Badly poisoned

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I really hope that this isn’t what they do to old ladies. A grasp at immortality, 3 months at a time, utilizing the most deadly toxin known to man.

“Botulinum toxin is a protein and neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It is the most acutely lethal toxin known, with an estimated human median lethal dose (LD-50) of 1.3–2.1 ng/kg intravenously or intramuscularly and 10–13 ng/kg when inhaled. Botulinum toxin (BTX) can cause botulism, a serious and life-threatening illness in humans and animals. Three forms of botulinum toxin type A (Botox, Dysport and Xeomin) and one form of botulinum toxin type B (MyoBloc) are available commercially for various cosmetic and medical procedures.”*

“Onabotulinumtoxin A (trade name Botox) received FDA approval for treatment of chronic migraines on October 15, 2010. The toxin is injected into the head and neck to treat these chronic headaches. Approval followed evidence presented to the agency from two studies funded by Allergan, Inc. showing a very slight improvement in incidence of chronic migraines for migraine sufferers undergoing the Botox treatment.”*

“Since then, several randomized control trials have shown botulinum toxin type A to improve headache symptoms and quality of life when used prophylactically for patients with chronic migraine who exhibit headache characteristics consistent with: pressure perceived from outside source, shorter total duration of chronic migraines (<30 years), “detoxification” of patients with coexisting chronic daily headache due to medication overuse, and no current history of other preventive headache medications.“*

(*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botulinum_toxin)

Better than I could have said it. Starting in the front of my face, Botox was shot right between my eyes. The doctor then made a pattern of injections across my forehead, my head above my ears, across the base of my skull and down my neck, into my shoulders.

While he did this, we kept up idle patter about homesteading. It was distracting, but it still hurt.

I felt a little sick afterwards, though that could be the mildly scared crash after a bad scare. You think that you are out of the Halloween corn maze, but you heard people scream right about-

This was my second treatment. The first one had been hell. I was warned that, for the first 3 -10 days, I would feel like I was dying as the Botulinum attacked my nervous system. I marked the date on the callendar that I would be free, always tomorrow, but at two months, I got worried. It had changed, but it had changed to worse.

I have been a Disabled Vet since I was 19 years old, discharged in 1996. They just discovered the bone spurs in my spine last year. The whiplash that started the migraines was 2.5 years ago. Initially, I could maintain, but suddenly I was acutely aware of weather patterns. My migraines are daily, and only ease off to make my neck feel broken.

Supposedly, the answer is a second treatment…. With more Botulinum.

The first time, I spent the rest of the day of the injection wondering what the fuss was about, followed by three days of being too painfully sick to move. That eased off to a soothing ‘Who-hit-me-in-the-head-with-a-hammer?’ for two months.

There is a chance that, as you read this, I am wrapped in freakish misery, too pained to think.

The goal, a minor taste of Youth, of a time that my skull did not feel smashed. That, for me is worth the fear.

Links to deaths:

In September 2005, a paper published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology reported from the FDA saying that use of Botox has resulted in 28 deaths between 1989 and 2003, though none were attributed to cosmetic use.”*

“On February 8, 2008, the FDA announced Botox has “been linked in some cases to adverse reactions, including respiratory failure and death, following treatment of a variety of conditions using a wide range of doses”, due to its ability to spread to areas distant from the site of the injection. In April 2009, the FDA updated its mandatory boxed warning cautioning that the effects of the botulinum toxin may spread from the area of injection to other areas of the body, causing symptoms similar to those of botulism.”*

“In January 2009, the Canadian government warned that Botox can have the adverse effect of spreading to other parts of the body, which could cause muscle weakness, swallowing difficulties, pneumonia, speech disorders and breathing problems.”*

(*-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botulinum_toxin)

People like to say that good or exhilarating things ‘make you feel alive,’ but that’s a lie. Chronic Pain reminds you that you are alive. Really grindingly awfully alive. Life in every breath, more in this moment that any Zen master alive can achieve.

_/*\_

 

The Tao of Grumpy

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I am an Adult male. I am a Farmer and Business Owner.

I am also the brother of a whole mess of Sisters, and the Father of multiple daughters. This, I feel, gives me the strength (and excuse) to admit that my favorite Care Bear is Grumpy.

You could say that I grew up around the Care Bears, but not in the traditional way. My stepfather is an artist at American Greetings, but at one time, he ran wild in the dream factory as a Toy Designer for TCFC (Those Characters From Cleveland). It was a profitable machine that churned out Strawberry Shortcake. He is one of the main designers for the Madballs and the creator of the Get Along Gang. He has an imdb page that he ignores, despite my protests that I would have an imdb credit printed out on business cards, even if the credit was ‘man who farts.’

Despite all this, some days he’d drag home as if someone had shot his dog. Those were the days that I could see that Mercenary Artists have it rough. Everyone thinks that artists have it easy because they just sit and draw all day.

Student- You say that we create art from a wound that won’t heal. What’s your wound?
Roma- My wound? It’s my belly button. It’s an oozing, dripping thing. And what I’m dripping is developer.
(Class laughs)
Wound? A wound is an insult. The question is when to say yes to accepting that insult. Yes changes you. Letting someone in changes you. Deciding to go out that night you got into a car accident changes you.
My wound? I have the same wounds as everyone else. Otherwise we can’t make art or we’d just be talking to ourselves.

-Roma, the unnamed Photography Professor, to his students, “Shit My Photography Professor Says”

The life of an Artist-for-Hire is one of extreme soul-wearying toil. ‘Paint a feeling for me. Bleed a little. Ah, no… Can you fix this?’ You paint even when the subject is too vapid to fathom.

When you cannot create, you can work. -Henry Miller

Those days he came home, looking as if all hope was lost, we knew he had been working on the Care Bears. Care Bears has a way of getting on a man, like pitch on your soul. After a particularly long stint in Care-a-lot, his card output took a decidedly Care Bears bent. I could always spot it by the eyes: Fragile constructs of realistic happy blankness.

Growing up, I had visited the TCFC office when it was off of W. 117th, just barely in Cleveland from Lakewood. The whole neighborhood is now apparently gone, and a Starbucks sits in a strip mall at right about the correct location.

When I’d see the yellow brick building, I’d get ecstatic. The interior of the building held an ever-changing whirlwind of magic and strangeness. Once I saw a man who, as a sleeve, wore the most realistic dragon’s head I had ever seen outside of a movie, his other hand the dragon’s wicked grasping claw. I still have no idea what it was for.

The interior was divided into a claustrophobic maze of grey cubicles, yet each artist was allowed to run riot within the confines. Sometimes, there was a blank: a neat (or new) artist, but others were an explosion of Jim Henson Creature Shop. Strange prototypes for toys that never came into existence lined the shelves, giant trucks with monster faces, along side of toys bought on regular toy store combing.

