They say everyman has a price. He has the things that he loves and holds dear to heart, but somewhere in his heart he has price. He has this one thing that he would trade for everything. He would turn his back on his best friend, walk away from his wife and family, his career. In short he would walk away from everything that defines him…
A man’s price is what he feels his real identity is. Not the identity that fate and compromise has given him, but the one thing that his soul cries out to be. Most men never learn their price, some men know it from the start of their adult lives. The rare “True Believer” is the man who truly knows his price. He has stared his price in the face. He has pondered his price and the prize it buys and found it inconsequential to a belief. Instead holding in secret the one thing for which he would trade his identity, he has made a public confession to a belief that now owns him. The “True Believer” has no identity to die in exchange for his one thing. His one thing is his public belief.
The man without price cannot be bribed. You cannot change his beliefs by taking his things, his family, his very life. He already sold them all, and know merely holds them in escrow for his belief.
He cannot be killed, only martyred. He cannot be made to feel anything. Emotions are the product of our experiences. He has died to the experiences that he had before he believed. The “True Believer” paid his price already. He fears nothing. There is nothing to take away from him. There is nothing to give him.
To the Christian Right:
I’ve been reading the Bible lately. I know that it scares you when I read it for myself without you to intercept the message and sanitize it for me, but I have to read it. There is a man named Joshua hiding in between the paragraphs and lines and must find him. Or I die.
You might be right about some simple thing hidden in the bullshit, but I think I can say, with conviction and correctness: everything you believe is wrong. The one in a million things that you are right about are for the wrong reason.
1. Your translations are wrong. There isn’t single excellent English translation. God is faithful to speak to the English speaking people of earth that seek Him. We can find Him in your butchered tomes, but only barely. His name is not “God” His name is things like Master General of all Armies, the Master who always provides. You leave the names of long dead cities in Hebrew, but dare to rename God for your editorial convince.
2. Your history is wrong: This is not God’s chosen nation. We are not a “Christian Nation” whatever the hell that means. We were never a Christian nation. Religious freedom does not now mean, nor did it ever mean the freedom to practice the stripe of Christianity you choose. The signers of the constitution were men much like us. Some wise, some foolish, some heavenly and some earthy. Our position in the world is not for our righteousness. God uses us as he uses all Empires: to provide continuity over a wide area. We humble other nations because of their unrighteousness, not to highlight our righteousness.
3. Your present is wrong: This is not the beginning of the cultural wars. These are the last days of a war fought for 2000 years. The time is not coming. The time is now.
4. Your future is wrong. We are not at the cusp. We passed the cusp, the mold is cast. The “tribulation” is not some dastardly thing that the Lord will save us from. The tribulation is beautiful and holy in God’s sight. God’s Judgment is no bigger and no smaller than His mercy. Gods not idly watching the world burn down. He’s stoking the fire.
5. You create controversy where there is none to maintain a desperate, lost, and stupid constituency who needs you to make it all better. The Bible is not unclear about
A. marriage after divorce.
B. The punishment of those who take innocent life.
C. Who His chosen nation is
D. What the church looks like
You lie about all these things. You make people argue about whether to tithe of off gross or net income while you collect a pretty chain of souls.
6. Your identity is wrong. You think you are the New Bishopric, the rightful heir of the reigns of the Church since the Catholics failed to contain Luther. You are not. You are the very old Pharisees.
7. You think you want theocracy. But like everything else you are that is lie. God rules all governments. To state that theocracy is rule by God is to say that God rules other governments less. Do you think you can contain the power of the Reigning Lord of Heaven and Earth by the name of your government? Or are you so wise to determine the soul of a man in a glance? Will you decide who is truly believer and thus fit to rule with one of your many top selling self help books? You don’t want rule by God, or you would let Him rule you. You want to rule. You want clericracy (rule by priesthood) not theocracy. You have made yourselves equal to the not only the task of husbanding the Bride, but of ruling the kingdom as well! There is no high priest between God and man but Christ, and no king not under the King of Kings.
