24 December 2009

The Christ Mass

The Christ Mass is upon us once again.

May we shake the dust of Wal-Mart off our feet, and embrace the Mass in truth.

What is the ritual of the Christ Mass meant to celebrate?

The entrance of the Savior into the world. . .

In other words:

The Incarnation. The Divine Word God taking on human flesh, for the ultimate purpose of offering Himself as a sacrifice to God to atone for the sins of the world. . .

Or, as it is beautifully expressed in Philippians:

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

He humbled Himself. . .


The degree to which the Word humbled Himself is beyond our comprehension. . .that the Word God, by whom all things were made, should leave the majesty of Heaven and enter our depraved world, and minister to depraved sinners, and sacrifice Himself for depraved sinners, is beyond true comprehension.

Jesus Christ is the sinner’s only friend. . .

If you will, take a moment and think about that.

In the history of the world, has there ever been found an answer to the sin of the world?

Misery is the world’s constant.

Jesus Christ is the sinner’s only friend. . .

In a dark paradox, our depraved world loves to engage in hidden sexual sin, and also loves to expose hidden sexual sin. . .sex ‘scandals’ are the world’s ‘guilty pleasure’. . .we can simultaneously feed our lust for lurid acts of the flesh and our lust for self-righteousness vicariously with the sex ‘scandal’. . .

Recently we have seen the flesh frenzy at its most fevered in the Tiger Woods’ ‘scandal’. . .and if we are to believe the reports photographs were taken by one of his ‘mistresses,’ then Tiger has been captured in the very act, and dragged out for all to see. It reminds of the following:

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto Him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not. So when they continued asking Him, He lifted up Himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Jesus is the sinner’s only friend. . .

Let us contemplate our most despicable moments. . .they may well be things we have never voiced to anyone. . .things we believe only we and our victims know (we have victims, whether in thought, word or deed, and in things done and left undone, we have victims).

Let us bring to our consciousness ourselves at our most horrible moments. . .

Let us forget when we have been victimized, and let us bring into the mind’s light those awful moments when we have been victimizers. . .

Let us see ourselves at the very moment when we have been destroying others, whether the destruction was physical or psychological.

Let us freeze the picture of ourselves as monsters, criminals, terrorists, brutalizers. . .

Now let us move that image of our wicked selves to the foot of the Cross:

Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father. . .

Let us see ourselves at our worst, and now we see what the Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself for. . .

Jesus is the sinner’s only friend. . .

Jesus is the sinner’s only hope. . .

Satan stands before God and accuses us day and night (Revelation 12:10). . .Satan gives God Almighty the last details of our crimes. . .Satan knows we have no part of heaven. . .but for those who claim Jesus as friend (John 15:13 – 14), there is no condemnation. . .no matter how ugly our lives, God will not look past the Blood of the Lamb.

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is My blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. . .

Will you drink the Blood of the Lamb this Christ Mass?

For those poor, wretched, miserable sinners who have been granted the ability to look two thousand years into the past and see the King’s star shining over Bethlehem , the Word God gives them the greatest gift of all, the Light of Life.

There are those who have received the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and still seem to stumble in the darkness of the world—to those, we pray the peace of God which passes all understanding be upon you, and be a blessing to you in your tribulation. Our Lord said Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

Are there those outside the family of God, walking in the world, but with a heavy heart? Are there any who see the true condition of the world and of themselves, and feel, if we may borrow the words of Jude (13), they are wandering stars to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever? If there are such, we pray the Christ Mass deliver the glad tiding:

Unto you this day the Savior is born. . .

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. . .

22 December 2009


Noise: Uh, well, I liked this film. But it’s not for, uh, all tastes. But I could watch it almost as many times as I have watched The Exorcist and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. Of course, those are great films. . .two of the All-Time Greats, in fact. Noise is not one of the All-Time Greats. Truthfully, as a movie, Noise is mediocre, and that’s being charitable. And I’m only being charitable because of the movie’s two *stars,* who shine brightly in my personal night sky.

Most people, I suspect, would watch this thing and then say, man, that sucked. Well, yes. . .but I sure do love this movie. I sure do. A treasure to my eyes, I found it in the dumpster of Netflix *Watch Instantly.*

I was sifting through the Instant movie trash, looking for an Ally Sheedy movie—Ally being one of my favorites—and I found this reject from 2004. And I was startled to discover Sheedy’s co-star in this low-budget indie *psycho-drama* is Trish Goff! Yes, Trish Goff, who, in my studied opinion, is the second greatest Supermodel of All-Time (second, of course, to the one-and-only Kate Moss).

(Actually, Goff is the *star* of Noise, while Sheedy has the supporting role—not that it matters to any but the most dedicated of the Cults of Second and Third Tier Female Celebrity).

Imagine! A movie with Ally Sheedy and Trish Goff!! It is as if it were cast with only an audience of men like me in mind. A small audience, no doubt. For how many of the few who count Ally Sheedy as a screen legend are also admirers of the unbearable lightness of waif-being that is Trish Goff? There can’t be many, there can’t be many. But for us few, Noise is celluloid grail.

The story, the familiar story of a troubled individual moving into a new apartment and then being disturbed by a crazy neighbor, vaguely reminds one of all the better-made movies in the *weirdo upstairs* genre, from Polanski’s The Tenant all the way down to Sigaw/The Echo.

In Noise, Trish Goff plays Joyce, an insecure recent divorcee battling a drinking problem (a gorgeous insecure recent divorcee battling a drinking problem). Joyce’s insecurity, stemming from a difficult childhood, manifests an aloofness and a perfectionism that make her appear stuck-up. Joyce is not a very likable character—is the character supposed to seem unsympathetic because of her damaged ‘inner child,’ or is the character off-putting because of Goff’s SuperMannikin acting?

Part of the problem is the Pittsburgh, PA-born Goff’s voice, which exhibits traces of several different European accents—an annoying affectation, or an unconscious result of her many years in the cosmopolitan fashion industry? Well, it doesn’t really matter, for whatever reason, Goff’s character is rather cold and distant. . .but Goff always looks great (and that’s the main thing, isn’t it?), even in the scenes when she hits the bottle and is supposed to be on a downward spiral. Believe me, you’ve never seen a hotter barfly than Noise’s Trish Goff. . .I mean, Barfly’s Faye Dunaway barfly looks like a genuine barfly compared to Noise’s Goff barfly.
But anyway, stuck-up Joyce moves into a new apartment and discovers, much to her dismay (as they say), the woman in the room above, Charlotte, is very NOISY (blaring TV all night long, dragging heavy objects across the floor, and, after a plot twist I won’t reveal, furiously engaging in loud anonymous sex). Charlotte is also very kOOky and very unkempt (even her apartment is unkempt—in one of the film’s few clever touches, Charlotte’s dirty flat features dangling strips of flypaper). The great-but-sadly-aging Ally Sheedy is the noisy, kOOky, unkempt Charlotte, and Ms. Sheedy plays her like a forty-five-year-old version of her Breakfast Club character, Allison Reynolds. Just imagine the Breakfast Club freak girl thirty years later, poisoned with decades of anti-depressants and battered by life’s hard knocks, and you have Sheedy’s Charlotte. Anyway, and predictably, Joyce confronts Charlotte about the noise, and, also predictably, a battle of wills (as they say) ensues.

