Dave Sim's blogandmail #83 (December 3rd, 2006)
And the YHWH met Balaam and put a word in his mouth, and saide, Goe againe vnto Balak, and say thus. And when hee came to him behold, he stood by his burnt offering, and the Prince of Moab with him. And Balak said vnto him, What hath the YHWH spoken?
And he tooke vp his parable, and said, Rise vp Balak & heare; hearken vnto me thou sonne of Zippor:
God not a man that he should lie, neither the sonne of man, that hee should repent:
hath he said, and shall he not doe? or, hath hee spoken, and shall he not make it good?
Behold, I have received to blesse: and hee hath blessed, and I cannot reuerse it. Hee hath not beheld iniquitie in Iacob, neither hath he seene peruerseness in Israel: the YHWH his God with him, and the shoute of a King among them.
God brought them out of Egypt: he hath as it were the strength of an Vnicorne.
Surely there is no inchantment in Iacob, neither is there any diuination against Israel: according to this time it shalbe said of Iacob, and of Israel, What hath God wrought!
Beholde, the people shall rise vp as a great Lion, and lift vp himselfe as a yong Lion: hee shall not lie downe vntill he eate of the prey, and drinke the blood of the slaine.
And Balak said vnto Balaam, neither curse them at all, nor blesse them at all.
But Balaam answered and said vnto Balak, Told not I thee, saying, All that the YHWH speaketh, that I must doe?
Fourth Book of Moshe 23:16-26
I am assured that this works so forgive me if it doesn't—Shabad Atma whom I responded to here at the Blog & Mail on October 23 has started his own Blog and his lead item "Anything Done for the First Time Releases a…D'oh!" constitutes a continuation of our dialogue which is a very interesting experience for the Pariah King of Comics who is far more used to being read by people who prefer to hide behind metaphorical rocks and trees and pretend that they've never heard of the Pariah King of Comics, and even though they have never heard of him and have no idea what it is that he talks about on his Blog & Mail they want everyone to know that they vehemently disagree with it even though they think he has a perfect right to his own opinions. So for those of you interested in reading Shabad Atma's follow-up to my October 23 Blog & Mail, you can just click on http://shabadatma.blogspot.com/
So…that's supposed to work, right? I don't have to retype everything he sent me here, I can just follow up on his follow up and we can actually have a sort of public conversation for those people who are interested in reading it (i.e. those Blog & Mail readers who actually read the Sunday editions—i.e. both of you or all three of you as the case may be)? Forgive the Pariah King of Comics for being a little dubious about this whole thing since he is far more used to just talking to himself here.
Anyway, on page 2, Shabad asks if I fast every Sunday now and asks me to describe my routine.
Yes, I do. My routine is that the Sabbath begins at midnight on Saturday and goes until midnight on Sunday so I try to make sure I'm back at my hotel if I'm out of town by midnight on Saturday and that I have some sort of muffin and orange juice combo on hand (orange juice will usually keep overnight without a fridge—depending on how ambitious I am I'll pack the ice bucket full of ice and retrieve the juice from the ice water the next morning) since most hotels don't start their room service until well after dawn except in the dead of winter. In Salt Lake City I was about ten minutes over on the Saturday night, a condition I have come to think of as "Dave turning into a pumpkin." First prayer is about an hour before dawn so I get up, do the ritual ablutions, change into my prayer clothes and then read a chapter or two from whatever part of the Torah that I'm on (at the moment, The First Book of the Kings—or I Samuel as us goyim tend to call it—Chapter 15) do my prayer and then go back to bed. Depending on the kind of week it's been I'll sleep until 10:30 (good week) or 11:30 am (bad week) and then get up and continue with my Torah reading. After my noon prayer I'll read some more of the Torah and then either just before or just after my afternoon prayer I'll start writing my commentaries on the Gospels (Luke chapter seven at the moment) and I'll do that usually until about eight or nine o'clock at night and then I'll switch to reading aloud from the Koran starting with whatever Sura I'm on (at the moment Sura 29 "The Spider").
No water, no food between sunrise and sunset. It wasn't so much the urge to "connect the dots" of Ramadan fast with the rest of the year as it was to try and get an idea ahead of time of what fasting in the middle of summer is going to be like when Ramadan gets there. That and the fact that I do tend to see myself as a massive reclamation job and fasting for one month seemed like just a larger version of the problem I had with the Anglican Church where as long as I showed up on Sunday morning for an hour or two, the rest of the week I was free to get in as much trouble as interested me. That's far more the motivation behind the Sunday fasting and the fasting Sunday to Wednesday every third week. I don't see myself as pious, I'm afraid, but more as someone you need to keep under the strictest confines if you have a hope of redeeming him or at least keeping him away from the more obvious pitfalls that make up what we laughingly describe as modern life. I'm not sure that I haven't overdone it over the period of time that I've been keeping up that routine because I've sure noticed an exponential rise in demonic possession (people suddenly talking to me about things they couldn't possibly be aware were of great significance to me, probing my defences, levelling accusations and insinuations, using terms I know they don't know the meaning of, claiming they didn't say things to me that they did, in fact, say to me) or maybe it isn't so much a matter of overdoing it as it is a matter of having accomplished a certain portion of the reclamation job I set out to do. Beset on a daily basis by the demonically possessed. How gratifying. Fortunately, having been around feminists all my life I'm more than used to it. Just nod and smile and mentally calculate how long it is until your next prayer time.