8. You do not hate what God hates. You add to and subtract from scripture as you see fit. As if we did not have enough already, you invent sins that the Holy Spirit never mentioned.
9. You do not love what God loves.
In short. You are not who you think you are. You are all the power, corruption, manipulation, and greed you wish to destroy. Fear not, you will be successful.
I haven’t written in months and I still have nothing to say. What DO I say? I could talk about the how much I hate Mississippi, but I’ve already done that, and besides, now that its nearly September, its not nearly so bad out. I could talk about the things in my life I am trying to change, but I’ve found over the years the fastest way to not change is to tell everyone how much you want to change and what your plan is for doing it.
I don’t want to talk about religion. I don’t want to talk about the Air Force. I don’t want to complain about the government, and I can’t anyway. I’m lonely. I love my wife. I love my daughter. But, I’m lonely. I dreamed the other night that I ran into my ex-girlfriend. Some times dreams are surreal, sometimes they are poignant, sometimes so real they are fake. But this was just real. We talked, made pointless chit chat and went on are way. I don’t miss her, I’ve nothing to say to her. There is no reason for me to dream about her, but I still do from time to time.
Usuallyit happens when I am very lonely. Maybe it reminds me of when I was young man, 16 to say 19 years old. I was desperately pathetically screwed up.
I mean I was really really jacked up. And I’ve never understood why. My parents were never physically abusive (Ok, rarely.) And only occasionally verbally abusive. They didn’t really do anything to hurt me. So I couldn’t figure out why I was so broken inside. And then it hit me. Its true. They never did anything to hurt me. They never really did anything at all. The never encouraged us to be our best or to really do anything at all. I can’t really remember my parents talking to me between the ages of about 9 and 14. Until I could hold down an adult conversation with them, they simply didn’t have anything to say to me unless they were disciplining me or telling me why I could not do something that they perceived to be dangerous, even socially dangerous. I could not play football. I could not play basket ball. I could not play baseball. I was told that people in my family are poor athletes and could never be competitive at such things. This, of course, is a self fulfilling prophecy. If you are told you can’t catch, run, or hit a ball AND you’re mother and father refuse to ever go out to play with you (My parents played outside with us all of three times in my whole life.) Then, of course when you do have to do these things at school you look like an idiot and everyone laughs at you, so then you really don’t want to do it. I wasn’t allowed to go to boyscout meetings. I was strongly discouraged from actively participating in my church.
So I had no real social outlet. I had no close friends. As a result I spend a lot of time alone, and a lot of time fantasizing about being much cooler than I really was, and reading constantly.
Well, none of those things help you fit in. When I tried to be friends with people I often found I couldn’t, because what I thought a friend was and what they thought a friend was so radically different. I would get close to people and they would find the constant maintenance of my bruised ego to be draining, and leave me. So I got more afraid of getting close and it got harder and harder to do so. And on and on.
At Bible college I met this girl. She like me a lot. I told some of my big hurts in life, the things I was afraid of in myself. And she accepted me and told me she loved me. Now, she was 18. She had no business telling me she loved me. We weren’t good for each other in a lot of ways. We broke each other in a lot of ways. For a long time I thought the only thing I wanted to say to her was, “I’m sorry.” Eventually I did. Now, I realize the one other thing I wanted to say.
It seem doubtful that I’ll ever talk to her again. When I apologized (and she apologized) we talked some and decided not to pursue any kind of a friendship with each other, as we were both now with other people we loved dearly, and both of us had families to raise.
So, I will say this one thing here:
Thank you, Lydia.
Its not enough to be sorry for the crap. To really move on you’ve gotta accept the good too, and thats why 9 years later, she still crosses my mind. I think of her when I get the loneliest because she was the very first person who looked through the crap in my life and wanted me anyway. She wasn’t the last( which is why I am honesty very happy that both of us moved on.)
But she was the first.