Tag Archives: Christianity

Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Do you like stories where peace and the will of the people triumph over greed and hate?

Do you like women standing up for a cause they believe in and winning?

Did you like this commercial where an imam and a priest are brought together, courtesy of Amazon Prime’s lightning fast two-day delivery service?

Then you’ll love seeing Muslim and Christian women come together to force peace in Liberia.

I watched this movie and it was fabulous.

Another Train Story

I often find more interesting stories on a train than through other means of travel. During the last leg of yesterday’s 18-hour train ride home, I unwittingly made friends with a small Yemeni child. It seemed like whenever I looked up, I would see him leering down at me from atop the back of the seat in front. If I made the mistake of eye contact, the child would shout at me.  He would point at everything around him and shout “Sebben! Sebben sebben sebben!” In rapid succession. “Seven what?” I asked him once, but he just continued shouting. Alice suggested that this child may be speaking in Arabic, and “Sebben” might mean something completely different. I tried to look it up, but without much luck. I figured if he was mispronouncing it or I just didn’t know how to spell it it would never arise in a web search, so I just did my best to ignore him.

Later on, a large man sitting between the child and his father became drunk. He harassed the child’s parents, insisting that they let him pray for them. He would ask the woman on one side of the aisle to translate for him as he spoke to the man he had mashed against the wall on the other side. Mostly what he wanted translated were his repeated explanations that it didn’t matter that it wasn’t their religion, they should hold hands with him as he prayed anyway because that was his religion.

When the woman told him that her captive husband didn’t want to pray while they were unclean from a train ride, he said “I don’t need to be clean. My savior makes me clean.” The poor muslim caught me staring and we exchanged shrugs across the oblivious drunk. I wondered if I should do something to help, but I didn’t want to risk him becoming an angry drunk. Eventually he passed out, leaving the man trapped but unmolested.

Finally, as I waited to get off the train, I had the opportunity to stand with the Muslim family. I took the chance to ask what “Sebben” means an Arabic. The mother smiled and told me her son was very excited about learning English, especially counting, although he wasn’t very good at it yet. The father informed me that he had managed not to be forced into prayer by his seatmate, but he did have to shake his hand close to fifty times.

Who Loves Jerry?

Jerry had had his hair done like Jamie Jackson, but he wasn’t Jamie Jackson. Jerry’s hair was not like Jamie Jackson’s anymore. It was spread with the rest of him out across the rocks beneath the aptly named Suicide Ridge. Looking down there now, you couldn’t be blamed for having no idea Jerry had ever existed. “C’mon, Mike,” said Kenneth, “are you scared?”

Mike’s hair was plastered to his face underneath a knit cap. He shuddered under his thick jacket. “I don’t know, man, this seems like a bad idea.”

“Well, Mike,” Ken frowned “it’s dangerous, yeah, that’s kinda the point. How are ya gonna know if you’re like Jackson if you don’t find out?”

Mike crossed his arms against the cold, “but if I’m not like Jackson, I’ll be like Jerry.”

Ken rolled his eyes, “yeah, but it won’t matter then, will it? I mean, if God, er, or whoever he is, if he just lets you die, clearly you don’t matter.” Mike didn’t know what he was doing here. He’d been standing right here a week ago when Ken was convincing Jerry to jump. He asked the obvious question anyway, “Why don’t I matter?”

Ken kicked a rock off the off the edge of the cliff, as if just to see something fall off while he waited for Mike to jump. “Nobody cares about you, man! This guy, he controls everything! He won’t let Jamie Jackson die, and everybody knows it. If Jackson jumped off this cliff right now, a plane would come swooping down to catch him, or a wind would blow him so he falls in the ocean instead of on the rocks.”

“Or maybe he’d wake up in traction with a feeding tube down his neck.” Mike put his hands in his coat pockets.

“Naw, man. That’s boring. Jackson is clearly a main character. Who wants to watch a movie about some jerk who jumped off a cliff and ended up in traction?”

“You want to watch the movie about some jerk who jumped off a cliff and magically flew out to fall in the ocean.”

“Damn right. That’s what everybody in America tunes in to see every night when Jackson does his next death cheat.”

“People care about me.”

“What?”

“People care about me. You said nobody cares about me.”

