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Jan. 16th, 2011

Reno - bedroom eyes

theprincesjewel

Sermon of the Seventh: Covenants & fornication

Sermon of the Seventh: Covenants & fornication

Welcome. Prepare to have your brain boggled, bogged down, and bounced off walls. You might remember me saying we’d cover covenants later, right? Well, we’re sorta kinda doing that today…. Of course, we’re also going to be bouncing all over the damned place double-checking and confirming shit & shinolah. No, I don’t know what shinolah is. It’s a phrase my great-gramps used to use: shit & shinolah.

So, anyway, let’s first see what the first covenant was. God told Adam, “I’ll let you live here as long as you take care of stuff and don’t eat off that tree.” And until the dipshit ate off the tree, he got to live there. Once he broke the covenant by eating, he got his ass booted out, and his live-forever pass taken away, too. (And a few other things as punishment, but we aren’t getting into those right now.)

There were others, off and on, made with various patriarchs and extended to their families. More often than not, the descendents fucked up and broke the covenants. Most the time, this meant slavery until they came whimpering back begging forgiveness. Now, I want to point something out. Breaking a covenant back in the day? Most frequently referred to by a term we now pronounce “fornication”. Said term, incidentally, I did go online to look up. After visiting more sites than I care to remember, I basically concluded that it means either:

1) Breaking faith or covenant
2) Illicit sexual activity

Now, since illicit tends to mean illegal, fornication in the sexual sense means different things to different people, depending on their nationality, culture, tribe, hometown, etc. Keep this in mind for later.

Now, the main covenant everyone seems to think of when they thing of the Christian faith is the one all spelled out in the Old Testament through the prophets. God will send a Messiah, and incidentally, here is a list of rules to follow.

Now, we start getting to the sticky part. God promised said Messiah to the Jews, and gave them the laws to follow, got it? They broke the laws constantly (one could almost say consistently!) and begged forgiveness afterwards according to the required sacrifices required for the specific laws broken. So, eventually, God did as he promised and sent the prophesized Messiah to the Jews, and had him born into the family of David, also as promised. He fulfilled his end of the covenant.

Except… there was a leetle bit of a problem. The greater majority of the Jews - most specifically those in charge of the religious and political end of things - denied said fulfillment of said covenant, and did their level best to convince the people that the promised Messiah was just another wanna-be. They did a pretty damn good job, since there’s people today still convinced of that.

So, they broke their end of the covenant. Again. By denying God did what he said he would. And this time, they right royally pissed him off. He took the prezzie they didn’t want away, and offered it to everyone else instead. The only string attached? That those who accepted the gift accept that his son bloody well was too the promised Messiah sent to redeem the world from the multiple layers of cocked up fuck ups the antics of the descendents of his most aggravating creation had managed to compound.

Which, unsurprisingly, didn’t go over as awesomely with the Jews who had believed as it did with the Gentiles who were all for being granted grace, a free home, and an awesome eternal afterlife. Poor old Peter protested it muchly, since he’d been raised by Jewish law, which said it was JUST FOR THEM. It took 3 times (and a hell of a long prophetic dream followed by the visit of the Gentile representatives who HADN’T protested at all) before he realized he didn’t have a choice but to explain what Christ had taught him to the Gentile folk.

So, now we have all these non-Jews accepting Christ for who he really was, and getting the same gift as all the Jews who had been following these very strict religious laws their whole lives, for generations, to receive. Who can tell me what that equals? *waits* That’s right. A mess, and unhappy Jews going, “But, but but but!!!!!!!”

Which lead to a convention of the Jewish Christian leaders, and the conclusion that, no, the Gentiles were not required to follow Jewish law. However, they were asked to abstain from: 1) meat offered to idols, 2) blood, 3) things strangled, 4) fornication.

Point 1: Refrain from meat offered to idols. Like that doesn’t make perfect sense? Why would someone who has accepted the gift of mercy and eternal life from the God they have chosen to follow eat food meant for an idol? Back in the day, I have no doubt it was pretty damn easy to tell what meat had been offered to a idol. Most likely, this also applied to meat offered to other gods, as well.

In this day and age? I mock anyone who doesn’t kill their own food to be able to tell if it was offered to some idol or god before it hits their plate. Besides, if you consider how many people worship money (and how much meat costs!), who’s to say it isn’t ALL offered to the idol of money?

Did that make your brain hurt? Sorry….

Point 2: Refrain from blood. Jews had a thing about blood. Still do.

I don’t get this request, however. The blood of the Messiah was part of the final atoning and sacrifice, blood must be accepted. Now, as with the offering to idols, this also applies to stuff you eat. For the most part, eating and drinking blood (especially of the human variety) is rather frowned on for the most part in most cultures anyhow. For some cultures, however, it’s perfectly okay. Just don’t even get me started on red wings. There’s just a grossness factor there I don’t feel like dealing with. That’s personal prerogative, if it’s not dealt with culturally.

Point 3: Refrain from things strangled. Again, referring to stuff you eat. Tell me, do you have any idea how the non-plant form of you dinner was killed before it hit the processing slab? Yeah, me either. Good thing these were just requests, huh?

Point 4: Refrain from fornication. Which form of fornication, pray tell? The illicit sexual version, or the breaking of the faith version?

Considering the state of the world in that day, when pedastry was quite common and it wasn’t in the slightest bit uncommon for slaves to be used as sex toys, and where temples had paid prostitutes? Not to mention the hundreds of different cultural taboos and allowances in terms of sexual deviancy?

Yeah, my guess would be with the not breaking the faith version for sure and for sure - after all, if the Jews got the prezzie taken away for breaking faith, it wouldn’t do for it not to be taken away if the Gentiles decided they didn’t believe the Messiah was part and parcel of the prezzie, now, would it?

That they were hoping the Gentiles would also decide to follow their specific Mosaic laws concerning sex? I don’t doubt it a bit… but sorry, folks, they don’t actually apply.

