Monthly Archives: March 2014

Sex Abusers in Our Midst: Be Very Afraid

This is the best thing I’ve heard all day.

“To those who say that those voices speaking out “harm the cause of Christ”, let me ask you this: Since when did the Cause of Christ involve child molestation?

The true Cause of Christ is served when those who claim to be followers of Jesus deal with the perverts in their midst who harm innocent children. The true Cause of Christ is to speak for the helpless and for those without a voice. Failure to clean house in churches and ministries guarantees that the world will do it on the next newscast instead. To paraphrase a bumper sticker, Jesus is coming back, and boy, is He angry.”

The Hope Blog

stopchildpredators Well, well, well. This week we had the suspension of Bill Gothard by his own ministry (they’ve placed him on what they delicately call “administrative leave”) after a mere 34 women alleged sex-abuse as girls at IBLP. Those of us who said something was rotten a long time ago in Oak Brook, Illinois, among their other locales, were dismissed as virulent Enemies of Truth, willing to question a Great Man of God. I have one response to that: Pass the sick bag.

We just went through the public downfall of another champion of family values (and historical costuming), Doug Phillips, who flamed out in spectacular fashion. This morning I checked my email to find yet another savory tapa served up from the  kitchen of evangelicalism. It appears that numerous adults are making allegations (and filing lawsuits) over rampant child molestation among the Jesus People USA, a big fad a few…

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Bill Gothard, Hypocrisy and Me! The Canaanite Prize

trigger warning:  links leading to articles on child abuse/sexual abuse/sexual harassment 

‘southern church member’ trigger warning: sarcasm, bitterness


John Mark Reynolds of Eidos, over at Patheos, is giving out a prize.  For being a Canaanite. I am trying to win it.  He is explaining what I have to do to win.

The Canaanite will show the “shallowness” or “hypocrisy” of the movement the parents helped build, though the Canaanite misunderstands the nature of the term.

Notice how this starts? The movement their parents are/were involved in?

Hold that thought.

Just so we’re on the same page, here is a dictionary definition of Hypocrisy.


noun \hi-ˈpä-krə-sē also hī-\

: the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do : behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel

plural hy·poc·ri·sies

Full Definition of HYPOCRISY

:  a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially :  the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion
:  an act or instance of hypocrisy

Examples of HYPOCRISY

  1. When his private letters were made public, they revealed his hypocrisy.
  2. the hypocrisy of people who say one thing but do another
  3. Teenagers often have a keen awareness of their parents’hypocrisies.


Middle English ypocrisie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latinhypocrisis, from Greek hypokrisis act of playing a part on the stage, hypocrisy, from hypokrinesthai to answer, act on the stage, from hypo- + krinein to decide — more at certain

First Known Use: 13th century


Canaanites expose hypocrisy? Awesome! From the definition it sounds like exposing “hypocrisy” would be a good thing, wouldn’t it?  It’s as if they are actually carrying forward the banner of their parent’s movement!  After all- what sincere believer in ANY cause would want that cause hijacked by opportunistic bottom feeders?

Here’s JM’s next sentence.

The Canaanite parent is generally trying to live up to standards and failing in some area: this is called being a hypocrite even if the parent acknowledges the failure! This parents is imperfect, not a hypocrite. [sic]

JM has played a little game with us. He’s trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

Or possibly his reading comprehension is so bad that not even HE realizes that he’s done this wrong.

Its a toss up.

He says a Canaanite is defined by a struggle against the hypocrisy of the movement. It’s a movement their parents helped build, granted, but unless their parents ARE the movement (standing in relation to it as, say, Bill Gothard does to ATI), in that first sentence JM is implying that their struggle is not with their parents.

Given the above definition, this must mean that the movement itself enforces rules that it doesn’t follow.  JM doesn’t specify what he means by the movement- is that sort of- the  unofficial group gestalt? the official collective agreements of the movement? the sum total of the members, the majority of the members, the leadership and founders of the movement…? So further than ‘the movement’ his meaning is ambiguous.

His example is of one individual (a child) finding fault with another individual (their parent) who has openly attempted to reach a goal, failed, and openly admitted their failure.

Which, as he rightly points out, is not the definition of hypocrisy.

But is also not what he defined Canaanites as doing.

