a biblical solution to the bedbug infestation terrorizing america from ‘the acts of john’

BedbugWith all of the news surrounding the apparent bedbug infestation spreading across America, from the United Nations and the Waldorf Astoria in New York to out here in Los Angeles, I was reminded that despite how much this menace sucks (literally), this is no new problem. Actually, the problem of bedbug annoyance has been around since biblical days. In fact, one of the more humorous (albeit implausible) stories from the earliest moments in Christianity is a story from a pseudepigraphal gnostic document called the Acts of John.

At one point in the Acts of John, we have the story of “The Miracle of the Bedbugs”:

Now on the first day we arrived at a deserted inn, and when we were at a loss for a bed for John, we saw a droll matter. There was one bedstead lying somewhere there without coverings, whereon we spread the cloaks which we were wearing, and we prayed him to lie down upon it and rest, while the rest of us all slept upon the floor. But when he lay down, he was troubled by the bugs, and as they continued to become yet more troublesome to him, when it was now about the middle of the night, in the hearing of us all he said to them: “I say unto you, O bugs, behave yourselves, one and all, and leave your abode for this night and remain quiet in one place, and keep your distance from the servants of God.” And as we laughed, and went on talking for some time, John addressed himself to sleep; and we, talking low, gave him no disturbance (or, thanks to him we were not disturbed).

But when the day was now dawning I arose first, and with me Verus and Andronicus, and we saw at the door of the house which we had taken a great number of bugs standing, and while we wondered at the great sight of them, and all the brethren were roused up because of them, John continued sleeping. And when he was awakened, we declared to him what we had seen. And he sat up on the bed and looked at them and said: “Since ye have well behaved yourselves in hearkening to my rebuke, come unto your place.” And when he had said this, and risen from the bed, the bugs running from the door hasted to the bed and climbed up by the legs thereof and disappeared into the joints. And John said again: “This creature hearkened unto the voice of a man, and abode by itself and was quiet and trespassed not; but we which hear the voice and commandments of God disobey and are light-minded: and for how long?” (60-61)

Thus, the solution to the bedbug problem: get an apostle to order the bugs out of the bed before you go to sleep every night. It’s an almost biblical solution to the bedbug infestation terrorizing America. (And don’t talk while John’s trying to sleep!)

new game ‘the bible online’ puts you in the role of bible characters

The Bible Online GameA new game MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) role playing strategy game is under development that allows players to assume roles of biblical characters, only this game is far from a What Would Jesus Do simulation. In “The Bible Online,” players assume the roles of biblical characters of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and play out more than a few of the scenes from the Bible that aren’t typically discussed in Sunday school.

According to online gaming news site Destructoid:

If you’ve ever read all the rape, genocide and deep-seated racism in The Bible and thought to yourself, “Man, that sounds like my kind of world,” then this is the game for you! The Bible Online allows players to “slip into the role of Abraham and his descendants and have the opportunity to reenact and witness the incidents of their times.”

The game is going to be split into chapters with The Heroes being the first released. The basic setup is that of an MMO strategy game, where players control their own tribe, build a city, and naturally wage war in the name of God. It won’t be a case of holding onto territory, however, as the ultimate goal is leading one’s band of merry savages into the promised land.

So we’re about to have an online role playing game that takes us through all of those Bible stories that no one talks about: Genesis 6:1-7 (angels having sex with humans), Genesis 22:1-17 (the akedah – command from God to sacrifice a child), Genesis 30:14-16 (Leah purchasing sex with Jacob from Rachel with mandrakes), Genesis 34 (rape of Dinah and the slaughter of Shechem and the city) Genesis 38 (spilling seed, Judah and Tamar), Numbers 31 (massacre of the Midianites and apportionment of the remaining women), Deuteronomy 7:1-5; 20:10-17 (various instructions for genocide), Joshua 7:2-26 (the stoning of Achan and his family/belongings), Joshua 10:16-27 (the execution of five foreign kings), Joshua 11:21-22 (the massacre at Anakim), Judges 1:8 (the massacre of Jerusalem), Judges 11:34-39 (Jephthah kills his virgin daughter), Judges 19:22-30 (gang rape and dismemberment), etc., etc.
(h.t. to Brick Testament for the illustrations.)

I’m not sure how I feel about this game. I am traditionally one to encourage students to read all of the Bible and not just those sanitized portions they find appealing. The Bible is full of sex an violence, oppression and injustice on all sides that often appear as commands from God. In that regard, it is good for people to come to terms with what is actually claimed in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. On the other hand, how much will this game overemphasize the sex and violence of the text and skew its significance in comparison to the good that the text is attempting to communicate (as I have done above)? Will the game developers build in a sense of morality or will the game be little more than Grand Theft Auto: Holy Land? We’ll see.

(ht: john lynch)

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