Mel Gibson as Maverick, Perspectives on Hell, and Lindsey Graham vs. Elon Musk

Mel Gibson as Maverick, Perspectives on Hell, and Lindsey Graham vs. Elon Musk The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show

Wednesday night I watched the 1994 film Maverick, starring Mel Gibson, with our youngest son, 8-month-old Andrew. It had been a long time since I’d seen it – long enough to forget precisely how Maverick is not moral in the sense that fine, upstanding Christian folk expect and demand.

Yet Maverick is moral in an Old Testament book of Judges sort of way. He admits to being a coward, and is sexually loose. But then he does the brave and upstanding thing anyways, like getting the money back to the women and children waylaid and robbed on their way to start a mission, then donating the reward back to them when it’s all said and done.

Come to think of it, the only folks Maverick cheats are the ones without any boundaries – who either have just cheated or bullied someone, or were about to. And that is so downright chivalrous of him, it may remind me of what Jesus said about being wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

Yet my point is not to recommend that we all emulate the card shark, but to talk about Jacob and Esau, and the kinds of men God has loved and established covenants with, as well as those He has hated and rejected.

Only Mostly Damned

Speaking of love and hate and gambling, Wednesday was a slow enough day for an extended conversation with a friend of mine where I still work, even if for just a little while longer.

I must apologize again to Rosie, who sits one office over from mine, as she was on a conference call in the afternoon, and had to come out and shush us for being too loud as we talked about my friend’s kind of universalism. We were being too loud, even if it was for a good cause.

But in my friend’s view, Hell is a refining fire. And like Miracle Max might say, the damned are only mostly damned. And look at you who knows so much!

If my friend is right, ‘Such were some of you’ will eventually be said to all mankind. On the other side of varying cook times, corresponding to varying hardness of heart, all the sin and rebellion against King Jesus will be burned away. And even if they didn’t accept Jesus before the first death, these will get another chance, at some point, to pledge allegiance to Christ, and join the ranks of the heavenly host in Paradise.

This is admittedly a perspective which I am very troubled by, and with which I disagree for reasons we will delve into in future episodes.

But my perceptive friend doubtless knows this from the look I was giving him when we talked about it. Unlike Brett Maverick, I am not a particularly good bluffer. Only with great concentration and effort do I keep my opinions off my face when someone is telling or showing me their ideas and sentiments, or when a situation is unfolding for better or worse.

But I will borrow the book he is offering me, which promises to expand, I think, on how the early church, prior to the domination of Rome, by virtue of its wedding with imperial power, held to all three views in various quarters.

Origen, for instance, is said to have held to a kind of universalism in eternity. Yet Origen also, according to Eusebius, misread Matthew 19:12 and concluded he should make himself a eunuch for the kingdom of heaven. And we should take any man who would do that with a grain of salt on everything else they hold to as well.

But my friend is not a eunuch, so far as I know, and I will at least hear him out.

Last Days

Wednesday was not just a day for in-depth theological discourse, though. It was also the last day of my second-to-last hitch of seven days on as a contract Systems Integrator.

And given that I take great pride, and great pains, trying to constantly treat with respect and consideration anyone who calls or emails, or asks anything whatsoever at work, when several comments were made noticing and appreciating this fact, it touched me deeply.

Striving to produce the effect and result remarked on, it is exceedingly gratifying and validating to hear others recognize actual success at a high level. That they enjoyed both calling when they needed something, and being in ear-shot when others called, brings an immense amount of joy to my heart.

Besides this, when one of the assistant foremen for automation technicians said in the weekly dispatch handover call that “Not much gets by Garrett,” after telling the others present about my having caught a mistake in a new device request form sent over in the morning, then completed over the course of the day, this was high praise indeed from someone past which not much gets. Then when I informed all on the call, including him, that I was leaving, if they didn’t know, at the end of my next hitch, he paid a still greater compliment by saying he would need 10-minutes after we adjourned to cry. “Congratulations, and I hate you,” he said. But only the first part was genuine, and the latter was said in jest.

All I spoke with wished me well, and said that whatever company I go to next is gaining a great asset, and is very fortunate. And this nearly moved me to tears myself, since embodying a strong work ethic and a reputation for honesty, attention to detail, and courtesy are longstanding personal goals which have not always been noticed out loud everywhere, nor always apparently appreciated by everyone I have ever worked with. Some find these things threatening, and do not readily perceive how such in me are a benefit to them, even though that is how they are intended.

To return these compliments without flattery, it is only with great reluctance and the overpowering inducements of current economic conditions that I leave this team here for another. It has been a great blessing from the Lord, and an answer to prayers, to work with this team over the past year. They are among the most competent, professional, capable, and courteous personnel it has been my privilege to know and work during my ten years in the Oil and Gas industry, and a higher concentration of skill and decency is not to be found in the Rocky Mountains.

Electric Vehicle Non Sequitur

Speaking of last days, and courtesy, and Hell, let’s turn our attention to the back-and-forth between Elon Musk and Lindsey Graham over how best to bring peace in the Ukraine before the world is treated to Armageddon.

Senator Graham made threats over Twitter against electric vehicle tax credits in an attempt to cool Musk’s jets after the world’s richest man suggested Ukrainians by region should be allowed to vote to join Russia if they want to. It is putting things mildly to say that was bad form on Lindsey Graham’s part.

That is not to say Mr. Musk should go unanswered. Elon should certainly be debated publicly on the merits of how democratic any vote with a gun to the heads of Ukrainians actually is, and what dangerous precedent is set if Putin is rewarded for his extended military operation. And I agree with Senator Graham’s reasoning when he stays on-topic about Ukraine.

Bringing up EV tax credits, however, is not the way to go about having that debate. It was ugly of Graham to take things there, and that is not a winning hand for anyone involved. Nor is this a good example of how to engage in public discourse. To the Republican senator from South Carolina, I say: ‘do better and try harder next time.’

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