Archive for the ‘Job’ Tag

THE BOOK OF JOB – 2021 (HUMAN TIME) — NOT A WINNER   2 comments

Again I’m free to post this short story here. It didn’t win, place, or show in the latest Writer’s Digest” contest.


“One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the Lord, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.’” (NRSV)

 “But do not ignore this fact, beloved, that with the lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day.” (NRSV)

 The Lord stepped down from the throne, a fond parental smile revealing their anticipation of greeting the representatives of earth, the most difficult, and maybe most beloved, group at this millennial gathering of celestial bodies. Outside the great hall there was a cacophony of claims to priority, all the more dissonant as there were as many languages being spoken as their world had to offer. And then the quieting joy as they forced their way past each other over the threshold and discovered in the great hall that each understood everyone’s words, though probably not each other.

Some arrived with prayer rugs, others with cushions, while many eyed the chairs arranged throughout the room, creating a visual clamor of national clothing colors — from the reds and blues of kiffiyehs covering middle eastern heads to the bling of formal saris and the dignity of Sikh turbans; from the oranges and yellows of flowing African skirts to decorated Chinese head pieces, mitigated by the occasional black suit with stiff backward white collar worn by expressionless men.

A buzz of questions erupted when the rumor spread that Satan would be in attendance. One man with a backwards white collar swung around to the exit. “I’m not staying. I’ll have nothing to do with Satan.” With a quick hand on his shoulder the Lord smiled lovingly and firmly, “You already do have much to do with Satan. Sit down and relax.” Relaxing, however, was far from the intention for any in the gathering.

And then Satan arrived, accompanied by a stern looking entourage in various military and civilian attire, protectively alert for signs of danger. Some of the gathered rose as if to leave while others settled in various degrees of fear and curiosity. Satan’s group, on the other hand, stood straight-backed and immobile around him as the Lord reached their hand to Satan who pulled back a bit.

“It was only a moment in time since you last reported in,” the Lord observed. Satan waved a reassuring gesture to his guards and, offering a half smile to Gabriel, the Lord’s assigned assistant for today’s meeting, replied, “Yep. I told you then the world was quite a mess, but you preferred not to listen to me and focused instead on putting poor Job to the test. Strange thing to do, considering he was one of the truly devoted ones – maybe the only one.”

“Well that was then, and this is now. But why do you have this uptight entourage behind you? Don’t tell me you’re worried about your safety. You know perfectly well I don’t operate that way.”

“Habit, I guess. You get that way after you’ve been hanging around earth long enough.”

“Maybe you’re worried about the coup I hear you’ve been trying to pull? How’s that been going for you?”

“Pretty damn well, I’d say. I think I have my position pretty solidly cemented.” Satan’s smile broadened even as it curled. Gabriel stiffened. A buzzing erupted as whispers of shock – or maybe agreement – rolled like a tsunami through the attending group. Some things are just too sensitively political to talk about.

“Relax, Gabe” The Lord swept their hand reassuringly about the room encouraging calm. Then, smiling benignly toward Satan, “You think you’re in a good position now, Sate.” Again a flurry of action from the gathered group, shocked at the intimacy between the two powers. “But my cause will defeat you in the end, I’ve set earth dwellers up with some pretty powerful tools.”

“Like what?” one of Satan’s deputies sneered and then backed up in response to his boss’s silencing look.

“Like faith, love, dedication, community, gratitude, compassion, intellect, logic, science, even anger to mobilize against evil.’

Satan’s entourage tittered a bit, receiving Satan’s quick appreciative smile in return. Then, with something that looked like a sneer on his face, he declared, “a perfect array of tools. Thanks. I’ve been able to make good use of them. Look at Constantine, for example. It took very little effort to get people to have “faith” in him. All he had to do, really, was put the cross on the sword and send them out, using your “anger” to kill off anyone who called you by a different name. Didn’t you see what was happening?  I’ve used that faith thing a lot, managing to get people to confuse ‘faith’ with abject obedience. Really pretty easy to do.”

