The Bible Tells Me So

What started me on the path to polytheism? What made me turn my back on monotheism? Well, to tell you the truth, it was the Bible.

I have been a Protestant Christian my entire life. I have been a music “minister”. I have been a youth “pastor”. I even preached on occasion. My last position was Sunday School teacher at my Presbyterian (PCA) Church. I was the youngest in the class in my fifties. Most in the class were in their sixties and seventies. About five of them would take turns teaching with my Mother-in-law being one of them and she was one of the oldest. Of course over time, she got to where, because of declining health, she just couldn’t make it to Church. One day she asked if I would substitute for her. I said I would and a whole lot of Bible study began.

I had read and studied the Bible my entire life. I wasn’t that worried about it. However, if I was going to teach a bunch of SS teachers, I had better know what I was talking about. It went pretty well. I would study in the evenings after work starting about Thursday and would have to come up with something to sing because I was already the soloist (“special music” as the Baptist would call it). One of the ways I studied was to compare other religions (false ones, right?) until one day I had a revelation. Wait! All these different religions were telling basically the same stories! All had giants, floods, a Creation story, etc., and I just sat there dumbfounded. More intense studies began. Then I bought a book by Dr Michael Heiser entitled, “The Unseen Realm”. The book claimed it could get you into the ancient Hebrew mindset. Then he talked about Psalm 82: 1 God (Elohim) presides in the great assembly;
he renders judgment among the “gods”(Elohim). Elohim in the Hebrew is the word for “God/s”. Wait! What? He explains that the Bible has never denied the existence of other Gods and the ancient Hebrews knew there were other Gods but their god was the greatest or as Abraham called him, “God Most High”. Surely though, The New Testament set this straight? Nope. I Corinthians 8:5 (this will take a little unpacking) “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”),” 1. The phrase “so called” is not in the original Greek. They stuck it in there to make a Theological point. 2. Paul is acknowledging the existence of other Gods.

Needless to say, I was shell shocked. Then I thought, wait, “If there are other Gods, why am I worshiping one from the Middle East”? I’m from Europe. What Gods did they worship? More intense study began! I found what I was looking for in the Germanic/Norse pantheon. There were my Gods. There was the religion of MY ancestors in the frosty North; not the dry desert. There I found the mighty Gods patiently waiting for me to come home.

Anyway, I have had to start over in study and learn a whole new way to approach the Gods but I’m home. I’m right where I belong. These days if someone ask me why I’m a polytheist, I just look them in the eye and say, “The Bible tells me so”.

Bobby G -Crusty Old Smoke

Afghanistan

Another day; another explosion in Afghanistan. Sometimes, it seems never ending.

I joined the Army in February of 1994 as a 13B (artillery). I went to Ft Sill, Oklahoma for Basic and AIT back to back for eight weeks. My first duty station was Camp Casey, Tong du Chong, South Korea. After a year, I went to Ft Stewart, GA. I loved Savanna! I joined the Mississippi Army National Guard while at Ft Stewart and moved back home. That was in 1996. I got out of the guard a couple of times. The last time was when my friend called me up and said, “Doc, we are headed to Afghanistan”. I told him I would see the recruiter the next day. They weren’t about to go without me.

We touched down in Baghran in April of 2005 after train up at Ft Dix, NJ. That was the worst experience of my life! Drop me buck naked in the Amazon but never ever in Ft Dix. We met our counterparts and loaded up on trucks and headed about an hour away to Camp Eggar’s, Kabul, Afghanistan. This would be our station for the next year. In June (I believe) we heard a report of some Navy Seals getting killed on the side of a mountain not too far from us. This incident would later become the movie “Lone Survivor”.

I was a Team Leader. We guarded gates, manned towers, and patrolled the city. Our mission was to guard the General of Theater Operations, Gen Ikenberry who later joined the Obama administration. I got to go on a mission to Nurastan(sic) as a shooter for the RAT team (recruiting folks for the Afghan Army). It was beautiful. A crystal clear river ran through the middle of it. It had trees and green grass, a magical place. We were only supposed to be there for a couple of hours meeting with the tribal elders but it started snowing and the Chinooks were not coming back for us so we had to spend the night. The people there were so excited that we stayed. They were so proud to tell us, “We killed two goats for you!” I said, “Thank you.” Hospitality to them (and to our Norse ancestors) was/is a virtue. The boiled goat was good. The homemade bread was better. We had tea (chia) to wash it down.