In fact, let me really make your mind boggle and blow up - I’m not real sure they even apply to the Jews anymore.

‘kay, ready to try to help me figure this out?

First, Jesus says: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

IE: all the Mosaic laws and the prophesies that came before and after are in effect until the prophesies are fulfilled. Got that?

The prophesies were foretelling the coming of the Messiah, as well as his rejection and death. Still with me?

We’ve got Jesus now, obviously born, and in accordance with the appropriate prophesies. He gets very publicly rejected in favor of a murderer, and he gets crucified.

His last words? Those were, “It is finished.”

Which means all the prophesies have been fulfilled. So, that first part, the heaven and the earth passing…

Now, if you bop over to Revelations, we’re gonna look at the seals listed in Revelations.

First, he who was to go out conquering and to conquer. Well… Yeah. Adam got pitched out of the garden, and had to conquer the earth and reign over the animals to survive, so there’s that one. Even my 12 year old got that one without prompting.

The second seal was the taking of peace from the earth, and the start of killing. Cain killed Abel. Family harmony & peace on earth? Kaplooey. The kid got this one too.

Third, the guy with the balances, deciding costs. Trade and coinage. Again, the 12 year old needed no prompting to blurt out “MONEY!” as the answer.

Fourth, ¼ of the earth to be killed by the sword, hunger, beasts, or just in general. Know anyone who’s managed to avoid the Reaper? Me neither.

Fifth was those slain for the word of God, who were asked to rest until the rest of those to be killed for the same reason were killed. I figure they’re still waiting, given the state of the world today.

Now, in the sixth seal there’s mention of an earthquake, the sun going out and the moon turning to blood. Well, guess what? On the day of the crucifixion, there was an earthquake, and the sun went out. Between, what was it, the third and sixth hours of the day? No sun. Anywhere.

Now, according to the science research I did, after the Sun, it’s the moon, Venus, and Jupiter that are the brightest spots in the sky, with Mars following close behind. The moon, Venus, and Mars are bright because of the reflection of the sun. Jupiter is considered a “failed star”. So, you’ve got this gas giant with lots of red clouds all over it being the main light source in the sky. Said red-tinted light source is bouncing off Mars on its way to the moon. Mars is the Red Planet. What color does that make the moon, pray tell? Yeah, I color it red, too. So there you have the blood red moon.

Sixth seal also tells of the stars falling from the sky. What‘s a meteor shower, darlings? They do say it’s possible the mother of all meteors killed off most the dinos. Also with the heavens rolling up like a scroll. Not really sure what that’s supposed to look like, actually, but apparently goes with the mother of all earthquakes, moving all the mountains and islands from their places. Y’all heard of Pangea, the super-continent? How about Atlantis? I’m thinking it’s been and gone and done. Sixth seal is open and broken but for sure.

Feel free to discuss.

May. 4th, 2009

Reno - bedroom eyes

theprincesjewel

Sermon of the Sixth

Sermon of the Sixth: About the Gods

Hey, come on in, park your rear. Plenty of comfy seats in here. Pews tend to be very uncomfortable, hence the rockers, recliners, and couches. And yet again, NO, you may NOT use the sofa beds.

We touched on the fact that God ain’t the only god several sermons back. One of the first two, I think it was. Went to off-line church here last Sunday. Had breakfast, had Communion, listened to Mark present his case for the Campus Crusade, listened (with about half an ear and a fourth of brain) to the sermon on tongues, because was stuck on one of the Crusade points. *cue Highlander music, and someone saying “There can be only ONE!”*

So, in the sermon where we were going over the guidelines and rules, we hit on the 10 commandments, of which #1 just happens to be: THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME.

*eyeballs that commandment* Anyone else note that the word gods happens to be plural? Yeah, thought you might. So, um, how can ya have other gods before Him, if there ain’t other gods? And how can He be the God of gods (note there’s a plural, again) if there ain’t no other gods?

Pretty simple, really. There are other gods. Lots of them. The Romans had their gods - Jupiter, Mars, Venus; the Greeks had theirs - Zeus, Aries, Hera, Aphrodite…. *groans* Yes, if you watched Xena or Hercules, those gods. Yeesh. Then there’s Odin, and his pantheon, hmm… and the Morrigan. Coyote, the Trickster. The Egyptian gods, like Set, and all those other ones you probably know from Stargate: SG1. Lots more besides them. *points at Japan* Look at them, they got so many gods I get a headache even thinking about trying to make a list!

Now, mind, He’s a jealous, jealous god, and he is not liking it at all if you say you’re His, then go off and worship another god. The Jews went off worshiping Berith, Baalim, Baal, Ashtaroth, Chemosh -all mentioned by name in the Bible - and an assortment of unnamed gods from Syria, Zidon, Moab, Ammon, and Phillestine. He stuck ‘em back in the slavery he’d pulled them out of in Egypt whenever they went an’ pissed Him off doing what He ‘spressly told ‘em not to do.

These days, seems more like your country’s gonna go face first into a financial crisis or a war nobody but the government seems to think is necessary. (What, me dis America? Nooooooooo, never…..) Individuals? Well, gee, life’s a load of dung until we pull our heads out of our asses and straighten up, yeah?

Although, in the individual’s case, it’s more likely a case of idolatry than worshiping another god. With money being the number one idol, yes? Still, it’s the same result. Wrath of God until you pull your head out of your ass and start expecting him to do his part of the covenant because you’re finally doing your part.

The covenant? We’ll cover that later. I need a nap.

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Jul. 12th, 2008

sad Mamoru

theprincesjewel

Sermon of the Fifth

Sermon of the fifth: Relating to Testimonies, I suppose

What? No, I do not have a degree from a seminary. Why the hell would I? I don’t need one. If you think someone has to go to seminary and get a degree to preach or sermonize, or… whatever it is I’m doing, you’re wrong. That’s legalities, not a calling. Go find another church if you can’t handle that.

