Thursday, May 26, 2011

Can't Stop Won't Stop

I just unwrapped a twice-baked chocolate croissant, and a silverfish fled from the wrapping. I destroyed the insect, then considered throwing the pastry, which I'd been anticipating for two days, away, for fear the bug had contaminated it somehow. I'm no expert in silverfish; all I know is that they must be destroyed on sight.

I ate the pastry. I figure if you're willing to put a twice-baked chocolate croissant in your mouth, you're long past the point of worrying about the negative health effects of what you eat.

Friday, May 13, 2011

They Heard the Call

So a religious group is predicting the immanent end of the world. I used to hear Harold Camping, the worldly head of the organization behind this Neo-Millerite message, on a religious radio station in Birmingham. He has an idiosyncratic voice and lumbering speech style that I found hypnotic; I barely remember any of what he had to say, except that events in the news tie in with scriptural prophecy, plus dancing is bad because you could cut in and hold his wife in your arms, which ain’t how Harold Camping rolls. Maybe he should try salsa.

I bring this up not for cheap yucks but because I wonder if some part of his mind is already working on a rationalization for if and when the Rapture doesn’t happen on his schedule. He says on NPR that there is “No plan B.” Does that mean Camping doesn’t have a Plan B, or God doesn’t? Can Camping tell the difference between his plans for God and God’s plans for Camping? Can anyone tell the difference between their plans for God and God’s plans for them?

While I’m picking on preachers, consider this guy. The story reminds me of the year I spent working at a factory in Chattanooga that made a point of hiring students from the local seminary. Many of them were inspiring guys; kind, helpful, scholarly and smart.

Others, I believe, were becoming preachers because it was the only way they’d ever get any respect. Goofy, slow-witted, mean-spirited people who wanted to don the mantle (or cloak) of goodness that preachers get by default. Assuming there’s something to my suspicions, it’s not surprising that some preachers would bark like a SEAL. Note what retired SEAL Don Shipley, who keeps track of retired SEALS for the Navy, says:

“We deal with these guys all the time, especially the clergy. It’s amazing how many of the clergy are involved in those lies to build that flock up.”

As long as you're disguising yourself for cheap validation, why not add a second layer of cloaking?

BTW one of these seminarians showed two very different sides of himself depending on whether he was talking to fellow students or civilians; once when his schoolmates weren’t around he boasted of getting kicked out of the local strip club for fistfighting. This wasn't before he was saved; this was the previous weekend. I later asked him what his plan for the future was. He wanted to be a traveling evangelical preacher, affiliated with a church but going from one church/revival to another. I like to think he’s out there in Tennessee or someplace, some small town, preaching the gospel under a white canopy, winning souls, while scanning the congregation for potential Jezebels…

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Kitty!

The other day I was driving down South Concord, one of the main roads around here, when I saw a little orange critter trying to cross the street. It was a tabby kitten, nervously stopping and starting in the middle of the street, its round little head shifting as its big circle eyes tried to decide if my car was gonna hit it or not. I slammed on the brakes, of course; they say you shouldn't risk human lives to save an animal, but they say lots, don't they? I will cause a pileup to save a kitten. This isn't a gray area for me. Happily no one had to die that day, including the kitten, which made it to the relative safety of the McDonald's parking lot.

One of our neighbors sets out bowls of cat food and water for local strays, and many cats set up shop on her front porch. A birdwatcher friend of mine, who brings to the issue of cat vs. bird the same angry moral absolutism others reserve for Israel vs. Palestine, disapproves of this practice, but it's a practice that won points with me today. I was strolling by the cat-lady house when I noticed a new member of the kitty crew: a little orange kitten, playing with its new community of cats. Home at last.