Exodus

Day 90

I’m so upset now, looking back, that I skipped so many days. I’m on Day 90 (three months, can you believe it?!) but I’ve only made 72 actual posts. I failed at my task, and I am ashamed.

I am ashamed that this simple thing was beyond me. I am ashamed that I thought I could do so much but fell so short. It hurts knowing that I didn’t do my best, that I didn’t make time for God.

I am ashamed that I will fail again.

But more importantly, just because we fail doesn’t mean we have to quit. Just because I failed doesn’t mean I have to quit. We are imperfect creatures and sometimes failure is the “best” we can do at a given time.

God willing, this blog will be counted someday among the least of my works, so best I fail now, best I learn this lesson to turn to God, to seek His love and grace, to seek His support… best I learn this now over the lifetime of this blog than in the future when I have bigger things to do.

The fact that this is now post 72 made me look up the “72 names of God,” and a bunch of other stuff related to Kabbalah. Nothing struck me. It is interesting to see, though, and I wonder why Exodus 14:19-21 (from which the so-called 72 names are derived) should be so uniquely important?


Exodus 40

I turn again here to Matthew Henry’s commentary for this chapter. When I read it, it was mostly anointing until the end, where it describes God as a cloud settling over the tabernacle, and arising when it was time for the Israelites to travel. The final verse of the book of Exodus reads:

“For the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day, and the fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.”

— Exodus 40:38, NKJV

I like that. It’s very poetic.

My favorite point from Matthew Henry is this one:

“When the tabernacle and the furniture of it were prepared, they did not put off rearing it till they came to Canaan; but, in obedience to the will of God, they set it up in the midst of their camp. Those who are unsettled in the world, must not think that this will excuse want of religion; as if it were enough to begin to serve God when they begin to be settled in the world.”

The time to turn to God is always Now. It doesn’t matter if we turned toward or away from Him in the past. If we try and wait until we are settled, that calm and peace will never come. Only the path of God leads to the Promised Land. There is no other way.

Peace be upon you.

Day 89

Exodus 39

Rules and numbers! Rules and numbers! Now I understand what people mean when they say that Judaism was a religion “of the book.”

Matthew Henry makes some really interesting points here about the a Christian interpretation of this passage, but I am reading this step by step, book by book, and it’s going to be quite some time before I get to the New Testament.

To me, this whole deal with all these descriptions and measurements and the like serves to show that God is a God of rules; He is a God of crafting, of building, of bringing together. He is a God of fine things, of glorious things, as exemplified by all the ornaments of gold and the anointing oils and incense. These things are revered by men, and by having this tabernacle built of them, God shows that he is worthy of reverence, that he is greater than all of these “fine” but earthly things.

It also serves as a test of faith for His people, much like Abraham was tested, that they would give up so many precious things and do so much work for this God above all gods.

Welcome back, all.

Peace be upon you.

Day 88

For even just one day, I can do this. One day at a f***ing time.

Today’s post is brought to you by: Elk!

Elk, in regards to these Medicine Cards, represents Stamina. I think this is appropriate at the moment because it has a great deal to do with pacing, something at which I am terrible. It’s funny how when I’m camping, there is no pacing. You do what needs to be done when it needs to be done and there is no difficulty in doing so. And yet here, in this mess of a house, in this mess of a life, I can’t get anything done that I need to.

Case in point, I have probably 2 hours worth of paperwork to do that’s backlogged from about a week ago. There’s no reason it should have gotten this bad.

Elk is a good medicine for today and a good reminder for me.


Exodus 38

Oh, would you look at that! I’m almost up to Leviticus. Gotta get a header ready.

Man, even Matthew Henry doesn’t have much to say about this part of Exodus. They should have called this book “Exposition” because once you get past the whole “leaving Egypt” thing, it’s suddenly a catalog of measurements and repeated descriptions.