Was I called? Sure. Way back in the then-times, I was. Way back in the then-times, it was easy. I had a little group of friends, and we got together at recess – What? Yes, grade school. Shut-up and let me finish – to do things. But I also used that time to yammer about God, and occasional to talk everyone into doing something community-based.

Eek! In the way back thens, I was a leader-type! Huh. I’ve been solitary so long, I’d nearly forgotten. Wonder what would have happened if we hadn’t moved? But, we did.

So, I got a bit older, and my chest exploded. I wasn’t even out of junior high before I had to lean forward to see my toes. Yes indeedy, puberty was a pain in the chest. Was highly popular with the boys as a basketball hoop (frakkin’ spitballs!) but pretty much a loner by then.

Still had the call though. Finally got around to inquiring of a preacher man. Wanted to know how to go about becoming a missionary. Call’s all well and good, yes, but at the time, I was rather under the impression there was more to it. Cause, like, shouldn’t a missionary know more religious stuff? More of the historical background & such? Where do you go to learn that stuff? Wouldn’t I need a missionary license and a passport?

(The answers, I have learned, are: yes and yes, because both are helpful in explaining things; books – order online or borrow from a library (a preacher-man’s if possible – and it was!); no, that’s legalities; and no, there are such things as neighborhood missionaries. And now, internet churches. :-) )

What did he tell me? Women cannot be missionaries. Women can be Sunday School teachers, but they should not be in any higher position of authority. And by the way, I should be wearing skirts, no jeans.

I have since concluded that he was either deluded, or sexist. I prefer to believe sexist, and paying far too much attention to certain aspects of Paul’s writings, and insufficient attention to other sections. Paul was most decidedly sexist. I have been highly annoyed with the aforementioned dead guy since, because yes, the preacher-man I spoke with quoted him.

What I thought was a calling to be a missionary, I was told, was not. Could not be. But perhaps I could consider teaching a Sunday School class when I was old enough.

*grrhissspit*

Apparently, I need to go calm down. I still get irate remembering this. There’s nothing like the feeling of being basically patted on the head and told, “Run along, little girl, this is man stuff.” *spitgrrhiss* Must make tea. *goes and does so*

So, anyway, I was quite put off the whole idea. Kinda easy when no one’s taking you seriously. Not that I gave up entirely, mind. I read. A lot. And lo! Women evangelists. Women disciples. Women running Bible studies and prayer meetings. Women praised for their devotion and teachings. Then I found out about the women missionaries – not the wives of missionaries – and then I was PISSED.

Course, by then I had changed churches, and was a single mom. Me lifestyle was not, and still pretty much is not, a shining example of a Christ-like personage. I was, however, the nursery director at my new church. I also began cleaning it, and the pastor gave me free fun of his office library. I could borrow any book I wanted. So, I did. Had also read all the way through the Bible by then.

Three jobs for a new mum is several too many. Downsized and switched around several times. Discovered yaoi. And, in spite of everything, enjoy it. Write & read it, both.

Got into philosophical religious discussions w/people I rp’d yaoi scenes with. Got to contemplating on it more. Still use yaoi to work through personal issues, just don’t post as much of it as I used to. Will finish all in-progress fics eventually, however. *growls at Forgiven, which refuses to write in chronological order & therefore cannot be posted to in spite of completed chapters that could otherwise be posted*

Got around to contemplating current issues in the light of an old religion. Contemplated how much of the laws and whatnot could be discarded due to outdatedness, or simple irrelevancy, which amounted to the same thing. Also noted that a great lot of them became utterly meaningless once the promise had been fulfilled, and therefore were way beyond obsolete.

And that, my dears, birthed the Sermon series. And so here we are, me with my ungovernmentsacnction world-wide internet church, which does not reach China because of their idiotic government, and you, reading the rambling mass of whatever pops into my head to serve as a sermon.

Perhaps someday this little LiveJournal community will grow, and perhaps one day become a C-3 tax-exempt, gov’t sanctioned church. And perhaps I’ll simply pay the taxes – thereby rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s – and use the rest of what tithes may come to – ah, I need a trite phrase – ahha! Continue fighting the good fight.

(And if you think I expect that to happen anytime soon, I’ll sell you my moon.)

Oct. 14th, 2007

Yazoo dying

theprincesjewel

Sermon of the Fourth: Touching on Communion

Sermon of the Fourth: Touching on Communion

Welcome, welcome. Come in, sit, settle yourselves comfortably. We’ll have some flat bread and wine here in a bit - what’s that? No, no, drinking’s allowed. Drinking to excess isn’t. You’re only getting a glass of wine.  There’s unfermented grape juice for the younger set.

Yes, that does mean grape juice.

Yes, you can have the wine if your parents say so. Less than they get though: It don’t take much to hit excess on a kid. You get a whole glass of grape juice.

No, it is not expensive wine! Do I look like I’m made of money? Besides, members of this church don’t tithe here, so I couldn’t afford the good stuff for ya anyhows.  Okay, yes, it’s technically cheap champagne, and yes, the cups are plastic flutes.

No, they don’t play music. A champagne glass is called a flute. Anyone else have a question? Yes, my sermon muse appears to live at the liquour store, so I did write this there. Any pertinent questions?

Ah yes! Actually, I’m not sure what the topic is yet. Gluttony or communion, I think. Probably a bit of both. S. Muse failed to provide me with a working subtitle yet, so it’s still quite random.

Er, yeah. Waiting on divine inspiration here. *watches birds fly and leaves sway in the wind*  Hmm… S Muse seems to have stepped out. I’m gonna go clean the last shelf until he’s done brooding over topics. Hopefully, he’ll have finished by the time I do.

*time passes*

Communion is sorta like a family reunion. A celebratory one. The first Communion was held as part of a Passover feast, after all. Yes, there was a somber element - isn’t someone in the family always sick or broke or about to die? - but is was also a time to celebrate life, family, and friends.

