sea are going to be collected for them (Numbers 11:21).

God is like, “What, you don’t trust me? Check dis.” He proceeds to inundate the Israelites with quails. Just like, a bunch of quails that everyone catches and grabs and gets ready to eat.

So they all start feasting and…

“[…] while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was aroused against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague.”

Because that’s what you get when you fuck with the YHWH. Don’t be hatin’ and complainin’, or BOOM! Fuckin’ plagues.

Peace be upon you, motherfuckers! I’m out.