priesthood

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.

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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 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 109-115

Welcome back, all. Given that it has been a week since I last updated this blog, part of me wanted to just say, “Ehhhh, make it a weekly update!” But the thing is, I need to strive for daily updates. If all I shoot for is a weekly update, I’ll end up going two weeks without updating, or three, or a month. And then what? And then the whole project goes to s***.

So here I am, after a long day of work and paperwork. I’m very tired. If I weren’t so tired I would probably do a series of updates but I’m really just not feeling it. I barely wanted to do this but I promised myself and my partner and I suppose God that I would get it done tonight. I’ve put it off long enough.

Oy, but these chapters are so long!


Leviticus 19

God reiterates a few of the Ten Commandments (maybe all of them) and adds a bunch of other things for Moses to tell the people. Among them:

  • No shaving sideburns (Lev 19:27)
  • No gossiping (Lev 19:16)
  • No tripping blind people (Lev 19:14)
  • Leave some food unharvested so that poor people can eat too (Lev 19:10)
  • No idols, seriously guys, we went over this (Lev 19:4)
  • No tattoos (Lev 19:29)
  • No turning your daughter into a hooker (Lev 19:29)
  • Another man’s b**** ain’t nothin’ to fuck wit’ (Lev 19:20)

And so on. Be honest, be polite, treat people nicely, because I am the LORD your God who will smite the ever-loving s*** out of you if you don’t.


Leviticus 20

This is the point where I looked up who exactly this “Molech” fellow was. Apparently he was some old Middle Eastern god back in those days and people apparently sacrificed their kids to him. YHWH says that’s a no-no. God then gives a whole list of people that you can’t have sex with. No sisters, no half-sisters, no aunts, no women on their periods, no mother-daughter combos, no daughter-in-laws… You know, I just realized a lot of this was geared toward men as the transgressor. The only verse that has a woman as the subject of the rule is Leviticus 20:16, where God says that women shouldn’t have sex with animals.

Thanks for the tip! Of course, in the end, everyone gets put to death anyway.

If only they’d had some kind of choice…

Also, C. S. Lewis at one point talked about the comparison between God’s love for man and a man’s love for a woman. In Leviticus 20:5-6, God talks about people “prostituting themselves” with mediums and “[committing] “harlotry with Molech.” One of the ways we can understand God’s love is to look at the love between the sexes. First sign I’ve seen of it in the scripture; thought it was worth pointing out.


Leviticus 21

In Leviticus 21, God talks to Moses and gives him information for Aaron and the priests. “Do not defile yourselves” is pretty much the key here. No dealing with dead bodies, no dating divorced women, gotta marry a virgin, no uncovering your head or shaving your beard… burn your daughter alive if she’s a prostitute, you know, standard stuff.

Also, no fuggos, no cripples, no dwarfs or eunuchs, no acne scars, no weird eyes, no lanky dudes… Apparently “any man [descended from Aaron] who has a defect shall not approach [the altar/sanctuary].”

Harsh, man. Harsh. I feel like modern political-correctness-/equality-Nazis* would have a field day with this chapter.


Leviticus 22

Here are some more rules about how to properly make sacrifices, and what kind of weird crippled “defective” animals work for which sacrifices.

Also: Eeeew, bugs! Unclean.

Also also: Semen! Unclean.

We knew this stuff before but God reiterates for the priests.

Also also also, the whole thing about this chapter is in regards to who among the priests can eat the holy offerings. The answer is “only the clean ones.” So don’t go profanin’ yurselves, now, ya hear?

*spit*

This chapter reminds me of a joke:

A Catholic priest, a Reverend, and a Rabbi are discussing their income.

The Priest says: “I draw a circle on the ground, take the offering, and throw it up into the air. Any money that falls outside the circle is for the Lord, and the money that falls inside the circle is for me.”
The Reverend says: “I do things almost the same, except the money that falls outside the circle is my salary, and the money that falls inside the circle is for the Lord.”
The Rabbi says: I do things quite different. I take the offering, throw it up into the air, and pray: “Lord take whatever You need, and feel free to send back the rest.”

Get it? Because Jews.


Leviticus 23

“You shall make a grain offering again after seven Sabbaths and fifty days to the day, but feel free to sacrifice all the rams, bulls, and lambs you want, for lo, the LORD your God is watching His carbs, but truly I say to you, on protein, there is no restriction. And make sure to sacrifice some wine, for I am the LORD your God and I do enjoy a good red.”

— Leviticus 23:skiddoo


Leviticus 24

Burn the lights using fresh olive oil. Here’s how to make some little cakes. Don’t kill animals, and if you do, you have to find a replacement. Don’t kill people, except that guy who killed a guy. Him you need to stone to death.

This chapter is also the source of the famous “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” bit.


Leviticus 25

“The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me.”

— YHWH, Leviticus 25:23

Seriously passed out in the middle of writing. I need to go to bed.

I love you all. Peace be upon you, and good night.


*Like grammar Nazis, but different.