Oh, but wait! He senses that there is something wrong with this! He gives us another example to clarify his vague ambiguous blatant contradiction in terms.

Example of a ‘Canaanite’ in action?

…we discover that church members (especially Southern Church members!) struggle with sin (especially sex sins!). This insight, discovering sinners in the Church, is akin to finding sick people in the hospital, but somehow shocks the finders every time.

So now we’re back to exposing… not our parents… but church members…? but that isn’t a movement like he said at the beginning still… so.. are these LAY members? Or are they the LEADERSHIP… who founded and spearheaded the movement?  JM, what are you talking about…?

Well, JM seems either unwilling or unable to give a coherent answer.  So I will give an example of the “hypocrisy” that Canaanites are trying to expose.

Without even understanding the term! Gosh!



Bill Gothard is not a parent.

And that’s probably a good thing.

It appears that Bill Gothard built a community according to certain rules.  Structured the community such that no one could question him. Then systematically, habitually, sexually harassed/molested minors under his authority.

This is not akin to finding sick people in a hospital. Its akin going to a hospital, checking yourself in, then finding out that the Doctors and Nurses are the Living Dead.

The closer you follow their directions, the closer their teeth get to your brain.

Emotionally complicated by the fact that you didn’t even take yourself to the hospital.  Your parents did. And abandoned you there.

What part of this isn’t hypocrisy?

I think that I qualify for this second trait of Canaanites.

I never suffered abuse like the girls and women in these stories did.  But JM is careful to point out that, for the Canaanite Prize-

Of course, I am not talking about people who experienced horrific or abusive situations: these stories need to be told on the right and the left.

Which is why we can be sure that JM himself is telling, on the right and the left, the stories about the abuses suffered by Bill Gothard’s followers.  Right?

Because JM is a SINCERE Christian who would NEVER put up with abuse inside an organization referring to itself as Christian- any more than Jesus put up with money-lenders inside the Temple!

Mark 11:15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”


My parents weren’t really into Bill Gothard- not like some people- but they had a couple ATI books on their shelves and phrases like ‘umbrella of protection’ floated around within easy reach of their sense of justification.  I’m not really criticizing them for that, as they had eight children on a single, low income and didn’t really have time to research.  Not when the apocalypse was coming and warranted so much attention, anyway.

But I have serious complaints against one of the organizations they associated with.

And come on! I mean, just look at my example of hypocrisy in the church! I think a teacher (someone who is supposed to help people grow) who routinely molests children (threatening, if not destroying their ability to grow) is a hypocrite!

I must not even understand the meaning of the word. Right, JM?

The Crux of the Problem

Here’s the real problem with God, for me.

Growing up I was told that God was perfect and eternal.  And also that he had revealed himself.

But he has done either one or the other.  Because God, in the things that people call revelation, has changed over time.

But if he is not perfect and eternal, what is the point of calling him God?  He is essentially some dude with a lot of mana bumbling around, screwing things up and making stuff explode at odd moments.

And if he has not revealed himself.

If people who look to him as a teacher interpret him- so wrongly- as to believe him to have done and said the things he is commonly believed to have done and said.  Have done in his name the things that have in fact been done in his name.

And he didn’t bother to set the record straight.

What difference is there between this- and being utterly abandoned?

I once heard someone say- and I can’t remember who- that the universe is full of the presence of the Absence of God.

I don’t know if God exists or if he doesn’t.   But I see no difference between the two possibilities.  Except that the only way  I can imagine not hating him is when I imagine he doesn’t exist.

Or perhaps if he were  just a sufficiently advanced alien.   But I don’t really believe in ancient aliens.  And I would still think he’s a moron.



God takes a #nomakeup selfie- David Hayward



God takes a #nomakeup selfie and the deconstruction of your belief – See more at:

The mind is the product of the past, it is the result of yesterday, and can such a mind be open to the unknown? It can only project an image, but that projection is not real; so your god is not God, it is an image of your own making, an image of your own gratification. There can be reality only when the mind understands the total process of itself and comes to an end.


– See more at:

The Apologist’s Evening Prayer

From all my lame defeats and oh! much more
From all the victories that I seemed to score;
From cleverness shot forth on Thy behalf
at which, while angels weep, the audience laugh;
From all my proofs of Thy divinity,
Thou, who wouldst give no sign, deliver me.