I’m going to be honest, this is really very dry. I had to finally look up a tabernacle to see what on earth these people were even building. I gathered that it was some sort of tent, judging by all the descriptions of fabric and curtains. But here’s the picture I found on Wikipedia:

Tabernacle-viewI like the groovy colors on the front gate thing. Basically what I didn’t quite gather from scripture was that this thing was designed to be a portable temple. It’s essentially a big cloth tent that can be set up or taken down as the Hebrews trek around the Middle East.

Interesting. Anyway, two more days and we’ll finish out Exodus and I will move on to book three of the Bible.

Have a good day, everyone. Peace be upon you.

Day 85-87

I really am terrible at this game. It’s hard; I’m not at that third level of yirah yet where sin is abhorrent. I’m still giving in to some pretty base impulses over here and neglecting my duties.

I’d like to take a moment to apologize to God and ask His forgiveness. What I really want (and what I think a lot of people really want) is the be living in a state of bliss, as best we can achieve it on Earth, anyway. The problem is, it sure does take a lot of work to get there. “I’ll do it tomorrow” doesn’t quite cut it. Tomorrow never comes.

That all being said, I did go to church on Sunday and it was a very pleasant experience. A friend of mine who is not actively religious asked me if I wanted to go and I said yes. I’m glad I went; I learned a lot again and got some good ideas. He got… I know not what, but I could see that it was good.

I think I shall have to go once in a while.


Temptation and Duty

Before I get into Exodus, I want to mention here something that I may have already written. In one of C. S. Lewis nonfiction expository books, he talks about how the writing of the book seems to have become a temptation: a distraction from God rather than a duty to God.

I’m not sure about this blog yet, but I know it’s definitely not a temptation in and of itself. I have plenty of those to go around, and this isn’t one of them. This is still a chore, for better or for worse. I think by the time I’m done with the Bible I might have to revise that statement.

I need to get cracking; I’m almost up to Day 100. From there it’s only about 20 days before I’ll have reached my first third of a year. Which will mean that I’m approximately 1/9 to 1/10 of the way done. Hooray for progress!


Christians and Christianity

Okay, another few things. My partner and I are going to her brother’s wedding this weekend and she informed me that I’ll be meeting her sister, who we’ll call “Rose.” Now, Rose is a very convicted (read: judgmental) person who tries to come off as being concerned for everyone else’s souls, but seems to me to be tooting her own horn and trying to show how much better and how much more devout she is.

I finally have to dig up this quote that C. S. Lewis uses in The Problem of Pain:

“You can have no greater sign of confirmed pride than when you think you are humble enough.”

— William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life

If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far studying Christianity and the works of Christian authors, it’s that we are not good enough. We never will be. I can no longer claim to be a good man; my heart just doesn’t believe that any more.

The good news is that God loves us anyway. He wants us to come to him, to accept His love, and to love others as He loves us. We can do good in the world, to some degree. We can alleviate suffering and elevate the human spirit so that it reaches out to God; these are things we can do. But we cannot be perfect.

So when some person comes along and tries to say that one sin is more or less than another, it makes me sad and frustrated at the same time. God loves you; He knows you will not be perfect but I feel that He wants us as people to make peace with the past and move toward a brighter future. That is the idea of repentance. We make amends as best we can (ish) and move on.

“Go now, and sin no more.”

Unlikely, but it is a nice sentiment. Lewis in The Problem of Pain compares it to giving a puppy a bath and having the puppy run right back out into the mud. That is how we are. Even when we approach God, when we surrender to God, we can forget Him in the next moment.

I guess what I’m saying is, keep your self-righteousness. I don’t want to hear it. There is more to Christ than Christianity.


A Mathematical Explanation of Sin

I want to share a little argument that I explained to my partner this morning; this is how I think of sin and the weight thereof.

Here on Earth we tend to see certain sins or certain things as being “worse” or “better” than others: a white lie is seen as “less bad” than a murder, for example. Divorce or infidelity might be seen as “less bad” than homosexuality. You get the picture.

So we keep little tallies in our heads: “good” actions add up positively, and “bad” actions or sins subtract. Let’s just start with some hypothetical baseline of zero as an “average.”

