Cutting The Strings

My lovely Glooby Woobers and I have officially taken the first step of what the unbelieving world would call “stupidity”. Today is not only the last working day of my Fluffy Bun-Bun’s job, but also the start of the two weeks’ notice that I gave my boss.

Job Tip: Unless God calls you otherwise, don’t leave your job if you have another one lined up. If God does call you, don’t dwell too much on the decision.

The responses of my notice, as you may imagine, ranged from surprise to shock. Though we have been preparing, the timing couldn’t have been better for us to make this foray into the unseen:

1. The work has gotten a bit slow at my job, which means I can wrap up all of the projects on my desk before we leave.

2. We’ve gotten rid of almost everything that we need to, given that the scope of how much we still need to get rid of is based on where we go next.

3. My Smoggy Woggers’ job is now over, and with the placebo/curative powers of the Sea Band anti-nausea bracelet™, we can safely move her without having to clean up the things that pregnant women make messes of when they have their morning sickness.

Man Tip: Don’t ask some questions. Things like a woman’s weight, a woman’s age and why they call it morning sickness when it’s an all-day thing are likely to get you hurt.

Man Tip 2: Women have nails. If they’re angry enough, they use them. Not all parts of a man are impervious to those nails.

We have enough saved up to ship up and carry on to the next chapter of our life.

“But Greg!” you may respond emphatically, “why don’t you keep working to maintain your income before you take the plunge? Wouldn’t that make more sense?”

I’m so glad you asked, Concerned Random Guy! I’ll tell you why, but you’re still going to think we’re crazy.

First Reason: Safety Isn’t Biblical

Matthew 4 and Mark 1 in the Bible talk about some of the guys who would become Jesus’ disciples mending their nets. Now, a fisherman’s nets are an artist’s paintbrushes, an accountant’s spreadsheet, an IT technician’s Google search, a plumber’s wrench and a carpenter’s saw. These are pretty much necessary for survival. Those guys immediately left their nets to follow Jesus!

It doesn’t take a theology graduate to figure this out (though I assume it helps) but leaving your trade for Jesus is not just an act of safely hedging bets. It’s a straight-up dropping of all responsibilities with the understanding that the creator of the things that give you money will also be the creator of the things that money buys.

Now, you’ll be very hard-pressed to find anywhere that talks about safety in the Bible as a principled thing. The only things you can find anything extensive about are on fear and on trusting the Lord. (SPOILER: don’t and do, respectively)

If that’s true, then we’re going to take a bold plunge into the unknown with pretty much nothing but what really matters.

Life Tip: Despite all that schmaltzy reposted junk about how much friends matter and how the most important thing in life is X, we seem to spend a lot of time trying to accumulate things that have nothing to do with friends and X.

Second Reason: Jesus > Family

“But what about your family? Aren’t you concerned about their well-being?”

That’s a great point, Concerned Random Guy, and I had to struggle with that one as early as 6 months ago.

There’s a fellow I left a rather negative review on a few months back of his movie on my other Christian-like site. Though the negativity was targeted at the movie’s presentation invalidating its message, the message still got the brain juices flowing with my Yum Yum Buffers and me.

Luke 14 has Jesus saying that anyone who doesn’t hate his most beloved family members isn’t worthy of Him. The way I’ve heard it put is that it’s a comparative hate. By comparison, I love my Wimpy Noodles more than you reading this, because we obviously haven’t been hanging out enough for me to find out how awesomely epicsauce you are. If we magnify that obsession I have for my Schwooky Nibblers into a devotion to God, it makes complete sense in context.

The fact that my Greeny Beany is growing a small half-and-half gene combo plate inside of her typically drives this over the edge, but to follow Jesus means that I must value Him so much that none of my family matters in comparison to His calling.

Now, this does not advocate a converse lifestyle that I’ve grown up with. My dad was raised by a loser of a minister who had decided that prison ministry was more important than his son’s high school basketball championship games. Your family is your number one ministry.

What I’m advocating is that safety of your family is only reasonable to the extent that you should love yourself. It’s quite an American thing to give more to your children than yourself, but I’m convinced that spoiling that little byproduct of your loins rotten is only destroying two lives for the price of one.