Thoughts are but coins. Let me not trust, instead
of Thee, their thin-worn image of Thy head.
From all my thoughts, even from my thoughts of Thee,
O thou fair Silence, fall, and set me free.
Lord of the narrow gate and the needle’s eye,
Take from me all my trumpery lest I die.

C.S. Lewis, Poems (1964)

These are the kindest things I can think about God right now.  And even then my thoughts about him who ‘ wouldst give no sign’ are not really very kind.


Noah and the Flood

“But body counts aren’t the point in  a genocide, a crime for which, at the time of my visit to Rwanda, nobody on earth had ever been brought to trial, much less convicted.  What distinguishes genocide from murder, and even from acts of political murder that claim as many lives, is intent.

The crime is wanting to make a people extinct.  The ideas is a crime.  No wonder its difficult to picture.  To do so you must accept the  principle of the exterminator, and see not people, but a people.”

-Phiip Gourevitch, We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families


I was mopping the floor.  The place was eerily quiet and my body or mind was filling the quiet with agony.   The exhaustion from not sleeping, my own depression, and the thoughts that kept swirling around and around again, all mixed into a sort of pain cocktail, and the cocktail was me.

I had had another shift, earlier that day, at the home of an elderly lady.    She was declining, had declined steadily in the past month, after a visit to the hospital.  A number of the other workers had come for one shift, seen how she was, and then asked not to be put with her again.  It wasn’t that she was unpleasant. She was, you could tell, a sweet lady. It’s just that everything had to be done for her.  She could not stand for more than a few moments, was completely incontinent, could not comprehend a lot of what was happening.

She had to be changed several times a night and would beg  you to covered her back up while you changed her- pulling her quilt weakly  over herself and the urine and diarrhea you were trying to clean off her.  No matter what you said.

In the morning she would look up with bright eyes.

“Are we going on a trip to town?” she would ask, excited and innocent as a child. “Are we going for a ride in the car?”

No, not today.  Maybe another day.

I was on a night shift, now, in a Memory Care Unit at a nursing home.  I had been assigned a list of incontinence checks to do every few hours, and some cleaning to do between times.

I have never been so close to walking out on work in my life.

But I was mopping instead of running away.  The mop scraped over the tiles under the quiet of  electric lights.

Out of nowhere, a memory of my sister broke through the  haze.

“I don’t think I’m going to like it. ” She had been talking about a soon to be released movie. “I read a review…  they made it so that Noah’s daughter got pregnant, and he tried to make her have an abortion on the ark… only the animals were supposed to survive…”  She objected to the idea of Noah as an eco terrorist.  And to abortion.

I stood in the middle of the tables and fake flowers and chairs, leaning on my mop.

So- all the other pregnant women outside the ark- drowning- with their unborn children. who were presumably innocent of any of the wrongdoing of their evil parents?

An abortion on the ark bothered her, but not the Flood?

Someone explain to me again how we are possibly to understand this God as even vaguely moral?

There is the story of the Sons of God fucking humans.   These Angels are nowhere said to be fallen angels, and God presumably knew the whole time and didn’t bother to intervene. You could say that he let it all happen in order to let free will play out or whatever, and then was so disappointed in the choice humans made, that he just HAD to PUNISH them.

Except, he’s God.  And these were Angels. The power imbalance is. Well. Infinite.

The closest analogy I can think of is if the principle of a school wandered around watching the invulnerable immortal teachers publicly fucking their students for a thousand years- then announced one morning that all the students had to be lined up on the play ground and shot for violating the school’s standards.

But you could argue that, I guess.

It still doesn’t explain the flood.  Consider the death of the firstborn in Egypt.  A whole other can of worms, there, but,  God sent out the Destroyer to kill a select group out of an entire population.  He obviously has the capability of killing only certain people.  And yet he uses a flood.  By definition- a flood kills everyone, regardless of innocence or guilt.  And the children, of whatever species or blend of species, were innocent.

You could argue that it was about the baby human-angel hybrids.  God just HAD to kill everyone because… racial purity… and stuff…?

God is a cosmic Adolf Hitler.

I suppose it makes sense.  He’s massacred at least as many Jews as Hitler did, at this point.

But I fail to see then, if the Flood was racially/biologically motivated, how we can say say anything about righteousness or guilt.   And that is the whole justification of the Flood, isn’t it?

