In which I indulge in idolatry

photo(5)At the Fourth and Forest church of Christ in Joplin, Mo., you wouldn’t find so much as a cross on the wall, not a tapestry, not a statue, though we spoke a great deal about the cross. We sang songs about it, to, but you’d find no graven images of same, nor did the young women of the church wear those little gold crosses around their necks. That sort of symbolism so prevalent in the rest of Christendom was viewed as idolatry by we chosen, and so we didn’t indulge. I always kind of felt sorry for people who needed to wear a symbol of their faith to remind themselves that they were [fill in the blank]. Me, I knew in my heart.

Need I add that we didn’t have saints, either — at least, not in the Roman Catholic sense of  saints. We called each other saints. We were the elect.

What’s that phrase? Judge not, that ye be not judged (KJV, Matt. 7:1)?

I live in a 1930s bungalow that I love in a town that’s too far from my work and my family. And so we’re selling, we hope. But we know the market and we know it may be a long slog.

In the middle of painting and repairing and basically doing things around the house we should have been doing all along, as a goof  I went online and bought a statue of St. Joseph to bury in the yard. I’d heard it might move things along more quickly. I’d say I bought the statue for good luck, but the card that came with it insisted that it was for intercession, that St. Joseph would intervene and move someone to make a decent offer on the house. Several friends of mine have bought and buried such a statue, and one said her house sold within a week.

(The whole debate of whether you bury the statue upside down, rightside up, facing the street, or facing the house was dismissed as so much silliness by the manufacturer of my particular Joseph.)

(For the record, I buried him rightside up, facing the street.)

Now, I’m not so sure. Read this prayer to St. Joseph geared specifically for real estate. It includes this:

Saint Joseph, I am going to place you in a difficult position with your head in darkness and you will suffer as our Lord suffered, until this [house/property] is sold. Then, Saint Joseph, I swear before the cross and God Almighty, that I will redeem you and you will receive my gratitude and a place of honour in my home.

Perhaps we can all agree that that’s just weird, that you would tell a statue that you will place it “in a difficult position with your head in darkness” so that the statue will suffer “as our Lord suffered” hanging from the cross. Uh, no. Now I feel a little bad about putting him in the cold ground, and I’m wondering if I’m going to have to turn in my fundamentalist Christian decoder ring for a Catholic one. It’s not the flat real estate market that worries me. What worries me is this: Am I Catholic? Is Fundamentalist Baby Jesus crying somewhere?

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    1. With all due respect, I’m a little relieved. Thank you. Don’t wanna love my fundamentalist decoder ring. Or the matching mug.

      1. Is there one of those things a person could use to get their state Republicans to pass the Medicaid Expansion?

          1. HA!
            I should have known that! If we lose again this year it will be Three Strikes You’re Out!

                1. What’s the from, “we endeavor to persevere?” I know I’ve read that somewhere….or dreamed it…

                  1. It’s usually attributed to Chief Joseph, the Nez Percé leader, but that’s probably the result of a popular Clint Eastwood movie, The Outlaw Josie Wales. It’s included in the dialogue of Chief Dan Gorge, playing Lone Watie, (clip).

                    You might be thinking of the George Wootton poem here.

                    1. Ha. You give me too much credit, “you might be thinkin gof the George Wootton poem.” I don’t think of poems, unless it’s dirty limericks. It is a failing of mine, not loving poetry.

                    2. Calvin’s Commentary on John 8:30-38 perhaps?

                      He distinguishes his followers from hypocrites by this mark, that they who falsely boasted of faith give way as soon as they have entered into the course, or at least in the middle of it; but believers persevere constantly to the end. If, therefore, we wish that Christ should reckon us to be his disciples, we must endeavor to persevere.

  1. I hAve some sort of frog/dragon with a coin in its mouth, supposed to bring wealth. Maybe he needs to suffer before I get the money.

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