“But love in the long run will overcome anger.”

“Really? Where do you see that happening?”

“Look at all the times neighbors come to the aid of people who are suffering. That certainly is love – and caring for community besides.”

“Don’t fool yourself. I know how to use that one too. Maybe you were thinking in broad terms when you established that “neighbor, compassion, and community” thing, but I managed to get them to think close to home. Look over there” The Satan gestured, “that fellow with the backwards collar does a great job of convincing people you should be kind to your immediate neighbor and keep out anyone who doesn’t belong in your community.” The fellow with the collar reddened as the Lord turned a sadly inquisitive eye on him.

“And ‘anger against evil?’” Boy, have I ever got you there. All it took was planting the idea that anyone not like your “community” is an evil danger. You can’t tell me you haven’t seen the result of that little trick of mine.

The Lord calmly moved closer to Satan and looked him confidently in the eye like a parent gently berating a wayward child. “You’ve obviously been seduced by one little planet, that troublesome little place. And you’ve forgotten that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day. We’re just getting started. Sure, we’ve got lots of problems to work out, but don’t forget creativity and science, and even the flexibility to adapt and change over time.”

“I hate to tell you, old timer, but you’re a bit late. People can’t even agree on who you are. Allah, God, Great Spirit. Some don’t even name you.”

“And some don’t even know you’ve taken control of them!” the Lord snapped back.

The attending representatives broke into a buzz of discussion, piling disjointed thoughts on top of unverbalized shocked utterances. “The Lord does have a temper! Maybe losing it once in a while isn’t so bad.” “What are we supposed to say when we report back on earth?” “This is depressing – like there’s no hope.” “I don’t think it’s so bad – Satan seems to hit the nail on the head.” “Why doesn’t the Lord point out all the research being done these days on happiness and gratitude…” “And even love.” “How come the two of them seem so cozy with each other? Almost like they’re two sides of the same coin.” “We came all this way for this? I could have spent my time reading, or watching TV. Or discussing with friends. Where is all this getting us?” “What’s the point anyway?”

The words piled on each other like a rocky landslide. Some attendees rose as if to leave. Or perhaps to fight. Or simply to attack each other with accusing looks or raised fists. Some moved as if to surround the Lord with protection or maybe just encouragement. The great hall had disintegrated into a tumult of words, utterances and movements both organized and random.

Still the Lord was smiling benignly. Satan wasn’t. One thing that didn’t play into Satan’s hand was discussion.

“Cool it!” The Lord raised their hand in a calming gesture. Then, turning to Satan, “I’ll tell you what. I’ll make a deal with you. Why don’t you do what I had you do with Job. Take everything away from your most devoted and successful follower and see what happens. Come back and report to our next millennial gathering. That’ll be like tomorrow in our eternal timelessness, but it gives you lots of earth time to work it out.”

“You’re on!” Satan smiled a crooked smile while his entourage vacillated between sneers and fears. “Let’s shake on it.”

Outside the great hall departing participants fell into disarray as their sudden fall back into multiple languages jarred whatever efforts they had been making to understand each other.

The Lord didn’t try to hide a worried parental smile.




Posted March 13, 2022 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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Please check out this latest review of “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses” on  You’ll have to go to the end of the reviews and ask for the “most recent” to find it.

“What a surprise! The writing is clear and concise, painting a beautiful picture of ancient times. A truly interesting take on the story of Job, and a glimpse into the historical setting the Hebrews came from. I enjoyed the author’s attention to detail so much. A great read!”



Twelve reviews have made it past the censor. Things are picking up. Both the softcover and the kindle version are showing some movement.

The most recent review emphasized something new — the last chapter where I give “the story of the story.”

