14 October 2009

A Small Tsunami of Blather from Equity Court

"Jesus Carries a .46" Revealed

On 5 October, I presented the aphorism “Jesus Carries a .46,” and invited interpretation, backed up by the promise of loot from the Three Parsec Bookshelf®. I disqualified a few readers who would have known immediately what it meant, since I try to avoid easy contests, although I’ve been surprised at how quickly some of you have twigged to odd things in the past. Well, I’ve had two submissions within 9 days.

Dearest SHEILA222!!! took a break from school and her own darling offspring and responded: "Jesus packs enough (heat) to stop you in your tracks. (and it sometimes makes you see the error of your ways before you end up on Boot Hill or places far distant from him.)"

And Dearest Rosary took a break from her pedagogical, literary and family life and asked: "Why would Jesus need a rifle, Roger? Unless, of course, he's tired of what some folk do in his name..." Jeez, Rosary, can't a guy just pray for instant death for the enemy?

Well, y’all aren’t spot on, but pretty darn close. Sheila referred to Jesus having excess “heat” which exerts moral power and Boot Hill which connotes gunfights. Rosary specifically mentioned firearms.

The phrase comes from an old joke. Someone asked the old Texas Ranger why he carried a .45. (Note to those unfamiliar: The .45 referred to here is a pistol. The “.45" means that the diameter of the barrel and therefore the projectile is 45/100ths of an inch, which is pretty big as bullets go.) His reply was, “Because they don’t make a .46,” meaning that he carried the most powerful pistol cartridge then available. The connotation, then, is that whatever we have, Christ has more power.

Both Sheila and Rosary got the fundamental idea, and. so they will be the recipients of something special from the Three Parsec Bookshelf®. Shiela, I can’t find your physical world address and Rosary, I don’t think I’ve ever had yours. So if youse would kindly advise me by email, I’ll send the cornucopia via the Inconvenient Oozing Third Dimension for your delight. (At least I hope it’s delight; I try.)

Note: Parson Norton gave it a gallant effort, he really did, and he he enjoyed the challenge. Indeed, he was laughing aloud about it last Wednesday night, and experimenting with Biblical themes. Norton is a wonderful fellow who recently gave me 2 books on “Process Theology,” the kind of subject he knows better than I know the stuff that I write about. And Bert picked up an in medias res discussion which was obscure but darn interesting. I think I’ll sic Norton on him to convert him. Hell, it worked for me. Oh, my goodness, there is a vision of the Red Gates of Hell for Pastor Josh - Bert and I in the same pew on a Sunday morning. Just contemplating that makes the week worthwhile.

Second note: Bert also mentioned weapons calibrated in millimeters. I have always clung to the belief that that's for sissies. On the other hand, some of the extremely violent (legal) military people opt for metric calibers, so perhaps I'd better not spread that one around. I'd hate to have the coroner call to her assistant over my dead body, "Hey, Sidney, throw me the metric ruler."

Third note: Sheila has pointed out in a comment that I'm somewhat of a dumbshit - she is correct, which will come as no shock to faithful readers. Sorry, Sheila!

Nobel Musings and Where is Alferd Packer When You Need Him?

It is THEIR tcatchke. It is THEIR money. Who cares who they give it to? Those who disagree can form their own foundation and give medals, cash, farm animals, 8-track players or lottery tickets to whomever they please for whatever reason they please. The hubbub is just another garment-rending distraction so we don’t see how we have to pay for the bunny that gets into the hat, we don’t realize that we’re paying someone who doesn’t know bunnies from giraffes to put the bunny IN the hat, and then we’re always amazed and pathetically grateful when he pulls the bunny FROM the hat and presents it to us as his gift so we vote for him again. I would ask “How stupid do they think we are?,” but we keep demonstrating that they are right day, after day.

Sunday night, the Fairmont Alferd Packer Memorial Peace Prize Committee spontaneously formed at the weekly pre-week planning supper, and is exploring our own low budget version of honoring who we want. We’re thinking ordinary people who keep going through think & thin.

New & Improved

The bank at which I do my business has a “new and improved” online banking system. I didn’t think anyone used that phrase, “new and improved” any more, but I was wrong. I only had to call customer service once for "simple instructions." In order to be qualified for “new and improved” service, you have to agree to the “new and approved” customer agreement which, if set in 10 point type on 8-1/2 x 11 inch paper, runs 21 pages – 11,130 words.

No Whining Wimp Zone

I well remember when I was 6 years old, my Dad carefully showed me how to safely handle a pocket knife and gave me a little one with a blade maybe 1-1/2 inches long. Since then, a knife has always been among my pocket litter awaiting me every morning, sometimes something petite and sometimes something large. In the news today, there is the story of a CUB SCOUT who had a collapsible knife/fork/spoon kit he got a his first Cub meeting with him at school, and he’s been expelled and put into the juvenile system for that. I cannot even summon sufficient words to articulate the argument. Only the most moronic powder puff wimp would . . . well, you see my drift.

On a related note, a couple of months ago, I went into the Courthouse in a nearby county where there is “tight security.” I was relieved of the 2 inch Gerber pocket knife I was carrying because it was “dangerous.” The Deputy kept a straight face and I could not tell if he was kidding or not. (I no longer carry Buck products, since they have sold American virtue to China, where they now manufacture products with soft Asian steel and neo-slave labor.) However, that day I also was having ankle trouble and so had a cane. No problem, I kept it. I had a friendly chat with the judge, who is a friend, and told him that I would have played hell killing him with the 2 inch knife. But with that nice long piece of straight American White Ash, he would have been dead meat.