My stepfather had more toys than I did, and all of them were ‘for reference.’  To dig through his collection revealed toys that I had a vague recollection of seeing famous for a season or two before being forgotten. Some were mind-blowing… Others, he had multiples that I could sneak away and play with.

He was always standing by to dismantle a toy that had ‘broken’ though at this late date, through the eyes of a Father myself, his claims that my toy had broken become somewhat suspect. He was eternally wanting to take things apart to see how they worked.

When I was young, I would pick on him about it, but I began to see that, for some reason, Care Bears had worn a raw spot in his heart, so I left it alone, only asking if I saw him feeling especially crushed. To this day, I have no idea why it hurts him so.

The Care Bears have recently rebooted (approximately 2012). The graphics are good and the squeaky voices have been regaled to a side joke. Grumpy is now voiced by Doug Erholtz, whose work you may recognize if you have ever heard a male voice on in a dubbed Manga movie. He sounds more like a dejected plumber played by John Goodman these days, lives in his “van” (a vehicle I vaguely remember seeing around the TCFC office in the 80’s…. A cloud-shaped gypsy wagon with a cherry-picker arm that ends in a cloud-shaped bucket), and wears a bandoleer when they go on missions.

When the other Care Bears use their belly badge powers, their symbols fly around and do magic. Grumpy’s magic power is that he can rain on himself. Every time he gets ticked off, a cloud appears and he sits in the rain. This happens often because, deep inside, despite all the magic he is surrounded by, everyday, there is something in Grumpy that really doesn’t like living in Care-a-Lot.

The other day, I saw Grumpy Bear of the Care Bears mixing cookies out of random kitchen ingredients poured into a flower vase and shaken. These cookies are supposedly so good that the Care Bears will fight each other to eat one off of the ground and, when Grumpy begins selling them out of the back of his van, the Care Bears line up to trade all of their possessions for them.

The bad guy in the story is Share Bear, who becomes so jealous that she hires the standard Care-a-lot thug to smash his stove. (Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot Episode: “Jealous Tea” Season 1, Episode 5, 2012)

Breaking Bad, in bear form? I almost choked on my Tea, right there in front of the kids.

It wasn’t until I watched it again (by myself… to make sure that I hadn’t lost my mind) that I realized what Grumpy was to the Care Bears…. an outlet for the angst of artists at the toil, manufacturing dreamy balls of fluff that they had come to loathe.

These days, those artists are grandfathers, so Grumpy has taken a more Allan Quartermain vibe, though because of this, he becomes more aware of the limitations of being a fluffy magic bear.

In 2007, Oopsie was introduced. (“Revoltosito” for our Spanish audience) A cheesy grin and stupid hair, he’s powerless and accident-prone.

Oopsie the Care Bear, TCFC American Greetings

Oopsie the Care Bear, TCFC American Greetings

Unique among all Care Bears, he does not have his own Belly badge and thus possesses no special powers of any kind, but he will often draw a yellow shooting star on his stomach with a marker. His fur is green.

Perpetually klutzy and accident-prone, this bear is constantly making mistakes, or “oopsies”, which continually effect himself and others. Not only that, but he is the only bear in Care-a-Lot to lack a Belly Badge, meaning he has no extraordinary abilities to speak of. While at first it may seem like poor Oopsy is doomed to spend his life in second place, his true potential begins to shine through as he overcomes his own disabilities, often putting forth more effort and dedication into solving problems as they arise. In fact, his unique and practical approaches have saved the day multiple times, especially in situations when the other bear’s powers have been nullified in some way. He is often seen palling around with his robot friend Wingnut.” (Source: http://carebears.wikia.com/wiki/Oopsy_Bear)

This was the same 2007 that saw American Greeting sell a lot of licenses in a flurry. Suddenly, Care Bears are on Dollar Store items. It had not been well received when it happened, with thousands laid off, but when the Economic Crash hit, they survived. Of course, now their target family audience can only afford Dollar Store items. That was just kismet, I guess.

So, yes. Grumpy is my favorite Care Bear, because I bore witness to the fringes of the storm that birthed him.

It looks like they realize this, too, and seem to be taking the franchise is a dark direction. Someone needs to reboot He Man before I lose my Man Card.

(Second round of Therapeutic Botox into my neck and shoulders tomorrow morning. Not looking forward to it.)

If you get a chance, check out ‘Shit My Photography Professor Says.’ Graphics people are all insane, and I miss every one of them. http://shitmyphotoprofsays.tumblr.com/

#CareBears


Monkeys with Guns and the Big Scary Dog

This was a conversation, held by atheists, including yours truly, about a video of police shooting a rottweiler in the street. Here’s the story (http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?id=9205019) and here’s the video in question (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3FHdSxYAQE) This is the Young Turks because the other video linked to a petition. As I feel that their animosity is misdirected, you can go find that yourself.

You shouldn’t bring a guard dog with you to screw with the police. He realized that too late when he put the dog in the car. I have a American Staffordshire Terrier, and I don’t take it with me to ‘check things out’ unless there is a chance I will need the dog to eat whatever it is.

Rotties are first and foremost guard dogs. They were bred to protect wagon trains because they give less than two sh**s for bears and groups of men with guns. The guy in cuffs is ultimately responsible for the dog’s death, more so than the officers that shot it, because he took his guard dog into a situation that could _only_ escalate in the death of the dog or an officer or two.

Just like how you shouldn’t have a Hummer if you cannot drive a big vehicle, you shouldn’t have a big dog if you’re going to be stupid.

Atheist 1: This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever read. The cop is responsible for shooting the dog you retard. Could have been resolved in so many different ways..”

Let me sum this up for the Atheists in the crowd who only got as far as Dawkins and stopped. 12,000 years of co-evolution have brought dogs to where they are today: big dogs watch our sh** and fight the bears, and little dogs are put in sleeves or, more recently, large purses.

Professional Law Enforcement, as we know it, is only a few centuries old. THERE ARE GODDAMN MONKEYS IN THE STREETS AND THEY HAVE GUNS. They also have the backing of those who can decide to take and kill your dog if your dog bites one of these armed monkeys.

Don’t be a deer in the headlights. What do you do?