Humans were wicked.  They hurt God’s feelings with how wicked they were.  So he had to kill them.

Genesis 6:5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”

Except, do you know how well the Flood solved that problem? Of the wickedness of the human heart?

Romans 3:10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11     there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”[b]
13 “Their throats are open graves;
    their tongues practice deceit.”[c]
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”[d]
14     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[e]
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16     ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”[f]
18     “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[g]

  1. Romans 3:12 Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Eccles. 7:20
  2. Romans 3:13 Psalm 5:9
  3. Romans 3:13 Psalm 140:3
  4. Romans 3:14 Psalm 10:7 (see Septuagint)
  5. Romans 3:17 Isaiah 59:7,8
  6. Romans 3:18 Psalm 36:1

It didn’t.  At all. So- there literally was no point to the flood as far as ‘fixing human wickedness’ was concerned.  There was no point to the Flood as far as justice was concerned, because it destroyed the innocent (the children) as well as the guilty.

Which leaves the racial purity argument.  The angel babies possibly had a longer life span than normal humans- and ‘They were the heroes of old, men of renown.’

God essentially didn’t want to be humans to be any stronger than they are now.

Let me rephrase that.  A being who is willing to commit genocide (the genesis flood)- or to force humans, on pain of death, to commit genocide (Israel’s conquest of Canaan)- or mind control humans into disobeying him and then killing their children as punishment for disobeying him (the death of the firstborn of Egypt)-

Didn’t want humans to be any stronger than they are now.

He wouldn’t, would he?

Sometimes I think that the most incurably wicked thing we have ever done is worship Him.

On my final round of incontinence checks, just before dawn, I stuck my head into one of the rooms. I blinked a little bit- to see if I could clear up the double image I was seeing. Then I realized I wasn’t hallucinating after all.  One of the old men had wandered into the room while I was away.  The old lady, who’s room it was, was asleep, under all her blankets, and the old man had lain down on top of the blankets, next to her.  He was snuggled up against her, asleep.

I went over to wake him up.

“Who’s there?” the old lady asked, under her blankets. “Is that a man?  Get out!! Get out!”

“I think you’re in the wrong room” I told him.

“Oh! Oh!” he said.  He stood up. He started wandering around the room, looking for the door.  When I got him out to the hallway he started off in the wrong direction, checking the doors for his room number.

I walked him back to his room.

Sometimes I think our need to- to not be alone-  the need to be connected with someone- is a lot stronger than our grasp of reality.

We see, on a total stranger, the face of someone who loves us. And we love him back.


Hail, forgotten hero!
Hail, ambassador of the Abyss!
Hail, voyager into realms known- out of realms unknown!
Hail, the Mind’s Eye, which cannot see itself.

The forbidding quest of blind desire
is not for anyone.
The Spirit knows what it wants,
but the Will wills in secret
and achieves her secret-
infinitely collapses into the finite.
Not many are called-
towards the far side of destiny
and everything that’s waiting for them there-
But all are chosen.
None of them come back.

At the journey’s end,
by the cauldron of endless life,
at the well of the world’s end,
in the mouth of the cave the first man crawled out of
the day he climbed towards the sun,
caught by shoelace and jacket by thorns
on purpose-

The Spirit is jealous of his Sister
He’ll hold her back or spur her on
down the wrong track.
No matter.

The Canaanite Prize. We wants it, precious.

Last time JM explained to us, with a story, what the Canaanite Prize is.

It’s when he blames other people for things they had nothing to do with!

I mean…

It’s when some one disagrees with his general position and he doesn’t like it and pretends that he is able to read so that he can say that the Bible says something on the subject!

I mean…

It’s when… young people…. leave… his subculture… publicly?

So far all of these definitions seem to describe what he called the Canaanite Prize, and I myself am a little confused, but I haven’t forgotten about the copy of the Divine Comedy he promised to the winner.

I want it. I want it real bad.

So. If I am to have any hope of winning this prize, I had better figure out more specifically what qualifying characteristics a winner must have. And we’re in luck! After butchering the story of Noah and Ham, he spends the entire rest of his article listing off characteristics of the ‘Canaanite.’ Its a little difficult to follow him here, because apparently having all of the sentences in a paragraph relate to the same topic isn’t part of his religion, BUT I count somewhere between 11 and 14 characteristics.

