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   Paul | Diary
Paul
During the 40 days and 40 nights of the Ark's voyage, our 12 crew members will be recording their thoughts and feelings about their Arkmates, the tasks and crises they'll be facing, and the dreadful prospect of walking the plank before the Ark reaches Mt Ararat. For Paul's Diary, read on... and click the "comments" links to add your own comments to any of his diary entries.
Adios, Au Revoir, Auf Wiedersehn!May 29, 23:00
Well, I leave in much the same way as I came ...

in danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers and sisters ...

In Damascus, the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of Damascus in order to seize me, but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

Think I'll get that lucky this time?

Not a chance!

But I can see the lights of the harbor at Corinth from here, and over the water I hear the thumping bass and sounds of ...

Morris Day and the Time!!!

"Jungle love! Oh-wee-oh-wee-oh! Girl I want to show ya, show ya!"

Time for the apostle to GET DOWN with the Corinthians!

Let no one make trouble for me, for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. AMEN.
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A sleepless nightMay 29, 4:18
Ararat faded into the darkness as the sun set and the stars emerged. Will I ever get there? Or will I take a short, sharp detour into the welcoming arms of the squid?

Musing ...

Oddly ...

Poems emerge. Little haikus, as it were.

John shimmies sideways
Just blame it on the boogie
Prophesies mislaid.

Esther passes by
Can't breathe! Can't breathe! I can't breathe!
Rain-moistened pink dress.

Plank-walking Martha --
wet jumper doesn't do it
not like the pink dress.

Oh my. Jezebel.
'Bitch' tattoo fades under waves.
Gone. My love is gone.

Big, burly Samson
Man with a kitten's soft heart
He's a big wussie.

So long to Simon
over songs and tequila.
Whoops! He's no floater.

Mags the apostle
hates her beehive and twin set
Just lose it, baby!

'What's happenin', God-dude?'
that's the limit of wit for
Nebuchadnezzar.

Without his own staff
there was no parting this sea.
Buh-bye to Moses.

Three leaves or four leaves?
When Eve freezes up near you
Why bother counting?

A study fixture
Exisistential bartender
Job, sad and dreary.

Why preach the gospel
When God says just to bag it?
Party time for Paul!

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another vote, another songMay 28, 2:05
OK God ... you can stop now! These songs are getting too weird! As the tension increases, as the plank still looms, the verses God gives me are becoming apocalyptic!

This is much more in the mode of old John of Patmos, not sensible, clean-living Paul of Tarsus. Nonetheless, these are the words the Lord gave me in the night:


It's the End of the World as We Know it (and I feel fine?)

Thatís great, it starts with an Ark quake,
Rain and shake and hydroplane,
The Apostle Paul is not afraid!
Eye of a hurricane, listen to the motors churn,
Gabe watches all our deeds, donít misserve your own needs.
Missing Simon Rock Pete, grunt no, spew no,
Ladder structure clatter to the Crowís Nest, itís best.
God with no bod, listen to the Arkmates whine
With a brief nod and another test.
Left there in a big olí hurry with Jezebelís fury breathing
Down my neck.
One by one Arkmates baffled, called up, nom tough,
Look at that vote go! Fine then.
Uh oh, donít you know, couch time, Gabe time, what heíll do.
Save yourself, serve yourself.
Jez served her own needs, Listen to my heart bleed.
Tell me whereís the rapture, am I reverent or right Ö
Right?
John vitrolic, some neurotic, slam, dance bright light
Looking pretty psyched.

Itís the end of the world as we know it.
Itís the end of the world as we know it.
Itís the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Ten oíclock, Ark hour. Donít get caught in Godís tower.
Slash and burn, votes turn, listen to the motors churn.
Lock Rex in the beast hold and critters calling, life falling.
All his strength degenerate Ö the unicorn still celibate.
What a struggle, whatís our motive? Vote down, vote down.
Watch a person crushed, crush. Uh oh, this means
No fear, Gabe my dear! Dodge the vote and steer clear!
A parliament, a parliament of unseen spies. Offer me new songs,
Offer me prophesies and I decline.

