Hello everyone – welcome to the Thursday post of Writing in the Woods….
There’s been a lot of serious writing floating around the past few days. And for good reason too – with Borders closing and agents and publishers attacking John Locke’s book “How I sold a million books in Five Months” (sour grapes and fear is all that is, I’m waiting for his new book to come out “How I sold a million books about selling a million books”). Not to mention finding Rudolph Murdock in our breakfast cereal. Everyone seems to be in on edge a little. Isn’t it Great living in the information age? We’re in the midst of a writing revolution and the formula is changing – constantly. There are no sacred cows any longer.
But, let’s get off that for a bit and take a detour from all these weighty issues. Let’s lighten it up a little, if only for a few minutes.
Let’s go on a ‘mission from God’ – okay? Let’s build Noah’s Ark in 2011.
Did you ever wonder why Noah built the ark?
You know the story, right?
God was a little upset with the folks down below and decided it was time for them to take a bath – a long permanent bath. But He didn’t want to throw away the baby with the bath water so he figured He’d start over and give it another go. So He found a good man hanging out down below and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
And that offer wasn’t as easy to accept as we might want to think. Keep in mind – there wasn’t any rain in those days. It’s true, it hadn’t been invented yet.
Read it for yourself in Genesis 2:5 & 6 “…for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth….but a mist came up from the ground and watered the surface.”
Take a lot of mist to float that boat, ya think?
Okay, no rain, so I guess that means floods hadn’t been invented yet neither. There were lakes and seas so they did take baths I suppose (I hope). But, it had to take a lot of faith for Noah to go ahead and build a giant boat on dry land because of rain and global flooding he’d never heard of before. But, when the Big Guy talks to you – what are you going to do?
Visualize this: Noah’s out in the yard raking the leaves or tending to his sheep (whatever they did back then) and he’s alone, contented, humming his favorite tune “Can’t get no satisfaction” when a voice from out of nowhere tells him to stop what he’s doing, turn that song off and build an ark.
“What’s an ark?”
“A boat – for the rain that’s coming.”
“Gonna give everyone a bath.”
“Then what’s the boat for?”
“For you, you’re not taking a bath.”
“Let’s not get personal okay? What about all the animals?”
“We’re gonna take two of every kind.”
“Where we gonna take them?”
“In the boat with you.”
“And they ain’t gonna take a bath, neither? Could get a little ripe in there, Ya think?”
Well, you know the outcome. Noah did what he was told. He went ahead and built the ark and the rains came and the world was flooded and he, his family and the animals were all saved. He didn’t argue about it or want to form a committee to talk about it. He just went ahead and did it.
Wonder what the neighbors said?
“Hey Noah, what ya doing over there?”
“Building an ark?”
“What’s an ark?”
“Big boat for me and all the animals for when it rains.”
“What’s rain? Hey Ethel, come out here and look at what that crazy Noah’s doing this time.”
“What’s he doing?”
“He’s building an ark for when it rains.”
Yes, Noah was our hero. He saved the world. Where would we be now if not for Noah doing what he was told to do?
Wonder what the story would have been like if it happened today? Would he have built it? Would you have?
What if God came over this afternoon and told you to build an ark? Would you shut down the lawn mower and head on over to Home Depot for supplies? Or would you want to form an action committee first and talk about it a little?
Maybe it would go something like this:
And the Lord spoke to (insert your name) and said, “I am going to make it rain and the rain shall not stop until it covers the entire earth and all living things will be destroyed.”
“Whoa! Hold on a minute there God, what happened to the bath idea?”
“You will take two animals of every kind with you and we’ll start all over again.”
“That’s a lot of animals. How am I gonna do that?”
“You’ll keep them in the ark.”
“What’s an ark?”
“A big boat.”
“When’s that gonna get here?”
“You’re gonna build it.”
“But I flunked ‘Handyman 1’ in high school!”
After a lengthy discussion concerning materials, tools, animal selection, food, logistics, and finances; God hands over the building specifications for the ark and you begin building.
Time moves on and you try your hardest to build the ark and gather all the animals together, but before you know it a year has gone by and out of nowhere dark clouds begin forming and the sky is becoming violent with thunder and lightning all over the world. The 6 o’clock news is filled with talk about oceans becoming turbulent, strange occurrences happening in the sky and in some parts of the world there’s even reports of water falling from the sky (testing the faucets up there?).
No one’s ever heard of such things before.
Former Vice President Gore calls it ‘black haze’ and says he invented it. He makes a movie about it called “An Inconvenient Haze” and it’s a smash hit.
Scientists are blaming it on something called ‘global freezing’ and claim it’ll lead to a new ‘ice age‘ in 50 years unless we stop all carbon emissions immediately.
The ‘Tea Party’ says it’s orchestrated by big government and to buy gold and the President goes on TV saying it’s the fault of George W. Bush.
Before long, God shows up and finds you sitting on a sawhorse and you’re… weeping.
“Hey (Insert Your name)!” He shouts. “Where’s the ark? I’m all ready to go on my end, all the faucets are working good.”
“Oh God, please forgive me,” you cry “The ark isn’t ready yet.”
“What? How can that be? You’ve had plenty of time.” God is not happy and it’s not good to make God unhappy.