Nik Ripken had to ask that pressing question about his own son. Why would God take away his son?

The question underscores a bad paradigm. It’s not “his” son. Acer, Fujitsu, and Samsung can recall their products, so why can’t God? We get this overwhelming sense of personal accomplishment from what we do, but it’s not like we started with anything! At one point we were all babbling sacks of barely conscious drool glands and somebody else’s stinky responsibility.

Also, this isn’t me dragging my wife into this. She has become just as motivated as me to go where God leads, and that drive has brought us closer together than any marriage counseling weekend seminar ever could.

Divorce Tip: Use “I feel” statements more often while in marriage counseling to make your significant other look like the insensitive one, you’ll score more points that way.

Third Reason: Transience Is The Christian Way

Long ago, before the internet or Reaganomics, there was a humble dining establishment. Today, they celebrate 56 years of hybrid fast-casual/fast-food overpriced decently-cooked boring burgers that satisfy the stomach more than the palate. I am, of course, talking about Carl’s Jr., the most adequate burger joint in America for anyone who doesn’t live near a Hardee’s.

Like all great ideas, they happen in dumb places. Carl’s Jr. was mine.

Spiritual Tip: Be careful what you pray for, especially if you’re praying for God’s timing or your wife decides to pray for God’s timing while you’re at work.

I had gotten significantly perturbed over a few “coincidences” that day. It was too hard to keep working on brain work with that perturbation inhibiting my capability to do things. This reached a point of frustration when I hit the dreaded “No” button on the prompt that shows up every time you make a change to a spreadsheet. So I went for a walk.

The closest place I could go was Carl’s son’s restaurant, so I went there to clear my head.

As I sat on my brightly colored seat with nary a water cup to occupy my attention, my thoughts went to the Bible. The past month or two has driven my desperation, exasperations and retardation to either praying or reading the Bible, and that day was no exception.

I opened my portable computer (often referenced to as a smartphone) to John 3. The context was about a well-read Hebrew scholar who couldn’t understand what Jesus meant by “be born again”, since that would imply going back into a womb, which is kinda impossible.

Jesus’ response had a few other things, but the verse “flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” stood out to me. The Spirit gave me immediate understanding that the reason I was so conflicted was because I was in a group of non-spiritual folks.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am working in one of the best businesses around. Roorda, Piquet & Bessee is the best accounting firm possibly in all of Southern California (and got an award for it), and its sister company AmbroseAdvisors is run by the best ESOP administrators you could ever find. I’m more indicating the purpose connected to it.

Accounting itself is a noble profession, as it’s the role of an accountant to defend the rights of the entity they are employed by through studious and devoted attention to details that mere mortals can only pretend to imagine their capability to process through.

However, the noble defenders’ employers (a.k.a. clients) will sometimes have…less than noble endeavors. Moral and legal do not always converge on the same idea, and accounting possesses requiring certain flexibility to a difference of opinions on moral matters that I don’t possess the patience to collaborate with others on.

Both Matthew 6 and Luke 16 indicate how it’s impossible to serve two masters: God and money. The truth is that my work may not necessarily be the worship of money, but it does support money-worshipers, specifically some of the more questionable clients that are served in the course of doing business.

Money doesn’t simply represent the ability to get things done. It also represents stability. People with money can get certain things like a fixed address, insurance, security systems and storage units.

As I was putting my phone away, my eyeballs were practically dragged to John 3:8: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

If we have money, we will do the “safe” thing. We’ll get a nice property, fill it with furniture, get a nice entertainment system for it, build a porch on it, invite people over to enjoy it with us, store our valuables in its walls, dig a bomb shelter under it and die in it someday.

However, to be a Christian means a sacrifice beyond what American citizenship implies. It means giving up all forms of comfort and convenience. I had thought that the wind blowing here and there was what it was like to have the Holy Spirit in you, but what if living in the Spirit means that it is you!?

Under the PATRIOT Act, it’s not only culturally inadmissible to be an American without a fixed address, it’s also illegal. Back when I lived in my car late 2013 to mid 2014, I was informed about this fun detail when the USPS wouldn’t renew my address. Apparently, the provisions have been cracking down now, since you can’t place a change of address form to a non-government PO box anymore.

