Every few years I have a strange encounter. I’m sure you have too. You’re at the car wash, the grocery store, or maybe just walking down the street. You see an acquaintance, maybe an old friend, they are redolent with splendor as they approach you. Yet, as they get more near, the patina of splendor belies something deeper. They look at you like an old dog lost for years, now found. You look at their eyes and see a kind of glaze. Like you want to look deep but their eyes are so focused they don’t animate, they are clouded, in some other state. Are they really looking? Their eyes move but…ahh…aha…born again!
Excited to talk they wrestle your hand, look in your eyes, and search to see how you are responding, like a new date, blind date, who is trying to ascertain what you think of them now in this state.
They chatter “Oh, life is just so great, (I just joined the Calvary Church)” or “Have you noticed how amazing the stars are, (scientology)” or “I am so grateful to see you (evangelical).” Now, I have embarrassed myself tremendously over the years—the hazards of being conversational—by accidently telling a cocaine/meth/heroine user that “Cocaine is an expensive nasty drug”/”Meth destroys your body”/”I never tried horse, it’s just too addictive.” I look again closely to detect which drug it is…nope, reborn.
I am pretty good at spotting the born again, though Episcopalians are subtle with their “I do believe in god (usually slid in between food servings),” “Religion helps people (they have learned I am not attending church, nor my kids),” or “Jim, I believe in God” or “God, is such a comfort,” (a random anytime witnessing that often occurs right out of the blue, say when I am sawing a board, or starting a tractor).”
My initial reaction is to grab them, slap them, and say “Dammit, man, get over it.” No, not usually a wise approach but, let the hallucinations begin, I wish I could a) wrestle them to the ground, hold a microscope over their head and exclaim “Demons of ignorance, get thee out. I beseech thee, cast away this spell in the name of Hypatia and Sagan. May the Four Horseman drive away this evil, now,” and then tickle the crap out of them until they pass out from laughing; b) grab their body, begin to cry, and slowly slide down their body, landing on my knees, hands raised, imploring “Oh, no, how could you. My friend, old friend, now lost, lost. How could you. How could you. I weep for you” and then lie still, inchoate, until they pull themselves away; c) grab this amazing prostitute that happens to be near by, pay them handsomely, and throw them to the reborn with a bottle of wine and a cheery “have fun.” Oh wait, that’s my fantasy…
What do you do? Angus T Jones was born again last June at Valley Crossroads Church. His testimony was before the Voice of Prophecy Seventh-Day Adventists church where he belittled his work being born again and all that. I surmised (Angus Jones Has Been Programmed), that he was active for one big reason, a girlfriend, Sarah “Stalker” the girl that meets all the stars and posts photo’s. She’s also a Seventh Day Adventist and goes to church with him. But hey, we’re taking the video out of context–it’s OK to hate your life when you’re with others who hate what you do, de rigeuer. It’s the message and the message is they are evil out there…
So, what I really, really want to do is grab Angus, shake him, and say “Angus, Angus, she’s not worth it. The price is too high. Save your virginity for some nice Catholic girl, maybe a Mormon, a nice Jewish girl that can cook soup, but not a Seventh Day Adventist, not …”
The video that included Jones’ “filth” remark was produced by controversial Seventh-day Adventist Christopher Hudson, an Alabama resident famous for the fiery sermons he gives in YouTube videos.
Hudson has likened President Obama to Adolph Hitler and claimed Jay-Z, Kanye West and Rihanna are “in league with Lucifer,” according to posts labeled the ForeRunner Chronicles.
“I’m not an extremist,” Hudson told The News in an exclusive interview Tuesday. “I use colorful language to cement my ideas. I don’t think Obama is the new Hitler. I like Obama. I was talking about some of his policies and comparing them to the policies (of Hitler).
Ok then, let’s see, Hitler used to take young people and tell them they should hate their parents, they should join the new order, and turn in their parents to be hunted and killed. Yup, Hudson pulls a Hitler. But it’s not comparing to Hitler but to a process Hitler used. Really, Obama uses a process that leads to killing 6 million Jews, Gays, Blacks? And he likes Obama??
At first I thought it was a simple case of Angus experiencing ennui, being at loose ends, and looking to keep his girlfriend. Now, I see the last is absolutely true. He wants her approval. He’s still a virgin. Time to get married. She’s handy. Connected. Beautiful. A good conversationalist. She likes him. What more could you want?
I go with option d) “Man you gotta get over her. Find a nice secular girl that can keep you sane. Give up this extremism. Forgive, find the good, keep your integrity. Love yourself. There are other girls. Hey, have a good day. BTW I know of a good therapist and occupational counselor.”
Aaah, crap, OK. I have the hardest but handiest response of all: “Wow, you look happy. I’m gad for you. I’m really happy being an atheist. Life is good. See ya.”
What would you say to Angus?
Jim Newman, bright and well