The Book of Job and what they don’t tell you

One time in an undergraduate religion class, the professor asked us to list some Biblical characters who represent role models for Christians.  I listed Job.  The man who remained faithful to God.  No matter what.  The man who represented how we are supposed to give everything to him.  The man who is rewarded for his blind faith in God.

My professor commended me for the Biblical character I listed… because not many people remember him when Daniel, David, and Moses live such adventurous lives.

korra

I recently reread the book of Job, and I learned a lot about the story… a lot you NEVER hear in Church.  At least, I didn’t.  I’m here now to help provide you an alternative interpretation:

What happens to Job is effed up, and he reacts like any normal person with anger and doubting.  He gets rewarded anyway.

I’m very confused about how this actual story gets turned into a hero story…

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Just to give you more detail.  Satan asks God if he can destroy Job’s life.  He tempts God into saying yes by appealing to His ego: don’t you want to see if he stays faithful to you when everything he loves and holds dear is ripped away from him? (paraphrasing here…)  Of course, God says yes.  Because Old Testament God likes playing God…

So, Satan kills Job’s family, destroys his property, swallows his animals, and kills most of Job’s friends (except for a handful).  As I said before, Job reacts like any normal person.  He’s confused as to what happened when God promises to take care of those who remain faithful.  He’s angry because he does exactly as he’s told to do.  He’s mournful because he’s lost HIS ENTIRE FAMILY.  Then, as when anything tragic happens to believers, Job begins to doubt and spiral..  drugs and alcohol and partying and doing everything he never did before because his faith in God held him back…

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I’m kidding about the drugs and alcohol, but he definitely throws a pity party for himself with his surviving friends.  They all reminisce about how awesome Job is and how messed up it is that he just got fucked over.  All of them.  Except for one.

We’ll call him brown-nose.  He begins to preach, as only someone who has never suffered can, about how faith really works.

Asskisser

When he’s done being a cunt, God walks into the room: Fuck off!  I’m God.  I’m greater than you asses, so I get to determine whether to use Scott’s or those cherry-smelling wipes when I clean you up.  (paraphrasing, duh …)

After His rant of how great He is, He rewards Job anyway… a man whose faith faltered when tragedy hit him in the balls.  Maybe I missed something… but I don’t think I did.  But, the book of Job basically showed us that bad crap happens because God lets it.. then, whether you remain faithful or not, God will decide whether he feels like rewarding you afterward.

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Go and read it.  Let me know what you understand.  Is it different than what I have?

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It’s a Palanhiuk Kind of Summer…

Keeping with the theme as my last post.. I will now discuss another Chuck Palanhiuk novel I read this summer… Lullaby.  I first want to state that I liked this one much better.  Maybe it’s because I’m partial to a story structure that makes sense.  Maybe it’s because I can relate to the narrator’s tragic past.  Maybe it’s because it’s more fictional and it’s less likely this magic crap will happen than a person self-mutilating themselves in the same way Shannon did (I have little faith in humanity).

Whatever the reason, I liked it better.

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This guy meets this girl and this girl gets him into trouble.  End of story.  A tale as old as time.. no, really.

Carl has suffered the fate of (apparently) many parents.  He was a loving father who read a bedtime lullaby to his child.. and a wife within earshot.  The next morning, both the child and the wife are dead.  Upon further investigation, Carl discovers the pattern of this lullaby within all the cases he writes about in his newspaper.  Later down the road he meets Helen, who has also discovered this poem… but she uses it to get what she wants… kill who she wants… and then turns Carl into the same person.  For a little while anyway.  He decides he wants to go around the country destroying these books that  contain the lullaby.  This lands him into a whole bunch of drama with Helen and three others: Nash, Mona, and Oyster (what kind of name is that?).  etc. etc.  You can read the plot on Wikipedia.  I’m not here for that.

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I want to talk about how Palanhiuk has, yet again, masterfully created this really fucked up character with such a complex past.  We only learn just enough to put the pieces together.  I want to know: what is wrong with Palanhiuk that he creates these kinds of characters?  does he absolutely believe that there aren’t any good people in the world?

Yet.. he’s created people in this story such that they’re the result of one tragic event.  Palanhiuk has shown that even the best of people become messed up.. maybe he believes that everyone is so weak that the death of a family will make people villians rather than the heroes like Batman is painted to be.

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It’s sort of refreshing.  The negative view of humans.  So many stories have that moment where things turn out positively… and it can be frustrating because life doesn’t work out that way.  It’s a nightmare.  But, a Palanhiuk novel always (and by always I mean the 3 I’ve read and the 1 movie I’ve watched that was based on one of his novels) has a screwed up “positive” ending.  For Carl, he succeeds in tracking down like 99% of the lullabies and destroying them.  He also removes Nash (who is murdering women with the lullaby to have sex with their dead bodies)

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from the equation.  Carl also finds some sort of relationship with Helen, who seems not be murderous anymore once she’s in someone else’s body.  This… is kind of positive, right?

Castle Ghost

Peas and Cougars

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There really should be an Olympic sport for freaking yourself out when you really mean to freak someone else out. I really would win the gold.

P.S. I really did get to stay in a castle though – we just got back from a vacation to Ireland, which has more castles per square mile than anywhere else in the world (note: I made that up, but they really do have a lot). It was my first trip to Europe and I already want to plan my next (after I get out of debt from this one). I will probably have some more posts inspired from our trip. And at some point we need to discuss the fact that the only American beer any pub had was Coors Light (sorry, husband wants me to correct that there was also Budweiser, but I decline to see the difference). Not only is that…

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