“ I did my best God, but I’ve had some big problems. First, I had to get a building permit for construction, and your plans didn’t conform to the building codes.
So, I had to hire an engineering firm to redraw the plans.
“Then, my neighbor objected, claiming I was violating the zoning ordinances and blocking his view of the city by building the Ark in my front yard. So I had to get a variance from the city planning commission and now they’re saying if it’s going to float then it’s not a permanent structure and where will it end up so as I’ll need a new permit for there too.
Then I got into a fight with OSHA over whether or not the Ark needed a sprinkler system until I finally convinced them it was gonna be on water (duh!). This was real hard because they never heard of rain before and couldn’t understand this was a boat that would float on rain. But, after winning that battle, it backfired on me because then they insisted on approved floatation devices for all the passengers, including the animals. Have You ever tried to get a floatation device for a snake? And now they’re wanting to see the MSDS sheets on rain. You wouldn’t happen to have those handy by any chance, would You?
“I had problems getting enough wood for the Ark, because there was a ban on cutting trees to protect the Spotted Owl. I finally convinced the U.S. Forest Service that I needed the wood in order to save the owls.
“However, the Fish and Wildlife Service won’t let me take the 2 owls because they’re an endangered species, so now the U.S. Forest Service says if I don’t have the owls they want the wood back.
“The carpenters union picketed the building site and I had to negotiate a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board before anyone would pick up a hammer or saw. So I have 18 carpenters working on the Ark, and they get an hour for lunch and two twenty minute breaks each day and I have to supply the coffee and donuts. They don’t work weekends and anything past four is overtime which I can’t afford, so my productivity is down.
“As if that wasn’t enough, the U.S Immigration Inspector showed up inspecting all the workers for ‘Green Cards’. He issued me a citation stating that he found five with ‘Green Cards’ and only one without. He said I couldn’t discriminate and had to hire at least two more illegal immigrants to balance it out and it’s my job to learn their language so as not to offend anyone.
“Meanwhile Homeland Security has tapped into my cell phone and internet as I’m suspected of being a ‘global terrorist‘ and they’ve classified ‘rain‘ as a ‘weapon of mass destruction‘ and they want me to appear before the House Ways and Means Committee to answer questions why I’m building this ark.
“When I started rounding up the animals, an animal rights group sued me. They objected to me only taking two of each kind on the ark saying I was discriminating against the rest. On top of that I got hit with another law suit from PETA saying it was cruelty to animals to keep them cooped up in the ark when they should be free roaming. But when I allowed them to be free roaming the tigers began eating the sheep and I still don’t know where the hippopotamus ran off to…
…but I did find the two gorillas when I got served the summons from the Sheriff regarding the Smith’s greenhouse down the road.
“Meanwhile, the EPA notified me that I could not complete the Ark without filling out some environmental assessment forms. They issued a restraining order against me until I filed an Environmental Impact Statement on both, the odor impact and the ‘rain’ to include chemical composition and corrosive effects. They didn’t take kindly to the idea that they had no jurisdiction over ‘rain’ and wanted preliminary analytical tests conducted before they’ll approve it as a non-hazardous substance. This is a problem since I’ve never seen any and so don’t have any for them to test. They also said they would notify the Food and Drug Administration as ‘rain‘ could be ingested and therefore required the FDA Stamp of Approval.
“Then, the Army Corps of Engineers demanded a map of the proposed ‘flood’ plan to include water tables and run off patterns.
I sent them a globe.
“Right now, I’m trying to resolve a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that since the flood will be an international event, I should be employing representatives from all races. They also insisted on a proportionate employment of women, but I was able to satisfy that by using my wife and daughter to feed the animals, but I have to pay them equal wages for it.
“And the Human Rights Commission is claiming I’m practicing discrimination by not taking two of every race aboard the ark when the rain starts. And there’s also a discrimination lawsuit from the gay and lesbian community saying two of each persuasion must be included on board …
…as well as one from the Atheists United Against God group saying they’re being unjustly persecuted against as the cause of this and they’re seeking to have the flood declared as a hate crime.
“The IRS has seized all my assets, claiming that I’m building the Ark in preparation to flee the country in order to avoid paying taxes and the State is suing that I owe them some kind of user tax and also that I failed to register the Ark as a ‘recreational water craft’.
“And, finally, the ACLU got the courts to issue an injunction against further construction of the Ark, saying that since it’s God who’s going to flood the earth, it’s a religious event, and, therefore is unconstitutional.
“To be honest with you God, I think it’s gonna take at least another ten years to finish the ark.”
The sky began to clear, the sun began to shine, and the seas became calm.
“Are You holding off for ten years God?”
“No, I changed my mind.”
“You mean you’re not going to destroy the earth?”
“I don’t have to, they did the job for me, it’s already destroyed.”
Well, I guess it’s back to the serious business of writing and publishing. Hope you enjoyed building your ark. Don’t get all worked up over worrying about where the publishing world is going – we’ll still be here writing. And that’s what’s important. Our words will find outlets – now more than ever.
So write! Make it the best you can, enjoy doing it and thank God you’re able to (and pray He doesn’t ask you to build an airplane!)
Until Next Time:
Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are