The Longest Joke in the World

Lost in the Desert

So, there’s a man crawling through the desert.

He’d decided to try his SUV in a little bit of cross-country travel, had great fun zooming over the badlands and through the sand, got lost, hit a big rock, and then he couldn’t get it started again. There were no cell phone towers anywhere near, so his cell phone was useless. He had no family, his parents had died a few years before in an auto accident, and his few friends had no idea he was out here.

He stayed with the car for a day or so, but his one bottle of water ran out
and he was getting thirsty. He thought maybe he knew the direction back, now that he’d paid attention to the sun and thought he’d figured out which way was north, so he decided to start walking. He figured he only had to go about 30 miles or so and he’d be back to the small town he’d gotten gas in last.

He thinks about walking at night to avoid the heat and sun, but based upon
how dark it actually was the night before, and given that he has no flashlight, he’s afraid that he’ll break a leg or step on a rattlesnake. So,
he puts on some sun block, puts the rest in his pocket for reapplication
later, brings an umbrella he’d had in the back of the SUV with him to give
him a little shade, pours the windshield wiper fluid into his water bottle
in case he gets that desperate, brings his pocket knife in case he finds a cactus that looks like it might have water in it, and heads out in the
direction he thinks is right.

He walks for the entire day. By the end of the day he’s really thirsty. He’s
been sweating all day, and his lips are starting to crack. He’s reapplied the sunblock twice, and tried to stay under the umbrella, but he still feels sunburned. The windshield wiper fluid sloshing in the bottle in his pocket is really getting tempting now. He knows that it’s mainly water and some ethanol and coloring, but he also knows that they add some kind of poison to it to keep people from drinking it. He wonders what the poison is, and
whether the poison would be worse than dying of thirst.

He pushes on, trying to get to that small town before dark.

By the end of the day he starts getting worried. He figures he’s been walking at least 3 miles an hour, according to his watch for over 10 hours. That means that if his estimate was right that he should be close to the
town. But he doesn’t recognize any of this. He had to cross a dry creek bed a mile or two back, and he doesn’t remember coming through it in the SUV. He figures that maybe he got his direction off just a little and that the dry creek bed was just off to one side of his path. He tells himself that he’s close, and that after dark he’ll start seeing the town lights over one of these hills, and that’ll be all he needs.

As it gets dim enough that he starts stumbling over small rocks and things,
he finds a spot and sits down to wait for full dark and the town lights.

Full dark comes before he knows it. He must have dozed off. He stands back
up and turns all the way around. He sees nothing but stars.

He wakes up the next morning feeling absolutely lousy. His eyes are gummy and his mouth and nose feel like they’re full of sand. He so thirsty that he can’t even swallow. He barely got any sleep because it was so cold. He’d forgotten how cold it got at night in the desert and hadn’t noticed it the night before because he’d been in his car.

He knows the Rule of Threes – three minutes without air, three days without water, three weeks without food – then you die. Some people can make it a little longer, in the best situations. But the desert heat and having to walk and sweat isn’t the best situation to be without water. He figures, unless he finds water, this is his last day.

He rinses his mouth out with a little of the windshield wiper fluid. He waits a while after spitting that little bit out, to see if his mouth goes numb, or he feels dizzy or something. Has his mouth gone numb? Is it just in
his mind? He’s not sure. He’ll go a little farther, and if he still doesn’t
find water, he’ll try drinking some of the fluid.

Then he has to face his next, harder question – which way does he go from here? Does he keep walking the same way he was yesterday (assuming that he still knows which way that is), or does he try a new direction? He has no idea what to do.

Looking at the hills and dunes around him, he thinks he knows the direction he was heading before. Just going by a feeling, he points himself somewhat to the left of that, and starts walking.

As he walks, the day starts heating up. The desert, too cold just a couple of hours before, soon becomes an oven again. He sweats a little at first, and then stops. He starts getting worried at that – when you stop sweating he knows that means you’re in trouble – usually right before heat stroke.

He decides that it’s time to try the windshield wiper fluid. He can’t wait
any longer – if he passes out, he’s dead. He stops in the shade of a large
rock, takes the bottle out, opens it, and takes a mouthful. He slowly
swallows it, making it last as long as he can. It feels so good in his dry
and cracked throat that he doesn’t even care about the nasty taste. He takes
another mouthful, and makes it last too. Slowly, he drinks half the bottle.
He figures that since he’s drinking it, he might as well drink enough to
make some difference and keep himself from passing out.

He’s quit worrying about the denaturing of the wiper fluid. If it kills him,
it kills him – if he didn’t drink it, he’d die anyway. Besides, he’s pretty
sure that whatever substance they denature the fluid with is just designed to make you sick – their way of keeping winos from buying cheap wiper fluid for the ethanol content. He can handle throwing up, if it comes to that.

He walks. He walks in the hot, dry, windless desert. Sand, rocks, hills,
dunes, the occasional scrawny cactus or dried bush. No sign of water.
Sometimes he’ll see a little movement to one side or the other, but whatever moved is usually gone before he can focus his eyes on it. Probably birds, lizards, or mice. Maybe snakes, though they usually move more at night. He’s careful to stay away from the movements.

After a while, he begins to stagger. He’s not sure if it’s fatigue, heat
stroke finally catching him, or maybe he was wrong and the denaturing of the wiper fluid was worse than he thought. He tries to steady himself, and keep going.

After more walking, he comes to a large stretch of sand. This is good! He
knows he passed over a stretch of sand in the SUV – he remembers doing
donuts in it. Or at least he thinks he remembers it – he’s getting woozy
enough and tired enough that he’s not sure what he remembers any more or if
he’s hallucinating. But he thinks he remembers it. So he heads off into it,
trying to get to the other side, hoping that it gets him closer to the town.

He was heading for a town, wasn’t he? He thinks he was. He isn’t sure any more. He’s not even sure how long he’s been walking any more. Is it still morning? Or has it moved into afternoon and the sun is going down again? It must be afternoon – it seems like it’s been too long since he started out.

He walks through the sand.

After a while, he comes to a big dune in the sand. This is bad. He doesn’t
remember any dunes when driving over the sand in his SUV. Or at least he
doesn’t think he remembers any. This is bad.

But, he has no other direction to go. Too late to turn back now. He figures
that he’ll get to the top of the dune and see if he can see anything from
there that helps him find the town. He keeps going up the dune.

Halfway up, he slips in the bad footing of the sand for the second or third
time, and falls to his knees. He doesn’t feel like getting back up – he’ll
just fall down again. So, he keeps going up the dune on his hand and knees.

While crawling, if his throat weren’t so dry, he’d laugh. He’s finally
gotten to the hackneyed image of a man lost in the desert – crawling through
the sand on his hands and knees. If would be the perfect image, he imagines, if only his clothes were more ragged. The people crawling through the desert
in the cartoons always had ragged clothes. But his have lasted without any
rips so far. Somebody will probably find his dessicated corpse half buried in the sand years from now, and his clothes will still be in fine shape –
shake the sand out, and a good wash, and they’d be wearable again. He wishes his throat were wet enough to laugh. He coughs a little instead, and it hurts.

He finally makes it to the top of the sand dune. Now that he’s at the top,
he struggles a little, but manages to stand up and look around. All he sees
is sand. Sand, and more sand. Behind him, about a mile away, he thinks he
sees the rocky ground he left to head into this sand. Ahead of him, more
dunes, more sand. This isn’t where he drove his SUV. This is Hell. Or close enough.

Again, he doesn’t know what to do. He decides to drink the rest of the wiper
fluid while figuring it out. He takes out the bottle, and is removing the
cap, when he glances to the side and sees something. Something in the sand. At the bottom of the dune, off to the side, he sees something strange. It’s a flat area, in the sand. He stops taking the cap of the bottle off, and tries to look closer. The area seems to be circular. And it’s dark – darker than the sand. And, there seems to be something in the middle of it, but he can’t tell what it is. He looks as hard as he can, and still can tell from
here. He’s going to have to go down there and look.

He puts the bottle back in his pocket, and starts to stumble down the dune.
After a few steps, he realizes that he’s in trouble – he’s not going to be able to keep his balance. After a couple of more sliding, tottering steps, he falls and starts to roll down the dune. The sand it so hot when his body hits it that for a minute he thinks he’s caught fire on the way down – like a movie car wreck flashing into flames as it goes over the cliff, before it ever even hits the ground. He closes his eyes and mouth, covers his face with his hands, and waits to stop rolling.

He stops, at the bottom of the dune. After a minute or two, he finds enough
energy to try to sit up and get the sand out of his face and clothes. When
he clears his eyes enough, he looks around to make sure that the dark spot
in the sand it still there and he hadn’t just imagined it.

So, seeing the large, flat, dark spot on the sand is still there, he begins
to crawl towards it. He’d get up and walk towards it, but he doesn’t seem to
have the energy to get up and walk right now. He must be in the final stages
of dehydration he figures, as he crawls. If this place in the sand doesn’t
have water, he’ll likely never make it anywhere else. This is his last
chance.

He gets closer and closer, but still can’t see what’s in the middle of the
dark area. His eyes won’t quite focus any more for some reason. And lifting
his head up to look takes so much effort that he gives up trying. He just
keeps crawling.

Finally, he reaches the area he’d seen from the dune. It takes him a minute of crawling on it before he realizes that he’s no longer on sand – he’s now crawling on some kind of dark stone. Stone with some kind of marking on it – a pattern cut into the stone. He’s too tired to stand up and try to see what the pattern is – so he just keeps crawling. He crawls towards the center,
where his blurry eyes still see something in the middle of the dark stone
area.