There’s no point in further belaboring plot details, as this movie, as indicated earlier, will appeal only to a very narrow segment of cinephiles, but I will mention there is a strange *twist* at the end of Noise. The characters essentially reverse, with Charlotte now competent, clean and orderly, while Joyce becomes incompetent, unkempt and chaotic. While one can reasonably forecast Joyce’s demise, there is no logical explanation for the sudden reversal in Charlotte. Now, sometimes these kinds of movies end with the cheap cop-out *it was all in her mind*. . .but because of certain plot developments, one cannot say Charlotte was always ‘normal,’ and that Joyce had only been projecting her own *disorder* onto Charlotte. . .so this leaves one with only a supernatural alternative, which sends off the movie with a rather shabby Twilight Zone feel. Most, of course, wouldn’t even bother to be puzzled by the movie’s ending, as the film is not worth the effort to try to decipher. . .yet even those of us who will constitute Noise’s small core of fans and who will no doubt engage in repeated viewings, will, I imagine, never be able to successfully reconcile the film’s odd dénouement (to use a term far above the film’s station).

There are two other points—one not worth mentioning, one worth mentioning.

Not worth mentioning:

Adam Ferrara has a small role as a police officer, which he plays exactly the same way as he does his Rescue Me firefighter character.

Worth mentioning:

While Noise can be watched over and over by all who enjoy staring at Goff, and who have fond memories of a younger, fresher Sheedy, it must be admitted that a Goff-Sheedy pillow fight would be more dramatic than Noise, and provide more of the thrills their fanatics seek.

12 December 2009

The Chicanery of Goldman-Sachs

Goldman-Sachs, Hank Paulson, Lloyd Blankfein, Stephen King, Roberto Bolano, 2666

08 December 2009

Tiger Went Down To Perkins And Saw A Woman In Perkins. . .

AP, 8 December 2009: Fire department medics responded early Tuesday to a 911 call at Tiger Woods' Orlando-area home and took an adult to the hospital. An emergency dispatcher took the call from Woods' home at 2:35 a.m. and transferred it to Orange County Fire Rescue, Orange County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jim Solomons told The Associated Press. An adult patient was taken to Health Central Hospital in Ocoee, the same place Woods was treated after he crashed his sport utility vehicle outside his home last month, fire rescue spokeswoman Genevieve Latham said. The patient's condition was not immediately known.

Man, Tiger’s life is heading into Mike Tyson territory. . .

I would have to guess the woman taken to the hospital was Woods’ mother-in-law. . .if that proves to be the case, then it looks like Tiger’s insatiable lust for white women with big fat fake titties, and the domestic chaos resulting from his secret fornications being exposed, has stressed his mother-in-law to the point of hospitalization.

Hey, Tiger, think your old lady is mad now, with you banging every low-rent white tramp that crosses your path? Just imagine if your swinging dick has caused your mother-in-law to have a heart attack. . .hmmn, what’s the price tag on that divorce??

Listen, here is the dilemma for many, many men. We’d love to fuck everything that moves. . .and when that hole is right there in front of us, we are under its spell. . .and we do not spend one single fraction of a second pondering the consequences. What if we are caught? What happens to our family? How will I appear in the eyes of my children? Does not even cross our minds. Does not even cross our minds. The furthest thing from our minds is the consequence of fornication. We just dive right into that strange hole.

Luckily, most of us are not in the position of Tiger, being able to pick up any piece of strange that crosses our path. . .our adulteries are kept within our hearts.

All the hassle, all the drama, all the family misery he has caused will likely allow Tiger to keep his pants zipped. . .for a while. . .I would guess he will be able to patch his family back together, with solemn pledges to be a better father and husband, etc. And whenever he feels the temptation to sneak off with a waitress or hotel maid, he will remember all the 911 calls, etc. and will, by force of will, resist banging some white temptress. But time destroys everything, and there will be a day, when time has lessened the trauma of this current drama, and Tiger will figure he can be smarter this next time, and he will resume his addiction to white tramps. . .guaranteed. No way out of the cycle. . .unless he knows Jesus Christ and is granted deliverance (but that’s a whole other can of worms).

Look how Samson ended up. . .blind, under a pile of rubble. . .all because he:

Went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.

Tiger went down to Perkins and saw a waitress in Perkins. . .

[By the way, golf is a stupid, stupid *sport*].

Tiger is still going to be rich, he’s still going to be a famous golfer (?!?!), but I bet right at this very moment, he has a great understanding of Proverbs 22:1:

A GOOD name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.

UPDATE: AP, 8 December 2009--Tiger Woods' mother-in-law was admitted to a hospital with stomach pains early Tuesday, a hospital spokesman said.

It was the mother-in-law, but not a heart attack. Uh, how much will the mother-in-law's ulcer cost Tiger? $10 million to the revised prenup??

06 December 2009

Tim Tebow Crying (His Tears Smear John 16:33)

Excuse me? What are you crying about? What are you crying about with JOHN 16:33 PAINTED ON YOUR FACE? A lost football game?

Did Jesus ever cry because Nazareth lost to Capernaum in the Galilee championship?

John 16:33 reads:

These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Let’s give old Tebow the benefit of one doubt: let’s not assume old Tebow painted John 16:33 under his eyes because he equated playing Alabama with tribulation.

Let’s be charitable, and assume old Tebow simply wanted to share a little of the gospel with the tens of millions of TV adoring infidels whose hearts desire was to spend hour after hour after hour in devotion to a trivial sporting contest--hours they would never even consider devoting to our Lord. Let’s be charitable and assume old Tebow just wanted to shine the small light of one gospel verse into the dark hearts of millions of infidel football fanatics.

That granted, Tebow, by weeping like a child after losing a trivial football game, gives a schizophrenic testimony for the Lord.

If old Tebow wants to cry like a little girl who has lost her favorite dolly. that’s fine--but he first needs to wash John 16:33 off his face.

John 16:33 is about showing courage and maintaining a calm assurance in the face of genuine adversity, with this courage and assurance being due to an unshakable faith our Lord, our First-Goer, has overcome the world.

You don’t paint John 16:33 under your eyes if you are going to break down and bawl like a baby over the loss of something as inconsequential as a FOOTBALL GAME. [This also shows too much attachment to the world’s values].

John 16:33 is discredited in the eyes of any infidels who bother to look it up, for they will note the obvious disconnect between the scripture’s meaning and Tebow’s not good cheer-like behavior.