No, I am not Jewish, or a Jewish scholar. I have, however, had what a Passover feast is for drummed into my head for over twenty years, so I got it, already! It’s a feast of unleavened bread - hence our tortillas - and other stuff - in our case, homemade burrito fixings - with wine and other sippies that is to remember the Angel of Death’s passing over of the eldest child of the Jewish families who had properly applied lamb’s blood on their door lintels, and wiping out the Egyptians’ oldest kids instead. See? I know what it’s for.

Communion is to remember the son of God getting the hell beat out of him before he was crucified. That’s the bread part, recall? “This bread is My body, broken for you.” The wine commemorates the blood spilled to cover the sins of mankind, to wash us clean of that taint.

So, Communion is a gathering of believers nibbling on tiny bits of bread and having a sip of wine (or grape juice & crackers, depending on the church).

Our Communion, dearests, shall be a proper feast with the bread and the wine holding center stage for the remembrance, with other munchies as there should be. We’re to forgive (repeatedly, if necessary) the wrongs or perceived wrongs done us; or to ask forgiveness - preferably from the one screwed over - if that need is there.

Yes, we will take a moment to dwell over our first single bite of plain bread, and the first sip of wine. Have a moment of silence to ponder why anyone would willingly give up a godhood and immorality, even temporarily, for us. Why that someone would allow himself to be brutalized and murdered for our sakes.

We may even wonder if there is anyone - mother, father, child, best friend, etc. - that we love enough to do the same.

And then someone will see a butterfly or shiny thing, and the chatter will start.
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Aug. 15th, 2007

Yazoo dying

theprincesjewel

Sermon of the Third: Concerning the Perfect Wife

Sermon of the Third: Concerning the Perfect Wife

SIT DOWN! Yeesh, you all act like perfection is possible! Now, you’ve… *pauses to consider*… not all heard about the psalm of the perfect woman, I suppose. I think it’s number 31, but as I’m composing my sermon in a liquor store and don’t have a Bible handy, I’ll have to figure that out when I start typing it out.

Don’t worry about it, we aren’t starting there. We’re starting in the Garden. Here, we have Adam. He’s bored, he’s lonely, and masturbation’s lost its touch. So enters Eve, his perfect match, made just for him. Yes indeedy, folks, the first ever couple. Soul-mates, even, designed to be a perfect match for each other. Designed to be partners to each other, and your mind just dipped to gutter levels, didn’t it? Fine, they were also designed to be perfect fuckbuddies. Happy now? And then Eve listened to a talking snake, and equality got flushed down the stool.

Now we move on to the psalm. Solomon the Wise is hunting for a wife. He’s a wise man: he asks his mama for advice. The psalm is her answer. She wants only the best for him, like any good mama, and she wants a daughter-in-law she can admire. I get the feeling she’s what would be known as the mother-in-law from hell, because no matter what, you’re not gonna be good enough for her son.

So then, lets look at what she tells him. Now, once you’ve all finished recoiling from the shock of such utter perfection, I shall remind you that humans do need to sleep. Eight hours, preferably, but we all know people who can get by on four hours or less. We might get cranky as hell before we get a full night’s sleep, but we can do it! For the rest of you, she had a nightlight on.

This woman has all the virtues. She can weave, sew, cook, run a business, handle finances, manage children, clean the house, do the laundry, keep her husband happy, understand politics and law, raise crops and animals, is fertile, and does not ever sleep. Hm, no, it says she rises early in the morning, and her light does not go out at night. Fine. She’s a friggin’ early bird with night owl habits, so she’s one of us who gets by fine on 4-5 hours of sleep and preferably a cat nap after lunch.

Weaving… weaving ain’t so much of a big deal these days. Clothing wise, you can snag your material at the store. For that matter, you can snag your clothes at the store. Most virtues of the past have become the crafts and hobbies of today. They aren’t essential.

Load your washer, load you dryer, load your dishwasher (if you got one), and hey! It’s run the vacuum and dust the knickknacks time. Put your clean stuff up, and your done. Chores may still take as long as they used to, but we’ve got machines to speed up the process by allowing us to do several at once, instead of one at a time by hand.

She owns a business and property. Her, not her husband. She’s got her own income. You might note that she’s buying fields - maybe she’s raising cotton or silkworms for that material she’s weaving and selling. And she makes the decisions for her properties. She handles the money, investing or spending to the benefit of her business.

Now, it’s my understanding that back in the day, these people worked from just before sunup to just after sundown. A normal workday for them would be 10-12 hours, plus household chores, if any. This lady does it all - and smart guys (wise men) seek her out for her advice, because she’s got the good kind. Her children positively adore her because she’s fair, and disciplines promptly when necessary.

She’s up at night balancing the books and figuring the paychecks, deciding which fields and beasts to buy based on the day’s home school fieldtrip, working up the next day’s shopping list, planning out the next week’s home schooling schedule to determine if a tutor will be required or not, whipping up a new outfit because the maids just informed her her youngest son ruined one beyond repair, and finishes up by preparing a tasy snack tray for hubby, who will be getting home from his work shortly.

She’s checking to see if anyone’s got to have a doctor visit and scheduling those the next morning. She’s making sure that the cooks are up and have what they need, amending her shopping list if they don’t. She’s watching the servants to make sure they’re doing their jobs, and hiring or firing as needed. She reads the morning paper aloud to the children, explaining what they don’t understand. She gets them started on their lessons unless the have a tutor or a field trip that day. She spends some time in the gardens, does some weaving, maybe whips up some new designs.

Now, before you get all wrought up because I keep saying a woman should be able to stay home with her kids, note that she DOES. She’s in charge of her children, the household servants, and the household budget that her husband finances. Her income is to fall back on if something happens to his - and hers is HOME-based.

Boy, don’t you wish you were her? She’s intelligent and wise, financially independent, a great mom, a good advisor, a savvy businesswoman, and she gets laid regularly. *snickers* Make a great sugar-mama, wouldn’t she? But this woman is family-minded. Want her? Marry her.