His mind, detached in a strange way, notes that either his hands and knees are so burnt by the sand that they no longer feel pain, or that this dark
stone, in the middle of a burning desert with a pounding, punishing sun
overhead, doesn’t seem to be hot. It almost feels cool. He considers lying
down on the nice cool surface.

Cool, dark stone. Not a good sign. He must be hallucinating this. He’s
probably in the middle of a patch of sand, already lying face down and
dying, and just imagining this whole thing. A desert mirage. Soon the
beautiful women carrying pitchers of water will come up and start giving him
a drink. Then he’ll know he’s gone.

He decides against laying down on the cool stone. If he’s going to die here
in the middle of this hallucination, he at least wants to see what’s in the
center before he goes. He keeps crawling.

It’s the third time that he hears the voice before he realizes what he’s
hearing. He would swear that someone just said, “Greetings, traveler. You do
not look well. Do you hear me?”

He stops crawling. He tries to look up from where he is on his hands and
knees, but it’s too much effort to lift his head. So he tries something
different – he leans back and tries to sit up on the stone. After a few
seconds, he catches his balance, avoids falling on his face, sits up, and
tries to focus his eyes. Blurry. He rubs his eyes with the back of his hands
and tries again. Better this time.

Yep. He can see. He’s sitting in the middle of a large, flat, dark expanse
of stone. Directly next to him, about three feet away, is a white post or
pole about two inches in diameter and sticking up about four or five feet
out of the stone, at an angle.

And wrapped around this white rod, tail with rattle on it hovering and
seeming to be ready to start rattling, is what must be a fifteen foot long
desert diamondback rattlesnake, looking directly at him.

He stares at the snake in shock. He doesn’t have the energy to get up and
run away. He doesn’t even have the energy to crawl away. This is it, his
final resting place. No matter what happens, he’s not going to be able to
move from this spot.

Well, at least dying of a bite from this monster should be quicker than
dying of thirst. He’ll face his end like a man. He struggles to sit up a
little straighter. The snake keeps watching him. He lifts one hand and waves
it in the snake’s direction, feebly. The snake watches the hand for a
moment, then goes back to watching the man, looking into his eyes.

Hmmm. Maybe the snake had no interest in biting him? It hadn’t rattled yet –
that was a good sign. Maybe he wasn’t going to die of snake bite after all.

He then remembers that he’d looked up when he’d reached the center here
because he thought he’d heard a voice. He was still very woozy – he was
likely to pass out soon, the sun still beat down on him even though he was
now on cool stone. He still didn’t have anything to drink. But maybe he had
actually heard a voice. This stone didn’t look natural. Nor did that white
post sticking up out of the stone. Someone had to have built this. Maybe
they were still nearby. Maybe that was who talked to him. Maybe this snake
was even their pet, and that’s why it wasn’t biting.

He tries to clear his throat to say, “Hello,” but his throat is too dry. All
that comes out is a coughing or wheezing sound. There is no way he’s going
to be able to talk without something to drink. He feels his pocket, and the
bottle with the wiper fluid is still there. He shakily pulls the bottle out,
almost losing his balance and falling on his back in the process. This isn’t
good. He doesn’t have much time left, by his reckoning, before he passes
out.

He gets the lid off of the bottle, manages to get the bottle to his lips,
and pours some of the fluid into his mouth. He sloshes it around, and then
swallows it. He coughs a little. His throat feels better. Maybe he can talk
now.

He tries again. Ignoring the snake, he turns to look around him, hoping to
spot the owner of this place, and croaks out, “Hello? Is there anyone here?”

He hears, from his side, “Greetings. What is it that you want?”

He turns his head, back towards the snake. That’s where the sound had seemed
to come from. The only thing he can think of is that there must be a
speaker, hidden under the snake, or maybe built into that post. He decides
to try asking for help.

“Please,” he croaks again, suddenly feeling dizzy, “I’d love to not be
thirsty any more. I’ve been a long time without water. Can you help me?”

Looking in the direction of the snake, hoping to see where the voice was
coming from this time, he is shocked to see the snake rear back, open its
mouth, and speak. He hears it say, as the dizziness overtakes him and he
falls forward, face first on the stone, “Very well. Coming up.”

A piercing pain shoots through his shoulder. Suddenly he is awake. He sits
up and grabs his shoulder, wincing at the throbbing pain. He’s momentarily
disoriented as he looks around, and then he remembers – the crawl across the
sand, the dark area of stone, the snake. He sees the snake, still wrapped
around the tilted white post, still looking at him.

He reaches up and feels his shoulder, where it hurts. It feels slightly wet.
He pulls his fingers away and looks at them – blood. He feels his shoulder
again – his shirt has what feels like two holes in it – two puncture holes –
they match up with the two aching spots of pain on his shoulder. He had been
bitten. By the snake.

“It’ll feel better in a minute.” He looks up – it’s the snake talking. He
hadn’t dreamed it. Suddenly he notices – he’s not dizzy any more. And more
importantly, he’s not thirsty any more – at all!

“Have I died? Is this the afterlife? Why are you biting me in the
afterlife?”

“Sorry about that, but I had to bite you,” says the snake. “That’s the way I
work. It all comes through the bite. Think of it as natural medicine.”

“You bit me to help me? Why aren’t I thirsty any more? Did you give me a
drink before you bit me? How did I drink enough while unconscious to not be
thirsty any more? I haven’t had a drink for over two days. Well, except for
the windshield wiper fluid… hold it, how in the world does a snake talk?
Are you real? Are you some sort of Disney animation?”

“No,” says the snake, “I’m real. As real as you or anyone is, anyway. I
didn’t give you a drink. I bit you. That’s how it works – it’s what I do. I
bite. I don’t have hands to give you a drink, even if I had water just
sitting around here.”

The man sat stunned for a minute. Here he was, sitting in the middle of the
desert on some strange stone that should be hot but wasn’t, talking to a
snake that could talk back and had just bitten him. And he felt better. Not
great – he was still starving and exhausted, but much better – he was no
longer thirsty. He had started to sweat again, but only slightly. He felt
hot, in this sun, but it was starting to get lower in the sky, and the cool
stone beneath him was a relief he could notice now that he was no longer
dying of thirst.

“I might suggest that we take care of that methanol you now have in your
system with the next request,” continued the snake. “I can guess why you
drank it, but I’m not sure how much you drank, or how much methanol was left
in the wiper fluid. That stuff is nasty. It’ll make you go blind in a day or
two, if you drank enough of it.”

“Ummm, n-next request?” said the man. He put his hand back on his hurting
shoulder and backed away from the snake a little.

“That’s the way it works. If you like, that is,” explained the snake. “You
get three requests. Call them wishes, if you wish.” The snake grinned at his
own joke, and the man drew back a little further from the show of fangs.

“But there are rules,” the snake continued. “The first request is free. The
second requires an agreement of secrecy. The third requires the binding of
responsibility.” The snake looks at the man seriously.

“By the way,” the snake says suddenly, “my name is Nathan. Old Nathan,
Samuel used to call me. He gave me the name. Before that, most of the Bound
used to just call me ‘Snake’. But that got old, and Samuel wouldn’t stand
for it. He said that anything that could talk needed a name. He was big into
names. You can call me Nate, if you wish.” Again, the snake grinned. “Sorry
if I don’t offer to shake, but I think you can understand – my shake sounds
somewhat threatening.” The snake give his rattle a little shake.

“Umm, my name is Jack,” said the man, trying to absorb all of this. “Jack
Samson.

“Can I ask you a question?” Jack says suddenly. “What happened to the
poison…umm, in your bite. Why aren’t I dying now? How did you do that?
What do you mean by that’s how you work?”

“That’s more than one question,” grins Nate. “But I’ll still try to answer
all of them. First, yes, you can ask me a question.” The snake’s grin gets
wider. “Second, the poison is in you. It changed you. You now no longer need
to drink. That’s what you asked for. Or, well, technically, you asked to not
be thirsty any more – but ‘any more’ is such a vague term. I decided to make
it permanent – now, as long as you live, you shouldn’t need to drink much at
all. Your body will conserve water very efficiently. You should be able to
get enough just from the food you eat – much like a creature of the desert.
You’ve been changed.

“For the third question,” Nate continues, “you are still dying. Besides the
effects of that methanol in your system, you’re a man – and men are mortal.
In your current state, I give you no more than about another 50 years.
Assuming you get out of this desert, alive, that is.” Nate seemed vastly
amused at his own humor, and continued his wide grin.

“As for the fourth question,” Nate said, looking more serious as far as Jack
could tell, as Jack was just now working on his ability to read
talking-snake emotions from snake facial features, “first you have to agree
to make a second request and become bound by the secrecy, or I can’t tell
you.”

“Wait,” joked Jack, “isn’t this where you say you could tell me, but you’d
have to kill me?”

“I thought that was implied.” Nate continued to look serious.

“Ummm…yeah.” Jack leaned back a little as he remembered again that he was
talking to a fifteen foot poisonous reptile with a reputation for having a
nasty temper. “So, what is this ‘Bound by Secrecy’ stuff, and can you really
stop the effects of the methanol?” Jack thought for a second. “And, what do
you mean methanol, anyway? I thought these days they use ethanol in wiper
fluid, and just denature it?”

“They may, I don’t really know,” said Nate. “I haven’t gotten out in a
while. Maybe they do. All I know is that I smell methanol on your breath and
on that bottle in your pocket. And the blue color of the liquid when you
pulled it out to drink some let me guess that it was wiper fluid. I assume
that they still color wiper fluid blue?”

“Yeah, they do,” said Jack.