You do NOT paint our Lord’s words on your face in some half-assed, poorly thought out attempt at *discipleship.*

You do NOT treat the gospel like it is some afterthought, some cute uniform decoration.

NEVER disrespect the gospel as if it is some ribbon pin for the fad cause of the day.

Jesus said to count the COST of discipleship first before going off half-cocked like some paperweight Stephen.

For Tebow’s next game, he would do well to paint Luke 14:28 - 30 under his eyes:

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

05 December 2009

Daniele Mastrogiacomo's *Days Of Fear*

Days Of Fear: A Firsthand Account Of Captivity Under The New Taliban, by Daniele Mastrogiacomo. In the name of Allah Most High and All-Merciful, Sayed Agha, Ajmal Naqshbandi and Daniele Mastrogiacomo are sentenced to death for acts of espionage within Taliban territories (p. 136).

In March 2007, the Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, his interpreter Ajmal Naqshbandi and his driver Sayed Agha set out to interview the Taliban military commander Mullah Dadullah. Instead, the three men were taken hostage by the Taliban and held for fifteen days.

As an account of Mastrogiacomo’s nightmarish two week ordeal, Days Of Fear is a morbidly fascinating account of the human psyche being ground in the crucible of carnal man’s ultimate fear—imminent extinction, execution, death.

Mastrogiacomo’s terror is nearly all psychological. The only physical abuse he suffered, excepting the chains on his wrists, came in the early moments of his capture. Blindfolded by Taliban soldiers, Mastrogiacomo discovers, to his horror:

I suffer from claustrophobia. I was aware of this but didn’t realize that I suffered to such agonizing extremes. I must always be able to see a little light, even when it is dark. With my eyes closed and covered, I can’t breathe properly. I feel like I’m suffocating, buried alive (p. 47).

As he instinctively tries to free himself from the blindfold, a Taliban gives him a couple of rifle butts, one to the head. This *cures* Mastrogiacomo’s claustrophobia rather quickly. . .

The carnal man needs to believe he is in control of his life:

A man's heart deviseth his way (Proverbs 16:9).

But when the illusion of control is torn away, such as it was in the unfortunate case of Daniele Mastrogiacomo, look what results:

My heart is beating hard. I’m terrified. I ask where they’re taking me. I ask thousands of questions, one after the other. I’m afraid they’re going to kill me. A single shot to the back of the head, my body abandoned in a ditch, eyes blindfolded, hands tied. A lifeless bundle without form, dried blood around the bullet hole. . .It’s over, I say to myself. I find myself praying, my entire life passes before me as if it were film. My children, my wife, my mother, the newspaper, the sea, my sailboat, my father and my siblings. There’s no time, I need to see more. The film is running fast, in black and white, the images pile up, crazed. It’s over, goodbye mad, unpredictable world that I so desperately love and so violently hate. Goodbye to everyone. My hour has come. I raise my eyes, still blindfolded, to the sky and ask for God’s help and His pardon. I ask that He protect my children. I am no longer afraid. I’m ready. Then, suddenly, I feel that they won’t kill me. I’m certain of it. I don’t know why. My instincts tell me so. I want to believe it. Maybe my death is too absurd an eventuality for me to imagine, or perhaps I’m too important for our captors. I know that they won’t do it. Not yet, not now. My legs are trembling as we move left. They make me lower my head and they shove me into the trunk of the Corolla. I squirm. The blindfold slips down over my nose and mouth. I see some light, now, but I can’t breathe. I’m going to die suffocated. I cry out a dozen times, “Please! Please!” I want them to stop, to take the blindfold off me. My breathing is shallower, faster, the blindfold over my nose and mouth begins to grow damp. My mouth and throat are dry. I make a desperate attempt to get hold of a stray piece of fabric with my teeth and pull it off my nose and then my mouth. It is a long, difficult procedure. I try to control my breathing as if I were underwater. I’m convinced I am going to die. I tell myself that it would be a damned stupid way to die, but I also remind myself that many, many hostages have died precisely this way. I am tossed from one side of the trunk to the other as the car drives over particularly rough patches. It is torture. I have been taken prisoner by a group of Taliban. I do not know them, nor do I know their intentions. I’m alone, left completely to my own devices, I have no contact with the outside world, I am obliged to do everything these young soldiers want me to do, to follow orders issued by people far away from here. My death could come in any moment. The thought overwhelms me, it accompanies me faithfully for fifteen days and fifteen nights. Its particulars arrive in waves and with such force that each successive wave takes my breath away. I will have to learn to control my panic attacks in order to maintain a modicum of psychological and physical well-being. My body grows increasingly weak and beleaguered (p. 61 – 62).

Stripped of control, forced to acknowledge his true condition (O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps), that he is a weakling subject to unseen powerful beings, Mastrogiacomo immediately develops what one might call an Existential Bi-Polar Disorder. One moment, death seems certain. . .the next, life.

[Truly, this Existential Bi-Polar Disorder ought to be the true condition of everyone. But the masses, deceived by the lying vanities of the world, overlook the razor-thin tightrope which holds them over the pit of Hell. But they are just as much the hostage of unseen powerful beings as Daniele Mastrogiacomo was there, in that Toyota Corolla, and are just as close to their deaths. . .but the masses are drugged to an almost fugue state by the opiates of the world, the flesh and the devil.]

This extremely detailed case study of Daniele Mastrogiacomo’s Existential Bi-Polar Disorder is the lurid appeal of Days Of Fear. . .the appeal of the horror movie, the thriller, the ultimate in suspense, an insanely monumental and rickety nightmare rollercoaster, a video game, virtual terror. . .the appeal is pure sensation. . .the sensation of dread. This is enough for me to read and recommend the book. It succeeds as a true tale of terror. . .though, in the interests of full disclosure, it must be noted the climax of fear, Mastrogiacomo’s witnessing the beheading of his driver Sayed, is related in a peculiarly emotionally flat manner. On the back cover of the book, there is an excerpt from a L’Espresso review:

It has taken time, two years, for Mastrogiacomo to put what must be said down on paper. He has had to digest his experiences over time in order to render the profound meaning of his ordeal clear.

It must be Mastrogiacomo still has difficulty processing the execution of Sayed. There is the distancing of the severely traumatized in his account of the severing of Sayed’s head:

They push him down into the sandy desert floor. Sayed can’t breathe. Now, they’re on top of him, they turn him over and as they do I see that the knife has already been drawn. One of our jailors holds it in his hand. I can’t see the blade but I see something that cuts into Sayed’s neck. A quick, neat cut. There are no spasms, no moans or cries, nothing. The scene plays out in an icy silence. Then, a hand. One of the Taliban works on Sayed’s neck, front and back. Sayed’s body is inert by now. His head is removed and they lay it on his torso. They clean the knife on his white tunic (p. 136).