And this, my dears, is the paragon of virtue that Solomon’s mama tells him to look for. I’m rather guessing he had some trouble finding her. Why do I say that? Remind me again how many wives and concubines that man had? I do believe I was told that combined, the total was somewhere around 100! He may’a been wise, but I ain’t so sure he had any common sense.

Now, how do you rate by that scale? Let’s look at me. I work two jobs rather than owning a business. I’m lucky if I see my kids 30 minutes a day most days, so no, not doing much teaching or disciplining. I cannot weave, or knit. I can crochet a little and sew a bit, but I’m more mend & patch than design & sew a new outfit from scratch. No servants, which is why my house is far from spotless. That, and I’m rarely home. My house is a glorified storage shed, not a home. I’m in debt. I own no properties. Well, cars, but no fields, houses, etc.

Hmmm… nope! I surely do not qualify as the perfect woman. Er, wife, sorry. (Did I mention the not married part?) I be fertile, and book-smart, with an iota of common sense at times, but am in no way the perfect woman. If you need further proof, it is my firm belief that morning should not begin until noon at the earliest. Later is preferable.

Do I intend to be come the perfect woman? *considers this* No. However, improving from my current status of totally imperfect would be nice. Perhaps I’ll work on that.

Edit: The afore was written the Thursday before Mother’s Day, 2007. On the Tuesday after, Mom found the card my son made (and lost in her car) for me. On the front? In his own handwriting: Her children shall rise up and call her blessed. It’s difficult to laugh and cry at the same time. Maybe I’m a better Mum and woman than I thought, ne?

Apr. 15th, 2007

Unholy Trinity

theprincesjewel

Sermon of the second: Guidelines (mostly ignored) and Rules (covered)

Sermon of the second

Welcome, welcome! Gather in, find yourself a comfy place to sit. I’m passing out crayons and color books today! *passes said items out to folks of all ages* Go ahead, set to coloring. And don’t worry, it’s all a part of today’s little lesson.

 

I’m borrowing heavily here from a book that most assuredly isn’t the Bible. No plagiarizing my borrowing, I’ve permission from the author.

 

Now, look at how everyone colors. Little kids grab colors and just go for it, don’t they? There’s lines and scribbles all over the picture, and sometimes it’s even multi-colored scribbles. Older kids stay in the lines, but you might have purple grass or orange skies. Don’t discourage that! Those children might go on to become the next crop of mangaka, animators, or storytellers. *gets yelled at* Ah, yeah. Authors. Sheesh… what’s an author if not a storyteller? But what about the adults? *picks up a coloring page* Yep, all in the lines, and it looks perfectly normal, doesn’t it? It’s very clear what this picture is.

 

Now, believe it or not, a coloring page is a lot like a Bible. Oh, shut up, it is too. It’s a guideline, ain’t it? Color in the lines, and it’s obvious what the picture’s supposed to be. Color outside the lines… or over and through and under them too, and it could be a might harder to tell what it was someone was trying to color.  Paint by number works the same way. Do what it says, and the picture is clear. It’s a guideline.

 

Yes, I am perfectly well aware that the Bible is not a simplistic guideline. It’s a history book, too. Er, yeah, there’s some prophesying of future events as well, I know that! We’re concentrating on the guideline part of it today! So, what are the guidelines for? Life, of course.

 

Yes, it is that simple.

 

Oh, color your picture, and pay attention! It really is that simple. There are, to quote Zakk, “Thirteen rules, and a lot of guidelines.” Matter of fact, let me just give you that excerpt.

 

Zakk sniffled. “Not really. Twelve rules, and a lot of guidelines.”

 

“Guidelines aren’t rules?” Riza scoffed.

 

“Kind of. Guidelines are… the lines in a coloring book. If you stay inside the lines, the picture is clear. But you don’t have to color in the lines, and most little kids don’t. We’re like little kids to God. When we don’t follow the guidelines, he’s harder to understand. But as learn the guidelines, and what they‘re for, and start following them, he is easier to understand, and our lives are… well, not easier, just more clear.”

 

There, see? Just like a coloring book. Now, if you’re curious, the twelve rules naturally start with the Ten Commandments. To those are added the Love Commandments. What do you mean you don’t know what those are!?

 

1)        Love thy God with all they heart, all thy soul, and all thy mind.

2)       Love thy neighbor as thyself.

 

And don’t give me a modern day interpretation of that last one! I already thought of it, and I’m trying to bleach my brain of the modern concept. EWW!

 

So, do we all remember our 10 Commandments? Let’s see…

 

1)        Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

2)       Thou shalt not worship any graven image.

3)       Thou shalt remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

4)       Thou shalt not steal.

5)       Thou shalt not kill.

6)       Thou shalt not commit false witness against thy neighbor.

7)       Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s (let me simplify this) stuff

8)       Thou shalt not commit adultery.

9)       Honor thy father and mother.

10)    Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

 

Actually, #10 is more like #2… I didn’t remember them in order, and I had to go look at my son’s poster to get them all. What’s sad is I remember being able to recite them, in order, word perfect in the long form of the KJV version. Of course, I had better recall back then, too. Oh well. Twelve rules. And lots and lots of guidelines.

 

*exasperated sigh* No, it is not a minute detailing of how exactly to act in every single situation! More like suggestions on how to become and remain financially secure, how to pick a spouse, how to herd sheep – I know, I know, that one’s not all too applicable today, but it’s what THEY DID! – or breed cattle (which, actually, could come in handy for ranchers), how to raise kids you don’t have to pick up from the police station at least once a week (and things to try with the ones you do), and such forth. Hey, there’s even a section that teaches the best general outline for a prayer. There’s ideas on how to have a good marriage, and when divorce is okay. Guidelines for life.

 

What? No, following the guidelines won’t necessarily make life easier or simpler. Wait. Let me think about that a second. No, I’m right, since we’re talking about today’s society. Back then, yes, following them probably made things a hell of a lot easier or simpler, but I’ve serious doubts about them having the same level of grief (not the sad kind) or temptations we deal with on a daily basis.

