Sep 02

Here’s what gets me

( – promoted by Turkana)

(Also posted at Truth & Progress)

There are a lot of Christians in this country. And they spend an awful lot of time griping about things. Some of them think Jews should leave the US if they don’t feel like celebrating Christmas. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you think about it.

Some of them think people like me should rot in hell, after we die a horrible death. Preferably in a concentration camp. 9/11 was our fault.

God tells them these things through a special hotline. I get a lot of prank calls too, but I usually just hang up.

Milk and honey on the other side, hallelujah.

But here’s the part I really don’t get. They have their own holy river, the Jordan. And while Christianity isn’t the majority’s religion in that neck of the woods any more, they still have considerable sway. You’d think they could throw a little weight around in the neighborhood, what with God IM-ing George Bush and all.

So why do they sit by in silence as the Jordan River dies? This is the sacred stream in which Jesus was baptized, according to Matthew and Mark and all Christian tradition. It has featured in Christian art since there has been any.

In the last sixty years, over 90% of its flow has been diverted. Half of the remaining flow by the time it reaches the Dead Sea, in the years that it does, is sewage and industrial effluent. An Israeli scientist has remarked that it is only sewage that keeps the Jordan flowing at all.

Would we accept such desecration of the Western Wall? Of the holy places of Islam? Why the uncharacteristic silence on this topic from such a noisy bunch?

Of course there are answers. I think the main one is that everyone is responsible – Israel for the first major dam, and Jordan and Syria for later claims. Everyone, and thus no one in our ridiculous cartoon Manichean world.

That’s really the funny part: hell must be empty now, since these particular Christians I’m talking about don’t hold the new elect of “development” responsible for their conscious actions. As long as the profits flow, all is forgiven in the twinkling of a banker’s eye, verily it is ignored.

Judgement is reserved for those born gay, or brown, or born into this week’s blacklisted faith tradition, or god forbid choosing one for themselves, or following their own consciences.

The River Jordan. Not cold or wide or chilling the body any more. What it does to the soul I don’t care to speculate. But there is no milk or honey on the other side, because there is no other side.

19 comments

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    • melvin on September 2, 2007 at 11:42 am
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    • melvin on September 2, 2007 at 12:41 pm
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    666 words.

    • lori on September 2, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    An Israeli scientist has remarked that it is only sewage that keeps the Jordan flowing at all.

    This sounds like the twisted good news of a good news-bad news scenario.  Incredible.  I guess it’s no surprise that everyone’s grabbing for water out there in the desert.  Are there any overlooked solutions or is it just a matter of not enough of a good thing?

    Biblically speaking (which I’m not exactly qualified to do) it seems that so much comes back to the faulty interpretation of the concept of “Dominion.”  Other interpretations of man’s relationship to the “garden” are offered if you dig a little deeper, but people believe what they believe.

    • pfiore8 on September 2, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    the environment and “Christians”….

    great piece and a bit of surprise… i really thought, oh here we go: Christmas and it’s only September…

    btw… i followed the tumbleweed link… i thought it would lead me to story… now i feel you owe me on tumbleweeds!

  1. it is my belief that we no longer really have anything sacred……

    except perhaps our appitite for power and possessions…….

  2. if anything is to be sacred it must have ontological extent and would include us….
    however then we could not treat each other the way that we do…..

    • pico on September 2, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    is also very important to Jewish history and religion.  Crossing the Jordan marked the final stage of the Jewish emigration from Egypt into the Promised Land:

    Joshua 3:17  And the priests that bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, while all Israel passed over on dry ground, until all the nation were passed clean over the Jordan.

    (I figure you know that because of the “milk and honey” reference, but just wanted to make it explicit for those who don’t know much of the history.)

      • melvin on September 2, 2007 at 8:28 pm
        Author

      You may or may not know that the classic tumbleweed of the westerns, Russian thistle, was unknown in America until the 1870’s. The first of many noxious introductions that plague us to this day.

  3. god gave man dominion over all the earth, the animals, the seas….but NOT…and here i must be emphatic… NOT his own penis.  certainly not EVER another man’s penis. 

    see, god made adam and eve…and adam and eve had 2 sons.  and one of those sons killed the other.  and then a lot more people were born.  how?  i dont know.  the important part is, adam and eve.  got that?

    jesus got baptized in the river jordan.  by his cousin, a dude.  and then wandered off into the desert with 12 other dudes.  and that was to remind us that men are supposed to marry women.  dont you get it yet?

    /ridiculousness

      • pfiore8 on September 2, 2007 at 6:23 pm

      there is something more than chemicals firing commands and keeping us captive

      we wouldn’t care then… if that’s all we were… survival in the barest sense would not seem to be qualitative, but grabbing it all… the urge to control, to horde, to have

      there is something, when a six-year old discovers puppies on the side of a dusty old road and their tails have been cut off

      and they are just laying there, exhausted… what makes her run for a tub almost bigger than her… what makes her put the puppies in the tub and drag them to her own mother… to save them

      … and to have moment, a six, define everything after

      there is no survival there… it is something else

      and that’s why we’re here… that sacred something drives us right here

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