Itís the end of the world as we know it.
Itís the end of the world as we know it.
Itís the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

The other night I tripped a nice
Juliet role divide, Bowed all in a line,
WISHED JEZEBEL WAS MINE!
Martha and Samson, Job and Mo and Eve and Mags
Birthday party, hash cake, what you mean? Boom!
John vitriolic, some neurotic, grab his neck? Right?
Right!

Itís the end of the world as we know it.
Itís the end of the world as we know it.
Itís the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.



... I *think* I feel fine. I also think that all this fasting is beginning to get to me. Roast dino sounds better and better!
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I Must Move ONMay 27, 17:14
Well, she's gone. As we all will be eventually. Meantime, it is clear that I am the only one on this boat with any experience at sea.

The weather looks pretty bad. In fact, I haven't seen it this bad since that fateful voyage when I traveled in chains to Rome and we got blown off course from Crete clear to Malta. Just as on that voyage, we have been without food for a long time (green goo does not count! nor does hash cake!) and also our hold is still full of cargo.

We can toss the packing boxes overboard, of course. But if things get really bad, what will we do about the animals?

We may have to free them and let them all swim for it. I haven't seen any lifeboats big enough for the elephants or T-Rex.

Nonetheless, we must be of good courage! God is with us (at least He was the last time I went up to the Crow's Nest)!

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Oh why? Oh why?May 26, 23:20
Jezebel!

(I have gone to bed. I am weeping. I NEVER weep! I am the apostle to the Gentiles! I am commissioned by the Lord! I must stop! What is this in the face of the New Creation? What is this in the face of Christ crucified?)

Oh my ...

Jezebel ...

my love ...
4 comments

Third wheelMay 26, 14:32
Esther and John smelling all of April and May ... when they're in a room together, it's like anyone else doesn't even exist! I was de trop all day yesterday ... I could have stayed in bed myself (and still been nominated).
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Another nomination, another songMay 26, 2:06
I do not understand how these songs keep coming to me! Every time I face the plank, God sends me another:

My Way

And now, the end is near,
And so I face another planking
My friends, I'll say it clear,
Iíve had some fun, and so Iím thanking
God and Gabe and all
The Arkmates on this crazy Fry Day
But more, much more than this, I did it MY WAY.

Regurgitations, I've had a few;
But then again, not like S. Peter.
I spewed when I had to spew
And repented after Ė it made it sweeter.
I panted after Esther
And strayed anon from the moral high way,
But more, much more than this, I did it MY WAY.

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I wished to love in Spirit and Truth
But Jez recoiled, gave me the sack,
She spurned my love and tossed it back
I faced it all and I stood tall;
And did it MY WAY.

I've bounced upon the beds,
I've talked to God about my mission.
As Juliet, I looked good dead
(And to kiss Martha, once more Iím wishing.)
To think I did all that;
And may I say - not in a shy way,
"No, oh no not me, I did it MY WAY".

For what is an apostle, what has he got?
If not the Gospel, then he has naught.
To speak the truth for which He died
And to preach Christ crucified
The record shows
I tried, God knows.
I did it MY WAY!
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Spared again!May 24, 13:21
I did think yesterday would be Paul's day to "bite the dust." (dum, dum, dum! Another one bites the dust!) But it was Sam! His big brawny hide and broken heart went over the side. He's a strong man though, and a good swimmer. Ararat can't be too far away; maybe he'll be waiting there for the Ark when it docks.

I am prepared for anything now.

The epistle to the Corinthians is complete.

I have gradually learned to cope with the once-unfamiliar, but now all-too-familiar feelings that overwhelm me when Esther enters the room (all I will say is that quantities of duct tape help!).

I have also learned to let go a little, to sing and to dance and get down and boogie. John has been a role model for me, showing me that both the prophetic and the party-riffic voices can live within one man.

And I have abandoned any hope that anything I feel or wish or do will ever matter to a certain pretty pagan princess. God love her! Because I believe it's a task too impossible for any mortal.

Easier to love that thing in the hold, that relic of an earlier age. It looks so pathetic there in its cage, groaning, moaning, holding its sides and emitting hideous odors (reminds me of Simon Peter on a good day!). But what can any of us do to help it? The cage is locked, and none of us has veterinary training. Even Martha, with all her ingenuity, can't devise a treatment plan.

