The 20 Aren’t Jeremiah, But We Are As Foolish As the Israelites—Happy 4th.
“Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and in the presence of all the people who were standing in the house of Yahweh, and the prophet Jeremiah said, ‘Amen! May Yahweh do so; may Yahweh confirm your words which you have prophesied to bring back the vessels of Yahweh’s house and all the exiles from Babylon to this place.
‘Yet hear now this word which I am about to speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people!
‘The prophets who were before me and before you from ancient times prophesied against many lands and against kingdoms, of war and of calamity and of pestilence.
‘The prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, then that prophet will be known as one whom Yahweh has truly sent.'” (My italics.)
A few posts ago, I shared that I was on my third reading of Jeremiah. One of the intriguing parts of Jeremiah is its candid accounts of prophet battles. The above is taken from the middle of one such scene. I used to think that Israel’s prophetic history was clean. But reading it for myself has revealed that it was anything but clean. This Hananiah claimed to be speaking the Word of Yahweh, no different than Jeremiah. Moreover, the account has Jeremiah acknowledging this fact.
So how does Jeremiah suggest, in front of all the people, that their dispute be resolved? He says to wait. But in his suggestion is the subtle claim that Hananiah should be able to see that when involved in prophesying, one sides with true prophets when one prophesies against earthly powers. Instead of this, Hananiah had just prophesied earthly peace, you see?
But here’s the tricky part. Jeremiah wasn’t suggesting that earthly powers needed to be exchanged by other earthly powers that would do better, no. He was declaring, like the true prophets of Yahweh who came before him, that the people of Israel had disobeyed Yahweh for so long that Yahweh would not stop the oncoming judgement. (War, calamity, pestilence.)
Implied in this entire scene, and Jeremiah’s claim, is the fact that Yahweh is running the show and that Yahweh expects obedience.
On this Independence Day I am thinking of this passage because it is so very different from what we hear and say today. Our prophets, the 20, all claim to be speaking against the man, capital T. But not one of them measures up to the prophet bar Jeremiah set. This, of course, is no surprise. The 20 would hardly announce themselves as prophets of Yahweh. And yet half, and perhaps more than half, of the voting public in our country is behaving like the Israelites who apparently ate up and drank up Hananiah (as indicated by their lack of repentance) and his declarations that peace was on the way.
The next president will not bring peace or liberty. You’re a fool if you believe he or she will. And Jeremiah knew this. That’s why his words are worth reading on this day.
The question that remains is do you know who has the power to bring peace and liberty?
Dating Status Update
It’s official. I’ve fallen in love. I’ve fallen in love with myself. You read that right. I’m officially announcing my new dating status: confirmed bachelor.
Now, I don’t exactly know what this means, but I feel like some very attractive men have made this claim in the past and that makes me want to be a part of that group. God’s honest truth, though, is I hope it means that I don’t ever have to break up with another woman. Breaking up is no fun, and I like fun. Fun is good; no fun is not good. It’s that simple. So I’m a bachelor for life. Neato burrito.
One lady in the medical profession, who fell in love with my blog personality back in the beginning of the year, emailed me. I emailed her back. Steamy words were exchanged. Then she felt guilty and asked if I was running a “predator site”. Wow. I was shocked and angry. But I took note. Was/am I running a predator site? Was my blog and my expression of myself some indirect way of luring unsuspecting women into giving themselves to me, albeit in digital form? Obviously the answer was no. But I have been thinking a lot about the whole scenario and realized that me expressing my problems on this blog is really not the way to go. I don’t need any help. I’m not weak. I don’t have PTSD. I don’t have women problems. I’m not looking for pity. Sometimes I’m pretty angry at how life is unfolding, but in reality I’m good.
Recently I haven’t been writing because I feel like all that I want to say falls under the I-can-help-this-man-if-he’d-only-give-me-the-chance predator-ish category. Today, however, I had this confirmed bachelor epiphany, so I’m running with it.
