September 15, 2018, 21:53
They use a 24-hour clock here. He is
seeing a sign with a quote: “Write drunk, edit sober.” Attributed to Ernest
Hemingway; hanging on a wall in Powell’s Books in Portland.
night, and his roommate has purchased
SKYY (vodka) and Kentucky Gentleman (bourbon). He likes the taste, the way
liquor breaks apart the cells in his mouth, causing them to be numb and tingle.
He is alone
in his apartment.
P. T. Barnum
says, according to Hollywood, Goodreads, and Pinterest, that the noblest art is
that of making others happy.
Does this make you happy?
soul sing because you know God is faithful? Do Mack Brock and Amanda Cook move
you, making you aware of your un-aloneness and the everlasting presence of the
Father, here, in the room with you, now and forever?
Hallelujah, to the end. God be praised.
Amen. Let it be so.
words, stopping to pray when Netflix will not stream as it should. He sees a circle, buffering, and decides to leave his
twin bed and return to his Pavilion m6 with a newly-installed SSD thanks to a
generous best-friend. Do it for the friends and the family—who else will read
Thanks to Mineo,
Lecrae, Wickham, Zayas, and Good News Today. You are, again, words on a page, a
screen. But you transcend, you are more than that.
There is a
conflict of two natures. He is of flesh,
sold into chains, wrapped up in sin and perverseness and depravity. He may
never have committed adultery in the 10-commandments-sense (he isn’t married, anyway), but he has committed lust, the sermon-on-the-mount
kind as redefined by his Lord and Savior and Skye Jethani on a podcast he
listened to, earlier today.
What would he like to do? He would like, in his mind, to please God. He agrees with Paul—he studies Romans 7 and sees that there is nothing good that dwells in his flesh. But he is flesh, is he not? He found a gym not far from his apartment and ran 0.7 miles to meet a man named Zhu who offers a yearly membership for 1,580 RMB. He wants to accept because they have showers, a bench press, and a patio. Plus, the environment is conducive to bodily improvement, unlike the teacher’s or student’s gym on campus.
His queue runs empty, and
now he just types in silence.
He practices the evil he does not wish to do, and it is because of sin which dwells in him. He
watches porn because he ignores the other nature, because he is weak. It’s not a habit, though, which he tells himself to justify. It’s just a minor slip, he says. But he won’t get on his knees and repent—not until Sunday, at least—because he feels too guilty after the deed is done.
I am the one who wants to do good.
His Bible is
open on his lap; it is dark, and he turns his head from page to screen, letting
his fingers do the work. His mind, the mind that Paul says wants to do good, is
stimulated by a depressant. It sees a war, waged in the members of his
“Thanks be to
God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am
serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin” (Rom.
7.25). He, too, struggles with sin.
And where is his victory over sin, when he falls?
He is delivered from bondage, so says the heading
of Romans 8 in his New American Standard Version. There is “no condemnation for
those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8.1). No katakrima even though his
guilt is established and he sits, eyes to
the floor, as Jesus takes his place.
His mind is
more than the brain upstairs: it is the visceral and cognitive aspects of
thinking, the parts of him that go beyond intellect and a + b = c. It comes
from his chest, from the muscles around his heart. It keeps him from leaving
the zoo, where his dead scratches and honest confessions are on view for every
gaze, every voyeur.
He is either
in Christ Jesus or in his flesh. On his way to life and peace or on his way to
death, for the mind set on flesh “does
not subject itself to the law of God” and “cannot please God” (Rom. 7.7-8). And
what is the law of God, if not to love him and thy neighbor?
I wish to please you, Father. Do I?
Do I make you happy? Do I make you happy? Do I make you happy? Do I make you happy? Do I make you happy? Do I make you happy? Do I make you happy? Do I make you happy? Do I make you happy? Do I make you happy? Do I make you happy? Do this make you happy?
Is mine a noble art?
sobers him, and he rinses his glass in the sink. Pees clear in the porcelain pot, brushes his teeth, hears the electronic hum. He shuts down: body, mind, spirit, droopy
eyelids, and cyborg bits wired to create when he should be sleeping. Give him a
blank page, and he is Joyce; give him a
drink, and he is every Portland hipster, ever. But the stream is dead, now, and
his pond is covered in water lilies.
When will he become like Christ?