 

Hm? What do I mean by that? Okay, it’s still a persecuted religion. Them, because they were just starting out, us because so many people have fucked up or gone in corkscrews since, and given the term Christian such bad connotations. Oh, you don’t think so? Riiight, I believe that. Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church. Ahha! I see your lip curling in a disgusted sneer! Prime example of bad Christianity at work, right there. That man and his followers are definitely not following the guidelines, or the Love Commandments part of the rules. GAH! And I live, not only in the same state, but within about 50 miles of where his headquarters are. It’s seriously depressing. Why no, this is neither slander nor libel. It happens to be the truth. He may feel free to sue me anyway if he likes, it will merely prove my point. *shudders* I once worked for a newspaper that got daily faxes from that man. If he’d been the first so-called Christian I’d ever met, I would never have listened to a word any other calling themselves Christian would have said.

 

It’s still a pain in the ass to deal with the government. Of course, I don’t believe ours is currently executing religious leaders, but there are other countries where the heads of churches or the missionaries manning them are killed. So that’s technically still the same, just not quite on the same level, since they watched God’s son get murdered, and most of us hear about so-and-so on the news if the stations deem it newsworthy. (Like the missionary and his two little boys who were burned alive… that made the news.)

 

However, they didn’t have such liberally open sexual viewpoints – they stoned adulteresses and the pregnant unmarried woman, ours divorce or raise their kids on their own – or have access to internet or pay-per-view porn. Or HBO and the Playboy channel, for that matter! Not that other cultures around them weren’t more liberal, but these guys were even more stick-in-the-mud than my mom. *waves weakly* Hi, Mom! Yes, you’re my favorite example for repressed. (also opinionated, preachy, and squeamish about sexual topics and issues, but not going there!)

 

We’ve got a more complicated system of laws, I think, about half of which should be obsolete, and the other half having repeats of themselves. Yes, they were subjugated under Roman rule, but the Romans were pretty damned smart about politics. One of the greatest civilizations, ever, if their accomplishments are anything to go by. They had taxes, but ohhh, don’t get me started on trying to figure out the IRS! They only had tax collectors. We have the IRS!!!!

 

We’ve more opportunity, through TV and the ‘net, and airplanes, to learn a whole lot more about other cultures and religions and what have you a whole lot faster than the way back whens could’ve. And yes, I’ll be the first to admit that I borrow a great many of my mannerisms and some of the way my belief system is structured from just about everywhere but corporate America Christianity. Whoops, off-topic again!

 

Now might be the best time to take a potty break, admire your neighbor’s artwork, grab a cuppa and some snacks, and such forth. We’ll take a break, and discuss the rules since we’ve ghosted over the guidelines when we reconvene. *wanders off in search of chocolate*

 

*comes back munching on a chocolate muffin with chocolate chips in it* *decides she hates auto-formatting, especially when it insists on auto-formatting after she’s unclicked the option to autoformat a certain thing* *undoes autoformatting of bold yet again, snarling grumpily* Note to self: Kick Word’s arse later, and make it stop doing that! Okay. I feel a little better now.

 

Hey there! Everyone all settled? I see a few of the more rambunctious littles from earlier have fallen asleep. Nursery’s open if you feel the need. Especially you with the chibi kicking you in the face while he sleeps. We’ll wait, it’s okay.

 

Alrighty then! Twelve rules. Some of them are pretty simplistic. You know, thou shalt not steal. I think everyone knows that means don’t take stuff that ain’t yours without permission, and remember to give it back. Thou shalt not kill, equally simple. Don’t kill anyone unless there’s a war going on. Or they’re after your kids, I consider that an acceptable allowance. One is allowed to protect one’s home, family, and country, after all. Try for non-lethal first, is all. Shoot their toes off, or something.

 

Now, the one that everyone says says thou shalt not lie, don’t. It says thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor, if you actually look at it. *digs through several boxes and does so* Ah, yes, I’m right. Does that mean you shouldn’t lie at all, or just about your neighbors? What do you think? Yeah, that’s my opinion, to. It means definitely don’t lie about your neighbors, and do your damnedest not to lie about anything else. After all, it rather sucks to find out that the someone who just smiled and said your new outfit looked very nice on you is now over with someone else laughing at you because they really think it makes you look like a blind fish picked out your clothes.

 

Oh, I should go in order? Fine, fine.

 

1)        Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

 

One would think that’s self explanatory, wouldn’t one? Until you pay attention to the wording. No other gods before me? Indicative that there actually are more than one? Today, we’re taught that there is only one real god. If you actually read your Bible, or your granny’s if you don’t own one, you know that’s not true. There are other gods, and a few are even mentioned by name. Ba’al ring a bell with anyone? How about Set, to whom the Egyptian Pharoh prayed during the plagues? *sighs* No, not the Ga’uold from Stargate. The actual ancient Egyption god. Yes, there is more than one god. Yes, from the way that reads, you may have more than one. No, you absolutely may NOT put any other god first.

 

Moving on:

 

2)       Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord they God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing the mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

 

Yeah. That’s the one everyone says says no idols. Obviously, it’s a tad might more complicated than that. He is apparently quite cranky about the idea that someone might make a statue of something and worship it rather than him. That is positively not allowed, and your grandkid’s kids will still be paying for it years later if you’re stupid enough to do it anyway. So don’t.

 

3)       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 other words, no saying “oh my God!”, “for God’s sake”, etc. and so forth, unless you mean some other god. Although, he may be referring to his name Yahway… er, which I don’t know how to spell, actually, that’s phonetic, since the Jews spent years and years and years not even writing that one down. Would also apply to Jehovah, I’d imagine, and since the trinity is as it is, also to Jesus Christ and any derivative thereof. As I have yet to ever hear anyone exclaim, “Holy Ghost!” or “Holy Spirit!” after they’ve smashed their thumb, however, I doubt anyone’s got a problem with that one.

 

4)       Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it though shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.