Now, stop getting your information from Disney movies and act like you’re with us on our current evolutionary trajectory. Things don’t go well for those who can’t keep up. (* For examples, please review the latest endangered species list)

Atheist 2: “* Grimmace *, there are so many dogs that were “bred” to do certain things, but unless that dog is trained to do so then it is not automatically a guard dog. A pit bull isn’t automatically a killer/attack dog (like everyone likes to believe). You are not automatically an idiot…”

No, and I agree with you, somewhat. A dog is ultimately the reflection of what the owner has trained it for, but nature will continue to play a part in a dog. For 150 years, Pitbulls were raised to be Nanny dogs. They were good because they would kill anything that threatened your offspring, while not eating your offspring themselves. That’s what they have as a nature. That is why people buy them and post pictures of them snuggling babies.

This nature is important enough to me that I nurture it. Nurture is careful guidance. It is also why I lock the dog in her oversized kennel when the cops or other strangers are around. This keeps her desensitized to the strangers, in case she later needs to protect the children from them. I know her nature, and nurture her accordingly.

DON’T TAKE A GUARD DOG IF THERE IS A CHANCE THAT YOUR ACTIONS MAY RESULT IN YOU BEING DETAINED AGAINST YOUR WILL…. and you can quote me on that.

Atheist 3: “Don’t take a guard dog if there is CHANCE that our actions may result in something stupid??? I did not know that walking a dog will be that complicated at all. I mean, right now, I don’t know if my actions in the next couple of minutes/hours will result in me being detained. And since the dog is a guard dog, I think what you are talking about evolution, nature-nurture, is contradicting. A guard dog, by nature or nurture, should guard its owner/anything it was trained to. The dog fulfilled its duties just like how it is trained to. Just like a cop killing a threat, like how a cop is trained to. Cop kills dog. dog kills cop. It’s the fucking same thing, we are all inhabitants of this planet, we just have to rethink and reset our ways of judging/setting things. This is just 1 dog and 1 cop. We can save a lot more by preventing this situation. Dog owners can me more responsible. Cops can be more responsible.” (end original quote)

I did not know that walking a dog will be that complicated at all.

Most people don’t. That’s why there are so many issues. That is also why everyone has the idea of ‘someone who should not own a dog.’

I think what you are talking about evolution, nature-nurture, is contradicting. A guard dog, by nature or nurture, should guard its owner/anything it was trained to. The dog fulfilled its duties just like how it is trained to.”

Let me know when your Chihuahua Guard Dog business becomes successful. The fact that one of the main pinnacles of Human Civilization, Animal Domestication, is a science that most people do not understand until animals are killed and people are dead and mauled should fill you with dread.

Is Wiki down for everyone except me? “The breed’s history likely dates to the Roman Empire. It is likely that the Rottweiler is a descendant of ancient Roman drover dogs, a mastiff-type dog that was a dependable, rugged dog with great intelligence and guarding instincts.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rottweiler) 2000 years of breeding a dog for its ‘guarding instincts?’ That would probably leave a mark.

It’s the fucking same thing, we are all inhabitants of this planet, we just have to rethink and reset our ways of judging/setting things. This is just 1 dog and 1 cop. We can save a lot more by preventing this situation.”

Yet, we ended with the same basic, Reasonable idea. Peace.

I’ll update this if I need to, but, otherwise, here’s a picture of Amelia Bedelia, my beautiful Staffordshire Terrier.Image

#PitProud #staffordshirebullterrier

Glimmers on the Horizon

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I was having trouble finding just the right farm hat without paying an arm and a leg. Not that I am adverse to quality, but in Arizona, we have ‘sun’ like nothing you have ever experienced. Being a Subtropical Desert (Zone 9a on the USDA charts) we are much closer to Equatorial sunshine than anything short of the Florida Keys, but it’s a Dry heat.

Those Amish-kin with Ginger traits MUST HAVE A HAT AT ALL TIMES.

This hat is the Honorary Irish Rogue hat Kroger stores were offering for St. Patrick’s Day 2014.  Those that know me know that I, for reasons that have to do with being greatly displaced from my homeland, have designated ‘The Green Parade’ as a family tradition. We aren’t Irish, nor Catholic (obviously), but, after attending the our first in 2008 and being the only Gingers in attendance, I decided that it was something of a Civic Duty to attend.

Those that know me, as well, know that I am a cheap S.O.B. and that I didn’t wear this hat this year. I wore a green plaid round cap that had been discounted from the year previous. I did see this hat before St. Patrick’s, and ‘found meself sorely tempted’ (Did you read that in my bad Irish accent? You were supposed to), but I held off until I found it in the discount bin a few weeks later.

The center of the badge is where it proclaimed The Day, in the hopes that you would buy a well-made hat for use on just one day before discarding it. Tempting, as I could probably get decades of St. Patrick’s Day Parades out of this hat, but as I said, I needed a new farm hat. Here is #3 from last year, which handled about 3 months of straight desert chicken care in the sun:

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It had looked new when I bought it before leaving Cleveland. It was, of course, in a discount bin, too, because there is no shortage of Cleveland Indians hats in Cleveland, so the value on a free ‘Stuckie’s Ice Cream Night Stadium Promotion Hat’ is rather low. The Logo looks faded because such casual racism, while being OK in the microcosm of Ohio, doesn’t fly well with the Local Natives who have always been nothing but kind to the White Man who shoved his way in and dirtied the place up. I would regularly black the logo completely out with a Sharpie Marker.

The new logo I placed  on the hat is strangely fitting, though that was unintentional. It is originally from a hat that must have started life as Logo Practice Sheet at an embroidery shop. It had a logo I can only describe in order: “Flying Sacred Heart of Jesus Tres Equies Tequila.”  The ‘Tres Equies’ looked like the title screen from a Vin Diesel movie. It made absolutely no sense and it was awesome.

It was the hat I wore back when ‘Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.’  Kurt VonnegutSlaughterhouse-Five

In those days, I was a warehouse manager for a now-defunct Decor company, Don Yunker Design (RIP), doing a stressful but magical job with an amazing set of God’s original prototypes. My stressful boring bullshit made for more amusing recounting than yours.

“Where the hell is the Buddha Statue? I’m late.”

“I am pretty sure I can fit the third totem pole in this truck if we only move mountains to the other one.”

“Why are there going to be pink flamingos with the cowboy town?”

When your stress is pink flamingos, it is hard to take seriously, and ultimately, I believe, that was my downfall. It was long ago and far away, and I was already fleeing ahead of the pain back then. It just hadn’t caught me yet.

The hat was disgustingly crusty by the time it retired, but I saved this piece of it, The Flying Sacred Heart. It isn’t part of my iconory, and yet it is. To me, this is the logo of a time when I was happy and productive, and afixed to the hat, it looks like a Flogging Molly Song. I wonder if that will be enough to get the magic to work again. I have got a lot to do on a time frame, and I don’t have time for the pain.

(Sorry about the shakiness of the photos. Today was a very bad pain day. I have high hopes for my second Theraputic Botox on the 29th, but it is still a daunting thing.)