Person A goes to church, donates to charities, and tells a few lies here and there, as we all do. As humans, we might ascribe a low positive value to this person, let’s say around +12.

Person B is a pastor at a church; he spreads the faith, advocates for Christ, and does good works. He might get a higher score, maybe somewhere around +43.

These numbers are of course completely arbitrary. Let’s look at negatives.

Person C is an alcoholic who beats his wife and lies habitually. We see this person and we ascribe them something like -19. Below zero, clearly tainted by their sin.

Person D gets an abortion and has problems with depression. She might get a very negative score, depending on perspective. We’ll give her -35.

Remember, I’m not condemning anyone here. I’m just setting up some arbitrary examples of our human judgment that we pass on one another.

But whatever the case may be, you can see we assign scores to people: Stalin is maybe the worst, followed by Hitler, followed by X… all the way back up on the positive side to the Pope? I don’t know.

And then we have God.

God is an uncountable Good; His “level” goes beyond mortal understanding. So we signify God with an infinity symbol: ∞.

God is all the Good in the universe; He is an infinity within which resides all the mathematical and cosmological infinities, and whatever other ones you can think of. If we’re talking about some abstract “amount of goodness,” then God is ∞.

Let’s do some math. How far from God are my hypothetical people, A, B, C, and D?

Person A: Infinity minus 12 equals…

Infinity. ∞ – 12 = ∞

(For you math nerds out there, I realize one doesn’t typically use ∞ in operations. But I’m making a point.)

Person B: ∞ – 43 = ∞

Person C: ∞ –  (-19) = ∞

Person D: ∞ – (-35) = ∞

If you take away any value, no matter how large, from an infinite quantity, the quantity is still infinite. In this case, we are speculating that God is an infinite distance “above” all humans, and as such, no matter how “near” or “far” we think we are from God, we will never in this life be as good as He is.

My point with all this? We are all separate from God. It is not our goodness that brings us closer to Him but our willingness to surrender to Him. Once we acknowledge that we are infinitely distant from Him, we can reach out and allow Him to bridge that gap by touching our hearts.

I am reminded here of the criminal condemned to die alongside Jesus Christ. He was not, by our understanding, a good man. But in his last moments, he realizes what he has done and the price to be paid. He turns to the Living Word, the Incarnation of God Made Flesh, and says:

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

— Luke 23:42, NIV

This one request, made with all our hearts, is all God truly asks of us. Because when it is made with all our hearts, we will dedicate our entire lives to be sure it is fulfilled.

Have a good day, all.

Peace be upon you.

Day 81-84

tuckeranddale

“Hello, officer. We have had a doozy of a day.” ¹

Now I hope you’ve all seen Tucker & Dale vs Evil, but if you haven’t, go do that. It’s what the blog I ripped that picture from calls

“An outstanding horror comedy that fully delivers on its hilarious premise.

But seriously. It’s been a tough week.

I’m seriously considering turning this (at least halfway) into an audio blog. I’m driving myself crazy trying to hit my daily updates. Talking would be much easier. I can talk for days.

Case in point, I almost talked my partner’s ear off about the movie Maleficent. In my opinion, cool premise, poor execution. Could I make a more popular movie? Could I make a better moneymaker? Not likely. But I bet I could tell a more interesting story, given the premise. I might have to. But that’s for another time.

…Did I mention I had a Red Bull?

…like ten hours ago?


Exodus 31

Rapid-fire-Exodus-go! Hyaaaaaa!

Yugi-Exodia

Sorta like this. ²

(Update: I was going to split this into four posts, but I’m so wrapped up in you guys seeing my humorous commentary that I lumped them all into one. But I swear all the chapters of the Bible that were supposed to be in here are in here. It’s not a cop-out, I swear. Don’t judge me!)

So God just finished going over a bunch of shhhhh–stuff with Moses, laying out rules for arks and altars and sacrifices and all kinds of covenant-y stuff. Now He is telling Moses a) the specific people Moses will need to get those things built, and b) a quick reminder to absolutely, I’m not kidding you guys keep the Sabbath day holy. Seriously, if a guy works on the Sabbath, f***in’ kill him.