 

*looks a little wistful* An entire nation that took one day off a week. Damn. Can you imagine what would happen if everyone who claimed to be a Christian informed their bosses that they weren’t working on Sundays anymore? Yes, I am referring to those among us who don’t have 9-5 Monday-Friday jobs, of course. Sheesh. If I were to tell my boss that I wanted Sundays off for religious purposes, I’d be looking for a new job, I would. Even though there’s a thingy that says religious allowances will be made, or have to be made, or something like that. No, I do not worship the almighty dollar, but it makes it a damn sight easier to pay the bills when there’s a sufficient number of them handy. I work two jobs for a reason, you know.

 

But look at how thorough this is. Not only do you not work, your kids don’t work. Your servants (ha!) don’t work. Your cattle don’t work. Remember, they didn’t have cars, so the cows and oxen and whatnot hauled crap and people around. And looky, if you had an overnight guest, they don’t work either, even if they don’t follow your religion. Nobody works. It’s rest and relaxation day. And dear gods, (note, not taken in vain, and informing all of ‘em!) I need a rest and relaxation day! A week or so of them.

 

5)       Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

 

*grins* So, how many renters out there? Landowners? This is one of those that make folk say, “But that don’t apply to me! It doesn’t apply to now!”. True. These commandments were originally given to the Jews, not too long after they left Egypt, and no, God isn’t exactly handing out land grants these days. We’ve also got these things known as deadbeat dads, and other things known as bad mothers. So what? You may not be able to drum up any respect for your parents if you have ones like that, but that doesn’t mean you can’t honor them, even a little tiny bit, for letting you be you. Even if you’ve got the kind of parents that nag about your clothes, your hair, your friends, your use (or lack thereof) of makeup or jewelry, where you go, if you work, etc. Give ‘em an iota of honor for letting you exist, and then proceed with the living of the existence.

 

6)       Thou shalt not kill.

 

Already covered that.

 

7)       Thou shalt not commit adultery.

 

Another easy one. If you’re married, fuck your husband or wife, and stay out of other peoples’ beds. Or backseats. Where ever. Why, yes. According to the definition, adultery applies only to married people. We’ll deal with singles elsewhere.

 

8)       Thou shalt not steal.

 

Did that one, too.

 

9)       Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

 

Did that.

 

10)    Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.

 

To covet something is to want it. To desire it for your own. So, no, you can’t want to take someone else’s house, screw his wife, steal or screw his servants, take his critters, get your mind out the gutter, or anything else that don’t belong to you that ain’t for sale. That doesn’t mean you can’t admire what he or she has, or ask if something’s for sale. Just means if you want something like your neighbor (or the guy/girl on TV) has, and it ain’t for sale or you can’t afford the price for it, you have to work to get something similar all on your own. Ladies, that means if your neighbor’s married to the sexiest thing you’ve ever seen, you have to find your own. Remember, back when these rules were handed down, it was nothing for the men to buy or sell someone’s maids or daughters. The chapter after the commandments are given deals with all kinds of stuff like that, which, thankfully, are not a modern day concern.

 

Then, the Love Commandments. Lemme see, lemme see… those are in the New Testament… *flips pages* Ahha!

 

1)        Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.

 

Much, much harder to do than to read. I have absolutely no suggestions, only the encouragement, “Do your best!”

 

2)       And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

 

Gee, who knew love was so important? Real love, not like my love for chocolate. I am decidedly not an expert on love. Personally, I think it must be some kind of lost art, or lost knowledge. Quite simply, I have no idea how to love. And here, the two most important rules to follow require doing so. *shakes head*

 

Now, I have a question for you. How do you love? Do you truly love? Oh, dear, this turned serious, didn’t it? But still. Satisfy my curiosity. In the current world situation, are we really being shown how to love?

I have no idea what happened to the formatting. And I can't fix it. Sorry.

Apr. 13th, 2007

Unholy Trinity

theprincesjewel

Sermon of the first

Sermon of the first

Alrighty then, folks, gather in, gather in. Find yourself a rocking chair, or a recliner. I've even got an overstuffed couch or two. No, you mayn't pull out the sofa beds, can't have you that relaxed. Comfortable, yes, but not asleep! Got your drinks and your snacks at hand? Good, good. Nobody pays attention well when they're busy thinking about how good home-fried chicken or a chocolate bar sounds right now. Come to think of it... *goes to fill her water glass and makes sure of her snack supply* *comes back with a slice of cold pizza, a box of Special K Vanilla Almond, and her full water glass*

Now, since I do need your attention, put away the IPODs and MP3s and such sort. Shut off the cell phones, since some of you have the most annoying ringtones I've ever heard. Anyone got the Final Fantasy battle win yet? (Is that for real? If so, where can I get it???!) Ah yes, yes, of course. Sorrry! *puts FFVIII on pause* There we go! Everyone ready now? Great! Now, what the devil was my topic again? Ah, yes, yes of course. We're discussing what it is to be a Christian today. Er, let me clarify that, what it is to be a Christian in today's society. That make a bit more sense? Oh great! You're nodding. I'm not nervous, nope, not at all. Raise your hand if you believe me.

*stares at grinning faces* Right. Anyhow... *shuffles through gaps in memory* What is it like to be a Christian in today's society? Well, quite frankly, it sucks. *Notices old people gasping in shock* Oh, come on! According to the preacher men, if it's fun, it's not allowed! Well, maybe roller-coasters are still okay, but some people have no head for heights, speed, or the two of 'em combined. It doesn't help that even the Christians don't agree on what a Christian is, does it?

So, let's start by looking at what a Christian was, shall we? That doesn't start when Jesus was alive, how many of you knew that? Nope, those guys were all followers, students, disciples, or general audiences. Not Christians. That term didn't come into play until oh, what? A couple years after the Crucifixtion? How do you spell that anyway? Crucifiction, crucifixtion... neither one of 'em look right. We'll just call it after the cross, then. I do believe it was the followers in the town of Antioch who were first dubbed as Christians. Why? Well, because they were so good at having followed the example that Jesus set whilst he was wandering about the planet, that's why. They didn't claim to be Christians, or Christ like. Their neighbors watched them and told them they were.

