But This is Real
It occurred to me last night that during the day, I had had a peak experience. I got to cook perfect Sicilian pizza, in church, while carrying a firearm with night sights. The guy who leads the armorbearers at my church said something about me being the deadliest cook in the city.
I hope he was talking about my shooting and not the food.
I haven’t figured out how to work tools into the equation, but it’s about forty feet from the pizza area to the church’s table saw, so I can always run back there and hug it as needed.
I called Mike to badger him and tell him about my success, which was largely due to his help (as he reminded me). I told him about my great new discovery: Glad disposable containers for dough. It won’t stick to them. He told me he had been using them for a long time. This must be how Luke Skywalker felt when Yoda used to slap him down.
It’s funny; it’s as if God has given me a number of ways to impact the church, so at least one will succeed, even if I am hindered at the rest of them. I have been delayed in my writing efforts; they don’t even use me to edit copy for their website, which is very odd, given my background. Maybe that’s the enemy working to fragment the church, or maybe it’s God, saying cooking is the right thing to be doing now.
So far, the cooking and the armorbearer work are prospering beautifully. Those are more than enough to make me happy and help me feel useful.
I’m glad they don’t ask me to do legal work. A lawyer is like David: a “man of blood,” even if what he does is right. I don’t want to go through life beating on people.
Obstacles and hindrances and wild goose chases have taken up much of my life, and I think it was because I wasn’t following God. Things that should have worked out for me did not, over and over. That’s great. If you succeed at doing something that is beneficial in the short term but ultimately harmful, you haven’t been blessed, so I’m glad I didn’t make it on my own terms. I can think of people who did. Chris Farley. Elvis. John Belushi. Nero. Hitler. They lived by bread alone, and things went poorly for them.
Satan doesn’t have to kill you to win. If he can waste enough of your time and effort, you’ll lose. It’s as good as killing you. God created you for a mission, and distraction and delay are effective ways of aborting it.
If you’re a worldly person, Satan will wave shiny prizes in front of you. Sexy women. Expensive cars. Glory. Power. Advancement. But if you pursue these things, he’ll yank them away before you get them, or he’ll give them to you, and you’ll wish he hadn’t. You’ll regret it, in this life or when you are judged.
Satan is like a drug pusher. He offers you things you want very badly, and he tells you they’ll make you happy. But they cause pain in the end. I think he loves to make people chase his mirages, and he loves tearing the sets down just when we think we’ve made it. I think he enjoys our despair and disappointment.
The movie Bedazzled (either version) is a great lesson for Christians. Satan shows up and makes deals with a fool, and then Satan finds cruel ways to break the deals in spirit while upholding them in letter. That’s what my life used to be like, except that he often failed to stick to his deals in any respect. He can do that.
These days, things work. I want better things, and they are coming to me, on a sustainable, healthy schedule. I will suffer in this life, but overall, I will live in victory and contentment.
I became a Spirit-filled Christian around twenty-five years ago. Then I backed away because I was offended. Since then, I’ve never fit into the world. I’ve been excluded and blackballed, over and over. When I’ve tried to shoehorn myself into the worldly scene, things haven’t felt right. There has always been tension between worldly people and me. I could only follow them so far. They could only get so close to me. Then the barriers went up.
Now I know people I can relax with. People I can work with. That’s a new experience for me. More accurately, it’s an experience I haven’t had since I left the church. If I meet a woman I like, I won’t have to worry about her telling people she thinks I’m gay because I didn’t jump on her when she removed her underwear under the table at a bar. I won’t have awkward social moments when I have to turn down drugs. If I decide to do the godly thing instead of the obvious thing, at a considerable short-term cost, I won’t have to fight with people who don’t get it. If I marry and my wife gets a dubious amniocentesis result, I won’t have to explain why I don’t want to kill the baby. I’ll never face a paternity suit. I won’t have a business partner who insists I work on Sunday or withhold my tithes and offerings. My friends will improve me instead of pulling me down. It’s shocking, how much power you can get from friends who build you up instead of holding you back. A lot of wives should think about that, when they deal with their husbands. A lot of parents should think about it when they deal with their kids.
This is freedom. It’s oppressive to be chained to unbelievers. We’re supposed to lead, and when we’re shackled to worldly people, they lead us. And guess who leads them? The Church Lady could tell you. The chain of command is supposed to go God-pastor-congregant and then on down to Satan, at the very bottom. When you have to follow a worldly person, God can end up at the bottom, with Satan at the top. Then you lose the blessings God intends you to walk into through obedience and faith.
One of the things that makes the biggest impression me is my interaction with Christian women. They are a breath of fresh air. I was so tired of sleaze. I was tired of being told I was obligated to “make a move” by a certain time or lose the woman. It’s bizarre for a man to find himself in situations where he’s the one who has to apply the moral brakes. Women are supposed to carry a lot of that burden; God wired their brains and set up their hormones so they would be suited to do it. Instead, they’re downright coarse. “Ladettes” are everywhere. They’re the norm.
You know what? There is nothing wrong with a man who hasn’t gotten your pants off by the third date. If that’s the only way you can tell you have a strong relationship with a man, you are very, very lost. If sex is that important to you, hire an escort so you’ll only waste a man’s time for an evening, instead of a lifetime. Why should I have to fight preexisting background temptation, as well as the woman I’m with? If she’s not on my side in this battle, why should I expect her to be on my side in any other fight? Support is a wife’s primary function, whether the feminists want to hear it or not. A man can’t fight the world by day and his wife by night and expect to do well.
Life has gotten so sordid; it’s sad that women have become one of the chief mechanisms of the change. Worldly women have given up. Many of them are like the hairnetted ladies you see in grocery stores, calling out to strangers to get them to try free samples of their products. Wow, that’s an inspiring way to live. That’s dignity.
I’m sure there are Christian women who are too weak to do what they believe in, but there are also women who have enough backbone to put love before sex. What do you want? A husband, or a good, reliable goat? It’s easy to whine that all the other women are coming across with the goods. That’s fine, if you think you don’t deserve anything better than the bad results most women get.
I’ve said it before: I used to find worthwhile women hard to locate, and I found it hard to motivate myself to ask anyone out, but now the more likely problem is trying to figure out which worthwhile woman is the right one. I meet great women when I’m among Christians. Aaron said it best: “fish in stocked ponds.”
Life is cleaner and more focused now. I’m glad I don’t have to think about designated drivers any more. I don’t have to go without my carry piece in order to enter a bar legally. I don’t even smell like cigars. I go to bed early, and I rise early. It’s a good way to live. My character is improving; I disappoint and annoy myself less. The things I gave up to get here are garbage. Paul said the same thing.
God did all of it. He worked inside me and changed my desires and strengths. It’s the best deal imaginable. You don’t have to be strong or pure to get this; God will clean you up over time and make you what you should be. You don’t have to deserve it.
I’m going to work on the Sicilian pans and get some pizza stones today. I am going to wake this church up with my cooking on Sunday, or they are going to find me on the kitchen floor, passed out from trying.Stumble it! Save This Page