“I figured,” replied Nate. “As for being bound by secrecy – with the
fulfillment of your next request, you will be bound to say nothing about me,
this place, or any of the information I will tell you after that, when you
decide to go back out to your kind. You won’t be allowed to talk about me,
write about me, use sign language, charades, or even act in a way that will
lead someone to guess correctly about me. You’ll be bound to secrecy. Of
course, I’ll also ask you to promise not to give me away, and as I’m
guessing that you’re a man of your word, you’ll never test the binding
anyway, so you won’t notice.” Nate said the last part with utter confidence.

Jack, who had always prided himself on being a man of his word, felt a
little nervous at this. “Ummm, hey, Nate, who are you? How did you know
that? Are you, umm, omniscient, or something?”

Well, Jack,” said Nate sadly, “I can’t tell you that, unless you make the
second request.” Nate looked away for a minute, then looked back.

“Umm, well, ok,” said Jack, “what is this about a second request? What can I
ask for? Are you allowed to tell me that?”

“Sure!” said Nate, brightening. “You’re allowed to ask for changes. Changes
to yourself. They’re like wishes, but they can only affect you. Oh, and
before you ask, I can’t give you immortality. Or omniscience. Or
omnipresence, for that matter. Though I might be able to make you gaseous
and yet remain alive, and then you could spread through the atmosphere and
sort of be omnipresent. But what good would that be – you still wouldn’t be
omniscient and thus still could only focus on one thing at a time. Not very
useful, at least in my opinion.” Nate stopped when he realized that Jack was
staring at him.

“Well, anyway,” continued Nate, “I’d probably suggest giving you permanent
good health. It would negate the methanol now in your system, you’d be
immune to most poisons and diseases, and you’d tend to live a very long
time, barring accident, of course. And you’ll even have a tendency to
recover from accidents well. It always seemed like a good choice for a
request to me.”

“Cure the methanol poisoning, huh?” said Jack. “And keep me healthy for a
long time? Hmmm. It doesn’t sound bad at that. And it has to be a request
about a change to me? I can’t ask to be rich, right? Because that’s not
really a change to me?”

“Right,” nodded Nate.

“Could I ask to be a genius and permanently healthy?” Jack asked, hopefully.

“That takes two requests, Jack.”

“Yeah, I figured so,” said Jack. “But I could ask to be a genius? I could
become the smartest scientist in the world? Or the best athlete?”

“Well, I could make you very smart,” admitted Nate, “but that wouldn’t
necessarily make you the best scientist in the world. Or, I could make you
very athletic, but it wouldn’t necessarily make you the best athlete either.
You’ve heard the saying that 99% of genius is hard work? Well, there’s some
truth to that. I can give you the talent, but I can’t make you work hard. It
all depends on what you decide to do with it.”

“Hmmm,” said Jack. “Ok, I think I understand. And I get a third request,
after this one?”

“Maybe,” said Nate, “it depends on what you decide then. There are more
rules for the third request that I can only tell you about after the second
request. You know how it goes.” Nate looked like he’d shrug, if he had
shoulders.

“Ok, well, since I’d rather not be blind in a day or two, and permanent
health doesn’t sound bad, then consider that my second request. Officially.
Do I need to sign in blood or something?”

“No,” said Nate. “Just hold out your hand. Or heel.” Nate grinned. “Or
whatever part you want me to bite. I have to bite you again. Like I said,
that’s how it works – the poison, you know,” Nate said apologetically.

Jack winced a little and felt his shoulder, where the last bite was. Hey, it
didn’t hurt any more. Just like Nate had said. That made Jack feel better
about the biting business. But still, standing still while a fifteen foot
snake sunk it’s fangs into you. Jack stood up. Ignoring how good it felt to
be able to stand again, and the hunger starting to gnaw at his stomach, Jack
tried to decide where he wanted to get bitten. Despite knowing that it
wouldn’t hurt for long, Jack knew that this wasn’t going to be easy.

“Hey, Jack,” Nate suddenly said, looking past Jack towards the dunes behind
him, “is that someone else coming up over there?”

Jack spun around and looked. Who else could be out here in the middle of
nowhere? And did they bring food?

Wait a minute, there was nobody over there. What was Nate…

Jack let out a bellow as he felt two fangs sink into his rear end, through
his jeans…

Jack sat down carefully, favoring his more tender buttock. “I would have
decided, eventually, Nate. I was just thinking about it. You didn’t have to
hoodwink me like that.”

“I’ve been doing this a long time, Jack,” said Nate, confidently. “You
humans have a hard time sitting still and letting a snake bite you –
especially one my size. And besides, admit it – it’s only been a couple of
minutes and it already doesn’t hurt any more, does it? That’s because of the
health benefit with this one. I told you that you’d heal quickly now.”

“Yeah, well, still,” said Jack, “it’s the principle of the thing. And nobody
likes being bitten in the butt! Couldn’t you have gotten my calf or
something instead?”

“More meat in the typical human butt,” replied Nate. “And less chance you
accidentally kick me or move at the last second.”

“Yeah, right. So, tell me all of these wonderful secrets that I now qualify
to hear,” answered Jack.

“Ok,” said Nate. “Do you want to ask questions first, or do you want me to
just start talking?”

“Just talk,” said Jack. “I’ll sit here and try to not think about food.”

“We could go try to rustle up some food for you first, if you like,”
answered Nate.

“Hey! You didn’t tell me you had food around here, Nate!” Jack jumped up.
“What do we have? Am I in walking distance to town? Or can you magically
whip up food along with your other powers?” Jack was almost shouting with
excitement. His stomach had been growling for hours.

“I was thinking more like I could flush something out of its hole and bite
it for you, and you could skin it and eat it. Assuming you have a knife,
that is,” replied Nate, with the grin that Jack was starting to get used to.

“Ugh,” said Jack, sitting back down. “I think I’ll pass. I can last a little
longer before I get desperate enough to eat desert rat, or whatever else it
is you find out here. And there’s nothing to burn – I’d have to eat it raw.
No thanks. Just talk.”

“Ok,” replied Nate, still grinning. “But I’d better hurry, before you start
looking at me as food.

Nate reared back a little, looked around for a second, and then continued.
“You, Jack, are sitting in the middle of the Garden of Eden.”

Jack looked around at the sand and dunes and then looked back at Nate
sceptically.

“Well, that’s the best I can figure it, anyway, Jack,” said Nate. “Stand up
and look at the symbol on the rock here.” Nate gestured around the dark
stone they were both sitting on with his nose.

Jack stood up and looked. Carved into the stone in a bas-relief was a
representation of a large tree. The angled-pole that Nate was wrapped around
was coming out of the trunk of the tree, right below where the main branches
left the truck to reach out across the stone. It was very well done – it
looked more like a tree had been reduced to almost two dimensions and
embedded in the stone than it did like a carving.

Jack walked around and looked at the details in the fading light of the
setting sun. He wished he’d looked at it while the sun was higher in the
sky.

Wait! The sun was setting! That meant he was going to have to spend another
night out here! Arrrgh!

Jack looked out across the desert for a little bit, and then came back and
stood next to Nate. “In all the excitement, I almost forgot, Nate,” said
Jack. “Which way is it back to town? And how far? I’m eventually going to
have to head back – I’m not sure I’ll be able to survive by eating raw
desert critters for long. And even if I can, I’m not sure I’ll want to.”

“It’s about 30 miles that way.” Nate pointed, with the rattle on his tail
this time. As far as Jack could tell, it was a direction at right angles to
the way he’d been going when he was crawling here. “But that’s 30 miles by
the way the crow flies. It’s about 40 by the way a man walks. You should be
able to do it in about half a day with your improved endurance, if you head
out early tomorrow, Jack.”

Jack looked out the way the snake had pointed for a few seconds more, and
then sat back down. It was getting dark. Not much he could do about heading
out right now. And besides, Nate was just about to get to the interesting
stuff. “Garden of Eden? As best as you can figure it?”

“Well, yeah, as best as I and Samuel could figure it anyway,” said Nate. “He
figured that the story just got a little mixed up. You know, snake, in a
‘tree’, offering ‘temptations’, making bargains. That kind stuff. But he
could never quite figure out how the Hebrews found out about this spot from
across the ocean. He worried about that for a while.”

“Garden of Eden, hunh?” said Jack. “How long have you been here, Nate?”

“No idea, really,” replied Nate. “A long time. It never occurred to me to
count years, until recently, and by then, of course, it was too late. But I
do remember when this whole place was green, so I figure it’s been thousands
of years, at least.”

“So, are you the snake that tempted Eve?” said Jack.

“Beats me,” said Nate. “Maybe. I can’t remember if the first one of your
kind that I talked to was female or not, and I never got a name, but it
could have been. And I suppose she could have considered my offer to grant
requests a ‘temptation’, though I’ve rarely had refusals.”

“Well, umm, how did you get here then? And why is that white pole stuck out
of the stone there?” asked Jack.

“Dad left me here. Or, I assume it was my dad. It was another snake – much
bigger than I was back then. I remember talking to him, but I don’t remember
if it was in a language, or just kind of understanding what he wanted. But
one day, he brought me to this stone, told me about it, and asked me to do
something for him. I talked it over with him for a while, then agreed. I’ve
been here ever since.

“What is this place?” said Jack. “And what did he ask you to do?”

“Well, you see this pole here, sticking out of the stone?” Nate loosened his
coils around the tilted white pole and showed Jack where it descended into
the stone. The pole was tilted at about a 45 degree angle and seemed to
enter the stone in an eighteen inch slot cut into the stone. Jack leaned
over and looked. The slot was dark and the pole went down into it as far as
Jack could see in the dim light. Jack reached out to touch the pole, but
Nate was suddenly there in the way.