I wanted to take a moment and thank a few people.

This morning, we discovered that my wife’s participation in an Ultimate Homemaking Bundle contest had earned us a prize pack of books and materials valued at $700. I don’t know if I am supposed to, but I’ll be writing reviews of some of the materials here. I am very excited, as I am in desperate need of the entire homeschooling section. The rest made it like Christmas Morning! (http://ultimate-bundles.com/)

We were selected by the Teaching Mama to receive this prize, perhaps based on our recent Online Schooling woes. If you could, hop on over and thank her for me. (https://www.facebook.com/teachingmamablog)

I also need to give a massive THANK YOU to my favorite Sister-In-Law, Melissa Rich. My wife left for a much needed spa day, and came back with a lot of hope. That was a huge miracle and I don’t know how I can thank you.

Things are moving forward and looking up! Excelsior!

The Spirituality of Comfort and the Nature of Suffering

An Irreligious view of the story of Job, written from the bottom of suffering.

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In my last post, I ended up paraphrasing the entire book of Job. This was not my intention, but I was really enjoying myself. Really, I had wanted to breakdown the story in my own life, so I suppose we’ll do that now.

My suffering is really pouring on at the moment. This I must admit: Before we can recover from one broadside, another happens, and leaves us spinning. We ran out of options long ago, and we began asking for others to intercede on our behalf. Now, despite my wife’s Tibetan Buddhism and my Zen Buddhist Atheism, we were both raised in the Protestant Church. As we were asking others to pick up their hotline to the Almighty for the benefits of ourselves and others, we did not think that there would be an issue.

Yet, issues have arisen anyway. “I’ll pray. Is *so-and-so* a Christian?”

Really? Why should that matter? Will you pray less hard on their behalf? Does the effort to pray for a person not of your religion cause you to lose some clout with your God? Do they have to be Christian for it to work, or will it count that a lot of good Christian people will already be praying for the same? Am I being asked to look in their heart to identify the nature of their belief? What difference does it make, when someone is hurting?

The other is, “You just need to come back to Jesus,” implying, just like Yôb’s good friends, that all suffering is caused by us straying from a master plan, like an electric fence keeping in stay cattle. Really? So my disbelief has lead to God releasing the Old Adversary on us?

You, obviously, do not know how this works.

Yôb was a good and upright man. Well-respected and beloved, he cared for orphans and widows. Everyday, he worshiped his God, and told the polytheists around him about his Monotheistic Deity and how much better he was than everyone else’s God. This self-assurance drew Pride from his Creator, but also the jealous attention of The Devil. Perhaps it started out on the idea that God could have the Pride that Lucifer was destroyed for, or perhaps it was born of wanting to hurt God through his favorite toy. Either way, Satan makes a bet with God that, if they took everything from Yôb, the little guy would hate Him.

…. and the big Goof fell for it, so great was his pride. God shakes on it, and the Devil begins to destroy everything around Yôb… but, you see, it wasn’t just the Old Adversary doing the crushing. Job 1:16 tells of that God, himself, started raining death on Yôb. Yet, despite his grief, Yôb stayed true to his beliefs. Point to God!

“Of course he’s still on your side,” whines Satan, the sore loser. “He’s still healthy. Let’s up the stakes.” The prideful God, flush from his first win, agrees to the next bet. So, the Prince of the Power of the Air starts to lay the sickness down on Yôb. He is cursed with sores so severe, all he can do is scrape them open with a pottery shard and rub ashes into them. Still, Yôb stays true to his beliefs. It’s another win for God!

Then, Yôb’s well-meaning friends show up.

These are really good friends. They see how Yôb is suffering and sit with his leprous self, silently, for seven days, just being there for him. Somewhere, while watching their friend scrape his sores and moaning, they try to think of a way to help him, but this becomes based in a comparison study of themselves. In a convoluted form of pride, they begin to compare their own obviously more successful lives with Yôb’s, and they came up with some constructive criticisms.

After a particularly long lament at even being born, Eliphaz the Temanite sees his way to present his advice. “It’s all your fault. You should change your course.” He comes to this determination after sensing the Old Adversary in a dream and hearing him say, “Is mere man more just than God? More pure than his Creator?’” (Job 4:17)

Hold on a moment. From what I hear, the Devil sounds impressed. Keep in mind that Satan is supposed to be the Prince of the Power of the Air, and this was his demotion after pridefully challenging God. This is a Being who had lived in God’s presence and remained unimpressed, but he would know his comparisons well as he had spent a Millennium comparing himself to God and still finding himself an equal.

“Any ol’ Soul is worth saving, at least to a Priest, but not every Soul is worth buying. So you can take the offer as a compliment.” William S. Burroughs, ‘Words of Advice for Young People’

Being the actual words of Satan, though, they are blasphemy, and have the effect of sending Yôb’s wise and learned friends into a tizzy. They probably got together and discussed the meaning of Eliphaz’s dream, and they came to the determination that God had removed his protection from Yôb because of unconfessed sin. They rail at the dying man’s bitter words, and drive him, with Reason, to begin to question God’s unfairness.

Eliphaz was an Edomite, renowned in the Babylonian Empire as great scholars, so he takes the lead, informing Yôb what the scriptures say about his suffering, colored by a dream of the Devil. He has a convincing argument, couched in the reputations of the premier Elders, that this is Yôb’s fault.

This becomes their sin… one of the presumption to know the Mind of God. Their argument steers this man, tested by God, from God’s intended course. Until this point, Yôb had stayed true to his beliefs, which is all God had intended with his bet with the Devil. With the insistence of his scholarly friends  and their knowledge of the Holy Books, they lead Yôb into questioning the ‘why’ of it all, and to demand a chance to hold God to account for this affliction.

This is why the Church, or most any religious institution, dislike when someone asks, “Why?” For, you see, when God shows up, right on the heals of Elihu, son of Barachel, the Buzite, of the clan of Ram, (which may imply that he becomes a forerunner of King David) taking the Scholars to task for their presumption (“God is so great that we cannot begin to know him. No one can begin to understand eternity.” -Job 36: 26), he places Yôb in charge of their redemption. God apparently did not mind ‘Why?’ as much as presuming to tell people what God doesn’t like.

This has been a personal issue I have had with the religious people I still have dealings with: they will use times of grief and misery to promote their personal agendas. Everyone reviled the late Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, but he was hardly doing any different than nearly every other minister on the planet, he just did it in a more tawdry manner.

Every funeral and every Christian counselor I have had the opportunity to listen to does the same thing, telling people that, when things go wrong, they need to ‘get right with God’ as if we don’t have the example of Yôb to show that God will visit ruin on even his favorite, and for no reason you can fathom (or that he’d care to admit in public. It was, after all, a game he was playing with Satan.)

