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We shall be hostile toward the opportunity cost of people who waste our time. This post goes beyond recognizing time-wasters to proposing a strategy for getting rid of them. My favorite: ignoring. I believe in the power of prayer. I …...

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Filed Under on April 2nd, 2011

Family Maxims #28

By Seth Kabala

We shall be hostile toward the opportunity cost of people who waste our time.

This post goes beyond recognizing time-wasters to proposing a strategy for getting rid of them. My favorite: ignoring.

I believe in the power of prayer. I do not, however, believe that sugary words spoken in an attempt to catch the ear of the head chocolatier and garner baskets of goodies for the speaker do anything to boost the effectiveness of the ingredients.

Here’s another formula I’ve stumbled across (I know, I should have been in science, all these formulae I keep stumbling across). There is an inverse relationship between the frequency of usage of the word “God” in a prayer and the effectiveness of said prayer.

For instance, the following prayer, and I paraphrase, which may or may not have come from the lips of an aspiring candy-maker I know:

“God, oh, God. You are God. You are good, God. Oh, God. Bestow Your everlasting mercy, God, on us, God, and God, oh, God, please see fit, God, in the usage of Your benevolence, God, to shine Your power, God, and bring change, God, and hope, God, to Your humble servants, God, and heal these afflictions, God, that You, God, can only bring to a state of harmlessness and renew, God, this temple, God, that You, God, have created, so that, God, oh, God, You may be glorified by the work Your servant has yet to do in Your name … God. Amen … God.” (Assume liberal doses of vibrato throughout.)

Is less effective than this one: God, please heal [sick person]. Amen.

My thoughts after hearing that prayer: God dammit! Stop saying God. Sorry, God, but God dammit.

In the middle of a before-worship-service prayer-meeting, I had little chance to practice my ignoring philosophy and stop this self-serving bumptiousness, other than to avoid the equally-self-serving vocal encouragements of “Yes, Lord,” “Mmhmm,” and “Oh, Jesus,” and offer my own prayers that if God couldn’t strike this person dead, at least He could give her an impromptu case of laryngitis to shut her the f— up.

When cornered by someone who wants to go sugary on you, however, you have more power, such as when someone decides you are the mark for their speech about how God saw fit to suddenly make a facial growth disappear because they “cursed it to the root,” and then goes on and on about how God is the God of great Gods … God.

Please don’t get me wrong. I believe in an omnipresent, omniscient, creator God, but at the same time, I think someone this powerful has the common sense ability to sniff out a sycophant, maybe even say, “Oh, f— Me. Not with the ‘Gods’ again. Why don’t you say why for a change? Prove it by action?” when the sugar coating starts to glaze. Hence the need for hostility to the opportunity cost.

Cornered by one such sycophant, I pretended to be lost in shared reverence for said sycophant’s words (not the work of God), which caused said sycophant to misinterpret my facial expression as awed silence instead of calculation, and he left me alone.

Mission accomplished.

God is great. He knows it. Really, He does, so do your best to ignore those who think He needs to be reminded.


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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, musician, family man, and juggler of balls--big ones. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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