I’m Just Sitting In Your Bedroom With A Shotgun

The Cardboard Mansion
Many of you know Zoomtard is in the process of changing his job. Up until now, Zoomtard has either been a waffling post-grad student or a coffee-consuming smooth talking student-worker-person but at the end of the month he is to be elevated to the position of Presbyterian Pope. I know many of you are unaware that such a position exists but it turns out that Presbyterianism is a lot like Freemasonry. That is why so many Freemasons are Presbyterians.

Alongside a lot of great things that encouraged me to apply for this new job there are a lot of great things that come with the job that weren’t part of our decision making process. One of them is that the job comes with a house. Well, it isn’t so much a house as a mansion. A cardboard mansion. So my wife-unit and I now live in a house designed to hold a family of eight and all their staff. It sounds cool doesn’t it? It is too. Cool in the way that now you have to calculate whether you really want that cup of tea because it is a very long walk to the other side of our cavernous kitchen.

The house is in a certain state of disrepair. Maybe it isn’t so much disrepair at this stage as neglect. The house is like a feral child. It may not yet be very sick but its lifestyle has left it wobbling on the edge of chronic pain. An example of the house’s chronic pain is the leaking under-the-stairs loo. We thought that the sewage smell was just naturally occurring in a house owned by a church when we first moved in but it seems that actually, there is a plumbing issue in the hallway. No lost sleep for us however. We can get someone in to fix it and the church will take care of it. So I rang up the plumbers and they said they could do it and it would take this long and it would cost so much. Then I asked them if there were, like, any extra services they could throw in because I like to spend money. It turns out, they have a barbershop squadron that sings in perfect harmony, while they fix your poo escape valves. It is 150% more expensive but people, that is why you have to tithe!

Since most of the readers of Zoomtard are friends of Zoomtard, consider yourself invited to our house-warming party that will take place once we have the house in order. So keep a Friday clear in 2008. If you don’t know Zoomtard and want to meet Stigmund, then email me and you will be invited as well. I’ll introduce you to Stigmund and he will probably marry you. He is in Spain right now, probably marrying someone. I miss him.

I make jokes about the house as a defence mechanism. If anyone can offer me sage advice on how I can go to sleep knowing the resources that are solidifying in property equity when what most of the world needs now is liquidity, cashflow and a big stream of ever-rolling 1st world money, then I’d appreciate it. One thing I would not appreciate as a house-warming gift is a “What Would Jesus Do?” welcome mat. I think it is clear that he would kill me. He’d topple this cardboard edifice around my ears.

Featuring the Fat Guy from Ellen as a Lovesick Teenager
In movie watching news, I saw an absolute classic 80’s teen movie during the week. It is called Better Off Dead. It is not a John Hughes movie but it should be noted it was written and directed by a man called Savage. Savage Steve Holland is making Shredderman next year, according to IMDB. I can’t wait. Better Off Dead deserves a place alongside Pretty In Pink and Breakfast Club as a classic 80’s teen movie. Firstly, it features John Cusack. Secondly, it has a number of musical montage scenes (sing it with me: “We’re gonna need a montage / Ooh, it takes a montage / Show a lot of things happening at once / Remind everyone of what’s going on / In every shot, show a little improvement / To show it all would take too long / That’s called a montage!”). Thirdly, it features a French exchange student who is pretty, permed, brilliant at baseball (!) and a skilled motor mechanic. Do I need to go on? I think I do. Fourthly it has an animated sequence with hamburgers doing guitar solos and falling in love. Finally it has a tangential plot about newspaper boys with homicidal debt collection techniques. The film’s finale involves winning a ski race down a deathly mountain on one ski. Textbook classic 80’s teen climax.

You probably should buy it on DVD and VHS, just in case one or the other breaks.

Does This Even Make Sense?
Since I am changing jobs I have been getting more invites to speak at university Christian Unions than is usual. When it was my job to do it, no one really wanted me. Now I am donning my big secret Pope hat, I am the bee-knees. Even in Norn Iron, a land I spend about 18% of my time mocking. This is cool. In fact, it is almost a dream come true that Northern Irish Christians would listen to me and let me maybe influence how they do things and view things so I have been quietly taking these engagements very seriously. In both of the cases, I have been asked to speak on evangelism. For the non-Christians out there, that is a technical word for forcing the Bible down people’s throat. For the Christians who haven’t been infected by evangelese yet, that is a jargon phrase for sharing your faith. Evangelism is one of the most important aspects of the Christian life but it is also simultaneously, the easiest to get badly wrong and the most intimidating to start. Wait. If it was easy to get it wrong it would logically follow that it would be intimidating. Scratch that last sentence and bear with me as I verbally process.