“You can’t touch that yet, Jack,” said Nate.

“Why not?” asked Jack.

“I haven’t explained it to you yet,” replied Nate.

“Well, it kinda looks like a lever or something,” said Jack. “You’d push it
that way, and it would move in the slot.”

“Yep, that’s what it is,” replied Nate.

“What does it do?” asked Jack. “End the world?”

“Oh, no,” said Nate. “Nothing that drastic. It just ends humanity. I call it
‘The Lever of Doom’.” For the last few words Nate had used a deeper, ringing
voice. He tried to look serious for a few seconds, and then gave up and
grinned.

Jack was initially startled by Nate’s pronouncement, but when Nate grinned
Jack laughed. “Ha! You almost had me fooled for a second there. What does it
really do?”

“Oh, it really ends humanity, like I said,” smirked Nate. “I just thought
the voice I used was funny, didn’t you?”

Nate continued to grin.

“A lever to end humanity?” asked Jack. “What in the world is that for? Why
would anyone need to end humanity?”

“Well,” replied Nate, “I get the idea that maybe humanity was an experiment.
Or maybe the Big Guy just thought, that if humanity started going really
bad, there should be a way to end it. I’m not really sure. All I know are
the rules, and the guesses that Samuel and I had about why it’s here. I
didn’t think to ask back when I started here.”

“Rules? What rules?” asked Jack.

“The rules are that I can’t tell anybody about it or let them touch it
unless they agree to be bound to secrecy by a bite. And that only one human
can be bound in that way at a time. That’s it.” explained Nate.

Jack looked somewhat shocked. “You mean that I could pull the lever now?
You’d let me end humanity?”

“Yep,” replied Nate, “if you want to.” Nate looked at Jack carefully. “Do
you want to, Jack?”

“Umm, no.” said Jack, stepping a little further back from the lever. “Why in
the world would anyone want to end humanity? It’d take a psychotic to want
that! Or worse, a suicidal psychotic, because it would kill him too,
wouldn’t it?”

“Yep,” replied Nate, “being as he’d be human too.”

“Has anyone ever seriously considered it?” asked Nate. “Any of those bound
to secrecy, that is?”

“Well, of course, I think they’ve all seriously considered it at one time or
another. Being given that kind of responsibility makes you sit down and
think, or so I’m told. Samuel considered it several times. He’d often get
disgusted with humanity, come out here, and just hold the lever for a while.
But he never pulled it. Or you wouldn’t be here.” Nate grinned some more.

Jack sat down, well back from the lever. He looked thoughtful and puzzled at
the same time. After a bit, he said, “So this makes me the Judge of
humanity? I get to decide whether they keep going or just end? Me?”

“That seems to be it,” agreed Nate.

“What kind of criteria do I use to decide?” said Jack. “How do I make this
decision? Am I supposed to decide if they’re good? Or too many of them are
bad? Or that they’re going the wrong way? Is there a set of rules for that?”

“Nope,” replied Nate. “You pretty much just have to decide on your own. It’s
up to you, however you want to decide it. I guess that you’re just supposed
to know.”

“But what if I get mad at someone? Or some girl dumps me and I feel
horrible? Couldn’t I make a mistake? How do I know that I won’t screw up?”
protested Jack.

Nate gave his kind of snake-like shrug again. “You don’t. You just have to
try your best, Jack.”

Jack sat there for a while, staring off into the desert that was rapidly
getting dark, chewing on a fingernail.

Suddenly, Jack turned around and looked at the snake. “Nate, was Samuel the
one bound to this before me?”

“Yep,” replied Nate. “He was a good guy. Talked to me a lot. Taught me to
read and brought me books. I think I still have a good pile of them buried
in the sand around here somewhere. I still miss him. He died a few months
ago.”

“Sounds like a good guy,” agreed Jack. “How did he handle this, when you
first told him. What did he do?”

“Well,” said Nate, “he sat down for a while, thought about it for a bit, and
then asked me some questions, much like you’re doing.”

“What did he ask you, if you’re allowed to tell me?” asked Jack.

“He asked me about the third request,” replied Nate.

“Aha!” It was Jack’s turn to grin. “And what did you tell him?”

“I told him the rules for the third request. That to get the third request
you have to agree to this whole thing. That if it ever comes to the point
that you really think that humanity should be ended, that you’ll come here
and end it. You won’t avoid it, and you won’t wimp out.” Nate looked serious
again. “And you’ll be bound to do it too, Jack.”

“Hmmm.” Jack looked back out into the darkness for a while.

Nate watched him, waiting.

“Nate,” continued Jack, quietly, eventually. “What did Samuel ask for with
his third request?”

Nate sounded like he was grinning again as he replied, also quietly,
“Wisdom, Jack. He asked for wisdom. As much as I could give him.”

“Ok,” said Jack, suddenly, standing up and facing away from Nate, “give it
to me.

Nate looked at Jack’s backside. “Give you what, Jack?”

“Give me that wisdom. The same stuff that Samuel asked for. If it helped
him, maybe it’ll help me too.” Jack turned his head to look back over his
shoulder at Nate. “It did help him, right?”

“He said it did,” replied Nate. “But he seemed a little quieter afterward.
Like he had a lot to think about.”

“Well, yeah, I can see that,” said Jack. “So, give it to me.” Jack turned to
face away from Nate again, bent over slightly and tensed up.

Nate watched Jack tense up with a little exasperation. If he bit Jack now,
Jack would likely jump out of his skin and maybe hurt them both.

“You remember that you’ll be bound to destroy humanity if it ever looks like
it needs it, right Jack?” asked Nate, shifting position.

“Yeah, yeah, I got that,” replied Jack, eyes squeezed tightly shut and body
tense, not noticing the change in direction of Nate’s voice.

“And,” continued Nate, from his new position, “do you remember that you’ll
turn bright purple, and grow big horns and extra eyes?”

“Yeah, yeah…Hey, wait a minute!” said Jack, opening his eyes,
straightening up and turning around. “Purple?!” He didn’t see Nate there.
With the moonlight Jack could see that the lever extended up from its slot
in the rock without the snake wrapped around it.

Jack heard, from behind him, Nate’s “Just Kidding!” right before he felt the
now familiar piercing pain, this time in the other buttock.

Jack sat on the edge of the dark stone in the rapidly cooling air, his feet
extending out into the sand. He stared out into the darkness, listening to
the wind stir the sand, occasionally rubbing his butt where he’d been
recently bitten.

Nate had left for a little while, had come back with a desert-rodent-shaped
bulge somewhere in his middle, and was now wrapped back around the lever,
his tongue flicking out into the desert night’s air the only sign that he
was still awake.

Occasionally Jack, with his toes absentmindedly digging in the sand while he
thought, would ask Nate a question without turning around.

“Nate, do accidents count?”

Nate lifted his head a little bit. “What do you mean, Jack?”

Jack tilted his head back like he was looking at the stars. “You know,
accidents. If I accidentally fall on the lever, without meaning to, does
that still wipe out humanity?”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure it does, Jack. I’d suggest you be careful about that
if you start feeling wobbly,” said Nate with some amusement.

A little later – “Does it have to be me that pulls the lever?” asked Jack.

“That’s the rule, Jack. Nobody else can pull it,” answered Nate.

“No,” Jack shook his head, “I meant does it have to be my hand? Could I pull
the lever with a rope tied around it? Or push it with a stick? Or throw a
rock?”

“Yes, those should work,” replied Nate. “Though I’m not sure how complicated
you could get. Samuel thought about trying to build some kind of remote
control for it once, but gave it up. Everything he’d build would be gone by
the next sunrise, if it was touching the stone, or over it. I told him that
in the past others that had been bound had tried to bury the lever so they
wouldn’t be tempted to pull it, but every time the stones or sand or
whatever had disappeared.”

“Wow,” said Jack, “Cool.” Jack leaned back until only his elbows kept him
off of the stone and looked up into the sky.

“Nate, how long did Samuel live? One of his wishes was for health too,
right?” asked Jack.

“Yes,” replied Nate, “it was. He lived 167 years, Jack.”

“Wow, 167 years. That’s almost 140 more years I’ll live if I live as long.
Do you know what he died of, Nate?”

“He died of getting tired of living, Jack,” Nate said, sounding somewhat
sad.

Jack turned his head to look at Nate in the starlight.

Nate looked back. “Samuel knew he wasn’t going to be able to stay in
society. He figured that they’d eventually see him still alive and start
questioning it, so he decided that he’d have to disappear after a while. He
faked his death once, but changed his mind – he decided it was too early and
he could stay for a little longer. He wasn’t very fond of mankind, but he
liked the attention. Most of the time, anyway.

“His daughter and then his wife dying almost did him in though. He didn’t
stay in society much longer after that. He eventually came out here to spend
time talking to me and thinking about pulling the lever. A few months ago he
told me he’d had enough. It was his time.”

“And then he just died?” asked Jack.

Nate shook his head a little. “He made his forth request, Jack. There’s only
one thing you can ask for the fourth request. The last bite.

After a bit Nate continued, “He told me that he was tired, that it was his
time. He reassured me that someone new would show up soon, like they always
had.

After another pause, Nate finished, “Samuel’s body disappeared off the stone
with the sunrise.”

Jack lay back down and looked at the sky, leaving Nate alone with his
memories. It was a long time until Jack’s breathing evened out into sleep.

Jack woke with the sunrise the next morning. He was a little chilled with
the morning desert air, but overall was feeling pretty good. Well, except
that his stomach was grumbling and he wasn’t willing to eat raw desert rat.

