Jesus Would Be Pissed

by Brad Nelson12/8/16

My office is in the lower level of a two-story Lutheran Church building. It’s no longer a Lutheran Church. My mother owns the building and the top floor is rented out to a really great pastor, so it does fulfill its original function, at least in part.

Anyway, from time to time there will be someone come by looking for someone from the church. The church space itself (the entirety of the top floor) is only regularly occupied during services on Wednesday and Sunday. But there seems to be a regular group of wheeled-vehicle people who are looking for some assistance.

And I say “wheeled-vehicle” because they inevitably are either pushing a baby carriage or pulling some kind of luggage-rack-like container behind them. I don’t mean to sound unkind, but I’m pretty sure these folks make a regular circuit of it.

Anyway, this 30-something lady comes to my back door around noon and asks me if I’m from the church. I told her that I wasn’t, that I ran a separate business here. And she said,”Jesus would be pissed.” I took no visible offense because I wasn’t offended. I calmly and warmly enquired why Jesus would be pissed. She mumbled something like, “Well, I guess you don’t know much about the bible then.”

I’m not here to condemn these kinds of people. That’s not my point. I just take it from such experiences a very good lesson to not covet anything, including one’s own righteousness. We ought to cut people some slack even while (for everyone’s good) maintaining standards, but we don’t have to be harsher than we should about it.

For me it’s just another reminder of all the mixed up people out there. I’ve always hoped that StubbornThings could, speaking of intestinal things as we have of late, be there to help unblock constipation of the heart and mind. I know when God (or chance) puts a woman such as this at my doorstep it is a reminder to “Lighten up, Francis,” which is a semi-famous movie line from Full Metal Jacket.

May your day be merry and bright. And my all your Christmases be white…unless you didn’t get a chance to buy snow tires yet. If you haven’t, someone could be pissed.

Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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26 Responses to Jesus Would Be Pissed

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    I never get snow tires, but then I hardly ever go out (and even less now; I’ve left my house only 3 times since my November 4 fall entering the house, and regret doing that much). As for the complainers, I would assume they don’t understand that the church doesn’t own the building — but who knows? Especially in Seattle.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I think when Jesus said “For ye have the poor with you…” I think I know what he meant. Especially if you make being one of “the poor” a growth industry.

      No one can know at a glance someone’s situation. But this person had the look of a professional “social services” beggar who goes from church to church as a “lifestyle choice.” I wasn’t offended by her remarks but I think she was offended that there was not manna waiting for her. Nor could she appreciate that the only reason that church is there is because of industry such as that which I engage in.

      But that’s quite beyond the point. I’m needy. I’m poor. Gimme gimme gimme. Have nothing today? I’m sure they do at the next door down.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Speaking of Jesus being pissed, I think He, if not also Bing Crosby, would be pleased by the 3” of snow blanketed over the Northwest last night. A layer of snow can transform even a landfill into a winter wonderland. I heard that even Hawaii had some snow recently. Isn’t global warming odd?

    Rising temperatures and rain mean it will soon be gone, although slush has a half-life to rival some of the more exotic elements. The snow started in earnest about 9:00 pm last night. I had thoughts of donning a coat, gloves, and hat and taking a meditative stroll in it, as I often do. But “cozy warm inside” and an episode of “The Crown” won out. Still, it is a spectacular view outside my window this morning.

    • Gibblet says:

      I was playing in that snow last night with some kids, some of whom had never seen snow. They had so much fun throwing snowballs and making snow angels in the middle of the quiet snow-covered street!

      It was a fine snow, so the branches of the Japanese Maples surrounding my yard each have a thick frosting of snow from trunk to tip.

      Although it is just two weeks past Thanksgiving, the last remaining pumpkin on my side porch really looks out of place against the winter wonderland landscape. Fortunately we bedecked a few smaller trees with blue and green (go Seahawks) Christmas lights yesterday, so the Christmas glow was in full force outside the front door.

      Right now, it looks like it is raining a mix of snow and slush…trending toward real snow…

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        My older brother yesterday told a funny story of his foster child. My brother had told the kid that big snow was coming. Other than slight dustings, he’d never seen real snow. What did he say he wanted to do? Build a snowman? Ride in a toboggan? Have a snowball fight? No. He told his papa that he wanted to run naked in it.

        I told my brother he must have a little Viking in him.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          The closest I got to that was sunbathing at the top of some ski lifts while skiing in Switzerland. If the sky was clear, one could take off one’s sweater and sit there taking in the rays. At that height you didn’t want to stay in the sun too long.