Anyway, let me roll out a brainflash of an idea I had in the shower this morning on you and the theologically gifted amongst you can critique at your leisure, either next time you see me or in the preferred mode of the voodoo doll with a pin in its head. Christianity, pardon the cliché, is all about love. It argues that human beings are creatures uniquely capable of and deeply yearning for love. Christianity comes along and says that the first step is to love God and out of that flows a renewed energy and willingness to love others. (I know the real first step is that God loves us and out of that flows a reconciled ability to love him but lay off me- this is a rough thought) But if we think about the Christian life as a journey (a good Biblical metaphor for the Northerners) then as we walk this journey, with the right foot we seek to love God and from that we step out with our left foot to love others. All that is involved in loving God could be termed as Praise. This is the singing and the praying and the dancing and thinking and even the essential angry ranting at and of and about God that makes up the Christian life. All that is involved in loving others could be termed Mission. Mission takes the form of giving and sacrificing and contributing and sharing and enjoying other people. Evangelism is not some aspect of the Christian life out on its own but is just one piece (a crucial piece) in the mosaic we call Mission which is just one half of the whole.

If Praise takes place on your knees, then Mission takes place on your feet and both of them wrapped up together could be termed Worship, where worship means giving worth to. So the Christian life would be made up of loving God and loving others so that our lives would be a testimony to the worth of God, the goodness of God, the radical, ironic, parental loveliness of God. In this little schema of the Christian life, Evangelism is no longer this thing we are commanded to do every now and again, but like prayerfulness or generosity, it becomes part of who we are. It is no longer a question of a task that must be completed but a question of integrity. In friendship, we increasingly share of ourselves as intimacy increases. It is selfish or even dishonest to keep large parts of who you are from others and so evangelism is just the honest, authentic sharing of your life, which is a faith-drenched life, with your friends.

Evangelism is a word that doesn’t feature in the Bible at all. In the Bible, people become Christians in a myriad of ways. Many come through hearing the Word preached. Others come to be Christians because of a personal encounter with Jesus. A few even become Christians through miracles. But is rare that someone becomes a Christian without the context of a personal relationship with other Christians. Evangelism shouldn’t be a bad word. In a healthy church it shouldn’t even be a word that is used independent of words like prayer and love and generosity. It shouldn’t be a sales pitch or a manipulation. It mostly shouldn’t even be a conversation where you “explain the Gospel”. Evangelism should be nothing more than living your Christian life with passion and integrity and loving your friends the same way. The Grace of Jesus spills out of Christians in relationship just as easily as it does in musical praise.

Ah, there is a lot more to say but no more attention span to say it to you with. I am off to eat lunch, make out with my poster of Ally Sheedy and dismantle the Room of Mirrors in the East Wing.

Your Correspondent, Huddled in a corner, eating his hair

4 Responses to “I’m Just Sitting In Your Bedroom With A Shotgun”

  1. I remember reading The Stand when I was a lad. I got the ‘complete and unabridged’ edition which ran to about 2000 pages and actually fell apart halfway through (the book, that is, though you could perhaps say the same for the story).

  2. zoomtard says:

    You could say that but then you’d be an idiot. The Stand is a classic story right up until the end. I mean, that is all it is- a story. It has no airs and graces. It doesn’t end its chapters mid sentence only to resume them in a different time era on the next page. It doesn’t have the first 100,000 numbers in Pi with a single mistake published across pages 354-367. It is a simple (emphasise the simple), unpretentious, very enjoyable tale of Dark Christianity. I loved it ten years ago. I love it still.

    So call me whatever big names you learnt at bovine university. I’m off to listen to Bon Jovi and buy some abstract prints from Tesco. That is how cultured I am.

  3. Greymalkin says:

    A barbershop squadron did you say?Kina reminds me of our our own barbershop rendition of ‘Buff and Beefy’,with Zoomtard providing the stable hip-hop beat at the back,Greymalkin adding his zass that is his half brocken singing voice and mr. Tracy folling in with high pitched screams of ‘BUFF BUFF BUFF BEEFY BEEFY BEEFY’.Insane in the Ukraine we were.

  4. stigmund says:

    In the words of old Jimlad: marriage was cooler than blogging for a while.

    I’m back. Divorced. And ready to take over the internet.