Roughly halfway through the list, JM explains how many characteristics of a ‘Canaanite’ he is describing in the article.


Shall we begin?

1) We are speaking of ‘first world problems.’ Kids not allowed to listen to Michael Jackson… Dungeons and Dragons… R-rated movies… evolution…

He seems to be using the phrase ‘first world problem’ symbolically, to refer to the fact that, while they were not denied food- a third world problem and presumably a legitimate complaint- they were subject to strict information control in their families of origin.

How does this work? Everything from popular music to textbooks is carefully censored and edited to give the young baptists/fundamentalists-to-be the impression that there IS NO WORLD outside the confines of their parents’ whims and opinions, and if anything DOES exist, it is frightening, dangerous, and pitiably stupid.

If you attempt to leave- YOU WILL FALL OFF THE EDGE OF THE EARTH.

-Micheal Jackson’s music? Forbidden! It contains references to sex and sexuality! A single exposure to it will corrupt your mind, force you to commit adultery RIGHT THEN AND THERE and render you permanently DEFILED in the eyes of God and Man.

(And even worse… there’s… DANCING. 0_o)

-Fantasy games like Dungeons and Dragons? FORBIDDEN!!! There might be DEMONS living in the cards! They might EAT YOUR SOULS. Not even JESUS- not even the HOLY GHOST (Under Who’s Hovering Wings The Visible Universe Was Birthed Out of Water) and Their Indwelling Presences In Your Heart are powerful enough to protect you from a life of slavery to DEMONS if you play with fantasy card games! Or even TOUCH the cards! Or even LOOK at them!

Let us all kneel and pray to be saved from Dungeons and Dragons, RIGHT NOW, children.

-Basic scientific facts about the world we live in, such as evolution? NEVER!! That might provoke the thought that anything other that a mindlessly literal interpretation of the Bible is possible.

And if any other way of reading the Bible is allowed, it would probably turn out to be WRONG to communally execute gay people by throwing rocks at them until their heads crack open!! OH NOES!!!

To be perfectly honest, censorship of this sort is not a problem normally encountered by denizens of the first world.

Its normally found in places like North Korea.

Or M. Knight Shyamalan’s The Village.

The North Koreans have it easy though. They aren’t living scattered across the face of America, surrounded by living visible contradictions to what they say. JM’s subculture is. And they still attempt to pull it off.

Impressive, no?

For what its worth- Steven Alan Hassan (who can both count and write an outline) of The BITE Model of Cult Mind Control lists information control as one of the 4 pillars upon which cults’ control of their members rests.

You can read all about this here.

It has to do with a thing called plausibility structure. What any given person instinctively responds to as plausible or implausible depends on the sum total of the information they have access to.

Aka- is it possible that demons will eat my soul if I touch a playing piece from a nerd game?

To a person raised on Frank Peretti and the Bible and denied any other information about the universe, it will seem possible that this will happen.

To a person with a basic education… it will seem a lot less likely.

Control the information a person has access to, and you can control the shape of the universe they believe they are moving it.

Control the shape of the universe they believe they are moving in- and you can control where and when they move.

God. What whiners these Canaanites are. Wanting access to information we don’t authorize. Sheesh.

JM ends this paragraph by mocking the sense of dislocation felt by those brought up in such an environment upon leaving.

They tell the tales of the childhoods of millions of young people to secular folk in the same breathless manner that the National Geographic used to write of African tribal culture. ”You cannot believe what these people do and believe!”

Well, yes. Considering that the childhoods of these millions of young people were spent with a set of rules conceived of in the Bronze Age as the only safe or worthy topic of thought, this isn’t surprising.

Most African tribes moved on to the use of iron.


Now. Here’s the important part of this. Do I, personally, qualify?!?

Yes! I do! My parents home schooled me to protect me from evil science classes. Any radio stations other than the two Christian ones were forbidden. Internet access (when we finally got it) was located in a main traffic pattern in a house inhabited by 10 people. And we lived out in the middle of the country, far from any other people/kids who might let slip non-approved information. And were mostly not allowed to go out of the line of sight from the house. Even when we were adults. In case a stranger happened to drive past and rape us with his car.

There was one deviation from JM’s description though. We were allowed to watch R-rated movies. If the R-rating was for violence anyway. An R for anything else was Verboten like everything else, but violence? Murder? People being hacked to pieces or blown up or impaled?