Yet, I still am a man and fantasize about meeting the perfect woman. I’m going to share these fantasies in an effort to help demonstrate why I am declaring my confirmed bachelorhood. The newest one came to me while at the gym. I noticed a few female members giving it their all and realized that while their bodies and energy and focus and dedication were extremely attractive, the truth was that I don’t want a woman who has to put effort in to maintain a desirable figure. Nope. I want a woman who looks great in workout attire as she waves around the rubber coated two-pound weights that literally accomplish nothing. That’s my dream woman. If it takes effort to keep her figure, then that scares me. What happens if she gets lazy? Seriously. No one wants that.
Anyhow. Just a random thought that leads me to conclude single-hood is the way to go and rightly so. Happy Monday, as they say.
Review of Whiplash, By Damien Chazelle
I don’t care if any of you watch Whiplash—I care if filmmakers do.
Sure, it could’ve been better. I have no context for jazz music. I want to like it and know why I like it, but I don’t. Adding a few scenes which dropped subtle hints that answered “why jazz?” would’ve only made it better. But when I grin like a fool, shake my head in disbelief, write when it is past my bedtime, and what’s more, when I only gave half my attention to the film’s last forty minutes because the other half was busy re-budgeting my time and money towards future music instruction, I know someone just made an effing fantastic movie.
Speaking of Batman…
Click here to cry.
My brother Sam’s wedding was Saturday. Despite knowing me fairly well, he let me be his best man. More shocking, he let me deliver a toast-turned-speech in front of his and his bride’s guests which numbered 230+. Here’s what I said. I hope you enjoy.
Before I begin, let’s thank everyone who set all of this up one more time (outdoor wedding/tent dinner). And keep in mind that it was raining during a lot of the time, which means we got wet. And I know I don’t like getting wet. I’d also like to personally thank Tom and Jake. You two went above and beyond in many areas and are now unforgettable.
Next, I’d like all the old people to raise their hand. Okay. If anyone is sitting next to an old person whose hand is not raised, please advise them to move closer to the speakers.
(Reaching into my pocket to pull out a few pages of paper,) I should also warn you that this isn’t going to be brief. Maybe if I had several brothers, I’d keep each one short, but I only have one brother. So take a look at your drinks and pace yourself for about fifteen minutes.
Where to begin? Oh. The title. So, this speech is called, “Relief. The end to living in sin.” It is written from the perspective of Sam and Hannah’s parents, by me. Wait a minute. (shuffling papers) I’m sorry. That was a working title. Oh boy.
The real title is “Who is my brother?”
You see, as I began to prepare for this speech, I realized I haven’t lived with Sam for fifteen years. And so it became clear early on that I might not actually have the most accurate picture of the man. So I contacted some of you who know him best to help me learn about him.
Here’s the thing. As I see it, we could take one of two routes. We could stick with the chronology of Sam, or I see a possibility to use a more abstract approach of determining if there are any themes about him. And since I think themes will be more fun, that’s how we’re going to do this.
To get started, then, I think the most important thing to mention is that Sam is, of course, an H-er man. Many of you in this room know a H-er. And a very select few of you are unfortunate enough to be married to one. The thing about H-er men is that they struggle with the obvious. Our dad, Larry, for instance, thinks the obvious needs to be stated. As a result, I find stating the obvious deplorable. And then there’s Sam, who misses the obvious.
The following anecdote is not funny, so please don’t laugh, you’ll only feel embarrassed. Sam’s first memorable miss was when our grandpa died when Sam was a toddler. After the funeral we all went back to the house and as we sat around the adults noticed Sam was not to be found. When he appeared, someone asked Sam where he was. Sam answered, “Looking for grandpa.”
Lightening the mood gradually here, there’s another time with his other grandparents when Sam did his thing. He was still very young as he sat in the back of the car while they got lost in the new-to-them Kansas City. Finally, exasperatedly, Sam said, “Pull over, Grandpa. Let me drive!”