God isn’t an Instant Karma machine. “If you sin, does that shake the heavens and knock God from his throne? Even if you sin again and again, what effect will it have upon him? Or if you are good, is this some great gift to him? Your sins may hurt another man, or your good deeds may profit him. The oppressed may shriek beneath their wrongs and groan beneath the power of the rich; yet none of them cry to God, asking, ‘Where is God my Maker who gives songs in the night and makes us a little wiser than the animals and birds?’ (Job 35: 6-11, Living Bible)

Elihu, then, highlights the division between Religion and Science as he outlines reason that the Domain of Heavenly Power and Reason will always be at odds. Everything he claims as proof of God can now be explained at your local news room, in front of a green screen. There, apparently, is a fine line between ‘how’ and ‘why.’

God, realizing that his champion in the room was being lead down the same path to ‘Why?,’ shows up in a whirlwind. This Entity seems almost juvenile in form and nature. He starts off by shrugging and saying, “I kill a lot of people. So what?” He then points out the agricultural benefits of living near a volcanic zone and takes credit for teaching Domestication. He also points out that he made this place, and that running it is a big job.

Yôb had leveled some pretty harsh accusations against the Almighty. He had initially stayed the course of his beliefs until his religious friends came over to “comfort” him by trying to drive him to repent. Instead, it drove a Righteous Man to admit that, per the rules of God, he was being punished and asking God to tell him why.

God didn’t want to say, because we see that, for him, it was all a game, and he is ticked that the game had been revealed. He cows Yôb with a challenge of explaining Biology and Meteorology. “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? Or will you yield? Do you—God’s critic—have the answers?” (Job 40: 1-2) He reminds Yôb that he is a very powerful War God as well.

He then viciously turns on the religious scholars who had forced him to call his bluff. The Lord threatens them with Yôb’s affliction in the punishment for presuming to know why God does things, making him look bad in the process, and places Yôb as the judge of a Holy BBQ competition in his honor. It would be up to Yôb, and Yôb alone, who would escape destruction.

Yôb had warned them that they would face the punishment of their false comfort. “How long are you going to trouble me, and try to break me with your words? Ten times now you have declared I am a sinner. Why aren’t you ashamed to deal with me so harshly? And if indeed I was wrong, you have yet to prove it. You think yourselves so great? Then prove my guilt!“How dare you go on persecuting me, as though I were proven guilty? I warn you, you yourselves are in danger of punishment for your attitude.” (Job 19: 1-5 … 28-29) He even tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, that it could look like the constant calamity he had faced had been some sort of punishment for sin, that he, himself, might have judged it the same if it wasn’t happening to him, but that the nature of his soul was not the concern. The place for those around us in our greatest trials is one of comfort, not judgement.

The issue has been raised that perhaps our personal time of calamity is born of our disbelief in the Christian Jehovah. I suppose it could appear as hubris to say that, if Jehovah appeared right now, I am pretty certain I can name the basic life cycles of the animals he asks about, and, as a farmer, I have a pretty good grasp of the weather, especially wind and rain. These are the questions God has presented to be able to question him, the knowledge of how the world works is all that is necessary to get God to answer for his fairness.

When it happens, when Science reveals how our reality works, we can ask God why he made our lives so brutish and short, and holds everyone to a moral code that he’ll probably punish you for following anyway.

Why should my irreligiousness have any impact on God to draw his wrath? Nothing I can do will matter to him in the slightest. (Job 35: 6-11) As Yôb lists off, the rules for God are pretty much: “Don’t be a pervert and don’t be a rich bastard that uses their money to lord over people. Help people out and be a good person.” (Job 31, paraphrased)

These were the accusations that Yôb’s friends we leveling against a friend that just needed a friend. The man had lost everything and been left grovelling in the dust, and his friends we’re screaming at him that he was a closet pervert while everyone laughed.

Since Yôb was blameless, the Lord rewarded him with the fate of the friends who had mocked him and told him that he was stupid. A final test, focusing on the pinnacle of Generosity, being able to destroy those that hurt you and whether or not you’d go through with it.

Yôb shows that he’s the better man, and spares his friends, which removes the curse and his success becomes all the greater, and, having survived utter and complete destruction, everyone had to agree that, sometimes, God does horrible things to good people, too.

I get a little tired of it being pointed out that my ‘backsliding’ has brought these calamities on our heads. I challenge that with the words of Paul, Romans 9:14-20:

Was God being unfair? Of course not. For God had said to Moses, “If I want to be kind to someone, I will. And I will take pity on anyone I want to.” And so God’s blessings are not given just because someone decides to have them or works hard to get them. They are given because God takes pity on those he wants to.”

“Pharaoh, king of Egypt, was an example of this fact. For God told him he had given him the kingdom of Egypt for the very purpose of displaying the awesome power of God against him, so that all the world would hear about God’s glorious name. So you see, God is kind to some just because he wants to be, and he makes some refuse to listen. Well then, why does God blame them for not listening? Haven’t they done what he made them do?”

No, don’t say that. Who are you to criticize God? Should the thing made say to the one who made it, “Why have you made me like this?”” (End quotation)

I don’t have to answer for my ‘Why?’ anymore than Yôb did. Should I rail at God, “Oh God, why do you prove your divinity with easily forcastable weather phenomenon while good people pray to you for help and get no answer? Why did you harden my soft heart to the idea that the religions could give me the official list of who God hates? Why would I get angry with someone when, at my time of darkest need, they just angrily told me what I did wrong? Why did I have to realize that it was all so much bigger than this?”

According to Paul, I am doing God’s will with my questioning and my denial of random old Dogmas. Apparently, Atheists were created just to see if Christians know their sh**.

“Consider the impasse of a one God universe. He is all-knowing and all-powerful. He can’t go anywhere since He is already everywhere. He can’t do anything since the act of doing presupposes opposition. His universe is irrevocably thermodynamic having no friction by definition. So, He has to create friction: War, Fear, Sickness, Death…. To keep his dying show on the road.” – William S. Burroughs, ‘One God Universe’

According to the Bible, there is a place in God’s plan for the Mockers and the Sinners. We’re here to keep your reality lively… but be careful how you treat us. If one of us needed help, and you decided to judge us instead, God will hand your Judgement off to us.

“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ And I will answer, ‘When you refused to help the least of these my brothers, you were refusing help to me.’ And they shall go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous into everlasting life.” (Matthew 25: 44-45)

These are things I wish some people would consider, printed in black and white, in the Book they hit people over the head with.