So, after getting directions to town from Nate, making sure he knew how to
get back, and reassuring Nate that he’d be back soon, Jack started the long
walk back to town. With his new health and Nate’s good directions, he made
it back easily.

Jack caught a bus back to the city, and showed up for work the next day,
little worse for the wear and with a story about getting lost in the desert
and walking back out. Within a couple of days Jack had talked a friend with
a tow truck into going back out into the desert with him to fetch the SUV.
They found it after a couple of hours of searching and towed it back without
incident. Jack was careful not to even look in the direction of Nate’s
lever, though their path back didn’t come within sight of it.

Before the next weekend, Jack had gone to a couple of stores, including a
book store, and had gotten his SUV back from the mechanic, with a warning to
avoid any more joyriding in the desert. On Saturday, Jack headed back to see
Nate.

Jack parked a little way out of the small town near Nate, loaded up his new
backpack with camping gear and the things he was bringing for Nate, and then
started walking. He figured that walking would leave the least trail, and he
knew that while not many people camped in the desert, it wasn’t unheard of,
and shouldn’t really raise suspicions.

Jack had brought more books for Nate – recent books, magazines, newspapers.
Some things that would catch Nate up with what was happening in the world,
others that were just good books to read. He spent the weekend with Nate,
and then headed out again, telling Nate that he’d be back again soon, but
that he had things to do first.

Over four months later Jack was back to see Nate again. This time he brought
a laptop with him – a specially modified laptop. It had a solar recharger,
special filters and seals to keep out the sand, a satellite link-up, and a
special keyboard and joystick that Jack hoped that a fifteen-foot
rattlesnake would be able to use. And, it had been hacked to not give out
its location to the satellite.

After that Jack could e-mail Nate to keep in touch, but still visited him
fairly regularly – at least once or twice a year.

After the first year, Jack quit his job. For some reason, with the wisdom he
‘d been given, and the knowledge that he could live for over 150 years,
working in a nine to five job for someone else didn’t seem that worthwhile
any more. Jack went back to school.

Eventually, Jack started writing. Perhaps because of the wisdom, or perhaps
because of his new perspective, he wrote well. People liked what he wrote,
and he became well known for it. After a time, Jack bought an RV and started
traveling around the country for book signings and readings.

But, he still remembered to drop by and visit Nate occasionally.

On one of the visits Nate seemed quieter than usual. Not that Nate had been
a fountain of joy lately. Jack’s best guess was that Nate was still missing
Samuel, and though Jack had tried, he still hadn’t been able to replace
Samuel in Nate’s eyes. Nate had been getting quieter each visit. But on this
visit Nate didn’t even speak when Jack walked up to the lever. He nodded at
Jack, and then went back to staring into the desert. Jack, respecting Nate’s
silence, sat down and waited.

After a few minutes, Nate spoke. “Jack, I have someone to introduce you to.”

Jack looked surprised. “Someone to introduce me to?” Jack looked around, and then looked carefully back at Nate. “This something to do with the Big Guy?

“No, no,” replied Nate. “This is more personal. I want you to meet my son.”
Nate looked over at the nearest sand dune. “Sammy!”

Jack watched as a four foot long desert rattlesnake crawled from behind the
dune and up to the stone base of the lever.

“Yo, Jack,” said the new, much smaller snake.

“Yo, Sammy” replied Jack. Jack looked at Nate. “Named after Samuel, I
assume?”

Nate nodded. “Jack, I’ve got a favor to ask you. Could you show Sammy around
for me?” Nate unwrapped himself from the lever and slithered over to the
edge of the stone and looked across the sands. “When Samuel first told me
about the world, and brought me books and pictures, I wished that I could go see it. I wanted to see the great forests, the canyons, the cities, even the
other deserts, to see if they felt and smelled the same. I want my son to
have that chance – to see the world. Before he becomes bound here like I have been.

“He’s seen it in pictures, over the computer that you brought me. But I hear that it’s not the same. That being there is different. I want him to have
that. Think you can do that for me, Jack?”

Jack nodded. This was obviously very important to Nate, so Jack didn’t even
joke about taking a talking rattlesnake out to see the world. “Yeah, I can
do that for you, Nate. Is that all you need?” Jack could sense that was
something more.

Nate looked at Sammy. Sammy looked back at Nate for a second and then said,
“Oh, yeah. Ummm, I’ve gotta go pack. Back in a little bit Jack. Nice to meet
ya!” Sammy slithered back over the dune and out of sight.

Nate watched Sammy disappear and then looked back at Jack. “Jack, this is my
first son. My first offspring through all the years. You don’t even want to
know what it took for me to find a mate.” Nate grinned to himself. “But
anyway, I had a son for a reason. I’m tired. I’m ready for it to be over. I
needed a replacement.”

Jack considered this for a minute. “So, you’re ready to come see the world,
and you wanted him to watch the lever while you were gone?”

Nate shook his head. “No, Jack – you’re a better guesser than that. You’ve
already figured out – I’m bound here – there’s only one way for me to leave
here. And I’m ready. It’s my time to die.”

Jack looked more closely at Nate. He could tell Nate had thought about
this – probably for quite a while. Jack had trouble imagining what it would
be like to be as old as Nate, but Jack could already tell that in another
hundred or two hundred years, he might be getting tired of life himself.
Jack could understand Samuel’s decision, and now Nate’s. So, all Jack said
was, “What do you want me to do?”

Nate nodded. “Thanks, Jack. I only want two things. One – show Sammy around
the world – let him get his fill of it, until he’s ready to come back here
and take over. Two – give me the fourth request.

“I can’t just decide to die, not any more than you can. I won’t even die of
old age like you eventually will, even though it’ll be a long time from now.
I need to be killed. Once Sammy is back here, ready to take over, I’ll be
able to die. And I need you to kill me.

“I’ve even thought about how. Poisons and other drugs won’t work on me. And
I’ve seen pictures of snakes that were shot – some of them live for days, so
that’s out too. So, I want you to bring back a sword.

Nate turned away to look back to the dune that Sammy had gone behind. “I’d
say an axe, but that’s somewhat undignified – putting my head on the ground
or a chopping block like that. No, I like a sword. A time-honored way of
going out. A dignified way to die. And, most importantly, it should work,
even on me.

“You willing to do that for me, Jack?” Nate turned back to look at Jack.

“Yeah, Nate,” replied Jack solemnly, “I think I can handle that.”

Nate nodded. “Good!” He turned back toward the dune and shouted, “Sammy!
Jack’s about ready to leave!” Then quietly, “Thanks, Jack.”

Jack didn’t have anything to say to that, so he waited for Sammy to make it
back to the lever, nodded to him, nodded a final time to Nate, and then
headed into the desert with Sammy following.
Over the next several years Sammy and Jack kept in touch with Nate through
e-mail as they went about their adventures. They made a goal of visiting
every country in the world, and did a respectable job of it. Sammy had a
natural gift for languages, as Jack expected he would, and even ended up
acting as a translator for Jack in a few of the countries. Jack managed to
keep the talking rattlesnake hidden, even so, and by the time they were
nearing the end of their tour of countries, Sammy had only been spotted a
few times. While there were several people that had seen enough to startle
them greatly, nobody had enough evidence to prove anything, and while a few
wild rumors and storied followed Jack and Sammy around, nothing ever hit the
newspapers or the public in general.

When they finished the tour of countries, Jack suggested that they try some
undersea diving. They did. And spelunking. They did that too. Sammy finally
drew the line at visiting Antarctica. He’d come to realize that Jack was
stalling. After talking to his Dad about it over e-mail, he figured out that
Jack probably didn’t want to have to kill Nate. Nate told Sammy that humans
could be squeamish about killing friends and acquaintances.

So, Sammy eventually put his tail down (as he didn’t have a foot) and told
Jack that it was time – he was ready to go back and take up his duties from
his dad. Jack, delayed it a little more by insisting that they go back to
Japan and buy an appropriate sword. He even stretched it a little more by
getting lessons in how to use the sword. But, eventually, he’d learned as
much as he was likely to without dedicating his life to it, and was
definitely competent enough to take the head off of a snake. It was time to
head back and see Nate.

When they got back to the US, Jack got the old RV out of storage where he
and Sammy had left it after their tour of the fifty states, he loaded up
Sammy and the sword, and they headed for the desert.

When they got to the small town that Jack had been trying to find those
years ago when he’d met Nate, Jack was in a funk. He didn’t really feel like
walking all of the way out there. Not only that, but he’d forgotten to
figure the travel time correctly, and it was late afternoon. They’d either
have to spend the night in town and walk out tomorrow, or walk in the dark.

As Jack was afraid that if he waited one more night he might lose his
resolve, he decided that he’d go ahead and drive the RV out there. It was
only going to be this once, and Jack would go back and cover the tracks
afterward. They ought to be able to make it out there by nightfall if they
drove, and then they could get it over tonight.

Jack told Sammy to e-mail Nate that they were coming as he drove out of
sight of the town on the road. They then pulled off the road and headed out
into the desert.

Everything went well, until they got to the sand dunes. Jack had been
nursing the RV along the whole time, over the rocks, through the creek beds,
revving the engine the few times they almost got stuck. When they came to
the dunes, Jack didn’t really think about it, he just downshifted and headed
up the first one. By the third dune, Jack started to regret that he’d
decided to try driving on the sand. The RV was fishtailling and losing
traction. Jack was having to work it up each dune slowly and was trying to
keep from losing control each time they came over the top and slid down the
other side. Sammy had come up to sit in the passenger seat, coiled up and
laughing at Jack’s driving.