In the end, Moses comes down with

“two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.”

— Exodus 31:18, NKJV

Interesting thing I heard once that is only somewhat relevant: I once read somewhere that in old Hebrew law or tradition or something, when you made a covenant or a deal with someone, you made two copies of the deal so that each person had a copy. The story goes that the two tablets were identical, as “a deal” so to speak had been made between man and God. I forget what the significance (if any) was supposed to be of one party keeping both copies of the agreement, but oh well. Something to look up.


Exodus 32

Alright, people. My partner’s asleep, not feeling so hot, and I’m supposed to be at church for the first time in forever in less than 5 hours. Let’s do this.

So the Israelites, like the most ungrateful little… rackin’-frackin’-sassafras… They’re sitting there waiting for Moses and they finally get bored of not knowing who or what to worship or how for that matter, and so they tell Aaron to fashion them a god. Or gods, depending on translation.

And Aaron, who has been Moses’ voice (so it was implied back in Exodus 4:14) for all this time, says “Sure.” The people give Aaron their gold, and he turns it into a calf. Calfs4Gold, 1-800-GOLDCALF, or visit us online at http://www.calfs4gold.com.  Send us your gold, get calfs now! If I didn’t need to sleep, I would photoshop this. 1000 imaginary points to anyone who takes a “Cash 4 Gold” business sign/ad and fixes it like this. Heck, they’re imaginary; make it a million.

God starts b–

God starts complaining to Moses and telling him what is going on. “Seriously you guys we just went over all this stuff why can’t you follow some simple orders oh for My sake…” And so on.

God gets really mad, Moses tells him to be cool (essentially), and so Moses goes down to take care of this for himself. He gets down, sees the golden calf, and shits a brick. (It’s hard to censor the word “shits.”) Moses drops the f***ing tablets from the f***ing LORD and rips Aaron a new a**hole.

Aaron, meanwhile, is basically like, “Well, I took all this gold and boom, calf. Dunno what to tell you. It happens.” So Moses rounds up the faithful, the line of Levi, and they proceed to reorganize and bring everyone back to God and JUST KIDDING THIS IS THE OLD TESTAMENT THEY F***ING KILL EVERYONE.

bearsharkawesome

Three rows down on a Google image search for “blatant theft” “awesome explosion.” ³

Moses goes and prays to God and asks for forgiveness for the people and God basically tells Moses that those calf-worshiper guys are effed in the A. Shouldn’ta done that, boys and girls!

I’ve almost been up for 24 hours. Does it show?


Exodus 33

So apparently there’s this weird side effect of talking to God where either your face glows like some Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer s*** or you just come back with a goofy-a** grin. Maybe both. They “goofy grin” one I’ve experienced firsthand. As long as I’m not crazy. Which I might be.

Oh whoops, that’s Exodus 34.

Whatever!

In Exodus 33, God comes down as a pillar of cloud and spends some time talking to Moses. Moses utters a pretty good prayer in Exodus 33:13, NKJV:

“Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight.”

Moses wants to see God in all His glory, but God basically tells him that won’t happen. God tells Moses to hide in “the cleft of [a] rock,” and God covers Moses up, and then walks by so that Moses can get a glimpse of the Lord’s back. Back of the head? God’s traps and lats? Dat butt? Who knows.


Exodus 34

God I’m so tired. Honestly, God just tells Moses to make some new tablets, since Moses f***ing broke the other ones. Then God comes down and basically goes over all the laws of the Law again. He reaffirms the promise that He has made to the Israelites. Moses neither ate or drank for the time he went back up to get the Lord’s triplicate/quadruplicate copies of the Law. So he goes back down, and we get Mr. Glow-Face like I mentioned earlier.

Anyway, folks, that is all. I need to go to bed and be up for church in only 3 hours.

I love you all; thanks for reading. And an extra thanks to my subscribers! You folks encourage me so much.

Peace be upon you.


