First Person Balogney

“By the way, the King James Bible is the only reliable English Bible that hasn’t been corrupted by Satan.”
- some fundamentalist dude

I was driving down an awfully boring strip of road, or up it, I suppose, depending on whether you are happily waiting me approach the capital of the south, Richmond, or despondently watching me recede into the distance from Ruckersville, the capital of incredibly large portions of meat at Jinya’s infamous Pig n’ Steak. In one shape or form, I was moving, unless the world was moving and I was staying still, which we really don’t know, were it not for the speed of light being a objective reference frame, and as far as I can tell we still don’t even after that, which is something I’d really only care about were I feeling crappy, which I was.

I was feeling crappy for all sorts of brilliant reasons, but I have no illusions that it’s really cool and ironic to share one’s feelings online, so I’ll let you imagine the afore-mentioned crappiness; let’s say I slipped, fell and accidentally impregnated a supermodel, and was – as I drove – wrestling with my inability to pay child support. Or that – in a fit of Papist fury – I bit a Calvinist. The point is, the road was boring. Dead. Devoid of romance. If you know me at all, you know I crave the poetry behind the apparent, and frankly, the Wal-Mart’s and Starbucks I passed weren’t cutting it. Now, thought I, would be a great time to see an angel. A flaming sentinel standing in front of the signs screaming “Discount Prices!”, the messenger of God’s wrath and fury, incongruent and unapologetic.

What I saw, in all honesty, was a wrinkled, old, angry-looking man holding a sign that read, “The World Is Going To Hell!” He was standing on the sidewalk of the four-lane-boring highway, and I have never seen a more bitter grimace. And guess what errybody? It put me in a great mood. I was laughing and smiling soon after that. He wasn’t the angel I looked for; I think he’s dead wrong in his theology. (It’s false to think of Christianity in terms of a life-raft, that everyone is inherently damned until they find Jesus, that all men of all religions will drown unless converted.)(Rather, Jesus commanded all things unto himself, opened the gates of heaven for everyone, reconciled mankind to the Father, no one is exempt from his mercy.)(No, I am not a Universalist, unlike this guy) But he made me happy.

Because of what Flannery O’Connor said, yes – and if you’re a super-cool Facebook follower than you’ll know my newfound and flamboyant and passionate love of her threatens even my most sturdy literary marriage to G.K. Chesterton – that: ”The Catholic novelist in the South will see many distorted images of Christ, but he will certainly feel that a distorted image of Christ is better than no image at all. I think he will feel a good deal more kinship with backwoods prophets and shouting fundamentalists than he will with those politer elements for whom the supernatural is an embarrassment and for whom religion has become a department of sociology…” But also because, somehow, it’s good to know that our world will not be allowed to sleep, that they will be kept out of apathy by fundamentalists condemning them to hell. It might make them violent towards Christians, it might simply confuse your average secularist, but gosh-dern it, it’ll make them face Christianity. Even if the Christian is wrong, you must face Christianity in order to be right. You cannot, thanks to such characters – and more orthodox ones besides – remain unaffected. I thank God for soapbox preachers, because they tactlessly make the issue of the Incarnation a thing that cannot be avoided.

And honestly, it’s good to know that this still happens. That if you’ve missed your morning cup of coffee, you can always condemn the world to hell.

And to finish up, I just want everyone to know that I am absolutely pumped for the rapture. Heaven is gonna be great and all, but what’s more important is that I disappear exactly when my A.P test starts.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17624589296171657699 egosumbarb

    Nothing like fundamentalists or militant atheists for me when it comes to strengthening my faith. They certainly add another incentive to learning as much as I can about my faith and, in doing so, keep me on my toes.Hope you feel better :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17624589296171657699 egosumbarb

    On a sillier note…Oh no, the raptured kid forgot his backpack!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17699055172049185864 October Rose

    Love Flannery O'Connor. That woman is my hero on so many levels.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14343608055572066429 Clamburger

    Christians should avoid the idea that as long as a person adheres to whatever RELIGION he/she believes in, he/she will go to heaven. That's Unitarian ecumenicism, such that you have already rejected.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06083032326434622974 tagnes

    Marc,I stumbled on your blog a while back and have been doubled over in laughter ever since. Thanks for making our faith accessible.-Theresa

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12679230722483582032 Marc

    thank you for reading!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04493238448820616189 Ed Pie

    The KJV is the only reliable English version? What if I'm overly cautious and skeptical about English's track record? Can that dude recommend a less corruptible language I could learn to read more translations of the Bible in, just in case?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03864288719576867015 Rhea

    That dude's wife just left him for the rapture?! 60 years of marriage…and he didn't even get invited to the rapture….

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03864288719576867015 Rhea

    I want to disappear before my next block of classes…..

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16567995546796040699 J. Chase

    The really interesting thing about that comment is that almost no protestants actually use the KJV as it was written. The original version contained all the deuterocannonical books. It was only in later editions that they were removed and treated as unimportant.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05663098904771490881 Nick

    …or "If the King James Bible was good enough for Paul, it's good enough for me!"–Some other fundamentalist dude.


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