But Can Harold Camping Cure Vaginal Itch?
January 23, 2012 1 Comment
Personal note: today is my last first day of classes (read it again; it works) as an undergraduate. =( =( =(
OT: Genesis 43-46
Eventually, Jacob and his sons finish all the grain they got from Egypt in exchange for Simeon. Judah is like, “Dad, we can’t go back without Benjamin, or the guy will flip out.” Jacob is like “WHY DID YOU HAVE TO TELL HIM ABOUT BENJAMIN IN THE FIRST PLACE?!” And the sons are like “HE JUST ASKED US ABOUT OUR FAMILY HOW WERE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW IT WOULD LEAD TO A WEIRD RANDOM SCHEME?!” Judah’s like, “Look, I could have gone and come back by now. I’ll take care of him. But we have to go so we don’t starve.” Jacob’s like, “Okay, fine. Take Benjamin. And take back the silver you took before, and some more. And take some of this random shit we have lying around, like resin and honey and nuts that we aren’t eating for some reason.”
So they go back to Egypt and Joseph sees them coming and has dinner prepared for their arrival. He has them brought to his house, which freaks them out, and they worry that he is going to “make slaves of us, and take our donkeys” (18). OH NOES NOT THE DONKEYS. They tell Joseph’s assistant that they’ve brought back the silver they left with before plus more and that they don’t know how it got put back in their sacks to begin with, confirming commenter Jenin’s suspicion that Joseph was framing them for theft, not forgiving them. So much for forgiveness, then. The assistant is like, “It’s cool, I got the money.” Maybe Joseph paid for the grain himself? So yes to forgiveness, but also with sneaky framing?
The assistant reunites Simeon with his brothers and gives everyone refreshments. Joseph comes home and the dudes present him with their gift of souvenirs from Canaan or wherever, and bow to him. He asks if their father is still alive, which they confirm. Then he sees Benjamin and asks if that’s the younger brother, and when he’s told it is, he runs into the next room to cry because he loves Benjamin so much. Awww. Then he comes back and has dinner served, but the Egyptians have to eat separately from the Hebrews because everybody is racist. Also, Joseph gives Benjamin literally five times as much food as he gives to everybody else, which just makes me think of this.
Joseph tells his assistant to put grain in the brothers’s sacks with their silver on top, and to put his (Joseph’s) silver cup on top of Benjamin’s sack. He sends them off, and then, a little while later, sends his men after them to stop them and accuse them of stealing the cup. When they catch up to the brothers, they’re like, “What are you talking about? We brought back the silver we mysteriously left with before, and we certainly didn’t take anything this time. You can check our sacks, and whoever has the cup you think we stole can be executed and the rest of us can become your slaves.” (You would think they’d remember what happened last time they didn’t pack their own sacks.) Of course the servants search and find the cup in Benjamin’s sack, so everyone freaks out and goes back to Joseph’s house. Instead of defending themselves or doing anything useful, the brothers are like “oh I guess we’re your slaves now, bummer!” Joseph says, “No, only the one with the cup will be my slave. The rest of you can go home.” Judah is like, “Look, dude, if we don’t bring Benjamin back, our father will plotz. Can I stay as the slave instead?”
Joseph decides he can’t deal with his web of lies anymore, so he sends away all his servants and then bursts into tears and confesses that he’s Joseph. The brothers are all terrified of what he’ll do to them, but he’s like, “No, don’t worry, I’m not mad, God obviously sent me to Egypt to save lives by predicting the famine.” Because that’s definitely easier than just letting Pharaoh figure out his own dream, or maybe sending an angel to say “Hey Egypt, get ready for famine,” or maybe not causing a famine in the first place. Anyway, Joseph is like, “Look, go tell Dad what happened and how powerful I am here, and then you and he and all your family should move here and live in Goshen.” I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure Joseph means the Land of Goshen in Egypt, and not Goshen, NY, the shithole where some of my cousins live and whose website is partying like it’s 1996. Pharaoh hears about the plans and is excited that Joseph’s family is coming, and sends along extra wagons and supplies to make their move nice and comfy. They get home and tell Joseph everything, and he’s ecstatic and can’t wait to get to Egypt to see Joseph.
Jacob & co. head out for Egypt. En route, Jacob stops to sacrifice to God, and God tells him in a dream that everything will be copacetic in Egypt. Then the narrator helpfully lists Jacob’s approximately nine trillion grandchildren, plus some confusing and questionable math. However many people went along with Jacob and his three-ish wives and his eleven sons minus Joseph and his one oft-neglected daughter, they all go to Egypt. Judah goes ahead to ask Joseph for directions to Goshen. When they get there, Joseph comes to meet them and is joyfully reunited with his father, who says he can die now. Joseph tells his family that when Pharaoh asks what they do, they should say they’re shepherds, because Egyptians think shepherds are beneath them and so will let them live in Goshen (as opposed to what?). Then Joseph goes to tell Pharaoh everyone’s arrived.
It’s nice that they’re all one big happy family now.
What was the point of all the lying and kidnapping and ransoming and threatening?
OT: Psalm 10
God, where are you when the wicked are hassling the good? I hope their plans backfire.
WAIT. We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming (hasty first-person summary of boring psalms) to share this excellent excerpt with you:
The wicked brag
about their body’s cravings;
the greedy reject the LORD, cursing.
At the peak of their wrath,
the wicked don’t seek God:
There’s no God—
that’s what they are always thinking.
Their ways are always twisted.
Your rules are too lofty for them.
They snort at all their foes.
They think to themselves,
We’ll never stumble.
We’ll never encounter
Their mouths are filled
with curses, dishonesty, violence.