I have to say that I have found summertime fasting something of an ordeal. I'm writing this in late November so fasting is pretty much a cakewalk. I have breakfast around 6 am and eat after my last prayer around 6:15 pm. I'm usually just in the "Yeah, I could eat something" category by that point. My Sunday to Wednesday fast that's closest to the summer solstice, on the other hand is a very big deal. I am profoundly aware that I have gone through my third longest fast, my second longest fast, my longest fast and then my second second longest fast, my third third longest fast and so on from about mid- May to late July. It's a little further over into the borderland with genuine hunger. Not quite Hunger, but definitely hunger as opposed to just "being hungry". It's destabilizing mentally, particularly the last two and a half hours or so from say 8 pm to 10:15 pm which is about the latest the night prayer goes (I've also got this personal quirk of fasting until after the night prayer instead of eating after the sunset prayer—mid-summer is about the only time I've been severely tempted to break that rule and have something to eat after the sunset prayer: so far I've managed to keep a perfect record there over the last seven years). I've often wondered when Ramadan took place in the northern hemisphere at the time of the revolution in Iran that deposed the Shah—if it wasn't mid-summer I would guess it was pretty close to it. I try to extrapolate from the edgy mid-summer experience what thirty days is going to be like instead of four days, but it isn't really a fair comparison given the transformational quality that hits you about ten days in. I'm really not looking forward to those ten days, though, in 2012 or 2013 or whenever it is.
I agree with you that if Alistair Crowley's last words weren't "Magic that is used for anything other than fully giving yourself over to the Will of God constitutes a poor use of magic" they should have been.
On the subject of the Hebrew people begging God for a king, yes I do think that that was actually directed at and responded to by YHWH but I think it was more a net effect of Moshe's Egyptian father-in-law (I assume at the behest of YHWH) persuading Moshe to appoint surrogates in the form of the Judges to assist him in instructing and adjudicating the people. As soon as you had human beings instead of prophets running the show then the people were bound to experience an over-whelming desire for something greater which is, I think, what led them to desire a king. I think there's a schism in society that's epitomized in the aftermath of the Pentateuch by Joshua/Judges and Samuel/Kings and which has been endlessly recurring since then. A good example is the American Revolution which replaced the English crown (King) with a Supreme Court (Judges). And I agree with you that it does lead to a Denial of God as a core characteristic of human society because we can all see that these are not exalted beings they're just people we've chosen to cast in that role (and, of course, as the erosion continues allows atheists to put the prophets inappropriately into the same category). Your average truck driver has about as much claim to judicial excellence as does anyone on Canada or the US's Supreme Court. If you could sit down and explain to him the issues at stake in a given case, he'll probably come up with a comparable judgement and most Supreme Court decisions are split. Which, if you're dealing with a concept of Justice means that a 6-4 decision means that either six of the judges are completely wrong or four of them are. Neither is exactly reassuring in the "Is this any way to run a railroad?" sense. It seems to me an example of demonic possession on a grand scale. It's one thing when your Supreme Court Justices are all devout believers in God and realize that the only hope they have of not making a total mess of things is by cleaving tight to the idea "In God We Trust". But, once you have primarily or exclusively atheists, feminists and Marxists on the Court (which we do in Canada and which I think you will soon in the United States) then you really have a recipe for disaster: the institutionalizing of profound humanist misapprehensions that then become a "carved in stone" part of the fabric of society because at that point you are dealing with collectivist dictators who are unable to conceive of anything larger or more important than themselves, most of whom have no life experience outside of the rarefied atmosphere of the legal profession which is not exactly a breeding ground for basic common sense.
Oh, no, housing your story in the Cerebus Archive is hardly a problem and I'm flattered that you would think that highly of being included so consider it a permanent part of the collection, at this point.
And happy belated 38th birthday (November 17).
On the subject of issue 289/290, I appreciate your enthusiasm. Right now I'm just waiting to hear from Colin Longcore in Michigan about whether or not he's been able to get an institution interested there. Mimi and Alan still have the artwork at Night Flight in Utah. I'm not sure what your situation is like but I'd certainly be interested in trying to find some place to exhibit the material that's a little more…deistically…inclined? Mimi managed to drum up a fair amount of coverage but it's all pretty much in the Cerebus the barbarian/Cerebus the Pope/300 issues/Oh and Dave Sim isn't a feminist but to a degree that's okay. I mean the media is exclusively made up of atheists so atheism is all that they're really able to perceive and all that they think people are interested in. The idea that someone could think that the Bible could be of any greater interest than as either a church artefact or a "great work of literature" leaves everyone flat-footed and makes any attempt to promote something like The Last Day as a valid explanation of creation—"Who we are and how we came to be here"—pretty much useless.
If you can find any environment in Southern or Northern California that's interested in The Last Day on its own terms and which isn't going to attempt to shoehorn it into a secular-humanist context (and I imagine it will take some looking) I'll be happy to consider authorizing you to exhibit Ye Bookes of Cerebus.
I mean, a big reason that I was so enthusiastic about it being at St. Bonaventure University was because I was interested in the school's religious affiliation. I even got Jason to send me a book on St. Bonaventure so I could speak intelligently about him. Then I got to St. Bonaventure and I found out that pretty much everyone there—everyone that I met, anyway—is a devout secular humanist. Even the priests!
Thanks for sending me the print-out of your blog so I could respond to you here.
2 DVD sets of "Scripture at the Registry Theatre"
Are available from Trevor Grace at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Books of Moshe, One through Five
(also called Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy)
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