Thursday, February 21, 2008

An Interview With a Demon

DA:      So, tell me, what is your name?

S:         Seville.

DA:      As in, “The Barber of Seville”?

S:         Yes, you could say that.

DA:      And what is your job, what do you do?

S:         I bring down the man of God.

DA:      Bring down the man of God.  And how do you do that?

S:         Oh, thank you for asking.  Let me tell you how I start.  I start with a likeable face.

DA:      A likeable face.

S:         Yes.

DA:      Just a likeable face.

S:         Yes.

DA:      And why not start with a beautiful face?  Or how about a beautiful buxom babe?

S:         Oh, not for the real man of God.  That door is closed.  And well guarded. 

DA:      So, to bring down the man of God….

S:         I start with a likeable face.

DA:      Like yours.

S:         Yes!  Thank you.  See this makeup?

DA:      Nice.  So you start with a likeable face.  Then what?

S:         The back door.

DA:      The back door.

S:         Oh yes, I never use the front door on a man of God. That’s where he stands guard.  His alarms go off if you even get close to the front door.

DA:      So you can come in the back door?

S:         Everybody has one!

DA:      Never a frontal attack?

S:         Not by me!

DA:      So, a likeable face, and in through the back door.  What is the next step in bringing down the man of God?

S:         Lies.  His own.

DA:      So you deceive him and….

S:         No no.  Oh, no.  I’m no good at deception.  I was not chosen for my deceptive arts.  I said, “Lies.  His own.”

DA:      So you don’t lie to him?

S:         Don’t have to.  He’ll lie to himself, and quite convincingly.

DA:      What kind of lies?

S:         Mostly that it’s not happening.

DA:      That it’s not happening.

S:         Yes.  The real man of God will look for deception, but he won’t see any because I’m not using it.  The real man of God would spot it.  He’d spot it like a dog on a coon, he’d smell it from a distance, and he’d howl about it, too!  But there is no deception, until he begins deceiving himself that it’s not happening.

DA:      I want to get back to something you said earlier.  You said you were not chosen for your deceptive arts. 

S:         That’s right.

DA:      For what were you chosen?

S:         My patience.



Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Rule #6

My name is Jared.  And I have a new rule.  Rule #6.

I came up with the first rule, I guess, when I was ten years old.  My birthday present was that me and my parents were going to a pro baseball game.  After the game, I saw all the cool hats, and asked Dad if I could have one. 

He said “Sure, buddy!” 

Gee, that was easy.  So I asked for one of those little baseball bats, and I got that, too. 


I was in the back of the car on the way home, looking at my new major league ball cap when the argument began.  Something about money, but I’d heard that before.  And then he said it.

“Maybe we just shouldn’t have had a kid.  Then maybe you’d be happy.  Then maybe we’d have enough money.”

Oh.  It was me.  It was me they were fighting about.  It was my new hat and my new bat.  Wait…and the tickets, too, and the hot dog…

That’s when I came up with the first rule:  “Don’t ask for anything.”

The second rule came that winter.  Mom said I could have a couple of friends spend the night.  It was so fun, we were going to stay up all night!  We got in trouble a couple of times, but then at about midnight Dad came out and said, “Get in the car.  You boys are going home.”  I complained.  “Why?”  “Because we have a nice house and we want to keep it that way,” he said.  “Apparently your friends don’t know how to behave around nice things.”

Rule #2 – “Don’t invite friends over.”

Mom and Dad argued a lot.  One day I overheard Dad call Mom a bad name.  I ran in and told him to Shut up!  And he slapped me. 

That’s when I came up with Rule #3 – “Just be quiet.”

And the rules were working.  My parents argued less, and I was feeling good about it.  For a while. 

Then my report card came in the mail.  I heard them talking about it.  Louder and louder.  Then Dad said, “Yep, marry a stupid wife, get a stupid son.” 

Mom cried.

I wrote it on a little piece of paper, Rule #4 – “Get good grades.”

And I did.  I studied all the time and got mostly A’s.  I kept my room clean.  I didn’t ask for anything, and I kept my mouth shut.  And we were happy again.

But then I let my guard down.  I ate in the living room.  And that’s why she left, I guess.  She came through the living room, took one look at me, and then started packing. 

I should’ve known better.  I should’ve tried harder. 

Oh, I worked on it.  I came up with a new rule, #5 – “Be perfect.”  But I haven’t been.  And now they’re getting a divorce. 

Five rules weren’t enough.  So now I have a new one, and it seems to be working.  They’re less upset when I keep this rule, so I do, as best I can.

It’s hard, though, when your parents are fighting, but it helps anyway. 

My Rule #6 is  – “Stop crying.”



Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Temptation is a Lie

Temptation is a lie.  It’s always a lie.

It’s a lie that something will be good when it won’t be.

When I was a little kid back in the late 60’s, I remember hearing about teenagers on acid trips.  Sometimes they would think they could fly, then jump off balconies to their death. 

Temptation is like acid.  When under the influence of temptation, your mind is wacked. 

I read in the paper about a police officer who was arrested.  The report said that he was caught in a store dressing room, looking under the little wall at a woman in the next booth.  Now he’s lost his job, faces criminal charges, and public ridicule. 

What on earth made him think that was good idea?  Temptation.

I know a guy who has left his wife for a younger woman.  That younger woman, by the way, is no prize.  But he thinks she is.  He has left the “wife of his youth,” and his innocent little children.  He has devastated his family.  He has brought shame to himself, and as a well-known Christian man and church worker, he has made it more difficult for some to believe in God.

His mind is twisted.  His life is a wreck.  But somehow he thinks it is worth it.  He has sacrificed all of that to be with this woman.  He is deceived, and believing it to his own peril.

These examples are drastic.  They are the end result of years of little temptations, little deceptions. 

Honestly, what is your current temptation?  What boundary are you thinking about crossing?  Remember, temptation is a lie. 

Sometimes we think, “Oh, temptation.  That’s something good that God won’t let me have.” 

That’s another lie right there! 

Temptation is evil and powerful.  You never toy with it. 

I’m thinking of a young engaged couple.  They want to know how far they can go and still be O.K.  They want to know exactly where that boundary line is, so they can get as close to it as possible.

That is faulty thinking. 

Think of football, a field goal kicker.  He aims for the middle.  He never tries to see how close to the goal post he can cut it.

In life we need to aim for the center, which means lining ourselves up with what is right and what is good.

If you are feeling tempted today, stop.  Providence provides a way out, so look for it and take it.

And it will probably help to remember this:  Temptation is a lie.