It seems there was a least one kid who didn’t know that you had to be licensed by the state of Kansas to drive a car.
But the biggest instance of missing the obvious that I’d like to share now is what happened when Sam first called me to tell me about Hannah. He was so excited. So excited. One of the reasons he was so excited was that Hannah had graduated from an Ivy League university and yet had chosen him, he shared. What I didn’t have the heart to tell him then, but do now, is that taking the Ivy Leaguers in the highest seats of political power as an example, I think it’s rather clear that Ivy League graduates aren’t exactly known for their decision making skills. Hopefully Hannah will be an exception.
Okay. So in speeches like this, there comes a time when the bride is required to blush. Hannah, here’s your moment. It’s time to shine.
Hannah, here, unlike many of us who have only heard of yoga, actually practices yoga. And so, Hannah, I just want to say “thank you.” From what Sam has told me I just want to thank you for confirming what I’ve suspected all along. That yoga was invented by a man. For sex.
Seriously, though, Hannah. You have it pretty easy with Sam. Consider what our nephew Harry once wrote about Sam in a book. Chapter one. “My favorite relative is Uncle Sam.” Chapter two. “Uncle Sam’s favorite food is pizza. I like pizza.” Chapter three. “Uncle Sam’s favorite hobby is watching movies. I like watching movies.”
So Hannah, two things. Pizza. And Movies.
Again, as I was talking to some of you, I began to get a different picture from the one I knew. The Sam I knew had a mouthful of gum as our sister Kate stood over him accusing him of stealing her gum. Adamant denial was all she could get out of him. The Sam I knew was the one who once when I was back from college skipped school at my behest. The school called that day and I vouched for him, because I was an adult. Only years later did it come out that Kate was the one who had randomly driven by the house that day and seen his car and phoned the school herself.
But then I heard a story about Sam really enjoying going to Kate’s apartment to watch a movie with her. That didn’t seem like the Sam I knew. And then I was floored to hear that Sam mowed Kate and Mike’s lawn to help out after Harry was born. That also seemed out of character. And many more stories could be told to illustrate that Sam has proven himself to be sensitive. Observant. Intuitive. Instinctive.
Some even know him as an amazing gift giver. I’d like to stop right here though and declare that anyone who receives a white Christmas tree for their big birthday present one year while in high school will forever after give amazing gifts.
Sam is also thoughtful, they say.
And so it became very clear to me that while I initially thought these examples of behavior were out of character, it turns out that he’d been doing them so much that they were his character. Sam is a family man.
Here’s the thing. Each of us has a fire burning inside. Some people have fires that burn so bright they act as a light which draws people to them.
That’s not Sam.
Sam’s fire is the type that burns so hot that it keeps those around him warm.
Okay. Everyone stand up. Audience participation time.
I need your help. (This was the phrase I had previously arranged with Sam’s dj to press play on a certain well-known Stevie Wonder hit.)
I mentioned that I haven’t lived with Sam for fifteen years. This means a lot of phone calls. And we all know that no matter how good a phone call goes, there are some things that will never happen over the phone. Things like knuckles. Or a handshake. An elbow squeeze. Giving a shoulder a squeeze. Certainly you can’t hug over the phone. And these are the common ways men use to say “I love you.” And even now, if I turn to Sam and say, “I love you, Sam,” I’ve been talking for too long for him to get my meaning. Even if I sing it alone, I don’t think he’ll hear me.
But if everyone sings it, I think that should do the trick. We have one opportunity here. Join me in singing to Sam, or you can sing to Hannah if you like. But help me tell him I love him.
(Wait for it)
“I just called…to say…I love you. I just called…to say how much I care. I just called…to say…I love you. And I mean it from the bottom of my heart.”
To Sam and Hannah, everyone!
Ahhh! I can’t believe I’m admitting this. I know, I know. This one is going to ruffle a few feathers. Oh well. Get over it.