One must understand and forgive Mastrogiacomo’s reticence here. It cannot have been easy for him to chronicle his fear, to relive again those frightful fifteen days, and so if he draws back a bit at the most terrifying moment, ita sit. . .

As I said, Days Of Fear succeeds as a true tale of terror, and for me, this is sufficient. But the book is also being marketed as giving Westerners a close-up look at the Taliban. One of the back jacket blurbs:

Mastrogiacomo draws from this experience not only a hostage’s tale of captivity, but also a story that lies at the heart of the eternal human drama: that of man’s encounter with the Other.

And, ironically, Mastrogiacomo is challenged at the moment he is freed by the man he came to interview, Mullah Dadullah:

In the end, you have obtained much more than an interview. You have seen how we live and how we think. Do you think yourself capable of telling the truth about us? You journalists never do. You owe your life to our Supreme Commander. It was Mullah Mohammed Omar himself who suspended your death sentence. He decided not to have your head cut off (p. 154).

Here Mastrogiacomo fails. He tells the reader nothing but a few banal observations of the day-to-day activities of the various low-level teen and twenty-something Taliban who guard him.

Mastrogiacomo was never capable of connecting with the Other. He could not speak their language, nor did he know their country. He was dependent upon for-hire Others to guide and interpret for him. Like most Western journalists, Mastrogiacomo was nothing but a war gawker, hoping to fly into Afghanistan from Rome to get an interview with which to pad his resumé, and then quickly fly back home. In the end, Mastrogiacomo was the moth who flew too close to the flame. . .he was burned without ever understanding the fire.

In covering the Other, what the West calls *firsthand reports* are nothing more than the glimpses of journalistic Peeping Toms. . .they no more understand the Other than the spying masturbator understands the woman he sees through a bedroom window. This is not to belittle Mastrogiacomo or Days Of Fear, but only to disclose that readers will gain no understanding of the Taliban Other. If readers are not interested in a real life Edgar Allan Poe tale, then don’t bother with this book.

[We judge Mastrogiacomo a carnal creature, and not a joint-heir with Christ, because even though he occasionally mentions *God* in his narrative, he never identifies God, and never mentions the Lord Jesus Christ. On the text’s evidence, we therefore conclude Mastrogiacomo’s *God* is the generic god of the modern scientific and technological man, in Mastrogiacomo’s particular case, the baby-boomer scientific and technological man, whose god is nothing but a vestigial remnant of parents’ faith—a mere rosary, a mere rabbit’s foot, a mere talisman to ward off anxiety when 20mg of Prozac are not available.]

02 December 2009

Something To Be Thankful For On Thankstaking

On the Thankstaking holiday, I took my kids to the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, D.C. Since America is built on the robbery, mass murder and displacement of the native population, then what better place to celebrate the day Americans give thanks for all they took from the Indians?

I expected the NMAI to be a downbeat, solemn place, an American Holocaust museum—but it was surprisingly cheerful. If there was one single exhibit which captured the native’s curious good cheer, it was this odd example of Indian adaptation:
The beaded Apache cell phone case: the red man’s craft in service of the white man’s technological wizardry. . .a game attempt to keep native tradition alive in the occupier’s culture.

Of course, the reservations do not reflect the same degree of cheer. They are forlorn bantustans of alcoholism and depression [one could make the case the reservations exhibit a more advanced stage of the disease known as Americanism]. But from the small window available to peer into reservation life, one does not get the impression the natives have sacralized their suffering to the degree of the Judaics, who have made their holocaust an object of worship and a means of redemption, sanctification and justification. One senses in the natives a stoic acceptance of their bitter lot in life. . .it is as if they had collectively internalized the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. . .

I would speculate, without being able to offer any supporting field data, the natives’ much more benign processing of their holocaust is due to their beliefs in a *Higher Power* and an *after-life.*

And, paradoxically, the Indians’ faith in a *Higher Power* and an *after-life* may have been reinforced and refined by the beliefs of their victimizers. As a brutal, bloody and extreme example of the kind of *preaching* observed in the following case by the imprisoned Apostle Paul, it could be argued the insincere Christianity of the white invaders did, indeed, deepen the natives’ faith in a *Higher Power* and an *after-life:*

Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. . .

Therefore, one could reasonably argue the defeated natives found the white God, Jesus, more powerful than their gods, and thus many from the vanquished tribes *accepted* Christian conversion. . .if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em:
As my kids and I were examining the collection of Indian bibles, we discussed the rather inelegant introduction of the gospel into the Americas.

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds. . .

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

So God has always used men and women to deliver the gospel, and given the imperfection of what is called *human nature,* we cannot be surprised, as we survey the history of the gospel, from Eden until our present day, that it is sometimes preached on a trail of tears. . .

And as we must believe God Almighty was able to implant the genuine faith of Christ into at least some number of those natives who *accepted* their conquerors Christianity, we also must, as my kids and I were at the NMAI on Thankstaking, be thankful God was able to salvage some eternal good from the white invaders’ wickedness.

[Additionally, I would hazard to guess those natives who truly receive the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, having been torn from their terrestrial homes by white *manifest destiny,* are less subject to the temptation of the devil’s nationalism, and have a deeper awareness of their true status as pilgrims and strangers (Hebrews 11:13), without citizenship here (Philippians 3:20), and are therefore more inclined to set their eyes on things above (Colossians 3:2). May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep them until the Day of the Lord.]

18 November 2009

American War Criminals Pout And Blame Their Religion

Boston Review, November/December 2009, God, the Army, and PTSD
‘In a 2004 study of approximately 1,400 Vietnam veterans, almost 90 percent Christian, researchers at Yale found that nearly one-third said the war had shaken their faith in God and that their religion no longer provided comfort for them.’

The article linked above says the same trend is now evident in veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. . their ‘faith’ is shaken and their ‘religion’ provides no comfort.

That’s right, THEIR religion CANNOT provide comfort. For THEIR religion is NOT Christianity. These soldiers could NOT have been Christians and participated in these Satanic wars. THEIR religion was CHRISTO-AMERICANISM, which is nothing but a Satanic brew of idolatrous Nationalism flavored with a drop or two of Rick Warren Christianity (read the article for the laughable details).

IN HISTORIC CHRISTIANITY (pre-Constantine) Christians REFUSED to join the military, and those in the military who converted were told NOT TO KILL, to PRAY FOR FORGVINESS FOR PAST ACTS OF VIOLENCE, and to SEEK RELEASE FROM THE MILITARY.

One soldier is quoted in the article:

I couldn’t stand to hear that phrase any longer—‘God was watching over me.’ He wasn’t watching over the good men I knew in Iraq. Faith was the center of my life yet it failed to explain why I came home and those soldiers did not. The phrase was a Christian nicety, a cliché that when put to the test didn’t fit reality.

