Wednesday, July 29, 2009

10 Days Left

Hello friends,

Yes, the days are clicking by very quickly. Since my last entry 5 days have already passed. There are only 10 left to go before my "big leap" into space. Thank you, by the way, for all the phone calls, emails, cards, and letters of support begging me not to jump. Of course I'm being sarcastic... Actually, not a one of you hairy cretins has written, called, or sent up so much as a smoke signal to say anything about it--not even my family members. From that I assume that either you don't care that I am risking life and limb for a cheap thrill, or that you are actually hoping that my chute won't open. I'm not sure which it is.

Anyway, I'm just keeping you informed. If anything happens to me, don't forget to feed my dog once in a while.

Counting the days,

Friday, July 24, 2009

Countdown to August 7th

Bom dia meus amigos doidos,

In Portuguese that means, "Good morning my wacky friends." I'm going to let you all in on a little secret. Many of you have suspected it for a long time but now it's official--I have indeed lost my marbles. Actually, it's not my fault. It's the crazy people I hang around with. They are to blame.

I have a friend, Dr. David Hopkins, a Presbyterian guy who is a missionary with a "first peoples" focused ministry called C.H.I.E.F. That stands for "Christian Hope Indian Eskimo Fellowship" ( I only mention that he is a Presbyterian to let you know that had I been spending time with Baptists this whole thing probably wouldn't have happened. Many years ago my mother warned me about Presbyterians.

But I digress. We meet together every Wednesday noon in a pastors prayer group. We've been doing this for about 13 years so we've logged a lot of time together. One day Dave happened to mention that he had jumped out of an airplane a few years ago. When he turned 60 he and his fruitcake brother-in-law went out to an airstrip, paid money to get into an airplane, and then bailed out at 13,000 feet.

When I showed some interest in his story he got a funny look in his eye and asked me, "Would you ever be interested in doing that?" Being all macho and proud I said, "I'd love to!" never dreaming that this Presbyterian lunatic was actually serious. Anyway, this past Wednesday Dave asked me, "How about August 7th?" Surrounded by my other moonbat pastor friends what could I say but, "Bring it on!"

Long story short... On August 7th David "The Flying Presbyterian" Hopkins and I are going to pay money to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, risking life and limb for a cheap thrill. There you have it, my confession. By my calculations that gives me 15 days to get my house in order, though some of you have seen my house and know that it is going to take longer than that. Anyway, I thought you should know.

It's nice to have friends at a time like this. Our ground-hugging cowardly pastor friends say they plan to be at the Molalla airport that day with shovels and a large black plastic tarp to gather the pieces. Apparently their only concern is how they will by able to sort out the remains to get the right victim in the right box for burial. How encouraging!

When I broke the news to Ramel, my wife, I expected there would be more wailing and gnashing of teeth. She's got me a little concerned. She spent all day yesterday on the phone talking with insurance companies. What's that all about?

15 days and counting,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You're getting a tattoo on your what?

Hello again, my wing nut friends,

I've been traveling to and fro, not stopping long enough to write. But I've repented and come in for a landing, at least for now.

Those of you who occasionally read this blog (both of you) know that I am an impulsive writer, a reactionary, if you will. I see things, I think about them for a while, and then I bust out with comments, usually that no one wants to hear. Really smart writers, on the other hand, are more pro-active. They start with an idea or a thought that has finally bubbled and burbled and worked itself up to the surface of their psyche. Then they write about it.

Like I said, I write about stuff that I see around me. And one of those things that I see is women of all ages getting tattoos, apparently on every part of their anatomy. What is this all about? Who came up with the idea that women need giant sailor tattoos to make them look better?

Now I'm not against women trying to look their best. I'm not against jewelry or makeup. I don't care if women want to color their hair or get their nails and toes painted. In fact, almost any barn looks better with a coat of paint on it! You see, I'm not completely closed minded. However, I don't understand why tattoos are on the rise among women.

Moreover, I have come up with a theory that I am calling "Mike's Law." Here it is: The likelihood that a woman will have a tattoo is in direct proportion to the degree of her ugliness and to her net weight. I have seen more fat, homely women with tattoos than I can count. Does she really think that a big honking tattoo on her meaty calf is going to make her more attractive?