Note: Soon, a bit on Glenn Beck’s moronic rant about having taken his pistol to the movie theater and the even more cretinous responses that has generated.

Time It Hurries On

I continue to be baffled by this electronics thing. I sent 2,000+ pages of a trial record to a printer today. The printer will put everything together and hand-carry the appeal to the Court in Richmond. I’m still stuck in the 70's when I paid $1 a month for touch-tone phone service and the height of word processing was the IBM Correcting Selectric Typewriter. You xeroxed stuff one page at a time. I also hand-wrote drafts of a lot of things, and it was a simpler time . . .

And, yes - - in many ways it WAS a better time and a happier time.

Pippa passes.


05 October 2009

Acute Ecclesiastical Improbabilities

Religious practice is a personal decision. Religion is a cultural imperative. You do not have to agree with me. That is the First Amendment in action. The remedy when you are presented with religious information or communications that you are unwilling to listen to is this: don’t listen. Simple. I give this preface because someone invariably gives me annoying clatter when these Dispatches turn to matters of Faith.

Our beloved Pastor Josh recently requested (Assigned? Harassed? Haranged?) some folks to write suggested “ministry values” for our church, which is a part of the denomination Disciples of Christ. Generally, the Disciples don’t focus on doctrinal details which exclude people from worship.

I had never heard of “ministry values.” When Josh brought the subject up, I pictured that most useless of all writings (ok, maybe it’s tied with the love letter), the “Mission Statement.” That’s where an organization says in flowing incomprehensible blather what they have no intention of ever doing, hoping that the rubes will be so confused that they will forget to evaluate the organization’s results.

I looked on the net and found some examples, which were of little help. I even found a translation of Martin Luther’s Theses, which were, well, whining twaddle so far as I could tell. Since a whole Reformation was based upon them, I suspect my own analysis is at fault rather than Luther was inadequate.

In any event, Draft #2 was moderately serious, and I submitted it on the level:

Some of the common values of the people of Central Christian Church:

The people of Central Christian Church are loving and faithful Christians. We do not march stiffly in step to one single dictated dogma. Rather we walk together as best our understanding of Christ’s teaching leads us to do.

As Disciples of Jesus the Christ, we faithfully adhere to the virtues taught by God - love, honestly, kindness, caring, humility, and service.

We love one another.

We accept one another.

We support & serve one another, knowing that God has called each of us to a ministry of our own, the nature of which is unique to each of us in accordance with the gifts He has given us.

In times of sorrow or trouble, we give extra of ourselves, whatever it may take, to serve our brethren, whether giving love, encouragement or loving guidance, always with humility and love, and always in privacy and confidence.

We support & serve our community, and the greater community of mankind.

We inhabit a garden of many herbs and flowers, each beautiful and useful in its way. (See Note 1)

There is evil in the world, and we face it without hesitation and with God’s justice. (See Note 2)

We acknowledge our need always to learn and to teach one another, to question, to respect the opinions of one another, and to open our minds to concepts and ideas. We focus upon the Bible for authority and also open ourselves to supplemental sources.

We expresss gratitude to God and live lives of Joy.

We incorporate prayer into our daily intimate lives as our communication to and from God.

There is no water so holy as the sweat of honest labor nor prayer so sincere as the extended hand.

Our core agreement is that Jesus is the Christ. He has gone to prepare a place for us and he will return and take us there personally. (See Note 3)

OK, I did my best given that I’m not what one would call an ecclesiastical scholar who hangs round the scriptorium and misses dinner.

But there was also Draft #1, which, while crude and whimsical, still had elements of my own beliefs:

We value rock & roll. [I’m not sure why, we just do.]

We value blended scotch and believe that the guys who order single malt are effete snobs.

We believe guys ought to ogle the girls and the girls ought to eye the guys and God planned it that way. Moreover, distillation was made possible to aid in that endeavor.

We are heartily sorry for our sins, but not so much that we’re going to quit doing all of them.

We value God’s peace and will smile and turn the other cheek right up until someone REALLY pisses us off or messes with one of our children, in which case all bets are off, and it’s time to open a six-pack of whoop-ass.

Jesus carries a .46. (See Note 4)

There is no water so holy as honest sweat.

Note 1: I specifically and intentionally stole that from Baha’i writings.

Note 2: OK, originally, it was “without fear,” which is mega-dumb.

Note 3: Our Dad said that each of us has a ministry, and I'll expand on that at some other time. This comes from a specific passage: "Let not your heart be troubled. Who believes in God believes also in me. In my Father's house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And I will come again, and take you there personally." This has been a part of communications with intimate friends in their own times of ultimate crisis, and is important to me.

Note 4: A Contest!!: The first person to describe the meaning of this phrase will win a book from the Three Parsec Bookshelf®, to be selected by blog proprietor. Subnote: Bros. Dennis, Joel, David and Bert are not eligible, because they would find the topic too easy. Bro. Bert’s wife is also ineligible, because I thing Bert’s been sandbagging us in his blog (see link to right), and LaBert knows more about the topic that all of us. However, if Bros. Josh or Norton or Sisters Carolyn or Sarai are the winners, I’ll DOUBLE the prize (goodness, I’m channeling Billy Mays - who, by the way, I have it on good authority that Bro. Josh killed) and maybe even throw in some other form of media. All caprice is final.

Please feel free to gather the firewood for a burning-at-the-stake, and we'll talk.

Pippa passes.