¹ Tucker & Dale vs Evil, 2010. Image retrieved from: http://horroreffect.blogspot.com/2011/10/tucker-and-dale-vs-evil-super-funny.html

² Yu-Gi-Oh! Takahasi, Kazuki.  Image retrieved from: http://desenhospaint7.blogspot.com/2013/05/desenhos-animes.html

³ FIM Fiction. (That’s My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I cannot guarantee the SFW-ness of this site.) Image retrieved from: https://www.fimfiction.net/blog/206371/wheeehoohoohoohoo-one-hundred-follower-ultra-mega-orgy-bonanza-special-extravaganza

Day 67-80

Beware! I live!

Yes, dear readers. After a long, lazy, unproductive hiatus, I have returned. My camping trip ended a week ago and I still haven’t managed to get off my ass and update my blog. So I’m going to zip through everything and just get up to today so that I can start fresh with renewed commitment tomorrow. (Update: Also, most of Exodus is [forgive me Lord] boring as s***. I’ll get cracking on that tomorrow)

Actually, before I go ahead and write all this, I’m going to go draw a Medicine Card. Be right back!

I have drawn Raccoon, in the Contrary position. Let us look him up, shall we?

“If Raccoon has appeared in the reverse position, you may be robbing yourself of much needed strength at this time. Do you need an attitude adjustment?” Etc., etc.

Appropriate as always. It says a bit more about “feeling drained,” as well as giving energy to others that you may essentially revitalize yourself. Perhaps this is what I need. Perhaps the “other” in this situation is God, and my duty thereto.

Speaking of duty, I was reading C. S. Lewis while I was on my camping trip, and he is a positively amazing writer for those who wish to have a better understanding of Christianity. Granted, it is just one man’s perspective, but considering he was a former atheist, he has a great deal of insight and offers quite a bit of explanation. I shall have to list some of his books.

Anyway he mentions at one point that our worship our our devotion to God can itself become an object of worship. He at one point started to see his work on, I believe, The Problem of Pain, as becoming a temptation rather than a duty. I’m definitely not there yet, as evidenced by the fact that I couldn’t force myself to write this blog for a full week. So far, this is still duty. Which in a sense implies my lack of virtue, since I struggle against the Word and duty to God rather than rejoice in it.

If you’ve read my About page or some of my previous posts you know that I spoke of revelations that allowed me to grok the idea of “oneness with God.” My idea is/was that we and everything in existence are one with God, although I am no longer sure in what sense. We are reflections of Him, all good is His Good, all love is His Love, and all energy is His Energy.

If He is, as C. S. Lewis puts it, the Uncreated, and everything else (us included) is the created, then in a sense all of our matter and energy came from God in the first place. I guess this is sort of a roundabout argument that is going nowhere. The point is, I had this idea of oneness with God, of a spiritual and to some extent physical unity with some form of the Divine.

On my camping trip, I understood our separateness from God. I saw why this was so, and that it was, in its own way, Good. God, as one vast infinite Being could neither do nor love except to create. God, as an infinitely creative and loving force, could do nothing less. If God did not create anything, what would He have to love? Thus, the universe, I suppose.

And we had to be given free will because otherwise there would be no point. C.S. Lewis makes the point that God could have removed the consequences of the First Sin (the whole Adam and Eve thing) but then He would have had to remove the consequences of the second, and the third, and so on, and there would be no free will. But like prodigal sons all of us, we are allowed to leave in hopes that some day, some long day after we have been bruised and hurt, after we have hurt others, after we have lied and been lied to… we are allowed to leave in the hopes that after all this we will return. Return to our real “home,” so to speak, in the presence of and in a unity with God.

So how did all this come to me? Well, Mr. Lewis was a big help. My partner gave me some books just in time for me to bring them, and they were the perfect reading material on my trip. But also, in the form of a song! The following lyrics are to the tune of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, or if you prefer, John Brown’s Body.

Ahem.


In the creaking of the pine trees, I heard an open door

I have seen His praises written there upon the forest floor

Though I have eaten from His table, He keeps me coming back for more

His Truth is marching on!

