24 May 2014

Last of the Jims

I can think of three dates that determined the outcome of these 43 years I have spent so far on this wonderful green globe:
  • 22 May 1997 I became a father.
  • The weekend of 3-7 May 1991 Destiny thrust me into the great love of my life
  • In January of 1984, just a few weeks shy of my 13th birthday, I moved from Amesville, Ohio, to Portland, Tennessee. 
Uprooted in the middle of 7th grade, I was planted in a new school, a new community. The experience marked me for life--my best friends and my boyhood were boxed up back at home--a place I tell my kids was "the Magical Land." My awkward teenage years and the longest chapters in the unwritten book, JD's Book of Blunders, would take place in a strange land of Tennessee.

A story from those first days in Tennessee came back to mind this week, when I learned that my classmate at Highland Elementary, James "Bobo" Ayers, had passed away due to cancer. Like me, he was 43.

I have always had a problem with my name. Growing up, my family called me "JD," which always seemed like a baby name to me. To make things worse, my mom tells the story that the name had been given to me while I was still in utero, given by a man who assumed I would be "Junior Dittes."

When I was ready for 1st grade, I came up with a plan. I was going to leave "JD" behind and become "Jimmy." I remember writing "Jimmy" over and over on my wide-lined, elementary writing book, curling the y's this way and that. It didn't phase my parents--nor did it seem to matter to the other seven kids in the one-room Adventist school I attended.

A Return to the Question of Satan

A couple of events this week led me back to explore the topic of Satan.

I have admitted earlier in this blog my difficulty in really believing in the Evil One--or at least with the certainty that many of the Lucifer-wielders seem to have for him.

Two events this week brought Satan back to light and led to some interesting new takes on the subject.

First, at a Bible study this week, a group leader resorted to Satan to prove a supposition that cannot be supported by the Bible: in this case it was the erroneous belief that Paul and other early Christians didn't worship on Sunday, among other days.

"The Devil wants us to believe," he began. My blood began to boil. "It's all part of Satan's plan." I wanted to walk out. This was a blatant logical fallacy--as if I made decisions or interpreted scripture with any care what some made-up entity really wants!

Later, a friend posted on Facebook a question about  atheists and Satan. Two brushes with the Evil One in one week. I took to Google to figure out the term for "a person who refuses to believe in Satan."

The answer I found was "atheist."  An atheist, I learned, rejects any form of the divine, whether good or evil.