I sit here, triumphant, as I write these words of English into text of ideas expressed in bite-sized pieces of concepts that people think when they read them. I have just completed the second most rigorous work of my life.

For the past week, I have been devoting 12-hour days to Profiting Much, a condensation of information that literally every Christian under the sun can benefit from perusing.

The days have been rigorous, and my Glitter Pinky Huffers has been the largest moral support to get this work done. I couldn’t have done it without her.

Life Tip: Marry well and you’ll become a great man. Marry poorly and your soul will get sucked out through your wallet.

Now that I’ve effectively leaked the burned-out parts of my brain onto a casserole dish, I shall explain myself.

Two and a half years ago I envisioned the Philosopher Accountant as a repository for all the world’s most relevant knowledge. After I got a few reality checks about the meaning of the word “relevant”, I rebuilt it into a more focused self-help repository for anyone who needs it.

I’ve still got a few kinks to work out with it (which I’m going to tackle tomorrow) but the gist of it is still there for your entertainment, assuming reading raw life tip protein shakes is your style of entertainment.

Investing Tip: With my investment guru accountant experience, the coming month will be the best time to sell those protein shake and designer water short-term stock options. Just a hunch.

However, somewhere in my re-“relevant”-ing existential crisis, there was this strange afterbirth of articles and ideas that I still felt had value. Since I was also a data hoarder at the time, I held onto that information “just in case I needed it for something later”.

Friend Tip: If you have friends who are hoarders, you’ll never get anywhere if you talk about an item’s use. Toenail clippings are still good for…something. Instead, attack their concept of value. Value is hoarding’s throat.

That information was all Christian-related things. To put simply, if you look at all the rules to success, they’re pretty much a matter of understanding how to do certain things and then just doing them. They’re a lot harder to do than talk about. However, as a practicing Christian I felt the inadequacy of anything Christ-centered inside that mountain of data.

Well, “need it for something later” happens, and it came in the form of my Loopy Boopy and me considering long-term missionary work while she was baking a tax deduction. This meant that my data-hoarding was actually useful for something!

Reality Tip: If you think you’re being actually useful, make sure everyone else thinks so too. Apparently my help on alleviating the burden of child-rearing wasn’t helpful…

I can say with boldness that I’ve finished! My brain is still barely working, but with the constant support of my Slipper Hipper, Profiting Much is now a reality!

This timing couldn’t have been better, either! We haven’t talked about it here yet, but we’re going to a missions conference for a whole week next week. This conference is both an opportunity for us to learn about folks who do the Jesus distant lands Gospel sharing thing and also to find folks who really need us to do that Jesus distant lands Gospel sharing thing!

Some old proverb by long-dead people says that coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous. One funny coincidence that clearly indicates weird things ahead is how fast we received our passports.

Normally, governments like to process things at the speed of sloth. Some less-than-honorable governments (See: All of them) have the convenience of expedited service, but we decided to not pay the extra fee. A few extra weeks didn’t matter to us.

God decided to send the passports through spiritually expedited service, because “allow 4-6 weeks for delivery” became “wet your pants in excitement after 2 weeks”.

Pro Tip: When wetting your pants, dropping them is a hygienic solution that will also start great conversations at your local coffee shop.

God’s always in control, so if something seems amiss, it’s probably because it is. The paranoia is real. Your suspicions were correct. They’re all out for you. God is in control.

If you ever notice something coincidental, watch for why it happens. If your budget has a strange surplus of $40, you might need to fix your moped for $40 and God was planning ahead for you, or maybe $40 was a whole month’s rent that one of your church’s families needed.

Who knows, maybe you’ll be the guy you probably heard about who did something that nobody but God saw, and that’s the greatest spiritual gain of all!

Advertisements

What Is A Life Worth?

I know this isn’t a Christmas-related post, but I feel that it’s still in the spirit of family and goodwill toward men, so why the heck not?

My Stuffy Wuzzles and I have now properly downsized to the scope of God’s next calling, but we contend with a consistent compulsory conflict of confounding confusion. Apparently our lifestyle is a growing offense to any warm-blooded American.

Culture Tip: Nothing says ‘Murica like a bald eagle eating McDonald’s apple pies at a baseball game.

My Flippy Dancer and I have decided that unless God provides a meaningful way to give a non-debt-inducing prenatal care option, then our prenatal care comes from God. God gave us the cute little bundle of developmental stages, and He loves that baby more than our parent-brains can even comprehend.

Baby Tip: If you’re a baby, take advantage of the opportunity to charm the socks off of anyone who can give you a cookie. That talent doesn’t have that long of a shelf life.

My response and my Yooby Snoobers’ responses to the confusion/concern have left something a bit lacking. Since we both stay on the up-and-up with our dental hygiene, I have calculated that there is a simple reason why they have a concern: they think we don’t care if that baby lives or dies or something in between.

