31 January 2009

A Sunday Morning’s Coloring Book: Poor Me, The Ol’ Shuck & Jive, and If I Only Had A Biblical Brain

Oh, poor me. It’s been a tough week and a tough day. Woe. Woe, I say. The morning was spent at church learning the details of this whole deacon routine. It’s much less spiritual than nuts & bolts temporal, but “the observer” phenomenon makes it entertaining: Why we do things is much, much more interesting that what it is we do. How important is the routine, the ceremony, and how isolated can the pointy end of the spear be? For instance, if the baptisee gets dunked and personally experiences the morally cleansing thing, does it matter what words are used, what they wear, and so forth? Absolutely it beats me. Well, that’s been my whole week.

Poor Me

I’m really tempted by the Poor Me’s this week, owing to the usual and the idiosyncratic. I am mindful of the advice of Malcolm Forbes: “If you have a job without aggravations, you don’t have a job.” And we are always reminded that others have it worse. I wonder: How often are air traffic controllers so stressed or peeved that they are tempted to play “connect the dots” on the radar? They must not do it too often – I think we would have heard otherwise.

But then as I am tempted by the “Poor Me’s,” others come along and strut their stuff with the Poor Me, and I see how silly and annoying it can be. I was talking to a 20-something this week who, for very good reasons, needs to get and keep a job. “But if I apply for a job, I won’t get it, you’ll see.” Oh, poor me. Pardner, if you go in with that attitude, guaranteed you won’t get a job. Later in the week, after a couple of days of feeling rather melancholy, I was talking to an individual in genuine need of mental health treatment. S/he was using every excuse and dodge in the book. Well, been there, done that, didn’t buy the crap, and s/he concluded that I am a “cruel s.o.b.” Got it in one, I can live with that. Shut up and go to the doctor.

Is “poor me” some sort of human need? Or some sort of warped need? Do we want attention because we get to be somewhere from poorly functional to non-functional to pathetic to bathetic? For heaven’s sake, give me that camouflaged cabin before you foist a “Poor Me Roger” on people, Lord. They don’t deserve it, and I don’t deserve to watch the indignity of it. At least that’s where I’m at tonight and God willing, I can stay there.

I don’t want to be cross-examined, Poor Me

Ex-governor Blagojevich’s case is a quandry. I would respectfully refer you to Gerry Spence’s blog (link to the right) where he correctly points out that the guy was tried and convicted in the press before there was one damn word said in his defense. That is, indeed, denying him (and the rest of us) the right to a fair trial of a citizen on these charges.

And then in his impeachment trial, he appeared before the Illinois State Senate not to testify, but to give a “closing argument” where he made factual representations – that is, where he testified, not under oath, and not in a manner than anybody could ask him any questions or seek any explanation of the hard-to-explain evidence against him. As to some of the evidence, I can imagine some defenses which are merely immoral and ethically corrupt, not illegal. For instance, saying that someone would not bet Obama’s senate seat “for free” could mean a bag of cash, or it could mean the nod-nod-wink-wink mutual support that has been the coin of politics since 20 minutes after Brutus put the dagger to Julius Caesar. But we don’t know Blago’s story, because he wanted to whine but not reply.

Coincidence? I think not. Poor me.

I get a little daily devotional guide called The Upper Room. It’s inexpensive, understandable, and I have real good intentions to use it daily. Meaning, I get to it when I think of it, and that’s not real regular. In any event, what pierced the melancholy of yesterday was the lesson yesterday, the theme being “Whiners.” I confess to a laugh-out-loud, and a recognition that I am often quite the dumb ass.

Shack attack, Poor me.

I just completed The Shack, by William P. Young. It was first recommended to me by a client, very, very nice and devout lady for whom we did a bit of legal alchemy (converted a bad situation into a good situation). She said that it was totally inspiring. Those who see the physical world bookshelves as well as the cyber-shelves ‘round No. 3 know that I’m not hurting for things to read, but I did go ahead and download it to the Kindle. (Pretty cheap, too.) Then, last week, a very literate friend, Jan Parker, recommended it, and that put it up the priority list far enough that I got to it this week.

I’m really glad that lots of people have found peace and inspiration there. I didn’t, though.

Without giving anything away, a key event in the book is a blot of human evil, and one person’s struggle to deal with that. That presented three issues, the first implied and the others overt.

First, I cannot ignore the event and seek philosophical or theological meaning in it. There is an evil event, terrible unresolved consequences and risk/probability of future events. I want to get into the pit and work on the problems. Contemplation of the problems in a remote sense frustrates me enormously. Perhaps that is a poor way to react, but it is my way.

Second, there is the question of why God, the All-knowing and All-powerful, permits evil in this Universe that He has created. The answer, as I glean it from The Shack, is that this is necessary to give Humans Free Will. Huh? What a fantastic leap of logic! If we are constrained from murder, torture, and such like, we have no free will? Well, that’ll be a real downer to the guys in supermax, won’t it?

And finally, the author deals in the usual fashion that I still don’t understand with the alleged “necessity” for Jesus’ particularly nasty death. The explanation: “Through his death and resurrection, [God] is fully reconciled to the world.” Double, double, toil and trouble. I’m still the same place I have been - I didn’t ask for that, I didn’t demand it, I didn’t want it and as a cornerstone of the Christian faith, it totally baffles me.

And to end with a wry smile:

The Stimulus

This year, taxpayers will receive an Economic Stimulus Payment. This is a very exciting new program that I will explain using the Q and A format:

Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?

A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

Q. Where will the government get this money?

A. From taxpayers.

Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?

A. Only a smidgen.

Q. What is the purpose of this payment?

A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China ?

A. Shut up.

Pippa passes.


1 comment:

Beysshoes said...

I liked the format and simplicity of this blurb. The 'Stimulus Package' made me laugh. You're way too pissy to ever be a "poor me" kinda guy. xox