Wednesday 17 May 2000

Angry sky

Pic of the day: After the rains were over, I took a short walk in the fresh air. I took several pictures, but chose this for its inherent drama. Yes, I'm afraid I still feel a bit dramatic...

Woe betide the rich

I woke up a little before 8 in the morning. It hurt, as expected. It's a basic fact about us men that during REM sleep ("dream sleep") blood will usually flow to our genitals, whether or not this is reflected in our dreams. But due to the damage sustained yesterday, it seems the blood has taken the alternate route. Still, I am alive and as of yet in no need of hospitalization. Life is good.

And a big thank-you hug to those who wrote to comfort me. Of course it arrived a bit delayed, but still: Much appreciated. It does encourage me to think about you. Unlike some diarists, I don't do this entirely for my own therapy. (HTML and FTP are not the ideal tools for self gratification.) Knowing that you are out there adds more meaning to the experience of my life.

But! I am still worried about my religion. I know most of you are not particularly religious, and especially not into christianity. But to me, it is at the core of my being. Not so much that I was raised in it ... But during the somewhat terrifying transformation from child to adult, I sort of grew together with Jesus. That's the closest I can describe it. And now I'm worried because I feel that I have departed from His way without noticing it. I have grown rich without knowing.


Today, the 17th of May, is Norway's national day, Constitution Day. The constitution (inspired not least be the then recent American one) was the rebirth of our nation, rather than formal independence. When the question of national independence came up in a referendum 91 years later, over 99.9% were in favor. This was largely the work of the constitution and the regular celebration of it on May 17th during the intervening years. Those years also saw a flood of artistic inspiraton. Writers like Ibsen, painters like Munch, composers like Grieg all lived their formative years while our nation was struggling to be born. It was a time of material poverty, compared to these days. But people felt other needs beside the daily bread.

Today, our people congregate in the churches (or increasingly not even that) to give thanks for a country that is among the very richest in the world. Even before our oil industry, we were pretty well off. By now, only a handful of nations have a higher standard of living, and few of them can throw in benefits like wilderness enough to get lost in, and a low crime rate.

We have much to be thankful for. And yet, this could be our undoing. And for me as a christian, this holds doubly true.


Jesus was always on the side of the poor. He and his friends cried woe over the rich. There was little in the way of reservations: The fact that one is rich while another is poor, shows that the rich has failed to share. You can explain all you want, but your riches witness against you. That's the attitude you find in the New Testament, though it seems we had forgotten it.

I did not even consider myself rich, in material terms. I mean, I still earn less than most people here. By Norwegian standards I am barely even middle class, particularly when the taxes are factored in. So I have not really thought about it. But now that I do, I am horrified to see that I may be going to Hell on a first class ticket.


So I don't have a house of my own, or a car, or a boat and blah blah. But I could not give you a list of my clothes - or even my trousers - if my life depended on it. There are some that are opened but I can't say for sure whether I've used them more than once. There's also the more than 100 computer games (at least I didn't steal them...) and the comic books. But I think the most grotesque is my being proud of clothes that cost me nearly $100 per piece and then just were packed away or worn for pure vanity. Well, they are cool. But what will I do on Judgement Day? When I'm walking towards the High Seat of Justice, and my path merges with that of the children who died from hunger while I was selecting the finest clothes to wear? Even if God didn't mention anything, wouldn't the mere sight of these souls shame me from following them into the Light?

I'm worried over my perhaps not so eternal soul, I truly am.


But the computer is a different kind of animal, says my conscience. It actually helps me reach out to others, however faintly. I may never make much of a difference, but it's more than nothing.

And besides, I get to trick some traders into feeding the starving on my behalf for free. It's really just a band-aid on a gaping, rotting wound. But still ... The Hungersite is at least trying. That's more than I can say about myself.

After ca 3 weeks of hot dry weather, the rain pelts down on our national day. Heh.

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