Again, big thanks to Biblegateway.com and the indomitable William S. Burroughs.

The Book of Job

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Many Christians are familiar with the Book of Job. Generally considered to be the oldest book in the Old Testament, and Torah scholars agree that it predates Moses. The story also appears in the Qur’an, with a much more developed story, as one of their Prophets. Considering that the place names given in the story place it firmly in the Babylon Empire, It could predate the Babylon Captivity to the dark reaches of civilization itself.

When I say Christians are familiar story, I say that they misunderstand it at their peril.

The scene opens with God tending to his pet human, Farmville-style. He has picked a favorite, and the favorite is pampered more than a celebrity chihuahua in Beverly Hills. Every need is anticipated, and some are created only to be filled. In response to this lavish attention, The pet, Yôb, loved God very much.

One day, while God was fiddling around with his Tamagotchi, the Angels show up for a meeting. Unfortunately, they forgot to close the door behind them, and The Great Adversary, Satan, the Accuser, shows up.

Now, there is a lot of disagreement with who gets unfettered access to the Lord. Some say that Satan and Lucifer are two different characters, but that isn’t part of this. We’ll continue the story from the Judeo-Christian viewpoint.

If this was ol’ Lucifer, we know his back story. He ran God’s spotlight, and started to realize that, without him, God would be sitting in the dark. Now the story ranges one way or another, depending on who’s telling it. Sometimes, it is that the Lightbringer wanted to move in on God’s action, sometimes it is that he’s God’s brother who felt cheated, a common Biblical theme. Either way, the Son of the Morning got himself exiled, and was accused of the crime of Pride.

Now, Ol’ Toby, seeing the great pride God shows for his little toy, decides to show up to put a bug in God’s ear. As the Prince of the Power of the Air, he must have been a little salty.

“Where have you been?” asks God.

“Oh, here and there, you know? Checking things out…”

“Hey,” gushes God. “While you were down there, did you see my pet, Yôb? He is the best and he loves only me!”

“The way you pay him, he should,” hisses the Old Serpent. “If you crapped presents on me all of the time, I would too! Take it all away, and see how long he loves you after that.”

God and Satan start off a bet, with little rules and no real mention of what, exactly is at stake. First, the approval is given for all of his life to be destroyed before his eyes. First, raiders steal all of his plow animals, crashing his farm into ruin. Then, God cooked all of Yôb’s sheep and shepherds. Then, someone shows up and steals all of his transportation and kills all of his employees. Finally, the last guy shows up to tell Yôb that the roof caved in, and all his beautiful children and his brother were crushed to death.

Yôb tears his clothing, says something poetic and holds onto his beliefs.

Satan shows up at the meeting again, and sees that God still has great pride. So, he ups the wager. “Things are nothing. Let’s make him sick.”

“Sure,” says God.

So, Yôb, God’s favorite person, gets cursed with boils so painful that all he can do is scrape them open and let them run. His wife, a voice of reason, points out, “You know it is God doing this to you. The Fire from the sky burning up all of your stuff was a good sign. Man up, call God a Bastard and let him kill you.” (Job 2:9)

Yôb calls her a heathen and tells her to be quiet. “Should we only accept good from God and not the bad?”

Then, Yôb’s good friends show up and he is so wasted with disease, they begin wailing. The man doesn’t even look the same anymore. So, for seven days they sit by his bedside in silence, just lending him their strength.

Yôb spends an entire chapter wishing he was never born, “Let it be lost even to God, shrouded in eternal darkness and forever forgotten.” (Job 3:4, second part) He also wonders what he did to tick God off so badly. “Why is a man allowed to be born if God is only going to give him a hopeless life of uselessness and frustration? I cannot eat for sighing; my groans pour out like water. What I always feared has happened to me. I was not fat and lazy, yet trouble struck me down.” (Job 3:23-26 Living Bible)

Yôb is thrown off because he knew that he was God’s favorite, but he knew the fickle nature of God according to Job 3:25. Even when you are God’s favorite, and you follow all the seemingly arbitrary rules, God will still hang you out to dry. “What I always feared has happened to me.” (Job 3:25)

Despite this, well meaning friends take it upon themselves to point out where Yôb is wrong, because even now, 4000 years later, humans are tricksy meddlers and self-righteous bastards. It is the humanist mindset initially; to see someone’s suffering and attempt to relieve it. The problems arise when what you intended as well-meaning advice and viewpoints get colored by egotism. The idea that you, separately, have no real problems at this time, so you must be doing right and are qualified to give expert advice.

First comes Eliphaz the Temanite, representing the formidable wisdom Edomites were renowned for, “Bad things only happen to bad people. You must have gotten God angry and need to get yourself right.” It appears that Eliphaz came to this determination when he actually sensed Satan showing up and heard him say, “Is mere man more just than God? More pure than his Creator?” (Job 4:17)

In this, Satan shows his hand. His game is to see if Humans can be better than a Capricious God who would torture his favorites like this.  (I invite your refutes in the comments.)

Eliphaz even makes a rather Atheistic statement, saying that if God cannot even control his servants, what are we, but dust? They crush us and no one cares. (Job 4:18-21) “Those who turn from God may be successful for the moment, but then comes sudden disaster.” (Job 5:3) Eliphaz is of the idea that our evil deeds, no matter how small, are what invite pain and destruction, because we are inherently evil and it is in our nature. (Job 5:6-7) “You must repent, and God will hook you back up to the gravy train.” (Job 5:8-27, paraphrased)

Strangely, Yôb replies that he cannot feed his animals, and cannot stand to eat his food unseasoned. This leads him into his wish for God to just kill him. He, then, quite powerfully, points out to Eliphaz that he has no reason to bring accusations of what he, himself, has done wrong when he is supposed to be there to bring comfort. Yôb points out that he is a good man, and invites his friend to bring evidence otherwise. He points at how great his suffering is and that he cannot survive.

“O God, am I some monster that you never leave me alone?,” Yôb cries. ““Has my sin harmed you, O God, watcher of mankind? Why have you made me your target, and made my life so heavy a burden to me?” (Job 7:12 and Job 7:20)

Bildad the Shuhite starts in, and he is a jerk. “Blah, blah, blah, Yôb!” (Job 8:2, paraphrased) “You’re just lying to yourself. God doesn’t do things like this to good people.”

