Merry Monk Madness

By The Merry Monk

“Don’t make such a spectacle of yourself.” “Tone it down.” “You should be on the radio so I can turn you off.” I’ve been hearing these kinds of statements all my life. They usually just serve to egg me on. Even so, there are times when I look back on things I’ve blurted out or done in some exuberant display of passion and I deeply wish that I had the sense of decorum that seems to come so easily to most. Lying alone in bed in silent reflection late at night or early in the morning can be a shameful experience for me. I may regret some of the stunts I pull or things I say on the radio, or stuff I write, but I’m going to keep on doing my thing anyway. The shame of the spectacle be damned!
Why? Because there’s a method to my Merry Monk madness.
Have you ever thought about the Old Testament prophets and the exhibitions they put on? Isaiah walked around preaching naked for three years. Ezekiel built a miniature of Jerusalem, attacked it and then lay on his left side for 390 days and then on his right for 40 more. He also ate a scroll. Hosea went and got himself a hooker and married her!
Can you imagine a modern-day pastor announcing to his congregation that he just married a prostitute? “Get to know my new wife, ladies, and make her feel welcome at the women’s social.” Ha! What about a rabbi showing up to synagogue butt naked each week for three years? What would you think if your pastor stood up to deliver his sermon, didn’t say a word and started eating his Bible instead?
Were these Old Testament prophets nuts? Maybe. But there was a method to their madness. These guys put on these insane displays to make a point…to get attention and drive a message home. It’s the same with me.
For example, on February 14, my friend Ben and I each attempted to drink a gallon of whole milk in an hour without puking. We recorded the entire disgusting event and posted it at for all to see.
I called it Merry Monk Milk-Money Madness! Why? Three reasons.
One, I’m a sucker for alliteration.
Two, in 2011, I’m raising money for the work Wakanyeja Pawicayapi is doing among Lakota Indians on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. People pledged “a-buck-a-cup,” $1 per cup of milk we drank in an hour. That’s $16 per gallon or $32 from each donor if we could get the gallons down in time. I’m told that the human stomach only holds a half-gallon and that it’s near impossible to finish a gallon of milk in an hour. You’ll have to visit to see if we puked before we could bring in the full amount to help the Lakota youth. Now that I think of it, we could have called the event Let Loose the Lactose…Loot for the Lakota!
Finally, the third reason for this sickening spectacle, the method to the madness: It’s the essence of the American culture on display. It’s a picture of the selfish way we live our lives and a call to change.
The Native Americans call white people “Wasichu.” The folk etymology of this word is “one who takes the fat” or “greedy person.” Aaron Huey has something called “TED talk,” which describes exactly what they mean. The bottom line is well said by Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, “If we take more than we need, we’re stealing from someone else.” This is literally true when we look at our standard of living in contrast with that of the original inhabitants of this continent. This was at the heart of Merry Monk Milk Money Madness. Sure it’s ridiculous. It’s like turning the movie “Jackass” into a charitable fundraiser, but it’s more. It’s us in the mirror. It says, “You want to take the fat, the whole milk? You want to unnecessarily gorge yourself at the expense of others? Have at it, wasichu, but you will pay the price.” The disgusting display of our way of life is physically unsustainable. When people become blind to how their way of life is destroying themselves and the lives of those around them, it takes a spectacle to shock them out of complacency.
We need more Christians who are willing to throw caution and reputation to the wind in the service of the upside-down Kingdom of God. Freedom in Christ allows it and the gospel demands it. But too often our tools of communication have been blunted by the self-absorbed obsession with being inoffensive or “right.” However, it’s just not necessary anymore, guys.
The gatekeepers have lost their power to the Internet. The culture has shifted. And most importantly, the good news never required such a lack of recklessness! We can now go back to doing it Jesus’ way and offend the uptight in the name of communicating the most powerful message ever entrusted to men. Because of Jesus, God’s not pissed and we’re free to walk in the Spirit without the stifling, life-sucking demands of religion.
Martin Luther put it this way, “There are some who have no understanding to hear the truth of freedom and insist upon their goodness as means for salvation. These people you must resist, do the very opposite, and offend them boldly lest by their impious views they drag many with them into error. For the sake of liberty of the faith do other things which they regarded as the greatest of sins…use your freedom constantly and consistently in the sight of and despite the tyrants and stubborn so that they may learn that they are impious, that their law and works are of no avail for righteousness, and that they had no right to set them up.”
Nobody will ever believe our message if we don’t convey it this way and we show that we don’t believe it by walking on eggshells while trying to communicate it. So, loosen up.
If I’m a fool for the sake of freedom, so be it. Communicating God’s love to the least, the lost, the lonely and the Lakota is worth it. The fact that I exist as the Merry Monk of Love is an expression of the gospel. Albert Camus said, “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
So, at the risk of spoon-feeding everyone my merry ways, there it is. Do I think I’m some kind of prophet? No, I’m just a guilt-ridden disc jockey trying to use the tools at his disposal to do a little good. Am I embarrassed at times? Yup. Should I tone it down? Sorry, it ain’t gonna happen. I gotta be me, and the work I’m doing is worth it. But here’s the real question, are you going to turn me off? Are you going to see the spectacle, look away in disgust and label it foolishness? Or will you see yourself and be moved to freedom and compassion?
Will you join me in being a living spectacle of God’s grace and love?
The Weeping Wasichu
(a.k.a. The Merry Monk)

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