more like jesus

A couple of days ago, passing by a church, I saw a sign (I wish I’d stopped and photographed it) that said something like: Try to be more like Jesus. My first thought was “Dude, it’s January; I’m NOT wearing sandals.” Which, I admit, is somewhat disrespectful.

For some reason that be-more-like-Jesus concept stuck in my mind. I can see some benefits from it.

  • Spend time talking to strangers
  • Tell stories
  • Spend time chilling with sinners
  • Drink wine (in moderation, of course)
  • Ride donkeys
  • Remind folks to be kind and gentle.
  • Hang out in boats
  • Piss off hypocrites
  • Bake bread and share it

I seem to recall a lot of paintings showing Jesus playing with kids, and I don’t think that would work out so well these days. Besides, kids are noisy. So I think we could safely skip all that. Also, I’m not sure where Jesus stood on napping; I suspect he was a fan, but that might just be wishful thinking.

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing–absolutely nothing–half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

I’m not a Christian, but you can’t deny that the guy had some good ideas. Too bad so few Christians follow them. Seriously, the worst thing about Christianity is Christians.

EDITORIAL NOTE: The quotation in the photo is from the Gospel of The Wind in the Willows.

new year bullshit

Okay, look, this whole New Year bidness? It’s bullshit. I mean, sure, we live in a culture that requires us to establish metrics for Time. But basically, I’m with Thomas Mann on this: Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. The objective differences between December 31, 2021 and January 1, 2022 are trifling.

Even if we agree that there are valid reasons to demarcate one year from another, the only reason January 1–a date right in the middle of the fucking winter–is considered the first day of a new year is because Julius Caesar yanked the old 10 month Roman calendar and imposed a new, improved 12 month one. He added a couple of months, clever boy, one of which was January–named for Janus, the two-faced god of beginnings and endings, the god of gates and doorways, the god of transitions. Caesar made the imperial decision that the first day of the new month would be the first day of the new Roman year. I’m not saying he deserved to be stabbed to death for that, but c’mon, what an arrogant prick.

Generally, folks living in the Roman Empire at that time (which was seriously huge, by the way) felt a new year began at some point around the Vernal Equinox. Which totally makes sense. It’s around the end of March, winter is over, the land begins to come alive again, leaves grow on trees, plants bloom, days are longer, everything is new. So when Caesar imposed this new calendar on the empire, common folks mostly ignored it. They continued to celebrate a seasonal new year rather than a calendar-based one.

Then three hundred years or so later, Christianity came along and sort of fucked things up. When the Roman emperor Constantine decided that Christianity was the Official Religion of Rome (which is a whole nother story), all his generals and high ranking officials had to become Christian if they wanted to advance their careers. That meant supporting the nascent Church, and supporting the Church meant adapting pagan holy days to Christian holy days AND marking them on the Roman calendar.

Still, hardly anybody celebrated January 1 as New Year’s Day. It was celebrated as the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ. You may be asking yourself how Romans decided that Jesus was circumcised on January 1, which is a reasonable thing to ask yourself. What happened was a Roman historian named Sextus Julius Africanus, after some serious consideration, decided Jesus was probably conceived around the Vernal Equinox. That’s why Christmas is mostly celebrated on December 25, nine months later. And according to Jewish law and tradition, eight days after a boy is born his parents hold a bris. What’s a bris? It’s a ceremony in which a mohel comes to the family’s home, snips the foreskin off the boy’s penis, then everybody has a nice meal. Eight days after December 25 is January 1.

Now, there’s a whole weird, uncomfortable history dealing with early Christianity and circumcision which isn’t worth going into (so much of history has been shaped by the relationship men have with their dicks). There’s a whole sub-genre of art devoted to Jesus getting snipped. The important thing, though, is that over time the Christian discomfort over the celebration of Jesus being separated from his Holy Foreskin morphed the event into a celebration of the New Year.

