According to Webster’s New World College Dictionary, envy is defined as 1. a feeling of discontent and ill-will because of another’s advantages, possessions, etc.; resentful dislike of another who has something that one desires. 2. desire for some advantage, quality, etc. that another has. 3. an object of envious feeling; and so on as described in the definition. I have a particular interest in number two: “desire for some advantage, quality… that another has.”
As I wrote about in my previous post She Was A Knockout, I have been visiting my new orthodontist for major dental work. My orthodontist is a very pleasant, kind, engaging man in his late sixties and probably on the verge of his retirement. In fact, after he is finished with me I am sure he could easily retire!
You might already know, Texas is considered on the fringe of the southern bible-belt. In some places – like this small southwest Texan town I’m temporarily in – at times you’d think it was firmly in the deep ultra-conservative south. Everyone knows everyone according to two badges: what 1,000 acre ranch you own or its family you hale from, and what Christian church you attend. With those badges come the assumption that on either Saturday afternoon/evening, or Sunday morning, you along with everyone else in town are sitting in a pew; when you’re not in the pew then you are “spreading the Good News!” during the other remaining six days or at least talking about how great the “news” and life is…or I should say, reborn life.
All throughout his office and patient rooms are table-top statues (image above) with no inscriptions but which clearly depict a familiar scene and New Testament story: Mary the prostitute or a disciple kneeling down washing Christ’s feet. Up on several walls and on several counters are negative (as opposed to photographic positive) shapes that when closely examined spell “Jesus.”
I am humored by his obvious proclamations. After all, it is his office and patient rooms…..that he leases from the property management and owners. And he and his practice, fortunately for him, do reside in a country of religious freedom and speech. Like him, I am certainly grateful for that privilege. I smile thinking that as his paying patient, I must represent Jesus in those statues! Oh no, wait a minute! Could I be the prostitute, or rather gigolo paying my growing dental bill in whatever manner works!? I could easily be enslaved to my dentist for several years after all the services rendered!
Like Penis-Envy But Really God-Envy
On that note, I have this itching urge to share another interpretation of those many statuettes thoughtfully placed in each of their locations. It is this: Did you know that this statue also symbolizes the servitude of a submissive to their Dom, Domme, or Master in the BDSM lifestyle? I chuckle inside imagining their expressions. And then my warped sense of humor whispers to me: this is like penis-envy, except in this office it is God-envy. I realize my itching ill-expressed humor might exact many more extractions of teeth if I don’t guard my tongue. I repress.
So you might be asking, what does this have to do with envy? Bear with me.
As my dentist popped his rubber gloves to work inside my mouth, we got sidetracked by my curiosity to his two digital clocks in the room. I explained to him (with intended humor) the big one displayed the room temperature, barometric pressure, and weirdly 6:35pm Sunday. That cannot be so because my appointment was for 8:30am Monday; I was on time. Furthermore, there is no place on Earth where it was presently 6:37pm Sunday…so I ask you Dr. Einstein – that is the name I’ll give him here to protect his innocence – have you invented a patient room and chair capable of time-travel? He played along.
But then our conversation turned. He mentioned that my astrological sign/reading for the day might be treacherous (being in his office laid back in the chair) as he smirked. And before I could play along with his wit, he quickly retracted his comment apologizing for mocking a system that is “a bunch of hogwash” and that he doesn’t believe in any of that stuff. Then he continued, “That stuff [astrology] is demonic!” And then he quickly apologized again and stated he should not have said that either because I might like it or believe in it!
Now I’m really enjoying The Orthodontic Squirm Show! And then he digs his hole deeper and asks me “Do you like that stuff? Do you believe it?”
Let me say here, that earlier itch on his statuettes, never wanted to be scratched SO BAD as it did with that question!
Given my situation and trust in his upcoming surgical expertise with my mouth and teeth, I answered, I love space exploration, cosmology, astrophysics, and quantum mechanics. He replied “But that has nothing to do with astrology.” I know it doesn’t I answered. I hoped he was witty enough to understand my read-between-the-lines answer. I was not going to give him the satisfaction of knowing one way or the other if his fumbling had been intrusive or not, even though it wasn’t in the least. But….Let him sweat!
* * * * * * * * * *
In almost every case, I have never been offended or put off by Christian evangelicals or proselytizing, or even self-perceived prophets. The kind folks that clutter their front yards with crosses representing Calvary don’t really bother me either. Having grown up in Texas, having spent two and a half years in seminary myself and four years at a Christian liberal arts college and then five years as a deacon and singles ministry leader all in Mississippi, I know the canonical New Testament teachings and doctrines very, very well. Those evangelicals, or proselytizers, or prophets, or simple common folk proclaiming Good News are actually obeying quite well what scripture teaches ALL followers to go and do…daily with humility. I greatly admire their obedience and courage even though I thoroughly disagree with their foundations for doing it.
So why do they do it?
In my mind and reasoning, they are unaware (or in denial) of how amputated, and how misconceived – and maligned through Greco-Roman lenses and traditions – the stories and passages of their bible was canonized versus the real historical events and context of their Savior Yeshua. Those historical facts are apparently boring and unnecessary. So I ask myself again, why do they do it so faithfully? Then the light bulb turns on. God-envy.
The human brain and body is a remarkable coping mechanism to the sometimes brutal unexplainable force of life. So we envy those who seem to lift themselves above the pain and chaos and offer a form of hope (and power?), peace, and order. Fortunately, there are a plethora of successful ways of achieving the happier life or a less anxiety-ridden life and subsequent conquest of death WITHOUT surrendering your soul and innate gifts to an ancient proxy shrouded in Greco-Roman traditions. In the doctrines of mainstream Christianity that “surrendering” is referred to as humanity’s total depravity.
Consequently, and to humanity’s detriment for two plus millennia, mainstream Christian doctrines don’t teach self-reliance, self-empowerment or self-actualization because that was not the Greco-Roman way of control and imperialism during the formation of the canonical New Testament; so we envy its Messiah…a greatly diluted form of individual potential.
I wonder if my orthodontist knows that it is because of astrology and other fields of science that mankind successfully navigated the vast oceans, understood when crops needed to be planted and harvested, that the Earth circles the Sun and not the Sun/cosmos circling Man’s planet, or more importantly three Eastern Arabian kings bearing royal gifts followed a great Supernova in the night sky — which astrologers and cosmologists have determined was not in the month of December — with navigation built upon centuries of incredible Arabian-Persian science and astrology? What do you think?
Footnote – If interested in the historical context of the Greco-Roman deification of Yeshua of Nazareth, start with my post Constantine: Christianity’s True Catalyst/Christ or the other The Suffering Messiah That Wasn’t Jesus. For further reading and understanding of Yeshua’s/Jesus’ deep Jewish-Roman world, I recommend Dr. James Tabor’s work and website at The Jewish Roman World of Jesus. It is an excellent highly informative site of overlooked context by today’s Roman Catholic and Protestant churches.
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