That was A-Okay.

Tune in next time- for the laughable pathetic Canaanite trait of wanting to expose hypocrisy!!

The Fall of God

This is a bit choppy, but I swear these are all related.  Bear with me.

Here’s a thought.  God created humans ‘in his own image’.   Humans fell.

Tyre was an island in the Mediterranean.  The Phoenicians, the great shipbuilders and traders of the ancient world, had a city there.  The city had done well.  Very well.  And had become an independent power, of sorts.

Here’s a map.


There’s a poem in Ezekiel.  Its a longish poem.  Hang in there.  It goes like this.

28:1 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘In the pride of your heart
    you say, “I am a god;
I sit on the throne of a god
    in the heart of the seas.”
But you are a mere mortal and not a god,
    though you think you are as wise as a god.
Are you wiser than Daniel?
    Is no secret hidden from you?
By your wisdom and understanding
    you have gained wealth for yourself
and amassed gold and silver
    in your treasuries.
By your great skill in trading
    you have increased your wealth,
and because of your wealth
    your heart has grown proud.

“‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘Because you think you are wise,
    as wise as a god,
I am going to bring foreigners against you,
    the most ruthless of nations;
they will draw their swords against your beauty and wisdom
    and pierce your shining splendor.
They will bring you down to the pit,
    and you will die a violent death
    in the heart of the seas.
Will you then say, “I am a god,”
    in the presence of those who kill you?
You will be but a mortal, not a god,
    in the hands of those who slay you.
10 You will die the death of the uncircumcised
    at the hands of foreigners.

I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

So, pretty much, the King of Tyre thinks he’s real cool.  I’m not sure why God took offence at him particularly, as many rulers of the ancient world got their authority from ‘being’ a god or being descended from a god.  But for some reason the King of Tyre has gotten on God’s nerves MORE than Pharaoh and MORE than the kings of Ur and MORE than the Meso-Americans and God is being sarcastic to the King of Tyre about how pathetic and not-god like he is with all his stupid little boats and stuff.

(And God is going to make sure he and all his people die horribly. BTW.)

Then the sarcasm takes a weird turn.

11 The word of the Lord came to me: 12 “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘You were the seal of perfection,
    full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden,
    the garden of God;
every precious stone adorned you:
    carnelian, chrysolite and emerald,
    topaz, onyx and jasper,
    lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.
Your settings and mountings were made of gold;
    on the day you were created they were prepared.
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub,
    for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
    you walked among the fiery stones.
15 You were blameless in your ways
    from the day you were created
    till wickedness was found in you.
16 Through your widespread trade
    you were filled with violence,
    and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God,
    and I expelled you, guardian cherub,
    from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart became proud
    on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom
    because of your splendor.
So I threw you to the earth;
    I made a spectacle of you before kings.
18 By your many sins and dishonest trade
    you have desecrated your sanctuaries.
So I made a fire come out from you,
    and it consumed you,
and I reduced you to ashes on the ground
    in the sight of all who were watching.
19 All the nations who knew you
    are appalled at you;
you have come to a horrible end
    and will be no more.’”

I’ve always heard that this passage described as a description of Lucifer, the Fallen Angel, and his Expulsion from Heaven.  God’s enemy. But up till now God hasn’t been saying anything about the King Tyre having anything to do with God’s enemy.

What ticked God off about humans in the Garden was about how they wanted to be like God (knowing good and evil). They wanted to be like HIM.

What’s irritating God about the King of Tyre is that this mere human feels that he’s godlike in some way.  Is the god that the King of Tyre wants to be like also HIM?

In this third portion of the poem, God is describing the human in terms that could only apply to a god. To show off how much it doesn’t apply.

Is it possible that he’s using a description of Himself?

The god in this poem falls.

Humans fell.  And they were God’s Image. Was the Fall part of that Image?

Did God Fall too?


John Mark Reynolds and the Canaanite Prize

trigger warnings: genocide, sexual abuse, emotional abuse

John Mark Reynolds.  Ah, John Mark.

I try to avoid stereotypes, but it feels oddly right and hilarious that John Mark Reynolds is a Baptist.  And not just any Baptist.  He’s the Provost of Houston Baptist University.

He’s the King of Baptists.