Sorry, the reality is this soldier was NEVER a Christian. This fellow wanted God to put a shield around him and the other ‘good’ men killing in a Satanic war? This fellow talks about his Christianity not fitting when put to the test. HE TOOK THE WRONG GOD DAMNED TEST.

Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto Him, If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

The test is not ‘can Christianity fit war?,’ but ‘can war fit Christianity?’

Anybody not cursed by Satanic stupidity should be able to read the Sermon on the Mount and understand that Christianity has no place for war. IT IS AS SIMPLE AS THAT.

WHAT THE GOD DAMNED HELL? DON’T COME WHINING HOME AFTER VOLUNTEERING TO GO KILL FOR THE FLAG BECAUSE JESUS DIDN’T SPRINKLE MAGIC DUST OVER YOU AND ERASE ALL CONSEQUENCE OF THE ATROCITIES YOU CONTRIBUTED TO. These soldiers used some perverted form of the gospel, some Satanic Christo-Americanism to justify their war, and now they pout when their pervert religion fails them.

Well, God may still deliver the true gospel to some of them, and then they will understand the reality: everything they believed in was wrong, they served Satan, they sinned, and only the Blood of the Lamb can cleanse them.

12 November 2009

The Rabbit Hole Of American Adventurism

How The US Funds The Taliban: In this grotesque carnival, the US military's contractors are forced to pay suspected insurgents to protect American supply routes. It is an accepted fact of the military logistics operation in Afghanistan that the US government funds the very forces American troops are fighting. And it is a deadly irony, because these funds add up to a huge amount of money for the Taliban.


Lost in all the War Wonderland illogic are all the dead. Not the US dead. . they are carefully counted and recorded and memorialized and mythologized--how much God damned nonsense was spouted yesterday on the *Veteran's Day?* We are supposed to be thankful *the troops* are killing Afghanis and Iraqis in our name? No, thanks. . .you can stand before God and tell him how proud you were of what the troops did. . .I'll take a pass on that one. No, it is the Afghan dead who are lost. . .swept down the rabbit hole of American Adventurism. The deaths of the others are ignored, not registered, not acknowledged by Americans. Question: does God take note?

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

11 November 2009

Drag Me To Hell

Drag Me To Hell: Ah, another disappointing Hollywood film. Hyped by the critics as an old-school horror film (meaning, apparently, no torture or nudity) with a generous helping of humor, it is instead a film devoid of thrills and chills, and provokes only a couple of mild chuckles. The story could have been serviceable: an ex-fatty with an inferiority complex angles for a promotion to Assistant Bank Manager, but to prove she has a banker’s *right stuff,* she must turn down a request for a loan extension from a dirty, phlegmy, dentally-challenged one-eyed ancient gypsy woman. The wrinkled, skanky gypsy then curses the ex-fatty, who is tormented for three days by a demon who literally wants to drag her to Hell. The problem is the story is rendered too flat. . .it’s too comic book to produce any genuine fright. The ex-fattie is battered for 3 days by the demon, and never bruises or limps. . .and nobody around her seems particularly alarmed by the bizarre phenomena that afflict her. For example, when her nose bleed turns into a hydrant-like gusher that leaves her bank boss soaked in blood, he seems entirely unconcerned when she returns to work the following day. I guess this shit happens all the time? Sure, supposed horror movies require a suspension of disbelief, but that does not mean they shouldn’t be constructed as believably as possible. Drag Me To Hell’s script is loaded with grossly disturbing supernatural effects, and yet they provoke remarkably little trauma in the characters. I guess one could say this is meant to be more comedy than fright flick, but if so, it is just as much a failure, because the almost slapstick supernatural violence does not mix well with the story. Imagine an episode of the Three Stooges in which instead of only being concerned with getting a good night’s sleep or finding a decent meal, Larry, Curly and Moe were frantically trying to preserve their souls—it wouldn’t quite work, would it?

There is one other major problem with the movie: the terrible performance by the lead actress who plays the ex-fattie. Alison Lohman was cast as a last-minute replacement for Ellen Page. Lohman has absolutely zero charisma, and both her performance and appearance in Drag Me To Hell perfectly define *bland.* She has the looks and talent of a minor character from a television soap opera. Drag may have come off a little better with Page, whose sarcastic skills may have given the movie’s lame humor an edginess more compatible with the comic horror.

The rest of the cast, save for the arresting physical presence of Bojana Novakovic in the small role as the old gypsy’s daughter, is similarly unremarkable. Hollywood curses the movie viewer with another mediocrity. . .

09 November 2009

Eyes Wide Shut

Eyes Wide Shut: Last night I watched this movie for the first time in ten years. I remember admiring at the time it was released director Stanley Kubrick’s artistry in creating a garish dream story (not coincidentally set during the Christian holy-day season) exploring our physical and psychological bondage to the flesh and the flimsiness of our relationships. But I also felt the plot backdrop--the rituals and long reach of human rulers of darkness--was too heavy-handed and left the film, which has moments of wry black humor, feeling less than the sum of its parts, as they say.

Well, the film plays much better ten years later, with the global elites looting the last pennies of the poor, and distracting the sheeple with *terrorism.* Today, watching Eyes Wide Shut’s orgiastic black mass, one can easily imagine Ben Bernanke, Lloyd Blankfein, Timothy Geithner and all the string-pullers of the American Enterprise Institute, the Foreign Policy Initiative and AIPAC behind the demonic masks.

What seemed ten years ago as a very good-but-curiously-flawed last work from the great Kubrick now appears as a fitting capstone to his career, and must be regarded as a creepy masterpiece that was a decade ahead of its time.

Nicole Kidman has never looked or acted better. . .
Tom Cruise was effective as the sexually befuddled, successful-but-conventional High Society doctor who gets in a game way over his head. . .and there remains in his performace a painful honesty in the scene in which his character is taunted as a faggot by a gang of drunken frat boys.

Visually dazzling. . .beautifully framed. . .with a great menacing score. . .now, ten years later, I regard this as one of the twenty greatest films of all-time.

30 October 2009

Not Ashamed Of The Gospel

Edward B. Sell. Most who will read these words will have never heard the name. It is only in a small corner of this world the name Edward B. Sell is celebrated. But in the limitless expanse of heaven the name is marked. Crowns are being readied. For Edward B. Sell IS NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.

Did you catch that?


Therefore, Edward B. Sell is one of the last Christians on the face of the earth.

Edward B. Sell is the world’s highest-ranked non-Asian in TaeKwanDo. He is the founder of America’s oldest martial arts school. Two weeks ago, I had the privilege to witness Grandmaster Sell teach a *karate* seminar. In a booming voice, standing before a class of 6 – 12 year olds and their parents, Sell informed:

Let me tell you what’s different about our martial arts school. In our school, WE ARE NOT ASHAMED TO SPEAK OF GOD AND JESUS.