Frankly, the both of us have become so consistently offended at this line of reasoning that I’m going to set this record absolutely straight. Right now. In this blog post. Here. Without any further ado. In the next sentence. And later. Possibly revisited later. But that’s not important. Just keep reading.

Mind Tip: If you terrify all of your friends, then if any of them become your enemies you won’t have to bother striking terror in their hearts.

Let’s ask a question. What is the value of a human life? A human life is clearly worth a lot. But what is the measurable value of a life?

If you read this post from Mayonnaise Clinic, it ranges from $4.50 to $23,000,000.00. That’s obviously hard to pin down, and I know many philosophers spin their wheels and write endless papers on this, so forget that angle.

Philosophy Tip: The best way to pretend like you know what you’re talking about in a philosophical debate is to only ever agree with half of the things the other guy said.

So, more specifically, what is the value of extending human life? By extension of life, this can include anything from continuing to feed/clothe/shelter them when they can’t take care of themselves to extensive medical treatments.

If we ask how this world distributes things, apparently the hip of a 68-year-old American is worth 800 times more than a year’s food for an 8-year-old Sudanese. I’m not here to imply that this is how people see things, but it makes it abundantly clear how this world somehow works.

My Shelly Gimpers and I watched a small animation about Peter Singer’s belief about altruism. His claim, in short, is that if you’re willing to save a drowning child and ruin $100 boots in the process it is the same moral action as saving a child halfway around the world for $100.

I’m tired of spending money on myself. I’m tired of living for myself. My wife is tired of the American discourse that heavily implies a life of comfort and safety while being subjected to the hypocrisy of the American Church’s view on the Great Commission.

Death is an invariable part of life, just like taxes. My decision to move from accounting into the missionary world is simply changing my focus from what is absolutely guaranteed to what is absolutely guaranteed with a spiritual consequence.

My Clammy Gimpers has heard of a missionary that went to an island to spread the Gospel. The island was completely avoided because everyone had leprosy. The man died from leprosy, but I guarantee that those islanders heard a testimony that changed their lives eternally.

We haven’t given up anything of true value yet.

Where is the David Livingstone of this era? Who is the next Mother Teresa? Why do we treat them like they’re heroic demigods of yesteryear? Why can’t someone go to the hurting and lost? And, most importantly, why can’t it be you?

Heresy: It’s The New Holy!

Today’s post will be longer than normal, so I’m sorry in advance. I’ll give you a treat if you get to the end, though!

One of the greatest challenges about writing for me is to turn splinters of brain drippings into eloquently circuitous expressions of verbose linguistic stuff. Today I am going to disclose a soliloquy of a great iniquity generally met with tranquility while flippantly ignoring what’s said scripturally. All near the anniversary of the nativity.

Writing Tip: Rhyming dictionaries are fun! They make you sound sophisticated and undumb.

Like many of you, I have a grandfather. This man is still alive and still working. Let me disclose his public declaration to the world of his intentions, typos and all. You don’t have to read all of it, and halfway through you’ll get the gist of it.

December 12, 2016

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope this letter finds you well.  I’m still not retired — I counsel people on the Internet.  I just received a letter signed by several ministry leaders of Global Media Outreach (which is connected to Campus Crusade for Christ). They thanked me for the 2,564 lives I have touched by counseling online since 12/12/2011.

They went on to say:

“We realize you have spent numerous hours praying, sharing His Word, and sharing your testimony by responding to people around the world…people have been saved, comforted, and developed a closer walk with the Lord through your dedication and devotion to His ministry.”

I have disciples in almost 50 countries, including Iraq, Iran, and Syria. Countries which have the most disciples are Indonesia 102, Nigeria 342, Bangladesh 59, The Philippines 97, Gitano 195  and Southern Africa 54.

My wife Joan joined the heavenly throng on August 12, 2013.  We had 57 wonderful years together.  She was a writer, artist, linguist, seamstress, a great cook — we filled 5 guest books full of names entertaining couples, building relationships and ministering to people. She was so loved and ministered to so many that I received 102 letters after her memorial service.

Many people have commented on the miracle of the election.  Perhaps God is going to give America another chance.  We know that time is short so we must work diligently.  There’s much to be done for many are still not prepared to meet Jesus.  I’m ready (and eager) and hope to take many to Heaven with me. Joan also had the gift of evangelism and she saw many come to Christ.

Be assured of my love and prayers.  I wish for you a wonderful Christmas and a New Year filled with God’s blessing.  Who knows, this may be THE year when Christ returns for His Bride.  I trust you are ready.

Cordially,

(squiggle)
Gene

Now, this letter eloquently highlights several issues with several things, and as soon as I stop hyperventilating over how aggravating this is I’ll fill you in.