“Figs, Pomegranates, and Special Cheeses, by Mona Gustafson Affinito , is a lovely story told from the point of view of Job’s wife. It is full of sensual details, and written using a great deal of visual imagery. The author is especially attuned to colors, and the reader cannot help but delight in the colorful descriptions of the robes, dresses, rugs, and camel garb of the times. As simple and straightforward it is as a love story, its ending becomes deep and complex, reflecting with insight on Job’s struggles.. While it is clearly a book which will appeal especially to women, the full story has much meaning for anyone who is continuing to examine the roles of strong women in history and in present time, and men’s response to these women. When you finish the story, the author’s Addendum is a MUST READ, as it reflects on the wonderful, self-reflective, and intelligent way which she approached the issues, the historical research, and the theology of this fictional , yet scripturally-based, story.”

And then there’s the nice review that I posted last time — the one that didn’t make it past the spending rules imposed by

Thanks to all of you for paying attention


My friend was outed the other day as a Democrat. “Really?” a man nearby reacted, “But I thought you were a Christian.” Yes. He really believes that Democrats are not Christians. Wow! Is my reaction.

And I’m a Democrat BECAUSE I strive to be a follower of Jesus (who, remember, was a practicing Jew.) Unlike that man, I don’t assume that all members of any political party think alike. I know many Republicans who choose that party because they feel they have a home there for their Christian beliefs, just as I feel the Democratic Party supports more of mine. So why am I a Democrat? (except when I vote for a Reublican.)

I think that with the Democrats I have a better chance for freedom to follow my beliefs without government interference. I do understand that there are those who see things differently – who are sure that a true believer would want to impose the “right” religion by way of government action. You know what? I think they have their right to believe that. That’s why we have discussions, debates, and even elections.

I choose the side of the Democrats, though, because I believe I have a moral/ religious home there. I’ll vote for life every time. That’s right: I’m pro-life; therefore I’m pro-choice. I believe all life is valuable – not just the life of the newly implanted fertilized ovum. In fact, I have a hard time understanding the belief that God somehow loves that embryo so much that it would be worth it to sacrifice the life of the woman He once thought so valuable when she was in the form of an embryo. And have no doubt. A woman’s body is not an inactive box. Pregnancy is a hazard. I’ll stop myself from the rant I want to start about the complexities of pregnancies and choices.

By the way, pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. I prefer the Democratic position of supporting options for women to gain access to reproductive information and pregnancy prevention. For poor women, that means I’m in favor of supporting Planned Parenthood whose function is to promote the life of both mother and child through prenatal care and health maintenance.

I’m in favor of life for physicians who practice perfectly legal abortions.

Oh, and even if they were illegal, because I am opposed to the death penalty, I’m still in favor of life. I could rant about that too.

I’m opposed to locking people away in privately owned prisons where each inmate represents a profit. I’m in favor of doing all possible to encourage the productive life of those who are or have been inmates.

I believe in an education that encourages creativity, not only for those who can afford it, but for those in poverty whose schools and families need help.

I believe in recognizing the humanity and value of all immigrants.

I’m opposed to war as anything but a very last resort for solving problems.

I believe in maintaining the life of the earth – even the universe — and the scientists who study its health.

I favor an atmosphere that encourages forgiveness and help with forgiveness. Oh, not making excuses for wrongdoing. I said I try to be a follower of Jesus. I don’t believe he ever said, “Oh, don’t worry about it. Just do what feels right to you.” I think he was more likely to say “Go and sin no more.” He was big, I believe, on promoting justice for all, rich or poor, even Samaritans.

OK, there’s more. It seems to me his list of what to do to attain the Kingdom was not to follow a whole bunch of rules. Wasn’t it more like “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself?” See the lessons of Job

Well, anyway. That’s why I feel more at home as a Democrat. And I get it. Not all Republicans identify as Christian and not all Democrats are non-Christians. I like it that way (These days I rarely use the word Christian, now that it’s been so politicized.). There’s room for all of us under the big umbrella that is the United States that brought my parents here as immigrants. That includes Sikhs, Muslims, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Unitarians, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Hindu, atheists, agnostics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists … I know, the list isn’t complete. That’s the point. That’s the America I love.


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