The King of Baptists is offering a prize.  I want to win it.

Do you hear me, John Mark Reynolds? Are you listening? Are you going to give me your prize?

The winner is to be sent a copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy.  Perhaps his copy will be more expensive than mine. Perhaps the ice and flames of the Inferno will crackle more as Dante walks past.

I want it so much.

I wonder what the qualifications are.  Let’s see.

He opens by referencing a story, from which he takes the title of the prize.  It’s probably important to understand the story.  Right?

He begins with Noah. You know.  Noah.  Who, as the story is told, was one of the few survivors of God’s most spectacular genocidal outbreaks- the destruction of an entire inhabited planet.

God should consider a role as a science fiction villain.  He could use method acting.  He wouldn’t even have to take on a different personality than the one he has now.

God’s reasons for doing this are somewhat murky.  As the story is told, humans had become terribly violent, and therefore deserved to be destroyed… but then God is rather violent as well.   He had specifically created humans in his image- what did he expect?

Perhaps he didn’t like to be reminded of what he looked like.

Another, more obscure, reason has to do with ‘The Sons of God’.  That title, along with a reference to mortality/immortality has been interpreted as meaning Angels.  Some people try to make this less horrifying by saying that ‘the Sons of God’ were Noah’s direct line of ancestors, but the sad fact is that ‘the Sons of God’  were looking over the population of human women and ‘marrying whichever of them they chose’.

Did you catch that?  Not whichever of them accepted an offer of marriage or (if you’re going to be all patriarchal about it) was offered to them in marriage- but just- whoever they had the hots for.  Whoever they chose.

Whoever they took.

Noah’s direct line of ancestors was an extreme minority among the people of the world. It’s not likely that they had that kind of power, especially if the evil, wicked world was so violent and all, and they were God’s little lambs.

God was understandably offended by this Angel/human interaction.  He decided, after playing omniscient voyeur for close to a thousand years before doing anything about it, that drastic measure were called for.

Those filthy humans had to be punished.

I mean- that a person has been raped or been habitually non-consensually used for sexual pleasure- by one of your subordinates- in a situation where the subordinate had near total power over them- and YOU had near total power over your subordinate- and you knew what was happening the whole time-

It is an EXCELLENT reason to punish that person- right?

(In case Mr. Reynolds is reading- that last sentence is what’s referred to as ‘sarcasm’.)

Oh, but ‘for whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes’- God wiped out the entire human race.  Except for Noah and his family.  God decided to keep them alive.

Have you ever heard of PTSD?  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

NIMH defines it this way.

PTSD develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. The person who develops PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to loved ones or strangers.

PTSD was first brought to public attention in relation to war veterans, but it can result from a variety of traumatic incidents, such as mugging, rape, torture, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes.

The Lone Survivor Foundation, geared towards helping veterans of war, among whom the disorder was first identified, has this to say.

… PTSD leaves SM/Vets with painful symptoms such as flashbacks, avoidance, isolation, and hyper-arousal reactions including anger outbursts, tension and hyper-vigilance. These emotional and behavioral changes can have devastating effects on someone’s interpersonal life, but also their family and work life as well. If left untreated, PTSD can spiral into other problems such as panic disorder, substance abuse, depression, and suicidal feelings.

According to the Bible, after witnessing the extermination of his entire race, Noah took up gardening as a hobby.  He took up the growing of grapes. And the collecting of grape juice. And…

Genesis 9:20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded[a] to plant a vineyard. 21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent.

Funny.  That almost sounds like- AT LEAST- substance abuse and depression.  I could be wrong.

Mr. Reynolds has something to say about this incident.

He is famous for his ark and the grace he found in the eyes of the Lord, but his struggle with drunken behavior is less well known. A man who saw the world before the Flood destroyed it evidently could not face life in the wreckage…

Aww!  Mr Reynolds is almost being sympathetic isn’t he?

…and so he drank, as foolish men do, to dull the pain.

Because if your entire universe consists of God and the world as you know it, and then God destroys the world as you know it, specifically keeping you alive- to watch?!? Why? God! I wasn’t different- all humans have fallen short of your glory- Why did I have to live? Why couldn’t you have just killed me too? Please! If we’re so worthless in your eyes- if we have failed so badly- Maker- please- just let me die…

And then God dumps you in the rubble and leaves, you have so many other resources to fall back on that getting drunk is just foolish, isn’t it?