“Who? Who cares about you?”

“My parents do, idiot. They love me.” Mike realized his parents would be devastated if he ended up like Jerry.

“Oh yeah?” a smile wormed its way across Ken’s face, like he’d just figured out how he was going to win this argument, “tell me more about these parents of yours.”

“What?” Ken knew Mike’s parents, “you know my parents.”

“I do,” agreed Ken, “What do they look like?”

“Uhh,” Mike was baffled at this line of questioning, but he tried to conjure an image of his parents in his mind. He pulled the cap further down over his head. It seemed to be getting colder by the minute.

Ken tapped his wrist, “Well?”

Both of Mike’s parents were redheads like him. “They’re both redheads, like me.”

Ken nodded, “Oh, is that right? Tell me more.”

This was infuriating, “What do you want to know, Ken!? What’s the point of this stupid quiz?”

Ken’s smile opened into a full malignant grin, “what are their names?”

Michael’s parents names were Linea and Hurton. “Linea and Hurton, is that what this is all about? You just want to stop calling them Mike’s mom and Mike’s dad?”

It was a lame insult, and Ken ignored it. “Your redheaded parents Linea and Hurton didn’t have names until just now. They didn’t have red hair, or even exist until I brought them up. They won’t exist if you jump off and don’t survive. Don’t worry about what they think. All that matters is the creator and what he has planned.”

Michael was genuinely fearful now. He had to admit it was frighteningly difficult to remember any more details about his parents. They just looked like floating red wigs in the air with little labels “Linea” and “Hurton.” “I-” he stuttered, “Who are you?”

“I’m Ken, you’ve known me since Kindergarten.” Michael had known Ken since Kindergarten. “How many people have you led to this cliff?” Michael asked.

“Hundreds. Or maybe you’re the first. Does it matter?”

It didn’t matter. “It doesn’t matt-” Michael started to say, but caught himself. He had to leave. He had to go back to his parents, his real, whole parents who existed in flesh and blood.

But what if they didn’t? His zero-degree rated coat was not warm enough for the weather now. The wind whipped at his face, his nose stung and burned with each breath of icy air he sucked in. A fog obscured everything more than a hundred yards away. There was nothing besides Ken, Mike, and this cliff.

Mike was right next to the cliff. He could have sworn he was not that close before. Just one step and he could know if he was real. If there was anyone out there who was real and really cared about him. If he wasn’t…

Ken was right behind him. He seemed to hear his thoughts, and Michael felt his hot breath on his ear, “it’ll all be over anyway.” Michael reached a foot out over the precipice.

“Don’t do it!” came a voice from the fog. Michael looked back and saw a light. Ken frowned, “You’ll never know!” he snarled. Michael looked at Ken. He took his foot back onto solid ground. “Maybe I do know,” he said suddenly as the light grew brighter and a bright blue uniformed police officer came out of the mist. The sudden squall had died down and Mike was comfortable in his heavy coat. He walked toward the police officer, keeping his eyes on Ken, “Maybe God, or whoever he is, just showed me he does care.”

Ken stood stock still on the precipice, glaring ominously at the police officer, who eventually gave up trying to convince him to get in the car to be taken home. The officer turned away and said “you should know the window on your side doesn’t close all the way, kid,” before leading him to the passenger seat. As Mike and the officer drove away, Ken disappeared into the fog.

In a sudden fit of terror, Mike realized he thought of the officer as just a bright blue uniform. He looked over and saw him completely. He had dark skin and a long, narrow face with a square jaw. His nose was prominent and looked like it had been broken in the past. He hadn’t shaved in a few days, and his bright blue uniform was worn and had a mustard stain next to the right pocket. He saw Mike staring at him, and he smiled. “Hey, kid, you know that God loves you, right?” Mike knew now that God loved him and wouldn’t let him come to harm. On the long trip home, though, a chill wind blew through the window of the cop car. The question remained in Mike’s mind.

Who loved Jerry?

Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles

On the website “fanfiction.net,” the user “proudhousewife” states

My little ones have been asking to read the Harry Potter books; and of course I’m happy for them to be reading; but I don’t want them turning into witches!”  To resolve this, she plans to “make some slight changes so these books are family friendly!