Yôb replies, wearily, “Of course you’re right, but who is going to argue with God when he decides to sh** all over you?” (Job 9:2-4, paraphrased) “Even if I were sinless, I wouldn’t say a word. I would only plead for mercy and even if my prayers were answered, I could scarce believe that he had heard my cry for he is the one who destroys, and multiplies my wounds without a cause. He will not let me breathe, but fills me with bitter sorrows.” (Job 9:15-18)

Yôb then delivers a line worthy of Sam Harris:
“Innocent or evil, it is all the same to him, for he destroys both kinds.
He will laugh when calamity crushes the innocent. The whole earth is in the hands of the wicked. God blinds the eyes of the judges and lets them be unfair. If not he, then who?” (Job 9:22-24) “If I decided to forget my complaints against God, to end my sadness and be cheerful, then he would pour even greater sorrows upon me. For I know that you will not hold me innocent, O God,but will condemn me. So what’s the use of trying? Even if I were to wash myself with purest water and cleanse my hands with lye to make them utterly clean, even so you would plunge me into the ditch and mud; and even my clothing would be less filthy than you consider me to be, and I cannot defend myself, for you are no mere man as I am. If you were, then we could discuss it fairly, but there is no umpire between us, no middle man, no mediator to bring us together. Oh, let him stop beating me, so that I need no longer live in terror of his punishment.Then I could speak without fear to him and tell him boldly that I am not guilty.” (Job 9:27-35, Living Bible)

Behold the lament of the Righteous Man. God sh**s on people, and who are we to argue. Perhaps, if He weren’t so high and mighty, He could be reasoned with. He continues on, asking God why He has to be such a Jerk.

“Mind if I break in here,” asks Zophar the Naamathite. “Shouldn’t someone stem this torrent of words? Is a man proved right by all this talk? Should I remain silent while you boast? When you mock God, shouldn’t someone make you ashamed?” (Job 11:2-3) “You’re stupid if you think that you aren’t being punished for something. Do you think you know better than God? You might not know what you did, but God does, and ignorance is no excuse. You just need to get right with God.” (Job 11: 4-20 paraphrased)

“Ugh,” groans Yôb, more of his flesh sloughing off in a stinking pile, “Yes, Zophar. I know the rules. Remember? I was the one telling everyone to worship the Volcano God, and he set my sheep on fire. Everyone is laughing at me now.” (Job 12 1-4) Back then, there were a lot of Gods…. (Historical context:http://www.pantheon.org/articles/y/yahweh.html) They had been so keen on This God being the Boss God, that they even made a rule about it. (See Second or Third Commandment, depending on your religious preference)

Yôb then pontificates on the nature of his War God. He destroys nations and lays low the mighty. (Job 12:17-25) He makes deserts and floods on a whim. (Job 12:15) “Yes, with him is strength and wisdom. Deceivers and deceived are both his slaves.” (Job 12:16) He, then, tells his friends to stay out of it because he wants to talk to his God.

His prayer reflects the Agnosticism one can get from constant pain: “God may kill me for saying this—in fact, I expect him to. Nevertheless, I am going to argue my case with him. This at least will be in my favor, that I am not godless, to be rejected instantly from his presence. Listen closely to what I am about to say. Hear me out.

This is my case: I know that I am righteous. Who can argue with me over this? If you could prove me wrong, I would stop defending myself and die.

O God, there are two things I beg you not to do to me; only then will I be able to face you. Don’t abandon me and don’t terrify me with your awesome presence. Call to me to come—how quickly I will answer! Or let me speak to you, and you reply. Tell me, what have I done wrong? Help me! Point out my sin to me. Why do you turn away from me? Why hand me over to my enemy? Would you blame a leaf that is blown about by the wind? Will you chase dry, useless straws? You write bitter things against me and bring up all the follies of my youth. You send me to prison and shut me in on every side. I am like a fallen, rotten tree, like a moth-eaten coat.” (Job 13: 15-28)

Yôb pontificates on the terribly short lives of men and the brutal toll the God takes of man, waxing poetic on the futility of reality. “Is this a test? Will I live forever if I pass? I thought that I was following the rules, but I guess not.” (Job 14: 14-17, paraphrased)

He shakes his fist at his God, “Always you are against him, and then he passes off the scene. You make him old and wrinkled, then send him away. He never knows it if his sons are honored; or they may fail and face disaster, but he knows it not. For him there is only sorrow and pain.” (Job 14: 20-22)

Eliphaz tells him to knock off the crazy talk and explains that even Grandpas agreed that, “A wicked man is always in trouble throughout his life.” Bad things happen to bad people. Atheists run in terror. “Armed with his tin shield, he clenches his fist against God, defying the Almighty, stubbornly assaulting him.”

Eliphaz, then, unleashes his inner Commie and tells you the types of people God does not like: “This wicked man is fat and rich, and has lived in conquered cities after killing off their citizens, but he will not continue to be rich, or to extend his possessions. No, darkness shall overtake him forever; the breath of God shall destroy him; the flames shall burn up all he has.”

“Let him no longer trust in foolish riches; let him no longer deceive himself, for the money he trusts in will be his only reward. Before he dies, all this futility will become evident to him. For all he counted on will disappear and fall to the ground like a withered grape. How little will come of his hopes! For the godless are barren: they can produce nothing truly good. God’s fire consumes them with all their possessions. The only thing they can ‘conceive’ is sin, and their hearts give birth only to wickedness.” (Job 15:27-35) It appears that his friends feel that he was getting a little uppity with his riches and power, and the God was punishing him for his pride.

Yôb sighs. “You people are awful. I’d try to comfort you if our circumstance were reversed…. though I might say the same…  But no! I would speak in such a way that it would help you. I would try to take away your grief.” He then cries out, “Enough! I give, God. You have taken everything. What else do you want? Just know that I did nothing wrong and I hope the stain of your betrayal of me will never come out. You know this looks bad, right? I was the ‘God’s Favorite Guy’-guy and now I look like an ass and you look like an a**hole. Nobody wants a God like that.” (Job 16:1-22, Job 17 paraphrased)

Bildad the Shuhite gibbers angrily through all of Job 18 about Karma and how the wicked will be dead and forgotten.

“Will you shut up? If you’re God’s lawyer, convict me and be done with it. Everybody hates me. I have hit rock bottom. Even my family won’t speak to me.” (Job 19: 1-20, paraphrased) Yôb is a weeping, dying mess, and everyone is yelling at him. He throws out a ‘Hail Mary’ pass and reaffirms his belief from his days of wine and roses, and a curse upon those around him, “How dare you go on persecuting me, as though I were proven guilty? I warn you, you yourselves are in danger of punishment for your attitude.” (Job 19: 28-29)

Zophar gives the first Daily Kos article ever. “For he has oppressed the poor and foreclosed their homes; he will never recover. Though he was always greedy, now he has nothing; of all the things he dreamed of—none remain. Because he stole at every opportunity, his prosperity shall not continue.” (Job 20:19-21)

Yôb gives up and turns to blasphemy. “I am complaining about God, not man; no wonder my spirit is so troubled. Look at me in horror, and lay your hand upon your mouth. Even I am frightened when I see myself. Horror takes hold upon me and I shudder.” (Job 21: 4-6) My whole family is dead, all my possessions are gone and I look like a walking corpse.

