Archive for  April 2016

Home / April 2016
1 Post

God reconsidering humanity’s redemption after a young Christ is killed while scaling a wall to flee warlord’s persecution.


Matthew 2:13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,

GAZA/SINAI BORDER, 5 BC–The would-be savior of the world was killed today by Herod’s soldiers as he was fleeing towards Egypt. Herod, the self-styled ‘king’ of Judea, wanted to ensure that the toddling pretender to the title of ‘King of the Jews’ would never have the opportunity to live a full blameless life, complete a healing/teaching ministry, and sacrifice himself for the redemption of mankind.  The feelings of those remaining on earth ranged from happiness to chiding. Opinions on the way forward in heaven are mixed.


Upon learning that the child he had just killed was in fact the son of God, the soldier remarked. “Yah, I was kind of wondering about the whole earthquake, giant storm and the words ‘How can you screw up your own salvation?’ scrawled across the sky.”  He then shrugged and thanked his centurion for passing out his salt allowance while muttering “I’m agnostic.”


At the provincial level, Herod, who reportedly suffers from delusions of grandeur about his importance to history, the Roman Empire, the public at large, and even his own family commented: “I really like being king, and no one is going to take it from me, screw the undying souls of millions!” he exclaimed as he threw a miniature chariot out of a scale model of the Herodium.


A Roman high official, who chose to remain anonymous because he was commenting on the government itself stated “The Pax Romana really only applies to Roman citizens. We’re still working out federalism and sovereignty, and if a few child savoirs get killed along the way, then we’re not too worried about that, we’re really RINOs [Religious in Name Only] here.” Our official source did admit that it was unfortunate the someone who could turn water into wine was lost because they were low on libations in the capital after a libation levee cut.


Locals were generally fine with salvation in principle, but thought it could have been executed better. After being told that the small child killed en route to asylum in Egypt was planning to save the world, a local Egyptian subject commented: “I mean, thanks for giving up your position in heaven to save us and all, but there was an orderly queue that you could have joined in the Sinai desert.” When asked to point to the asylum queue, the local was unable to point us to it or provide directions on how to join it, so if it exists we cannot find comments from those in it.


Carpenters on both sides of the border were relieved.  “Look, I’m as sad about the fate humanity as everyone, but could you imagine competing for work with someone who does everything right, and then gives away his work? That’s anticompetitive.” An Egyptian carpenter commented, “We’re sick of these purported saviors of the world taking our jobs.  The next savior should pick another profession”


Opinions of Egyptian officialdom were generally positive about the event. “Thanks be to Horus that we made those Jews pay for this wall.”  Said the Egyptian ruler. “We should make it 12 cubits tall, not 10.”  The local high-sorcerer agreed, “The better to keep out those exclusive religious fundamentalists.  All Jews become terrorists in Egypt, just look at the plagues that Moses brought when he was here.  I don’t believe this ‘Prince of Peace’ thing for a minute.”  When asked whether his job security affected his opinion, the sorcerer admitted “I agree, no one wants to be a sorcerer in a dead religion, but I don’t believe this Christianity thing was going to take off anyways, people are going to worship Horus, Isis, and Osiris forever.”


In Heaven, the responses are more mixed.  God the Father was asked whether he would give another chance to the mortals, and replied: “Look, I’ve given them a few shots, Eden, after the Flood, now this, I might bring forward the invention of baseball so these mortals start to understand that three strikes is it.”


Joseph, who had recently been warned by an angel to flee South took a break from praising God to say: “I feel like the Angel’s instructions could have been more specific about how to flee impending doom.  I didn’t know about the newly-built wall.”


Jesus, already back at the Father’s right hand, stated: “I’m happy to take on the sins of the world, but I didn’t anticipate how difficult it was going to be to get asylum.  I was constantly creating water for the people fleeing.”  Lovingly, as is his perennial tone, he added “Rules are rules, I had to live by the ones of the world and Dad; sometimes the world just messes it up. I forgive them, but if I come again, I’ve crossed off most of the developing or war torn parts of the world.  I’ve tried being poor once, and the world just couldn’t deal with it.”


*for more plausible reinterpretations of history see Kymaerica and the Onion (originally from my home town!)


I also wrote this, less satirical post that was never picked up for publication locally:




‘Where is your visa?’

It was 6 AM, and I was stopped a second time by an Australian Border Force member whose job, as I understood it from my 30 odd trips through SYD, was deciding whether my luggage would be dissected, or if I would be let through unmolested.

‘It’s electronically linked, there isn’t a paper.’

I was somewhat startled by the question at this stage of the travel out and I was starting to get annoyed at this point.  I was exhausted from the trip, but it was something more than that.

‘What subclass is your visa?’

Was it this guy’s attitude that was grating on me?  Was it the fact that my American passport had already been checked by the computer upstairs, and I thought this was, at the best of times, redundant?

‘I’m not sure, I’ve got the details on a sticky note right here’

Then it struck me, it was the first time that I, a 188cm, 85kg, middle class white male had ever been really asked about why I was coming into Australia.

‘It says on your note 2013. That’s a long time ago. Is this still current?’

I came to Australia for love of family.  We moved back after my wife had been incredibly supportive and moved to America while I was on active duty in the Marines. She even stuck it out there while I spent a year in Afghanistan.  America, like Australia, recognizes the love of family that it represented by marriage as a reason to emigrate.

‘It’s a spousal, permanent resident one.’

There is another love of family that I learned about in Afghanistan, this time from my linguists.  A love of family that doesn’t compel you to bring your family to your home, but compels you to take your family far away from a ‘home’ where they may easily be maimed or killed by a recently planted IED or an old landmine from the Soviet invasion. Even if the road is long, and the seas are perilous.  We were not so different. I wrote a blank check with my life once hoping that it would keep my family safe, and they write similar checks hoping for fair wind, following seas, and open arms.

‘OK, come on through.’

I am sorry that I failed in my attempt to put Afghanistan back together.  I wish that others who love their families as much as I do could hear that too.

Doug Abdiel is a former active duty Marine and works in tech in Sydney

Interesting Things I’ve looked at since the last post

  • Giving
    • Chapter One: A book about the start of the journey for ThankYou a double-bottom-line business operating out of Melbourne.
    • When thinking about giving, I suspect that the same rules about diminishing marginal utility apply.  My great giving towards causes that are well funded is unlikely to make much of a difference. This cool tax receipt from the Australian government shows where my tax money is already going.  It would be great to get that from America
    • 80000 hours (my results), a site that is designed to help with career choices for those who would like philanthropy to be a big part of their career.  An interesting podcast on him is here
  • Finance/Economics
    • The Wealth Secrets of the 1%: a terribly titled book that looks back on the history of those who have amassed fortunes.  It largely point to one ‘secret’ that is well known monopoly/barriers to entry are the only source of long-term profits. In competitive markets the rents accrue to the consumer. What if we had a social enterprise in a monopolistic market?  Think of the good that could be done.
    • Think twice: A great short read about common mental heuristics and how they lead us astray.
    • This article with housing/rental data from Amsterdam for the past 300 years.  Key takeaways: there are no secular trend in rental/price ratios, or inflation-adjusted component rates of either of the two for several hundred years. When the ratio is out of balance, the burden of adjustment most often falls to the owner, not to the renter.
  • MISC
    • An urban version of the tiny house, see here

Please, tell me what you thought before reading this, and let me know if this changed your mind.