'ROBIN HOOD' GOD ~ 3/25/09

A very good friend of mine, who is now a missionary in Mongolia, recently told this story on his blog, Journolia: A journal of life in Mongolia. :

Reverse Offering

Some of you may have heard of the radical concept of reverse offering with regard to passing the plate in church.  The idea being that if you have an offering, you put it in.  If you don't have food, you take something out.  I thought it was a really original and perhaps useful idea when I heard it several years ago.  One church we were in even tried a more controlled approach of this innovation. I did not know that the idea was at that time already in use in Mongolia.  On top of many hills here are piles of rocks that are considered holy, or at least a representative of the spirit of that area.  So Mongolians have for years added something to the pile, and walked around it three times.  If they don't have a cloth, bottle, food, then a rock or even money will suffice.
Yesterday my neighbor, who is believes in Jesus, stopped by for a visit.  I was asking him some questions about Mongolian religion.  He said he and his family have never followed many of these customs.  Said his dad used to have no qualms about helping himself to visible cash that other people places up there. Said that he himself has never been afraid to pick up bills worth up to 5$ that other people had recently offered to that spirit, mountain, or whatever.  

So maybe this helps me answer the question about what I should have done when my dog starts eating the food someone standing right there has just offered to the shrine. 


I read this story and just laughed, because it reminded me immediately of another story from my office that I've been meaning to blog about for a while. Originally, I was going to name this post "THE DAY I ALMOST KILLED DUSTY." 

Here's why. 

There's a borderline creepy guy here who lives out of his van but always dresses very 'proper' (he kind of looks like Mr. Rogers, which... just adds to the creepiness) and has really, really white teeth.  I mean distractingly white. Anyway, this fellow has a photographic memory and can quote great swaths of Scripture without flinching.  The only problem is that he repeatedly quotes it 95% right and then purposely switches words, usually without people noticing, especially if they're new Christians.  It's a dangerous combination.

This guy (let's just call him 'Mr. Heretic') used to always come into my office to try and... well, I don't know what he was trying to do. Convert me... to... Arianism?? But whatever it was, I used to drop what I was doing and give him my full attention, several times trying to just get to know him, occasionally debating with him (in Christian love), once for almost 2 hours. Then I saw the light: he wasn't interested in anything I had to say. In fact, I had already said everything that I could to him, tried to get to know him, but still, he didn't want to talk about that stuff. I finally asked him to stop wasting his time and mine (I know it sounds harsh but... he was not there to hear from me, nor did he come in an honest search for truth... he came to teach, period). So he stopped coming. For a while. 

I wasn't just worried about being a good steward of my time, although that was part of it. Mainly I was concerned about the many young/ new believers that go to our church.  I didn't want this guy around them. So one day, after a long absence, Mr. Heretic walks into my office and interrupts a meeting I'm having with an older gentleman from our church.  The 'older gentleman' (enter 'Dusty,' much less creepy, despite the picture) still thinks he's 29, but has enough vinegar in him to be 20 years older than the 66 that he is.  Anyway, Dusty is already irritated that our meeting has been interrupted.  And I can see him growing increasingly ticked at Mr. Heretic for coming in and teaching us about how Jesus was not God, so he abruptly counter-interrupts Mr. Heretic in mid-sentence and says --


Dusty and I were having a logistical meeting about raising money to buy presents for the kids that were going to come to the Church Christmas party to be held at my house. 


...Dusty (See picture) interrupts Mr. Heretic and says, "Hey, I bet you'd like to come to the Church Christmas party at the pastor's house!" 

(It is precisely at this point that I want to kill Dusty.) 

Mr. Heretic replies with obvious glee, "Why sure, that would be just grand!" 

Dusty doesn't miss a beat. "Then would you kindly consider donating to our fund to buy presents for the kids as have all the others who are coming?" As he says this he unblinkingly holds out a tin donation can.

Shocked and cornered, Mr. Heretic coughed up some wrinkled bills.  Then he excused himself quickly and left.  He never came to the party. In fact... I haven't seen him since.

I did not kill Dusty. 

I love it when God requisitions money from the enemies of the cross in order to take care of His people. Love it. Thank you "Robin-Hood God.' And please Lord, open the eyes of Mr. Heretic.

Surrounded By Grace,


  1. hi josh
    i think i need to start hanging out at the office more, im missing out on all the fun!! of course, if i do......well then, i would probably be the topic of one of your blogs, uh...never mind. what did you think of those kids who came in and stole all your gum balls? Cant wait for Dusty to be there when that happens again. hahaha cracking myself up

  2. Oh that's hilarious! Tell Dusty I laughed out loud!


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*Grace induces faith & Grace is obligated to faith ~