Audie Murphy: Now THERE’S a Real Movie Star (Nehemiah 1-3)

Nehemiah is one of the worst storytellers ever. I don’t know how he made the final cut of the Bible. He must have slept with someone.

Nehemiah tells stories like my Dad tells stories: under the assumption that his listener has the same background knowledge that he does about people, places and things. It seems that everytime I go home to visit my parents, my Dad goes on and on about old movies stars like Audie Murphy (who?) and past events like the four-minute mile (imperial system?). And he never seems to notice my eyes glaze over, or my half-hearted attempts to change the subject (how ’bout that Amanda Knox?).

From the sounds of it, Nehemiah is some boring do-gooder who feels profoundly moved by the fact that Jerusalem has gone to shit. So he asks his king, King Artaxerxes, for leave so he can go and help out. Here is his long-winded account of that meeting: “…in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and give it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. And the king said to me, ‘Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing else but sadness of the heart.’ Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “Let the king live for ever! Why should not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lies waste, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” (Neh 2:1-4).

And that’s not even the whole account. It exemplifies another trait of a bad storyteller: extraneous detail. He lost me with the sad face, wine, ass-kissing, etc. Although, the most interesting part, admittedly, is that the king thinks sadness is warranted only when a person’s sick. Talk about being alienated from emotion. That king probably does improv, stand-up  or sketch. One of the three, for sure.

Anyways, Nehemiah packs up and heads over to Jerusalem. He describes all different parts of the city as if the reader is familar with it. Here are some interesting attractions, if you happen to be visiting Jerusalem centuries in the past, that you might want to visit:

– the Tower of the Hundred (a hundred of what?)

– the Fish Gate (sushi joint)

– the Broad Wall (lots of pencil skirts here)

– the Dung Gate (least popular)

– the Tower of the Ovens (did someone say ol’ fahioned bake-off?)

– the Muster Gate  (did not pass muster)

Audie Murphy: war hero AND movie star (the kids love 'im)

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Published in: on November 6, 2011 at 11:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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What’s the Diff? (Deuteronomy 4-6)

God is one of those annoying people at parties who tell you the same story even if you’ve heard it before and even if you say, “Yeah, I remember that one”. Those people tell you the story not for the benefit of others who haven’t heard it but just to hear their own voice.

In Deutoronomy 4, God deems it necessary to rehash the rule against making and worshipping idols and graven images. He admits to being a “jealous god” and a “devouring fire” (Deu 4:24). Why is it okay for God to be jealous but one of his people can’t covet his neighbour’s wife? In the words of a bratty friend of mine, Tara K., “What’s the diff?”.

A side note: Tara K. was any parent’s worst nightmare. Obnoxious and loud, she always managed to break something whenever she came over to my house and give a lot of sass to boot. One time my parents let me bring her to one of their friend’s cottages for the weekend. She broke a full stack of dishes and a special hammock from Costa Rica. When my parents’ friend criticized her for setting the table wrong (the blade of the knife facing out, not in), Tara simply stuck her hip out and asked, “What’s the diff?”. My parent’s friend full-on slapped her in the face. It was amazing. I can’t say I blame my parents’ friend. Tara had been there nearly thirty-six hours.

Back to God being jealous. He wants everyone to have the following posted on their doors: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” (Deu 6:4). That’s just too many words. Cumbersome compared to “Home, Sweet, Home”. This seems to me to be the Biblical equivalent of God wanting his people to post “In a Covenant” on their Facebook pages.

God keeps bringing up the fact that he brought his people out of Egypt, which he calls “the Iron Furnace” (Deu 4:24). I wonder why Egypt doesn’t use that epithet to promote tourism. Another side note: Cobourg, the town that I hail from, has a sign that reads, “Cobourg, the Feel Good Town”. I’ve always thought this would better fit a place like Cabo, which I imagine having more drinks in coconuts and less pregnant teenagers.

 

Published in: on March 11, 2011 at 3:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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