I loved the Afghan people. They were so genuine. I didn’t care for their pedophilia. “Women are for children. Boys are for love” as they would say. And, “Man Love Thursday’s” was a hoot. They would parade down the streets with their boyfriends. I was watching two of them from a tower and one of them noticed me looking and grab his boyfriend and pulled him closer. I fell out laughing. Speaking of laughing: I was in the Alamo tower. It is/was ( I don’t know if Camp Eggars is still there) outside the compound. It was about 0430 in the morning when a huge explosion happened up the street right in front of the Canadian Embassy. After I called it up on the radio to HQ, I went into hysterical laughter. I have no idea why. I guess we all react to fear in different ways. One of our mobile patrol units had just passed by there twenty seconds earlier. The rocket cut an Afghan guard in half.

I have tons of other stories, but, I won’t bore you with those. My main point is that I hate to see such a wonderful beautiful place (except for all the land mines) be constantly in turmoil. Constant rockets and IEDs from this and that faction. It is destined to be a land of perpetual war, I guess. The Afghan people will keep smiling and carry on but I hate it for them.

Bobby G “Smoke”

Time with My Ancestors

This morning I spent some time with one of my favorite ancestors. Uncle Jimmy was more than just kinfolk. He was like my second father.

Jimmy was the kindest man you would ever meet. He was the oldest male of nine children born after the eldest, Aunt Patsy. He grew up on a small farm where he learned the necessity of hard work. His father (PawPaw) worked at Parchment prison. There was a barn on the property. When Jimmy was a kid he fell out of the loft. The fall cracked his skull. A trustee working for Pawpaw wrapped his head and probably saved his life. We didn’t know it at the time but, Jimmy always walked like a gorilla with his palms facing backwards, his large shoulders kinda hunched forward, and he would lean as he would walk around the corner, his autopsy revealed he had water on the brain, probably a result of his fall.

The Mullen family was not financially well off and everyone had to help around the farm. They had a few cows (I remember one named “Popeye”), chickens, pigs, and a small fish pond. After high school, Jimmy enlisted in the Air Force. While stationed at Okinawa, he dated Carol (Aunt Dobbie). Dobbie told us that she always had to pay for their dates because Jimmy never had any money. She found out later that he would send his whole paycheck home to support the family. He also said that working for the military made him lazy.

Jimmy died at the young age of 45 due to esophageal cancer (many of the Mullen died of this disease). At his funeral, I could feel the color leave the family. He was more than just the older brother. He was a provider and anchor to which the whole family depended. He was the light that guided them through tough times. He was a happy man that walked around singing “Oops there goes another rubber tree plant” and other little cheerful songs. He taught Sunday school at the United Methodist Church and preached when there wasn’t a preacher. I’m sure he had many faults but I don’t know them and don’t want to know. He was/is a good man.

He has been on my mind lately, so, this morning I fixed him a cup of coffee (He got me started drinking coffee at a young age and I can’t do without it, now). I put milk and sugar in it. It was Folgers but he was a Sanka man. I pulled up his picture on my phone from when he was a young man, lit some incense, and sat down and talked to him like we used to do round his kitchen table. I’ll never forget when he was sent home to die and he visited me in a dream. I rarely ever remember my dreams but this one I will never forget. I was at his house and he wanted everyone to come into the kitchen because he had something to tell us. We all went in a sat down at the table waiting to hear what he wanted to say. He said, “I need to ask y’all something. If there was no such thing as heaven or hell, would you love Jesus anyway? Would you serve Jesus anyway?”

That dream was so profound and it haunts me to this day. I believe he was telling me what he saw on the other side. Now, that I am no longer a Christian but a polytheist on the Nordic persuasion, I believe stronger than ever that he was telling me the truth. So, this morning I thanked him for telling me what is real and what is not and enjoyed my time with him.

Hail, Jimmy Mullen

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.