(Chorus, if you like)

In the beauty of the briars, Man was born upon the Earth

He strains and pains, complains and blames; he wonders what he’s worth

But Christ who reaches out to him is heedless of his birth

His Truth is marching on!

(Chorus)

I grin, my skin is paper thin, my mind is like a sieve

I lie here in His loving arms that I shall never leave

Beneath the broken tree leaves lie the tangled webs we weave

His Truth is marching on!

(Chorus)

Here and there and everywhere, whenever we my ask

He is present with his children, regardless of our task

By His Grace we go about our days, in His Glory we may bask

His truth is marching on!

(Chorus)

As eagles fly down mountainside, my journey’s just begun

May my gaze be fixed upon His Grace until my days are done

May He burn himself into my eyes like the righteous setting sun

His Truth is marching on!

(Chorus)

The gift that You have given me exists beyond compare

The Glory You are showing me is more than I could bear

So You gave to me this human form to find You everywhere

Your Truth is marching on!


This is my anthem to God. I cannot think of any other way to describe it. He has given me and shown me so much. Part of me wants to discontinue this project but I know I will regret doing so. I must continue to work on this, and do “my best.”

This, of course, is laughable. I realize what “little” creatures we are, now. Lewis writes in The Problem of Pain

“Christianity now has to preach the diagnosis—in itself very bad news—before it can win a hearing for the cure.”

I finally understand the diagnosis. The cure has already been discovered; the prescription is written. But so many are in denial of the diagnosis that they will not accept the cure.

But as far as being “little,” as I have said… C. S. Lewis has this to say, from The Great Divorce:

“You weren’t a decent man and you didn’t do your best. We none of us were and none of us did.”

We are infinitely far from perfect; I grok that now. We are perfect in the sense that we could not in this moment be anything other than what we are, but what we choose to do with this moment and each successive Now is up to us. But in terms of being perfected, that is something we cannot and will not be, at least not in this life. Can we get close? Sure, in the sense that successively higher numbers appear to approach an infinitely distant point. But I have seen the truth in the old adage: nobody’s perfect.

Only God is perfect; all we creatures can do is trust Him.

Until tomorrow. Peace be upon you.

Day 65

Exodus 15

These Israelites… Half of this chapter — more than half! — is the lyrics of the Israelites singing the praises of the Lord since he saved them from the Egyptians.

Of course, then they get whiny and start complaining again… I just talked about this with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, about the poison of the tongue. How can the Israelites praise God in one breath, watch themselves be saved, and in the next they doubt and complain?

It is a good thing that God has infinite patience and mercy. God grants Moses the power to make a bitter spring fresh; as God blesses the Israelites with fresh water, so too can he turn clear the murky, bitter waters of our life.

Good day, all. Peace be upon you.

Day 64

Exodus 14

The famous parting of the Red Sea. If I were really interested, I’d go look up all the names of the cities/places the Bible mentions to try and determine if they were actually talking about the Red Sea or a “Sea of Reeds,” which would be a possible translation or spelling or whatever. I am currently not interested.

The point is, the Egyptians get their panties in a bunch and decide to send their army after the Israelites. Quite frankly I have no idea why someone would decide to send their army onto a sea bed when the sea is only being held aside by the power of the person you are chasing but these Egyptians are a pretty dense bunch. A few bricks short of a pyramid, so to speak.

Israelites escape, Egyptians leave, and nothing bad ever happened to the Jews again. (cringe)

But what I really want to talk about today is…


Thunder Dreamer

I bought my first firearm. The NRA should be contacting me any time now.

It is a thing of beauty: a 1950-something bolt-action 12-gauge shotgun. It looks like something you’d find in a post-apocalyptic setting and between the age and size has this very crude brutality about it. Simple, crude, but elegant in its own way. I have this tendency of falling for things/ideas based mostly upon their novelty. This is so aesthetically novel to me that I couldn’t help but love it. I cleaned it out for the first time and paid as much attention as I could to the details.