So, by that definitions, how many Christians do you know? *waits patiently while audience mutters amongst itself* Oh, right. I suppose if you don't know what Jesus did whilst he was wandering about, you wouldn't really have a good idea about that, would you? So I suppose we ought to look at that next, right?

So, he was born. Cue bright shiny light in the sky, leading to wise men seeking him out. That's right, boys and girls, people smarter than us were are started looking for him before he even started talking. If you think in terms of these Wise Men from the East being the ancestors of the brains who brought us things like anime and Playstation, you know they were damned geniuses. *grins* Also the abacus, which I still haven't the foggiest idea of how to use, and some excellent medical knowledge. So, you see, they were smart. And they were searching for him when he was unable to use the pot! I figure that's probably the reason so much of his young life got skipped, otherwise we'd have gotten little stories of "My Son's first words", "first steps", etc. during the length of time it takes to get from Asia to Israel by camel and horse, which is around two or three years. They give his folks some really really nice presents, and hotfoot it home, having succeeded in their quest.

Mary and Joe pack up the bastard child, plus the other twerps that came along in the meantime, and hotfooted it to Egypt, where they stayed for the next nine or ten years. This turned out to be a good idea, since King Herod wasn't too thrilled with those Wise Men (in an unbelievably stupid move) telling him they were looking for the infant king of the Jews. He wiped out all the baby boys (and probably a few girls) three and down. A bit late for his purposes, and I doubt very much he was a very popular king after that.

What? Why tell you that? About Her - oh, baby Jesus. Well, there's a couple reasons for that. First off, to point out that Jesus was the bastard child of a teenage mother. Yes, that is so true! Marriages in that time were arranged, often between older men and younger, pre-teen girls. Of course, the marriages themselves didn't take place until the girls were something like 15-16, if my memory serves me correctly. So Mary was around 14, pregnant, and quite unmarried. She didn't get stoned to death because Joe stood by her, even though he knew that kid wasn't his. They weren't even married when she had Jesus - it says quite plain as day that she was still his fiance when they got to Bethlehem. The wedding came after.

Second, to point out that life as the son of God didn't start out under the best of circumstances.  And that in spite of that, men of influence, power, intelligence, and wealth still found him someone to be searched out and honored, and given gifts. Not that there was massive improvement much even after the family got those nice prezzies - a forced move to a forgein country? This tells us that life as a Christian will undoubtably have its perfectly lousy moments, but it won't be entirely shitty. *old people gasp again, some of the younger ones start giggling* What? Oh, language. Pfft!

So, next thing we're told, he's suddenly 12, and at the temple in Jeruselem. Teaching and clarifying facts for the guys in charge! Course, Mary and Joe are frantic, because neither one of 'em knew where the brat was, and when they scold him, he scolds them right back saying they ought to have known exactly where he was. And what does this tell us, boys and girls? *waits* *waits longer* Anyone?

*sighs* That it doesn't matter how old you are, idiots! It don't matter if you're five, fifteen, or fifty! If you know your stuff, you can teach it to others. And it doesn't matter how old you are, you're never too old to learn! Also, even that if you think you're in charge, some punk kid can still show up and show you where you're screwing up.

Alright, anyone need a potty break? Yep? Take it now! *heads for potty-room* *comes back reminding herself that half a box of bran-based cereal at a time is NOT a good idea* Everyone back? Got fresh snacks and drinks? *waits a bit* Anyone with littles who needs to put 'em down for a nap can stick 'em in the nursery. There's plenty of kiddie beds, and the speaker's set at a comfortable level.

Let's see, we just took care of the temple at 12. Next thing we hear, he's suddenly 30. You really gotta wonder what went on during those 18 years, don't you. But, we don't know. Nobody bothered to tell us because it wasn't supposed to be important to the story. *shrugs* So, he's 30, and he's started his career. How? He changes water to wine at a wedding party. Good wine, mind you, not just-this-side-of-vinegar wine. He cares about quality.

The next three years are spent wandering around all over the place. He teaches, preaches, heals, feeds, brings the dead to life, drives out demons, goes to parties, talks to whores, pardons sinners, scolds politicians, gets mad at moneychangers, hangs out with rabblerousers and other dregs of society, breaks Jewish religious laws right left and center, and generally gets the uppity-ups to hate him and the lower classes to adore him. Or so it seems, since the majority of those people who welcomed him to Jeruselem on Passover decided to use him for entertainment purposes a couple days later. Yes, watching people get crucified was entertainment. Vendors and everything. Whoops! Nearly forgot something else he did. He forgave people for being their idiotic selves.

So, what didn't he do? Disobey God. That was it. Flaunted societal conventions, but he didn't disobey his daddy. Tried to talk his way out of doing something once, but his daddy said do it anyhow, and he did.

Now, how many of you can say you know a Christian? Not a believer, not a -for lack of better term- groupie. A Christian. *waits patiently* Yeah, that's what I figured. If you think of it in those terms, you might be lucky to know one person who comes close. Imagine what it must have been like for the followers at Antioch to hear their non-following neighbors tell them they were just like Christ. That they were Christians. Boggles the mind, don't it? Because, if you base being a Christian on being like Christ, rather than just believing in him, I don't think there's more than 20 in the entire USA, and probably only a few more than that around the world. Most of 'em are probably missionaries, which explains why I ain't met 'em.

Me? A Christian? Nobody's ever said I was Christ-like! Believer, yeah, I'm one of those. But no one has ever given me what should be the greatest compliment a believer could ever receive. *laughs* I think Christian is the closest thing to a non-official cuss word there is, these days. *snorts* But considering what many self-styled Christians are like? It is a curse, not a compliement. Sad, that.

So, more on the life of Christ later. It's been a couple years since I read the Bible all the way through, and I dread the thought of opening the book of Lamentations again. But, I should probably refresh my memory on a couple points before I do any more "preaching".