          The moment it clouded over it would get very cold very fast.

        • Gibblet says:

          “run naked”
          I really love that boy.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      As long as I don’t have to leave the house (and as long as I still get the mail and newspaper every day), snow is nice. When I was young, we used to make snow cream if the snow was heavy enough (3 inches might not be enough) — a bowl of snow with milk, sugar, and vanillin added. Elizabeth and I have done it a few times, but we almost never get enough snow in Louisville.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Speaking of being pissed, my younger brother read a historical novel (set in the Roman Empire) whereby he learned the origins of the term “piss poor” and “hasn’t got a pot to piss in.”

    As most of you likely know, the early process (still used in many places and still quite effective) at fixing dies into cloth was to first soak the cloth in urine. Animal urine, human urine, apparently any urine would do. And those who were particularly poor would sell their piss, thus they were “piss poor.”

    And if you were even worse off than that, with no receptacle even to pursue this line on entrepreneurship, you “hadn’t got a pot to piss in.”

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Judging from various mysteries set in ancient Rome by writers (such as John Maddox Roberts) who presumably made sure to get their facts right, urine was also used to do laundry.

      I never went out naked in the snow, but even into adulthood I often went out unshod to take out the garbage even in the snow. I didn’t have any suitable footwear that I could put in quickly and didn’t want to spend more time putting on clothes than actually doing the work. And the distance was short enough not to be a problem. I did put on a jacket.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Very interesting. If one knows the origin of such sayings, one knows a lot of history.

  4. Anniel says:

    All you lucky people. It’s been cold here, where it’s SUPPOSED to snow, but we don’t have enough to put in a pot. At least at our house. What would my Finn relatives roll in naked after their sauna?

  5. Glenn Fairman says:

    I beg to differ with your female antagonist. And if Jesus were to fashion a whip of cords in order to go “all Francis” on someone, perhaps it would be for the separation of the goats from His sheep.
    And who knows, maybe He needs a few copies of His Best seller printed up?

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I know that I should have fallen to my knees and made a golden idol of “the poor.” But “social justice” tourism is a known phenomenon, at least in my area. I’ve been told that area churches communicate between each other to weed out those who are just living on the hand-out system and thus taking bread out of the mouths of those who really need temporary help.

      Yeah, it’s a judgment call. But what I saw was not someone in distress but someone going door-to-door working the system. But that’s neither here nor there. I denied her nothing and, if it was at all clear that this was a person who needed immediate help, I would have helped. Jesus may indeed be pissed — at me, for a lot of things — but not for spotting a faux leper.

      • Steve Lancaster says:

        I was on the board of directors for our local food bank and tried to explain to the other board members that the reason we were running out of food was because it was free. I suggested a minimal charge to discourage some of the moochers; they would not see it.

        The progressive mind set was too ingrained and they could not view someone taking food if they were not hungry or if they could pay for it. The myth continues that millions are starving, homeless an uneducated and while there are some who may fit that description I doubt it is in the millions.

        For most progressives view their righteousness on how much of your money they can spend making themselves feel good.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Things like nominal charges and nominal work in return for charity can work wonders. Henry Hazlitt pointed this out in The Conquest of Poverty, noting that the idea behind the Victorian workhouses was a good one, regardless of how well the idea was executed.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I had not heard of that book. I had heard of, and partially read, one on a similar subject: The Tragedy of American Compassion.

            One of the interesting points from a Christian point of view is, What is the purpose and point of Christianity if the government has taken over the duty of taking care of the widows and orphans? Well, what I think has happened, in part, is highly ironic. Instead of looking after people’s spiritual health (which you think would be the part not addressed by the state…and perhaps made all the worse by the state), many Christians have simply adopted the purely secular and materialist/Marxist paradigm of the state and, in religious terms, calls it “social justice.” Forget that Jesus said that the poor would always be among us. “The poor” were now a cudgel used to discredit and embarrass “capitalism” for not sufficiently providing its riches equally, if not also seen as an outright exploiter. (Somehow we would all be materially well-off if not for those capitalists manipulating the wealth which apparently resides on some Magic Money Tree, and presumably there are a forest of them somewhere that could be equitably distributed by the Social Justice Warriors.)