Stress Tip: Hyperventilating into a paper bag only works when you don’t pop the bag. Opera singers probably have a hard time managing stress…

To start with, my grandfather is making this letter as a gigantic “look at me” sign. If the effort wasn’t so pathetic I’d think he was campaigning for one of those Best Firefighter of the Month-type magazine pieces. If he was reading his Bible, he would have probably run across the whole “don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” bit (Matthew 6:1-8).

Next, have you noticed how much he talks about his three children? I happen to be the spawn of the second-born (or youngest, I dunno, they’re twins and I forget who got to the doorway first). Apparently they died so much harder than his wife that he completely forgot they existed or they don’t draw any good attention to himself.

Finally, this man’s glory is numerical. He is rattling off the people he’s emailing like it’s a scorecard. Though 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 indicates that a Christian leader’s crown of glory is their disciples, it’s very clear through that biblical letter that there’s something rather intimate, personable and (dare I say) human about the whole relationship.

Reputation Tip: Don’t talk about yourself. They’ll talk about you plenty once you leave.

At around the same time as my receiving this unsavory bite of unprofessional heresy, I took a stab at reading something my friend Ryan posted. The book is an unsavory dissection of one of my old church groups.

This group was a crowd of faux-spiritual-ish Pentecostal holy rollers. Their behavior involved “group hugs for Jesus”, “yelling loudly for Jesus”, incoherent rambling and a few other things loosely smashed together into some sort of a church.

Apparently if you get enough people to follow you and listen to what you say, you become an honorary pastor. If you obfuscate that title then you get to promote yourself to unofficial cult leader. That group is another discussion entirely, but the short version is that they only read the parts of the Bible about the power of the Holy Spirit and ignore the “carry your cross” and “here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows” parts.

This “church” was the afterbirth of the kind of garbage my grandfather frequents and gets brownie points in, and it doesn’t fare too much better. Though they live more passionately, there’s zero restraint, and that’s in some ways worse than living a passionless existence. Both are fruitless, both misrepresent Christ, and both live lies.

This business annual report and this big to-do on my reading list came on the coattails of a particularly jarring Bible passage that my Shippy Gloobins and I have been reading in 2 Timothy 3. Here’s a summary, with some additional bits from 1 Corinthians 5:

  • The end times will be horrible because of these people:
    • People who loves themselves
    • People who love money
    • People who brag about themselves
    • Conceited and self-absorbed people
    • Abusive people
    • People who are disobedient to their parents
    • People ungrateful for what they have
    • People who live unholy lives
    • Unloving and brutal people
    • People who hold grudges
    • People who falsely state things to harm reputations
    • Unrestrained and reckless people
    • People who hate good things
    • People who betray others
    • People who love pleasure more than they love God
    • People who have a form of godliness, but deny any of its power
  • Steps to dealing with these people
    1. Have nothing to do with them
    2. Seriously, avoid them
    3. Don’t do anything with them, about them or around them
    4. Like, at all…ever
  • Steps to dealing with these people when they call themselves Christians
    1. Don’t do anything with them
    2. Don’t even eat with them, even if they’re family
    3. If you happen to have the power of the Holy Spirit come upon you and God has given you the go-ahead, deliver them over to Satan in the hopes that destroying their flesh will save their soul

I think this is rather clear. Don’t hang out with these losers. They’re not headed to the same spiritual place you are, and it’s a waste of your time and a risk of your soul to mingle with them.

The unsettling problem is that this is not standard practice for your typical Christian culture. Some churches would actually have a problem with that Bible passage purely on the grounds that they’d lose all their membership numbers!

It’s up to you, not your church, to discern the truth. Obviously you’ve met these yahoos infiltrating the deepest recesses of your church, and now you know what to do. Get the word out, and show them that to go to a Christian church they’re going to have to be Christ-like!

“But Greg! That is the most unloving thing to do! They need Jesus as much as anyone else!”

That’s true, but you’re suffering from NRMDS (Non-Romantic Missionary Dating Syndrome). That dude hears about Jesus every week and still gets plastered by next Saturday and speaks inappropriate obscenities all week. If that man’s a Christian, then I’m gangsta.

Gangsta Tip: When you rollin’, try to pop a fly cap with yo ratchet squad, playa.

Look up the Bible for what Jesus warns about staying away from leaven, which Paul echoes to the Corinthians. Leaven is yeast, which is a micro-organism that fluffs up perfectly flat dough just minding its own business, and once you get it into something the only way to get it out is to super-salt it or pour hot water on it, and there’s no way to remove it.

It’s been long overdue for Christians to get off of their fluffy dough and move some mountains. You’re going to lose a ton of friends in the process (my Honey Waffles and I already have) but you get new ones made of solid gold.