This is why folks are putting on pointy party hats and blowing horns and getting high school drunk tonight. Because Yahweh decided Abraham should be circumcised and Julius Caesar wanted a better calendar and a Roman historian made a wild guess about when Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit and Constantine decided to become a Christian and early Christians became awkward and uncertain about circumcision so instead of celebrating a bit of foreskin-snipping they fell back onto celebrating Caesar’s arbitrary decision to start a new year in the middle of the fucking winter.

It’s all bullshit. The sun rises, the sun sets, the earth orbits the Sun, tilts on its axis, we have seasons. And basically, that’s it. Some folks just need an excuse for a party.

why i’m not in the cabal

Yeah, I’m starting to seriously doubt that Rev. Rick Wiles is a reliable source of news and information. I began to get suspicious back in July of 2018, when Reverend Rick predicted that Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow were going to stage a coup d’état against the Trump administration. He said,

“[Y]ou’re going to turn on the television and see helicopters hovering over the roof of the White House with men clad in black rappelling down ropes, entering into the White House. Be prepared for a shootout in the White House as Secret Service agents shoot commandos coming in to arrest President Trump. That is how close we are to a revolution. Be prepared for a mob—a leftist mob—to tear down the gates, the fence at the White House and to go into the White House and to drag him out with his family and decapitate them on the lawn of the White House.”

It’s not that I wanted to see Trump and his family decapitated on the White House lawn (or anywhere else, for that matter–I am passionately anti-decapitation), but I thought ninjas rappelling from helos onto the roof of the White House on live television…well, people keep saying there’s nothing good on the teevee these days. I’m just saying, that would draw an audience, is all.

Rev. Rick Wiles, not nuts at all, really.

Anyway, that didn’t happen. So naturally I became a tad concerned about Rev. Rick’s information. BUT THEN…YouTube banned his TruNews channel. You guys, they banned it just before the 2020 election. Is that suspicious, or what? I mean, Donald J. Trump, the Once and Future President, had given Rev. Rick White House press credentials. They just don’t hand those out like MDMA at a party. They just totally upped and banned him, just on account of they didn’t like his opinion on what would happen in the totally unlikely event that Trump lost the election. Which was,

“There are people in this country, veterans, cowboys, mountain men, guys that know how to fight, and they’re going to make a decision that the people that did this to Donald Trump are not going to get away with it and they’re going to hunt them down.”

It is well-established fact that mountain men and cowboys WILL NOT TOLERATE that sort of behavior. Or at least I assumed it was well-established…but I guess not. I haven’t seen a single cowboy or mountain man so much as make a mean face at Uncle Joe Biden. So once again, I wondered if we could really truly count on Rev. Rick to tell us what to think and believe.

Then he spoke out against the Chinese Communist Party Covid Flu. He said, right out loud, that the Covid was God’s punishment to Jews for opposing Jesus Christ. Okay, Rev. Rick wasn’t completely clear on God’s motive in working hand-in-hand with Chinese communists, but who are we to question what God does on His Holy Days Off? But guess what? After speaking out against the Covid, Rev. Rick CAUGHT the Covid.

Coincidence? I think not. But Rev. Rick prayed about it, and Jesus totally healed him. So he knows what he’s talking about when he says the Covid vaccines are part of a global conspiracy to commit genocide against Christians. In his most recent statement, Rev. Rick said,

“This is a global coup d’état by the most evil cabal on the planet in the history of mankind, and if it not stopped in the very near future they will win. That’s what’s at stake, control of the world.The planting…they’re putting eggs in people’s bodies…. it’s an egg that hatches into a synthetic parasite, and grows inside your body. This is like a sci-fi nightmare, and it’s happening in front of us.”

Eggs! In people’s bodies! And those eggs? Rev. Rick says they’re just hatching weensy teensy little synthetic parasites like crazy. And do you have ANY IDEA what those synthetic parasites will DO TO YOUR BODY? DO YOU???!!! Something bad, is what they’ll do. You can count on it. Nothing good every comes out of a synthetic parasite hatching from an egg in your body.