As it turns out, these slight changes involve rewriting the entire book from scratch, starting from Chapter 1. The result is so over the top that the story reads like a parody of itself. I’m going to provide you some of the highlights of just the first chapter.

The story, called “Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles,” starts in much the same way as the original. Harry Potter lives under the stairs in his aunt and uncle’s house. Now, though, Uncle Vernon is a sheepish house-husband and Aunt Petunia is basically how tea partiers probably think of Hillary Clinton,

Aunt Petunia, a career woman, barked from her armchair where she sat with her feet up. She had short, curly blonde hair and never wore any makeup…she was wearing a baggy, unflattering pantsuit.

A knock comes on the door, and Hagrid arrives,

On the porch was standing a huge, muscular man with a big, manly beard; and he was dressed in a plaid, red shirt, blue jeans, and sturdy, leather boots. His chest was covered in a thick, unruly carpet of coarse, brown hair. He wore a necklace that looked to Harry like a lowercase T. Just looking at Harry feel happy, peaceful somehow; but he couldn’t say why! [sic]

Hagrid is travelling door to door and asks if Aunt Petunia has been saved. Aunt Petunia tells us something important about the setting of this story in her next line,

Saved? Don’t tell me you are you one of those Christians?

Then Harry solidifies it by asking what a Christian is. Wherever these people live, it is a place where a child could possibly grow to eleven without knowing what a Christian is.

Immediately Aunt Petunia / Hillary Clinton takes action to prevent Harry from accepting Christ,

We are too smart for that. Haven’t you read Dawkins? God is dead! Dawkins proved that. Would you like us to educate you on the Dawkins?  … Harry does not need your religion, he has science and socialism and birthdays. Haven’t you heard of Evolution? I have a very good textbook on Evolution that I could give you on it if you would like to learn things. [sic]”

Hagrid calls her on the evolution (the story capitalizes it, because apparently “Evolution” is the name of the god people who believe in the theory worship) point, though.

“Evolution is a fairytale. You don’t really believe that, do you?”

“Yes, I do!” Aunt Petunia screeched.

“Well then prove it!”

…And all of a sudden, this woman who apparently reads textbooks on evolution as a hobby, is struck dumb at the prospect of explaining how science works.

Aunt Petunia could only stare at him; and her big mouth hung open dumbly. Here she thought she was so educated; and always demanded that Christians prove what they believed in; but she couldn’t even prove her own religion. It was then that Harry knew who the smart one here was!

Next we see the first instance of what will be a recurring theme of Harry being wise beyond his years.

“Tell me how to get to this heaven place!” Harry cried wistfully, clasping his hands together. Sometimes, the wisdom of little ones is really amazing. We think we grownups know it all; but then God speaks through the mouths of little ones; and shows us how we are all mortals struggling along the path of life. Humility.

Pretty soon, Harry will be quoting from scripture, referencing specific verses by their author and number. This actually happens in the next chapter, which picks up immediately where the first chapter left off. Apparently the sinner’s prayer leads to instant memorization of the Bible.

After that little aside, Harry’s “holy energy” prevents Aunt Petunia from restraining him from reciting the sinner’s prayer, and Hagrid tells him he is now a Christian and a student of “Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles!”

The zaniness of this retelling doesn’t stop here. In future chapters you can look forward to Hermione, here Dumbledore’s daughter, forgetting all about any interest in academic success and repeatedly offering to help with her highest calling – dishes and cooking. You’ll also get to see God-as-personal-retainer complete with instant gratification of prayers for food to be prepared and prayers for doors to be opened, not because they’re locked, but because they’re too heavy for poor, feminine Hermione. After a philosophical discussion about the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism with Ron, punctuated by extremely detailed descriptions of them eating bacon and talking with one’s mouth full of bacon, Harry then argues with Draco Malfoy that women are not inferior to men, it’s just that they have different skills, and that is why they should stay in the kitchen.

“Women shouldn’t not have careers because women are stupid!” Harry shouted indignantly. “Women are not stupid at all! Women should not have careers because women are nurturing and loving and their gifts serve them best in the home!”

Voldemort, rather than killing people, works through Congress to reduce the rights of the poor, set-upon Christian folk. Really, I could go on and on about how entertainingly ridiculous this story is, but you really should just read it yourself.