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“There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.” (Isaiah 57:21)

As I’ve said before, the wicked are cooler than the righteous by a long shot. The righteous may have the moral high ground, but they can’t compete when it comes to glamor, savvy, rebel mystique, and all-around hipness. That’s why the righteous have always wanted to be like them and why God has always had such a problem keeping the saints on the straight and narrow. As the old song goes: How ‘ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree? If God offered a few more pieces of flair down here he might have fewer prodigals, but I guess he’s saving them all the good stuff for later. Besides, prodigals are his business and the indirect reason for all the great holidays.

There is one consolation. Even though the wicked have all the best toys, parties, and bank accounts, there is one thing they don’t get. Underneath all that enviable savoir faire—okay, maybe way underneath—a very important piece is missing. (This clever play on words was unpremeditated; it just happened as I wrote. This should prove to some of you doubters out there that ODF is definitely inspired by the Holy Ghost. Consider this fair warning. Any opinion otherwise may constitute an unforgivable sin, and you know what that means.) These glamor pusses may look like they’re having a blast—and they probably are, and a lot more fun than a squeaky clean goody-two-shoes pious person could hope for, I’ll bet. Of course, I wouldn’t know since I’m one of those righteous dudes who is stuck trying to do the right thing at least half the time all the while wishing I could just jump onto the debauchery bandwagon and cut ‘er loose.

But as I started to say, the wicked, who have given themselves over to the pursuit of worldly pleasures with little regard for all the rules that righteous folks are required to follow every moment of every freaking day of their lives, which, let me tell you, is no picnic in the park, especially when those forbidden worldly pleasures are pretty dang pleasurable as any saint who fell out of saintdom could tell you—or so I’ve heard anyway. Like I said, the wicked aren’t even trying to please God who, as the righteous know, is sitting up there on his big throne just watching for somebody to screw up so he can unleash fiery wrath all over them, but obviously after they have enjoyed their toys and parties and bank accounts which the righteous, out of God’s goodness, are deprived of and for which they are supposed to be grateful.

Getting back to my point, the wicked may have most of the good stuff, but they don’t have all the good stuff. For example, they don’t have the religious obligation to get up on Sunday mornings, after a hard week and a Saturday full of chores, in order to go to church to sit among a bunch of people you don’t particularly like all that much and listen to a bunch of lame repetitive songs, hand over some of your hard-earned moolah, and doze through a long, vapid sermon. No, the wicked are mostly likely blaspheming God’s holy day of rest by sleeping in. The wicked also don’t have the priviledge of feeling that spiritual gift of guilt for not measuring up to God’s high standards. The wicked just go their own merry way fully enjoying life in a most irreligious manner while the righteous put their enjoyment on hold until the next life, which is supposed to make up for all the cool stuff they missed out on the first time around, but we’ll see about that.

It’s clear, once you step a long way back from it, that the righteous have certain advantages over the wicked even though it’s hard to know what those advantages actually are. Whereas the wicked are more able to enjoy what this life has to offer, they aren’t supposed to actually enjoy the fact that they’re enjoying it. That’s where the righteous come in. The job of the righteous is to make sure that the wicked feel as miserable as possible for having such a good time. This is pretty much the point of being a saint in the first place, I guess. As the Psalmist writes, “This is the glory of all his saints. Praise the LORD.”

So, okay. Praise the Lord.

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