And it bothers me that there is only one specimen of it. What was God thinking? How is it to be saved when the flood is over, if it can't reproduce? Are the T-Rex and the unicorn (another singleton) both doomed to perish from the earth?
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I have to stop dreaming like this!May 23, 17:45
Planking ... or threats of planking ... are disturbing my sleep. That's why I've been sleeping out on the deckchairs, under the stars, hoping the wind and the water will soothe my soul.

I am used to getting words from the Lord. I am used to communicating those words in clear, understandable koine Greek to my churches. I am not used to getting songs from the Lord. But another one was given to me in the night:

Another One Bites The Dust

Paul walks warily toward the couch
With his head hung way down low
Ain't no sound but the bubbles of Gabe
The announcement's ready to go
Are you ready, are you ready for this?
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat?
Out of his bubbles the ellipses rip
To the sound of this beat:

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I'm gonna get you too
Another one bites the dust

How do you think I'm gonna get along
With Sydney the big Squid?
If I take the plunge and tumble down
Will the rest of you flip your lid?
Are you happy? Are you satisfied?
How long can you stand the heat?
Out of his bubble the ellipses rip
To the sound of the beat

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust

There are plenty of ways you can hurt a man
And toss him off to drown
You can vote him
Or de-boat him
You can push him off and send him falling down.
But I'm ready, yes I'm ready for you
I'm standing on my sandaled feet.
Out of his bubbles the ellipses rip
Repeating the sound of the beat.

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
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So who WAS making all that noise?May 23, 3:46
If I was asleep on the deck ...

And Jez kept hearing bedsprings bouncing all night ...

Then WHO was keeping her awake?

Now that's a question to give ANYONE insomnia!
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Nommed again!May 22, 23:49
But this time there are four of us. Must mean I'm not as universally detested as I had imagined.

But I rejoice in all circumstances.

After all, I have learned to be content with whatever ... I know what it is to be hungry (boy, howdy!) and I know what it is to be well-fed (but not on this tub!), to have plenty and to be in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

In any case, it is kind of three other Arkmates to share my distress.
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whom shall I name?May 22, 19:56
Well, God has cut off most of the nominating options I have tried. I suppose that means I actually have to come up with two names and reasons as well.

Oh crap! (skybala!) Why can't we just live life according to that great motto from "Risky Business" -- "Sometimes you've just got to say, 'What the ***!'"

Nonetheless. Rejoice in the Lord always. And again, I say, REJOICE.
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Third Epistle to the Corinthians (concluded)May 22, 5:05
Chapter Nine (still draft 1)


Look.

If you Corinthians donít know by now that you should not be screwing each other like bunnies, then thereís not much that any letter of mine can do to help you.

And if you want to be fat, get heart disease and die of a massive stroke, then fine: eat and drink whatever you want. Make your bodies huge, greasy temples of the Lord. You wonít enjoy them long, but maybe youíll have some fun along the way.

And you know, if you are misusing the Internet, itís going to catch up with you. Do you think what you type is actually PRIVATE? Do you think those so-called 15-year-old hotties youíre chatting with on AOL are really 15 and really hot? They might be cops, you know. Youíd better watch it.

I am coming to you very soon. I hope I will find you all well, tolerably continent, and not too overweight, drunk, or abusive.

Greet Sophronia, and tell her to have the wine opened for a while to breathe, but keep it at cellar temperature.

Greet Beegus and tell him to have the music cranked up to the max when I arrive.

Greet Maximus and his children, who taught me how much fun it is to jump on beds.

Greet Priscilla, and tell her that her daughter will not be 13 forever.

Greet my co-workers in the Lord Ė Job and Moses and Eve and Mary and Neb and Simon. Tell them they were just awesome.

Greet all the bartenders and waiters down at Moxieís Place, and tell them I will be there soon.

Greet one another with a holy kiss. I SAID Ö HOLY kiss. Put your tongues back in your mouths this instant!

The God of peace will shortly crush Satan under your disco-danciní feet!

I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. (In GREAT BIG LETTERS Ö see?)

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

My love be with all of you in Christ Jesus.
AMEN.


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No applause, no applause; just throw money!May 22, 4:21
The performance of Romeo and Juliet was something to see! Esther and Jez bitch-slapping each other (since they didn't have swords), Samson as an enormous and poisonous nurse. John as ... my MOTHER? And Martha as a buff and macho Romeo and me as a very 13-year-old Juliet.