To begin, my eHarmony profile reveal for today: The First Thing People Notice About Me…
I usually wear glasses with large white frames, and that my mom made me
wear braces as a child.
Isn’t that clever? Not the white glasses part (that’s just honest), but the part about good teeth. And why do people notice good teeth? Because I’m smiling a lot. Layers.
I’d date me. Apparently I’m the only one. It’s been one month of membership and not a single date.
As a reminder, eHarmony sends 10 matches and 30 more “what ifs” for your consideration each day. The matches are supposed to be just that, people who fit your criteria/settings. The “what ifs” are people that you might be a match if it wasn’t for little things like location. I haven’t had a proper “match” since day one. Even the “matches” that they tell me are matches are just “what ifs” that somehow are presented as “matches.” But they’re not matches. They all say, “So-and-so is a great match who just happens to be outside of your settings.” (To be clear–eHarmony is a crock of shit, don’t waste your money fellas.) My “what ifs” live in Oklahoma, Utah, Texas, Kansas, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, which I believe are all states not in or around Denver.
As with all of life’s trials and tribulations, however, I know the fault is my own. You see, one of my criteria (I don’t think it’s listed anywhere) is I don’t date women with dogs. (Or cats, but cats is due to allergies.) Why not? Because my ex left me with the $1200 dog that only she wanted in the first place, and so I was the one who got to hear H- say, “Where’d my dog go?” as we walked from the dumb friends league foyer to our car without it. Because I couldn’t stand watching the next woman I dated rearrange the furniture daily for her dog. Because I will never understand why anyone would live their life on a twelve hour leash to an animal. Because the woman I dated after her had two little shits that of course weren’t shits to her, but they were and I was supposed to be fine with them joining us on the couch. Well, I wasn’t. They’re animals. And it’s not cute or acceptable that they jump on people. Moreover, it’s maddening to watch dog owners repeat the same silly behavior endlessly as if they are in control.
But more than that, I don’t date women with dogs because they invariably and inexplicably choose the animal over the human. When given the proposition “man or dog,” they choose the dog. And that’s just wrong. “I know I never got around to having kids like I wanted, but I did get to carry little bags of warm shit every day. I mean that’s something.” Right.
As if there wasn’t enough to sift through during a relationship between adult humans, I am supposed to be fine with ten more years of your dogs jumping on me every time I come over? Fine with watching you push them down only to notice they snagged your clothing and that you now have to change outfits? Ten more years of your dogs waking us up because they have to pee even when we could have slept in? Not to mention that your car is filthy and smells. And don’t even get me started on the actual dollar amount involved in owning a dog.
I just can’t deal with the fact that such an invasive, intrusive part of a single woman’s life is something she advertises like it’s no big thing, or worse, like it’s attractive in her profile–sometimes in multiple forms. From pictures to “what I’m passionate about” to “things I can’t live without” dogs are everywhere. Go, Dog. Go!
I know, I know. Women are not wrong for liking dogs, they’re just not for me. That doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating. So I wrote about it.
Because We’re Men
I don’t know what you call it. I’ve never heard a name for it. I think it’s exclusively a male thing, yet I can’t say I’ve ever asked a lady if she’s experienced it. With the advent of texting, however, this unnameable feeling previously limited to the physical realm has made its way to the digital world. And I don’t like it.
The fellas know what I’m talking about. There are moments in life. Maybe you’re standing in line together at the newest Expendables movie. Or maybe you’re both scanning the restaurant for hot-chicks-that-you-won’t-talk-to as you each reach for the salt. The setup isn’t really important. What’s important is the unexpected and new sensation on your hand. It’s heavy. It’s hairy. It’s rough. It’s another man’s hand. It’s your friend’s hand. Something about the moment causes the collision to continue until you make eye contact and only then do you both pull away. Of course the manly-man military/police/firefighter crowd, always looking to distinguish itself from its sissy-man peers, rejects this absolute refusal to touch and, usually, what starts as an inconsequential bumping of mitts becomes full-on hand-holding that is more often than not accompanied by a witty expression such as, “I don’t mind if you don’t mind.”