From his Grandmaster martial artist’s perspective, he proceeded to relate the story of Cain and Abel. He detailed Cain’s fall to sin (paying particular regard to the destructive force of evil thoughts), then dramatized the horror of violence and death before concluding his remarks by presenting the fratricide as the genesis for the need of self-defense. It was a far better sermon than I have heard on 99.9% of my Sundays in various pews across the country.

Interesting to observe were the facial expressions of the parents, as their children sat spell-bound by Edward B. Sell. The parents, many of them Asian or other colored, most of them with the spirit of the dead, seemed puzzled. It must be they had little idea when they registered their children for the seminar they would hear this 9th Degree Black Belt speak about Satan’s ability to destroy lives through evil thoughts, but that we need not be ashamed when evil thoughts pass our mind because they can be resisted through the supernatural power of Jesus Christ.

The rest of Sell’s seminar was likewise full of fresh takes on Bible stories and Christian principles as he and his wife demonstrated and coached martial arts techniques. My kids have been in various Sunday Schools, Vacation Bible Schools and Do-Gooder groups and camps. . .and these organizations have invariably impressed me as being remarkably lightweight. . .seeming to have as their main goal the providing of *wholesome* activities, games, songs, etc., rather than providing genuine instruction on the Way. In essence, they use the Faith of Christ to serve entertainment. . .in some cases, almost to the point where they apologize Christianity prevents their entertainment and activities from being more worldly. But Grandmaster Edward B. Sell brought TaeKwonDo to the service of the Faith of Christ. And without any trace of apology, he made clear from the moment he stepped in front of the crowd he was NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. Trust me, there are not many left like this.

To learn more or contribute, write:

The Sell Team Ministry
P.O. Box 1474
Lakeland, Florida 33803
Online Donation

21 October 2009

The Land Of Nod

Salt Lake Tribune, 19 October 2009: Whenever I think of the smiley-face icon, I think of Wal-Mart because of its once-ubiquitous ad campaign. And when I think of Wal-Mart, I think of crappy wages and insecure employees who probably live paycheck to paycheck. That metaphor -- the happy face fronting a world of worry -- is the subject of a new book, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America , by social commentator Barbara Ehrenreich.

Ehrenreich's bout with breast cancer and the cloying "pink ribbon culture" that surrounds this dreaded disease (she was urged to see her cancer as a "gift") made her explore our cultural obsession with being happy. The book's point is that realism is being elbowed out of the way by all the life coaches, self-help books and prosperity gospel preachers like Joel Osteen who tell us that a positive outlook will lead to success, riches and the fulfillment of all of life's desires. These heaping helpings of sunny optimism are subtly diverting us from grappling with serious social and economic issues in ways that can truly bring about change.

The Secret became a runaway best-seller by telling readers that they could have anything they wanted just by imagining it. The book was obviously unadulterated bunk, but it sold madly as people grasped at any chance to better their lives.

One has to wonder if such magical thinking would have been so popular if people felt they had temporal power to change the conditions of their work and prospects. . .

A very good article pointing out the new faith of America:

Magickal thinking.

The Bible tells us:

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.


If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Of course, in the American’s magickal thinking, faith is misplaced. Faith is centered in the American’s own imagination.

Well, it may not even be that the American’s faith is misplaced. This would assume the American has the ability to place his or her faith in the right power.

The faith required to move mountains is the faith of Christ, which is the gift of God.

Can we then be surprised most Americans, outside the family of God, engage in magickal thinking?

The article on magickal thinking Americans concludes:

The ultimate irony is that even with the booming positive-thinking industry, Americans are not among the happiest people.

Indeed, 10% of the magickal thinkers are so miserable, they must narcotize themselves to continue their existence.

There is no life outside of Jesus Christ. Magickal thinking Americans can do nothing but try to wish away the days until their deaths. . .

No wonder they pretend, no wonder they live vicariously through their celebrity gods, no wonder they stuff themselves with doughnut burgers and sugary drinks, no wonder they drug themselves silly, no wonder they molest their children--they seek, by the derangement of their senses, to blur the reality of the dark fate that awaits.

This *magickal thinking* is not just confined to America, of course. We know the entire world is a madhouse. . .full of the anxious dead. . .their judgment clocks ticking away. . .outside the family of God. . .desperate to find salvation on earth, but knowing, always knowing the ultimate futility. . .they have NO HOPE. . .hopelessness breeds magickal thinking. . .magickal thinking is the only offspring hopelessness can produce.

Think of those blessed by grace. . .

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

Think of those given the gift of the faith of Christ. . .

This is why the scriptures tells us those who have this gift are:

Strangers and pilgrims on the earth.


For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

Those who have the faith of Christ have no home here. . .the mad scrambling of the damned, trying to preserve their piddling nations, empires or their own personal livliehoods, are of no consequence. These are nothing. . .all destined for the dust heap. . .nothing.

Those who have received the gift of the faith of Christ have no interest in the course of the world. . .
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. . .

Those who have the gift of the faith of Christ are above the world, are above *magickal thinking*. . .

How horrible it must be, how horrible it must be, not to have that hope of glory, that hope the Apostle Paul wrote of:

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

How horrible it must be, not to have this hope. . .

How horrible it must be, to believe this world is all there is. . .

I understand the drunken, the obese, the sexual maniac--Cainites, following their spiritual father into the land of Nod.

07 October 2009

For The Winners Shall Be Losers, And The Losers Shall Be Winners

Life is all about losing. Winning is for losers. You understand that? Winning is for losers.

The winners shall be losers, and the losers shall be winners.

That’s the secret paradox of life. That’s the secret paradox of Christianity. And make no mistake, Christianity is life.

In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Everything else is death.

I remember being heartbroken watching that Tigers – A’s game. . .

I was a little boy and the Tigers were my favorite team. . .

I wanted them to win that game so bad. . .

And not to get beat by a negro pitcher. . .

Did I pray for them to win? In some primitive heathen fashion, surely I did. . .

But the Tigers lost. 2 – 1.

How could God allow that to happen, I wondered?

At that time, I had no knowledge of Christ. Just had the vague awareness of *god* that most people never grow out of.

There are God only knows how many hundreds of thousands of smart ass atheists who imagine they shake the foundation of faith by asking how a supposed *good and loving* god can allow evil to happen. That question has never been of any concern to me. And even if it were, it could have been easily answered by looking into Romans 9:

Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

That would be answer enough, were I concerned with the question of evil. Evil has its place, as a kind of second schoolmaster, to bring us to Christ.

Evil has never troubled me. . .but how could God allow the Tigers to lose game 5 of the 1972 American League playoffs to the Oakland A’s?

How could God allow Mike Lantry to miss those field goals against Ohio State in 1973 and 1974, ruining the seasons for Bo Schembechler’s best Michigan teams?