Now, Rev. Rick isn’t saying this is what comes from vaccines, but he’s not ruling it out.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably a wee bit uncertain about the basic science behind planting eggs in human bodies through a vaccine. You may be asking why, if God and the Chinese Communist Party got together to create the Covid, they’d also cooperate to create a vaccine that would actually implant an egg designed to hatch into a synthetic parasite? The answer is obvious, once you start thinking rationally. It’s NOT a real vaccine designed to fight a real pandemic. It’s a fake vaccine to pretend to fight a fake pandemic.

See the logic? They invented the fake pandemic to create a demand for the fake vaccine, and once the eggs in the vaccine hatch into synthetic parasites, then….then…I don’t know, something. Surely, something will happen, right?

This is probably why God and the Chinese Commies didn’t include me in their cabal.

it’s going to be awful

It’s going to be awful for women and girls. It’s going to be awful for almost everybody, but the return of a Taliban ‘government’ in Afghanistan is going to be particularly and singularly awful for women and girls. And it’s going to become awful for them really quick. We’ll see a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan before the end of the year.

It was probably inevitable, given that every foreign entity that’s tried to invade/rule Afghanistan has failed. It’s not because the Taliban are a superior military force; it’s because of 1700 years of Pashtunwalie warrior culture and tradition. They know they don’t have to win a war. They just have to keep fighting and eventually their foreign enemies will leave. Five years, ten years, twenty years–doesn’t matter. Ultimately, they’ll get tired and leave.

The problem for women and girls in Afghanistan is that the Pashtunwali culture–the norms and values that makes the men such dedicated warriors–is also deeply misogynistic. We’re talking about a pre-Islamic tribal code of conduct–a way of life that persisted even as Islam became the accepted religion. Regional tribal groups violently resisted any attempt to organize them into a nation. It wasn’t until the 1880s, when Abd al-Raḥmān Khān became the Emir, that Afghanistan had an actual centralized government. It was Abd al-Raḥmān who made Islam the national religion. But it’s important to understand that Islam is layered over Pashtunwali culture–and 1700 years of tradition, that shit’s hard to break.

We’re going to see a return of gender apartheid in Afghanistan (not that it’s ever completely left). Women and girls over eight years old will have their mobility severely restricted; they won’t be allowed in public unless accompanied by a man who is either their husband, a blood relative, or an in-law. In public they’ll be required to wear some form of full-body covering (“the face of a woman is a source of corruption”), and they’ll be required to be quiet or soft-spoken (“no stranger should hear a woman’s voice”). At home, windows at street level will be painted over or screened to prevent women from being visible from the street; women may even be banned from standing on second story balconies. Medical care for women will be sketchy at best; male doctors are generally prevented from treating women patients and women doctors are actively discouraged from practicing medicine. And, of course, women and girls will be discouraged–or actively forbidden–from receiving education. It’s going to be awful for women and girls in so many ways.

I should note that some women freely choose to cover themselves. We see it in Western cultures as well. There are valid reasons for that choice. The problem is never how women choose to dress; the problem is having a patriarchal society deciding how women are allowed to dress.

Let me say it again, because this is something that can’t be glossed over. When the Taliban takes over, it’s going to be completely fucking awful for women and girls in Afghanistan. We have to face that reality, as ugly as it is. But we also have to consider a response. How do you change 1700 years of tradition and culture?

This isn’t about Islam. All religions have conservative branches, and all conservative branches tend to impose restrictions women and girls. The more conservative, the more restrictive. Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism–it doesn’t matter. But if we (and by ‘we’ I mean specifically the US and generally all of Western society) want to improve the lives of women and girls in Afghanistan–and if we want that improvement to endure–I believe we have to work within the bounds of organized religion. Sadly, religious change is almost never quick.

First, we need to fund Islamic NGOs to help provide health care for women and girls who live under purdah. But if we want to see systemic improvement in the lives of women and girls in Afghanistan, we need to address issues within religion. I suggest we need to encourage moderate madrassas–to fund and encourage moderate imams to open Islamic schools in Afghanistan in order to teach a slightly less misogynistic form of Islam. As moderate forms of Islam take root, then more liberal, women-centric practices can gradually be introduced. I’m not a fan of incrementalism, but perhaps feminism-creep–a slow, steady expansion of the rights and freedoms of women and girls–is the most practical approach.