And I freely admit that this is a very funny moment, especially when it involves the uninitiated.
But as if texting isn’t difficult enough as is, we men are making it harder on ourselves these days. You know what I’m talking about. With women, we’re adding bogus punctuation and emoticons left and right to make sure we don’t come across as creepy or stalker or needy or rude or sexting or, well, you get the picture. 🙂 But this unnamable feeling that I get when I accidentally touch another man’s hand, well that’s the same feeling I get when I see a text from a buddy who has apparently forgotten that he’s texting a man. What is the deal with male-to-male exclamation points or smiley faces? It just feels wrong, doesn’t it? It’s weak. It’s creepy. It’s stalker-ish.
Take George and I for example. If I text something to George that is so sarcastic that he doesn’t think he gets the joke or my meaning, he simply responds like he should. He replies, “I don’t think I understand.” Because he’s a man. And then I re-attack with more consideration. Or I would maybe just reply “nm.” I might even just not reply. And yet we remain friends. I don’t think I ever have, but say I texted him something that sounded like I intended to sleep with him next time we met. Even then, he’d simply say, “Did you just ask if I would sleep with you?” Because he’s a man. Then in that situation, despite his dashing good looks and fit figure, which probably has epic stamina, I would reply, “No.” And that would be it. Because we’re men.
So fellas, please. Please pay attention from now on. When it’s me you’re texting, lose the gimmicks. Unlike the lady folk, our relationship is not dependent on proper text etiquette. Thank you.
That is all.
Review of Jesus and the Victory of God, by N.T. Wright
“Na, I’ve read that already. I want the good stuff. I want what you read,” I said to the pastor as he tried to hand me C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity in response to my request.
That’s how I came to be introduced to N.T. Wright’s The New Testament and the People of God series, of which this volume is book two of five. Reading others’ reviews on Amazon, however, almost prevented the purchase. As such, I’d like to do the opposite and encourage it.
Why should you read this series? Because you’re smart. Not just smart, you’re educated. You know things. You know science. You know history. And you know facts. You know that the simple truth is there is no god. You know Jesus of Nazareth was nothing more than a man and that the cross, nothing more than one of the earliest name brands. You know that you have or would have come to the conclusion to “love your enemy” naturally. And you’re pretty sure that you just read a long-form article which proves that forgiveness is practiced in the animal kingdom.
And yet you feel there is something strangely unsettling if not outright irritating about that name–Jesus.
In his book/series, Wright unabashedly starts in the present. His question: What has to be true for the story to be true? As in, say someone claims that the Lord of the Rings is based on the historical record. What would have to be true for them to be right? There’d have to be evidence of wizards, elves, orcs, hobbits, a place called Mordor–lots of things. The same goes for the Bible and other non-canonical sources of ancient history. A lot of things have to fall onto the “likely to be true” side of the ancient history continuum in order for the radical claim that Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and whatever is meant by resurrection somehow altered the very real space-time universe that we find ourselves amid.
I’ll share two ways that the book has changed my perspective. First, Tolstoy wrote a book on Christianity that captured my attention for some time. One of his arguments, therefore mine, was that Jesus taught timeless truths. I no longer believe that. Wright repeatedly makes the compelling argument that Jesus of Nazareth was not a teacher of timeless truths. He lived in the first century, not the twenty-first. He was Jewish, not Christian. He delivered his message almost exclusively to Israel and the Jews, not Rome or the pagans. He did not know post-modernism, the same as how we do not know ancient history, more specifically first century/Second Temple Judaism.
Second, I am a believer in Wright’s argument that all is narrative. Wright deals exclusively in narrative, in story. As a historian he is concerned with building a story that makes sense. Many other historians disagree with him. That doesn’t absolve any of us of the burden of answering for ourselves, “Of all the competing stories about Jesus of Nazareth, which one do I believe?”