Under their tongues lie
troublemaking and wrongdoing.
They wait in a place
perfect for ambush;
from their hiding places
they kill innocent people;
their eyes spot those
who are helpless.
They lie in ambush
in secret places,
like a lion in its lair.
They lie in ambush
so they can seize those who suffer!
They seize the poor, all right,
dragging them off in their nets.
Their helpless victims are crushed;
they collapse, falling prey
to the strength of the wicked.
The wicked think to themselves:
God has forgotten.
God has hidden his face.
God never sees anything!
[gnawing on a severed human leg] …Mmrph. Sorry, what was that? I was so busy hunting and eating innocents that I forgot you were there! Wait, shh! Get down behind this shrub. I think another Christian baby is about to crawl over here! [sharpening a spear]
But seriously, this very fair and accurate and not at all stereotyped or offensive characterization of atheists is only slightly marred by a minor contradiction. Are we “always thinking” to ourselves that “There’s no God” (per verse 4), or do we “think to [our]selves” that God exists but “has hidden his face” (according to verse 11)? Or are we so stupid that we believe both of those things without any cognitive dissonance? I just want to make sure I’m getting this right.
Anyway, the eloquent psalm-bitcher continues:
Blah blah atheists are stupid, you are God and you see everything, you’ll punish the wicked and help the oppressed.
One less psalm left to read.
NT: Matthew 16
Those pesky Pharisees are at it again, and with the Sadducees in tow, too. They demand that Jesus show them a sign – because I guess they missed all the magical healings and such? Jesus is like, “You stupid Pharisees. You can tell the weather by looking at the sky, but you can’t see the other signs that are right in front of you.” He also says that only evil people demand signs (which is pretty unfair, because how else are we supposed to know what to believe?), and that they “won’t receive any sign except Jonah’s sign” (4). I learned in church today (another friend was preaching) that Jonah went to Nineveh to warn them of God’s punishment, and then the people of Nineveh abandoned their evil ways and God changed his mind about destroying them. So maybe Jonah’s sign is the thing John the Baptist and all the apostles have been doing about warning everyone that God will punish them if they don’t get their shit together.
The disciples get to the other side of the lake (I guess the Pharisees were on the boat with them? Why did they even let them on?) and realize they once again don’t have any bread. Jesus tells them to watch out “for the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (6). The disciples ignore this comment and confer amongst themselves, then uselessly announce out loud what they had collectively realized two verses earlier: “We didn’t bring any bread” (7). Jesus again calls them “people of weak faith” (8) and is like “Remember all those times I MADE FOOD APPEAR FROM NOWHERE? Also don’t you get that it wasn’t really about bread? It was all a METAPHOR. Now watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees.” Then the disciples have a belated epiphany: “Then they understood that he wasn’t telling them to be on their guard for yeast used in making bread. No, he was telling them to watch out for the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (12). First of all, duh. But second, to be fair, what does teaching have to do with yeast? Couldn’t Jesus just have easily have said “watch out for the teaching of the Pharisees” instead of “watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees”?
Jesus asks everyone who people say the Human One (or Son of Man) is, and they answer that popular theories include John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or other prophets. Then he asks who they think he is, and Simon/Peter replies, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (16). Jesus is like, “You’re lucky – you learned that from God, not from any human. You’re Peter [which means “rock”] and I will build my church on this rock and give you the keys to heaven.” Then he tells all his disciples not to tell anyone he’s the Christ, which still makes no sense to me.
Then Jesus starts telling everyone he’s going to have to go to Jerusalem and suffer and be killed and then raised three days later. Peter is like “No, that can’t happen!” Then Jesus calls Peter Satan – which is a bit harsh since he was just being compassionate and compassion was basically the whole point of the Sermon on the Mount – and calls him “a stone that could make me stumble” (rather than the rock on which the church will be built) because he is “not thinking God’s thoughts but human thoughts” (23).
Let me just say that if God’s thoughts involve torture and sacrifice while human thoughts involve compassion and peace, I’m proud to be human.
Jesus tells his disciples they “must say no to themselves” (24) in order to follow him, and must be willing to give up their lives in order to truly gain life. He promises to repay them for their sacrifices – which makes said sacrifices not really sacrifices so much as loans, if you ask me (but why would you?).
Finally – and this is really interesting – he promises “that some standing here won’t die before they see the Human One coming in his kingdom” (28). In other words, Jesus seems to anticipate that his famed and glorious Second Coming will occur within the next century or so, at most. It sounds like Christianity wasn’t really supposed to be a millennia-long journey so much as a sprint to the finish. He’s kind of pulling a Harold Camping here. Speaking of which, he apparently retired after his most recent false apocalypse prediction. I bet his retirement is nice and comfy thanks to all those donations he got from the people who sold all their belongings in order to follow him – just like Jesus told everyone to do. Maybe Harold Camping is actually the truest Christian of them all for most closely following Christ’s example.
Remember that guy who became a YouTube sensation for his fairly unoriginal and arrhythmic spoken word piece about why he “hates religion but loves Jesus?” I already knew enough to figure out that his references to religious hypocrites in Jesus’s time are alluding to the Pharisees. But now that I’ve read that whole bit in Matthew 16 with the extraneous yeast metaphor, it just took on a new level of hilarity. The voice of our generation, bball1989, claims about two and a half minutes into his magnum opus that “Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums,” in that the former is the “cure” and the latter is the “infection.” So…Jesus is like an antifungal cream, or maybe just a glass of strong cranberry juice?
I’ve been liking Jesus less and less as the Gospel of Matthew goes on, but his creepy similarity to Harold Camping is the real dealbreaker.