« Dexter on Prayer and Purpose, or Why I Don't Need a Mythological Purpose | Main | How to have Sex with Yourself, or Why Mark Driscoll is a Closeted Perv »

October 31, 2011



It seems like deconstruction of excuses is just as important as deconstruction of indefinable beliefs, at least in this context. My experience is that with the possible exception of recovering addicts and people with serious monastic commitments, the people who "try really hard" but still fall short in one particular area are rarely trying in that area at all -- their priorities are pretty clearly elsewhere. Which makes them humans, not monsters; but claiming some nonexistent moral high ground through the handy construct of Salvation (TM) is one of the best ways to murder the kind of self-honesty that is vital to building community and relationships of any substance. You have to be able to candidly address what your respective priorities are. And "I try to be perfect, but I fall short" can be another way to say something like "I'm too busy trying to rid myself of unwanted sexual thoughts to stop punching you in the face." If you can't fess up to not really caring about what other people want, on what grounds do you think you can relate to them, let alone pontificate about faith?

matt mikalatos

Student: Are you saved?

Greg: Fuck me in the face, what do you mean by that?

Student: Never mind, I think I figured it out.

Ha ha ha ha ha!

p.s. Great post. Are you sure you don't want to be a pastor?

Matt Mikalatos

By the way, how was Magician King? I seem to recall you being skeptical about a sequel, and I've been holding off on buying it til I hear your opinion....

Greg Horton

How does capitalized Matt differ from lower case matt? About halfway through right now, so I'll let you know. It's very different from the first, darker in parts, more whimsical in others. Giving Julia's side of the story has helped tremendously in adding depth and seriousness, not that the first suffered from a lack of those, but this one would be to this point without her narrative.


Do you think that experience (having encountered 5 or less "real Christians") is typical? I don't understand why any but a scant recalcitrant remainder would stay in the church if that were the case. Maybe it was just a function of who my parents were/are, but I was constantly surrounded by people who were living out some version of Kingdom ethics, not perfectly of course, but intentionally and at great personal sacrifice. I think I would have left the faith very early in adulthood if that hadn't been the case.

Greg Horton

I think it's pretty typical, at least in part because most people lack the depth of understanding of your parents. The ones I've met are pretty content with the good news, but dislike exceedingly the hard news. I don't expect perfection in anyone, but I also don't expect them to explain away obligations as impossible and therefore not worth striving for, or worse, as a "school teacher" to show us we can't do it so we fall on grace. Ugh.


Everything you said was really great! I'm right there with you. And I must address your language. Not because shocking situations don't deserve shocking words, but because if you hope at all to get past the 20' thick wall that surrounds the evangelical Christian's mind, you lost them at fuck. I was chatting with my mom the other month. Unfortunately, can't call that often for reasons easily guessed by the end of this story. Anywho, we were in a deep discussion about how my way of talking to my children about sex was more successful than her way of, "You can't do it because God said so." and I let the word "shit" slip out. I know better, but well, I'm not perfect. I'm human. I try, but I fall short. Btw, I would rather someone have raging sexual thoughts and stop punching me in the face. Just sayin. Onward, she went on for at least a half hour just coming short of saying I was going to hell for it. I am going to hell for lots of other reasons, so I've no idea what her point was. I tried to explain that it was just a word and not that big of a deal. For Pete's sake, when I was a kid, I wasn't allowed to say fart or butt either. Who decides which word is bad and which isn't? She asked if I really believed that God didn't care about my language and I told her no. I stated that I believed he cared more about the child down the street getting raped by her baby sitter or the woman in Somalia that just had to watch two of her children die of starvation. Do you know what she said to me? Albeit in a very quiet whisper. "Well, he cares about your language too." Its insane, but it is what it is. You have a great gift for communication. If you really want someone to hear what you are saying, and I REALLY want them to, you may just want to leave out the word "fuck." From one foul mouth to another :)

The comments to this entry are closed.