Living without a fixed domicile is severely looked down upon, and frankly as a growing Christian I find it offensive. Hygiene is probably everyone’s thought, but that’s not hard if you have a job enough to get a gym membership.

God should be your full and all-encompassing purpose in life. However, the more distractions you have the more Satan wins. I’m certain that the need for consumerism wouldn’t be there if the need for Jesus was fulfilled.

Pro Tip: Literally nothing matters if you follow Jesus. You do get laughed at, and people get confused, but you learn to find a sick humor in it.

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Spiritual Mad Libs

Vicky and I are going through some rough changes. It’s natural for marriage, but is especially natural for a marriage grounded upon both the tenuous foundation of inconsistent parenting models and the immutable personal foundation of a faith in Christ.

Life Tip: Follow Jesus, but do it with the expectation that everyone will think you’re crazy.

My ambition to be a CPA has halted. The desire to work in accounting was a shameless act of self-promotion that is characteristic of the business world. The work of an accountant, when done correctly, is a rigid and risk-free test of endurance. At one point I would have welcomed this, but the recent past has been teaching me differently.

Pro Tip: The best way to get better at your career is to not ask questions about other careers.

God has a beautiful plan for every one of His children, but He doesn’t like to give details that we can’t handle. For me, I tend to try to fill in God’s sentences with what I call Spiritual Mad Libs:

  • In 2013 He told me to leave California. I took it to mean that I should become an organic farmer in New York
  • If you recall, about 5 months ago He told me to get ready to leave again, and I wanted to run an orphanage in Puerto Rico
  • About a month ago I was told to get ready to leave, and I concluded I should become an electrician to give electricity and internet to the Third World

My Snifty Wibble Dunkins has been very patient with me as I go through this slow and mule-headed realization of my incapacity to accept uncertainty.

Marriage Tip: Marry the right person and you’ll realize everything wrong with you, marry the wrong person and you’ll realize everything wrong with the world.

As it stands, we are both coming to accept His will in all of this. The hardest part is learning to let go of our need for control (me) and our expectations about things (her). God isn’t going to give us anything farther than we are currently willing to do.

Christian Tip: Christ wins every time, but we like to forget that little detail when planning for things.

As far as the details, it’s a bit hazy. I know I’m gifted with everything computers, administration, hard labor and analysis. My Lumpy Wiffles is gifted with every art medium under the sun. I think it’ll lean to church planting, but all I really care about is the Gospel being preached.

Normally I don’t like to give a call to action (a marketing term meaning “telling people to do things”), but this time we really need your help in a few ways:

1. Pray

We’re not riding this rodeo without the Lord, and the Lord listens to prayer. Everything we do will only be accomplished by His guidance and His provision. We have a lot of projects between “now” and “now go” that we need to wrap up:

  • Finish scanning all the important paperwork and mementos we have into an online cloud storage solution, then back it up to a hard drive
  • Continue the downsizing process as we get rid of furniture, toys, certain supplies, and that big ambiguous blob of Stuff that makes up 80% of an average American’s home
  • I’m working to finish a few more pieces of the Philosopher Accountant, and I’m also trying to wrap up the work I want to do on Profiting Much

2. Network

Please throw us any leads you can think of to get the Gospel out. My Stuffy Lumpers and I were raised to believe the delusion that knowledge was the answer to everything. If you read part of my commonplace book, the Philosopher Accountant, you’ll discover as I did that that’s not correct: people are. Since we’re new to learning this whole “make friends and network thing”, we need all the help we can get.

3. Give

I hate asking for money. I endeavored wholeheartedly for most of my life to be nothing like my grandfather. He made a poor living off of others’ donations. Those donations funded a ministry that he designed to boost his ego to this very day, a wife who resented his career, a filthy co-dependency to one of his sons and two other sons who have suffered tremendous intimacy and abandonment issues from not having an emotionally available father.

However, in lieu of that, Vickyful Wickyful and I are committed to using every penny of it for His Kingdom. If politicians can call you to gather financial support for their own political career, anyone can certainly receive money in the process of accomplishing something markedly bigger than themselves.

 

But, truthfully, we’d rather you give us your prayer support more than your money.