My friend told me that he “couldn’t wait to see her,” and after reading that I felt like it needed a name. With the bolt being such a crucial and identifying part of the gun, I wanted to name it after some sort of thunder god. I was looking for a female name, but there are few female thunder gods in mythology, at least few that a quick Google search could turn up.

(This is a great example of my Moose medicine in action; I’ve told this story twice already and I want to tell it several more times.)

So then on the advice of my brother I started looking up female names from the 30’s and 50’s. No such luck; nothing jumped out at me. So I told my brother about the “thunder god” idea, and we went back to a list. He pointed to one that was Lakota in origin: Haokah.

I looked at the article on Wikipedia and learned about Heyoka (or Haokah, or Heyókȟa). You’re welcome to read the article for yourself here, but I will tell you that it is perfect. The name applies to a set of joking, contrary holy men or medicine men that use humor and satire to teach lessons, to show people that which is not easily shown, and to bring humility and laughter even (or especially) in dire circumstances.

I saw a video while researching the heyoka that purported to tell how to find out if you are a heyoka. I did not watch it. Another video featuring a man named Chief Walking Bear has an explanation of a heyoka “initiation” or test. I don’t think I’m even remotely qualified, and I do not have the arrogance to proclaim myself one of these special teachers. I do however share some of the qualities they possess, and I love the concept. Now that I have a term for such a thing as a “sacred clown,” I really enjoy the thought of that. It especially made me think of the trickster mask I made long ago, and the jester mask I purchased. I have always liked trickster gods.

Anyway, Chief Walking Bear talks about being struck by lightning, how he saw it wrap around his ankles as he ran, and the explosion from the lightning flipped him end over end and landed him right back on his feet. If I get struck by lightning this weekend, I’ll come back and tell you all about it. They are predicting rain…

But seriously. The other half of the Wikipedia article talks about Heyoka as the name of a spirit. He is a hunting spirit, and a spirit of thunder and lightning. This quote from Black Elk struck me like lightning, and I knew I had the name I was looking for:

“When a vision comes from the thunder beings of the West, it comes with terror like a thunder storm; but when the storm of vision has passed, the world is greener and happier; for wherever the truth of vision comes upon the world, it is like a rain. The world, you see, is happier after the terror of the storm… you have noticed that truth comes into this world with two faces. One is sad with suffering, and the other laughs; but it is the same face, laughing or weeping… as lightning illuminates the dark, for it is the power of lightning that heyokas have.”

— Black Elk

Read the article; do your own research. To me, the idea of an unconventional hunting spirit of thunder suits this new gun perfectly. Plus, I wanted to find something American, and the Lakota language/mythology is excellent, having been in this land for God knows how long before white people showed up. Also, I’m pretty sure the Lakota make flutes similar to the one I have. Not to be disrespectful, but I seem to have a theme going.

I’ll be taking Thunder Dreamer with me on my camping trip. I can’t wait.

Day 63

Exodus 13

Here we get a lot more about Passover and unleavened bread and making sure your kids don’t grow up to be ungrateful heathens and so on. I think it is interesting that they say, after describing the whole bread thing, that

“This will serve for you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial on your forehead.”

— Exodus 13:9

In John Wesley’s explanatory notes, he writes that this is a metaphor for “things which are never out of our thoughts.” I find it interesting that this is similar to the “mark of the Beast” in Revelations, as well as the whole idea of it as a metaphor for something else. I also find more interesting the fact that according to the JW New World Translation, “on your forehead” can apparently be translated as “between your eyes.” Many mystics and New-Age types talk about the “third eye,” and its supposed relation to the pineal gland, which happens to be located roughly “between the eyes.”

But my favorite part of this chapter is Exodus 13, verse 21, cited here from the NKJV:

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.

This image of God as a magnificent pillar of swirling clouds, or as a pillar of raging fire against the night sky is marvelous. I have stared deeply into a campfire in the dark of night and regarded the whole thing as an otherworldly, mystical experience. To me, this all rings true.

I cannot speak to the literal interpretation of this, and it is hard to take it metaphorically. All I know is that the image and the story are magnificent.

Good day, all. Peace be upon you.