[Mike Lantry, his status as Vietnam vet provoking the classic opening line from the Chicago Tribune’s account of the 1974 game: Mike Lantry served in the Vietnam War and he had reason to believe the worst was over--until Saturday. Had I known then what I know now about America’s history of dirty wars, perhaps I would have found solace. . .]

The great value of sports in building the character of youth is that it introduces children to losing. All the rest, sportsmanship, teamwork, being a good winner, etc., etc. is meaningless.

I imagine the greatest prayer I could pray for all who stumble upon these words is God give you the knowledge you are a loser. For losers are blessed by God with the humility to recognize they need Christ.

Winners? Let us look at examples of *winners* in the Holy Scriptures:

The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Children identify with their favorite sports teams, and when they lose, it is difficult to accept. But this is a good introduction to losing.

Children who love the New York Yankees are denied this valuable lesson. We must liken child Yankees fans to the following:

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

Bastards, these are Yankees fans. Never chastised with defeat. Growing up knowing only the riches of the Yankees. It is true, they suffer recently a drought in World Series titles. . .but their autumn defeats never sting, for their bastard fans are comforted in the expectation the riches of the franchise will procure for the next season the latest *star* whore. The Yankee fan has an unshakeable faith his team will lure for filthy lucre’s sake another team’s best player, and win next year. Trying to learn about losing from the Yankees is like trying to learn about marriage from pornography. The Yankees are sports porn, their lineup filled with centerfolds. Yankee fans are bastards and wankers. . .children of Satan, never having been chastised by the Lord.

Last night, the Detroit Tigers suffered another bitter loss. There may have been thousands of heartbroken children in Southeastern Michigan, going to bed wondering how God could have let the Tigers lose. May they discover themselves, even at their tender ages, in that bitter loss. And may they never forget. For, unfortunately, later in life, in the valued things of the world—career, material wealth, status, etc.—some will appear as winners. I can only pray God save them from their deception:

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

Only a chosen few are bestowed by God with the gift of the knowledge of their true status as loser, and it is this supernatural gift which produces the humility to kneel at the Cross. . .

Today I thank God for giving me early lessons in losing, as demonstrated by the Detroit Tigers and Mike Lantry. . .

11 September 2009


There is in the derangement of those carriers of delirium tremens and other neural synapsical disturbances an awareness of the truth of the Apostle Paul’s revelation of the flesh:

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

With the flesh, we serve the law of sin. . .

In what doctors term ‘hallucinations,’ the carriers of delirium tremens and other neural synapsical disturbances see their alcoholic and narcotic sin crawling as black insects on their flesh, or feel the insects crawling under their skin. . .their skin, their flesh is host to what we can then call *sinsects.*
This is a truer picture of Satan at work than LaVey-esque clowns clad in black robes tonguing each other in analingus orgies. . .

Those sinners who in horror claw at their own skin, desperate to tear out the sinsects, are absolutely convinced of the alien presence of an Adversary living in their flesh. . .

There are those sinners, with scabs on their arms, legs and chest, who come to recognize their bondage to the sinsects. . .they cry out to God for help. . .I am speaking generally of the 12 steppers. These are not, for the most part, Christians. . .they do not go to God through Christ, but an empty bottle. But by admitting their captivity, they mimic certain of the principles of Christianity. . .and they benefit from a kind of Christian placebo effect, whereby they achieve a stalemate with the Adversary, through extreme self-mortification.

The 12 steppers have the victory of changed behavior. . .but the Adversary still tempts the flesh. This stalemate is tenous, at best. The coffee communion Temples of the 12 Steppers are full of faithful who must confess to *falling off the wagon,* succumbing again to the Adversary’s temptation. . .

Of course, Christians suffer the same. Most who follow the Way are well-acquainted with the *back-slidden* condition.

The Apostle Paul was given the remedy for the law of sin:

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Unfortunately, this has become one of the most misinterpreted scriptures in the New Testament. Christians mistake *walking after the Spirit* as the remedy for sin. This is not a cure for sin. It is the pardon from the Law of Sin and Death. It frees us from the eternal consequence of sin. . .but while we wander the earth as pilgrims and strangers, we are still locked in the flesh, our eternal treasure stored in earthen vessels. Hence, we continue to be plagued by sin.

With a misinterpretation of the above scripture, Christians make the cross of Christ of none effect, for by mistaking the above passage as the remedy for sin, they believe if they only *walk after the Spirit,* they will gain victory over sin. In a great spiritual disaster, Christians then end up mimicking 12 steppers: they attempt to *walk after the Spirit* by an effort of their own will. To these misguided souls, walking after the Spirit means *trying hard not to sin* (which is, of course, walking after the flesh. . .and which puts the Christian once again under the Law of Sin and Death).

And trying hard not to sin is exactly what unbelievers do when they diet, quit smoking, or stop themselves from exposing their genitals to schoolyard children. And Christians, through an effort of will, likewise try to make sinful flesh *good.* But they earn no genuine victory over sin, they only temporarily succeed in changing their behavior. . .for the sinful desire remains. And sooner or later the Christian, like the 12 stepper, will *fall off the wagon.* And the process begins all over again, with the guilt-laden Christian trying even harder to *walk after the Spirit.* The Christian thus condemns himself to a lifetime of self-mortification and failure. The Christian existence becoming a wearying war between flesh and Spirit. And from the shame of defeat in hidden sin, hypocrisy arises to discredit the faith in the eyes of the unbelievers.

Where is the peace of God, which passes all understanding, and which is supposed to guard the hearts and minds of Christians?

Is the Christian life really nothing more than a grim struggle of the will to not be an addict, fornicator or any other kind of sinner?

What is the answer to the sin question? How to be free of the circle of the defeat of the will?

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

What is the answer to the sin question? To admit the absolute weakness of the flesh. To admit the impossibility of excising the desires of the flesh through our own *will power.* God must supernaturally deliver us through faith in Christ’s cross-won victory over sin. We can *try hard* to master sin, and fight the losing fight between spirit and flesh, and our life becomes a joyless grind. Or we can be honest, admit our sin, admit our weakness and helplessness to master it. . .and then rejoice in that weakness! For therein is our victory.

Most attribute the Apostle’s *thorn* to a physical infirmity, and not a sin of the flesh, but it matters not the exact nature, since all physical infirmity is ultimately the result of the sin nature we are born into.

Therefore, we must turn our sin over to God, and trust Him to deal with it through the strength of Christ. If the victory doesn’t come in this life, no matter, the glory to come will be that much sweeter!

What shall we say then? Shall we continue to sin, that grace may abound?

No. But neither shall we continue to live by our will.

At heart, *walking after the Spirit* by *trying hard to not sin* is an act of pride. The sinner’s faith is in his own effort. He trusts his own flesh more than the cross of Christ. But God does not reward man’s pride. David Wilkerson commented:

Pride is independence—humility is dependency. The humble Christian is one who makes no move, no decision, without counsel from the Lord. The Bible says the steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord, but He cannot order the steps of an independent spirit. This is all to say—God wants full control—give it to him.