The Afghan Girls Robotic Team

I hate saying that. I fucking hate it. I hate it because it means writing off this generation of Afghan girls and women as lost. It means accepting that the lives of the next generation will likely be only somewhat less awful. But looking at the long, bloody history of that region, I can’t think of any other way to begin creating a better life for Afghan women.

I find myself thinking about the Afghan Girls Robotic Team. Seven teen-aged girls from Herat, they developed a solar-powered robot that could help farmers with seeding; in response to the pandemic, they built a prototype ventilator from parts of an old Toyota Corolla. And they did that during a war, under circumstances that were already restrictive to girls. Think what girls like this could do in a society that actively encouraged them. What’s going to happen to them when the Taliban take over?

It’s almost too awful to think about. Which is why we need to think about it.

modesty masks and other thoughts

Some of my best friends are Christians. They’re good people; mostly honest, mostly friendly, usually willing to be helpful, relatively clean. They don’t cause much trouble. Terrible dancers, but basically good people. So I am embarrassed for them when some other Christians–people they don’t even know–do something really stupid.

It’s like if you’re a Red Sox fan and you see somebody wearing a Red Sox cap on television and you think, “Hey, fellow Red Sox fan, probably a good person” and then that Red Sox fan does something stupid or wicked–uses a racial slur, maybe, or praises Comrade Trump’s intellectual achievements, or wears black socks with sandals–and suddenly you’re embarrassed for all Red Sox fans because that one asshole has called the integrity and decency of every Red Sox fan into disrepute. Same thing.

Anyway, I came across this in the news:

“[A] Catholic elementary school – Lansing-based Resurrection School – which contends that any state mandate that children age five and older wear a mask in classrooms is unconstitutional. The school says such a rule would violate ‘sincerely held religious beliefs”’ because they say humans were made in the image of God, and masks shield that image from being seen.”

If you’re anything like me (and I’m not sure how I want you to answer that) you had two almost immediate thoughts. Thought 1: That’s really fucking stupid. Thought 2: Five bucks says that school has a dress code based on modesty. And hey, bingo, guess what.

There it is. Girls MUST wear opaque tights, ankle length leggings, or modesty shorts underneath at ALL times. I guess because the legs and ankles of girls weren’t made in the image of god? I don’t believe in god, so who am I to say–but I have a hard time believing an omniscient omnipresent god would want everybody to see your nose and lips, but gets coy when it comes to a girl’s ankles.

At this point I had another thought. Thought 3: what the hell are modesty shorts? Which was quickly followed by Thought 4: Am I really going to google ‘girls modesty shorts’? Which led immediately to Thought 5: Probably the people who think girls need to wear modesty shorts are the types of people who’d google ‘girls modesty shorts’.

Reader, I googled ‘girls modesty shorts’. For research. And I felt a tad creepy. Because let’s face it–the only reason to be concerned with modesty is if you’re having immodest thoughts. Otherwise modesty shorts are just shorts.

But that led me to Thought 6: Maybe we could call the masks ‘modesty masks’ and the school would be okay with it. Or maybe the school would let kids wear modesty shorts over their heads instead of masks. But no, probably not.

In the end, I came back to a thought I’ve been nurturing for a long time. Thought 7: Burn the patriarchy. Burn it to the ground, Burn it to the ground and collect the ashes, and grind them into powder. Bury the powder deep in the earth, and salt the ground above it so nothing will ever grow there. Pour cement over the salt. Then nuke the entire site from orbit (it’s the only way to be sure).

Also? Thought 8: Christians, don’t let these venal anti-science fuckwits be the voice of your religious beliefs. I don’t believe in god and I’m not a Christian, but y’all have something really solid in that whole “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” business. Love your neighbor, encourage them to wear masks for their health as well as your own, don’t waste any time thinking about what’s under the skirts of girls, and really–burn the patriarchy.

it’s just a volcano, what’s the fuss?