As they came over the top of the fourth dune, the biggest one yet, Jack saw
that this was the final dune – the stone, the lever, and somewhere Nate,
waited below. Jack put on the brakes, but he’d gone a little too far. The RV
started slipping down the other side.

Jack tried turning the wheel, but he didn’t have enough traction. He pumped
the brakes – no response. They started sliding down the hill, faster and
faster.

Jack felt a shock go through him as he suddenly realized that they were
heading for the lever. He looked down – the RV was directly on course for
it. If Jack didn’t do something, the RV would hit it. He was about to end
humanity.

Jack steered more frantically, trying to get traction. It still wasn’t
working. The dune was too steep, and the sand too loose. In a split second,
Jack realized that his only chance would be once he hit the stone around the
lever – he should have traction on the stone for just a second before he hit
the lever – he wouldn’t have time to stop, but he should be able to steer
away.

Jack took a better grip on the steering wheel and tried to turn the RV a
little bit – every little bit would help. He’d have to time his turn just
right.

The RV got to the bottom of the dune, sliding at an amazing speed in the
sand. Just before they reached the stone Jack looked across it to check that
they were still heading for the lever. They were. But Jack noticed something
else that he hadn’t seen from the top of the dune. Nate wasn’t wrapped
around the lever. He was off to the side of the lever, but still on the
stone, waiting for them. The problem was, he was waiting on the same side of
the lever that Jack had picked to steer towards to avoid the lever. The RV
was already starting to drift that way a little in its mad rush across the
sand and there was no way that Jack was going to be able to go around the
lever to the other side.

Jack had an instant of realization. He was either going to have to hit the
lever, or run over Nate. He glanced over at Sammy and saw that Sammy
realized the same thing.

Jack took a firmer grip on the steering wheel as the RV ran up on the stone.
Shouting to Sammy as he pulled the steering wheel, “BETTER NATE THAN LEVER,” he ran over the snake.

Joke! Christian

Lol I did the joke from the Eastern Tradition side of things now it’s time for some good Western Religious jokes!

These are two of my favorite, Enjoy!

There was once a priest who went to see the world after taking his oath. After many years of wandering, he finally arrived in a small village in the middle of nowhere. The people there believed in the same religion as he did, but they had no church; they had to go to the nearest one which was in a small town 25 km’s from there. The priest took the initiative, asked the Church for support, and with the help of the local men they built their own temple. From there on, he was celebrating the Sunday masses, joining together men and women in Holy Matrimony, and saying prayers at the funerals.

Many years passed by like that.

At the end of an ordinary mass, in early spring, on a chilly Sunday morning he was just guiding the people out of the church, was about to close the gates when an unknown man stepped into the churchyard.

With his dirty and torn clothes, he stood before the priest and said:

  • Priest, please be good and give me half a lemon! – the priest was a good man, and even though he thought the request was a bit strange, he went back to the rectory, took out a lemon, cut it in half, took it back to the man and gave it to him, who looked back to the priest with gratitude. However, the priest was curious. He asked:
  • Son, why do you need this half of a lemon? – with a fright on his face, and before the priest could have said a thing, he rushed out of the churchyard gate and took off.

A week later, around the same time, when the priest was leaving the church, he found himself in front of the same man in the churchyard. The man said:

  • Priest, please be good and give me half a lemon! – the priest was surprised by the appearance of the man and his strange request. Of course he was good, went back to the rectory, and brought the half lemon. Placed it in the stranger’s hand and immediately he asked:
  • Here it is, my dear son, but please tell me why do you need this half a lemon? – the man was obviously frightened and immediately ran away but the priest was not sluggish either and ran after him. He wasn’t in a very good condition, he has never run so much and so fast before so he was out of breath by the end of the village, almost fainted. He thought the strange man might appear again next week, and it would be nice if he could keep up with him, so he spent his week working on his cardio. It turned out to be a good idea, because as he thought, the stranger entered the churchyard on Sunday. The priest didn’t even wait for the request, he was good, and brought the half lemon. He received these words from the man:
  • Thank you priest for being so good and giving me half a lemon.
  • Don’t mention it son, -said the priest- but please tell me, what do you need it for?! – by the time he finished his sentence the man was already running, but the priest was close behind. They were running for a while and the priest was starting to feel exhausted when they arrived at a wide and swift river. The stranger without thinking threw himself into the river and swam across the river and disappeared on the other side. The priest didn’t follow because he couldn’t swim. He was annoyed when he got home. He spent the next week learning to swim at the swimming pool in the small town 25 km’s away. He was anxiously waiting for the next Sunday; now he was sure that the weird fellow would visit again. On Sunday, as he was closing the church, the gate creaked, and entered the man:
  • Priest, please be good and give me half a lemon! – the priest was good, went back, put on his swimming trunks, his running shoes, grabbed half of the lemon and took it to the stranger:
  • Here it is, my son, but please tell me already, why do you need it? – the guy was terrified, rushed out the gate with the priest following. Reached the river, swam across, the priest right behind him. He kept running on the other side of the river and the priest was still on his tail. They kept running until they got to a tall tree on the verge of a deep ravine. The man climbed the tree with the agility of a cat, the priest not knowing how to climb a tree, stood on the ground. He was cursing everything as he walked back home. The following week the villagers watched as the priest in the garden of the church climbs trees, jumping back and forth, and generally behaving very strangely. The priest didn’t care, he was exercising obsessively, preparing himself for the meeting. On Sunday before the mass, he put on his trunks and running shoes under his cassock. In fact, he was good and put half a lemon in his pocket in advance. The mass finished much earlier than usually, and he emptied the church as soon as possible so he could warm up. In the same exact time the mass should have ended, the strange man entered the churchyard.
  • Priest, please be good… – the priest was already handing him half of a lemon, and asked:
  • Son, why do you need it for God’s sake? – the man ran away terrified, the priest followed him. They ran to the river, swam across, ran to the tree, climbed up. The priest almost catched the stranger when he grabbed a vine and swung to the other side of the ravine. The priest was about to have a stroke, but then he saw another vine. Whoop, he grabbed it and swung across. There, however, he encountered an unexpected obstacle: it was a plane graveyard and the man closed himself in one of the wreckages. The priest was raging as he walked around the wreckage several times, but he found no entrance except for the sealed door on the side of the plane; he had to open it somehow. He was furious but he went home. He spent every day at the village’s locksmith and learned every possible way of opening a lock. On Sunday he held the mass in his swimming trunks, running shoes, on his back in a waterproof backpack was a crowbar, a cutting torch, a wrench and a drill, then he stood in front of the church and waited for the man. He was there on time.
  • Priest, please be good and give me half a lemon!
  • There you go, son – handing him the lemon, because he was good, but in the same time he grabbed the stranger’s arm, pulled him close, and with obsession in his eyes, asked:
  • But what do you need it for?! – panic came over the man as he made his escape from the priest’s hands and ran away, but the priest was very close behind. Racing to the river they quickly got across, running up the tree almost breaking their necks, one after the other swung across the ravine, the man barely managed to close the door of the wreckege in the priest’s face. Little did he know that the priest would not stop there, because he grabbed his backpack and started working on the lock with his tools. In less than an hour the heavy door creaked open. Inside, the stranger was shivering in horror, he was afraid of the priest’s fierce and triumphant look. The priest slowly strode up to the man, crouched down, and very quietly, with a friendly smile on his face, gently asked:
  • Son. You have been asking for half a lemon for the last few weeks. I’m very happy to give it to you, even in the future, I am only asking in return that you tell me: why do you need it?
  • All right, priest … – came the answer in a trembling tone – I will answer your question, but please, be good, and do not tell anyone.

The priest was good, and never told anyone.

 


 

A man wakes up in a dingy slum with no memory of how he got there. He wanders around aimlessly before he finds even one person who will talk to him. Some ratty beggar on the street turns out to be nice enough to explain where he is.

“You’re in the afterlife!” he tells the man, “But you must have been a real shithead when you were alive, because this is the fourth ring, and only the worst people come here.”

All of a sudden, a siren goes off, one of those air-raid things. The man is terrified but the beggar gets up calmly and leads him to a big, dilapidated warehouse where thousands of other similarly unkempt souls are gathering. When the man asks why they’re all here, the beggar points to a line of folding tables against the wall. Each table has some moldy bread, cups of dingy water, and some bowls of broth so thin they could have just run out of cups. Only then does the man realize how hungry he is. A guard in heavy body armor blows a whistle and all the people arrange themselves into three lines.

The beggar is helpful enough to explain them for the man. “That one’s the bread line, that’s the broth line, and that’s the water line. All the food here is free, but if you want to get out of this maggot hole, you’ve got to work, because the gate guards into the third ring ask five hundred dollars to get through. I’ve heard the food is better there.”

So the man gets his food. It’s abominable, and right then and there, he vows to make five hundred dollars and get into the third ring. Unfortunately for him, very few people need work in the afterlife, especially when all of them are saving up to emigrate. Even still, after ten years of hard work, eating the moldy bread and indistinguishable soup and water, he finally saves up enough money. The guards let him through and he finds himself in the third ring. It’s nothing too fancy, if anything, it’s a bit below average for a real city, but to his eyes it is paradise. All the guards look much friendlier, and the houses and buildings, while not spacious or lavish, are at least up to code. And to his surprise, he runs right into a familiar former beggar as he crosses the street.