God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. . .

All manifestation of filthy desire lives in my flesh. But I no longer scratch and claw at the sinsects which swarm me. Instead, I rejoice in their presence, knowing Christ’s strength is sufficient. I’ve lived a life of failure in the flesh. My best efforts were fruitless. Now I rest from *trying hard to be good.*

Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

I give up *trying to be good*. . .I give up trying to appear good. . . For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing. . .I am a sinner who can only be saved by the Blood of the Lamb. I’ll rest in the knowledge that any victory over sin comes not through my will, but through the triumph of Jesus Christ on the cross:

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross. . .

Plagued by sin, I confess that I am captive to sin and cannot free myself. I have sinned against God in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done and by what I have left undone. I have not loved God with my whole heart; I have not loved my neighbor as myself. For the sake of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, I ask God to have mercy on me, to forgive me, renew me, and lead me, so that I may delight in His will and walk in His ways, not my ways, to the glory of His holy name.

And if the sinsects crawl over me all my days—so be it. Nothing is lost. It is only maggots feasting on the body of this death.

17 August 2009

Last Year At Marienbad

Last Year At Marienbad: I first saw this, unbelievably, on television. . .maybe 25 years ago, on WGPR channel 62 in Detroit. This was way back before 62 was a CBS affiliate. This was back when 62 was the first black-owned station in America, back when 62 was an amateurish independent operation, with a miniscule audience, weak signal, primitive production standards and terrible programming. . .terrible programming except for their late night movie. There was a period back in the day, for maybe a year or two years, when 62 would show European movies in the middle of the night. They must have found a package of Euro flicks in some bargain bin at a distributor’s fire sale. They had maybe 30 foreign movies they would run over and over again. . .awful, grainy prints with faint subtitles. And I doubt anyone at 62 ever screened any of these movies, because they were shown uncut, nudes scenes and all. There must have been only a handful of other night owls beside me watching, as there was never any public outcry from *family groups* about 62 showing skin.

It was an odd set of films—most of them sexcapades or *erotic thrillers* starring the likes of Laura Antonelli (it seemed like Wifemistress was on every other night) and Isabelle Adjani (I saw One Deadly Summer so many times, with Adjani’s psycho nude nympho burned into my mind, I could never accept her later in her career as a *serious* actress). But mixed in with the lightweights were a few classics, such as Ecstasy, The Rules of the Game, Contempt. . .and the incomparable Last Year At Marienbad.

Watching the creepy, trippy, gothic Last Year At Marienbad became a genuinely surreal experience as it was interrupted every ten minutes for Mel Farr *the Superstar* Ford and Henry the Hatter ads. The juxtaposition of the height of European culture and the tacky depth of American commercialism was mind-boggling. . .

Well, Marienbad has just been released on dvd, and I finally got to see it uninterrupted. . .

It is even better than I remembered. I had forgotten how cleverly and with meticulous detail and stunning design the filmmakers explored the illusions of reality & memory, and the mysteries of experience. David Lynch, of whom I am a fan and who also dabbles in these themes, could learn a lesson on the value of self-discipline from Marienbad’s director, Alain Resnais, and screenwriter, Alain Robbe-Grillet. Resnais and Robbe-Grillet were able to present ideas as esoteric as Lynch’s, but without Lynch’s rambling excess. Marienbad is a masterpiece of control. The story is as ambiguous as any of Lynch’s, but it never becomes self-indulgent.

With Lynch, I have the feeling the fellow is not telling everything he knows [it doesn’t matter whether this is because he isn’t telling everything, or because the story is imperfectly told], but Resnais and Robbe-Grillet tell the viewer everything. . .they tell us every possible thing, so that Marienbad is the most user-friendly *art* film ever made.

Marienbad is constructed around a familiar plot: the love triangle, here between the characters X, A and M.

X meets A at a grand chateau resort, and pesters her to the point of stalking as he harangues her with his memories of their affair from the previous year (perhaps at Marienbad) and her promise that she would meet him exactly one year later at their present location, whereupon she would leave M, her husband, and run off with X. But X has one small problem: A claims to have no memory of ever meeting X.

The ingenious Robbe-Grillet script unfolds, then refolds, then unfolds again as X repeats over and over and over again the details of the alleged affair in a sometimes pathetic, sometimes pleading, sometimes cool and suave, sometimes whining and desperate attempt to convince A of its reality. The repetitions, however, gradually incorporate variations, at first trivial, then becoming increasingly unsettling. By the end, the viewer is over-loaded with interpretations, all equally valid:

X made the whole story up. X and A did have an affair, but A chooses to deny it in order to remain with her husband M. X stalked and raped A, and A is suffering from a traumatic disorder. X stalks and rapes A, and invents the affair from last year as part of an alibi. X and A had an affair which M discovered, and then M killed A, and now a year later X is just wandering around the insanely ornate chateau in his own fantasy world. Etc. Etc. Etc. The interpretations are limitless.

The contemporary movie-goer, raised on a diet of mindless *action* films and juvenile sex *comedies,* would likely ask of Marienbad, 'what is the point?' And that would be the point, exactly. Resnais and Robbe-Grillet require the viewer to use his/her brain, to think, to participate, instead of sitting back and becoming desensitized to bludgeoning violence, or revertng to infantilism from adolescent humor.

Marienbad received a mixed response upon its release nearly fifty years ago—were it to be released today into our Cineplex Temples of Sensory Assault, the response would be unanimous: the slugs in the theaters would greet it as the Sex Pistols were greeted in the deep south on their US tour, with angry howls and beverage showers.

Marienbad is an eerie, disconcerting film, aided by an almost silent film era horror score heavy with funereal organ music. . .

Giorgio Albertazzi plays X, and he seems the most *normal* of the characters. He drives the plot with his narration of the alleged affair. He seems like a fellow trapped in a recurring dream, trying to reason with phantasms from his subconscious. . .

Delphine Seyrig plays A. . .no, really, she poses as A. With her defensive body language and corpse-like make-up, she seems like the personification of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. . .

The weird, almost ghoulish-looking Sacha Pitoëff plays the sinister M, who has a seeming supernatural ability at a misère nim game which figures prominently in the movie. Marienbad is replete with symbolic triangles, and perhaps most revelatory are the game scenes, in which 16 cards are laid out in a triangle shape. . .

I had thought Marienbad might seem dated, but, no, it is a timeless masterpiece. In its geometric staging, unnatural lighting effects, and the highly mannered cast performances, Marienbad has the appearance of an artificial world inhabited by creatures struggling with their illusions of determinism. In the end, one may view Marienbad as an exaggerated picture of our own attempt to understand human experience.