Monthly Archives: March 2011

One Planet, Under God

On the way back from Uganda I sat next to a British dude who was in Uganda buying land to set up a health clinic and housing for poor people. He told me he was working for a big Christian church in London, and as I listened to him talk about his project, I was thinking ‘I really should put aside my lingering prejudice against Christians. If only more of them were like him!’

I asked him about the health clinic he was going to set up.
‘We’re establishing a mobile health clinic to reach hard-to-access areas,’ he said.
‘Nice idea!’ I said.
‘We’ll be distributing medicines, health information and scripture.’
‘So … Bibles.’
‘We want all Ugandans to have a personal relationship with Christ.’

I was still feeling all warm from the charity he was describing, and the next thing he said took me off guard:

‘With the end times coming, it’s important to us to install heaven on Earth with speed and precision.’
‘End times?’ I said.
‘Earthquakes, fires, volcanoes. You see what’s going on around you. These are the signs of Christ’s return.’

Well shit.

‘Surely you see it in your own country. America is becoming more socialist by the day.’
‘Ummmm…’
‘The antichrist is returning, and we see Obama’s close connection  to that, and we’re trying to act.’

He continued like this for the entire taxi and takeoff. It was textbook One World Government stuff. Apparently the world is heading inevitably toward a planetary government and unified currency. Which is the worst thing ever. Like all conspiracy theories, it’s totally inconsistent.

‘So if a world government is bad,’ I asked, ‘we should be protecting and preserving each nation, and having less integration of our economies?’
‘The Lord separated the nations for a reason,’ he said. ‘It’s right there in the Bible.’
‘But the Bible was written long before there were nation-states, much less their current configuration. The United States wasn’t even an idea when the Bible was written.’
‘It’s in the Bible, Mike.’ He sighed, exasperated at my ignorance. ‘God has blessed the nations.’

I was eyeing the fasten-seatbelt sign as soon as he mentioned the word ‘Antichrist’, and I changed seats the instant it pinged off. I probably should have stayed and argued, and at least tried to plant a kernel of reality into his vast, overploughed prairie of bullshit, but I couldn’t be bothered. The only thing I regret not saying was ‘Leave Uganda alone!’ as I left.

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Filed under Random

Uganda

This is the view from my hotel room in Kampala

I was in Uganda for work, which means I spent most of the week looking at the country out of windows

Hotel, car, office

Even the sunrises were spectated

What does the chair mean?!

After working all week, we went to Entebbe, on Lake Victoria, for the weekend

And checked out a chimpanzee sanctuary. Where 43 apes growled at us and one threw rocks.

Everything's smaller in Africa, even me.

The coolest thing about Entebbe is the monkeys. They're everywhere!

They're so tame they're practically houseguests

We went to the zoo, which had a bunch more monkeys, only the less tame, more existentially despairing ones

If you want a treatise on the hubris of man, read the Wikipedia entry for Lake Victoria. Say, here's a vast freshwater lake with a wide variety of unique fish life. Let's introduce an invasive predatory species into it!

They're like squirrels, just everywhere as hell.

The lake is significantly less full of fish than it used to be, but that doesn't mean it's empty.

As long as no one trains the monkeys to catch the predator-fish, Uganda should be fine.

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Filed under Pictures, Travel

Going Once, Going Twice

I got a job in Berlin

And i'll be moving there in six weeks

This'll be the fourth time I've moved to a new country by myself

Every time I do this, I overpack

I bring T-shirts I never wear, pillows I replace, mementos of events I firmly remember

On the last three moves, part of the preparation was thinking of all the things I wanted to change about myself in my new country

That'll be different this time, I would think, jotting down habits

It's tempting to think of a relocation as a reboot.

Or a facelift.

But really it's just a costume change.

You're the same lumpy you, just with a new social security number.

So this time I'm focusing on the stuff I want to do, not be:

Run, not walk.

Laugh, not think.

Show, not tell.

Make, not spectate.

Ultimately, your bad habits are the only thing you really take with you. And I'm not leaving a single one of mine behind.

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Filed under Personal, Pictures, Serious, Travel

The Saddest Four Words in the English Language

 

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Filed under Books, Funny