Christian Tip: Division is a part of Christianity, just like hardship and discomfort. If you have a problem with that, then you’re not Christianing right, and your friends probably aren’t either.

Congratulations! For your entertainment and patience, I give to you: my ginormous humor collection!

The Final Days

The blog title is a misnomer, since it implies a finitude with a rather broad scope. In truth, this is the end of a preparation that has been in the making for months.

Life Tip: Nothing ever really happens “all at once”. Most things have a leading-up point and then a grandiose impact that coalesces the whole blob of seemingly unrelated experiences into a congealed mass of actions.

Though the end of one career is winding down, this is simply the end of a location I’m working and a paycheck for me doing things at that location.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been hitting the ground running with a few ambitious endeavors. I’m currently working on a Gospel Splice, where I’m aggregating all of the Jesus data (some more theologically-minded would call them “Gospels”) and splicing it together into a verse-by-verse perspective of all four accounts of Christ laid out side-by-side.

This literary amalgamation doesn’t come without its costs. I don’t sleep normal-people hours anymore, and though I’m done with the rough draft of it, I’m fairly certain I’ve got about another few days of solid micro-managing, exacting, nit-picking and self-caviling in order. This is all happening while my worldview is changing.

Pro Tip: The best way to keep from rocking the boat is to not read the Bible. If you read the Bible more often, your life gets changed in weird ways.

I already know that some of the more conservative Christian circles will regard this final work as heresy, but I don’t really care. The Bible makes it clear to not add to or take away from Scripture (Deuteronomy 4:2 & 12:32, Revelation 22:18), but I’m simply rearranging it. I’m keeping all the ideas consistent with one another and anyone who has a problem with how it’s conveyed is just hypersensitive to what it implies.

In all of this, my Waffle Cruncher is still pregnant. She’s handling the morning sickness better, but is still occasionally reversing her digestion.

Family Tip: Don’t feed pregnant women or babies things that directly contrast against the house’s natural decor. Yams, carrots and chow mein are only good if your house is painted like a restaurant.

Further compounding the morning sickness is that we are going through the emotional upheaval of continuing to consolidate. Downsizing has moved itself from being a this-can-go mentality to a this-or-that way of thinking.

Pro Tip: Don’t get born into a hoarder’s home. Even if you overcome your inherited mental sickness, you’ll someday inherit their stuff when they visit St. Peter and them pearly gates.

This isn’t to say we haven’t made progress. Once we get rid of stuff in our shed, we can fit everything into our room. The next challenge will be to shrink it from room-sized to car-sized.

The most frustrating part of this whole endeavor isn’t the actions themselves. Losing anything for Jesus always pays off, but rarely the way you expect it to be.

Faith Tip: God usually blesses you with other blessings that the lack of the thing you’ve given up allows Him to give you. Video games, money and an awesome stamp collection or family, friends and a killer social network?

Nobody tells you these things, especially Christians. The reality is that everything you expect as an American Christian coming into the belief is fundamentally different than the things Jesus implies for you to do.

As a married couple, we are both having our own crises of faith as we sort through these realizations. One of the latest ones was for me regarding the Rapture.

Now, for those of you who don’t know, the Rapture is a Christian theology that says that all of the Christians will be taken up to heaven, since the stuff going down in Revelation won’t be for the Christ followers.

Now, I agree with the fact that Revelation isn’t for those who follow Christ, but one of the darker realizations from what Jesus said (according to 3 different people side-by-side) is that everyone will want a Rapture but the Christians will actually get killed first. This is a bit dark, but if I’m splicing my Bible correctly, it’s what it says.

Happiness Tip: Mass genocide is only that way because there aren’t enough clowns, balloons and rainbows. Paint that onto the dark imagery in your mind and you’ll be a happier and far more memorable person.

I didn’t expect things to play out the way they did, but when is that ever not the case? One of the funniest interview questions is “what do you expect to see yourself doing in five years?”

Job Tip: The correct answer is “maybe managing, but still here at this company.” Even if you’re not going to be, you’re going to get labeled as a dirty transient money-grubbing mooch employee if you don’t.

In five years, I hope I’m still alive and able to work. I’d like to see a four-year-old child that my Poofy Wooglers and I have to keep out of trouble. I’d like to be world-famous making residual income off of royalties from my writing, but let’s be honest here.

I could get a stroke in 2 hours. My Snippy Snuffers could have a miscarriage or even die. My hands could be broken for writing or society could fall to pieces from a few well-placed nuclear warheads.

These possibilities are all truths, whether we like to acknowledge them or not. We have three choices: find a mental workaround for it to cope in day-to-day life, live in cowering fear of it happening, or accept in faith that it won’t happen. My wife and I are choosing the latter.

Life Tip: Doing the 1st one is mentally the easiest, but the risk-reward of the 3rd is the most jarring and the least trendy.