My wife and I drove up to the North Fork Reservoir the other day and sat for a while and watched the boats. A family of four pulled their boat in and started to prepare to leave after a few pleasant hours on the water. The wife and mother of the family was wearing a bra-type top revealing her very ample middle. Her entire waist area was tattooed. What we could see was a band of tattooing about six inches high all around her middle, giving the impression that there was even more under the waist band of her tight-fitting shorts. Seeing her reminded me of Herman Melville's savage cannibal character, Queequeg, in his book, Moby Dick. Ramel diplomatically said, "Maybe she got the tattoo before she put on all that weight." Perhaps. But what the woman has now is an ugly tattooed spare tire around her middle. It ain't pretty!

I even see high school aged girls with tattoos. It makes me want to slap their mothers and fathers for being felony-stupid and apparently unable to pronounce the simple English phrase, "Over my dead body." When I see tattoos on guys I just figure they are idiots. Bubba and his buddies probably got wasted one night and dared each other to get a tattoo. That's just the kind of stupidity I expect from guys. Sorry, fellows but I know whereof I speak. But when girls and women come out sporting tattoos I think they look cheap, as well as stupid--a double whammy.

Now it's disclaimer time. This is my blog and I'm telling you my opinion. You don't have to like it. You don't have to agree with me. But I can't help but think that 99.9% of women who get tattoos when they are young will regret it when they get old. When she gets to be 75-year-old great-grandmother and her little grand-kids ask, "Grandma, what is that weird gray blob on your ankle?" she will rue the day that she got that infernal tattoo. A friend of Ramel's summed it up beautifully. A number of years ago she had a little dog tattooed on her breast. But time marches on and gravity is relentless. She told Ramel that now her little dog looks more like a giraffe!

I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the behavior of people in the world, because pagans do what pagans do, but I am very saddened when I see professing Christians following the same self-destructive fads. A few months ago a youngish woman I know asked me if I could get her a copy of The Lord's Prayer in Greek. She also asked for a copy of the 23rd Psalm in Hebrew. I went down to my office and got my Hebrew OT and my Greek NT and made copies for her of the appropriate pages. I just thought maybe she wanted to frame them or something. She got very excited when I handed her the copies, but then she broke the news to me that she was planning to have one or the other of them tattooed on her back, because she thought it would be "a great testimony." I about passed out! I certainly did not want to be complicit in that train wreck! After I was able to start breathing again I asked her why she thought that would be a good idea. She said that people would probably be curious and would ask her about it, and then she would be able to witness to them. While I praised her for her enthusiasm and desire to share her faith, I tried to point out some obvious loopholes in her misguided plan.

For one thing, I asked her if she had looked into the Scriptures for guidance about this. She said that she had not and didn't even know that the Bible mentions tattoos. I took her to Leviticus 19:28 which plainly says, "Never cut your bodies in mourning for the dead or mark your skin with tattoos, for I am the LORD." Her face went pale when she read this because she already has several other tattoos. She said, "I didn't know that was in there." But indeed, it is.

The heathen used both scarification and tattooing. However, the Lord told His people, Israel, that they were not to participate in those heathen practices. They were to be different and were to treat their bodies as holy unto the Lord. Some of you will undoubtedly jump at the chance to point out that this is an Old Testament passage directed by God to the Jews. It is not specifically about Gentiles and is not written to Christians.

First of all, if you start down that hermeneutical road you'll end up cherry picking the things you like in the OT and rejecting out of hand the things that you find objectionable. The apostle Paul tells us in II Timothy 3:16 that "All Scripture [including the OT] is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness." The fact is that this principle in question is laid down in the Old Testament and then developed much more fully in the New Testament. The NT teaches us that our bodies are the temple of God, the dwelling place of the Spirit of God. Therefore, we are not to defile our bodies with sinful practices because our bodies belong to Him. Paul explains in I Corinthians 6:19-20, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." Seems pretty clear to me.

In my opinion, for any Christian, male or female, to get a tattoo it is like painting graffiti all over the walls of a great cathedral. It is a sacrilege. Our bodies don't belong to us anymore. We don't have a right to do permanent damage to them, no matter how cute we might think it looks. It's the same as vandals tagging another person's house. It's just wrong. That's what I think.

Crazy, but not stupid enough to get a tattoo,