I read the news every morning. A variety of news from a variety of sources. A lot of news. World news, US news, weather news, technology news, science news, art news, historical news (which isn’t an oxymoron), an increasingly smaller bit of sports news (mostly cycling news IF it pertains to electric bikes), occasional religious news, and an eclectic smattering of entertainment news (movie/tv/fiction reviews, some gaming news, nothing that involves scandals or super hero/comic stuff or Kardashians–who I keep thinking are an alien species on an early Star Trek series, but apparently aren’t). I like the news. I like to keep up. Even when the news is frustrating.

This morning I read an Associated Press article about ‘vaccine hesitancy’. A lot of people–mostly in Republican-led states–aren’t just hesitant about getting the Covid vaccine; they’re actively resistant. And resistant for massively stupid reasons. For example, this woman from Mississippi:

“All of the strong Christians that I associate with are against it. Fear is what drives people to get the vaccine — plain and simple. The stronger someone’s trust is in the Lord, the least likely they are to want the vaccine or feel that it’s necessary.”

I dunno, but I think if I was a god, I wouldn’t want to be worshipped by intellectually lazy people. I mean, what’s the value of a worshiper who essentially says, “You know, I’m not gonna make any decisions that require me to think; I’ll just let god decide.” Folks who could gather information, make an informed decision and act on it, but choose not to? Fuck that; I’d want those fuckwits to worship some other god.

Put a band-aid on that cut.

You get a cut on your leg? “Fear is what drives people to get band-aids—plain and simple. The stronger someone’s trust is in the Lord, the least likely they are to want a band-aid or feel that it’s necessary.” You live downstream from a pig farm? “Fear is what drives people to purify their water—plain and simple. The stronger someone’s trust is in the Lord, the least likely they are to want clean water or feel that it’s necessary.” Volcano erupting? “Fear is what drives people to avoid lava and pyroclastic flow—plain and simple. The stronger someone’s trust is in the Lord, the least likely they are to leave town when an eruption is imminent or feel that it’s necessary.”

If I was a god, I wouldn’t force worshipers to put band-aids on cuts or get vaccinated against deadly diseases or leave Dodge if a volcano was getting frisky. But I like to think I’d let them know they idiots and maybe they’d be better off finding another god somewhere down the street.

Okay, I’m not a god. I don’t have a clue how gods think. I suppose there might be gods who are willing to be worshipped by any dunce that walks down the street. I suppose there are gods who don’t care about grammar, who hear their followers say ‘the least they are likely to’ and just give a celestial shrug. Maybe there are gods who actually want worshipers who can’t be bothered to slap a bandage on a cut or purify their water. Maybe they think that’s funny–the divine equivalent to prank television. Look at those rubes; the pigs shit in the water upstream and they’re just gonna drink it…hilarious! There’s no reason gods can’t be assholes too, I guess.

I TOLD you to put a band-aid on it, but did you listen?

Here’s the problem: all those folks refusing to use band-aid, refusing purify their water, refusing to evacuate when the volcano gets active–they’re only hurting themselves. But refusing to get vaccinated, that hurts other people. That’s selfish. I’m of the opinion that any god who wants selfish worshipers is an asshole god and doesn’t deserve any respect. I feel sorry for people who’d worship an asshole god. I feel sorry for them, but I want them (and their god) to stay away from me.

And would it hurt them to wear a mask?

the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet

Here is today’s lesson: if you elect stupid Christians, you get stupid Christianity.

Okay, let’s get this out of the way first. This is NOT an attack on Christianity or Christians or religion of any sort. It’s not an attack on Jesus or Jeebus. It’s an attack on stupidity. It’s an attack on insulting the intelligence of the American people. It’s an attack on religious gaslighting. It’s an attack on religious arrogance. But mostly stupidity.