I am stage-struck! The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd, and all that. I wonder if I can be a player in the next Plautus farce in the ampitheater in Ephesus?

Then ... a MOST SATISFACTORY discussion with the Almighty in the Crow's Nest. (Although sometimes He can be positively snide ... maybe it's His diet. Lactose intolerance can do that to you. That's where the kosher meat and milk rules came from, I bet!)

At any rate, I have a new commission ... NO commission from the Lord. I can jump on the beds and generally enjoy myself for the rest of the cruise.

Forget evangelism, loving my enemies, and self-sacrifice. That nagging urge I have felt through this entire cruise, to cut loose, to partay, to get down tonight (oh yeah, get down tonight!) can now become my raison d'etre.

So, Jez will never know what it meant that I love her. Oh well.

Her loss.
1 comments

So long, Si!May 21, 14:03
Well, he finally took the plunge.

And I didn't!

(Despite my volunteering earlier to walk, I feel ... relieved, giddy, hopeful. Well not too hopeful ... I sense an urge from Jez and Esther to be done with me as well. My days may be numbered.)

But the greatest gift of all was the ministry of reconciliation that has been poured into our hearts. After decades of feuding, Simon Peter and I made it up at the end. Over shots of tequila and some stupid songs, the Arguing Apostles found peace at last. Kind of like those last days in Rome, when the Empire did us both in, he by the cross, I by the sword.

So who would have thought that a greasy, hypocritical, fish-stinking blowhard and an educated, uptight, urbane Pharisee would ever have made it up?

(Oh sorry, Si -- wherever you are. Sometimes I just can't help myself!)

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Another song!May 20, 21:51
I have received another word of the Lord ... or at least a song. This is EXTREMELY ODD for me ... usually I get some long thing about how we should all be behaving. Nonetheless, as I face the plank, this seems to fit.

99

I was dreamin' when I wrote this
Forgive me if it goes astray
But when I woke up this morning, girl
This morning was planking day

We gathered in the living room
Waiting to hear Gabriel say
Whether Paul or Pete would hit the squid
On this tumultuous day.

They say one-zero-zero party over, oops out of time.
So today I'm gonna party like it's
Ninety-nine

I was dreaming when I wrote this
So sue me if I go to fast
But the Ark is just a pleasure cruise
You know it wasn't meant to last

Esther is a bombshell
Jezebel prepares to fight
So if I gotta die, let me dance with the queens tonight.

They say one-zero-zero party over, oops out of time.
So today I'm gonna party like it's
Ninety-nine

Lemme tell ya something!

If you didn't come to party
Don't bother knocking on my door
There's a T-Rex in the hold
And baby he's a-ready to roar!

Yeah, everybody's gotta nominate
We can all die any day
but before I let that happen
I'll dance my life away.

They say one-zero-zero party over, oops, out of time.
So today I'm gonna party like it's
Ninety-nine.
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WaitingMay 20, 20:20
Now I KNOW, I mean I really do KNOW that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.

But waiting, waiting, waiting for the word is a mental and spiritual challenge. What will the great cloud of witnesses decide? And if I am spared today, for what purpose? Trying to love Jezebel is as futile as trying to convert her. Trying to dance, or to sing, or to join in with my Arkmates only earns me more scorn.

But I rejoice nonetheless, because suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts.

So I hope ...
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Simon and I are up for the plankMay 20, 1:52
What I would say to my fellow Arkmates, I have already said to the Corinthians:

"For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, as though sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to mortals.

We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ.
We are weak, but you are strong.
You are held in honor, but we in disrepute.
To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, and we grow weary from the work of our own hands.
When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we speak kindly.
We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day."

(Well, I try to bless, and endure, and speak kindly. Simon, I am afraid, has not gained those particular gifts of the Spirit yet. Although he has endured ...)

I volunteered earlier in the Crow's Nest to walk the plank this time to spare all of us the brutality and harshness of the nomination process at least one time. God refused my appeal then.

But now it would seem my prayers have in some sense been answered, although I do not know if I will walk.

And if I did walk, I would rather do out of my free choice, in order to spare my Arkmates. I have thought so much about the love of Christ these past weeks. I have lain awake at night thinking about what it meant when he said, "Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends."

If she cannot see what the love of Christ looks like, then how can Jezebel ever learn what it is that I mean when I say I love her?