Mr.  Reynolds is a Provost.  At a University.  He clearly understands all this better than poor Noah did.  Or at least has stronger character.

And then, along comes Noah’s son, Ham.

Ham had also witnessed the extermination of his entire race.

In adults, PTSD causes emotional disturbance, angry outbursts, and can devastate interpersonal relationships.  Ham was probably an adult when the flood took place, but NIMH also points out that…

Older children and teens… may also develop disruptive, disrespectful, or destructive behaviors. Older children and teens may feel guilty for not preventing injury or deaths. They may also have thoughts of revenge. For more information, see the NIMH booklets on helping children cope with violence and disasters. 

Noah, apparently, didn’t have access to the NIHM booklets on helping children cope with violence and disasters.

The Bible says that-

Genesis 9:22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. 

The Bible contrasts the two brothers with Ham by saying that they walked into the tent backwards, and put a garment over their father, covering his nakedness. They had to- to prove they hadn’t done what Ham had done. It seems that Ham didn’t just walk in and glance over at the naked, drunken Noah.  He looked at his father.

Found favor in his eyes, did you?  Were you putting out too? Were you his little pet?   What kind of equipment do you have, daddy, that He liked you so much? 

Noah, who’s mental health could not possibly have benefited from being looked at, woke up and heard what had happened.  Heard what Ham had told his brothers outside the tent.



And had they lived in a house, before?




Noah flew into a fit of rage.  Cursed…! Cursed…!  Hands shaking, he pointed at Ham, Cursed be… Canaan! 

The family knew what he meant.  The fruit of Ham’s loins, his son.  The power of generation his eyes had fondled and mocked in his father.  The sensuality that had just been too much for the Angels to resist, that had been the reason for the more or less enslavement and then the destruction of the human race. Cursed be Canaan. CursedForever.

Here’s what Mr. Reynolds has to say about this.

Noah was not pleased and so cursed the offspring of this undutiful son proving he was an undutiful father and grandfather: the prototype for the angry drunk as ruler.

Again, Mr. Reynolds has so much better moral fiber than that undutiful Noah. He’s in a position to judge. Aren’t you glad he established that?  Noah was an angry drunk and the family tyrant as well.  Tsk tsk.

Now comes the awkward part- the part where Mr. Reynolds explains what this story has to do with his award.

This is a little sad.  If you’ve made it this far, you have endured my storytelling.  I’m sure some people will find it biased.  I don’t argue with them, one way or the other. But, sadly,  I have all the major points of the story here, more or less in order, however I may have slanted them.

We’ve come to the part of the story that reflects highly on the institution at which Mr. Reynolds holds a post.

We’ve come to the part of the story where Mr. Reynolds can’t read.

Ever since Canaan was cursed, he has had eager followers: those young adults, and not so young adults, eager to expose their parent’s nakedness for profit. 

Explain to me.  ANYONE.  Where profit was involved in ANY OF THIS?  Explain to me where the actual person of Canaan had ANYTHING TO DO with his  grandfather’s nakedness?  Explain to me how, although Mr. Reynolds, so wise and noble, HIMSELF called NOAH, THE ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD TO FIND FAVOR IN THE EYES OF GOD ALMIGHTY, UNDUTIFUL and an angry DRUNK, for attributing Ham’s sin to Canaan, he himself has has no problem making the exact same attribution?   

How he dares casually heap scorn on Noah, and then causally heap scorn on Ham/Canaan for casually heaping scorn on Noah?

Alright.  No.  I suppose some questions are better not answered.  Let it suffice to say that, no matter what bias you tell the story with,

1) Canaan did not expose his parent

2) Canaan did not expose Noah

3) Canaan was not eager to expose Noah (or either of his parents)

4) Canaan did not do any of the things that he did not do for the motive of monetary gain

5) Canaan was completely uninvolved in this story, except as a kind of revenge on Ham


6) Canaan can’t have followers of any age because Canaan didn’t actually do anything.

Except, of course, being punished for someone else’s crime.

This is the name of the award Mr. Reynolds says he’s going to hand out.  The Canaan Award.

Fitting isn’t it?

And we’ve only just begun.


Here is his full article. If anyone can answer my questions- please do.