I’m talking about Cindy Hyde-Smith, one of the US Senators (oh my fucking god she’s a Senator) from Mississippi. Yesterday, in an actual real Senate hearing on voter rights, she sorta kinda semi-quoted the Bible to defend legislation in Georgia–a state that is NOT Mississippi–that restricts early voting on Sundays. She held up a dollar bill and said (and I swear, I am NOT making this up) the following:

You know, this is our currency, this is a dollar bill. This says, ‘The United States of America, in God we trust.’ Etched in stone in the U.S. Senate chamber is ‘in God we trust.’ When you swore in all of these witnesses, the last thing you said to them in your instructions was ‘so help you God.’ In God’s word in Exodus 20:18, it says ‘remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.’

Okay, where to start? Let’s start with this: What the fuck? She’s not saying people shouldn’t be allowed to vote on Sundays because of US currency–which would be galactically stupid. Nope, she’s saying people shouldn’t be allowed to vote on Sundays because of her Christian religion–which is only massively stupid. Is she aware that not all voters are Christian? Maybe? Maybe not? Either way, this is stupid.

Next, let’s look at what Exodus 20:18 actually says, which is this:

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.

Thunderings, lightnings, noise. All of which is oddly appropriate. The thing is, Senator (I still can’t believe somebody this stupid is an actual Senator) Hyde-Smith made an simple, understandable mistake. She actually quoted Exodus 20:8, which does, in fact, say: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Of course, she left a bit out. It goes on to say more than that. It also says this:

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.

Any work. Thou shalt not do any work. Thou and everybody else. No work. No stores or shops open, no restaurants, no taverns, no Walmart, no spa or gym, no movie theaters, no Waffle House, nothing is open. Nobody doing chores. Nobody working the fields. Nobody tidying up at home, nobody doing laundry, nobody cooking or doing dishes. Six days shalt thou labor, and do ALL thy work, but on the seventh day you do fuck all. Just sit around praying and generally being holy.

Senator (it hurts me to call her that) Hyde-Smith may not be aware of this, but her own state of Mississippi is open for business on Sundays. It’s hard to justify forbidding people from voting on Sunday, but allowing them to buy mufflers and eat waffles and watch movies. There’s a flaw in that reasoning.

But also, there’s this: the book of Exodus, which is the second book of the Torah, was almost certainly written around the 5th century BCE. What does BCE stand for? That’s right. Before the Common Era. Before Jesus. The Sabbath mentioned in Exodus? The Sabbath Senator (Jesus suffering fuck, how can she be a Senator?) Hyde-Smith is referring to? That’s not the Christian Sabbath; it’s the Jewish Sabbath. We’re talking Friday evening to Saturday evening, not Sunday.

Finally, there’s this: Senator (really, how is that possible?) Hyde-Smith and her comrades in the GOP are blatantly gaslighting. They’re not interested in protecting the Sabbath. They’re only interested in protecting the GOP from people who want to vote. Mostly, that means they want to protect the GOP from Black people. And Democrats.

Instead of advocating popular policies that will make people want to vote for Republicans, they’ve chosen to find ways to discourage people from voting for Democrats. And what have the people done in response? Having seen the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off from the GOP. And told them to go fuck themselves. Amen.

quō vādis, y’all

Okay, Republicans, quō vādis and all that. Whither goest thou? To where are you marching? Where in the holy hell do you go from here? After a couple decades of shifting your focus away from policy and governance and investing almost exclusively in ‘owning the libs,’ what comes next? Where do you go when your party has lost control of both Congress and the presidency, and is now defined almost entirely by unquestioned subservience to a leader who’s been impeached twice? What comes after supporting the only president in U.S. history to foment a violent assault on the nation’s Capitol building? Seriously Republicans, quō fucking vādis?

Lacking leadership, the GOP is content to march angrily off in all directions at once.

Quick tangent. You may be asking, “Greg, old sock, why the Latin? Why quō vādis?” Because it’s appropriate in a couple of ways. First, it’s appropriate because most Republicans call themselves Christians, and the Latin phrase comes from a Biblical story. Well, sort of Biblical. It’s in the Acts of Peter, which is one of the apocryphal gospels. I’m going to resist the temptation to explain the apocryphal gospels, because that would require me to go off on a tangent within this current tangent. If you’re curious, do the research.

