Only the Good Fry Dung

kingsford

“Eat the food as you would a barley cake; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel.” (Ezekiel 4:12)

“These things must be done delicately or you hurt the spell.”
(The Wicked Witch of the West)

If there’s any doubt that God can push the envelope, this little chat between him and Ezekiel should settle it. And if there’s anybody out there in ODF land who thinks I’m offensive, you need to recalibrate your huff-o-meter. Compared to God, I’m Fred Rogers.

So here’s Ezekiel. He’s getting his new marching orders from God who wants Zeke to act out the judgment on Jerusalem. God is being very creative, which means that his dramatic choreography will be no waltz in the park for Ezekiel. But Ezekiel’s had a lot of experience with God’s artistic side and he knows that artists (especially ones with absolute power) can be edgy. Ezekiel thinks he can handle it.

God tells Ezekiel to draw a picture of Jerusalem. Zeke does. (He’s actually quite good and puts in a few details and flourishes on his own.) Then God tells him to build little armies with siege ramps and stage a play attack on his drawing. Ezekiel is good at this too; it’s something he used to play a lot as a kid before he got into drugs.

So far so good. But God ups the ante. Now he wants Ezekiel to lie on his left side for 390 days. Ezekiel wonders about this but is not one to refuse a working vacation. He heads to Costco and picks up what he needs for the 13-month demonstration.

But God is on a roll. After this, God says, he wants Ezekiel to lie on his right side, this time for forty days. Not exactly what Zeke was hoping for, but forty days is better than another year’s worth, and he  knows when to leave well enough alone. Zeke comforts himself in that things couldn’t get much weirder.

He is wrong. Way wrong. God wants to make a big impression on everybody. He wants to give them something to remember, something they’ll be talking about for centuries to come. He has this great idea: during the entire 430 days that Ezekiel is on his side, he is to cook his food over human . . . uh, well . . . over human . . . okay, I’ll say it—God wants Ezekiel to barbecue using human shittake briquettes!

(Excuse me? I, of all people, understand the artistic need to offend from time to time, but isn’t this somewhat outside the profile of a respectable Judeo/Christian deity? Isn’t this just a little bit too much? Is it possible for God to act out of character, or can he do whatever he wants because he is God? Yet for him to suggest that Ezekiel defile himself so that God can make a holy point? Yikes.)

This is too much, even for Ezekiel. He recoils and cries, “Are you nuts?—O Great Boss Who Could Kill Me At Any Time And Whose Opinion I Favor Most of the Time Except in This Case. I have never ever done anything as totally gross as this. Please, please don’t make me go there, O Sovereign and Quirky One.”

God thinks it over. He really likes the poop thing—nothing says “apostasy” like feces—but he realizes that some just don’t understand artistic vision. They don’t get context. Sometimes people—especially devoutly religious people—are offended by the wrong things. Ezekiel’s probably right: it’s iffy at best. God imagines how future theologians will try to explain a divine change of mind, but he capitulates anyway. “All right,” he sighs. “Use cow shi—er, manure instead.”

Ezekiel is relieved. He has saved himself from puke-inducing cuisine and saved God from doing something gauche. Ezekiel picks up a dried cow patty and shakes his head. “There’s just no accounting for taste, I guess.”

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