Obtuse

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There’s a great scene from the movie “The Shawshank Redemption” where the lead character Andy is sitting in the prison wardens office and the truth about his incarceration has been revealed…the Warden obviously wants Andy to stay in the system because he is deriving benefit from Andys personal skills…Andy is more about the truth…and he just cannot keep his mouth shut, he asks the Warden “How could you be so obtuse?”…

Of course it gets him thirty days in the hole…punishment, because the last thing the system wants is the truth…

As much as I wish I could keep my big mouth shut I find I identify with Andy’s lack of discretion…even when I know it might cost me or create a situation where the consequences are more painful than the status quo…

It’s not even noble at times…just a blunt in your face, “How can you be so indifferent to the dissonance of your life and your message?”…I get really pissed off when people say they are about grace but teach the tithe, talk about a culture of honor but silence those whom they disagree with, pursue revival but ignore the widow…it’s all noise to me and seems…well obtuse.

Frankly this is the part of me that is most like me that I would most like to change…but it’s a bit like trying to get baking soda and vinegar to abandon their properties…probably not going to happen without modifying some essential elements…

The real downside to me is I have not exactly been innocent in regards to the issues I take issue with…I taught the tithe and did the offerings for years, pumping people every Sunday to “give so God could open up the storehouse of blessings and sweep you into your destiny”…

I recently had one of those peripheral thoughts:

“If time is money, what does it say to your value that God included you in the resurrection, you have been given an endless life, you have no limit to time anymore”…

I have chased revival until my knees hurt, often failing to notice the divorced, the fatherless, the widow sitting next to me, all the while pretending that revival could fix what compassion’s absence had not addressed…

And the version of a culture of honor I helped develop really only had honor if you met it’s terms, disagree and you were given the label “orphan spirit”, “wounded”, or simply immature…some like me were even labelled as “poison”…how is that honoring the image of God in another, to shut them out because you yourself are afraid of them?

“We must protect the flock”…whatever.

Obtuse.

I suppose the good news is the movie ends in a redemption…a beach somewhere…white sand and a boat…

And maybe that’s where I am headed…once I figure out how to divest myself of the sentence, the “doing my time for the crime” mindset that has me focused on the obtuse…

A Caribbean beach in the spirit…and maybe a friend or two who also escaped…

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4 thoughts on “Obtuse

  1. Another excellent post by Mr Mark Randall Pixley 🙂

    On the subject of the Warden and maintaining a position: I once heard a truly terrifying story from South America many years ago – now please readers don’t get theological on me because that’s not the purpose of recounting this story – an established denominational Pastor was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, for a few short weeks he ministered in a variety of spiritual gifts in his church… then he received a visit. He was informed in no uncertain terms by his ‘superiors’ that this kind of ‘thing’ was forbidden and to stop or leave the denomination and of course lose the church position, parsonage, salary, expenses, credo, possible future promotion, et al. The next Sunday he stood up and declared all the spiritual things that had been happening were of the devil and had to stop. A pastor from another more enlightened church nearby witnessed this unbelievable turn around, he also witnessed this Pastor’s death many years later, as he lay in his hospital bed he sobbed and cried that he was going into the outer darkness and that he was lost, no amount of counsel could encourage him and he died to all intents and purposes like an unbeliever who knew where he was going.

    What did he do? He took something he had clearly seen in the scriptures and seen to be true and rejected to wholeheartedly in favour of something that benefited him in the natural realm, if this isn’t an example of blaspheming the Holy Spirit I don’t know what is. Now I don’t think it was all sown up by the first Sunday, he maintained this stance and hardened his heart so much that he died with it. Many have called the Holy Spirit’s works those of the devil and gone on to be filled with the Holy Spirit later, it’s not the act or the words, the arrogant statement blabbed in ignorance or fear, no – it’s the persistently confirmed choice that took this man’s soul, just like when the Warden put Andy in the cooler, because he knew he was right and wanted to break him to keep him under his control.

    I know ministers who absolutely know that their tithing case is leaking from all angles but frantically insist on it being true. To reinforce their view they start calling those who don’t believe it people outside of the church, loners, ‘idiots’ as a mega church pastor I attend recently called me (generically me as someone who does not believe in OT tithing). Whilst I’m not saying that this is the same as what this absolute fool of a South American Pastor did I really struggle with the idea that someone can maintain a relationship with God and so utterly and willfully hang onto something that is not true just to keep themselves and their church funded… AND we know that they know they are wrong because they won’t debate it… (Wow! is that longer than your post Mark!?)

    • No, I get it Martyn, your book was actually my first excursion outside the prison walls…

      I am saddened when ministries I truly respect refer to the tithe as “rent” for being on the planet, but I think the problem goes much further than just maintaining a system in place that keeps people enslaved:

      1. the idea that if the tithe is truly part of an obsolete system that is powerless, then teaching it actually places people under a failed financial system…there is a culpability present in not being honest here…its not simply that the machine must keep going, it is also possible that you have locked people into a financial wilderness by keeping them under the law…if it is true for sin, why not finances…

      2. The problem I think is much deeper than even money, it informs a system of salvation that says God must be paid…as a Father I have always responded to my kids when they needed a “loan”, but I always made it clear that what I had was theirs so there would be no paying it back…I would be insulted if my kids tried to “pay me” for the things I give them…so the idea that God needed Jesus to “pay off his anger” or that there was some sort of lingering debt we inherited from Adam drives another message about the law and a required sacrifice and a tax…it is a corrupt system of salvation, not simply one regarding paying ministry…

    • WOW Martyn, I think you are the first person I’ve run across that actually “gets it” where blaspheming the Holy Ghost is concerned. Nowhere in the statements of Jesus concerning this did it say that a man couldn’t repent.
      If you take the logical conclusion of most people’s interpretation of this it would sound like the Father is forgiving, and the Son is forgiving, but the Holy Ghost? He is a moody sort and not quite so loving as the other two.

  2. Mark I wonder if your crime and time statement is reflected in Jesus’ instructions to the Ephesians:
    Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Revelation 2:10

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