“Making it worse? How can it be worse? Jehovah! Jehovah! Jehovah!” John Young (1916-1996) as ‘Matthias,’ Monty Python and the Life of Brian.

Yôb points out that the wicked are actually doing quite well for themselves. “But who can rebuke God, the supreme Judge? He destroys those who are healthy, wealthy, fat, and prosperous; God also destroys those in deep and grinding poverty who have never known anything good. Both alike are buried in the same dust, both eaten by the same worms.” He points out that the wicked never seem to get what they ‘deserve.’ In fact, the Rich are honored! (Job 21 7-34, paraphrased)

Eliphaz flips his wig. “Then what is the point of it all? Why follow the rules? No! I have to believe that you are a complete rich bastard that rips off poor people to get this affliction. You’re just in denial. Just agree that you fully deserve this punishment or the basis of everything we believe is pointless.” (Job 22, paraphrased)

Yôb gives in, “It must be true. If God were to look, He’d see that I was innocent. It scares me to think what he thinks of me right now. Why doesn’t God listen to those who are ground down? He ignores so many cries of the poor. Yet, the wicked take advantage of the poor, murder, rape and steal. Yet, I have to believe that they are left forgotten, moldering in the ground and leaving nothing for their children.” (Job 23 and 24, paraphrased)

Bildad the Shuhite says a prayer against Yôb‘s blasphemy. (Job 25) He is absolutely terrified that he’s going to get hit by Heaven Fire as collateral damage of a vengeful God.

Yôb calls his friends idiots. He says the prayer of a dying man under his breath, followed by an avowance of his innocence. Then, Yôb invites his friends to look upon the punishment for sinners and begins to say something pithy before thinking better of continuing the argument. He points out that rich people and clothes horses should expect worse than his fate, and that everyone will cheer when they die horribly. (Job 26 and 27, paraphrased)

“Men are smart monkeys who know lots of tricks, but money can’t buy wisdom. Only Death and Destruction know the why of it and perhaps God does, too. That rule is ‘Don’t be an A**hole…. and be scared. Very scared. It is obvious that God gave up on me, and I don’t understand. I was well respected and I helped everyone I could. I didn’t ask for power. They gave it to me. Now they sing of my downfall. I am just a big joke. I keep calling out, but you won’t answer. What did I do that was so wrong?’ (Job 28, 29 and 30 paraphrased)

He then begins to list the crimes that he knows of, pleading his innocence for each, before assigning a punishment, like a game of spiritual ‘Go Fish.’ “I am not a lecherous pervert. I know that one is wrong. If I am a liar or a crook, let me be forgotten. If I ever wanted someone else’s wife, kill me and let my wife go catting all over town.” (Job 31:1-12, paraphrased)

Suddenly, a completely inconceivable thought flies into his head. “If I have been unfair to my servants, how could I face God? What could I say when he questioned me about it? For God made me and made my servant too. He created us both.Yôb assigns some pretty gruesome punishments for being a rich bastard, and also sun and moon worship. He points out that he’s never laughed when one of his enemies have had misfortune, he makes sure his employees are fed and he had never tried to hide his shame, automatically refuting each before devolving into wishing someone would listen to him.  He finishes by pointing out that he has never stolen any land nor killed anyone, and if he had, he hoped the land grew weeds. (Job 31: 16-39)

Finally, Elihu (son of Barachel, the Buzite, of the clan of Ram), the youngest in the group pipes up. He’s angry at everyone and he’s not going to stay quiet any longer. He had let the elders have their say, but apparently age does not make people wise. He tells Yôb that he will intercede with God for him, but he has to admit that his sin is that he wishes to know the ways of God and expect them to be explained to him. He calls out Yôb for ‘rebellion, arrogance, and blasphemy‘ and his friends for doubting God.  If God knows everything and created everything, than nothing can exist outside of His plan. Your sin can’t unseat God, and he’s not going to punish as soon as someone pokes their head up like a tyrant. He also isn’t going to squeal every time you do good. He crows about how great God is, stating, “God is so great that we cannot begin to know him. No one can begin to understand eternity. ” (Job 36: 26) Elihu literally goes on for two chapters (Job 36 and 37) raving about how great God is. “Look at all these things we don’t understand (all of which have, since, been explained by Science). These are the workings of the Unknowable God”

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God, hearing all these great things said about him finally shows up. Does he explain himself? No, he begins to gloat about how smart he is, look at all of the things you don’t have Science to explain to you. I did that. That’s all me.

Yôb admits that, perhaps, he had already said too much. Angry Gods appearing in whirlwinds have that effect.

Spurred on by the meekness of his target, the War God moves in for the kill, listing off a hippo and this fire-breathing water lizard-dragon-thingy (or, perhaps, a crocodile) that He made that totally prove how cool He is. He cows Yôb into submission, apparently forgetting that this was all a bet with the Devil and that He totally was torturing Job for no reason, and He turns on Yôb‘s friends, telling the men who thought to know the judgements of God to beg for Yôb‘s forgiveness and intercession with the Lord with a big BBQ.

Magically, when Yôb went back to praying for others, the curse was lifted, and everyone lived happily ever after.

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Whew! It got late and I am tired. I hadn’t meant to paraphrase the entire Book of Job, but I never found a place to hop off. Even in my non-Christian beliefs, I find, strangely, great comfort in the Book of Job, perhaps because it is even older than any of the established religions.

See my next blog as I break down the story and how it applies to those times when it just keeps raining. https://grimmjest.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/the-spirituality-of-comfort-and-the-nature-of-suffering/

 

Sources:
I wouldn’t have been able to do all this without Bible Gateway. It is a phenomenal resource for anyone interested in the Bible in any translation: http://www.biblegateway.com/

Bible.org was good for the History: https://bible.org/article/introduction-book-job

… as was Bible Study Tools: http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/job/

Hannah’s Cupboard explained Job more succinctly, but I didn’t agree with their conclusions. That is where I got the beautiful purple picture: http://hannahscupboard.com/jobs-prayer.html

As always, research would hit a wall without the exhaustive Wikipedia. It really expanded what I thought I knew about Job: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Job_%28biblical_figure%29#Islamic_views_and_Quranic_account

I was having fun with using different names for the Great Adversary. This was my pocket guide: http://lds.about.com/od/basicsgospelprinciples/a/names_of_devil.htm

Finally, thank you to Monty Python, who first showed me the sheer absurdity of it all.