She will never know what I mean.

It is breaking my heart ...
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Third Epistle to the CorinthiansMay 19, 15:40
Chapter Eight (still draft 1)

I would not have you question, my brothers and sisters, the dignity of behavior that God requires of you. You should bear with each other, refraining from immoral encounters and selfishness at table. You should not be practicing licentiousness, adultery, fornication, and other sins of the flesh.

However, in all love and gentleness, you may laugh and sport with each other. A foolish song now and then will not be sung amiss. A dance, executed with some dignity and grace, enhances the worship on the Lord's Day. Games and puzzles, wit and one-liners, lighten the hearts of your fellow believers and build up the Body of Christ.

So run and jump, my brothers and sisters! Play British Bulldog if you wish, or shake your bootays (in a most excellent and godly way, of course).

You were bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body. Celebrate the Lord through song and movement, through foolishness and fellowship, through humor and side-aching belly laughs.

Be as I am, a fool for the sake of Christ.
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And the point is ...?May 19, 2:37
I'm not sure what, if anything, was the point of worship today. I thought Esther did a fantastic job leading a rude and uncontrollable group (and I must admit that Simon brings out the Butt-Head in me!). No wonder she's not afraid of the tentacled thing in the hold!

But she was upset afterward, and went to bed. And when her eyes flash fire, well, things surely do flash in my head! (And other parts)

The dance honoring the Women of God was ... received, I guess. I don't know how well. And Sam had to cut his sermon short as John went on one of his pacing fits and the whole thing kind of dribbled to an unsatisfactory end.

Went to the Crow's Nest. MOST UNSATISFACTORY discussion with the Almighty. (Actually, I wanted to talk to His Son, but although He was there, I don't think He got to have much input into the replies. Because I was standing firmly in His teaching and example. But I was rebuffed.)

Fine. If God won't let me choose to walk the plank to spare others, at least I can stop making up reasons to nominate people. I am going to put all the names in a hat and draw at random.

It's not just Jez ... I have grown to love and care for each of my Arkmates. I can no longer pick and choose one from the other.

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A Dance to AtoneMay 18, 18:52
In worship today, I am not the preacher. Samson will preach. Esther is leading us in a Bible Study.

I am going to dance.

How odd, some might say. Isn't dancing the purview of our prophet-about-town, the terpischorean JTB?

But I am trying to learn to loosen up, to have fun, to try things on the Ark that I might not necessarily attempt in the cities of Asia Minor.

So I am going to do a liturgical dance honoring the Women of God, in order that I might atone for any harm my letters may have done to the opposite gender.

Not that any harm was intended. By no means! But harm has been done, nonetheless, over the past two millennia. Others have altered my writings, twisted my words, and misconstrued my intentions.

So dance I will, in honor of the women.
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Seven Stranded CastawaysMay 17, 23:17
Well, after watching the entire collected oeuvre of Gilligan's Island, an ancient television series, in the living room, I have found that silly little song is stuck in my head.

And because there are only 7 of us left, some new verses occurred to me:

The Tale of the Ark ...

Just sit right back and youíll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip
That started Easter Sunday
Aboard this Ark-like ship

There were a dozen starting out
But soon their numbers shrank
First it was Job, then Eve, then Mo
Then Nebby walked the plank

(Then Nebby walked the plank)

The nominations speeded up
God called us in to know
Who we would send away from here
Then Mary had to go, then Mary had to go.

The shipís afloat on the endless sea,
no Ararat in sight
With Simon Pete,
The Baptist too,
Martha
And her Sam
The Apostle Paul
Queen Esther and Jezebel
Looking to the next Smite!


Well, it's not in my usual style, but it seemed to fit the occasion.
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Continually misconstrued!May 17, 18:40
And another thing!

Why does Jez go on and on about me converting her? I am done with that. I told her that when we were all in the pool the other day. Do I not speak English?

I have another commission from the Lord. God and I talked about conversion that day in the Crow's Nest. God said I should stop worrying about converting her, and just love her. That is my mission for this time on the Ark.

(Easier said than done. She makes it as hard as she possibly can. Oh how I long to come back at her with something equally harsh and cutting! But I am trying, Lord. I am trying.)