            In short, the idea that “the poor” had any hand in their situation was divorced from the equation of self-responsibility and sin (let alone the realities of wealth creation). Now “social justice” meant that “the poor” were pawns in a larger game whereby guilt was distributed to “society” at large, particularly any non-socialist inclinations. Thus “social justice” inherently means that the very existence of the poor is an “injustice” — aka “someone else’s fault,” and the hoarders must be made to pay. This corruption is embedded deeply into much of today’s efforts at charity.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              In the late 19th and early 20th century, much of the work done by Christian missionaries in Asia included alleviating pain and want. Of course, along with this went a goodly dose of Christianity. Such missionaries also often tried to find some type of work for the poor who had no where to go in a very harsh society.

              When I lived in Asia, whatever one though about Christianity, people thought the missionaries were good sincere people who helped others. Americans had a good name, in part, because of the legacy of American missionaries in China.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                This has played a role in political history, regarding the Kachin tribe in Burma. They actively opposed the Japanese in World War II because of their pro-American views, which resulted from their contacts with missionaries.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                What’s that lyric from “Hark the Herald”?

                Light and life to all He brings
                Ris’n with healing in His wings

                It is nearly impossible for a secular (read: “atheist”) culture to appreciate the fact that man has always flown very low unless lifted by something other than purely worldly concerns. Brutality and life being cheap are the norm. And so life will be brutal and will be cheap again when the secular culture finishes clipping those wings.

  6. Lucia says:

    During the Great Depression, my grandmother, who grew up dirt poor herself, used to ladle out a bowl of soup to whomever came to her back door, but always with a chore for them to “earn” their meal. It was a way to preserve their dignity and fulfill the Bible admonition that those who didn’t want to work shouldn’t also eat. Laziness was not an acceptable part of our culture back then.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Steve said:

    For most progressives view their righteousness on how much of your money they can spend making themselves feel good.

    Lucia said:

    During the Great Depression, my grandmother, who grew up dirt poor herself, used to ladle out a bowl of soup to whomever came to her back door, but always with a chore for them to “earn” their meal.

    I watched most of a series yesterday on PBS called Ancient Roads: from Christ to Constantine. I don’t know who Jonathan Phillips is (other than being a history professor at Royal Holloway, University of London). Oddly, especially for something appearing on PBS, this is not a veiled attack on Christianity. It is somewhat academic (which I found to be a good thing) with lots of names and places (set inside a very clear overall narrative story and high production values). I learned a lot. It’s a very good overview of, well, “from Christ to Constantine.”

    Assuming his information is correct (and I spotted no obvious errors although I’m no Biblical scholar), the early Christians did much work in regards to taking care of widows, orphans, and such. This was something not at all covered by the pagan Roman emperor-based religion of the many titanic and petulant gods. And although Christians were often persecuted (first by locals, then later officially by the state), the persecution was ineffective (although brutal) in large part because after a while Christians were not only not an unknown quantity to the general populous, they were a downright helpful one.

    In the pagan Roman religion, one did not have a “relationship” with the Gods. The gods would just as soon kill you as look at you. But they could be appeased. If you did the right rituals and made the right sacrifices and appeased their egos with grand monuments, you could not only avoid their disfavor but could curry their favor.

    So when things went wrong in the Empire, the Christians became an easy scapegoat because they refused to make sacrifices to the pagan gods. They were thus seen as an existential threat despite their small numbers.

    It was also interesting that the program noted that the manner in which Christian martyrs went relatively peacefully to their deaths was a scandal…for the Roman empire which generally killed criminals and such in a “bad death” sort of way before the “good death” of the gladiators and such. Apparently many average pagans were astonished by this and it planted a seed in their mind about what this new religion was all about if its adherents would give up their lives when all they had to do was give a verbal nod to the Roman gods.

    Time passed and, as we know (and I did not know much of this), Constantine basically launched Christianity into a major going concern after the start-up-like entrepreneurship (if you will) of Paul. Jesus was the fire. Paul (and others) kindled the flame. And Constantine legitimized it and bureaucratized it into something that was not only no longer considered subversive but became the main thing.

    And the program notes that where before the danger and secretiveness of Christianity (with the martyrs as its main advertisement) were a main attraction of the faith, now many people joined because it was the “in thing.” After all, the emperor was a self-avowed Christian, and in a very big way.

    There in the midst of all this a good program on John and Revelations. It more or less skimmed the surface, but it made the point that one of the primary themes in Revelations is “Do not just blend into the world…set yourself apart from it.” And although the program was more of a documentary than a commentary on the ethics or philosophy of these things, you can see the inherent problem of a faith that you hope becomes widespread but then when it does, it changes the entire character of how that faith is practiced and understood.