“What are the odds?” they both ask and they get to conversing. The beggar, it turns out, only managed to make it in himself a few months back. Their conversation is interrupted, however, by what sounds like a school bell. When the man seems confused, the beggar leads him to what looks like a giant gymnasium. Here, people are gathering once again, and the man begins to understand. On a line of folding tables against one wall are stacks of hot dogs, big bowls of salad, and solo cups full of fresh lemonade. A cop shouts for everyone’s attention and directs them all to stand in three lines. The beggar smiles at the man’s wonder and points to each line in turn. “That’s the hot dog line, that’s the salad line, and that’s the lemonade line.” The man gets in each line in turn and gets himself his lunch.

While he’s eating, basking in joy at not being stuck with old bread and water, the beggar encourages him, “The best part is, halfway through the year, they switch from hot dogs, salad, and lemonade to chicken, chili, and hot chocolate. You can never get tired of it!”

Sadly, this proved not to be true. After only a few days, the man did again get tired of the same meal every day. But he knew firsthand that he could change his lot, so one day he went up to the wall of the second circle. This time the guards were asking for ten thousand dollars. Well, the man didn’t like it, but he figured he had his whole afterlife ahead of him now that he was out of the fourth circle, and he could certainly take some time to save up. After ten years of hard work, it wasn’t too difficult for him to keep up the work ethic, and only twenty years later, he went back to the guards of the second ring with the money in hand. He went through the gate and found himself in a glittering, clean city full of glass and steel.

And wouldn’t you know it, but there, standing across the street was the same beggar, only now he was wearing a well-fitted suit. The man greeted the beggar as an old friend and they started talking again. Once again, their conversation was interrupted, only this time it was by beautiful church bells. “Come,” the beggar told him, “I’ll take you to the evening meal.” So the man followed and they entered a glamorous ballroom filled with beautiful attendees. Even the cops here looked good, dressed in suits and sunglasses like bodyguards. And sure enough, piled onto platters on huge mahogany tables against the far wall were plates of steak, bowls of the most delicious seafood soups, and glasses of champagne. One of the bodyguards cleared his throat loudly and politely requested that the attendees line up. Three lines were formed and the beggar pointed each line out in turn. “That’s the steak line, that’s the soup line, and that’s the champagne line,” and then he added, “and apparently here, they change the meals FOUR times a year!”

The man rejoiced, ate, and was happy, and for once felt that nothing was lacking. Four changes a year was enough for him. But one day, out of curiosity, he went up to the bodyguards that guarded the gate into the first and final ring of the afterlife and found they were asking for a million dollars to pass. Well the man was a bit disturbed by this, after all, the second ring seemed perfect to him. “What is it,” he thought, “that could possibly be more wonderful than what I have here?” That question haunted him for weeks until he came to a conclusion. He was used to working hard and he had all of eternity to save up, so he wanted, just once to see what he could possibly be missing in the first ring.

Fifty years later, he returned to the guards with a million dollars. When he stepped into the first ring he fell to his knees. The architecture was glorious and inhuman, and the bodyguard had turned into shining angels. To his surprise, someone helped him up off the street and when he looked, he realized he recognized who it was–it was the beggar he met in the fourth ring, adorned in a golden robe and glowing, and when he looked down at himself he realized he looked much the same.

The beggar laughed jovially. “I got here only three years ago myself, but somehow I knew you would be right here behind me. I’ve come back to this gate every day waiting for you to make it in!” Suddenly, the air was filled with the sound of angelic choirs and the beggar led the man off to a gigantic palace made of crystal and cloud. The room was filled with radiant citizens of the first circle and angels prepared everything. Sure enough, there was a line of massive altars against one wall, spilling over with glistening golden dragon meat, a pudding refined from clouds and dew and silk, and an ice cold tub of ambrosia and nectar ladled out individually into blindingly beautiful crystalline chalices. An angel fluttered from the ceiling and bowed silently to the assembled mass, who bowed respectfully back and then broke themselves into their lines on their own.

Smiling at the tradition, the beggar pointed to the first line. “That’s the line for the dragon meat,” he said before turning to the next line, “and that’s the line for angeldust stew,” then he paused, confused.

“What is it?” the man asked his old friend.

The beggar replied, “There appears to be no punchline.”

The Cross as the Site of the Triumph of the Secular

Great article by Joseph of Inverted Kingdom

(https://bktheologian.wordpress.com/)

Historians trained in the reading of the genealogy of ideas via historical facticities will reckon that the current secular age we find ourselves in – an age where a religious paradigm and thought form is relegated to the periphery – is the outcome of the Enlightenment period, a time where western man began to fashion himself over against the motifs of a Judeo-Christian worldview. With the rise of modern science, new political structures, and a humanism divorced from traditions and established ideologies, the modern period ushered in an age of the “free man” – that individual no longer bound to ancient authority. God construed in theistic terms slowly began to collapse into a deistic God: distant, cold, detached, designer of all, uninvolved. This practical atheism that deism unintentionally produced morphed into a robust, out of the closet atheism, powerfully expressed, for instance, in the writings of Nietzsche and Sartre. And while modernism rests on the values and ethos of the Judeo-Christian worldview, an ethic hijack from the religious for the sake of the secular, it fails to substantiate such values ontologically since it does not and cannot hold on to a metaphysics that would at once overturn the modernistic moment. And so, as some have said, the advent of post-modernism is nothing more than a sick philosophy, inwardly rotten, self-festering because it is born out of a nihilistic world, cut off from any objective reality because, out of a nihilistic presupposition, there is no objective reality, no concrete coordinate system to judge or orient oneself, and so all has collapsed into the individual, the radically subjective.

This is of course something of a caricature. Nevertheless the truth (if I can use such a word) still stands: We in the west are swimming in the sea of the secular. But according to Christianity, unbeknownst to the whole world and by virtue of the great condescension of God, the world has already been stepped in the secular since the Advent of Christ. Ontologically speaking, religious thinking and all that usually comes with it was pushed passed the horizons of human consciousness with the enfleshment, the secularization of God!

Way before the Enlightenment period, the secular triumphed on the cross 2,000 years ago when God, marginalized, rejected and beat up, died. This gave birth to a new religious moment however: God as omnipotent is the weak human under political oppression, for the sake of the world. This is precisely the kind of religious thinking that is subversively secular through and through: A God of love is a God that is dead to political power, religious power, even visible power.

Is it possible that, through the coming-of-age secular world we find ourselves in, the God of love, the Father of Jesus, has, through His Spirit, brought the church closer to the truth of His nature revealed in the First Advent?

It seems to me that when the Christian experiences marginalization, disenfranchisement, even radical persecution – as it was during the early years of the church, she is truly “intimately sharing in the sufferings of Christ.” It is precisely here, in this cultural moment, when the church can move in the power of the Spirit, “knowing the power of his Resurrection.”

Parousia and the Glorification of the Cosmos

In my personal life as many will know I have a deep affinity for the eastern spiritual tradition of Christianity.

This article is written by a wonderful Priest of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

It deals with the subject of Eschatology in an almost systematic way. It brings in so many treasures of the tradition to really bring the discussion alive!

I would recommend that my readers (Who are mostly of the western tradition) to read Christ as referenced as “The Logos”. I think this adds another layer of depth to an already spirited piece.

Enjoy! And let me know in the comments what you think of our brothers from the Eastern Church 🙂

Eclectic Orthodoxy

“But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:13).

When Christ returns in glory, all will be made new. The cosmos will be transfigured, transformed, transmuted, redeemed, renewed, sanctified, sophianized, glorified, deified. These are just words, of course. We have to use them in order to talk about the coming Kingdom of God, but the eschatological event of which they speak transcends our imagining. The consummation of cosmic history will be glorious. This is the hope that empowers and fills all gospel preaching.

As we have seen in this series, the primary characteristic of the parousia is glory. The risen Christ will appear in the glory of the Spirit who eternally rests upon him. The time of hiddenness is over. Glory comes into the world and all is glorified. “The glory that accompanies the parousia,” writes Sergius…

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The Parable of the Two Good Guys

*Below is an excellent modern day perspective on the “Parable of the Good Samaritan”.  With our divisions in Christianity, attitudes that create polemic environments, and complexity of narratives/interpretations we sometimes miss common sense and the whole spirit of the Gospel.  Hopefully this piece helps awaken you from within the rabbit hole.*

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A young man who knew his Bible, could cite chapter and verse, was sent by his pastor to question this new teacher in town, name of Jesus, to see if he was “sound”. “Jesus,” the lad was told to ask, “how do I get eternal life?”

“That looks like a Bible you’ve got there, young fella” Jesus said.

Waving the black book to which Jesus had pointed, the lad declared, “Yep, it’s the inspired and inerrant Word of God, infallible and perfect in every way.”

“Sorry?” Jesus said.

“It’s the inerrant Word of God,” the lad repeated.

“Let me see,” said Jesus.

The lad handed the Bible to Jesus, who took it, opened it, shook it, smelled it, then returned it to the youngster. “Who says it’s inerrant?” he asked.

“God says,” the youngster replied.

“Where does God say that?” asked Jesus.

“In the Bible,” the youngster replied.

“But that doesn’t answer the question,” Jesus said, “it begs the question. It’s circular reasoning to say that the Bible is inerrant because in the Bible God says that the Bible is inerrant. What you claim to be true you’re assuming rather than proving. Which is a logical fallacy, which is bad apologetics, which shames our faith.”

“You what?” said the lad, completely discombobulated. “Are you trying to trick me?”

“Of course not,” said Jesus. “It’s just that you’re brandishing that book like it’s an assault weapon rather than a surgeon’s scalpel, and I suspect that you read it rather unimaginatively, one-dimensionally, as if it were a cook book rather than a love story, and listen to it as if it were a collection of notes rather than a magnificent symphony. You search it for answers, but you don’t allow it to probe you with questions. You look for closure when you should pray for critique. God certainly speaks to us through the scriptures, but interpreting the Bible is rarely a simple matter, let alone an open-and-shut case. We should expect to be surprised and disturbed, to have our fixed views challenged – and our settled selves changed.”