In the end, on a practical note don’t read this book without reading the first volume.
Oh, one last and probably obvious point. While I exclaimed aloud, “Yeah buddy!” as I advanced to Chapter 12 “The Reasons for Jesus’ Crucifixion”, it’s doubtful you’ll find it a page turner. What can I say? I just wanna know stuff. Maybe you do to. If so, pick up the series. If not, I still love you.
Achieving Goals. Buried Within by Pete Deakon On Sale Now
When I quit the oil fields, I told myself I would write two books (in addition to posting Mon-Fri) and that they would be on sale by March 1st. Well, without a moment to spare, my new (and second) short novel Buried Within is now available in paperback for purchase on Amazon (kindle version within the day). Here is the back cover text. Hope you enjoy.
Rick and Mark are friends, but they have lots of friends. After Mark’s wife Rebecca is murdered, he does the unthinkable–twice. Would you? Could you?
Pete Deakon lightens the mood, at least a shade, with his second short novel, Buried Within. The story explores friendship, hope, guilt, and ultimately, love.
At times laugh-out-loud funny, through an easy-going style and brisk pace, this contemporary thriller pleasantly affirms and challenges some of Mid-America’s most cherished notions.
If you’d like to do a review of the book (that you’d post on your blog and Amazon at least), I’ll email you a pdf. Just let me know. Glenn of Glenn Hates Books has it in his queue already. I’m skerred. Ha.
I Thought This Was eHarmony?
No thanks to your comments I decided to go ahead and bite the bullet. I hate it because I have quit two times before and I usually stick to my guns on things. But I’m back at it. Online dating, here we go again.
I have no idea what the uninitiated know about online dating, but I love to share how it goes down as if they know nothing. Today’s post is about a difference between the sites and also Christ.
Besides your suggestions, the reason I’m back is because I recently learned that eHarmony doesn’t let you browse profiles. Other sites (OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Match, Christian Mingle) allow a user to view anyone’s profile (even same-sex profiles that are not searching for same-sex relationships–which I mention here because it makes me laugh every time I picture the straight dudes’ faces when they saw some other straight dude had visited their page. What can I say? I am not afraid to scope out the competition and adjust accordingly.) Anyhow, this free-browsing, for a person like me, means a lot–I mean a lot–of profile viewing. Probably not a bad thing in and of itself, but the amount of time it takes is ridiculous. Especially, if, like me, you aren’t getting any dates. That’s why I quit last time. Too much time spent not dating. But this–this no browsing thing–is quite nice. What isn’t nice, and moreover is awfully humorous, is that while I thought I was signing up for eHarmony, it appears I may be on Christian Mingle.
You see, however I answered the questions about myself, the only women the site is feeding me as potential matches are those with Christ at the center of their lives, those whose faith is their number one priority, those who are looking for a man to be the spiritual leader of their family, and those who want a man for whom God is as important to him as he is to them. Wow. I felt kind of dirty after reading the twentieth or so version of that. No pressure, right?
Don’t get me wrong ladies. Seek what you want. Want what you want. I just don’t even know what any of those sentences mean. More than that, I have to admit that the mental image I get after reading those sentences is one of ignorance, weakness, and fear. What does that say? Oh well. Different strokes for different folks.
Since seeing this trend, I have looked back through my modifiable settings and I can’t find anything that indicates I only want a woman like this, most notably, I don’t have a religion requirement. The only thing I can think is that it must have been my answers to the personality questions, which unfortunately I cannot change without first, creating a new profile and second, lying.
Come to think of it, I did answer “strongly agree” that a woman’s place is the kitchen and that the ideal woman is one who recognizes the futility of “thinking for herself”. Maybe that’s what did it?
Like I tried to express before, I’m pretty sure some personalities just don’t fit into the boxes that are online dating profiles. Only time will tell. I am actually excited to discover if these women are telling the truth. We’ll see.
And if I didn’t say it before, thank you. This is fun.