    So, all that is a way to note that, for you and I, discernment is important. No doubt it is better to have too much charity and food being dispensed rather than the reverse. But people have made an obvious idol out of “the poor” while “the poor” have made a going concern out of food kitchens and such. There’s now an entire infrastructure of mutual dependence. In a perfect world (perhaps just a sane one), you would take the perils of “free stuff” into account and do what many Christians not long ago considered their duty: Not to undermine the character of people when distributing charity.

    But because “the poor” have been turned into a sort of mascot to show how darn nice people are, there is little or no concern about not only not undermining peoples’ character but helping them out of their cycle (or profession) of poverty. If someone, for example, has a drug or alcohol problem, they need help with this. Simply slopping free food on their plate and thinking “what a good boy am I” is not a cure for this. But if the point is feelgoodism (or, just as likely, escaping guilt over “white privilege” and such), actually helping people in more substantive ways is not the point.

    It’s certainly true that when a soul comes to your back door looking for food, what he or she may be looking for is human sympathy in a cruel world, not just food. Or perhaps both. To the extent that food distribution and other “free stuff” aids in this, you’ll get no argument from me. But regarding this one case of the woman at my back door, she asked nothing of me. It seemed very very clear that she was going from station to station using the established hand-out bureaucracy as a way of life. And if not her specifically, many are. Is this what Jesus would do and promote? I don’t know. But had she asked me for something, I might have helped her. But all I got was some passive-aggressive scorn because her “free stuff” was not at her beck and call.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I watched most of a series yesterday on PBS called Ancient Roads: from Christ to Constantine. I don’t know who Jonathan Phillips is (other than being a history professor at Royal Holloway, University of London). Oddly, especially for something appearing on PBS, this is not a veiled attack on Christianity. It is somewhat academic (which I found to be a good thing) with lots of names and places (set inside a very clear overall narrative story and high production values). I learned a lot. It’s a very good overview of, well, “from Christ to Constantine.”

      This is the best program I have seen on early Christianity. I have watched it a couple of times.

      As to Constantine, the story is that the night before the a battle at the Milvian Bridge, Constantine had a vision in a dream which told him he would win the battle under the sign of of the cross. When he awoke, he ordered crosses be painted on the shields of his army, something which became the norm in the West. Of course, he won the battle and shortly thereafter became sole emperor of the empire.

      In addition to Constantine, his mother St. Helena, had great influence on the spread of Christianity. She made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and “found” many of the hold sites which are now visited by Christians. I believe she convinced Constantine to build the first Church of the Holy Sepulchre. She also recovered many holy relics such as the “True Cross”, pieces of which are now spread around the world.

      An interesting point about Constantine is that although he promoted Christianity for many years, he only chose to be baptized shortly before his death. This is apparently because he understood that once accepting Jesus, a person would have to lead a completely different life from that which one led before being baptized. In other words, he took conversion to be more than mouthing a belief. Actions speak louder than words.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I believe it was some imperial woman, perhaps St. Helena (a name of significance to Napoleon), who decided that Mt. Sinai was in fact the mountain where Moses received the Ten Commandments. There were other possibilities.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          St. Helena was Constantine’s mother. And there was definitely a version of Christianity for Constantine and one for the rest of us. Apparently Constantine put to death his own son on unsubstantiated testimony from his second wife that his son tried to seduce his stepmother. Later Helena convinced Constantine that he had erred. I guess that “love they neighbor” (let alone thy son) stuff hadn’t quite sunk in yet.

          But Helena was instrumental in establishing (via fact, myth, or tradition) many of the venerated sites in Palestine. It was suggested in this program that part of the reason for her visit was to pay penance (for her son) for the murder of his son. Helena made an extensive and exhaustive pilgrimage despite her advanced age. She was quite the organizer.

          I have little doubt that she decided that M. Sinai was the mountain where Moses received The Ten Commandments, although this wasn’t brought up in this particular series. She did apparently establish the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as the place where Jesus was buried, and also further denoted the location of Golgotha. And she apparently found parts of “the true cross” further adding to, or jump-starting, the importance of religious relics.

          The program I watched didn’t go into much detail about how much was myth, tradition, fact, etc. But these things were “officially” established. It got a bit creepy seeing how Constantine set himself up as a god-like Emperor, but in this case his authority came supposedly from the Christian god, not Jupiter. And thus if the Papacy wasn’t already an important element, the idea of god acting through men (with these men often justifying their ambitions as “the will of god”) was now officially established. People’s ego or superego then became “god” and one must ask where faith or a personal relationship for god comes in. But it is what it is.

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