But the young man had that impatient, I’m-not-listening-to-a-thing-you-say look on his face. “Just answer the question,” he demanded: “How do I get eternal life?”

“Ahem,” sighed Jesus (not “Amen”). “Let’s turn to the Bible then. What do you say it says?”

“It’s obvious,” replied the youngster (rather smugly, it must be said): “You must love the Lord with all your heart and soul, mind and strength, and you must love your neighbour as yourself. Leviticus 19:18 and Deuteronomy 6:5. End of.”

“Excellent. So all you need is love,” said Jesus, pretending to be impressed and persuaded. For he suspected that the lad had an agenda, that he would try to embarrass and expose Jesus as an unreliable teacher. And Jesus was right.

“Ah,” the lad said, “but who is this neighbour I must love?” Of course he knew the answer: according to Leviticus and Deuteronomy, the neighbour is my fellow believer. But rumour had it that Jesus was mixing with all sorts, pervs and quislings and folk of other faiths, so how would he answer the question?

But Jesus didn’t answer the question, or at least he didn’t give a straight answer. Instead he told a story. “One night a man was walking to town when he was attacked by some thugs. They beat him up, took his wallet and iPhone, then ran off, leaving him half-dead. A minister happened to be walking along the same road, but when he saw the man, he checked his watch and hurried past him. A priest followed a few minutes later (he and the minister had been at a conference on theological ethics). He also saw the man, left some change, but stepped around him. Then two strangers to the area, oddly dressed, came upon the man, and when they saw the state of him they were overwhelmed with pity and compassion. They held him in their arms, stopped the bleeding, called a cab, took him to a local public house, and stayed with him all night. The next morning, they gave the landlord £100. ‘Look after him,’ they said. ‘Call a chemist and get some bandages, Savlon, and Ibuprofen. We’ll be back in a few days and reimburse you for any extra expense.’ Now,” concluded Jesus, “who were the good guys?”

The youngster was nonplussed. “The ‘good guys’? What’s that got to do with getting eternal life?”

“I’ll get to that,” Jesus replied. “But first, answer my question.”

“Well, the minister and the priest – what denominations were they?”

“Who cares?” said Jesus.

“And were they born again?”

“Does it matter?” asked Jesus

“And those two other guys – are you sure they weren’t gay?”

“And if they were?” said Jesus.

“And why didn’t they call 999 for the cops and the paramedics?” the youngster continued his third degree. “Had they been drinking? Were they on drugs? They sound like foreigners. Were they migrants, even illegals?”

“What is this, a sketch from Life of Brian?” suggested Jesus.

“And the man who was mugged – where was he going, what was he doing? It all sounds very suspicious to me.”

“I …” began Jesus, quite flabbergasted.

“And …” interrupted the youngster.

“Look,” counter-interrupted Jesus, “Leviticus and Deuteronomy don’t have the last word on defining ‘neighbour’, and eternal life isn’t a matter of your church, theology, or religious experience, nor do you ‘get’ it, you live it, starting now, with simple human decency: being truthful and thoughtful, kind and generous, acting justly, practicing mercy – and not just to your own, to fellow citizens and co-religionists, but to anyone in need, especially strangers, whatever their ethnicity, faith, or sexuality. If they’re hurting, they’re your neighbour, and if you help them, you’re their neighbour. We are called to help even those who hate us, and one day you might find someone you hate helping you. Eternal life is another life, but it’s hidden in this life.”

“Well,” harrumphed the youngster, “I’ve heard enough. You’ve said nothing about getting saved. You’re clearly unsound.” But feeling sorry for Jesus, he added, “I’ll pray for you.” Then he handed Jesus a leaflet and started to walk away.

Suddenly, however, he stopped, as if struck by lightning. But the sky was blue, though a cottony cumulus cloud had just passed the sun, which winked, flashed, then glowed benignly, like a huge egg yolk, on the two people below. The young man turned around: “I’ll think about what you said.”
Jesus waved and picked up his fishing rod.

— Kim Fabricius

(Kim Fabricius is a man who settled on a farm in the south of England, where Love mugged him, hugged him, and finally bugged him into faith and ministry. He read theology at Mansfield College, Oxford (1979-81), and then became the pastor of Bethel United Reformed Church, Swansea and a chaplain at Swansea University (1982-2013).)

 

Angels

A poem enters into the world to expose the strangeness of language and the mystery of reality. Angels are the poems of scripture. They enter into a situation to expose the strangeness of God’s activity and the mystery of creation.

In the angels we see the limits of our knowledge. They are a startling reminder of the impossibility of human comprehension—a sign of the outer vistas of knowledge. We simply don’t know what to do with angels—which doesn’t matter so much I suppose, so long as they know what to do with us.

Angels are creatures who do not fit in the world. It is clear that their world is not our world.

The mistake we often make in our modern world is to go the easiest route and attempt to demythologize their presence.  This is the folly of the most limiting paradigm; Were all that is complex and or transcendent is brought down to be understood because its splendour challenges and demands more.

Angels witness in that they mirror the impossibility of the coming of God’s kingdom according to the usual patterns of historical causality.

New ways of speaking and thinking is how we approach the heavenly choir and how we are called to witness as well 😉

Inspired by Steve Wright*

Important To Remember

In a word, then, God is love. In the story of Jesus, God defines himself as an event of self-giving love. He defines himself as a life rich in relationships, full of movement and energy, a harmony of repetition in difference. God is not an isolated, motionless “being” – he is not a static unity, but a dynamic triunity. He is not a single voice, but a harmony; not a monologue, but a conversation; not a march, but a dance.

Not to divide Christ’s divinity and humanity, or to give the impression that he sometimes functions as God and sometimes as a human. Jesus Christ is divine and human in one person.

Not to divide redemption from creation, or to give the impression that Christ invades a world that is alien to him. Human beings were created after the pattern of the same eternal Image that has become incarnate in Jesus.

Not to divide Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, or to give the impression that he achieves salvation at just one moment of his career. The total life-journey of Jesus Christ – from his birth, to his ministry of teaching and healing, to his death and resurrection – is the saving event.

In a word, then, God is love. In the story of Jesus, God defines himself as an event of self-giving love. He defines himself as a life rich in relationships, full of movement and energy, a harmony of repetition in difference. God is not an isolated, motionless “being” – he is not a static unity, but a dynamic triunity. He is not a single voice, but a harmony; not a monologue, but a conversation; not a march, but a dance.

– Benjamin Myers

The Triune God

This post is heavily influenced by my favorite theologian which we all know at this point 😉

When talking about God it is important to draw out the content of what the Trinity and Gospel reveal to us.  It is important not to speak of simply a monotheistic God that would be the starting point of Deism.  For if one starts at that road one will by reason lose the very God that has reveled himself to us.

 The triune God and creation
  1. As the infinite Source of all things, God totally transcends the creation.
  2. Yet God’s otherness is not remote from creation. God’s being is also Word – infinitely self-communicating, infinitely accessible.
  3. And God’s being is Spirit – infinitely reaching out, infinitely gathering, infinitely opening creatures to God’s self-communication.
 Trinitarian monotheism
  1. The central vision of Christian monotheism is not hierarchy but self-communicating love.
  2. The “power” of God is not domination but God’s infinite capacity to achieve love’s purposes.
  3. The triune God revealed in the gospel is the one God of Israel. There is no difference between the “God of the Old Testament” and the “God of the New Testament”. The differences are of degrees of revelation, as well as the contexts in which revelation was received.
Trinitarian spirituality
  1. What a triune God wants from creatures is not primarily submission, obedience, or service, but loving participation.
  2. Christian spirituality is a spirituality of pilgrimage in love. It is about the journey of the human person into an ever fuller participation in love.
  3. Thus through the power of the Spirit, the world that God makes is a world of irreducible difference. This difference echoes the dynamic triunity of God’s own life: God himself is rich in relations, and irreducible differences constitute the unity and harmony of God’s own life as Father, Son and Spirit. Through the Spirit, creatures therefore echo God’s own richness of difference – so that the plurality of the created world forms a symphony of praise to the life of its creator.

 

Who is God?

I have spoken before of common language and thought in regards to “God”.

As Christians we need to be aware that this “shared space” is in some ways a Christian witness due to North America and Europe’s history yet in many other ways it is Anathema.

For instance let me ask the question “Can you talk about God without Jesus Christ?”

The answer may transcend “yes” and “no” categories.

We may have to stop thinking of God in a remote eternity and always remember him in history.  A God who is temporal, yet overcomes temporal contingencies.

“God’s being can thus be described as a kind of being-towards-resurrection; the resurrection of Jesus is the goal of God’s eternal self-determining action. In this historical (or better, this history-creating) event, God becomes what God eternally is – and this is just because God eternally is what he becomes in this event.”

-Adam Eitel/Benjamin Myers

“Is there a logos asarkos?” We may have to stop asking questions like this or at least have answers that always incorporate the Gospel witness.

For who would the logos asarkos be if not Jesus Christ?

“Anyone who really talks of the Trinity talks of the cross of Jesus, and does not speculate in heavenly riddles.”

—Jürgen Moltmann, The Crucified God (London: SCM, 1974), p. 207.

So remember if you are speaking of God do not speak of him like you would in a remote philosophical discourse.  Speak of him as he is and has revealed himself.

The truth will set you free 🙂