She is made in the image of God. That is the person I love. There was a moment the other day, down in the Animal Deck, when we almost connected ... human to human ... as the people we really are. But it passed. A lost opportunity ...
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Misconstrued -- what else is new?May 17, 18:32
Do I not write in plain language?

(Well, I guess I could write in shorter sentences.)

Thinking about gender, for the service tomorrow. Thinking how much crap (skybala) I get from women over things I have written.

I guess the trouble is the part about not allowing a woman to speak in church was pretty plain. But did anyone ever notice that in I Corinthians 14, it doesn't seem to FIT with the general argument?

Did anyone ever notice that in I Corinthians 11, I said a woman should have her head covered when she pray or prophesies?

MUST MEAN WOMEN WERE SPEAKING IN CHURCH! Duh.

My letters passed through many hands before they made it into the Bible. Did anybody ever think some scribe might have added the "no women speaking in church" bit? And I did NOT write I Timothy, so don't even Go There. (me genoito!)

I hope to set some of this straight as we celebrate gender in worship tomorrow.

Of course, we have to get past the plank. Speaking of gender ... who will go? Mary or Esther? Painful times. I don't know what God is thinking.
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What is 'Christian' behaviour, anyway?May 16, 14:28
I have always been pretty clear about what's godly behaviour and what is not. But my own behaviour lately makes me wonder ...

Was serenading Neb and Martha in a hideous duet with SiPete and the radio godly? It was an act of non-violent resistance to the powers that have denied us food for all these weeks. But it was also SO MUCH FUN!

Then MC-ing the variety show yesterday, and egging Esther and Jez on in their Jerry Springer show impression ... (although I am still clear that Jerry Springer, in general, is NOT godly!) But it was also SO MUCH FUN!

Perhaps in the course of loving Jez, I could learn something about having fun as well. But how to have fun in a way that is supportive of each other and not demeaning, that honors the gifts and talents we all have, without tearing each other down in bitterness and scorn.

Nominations are no fun at all. But perhaps after we wade through that swamp again today, there will be something today that again is SO MUCH FUN.
1 comments

Can One Really Walk the Walk?May 16, 4:06
Can I practice what I preach? It is not easy, let me tell you!

Here's ol' Paul on a good day, ripping off a bit of wisdom to the Romans:

"Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all."

OK, easy for me to say!

When God told me to love Jez, I never realized it would be so hard. First, I have to pass by Esther to even SEE Jez (that brings its own set of problems and ... ow! down! ... difficulties). Then I must endure many snide comments and rude snorts of laughter. Frequently, they leave the room rather than endure my presence. They bait me and mock me.

So my question for myself is ... while I am stuck here on this Ark, can I actually walk the walk, and not just talk the talk?

It is so tempting to want to reply with cold, caustic wit. To be combative, and argumentative. To stick up for myself and tell them to stick it!

Can I be a Christian on the Ark?
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Third Epistle to the CorinthianMay 15, 1:49
Chapter Seven (still draft 1)

You foolish Corinthians! Who has bewitched you? When I have written you an entire chapter on the most excellent way, a chapter that is routinely read at every single wedding on the planet's surface, the chapter on love ...

When you know that faith, hope and love abide, but the greatest of these is love, why then do you persist in evil? Why are you still ingesting trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup? Why are you flaming people on Internet bulletin boards? And Chloe's people have reported to me that many of you are practicing 'road rage,' chasing and honking and waving your middle fingers at each other in your cars. What next? Will I learn that you are ordering porn movies on pay-per-view? That you are cheating on your exams through txt msging?

Enough! My brothers and sisters, I bring you a Word from the Lord. Love one another. Walk peacefully with one another, bearing each other's burdens. Even when your love is rejected, when you are told to 'kiss off', or you are discounted as just another doormat, I beseech you:

Love one another.
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Are You Being Served?May 14, 17:44
In service is perfect freedom. How can I best serve this person God has called me to love? I would bring her margaritas, or fan her. I would be her friend, if she wanted one. I would play games, if she wanted to.

Whatever she wants.

All I want is to love her in Spirit and in Truth.
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Grace and peace at lastMay 14, 14:06
I feel so ...

free!

The freedom we have in Christ Jesus, the 'for freedom Christ has set us free' kind of freedom.

