Daily Archives: January 31st, 2010

Testify and justify

There is a person I know who described himself as a Christian. No, this isn’t the same person I blogged about before when I talked about Fake Christians: Meet my boss. This time I’m talking about someone else. Let us call him Ignatz.

I always thought Ignatz was fairly on the up and up. He had some good points but also some troubling ones. (He’s one of those feisty overly aggressive looking out for #1 sorts. Which is yet another planned blog topic on my radar.) He became a Christian a bit later in life and has a somewhat checkered past.

We’d chit chat about religion from time to time and I generally liked his perspective. We’d talk about the God Hates Shrimp web site (a site that I truly adore), the book of Leviticus, and the fact that when Jesus died for our sins that basically rendered much of the “old laws” in the Old Testament mute.

Even as an atheist I could mostly grok the funky beats that Ignatz was laying down.

Then, the other day, Ignatz decided to share a story with me. I’m going to call it the Book of Staples. Verily, hear my testimony.

Ignatz had a coupon good for a $22 cash credit at Staples. I believe it was earned through his company’s participation in the Staples “rewards” program. Ignatz gave the boss the code and the $22 was redeemed by the boss through the Staples web site.

Now, Ignatz knew damn well the code had already been redeemed, but took the coupon with him on his next trip to Staples anyway. I still can’t believe Ignatz had the balls to tell me about this. Ignatz goes to checkout and hands over his stuff and the coupon. The clerk scans the coupon and says, “Hmm. It’s coming up invalid.”

Ignatz: “That’s weird. Can you give it another try?”

Beep. “Yep, it’s definitely invalid.”

Ignatz: “Darn. I was really counting on that discount. Otherwise I don’t have enough cash on me to make this purchase.” (This part of the story is actually true.)

Clerk: “I apologize for the mix up. I’ll go ahead and override. There ya go. Thank you for shopping at Staples.”

As Ignatz related this story to me, he sort of stuttered, hemmed and hawed when he saw the stunned and disapproving look on my face. “Jesus says it’s okay.” My stunned look grew impossibly bigger. “Since he died for our sins anything we do is already justified.”


I was incredulous. “What about that Top Ten list that Moses brought down from the mountain?” I asked. “Wasn’t there a wee tidbit about stealing in there? Perhaps something about your neighbor’s oxen or donkeys or something the fuck like that?”

Now I’m no Biblical scholar, but I believe that Ignatz then threw some Bible verse at me to justify his actions. I believe it was Romans 3:24 (but I could be wrong, I really was quite stunned at the time) that he spewed at me which reads:

… and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

I’m very disappointed, but not overly surprised, by Ignatz. 😦