Second, the Latin is appropriate because of the lesson of the story. So, here’s the story. Around thirty years after Jesus got crucified, Peter, the apostle, goes to Rome to preach the gospel. While he’s there, he gets in a fuss with a guy named Simon Magus (again, if you’re interested, do the research), after which Peter decides it would be a good idea for him to leave town for a bit. Let the fuss die down. As he’s on his way, Peter meets Jesus toting a cross. Remember, Jesus had been dead for three decades at this point. Also, that cross? It talks. (I am NOT making that up; this talking cross may help explain why the Acts of Peter was shifted into the apocrypha). Anyway, Peter asks Jesus, “Quō vādis?” This is usually translated as “Whither goest thou?” or more simply, “Where are you going?” A more accurate translation, I’m told, would be “To where are you marching?” but the intent is the same. Jesus answers, “Rōmam eō iterum crucifīgī,” which means “I’m going to Rome to be crucified again.”

“No, really. I’m going to get crucified again. It’s my job. You should try it.”

This is the Biblical lesson. Sometimes you need to stop, think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, then turn around and get back to doing the good work you know you’re supposed to be doing. It gives Peter the courage to return to Rome and keep preaching. Unfortunately for Peter, he gets crucified on his return to Rome. Upside down, apparently.

So yeah, it didn’t end pretty for Peter, but the idea is still sound. The question and the answer are still important. Where are you going, Republicans? What’s your intended destination? What’s the purpose of your journey? What’s the nature of your good work? Where does the Republican Party go after they’ve attempted to overturn a fair election…and failed? Where do they go after they’ve shrugged off a violent insurrection?

Think about it. A hundred and twenty-one Republicans in the House objected to the Electoral College vote–and that was after the insurrection threatened their own safety. A hundred and ninety-seven of them voted against the second articles of impeachment. Forty-three of the fifty Republicans in the Senate voted to acquit Trump of inciting the insurrection–an insurrection that was not only intended to disrupt and/or stop the peaceful transfer of power to the legitimately elected president, but also threatened the lives of the next three people in the line of presidential succession.

“Wait…Jesus gets killed? That’s how it ends? Seriously?”

The only good thing about this is that some Republicans are asking themselves about the future of their party. Susan Collins, the tower of Jello representing Maine, said this:

“I think we need to get away from the idea that the Republican Party is just one person and adherence to just one leader.”

She thinks that’s what the GOP needs. But her comment is a sad example of the very problem Republicans are facing. Instead of addressing the actual issue–instead of trying to figure out a viable future direction of the party–Republicans are concentrating their energy on whether or not they should remain faithful to an unfaithful, dishonest, failed former president. That simply reinforces the notion that they ARE a party of just one person, just one leader. Without Trump, the Republican Party is rudderless. Without Trump, there is…well, nothing.

Don’t forget, for the first time since 1854, the GOP didn’t bother to craft a party platform for a presidential 2020 election. They basically said their party platform was whatever Trump wanted at any given moment. There is no longer any traditionally conservative governing philosophy that unites Republicans and shapes their policy positions. There is absolutely nothing that moves the GOP forward except the entertainment value of “owning the libs.”

Do they try to regroup? If so, as what? As a traditional center-right conservative political party? Do they gather together and concoct a political party platform? Do they get caught up in some sort of political mitosis and split into two different political parties? Do they just continue to drift randomly, driven only by opposing whatever Democrats propose and the haphazard, arbitrary, volatile anger and resentment of their base? Do they organize and morph into a violent guerrilla insurrectionist movement?

Live Trump or die.

I don’t have any answers. I know what I’d like. I’d like to see the GOP reform into a functioning organization with moderate, conservative values and policies I can oppose but still understand. I’d like them to be a traditional loyal opposition party. But that seems unlikely. Hell, nothing seems likely. No particular possible future seems more likely than any other; it all seems pretty aimless and accidental.

I haven’t a clue what comes next. But I’m genuinely curious, and a wee bit fearful.