Ah, but I must remember what I wrote the Galatians: 'Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

So maybe I wasn't so well-behaved yesterday, but Simon and I had a blast seranading Neb and Martha. Ha! It wasn't a sit-in, but served the purpose anyway. Simon's a good lad. I wonder why I ever got fed up with him ... apart from all the obvious reasons, anyway.

But it was my talk with the Lord in the Crow's Nest that really soothed my soul. I know I am doing the right thing by deciding to love Jez.

(Even when she tells me to 'kiss it.')

Because I don't care if it makes her convert or not ... that's between her and the Big Guy Upstairs. I just want to try to love her for who she is, and for who God believes her to be.

I want to use my freedom to become as a slave to her ... not a slave she owns by purchase or conquest, but as one who would serve her by choice ... freely and with love.
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Third Epistle to the CorinthiansMay 13, 14:47
Chapter Six (still draft 1)

My brothers and sisters, I would remind you that God has chosen what is foolish in this world to shame the wise, and what is weak in this world to shame the strong. There are those who would mock us in our weakness, who would turn from us in our foolishness.

To them I say there is no shame in the love of God shown to us in Christ Jesus. To them I say there is no shame in pursuing a still more excellent way.

For when mighty queens insult and reject us, there is still love. When they toss their auburn locks and accuse us of falsity and shallowness and immaturity, there is still love. When they laugh at our message and taunt us with bitter words, there is still love.

The love which bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

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I honestly love herMay 13, 2:05
She didn't believe me! She thought it was like what I feel (ow! stop feeling that!) for Esther.

This is my divine calling for the brief time left to us on this benighted bucket: to love Jez. To try to see her as God sees her, and to love the person inside whom God loves. To love her without conditions, but without illusions as well (she sure didn't like me calling her cruel and bitter, but when the thigh-high patent leather boot fits ...).

This is not romantic love, although to clarify, I'll have to go back up to the Crow's Nest and see if I can ask the Lord to give me the Greek word for love He meant the other day. But I think this is the love I wrote the Corinthians about, the love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

She laughed at me in the end, scornfully, her magnificent amber eyes flashing.

She sees me as weak. That is as it should be, for the Lord has told me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness."

So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

As a wise Australian woman once sang:

I'm not trying to make you feel uncomfortable
I'm not trying to make you anything at all
But this feeling doesn't come along everyday
And you shouldn't blow the chance
When you've got the chance to say

I love you
I honestly love you
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Is God a Snob?May 12, 14:38
I was a bit taken aback by the "pick up line" contest yesterday in the bar. Hardly godly behavior on the part either of Gabe or the Almighty!

I was even more taken aback by the outcome. Neb basically does the big Demi-Deity power approach and WINS? So he, a King, gets to have a romantic dinner with Esther, a Queen. Seems highly class-ist and suspect to me. The ones on top always come out smelling like roses. Even God seems to favor them. What happened to the first shall be last?

This is very odd. I would think John could shed some anarchic/revolutionary light upon this situation. We could use some liberation theology right about now!

I am finding Esther increasingly distracting. I was supposed to be worshipping yesterday, but my mind filled instead with images of Esther, Esther, Esther. I think this is not simple human longing, but something that is actually detrimental to my relationship with God and my fellow Arkmates! I must continue to fast and pray and ask God to take this obsession from my heart and mind.

Because God has given me a new mission for my time here on the Ark. God told me to love Jezebel. How can I focus on loving Jezebel, when everytime Esther passes by I need to throw myself into the pool to cool off?

My job is to proclaim the gospel, and to do that by loving Jezebel. (To dream... the impossible dream ...) All else I must count as loss for the sake of the gospel!
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A time to retreatMay 9, 15:13
Is there nowhere on this Ark where I can be alone???

Now I learn we are going to have access to the animal decks. This is NOT my idea of a pleasure cruise. I am a city boy, classically trained, an athlete from the gymnasia of Tarsus, a philosopher, a scholar. I do not muck out stalls!

I am still much perplexed by my purpose here on this boat. If it is to shovel elephant $#%, then I would like to walk the plank next, please!

I am still ruminating on my conversation with the Almighty. I am still unclear what happens next. I am going to withdraw from my Arkmates for a few days for prayer and fasting, to try to discern that ever-elusive, indistinct, yet always-compelling purpose: the Will of God.
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