my brother’s keeper

(or, damned to hell part II)

Ah, yes, Cain really had it come’n to him.  Having readily dispatched Abel for arguably poor reasons, Cain was getting ready to have his ass handed to him by the lord-someone’s-god. A voice from on high: “Hey, Abel, where’s your brother?”  Simple enough, but Cain had to be a smart ass in his response thus giving us the “Am I my brother’s keeper?” colloquialism which still lives on today.

When the “brother’s keeper” idea is thrown around it makes me curious if the person really knows what they’re talking about.  Generally it’s typically the biblical set who tend to drop the phrase, so you’d think they’d get the story straight.  God wasn’t asking Cain if he protected his brother from harm.  And Cain wasn’t saying, “hey, it’s not my job to look after him”.  Cain was dodging a murder charge, and god was try’n to get him to fess up.  It really has nothing to do with protecting someone else from harm.

So, when I got my most recent cryptic voicemail talking about brotherly keeperly it started to become clear that the issue at hand here is/was my interaction with the caller back in my Christian days, most likely to do with my getting out of the church.

It’s important to keep in mind that I know who this person is and that I have known him for several years.  Let’s start calling him Echo.  Echo and I were housemates for at least 2 years, and had regular contact for at least 4 years while I was still in Illinois.  Most of that time was while I was a bible-toting believer in the Southern Baptist Church.  However, for reasons which are too long to go into here, I left the church, renounced my faith, lost an entire group of friends (and one girlfriend), and reclaimed the joy of hedonism and agnosticism to which I now subscribe.

Echo, who you could say that I mentored while a member of the church, tried to bring me back into the fold when I left.  We soon lost contact when that didn’t work.  I ran into him a few times after that, at Wal-Mart (how midwestern, you say) and such.  The last time I saw him he was at a bar.  I don’t remember the story, but I think he fell away from the church himself.  He’s called a few times since then, and at least twice since I moved to Seattle, both times asking for computer support or something of the like.  We weren’t close while I left Illinois, we certainly aren’t close now.

That brings us to the present:  the most recent voicemail from Echo was a recording played into the phone of a fiery sermon by somebody unknown.  It was barely intelligible, but what I did catch from it was that it was likely centered around a chapter in Ezekiel and had a lot of churchy phrases like ‘righteous’ and ‘my name is the lord’ and ‘vengeance’. 

Sad to say, it doesn’t surprise me that Echo is apparently incapable of articulating his own thoughts and feeling without extensive cursing or the use of pre-recorded material. Even sadder, it looks like Echo has once-again embraced the church and blames me for choices he made while I was his brother’s keeper.

That’s the best I can surmise from this kettle of fish.

The last thing on the voicemail was Echo telling me in a creepy, deep voice to “Repent”.  No thanks, I’ll keep my soul right where it’s at.

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