Proverbs of Otis
1 Get used to being with those who don’t like God, so they can get used to God 2 If all yer friends are people who already know God, yer not botherin’ anyone. Try to be more troublesome to the Devil 3 Evil is real even if it ain’t Personal. Evil goes from person to person, sayin’ things like, “Be a little less with God so you can be a little more with us.” 4 Evil builds a clique or a club and then calls it a church. Evil does this because it can. Evil wants to make church look like something bad so no one will want it 5 Don’t be so cooperative with evil. Fight against evil, in yer own life and fight its affects on others. Fix everything you can locally, where all politics occur and then try to make higher authorities act right.7 Remember, the reason people get interested in Ethics every so often is because people know there is some way out there to live than is better than what they are livin’ now. 8 People can put up with arrogant, ‘specially if ya got somethin’ to brag about. It’s smug people can’t stand, jest can’t stand it and ya ought to fight actin’ smug. Smug smirks down at people. The arrogant feller shows what he is right out loud. The smug rat makes other people decide he is great and then adds a dash for good measure.
Chapter Three, Proverbs of Otis, Section on Evil, Verses 9-21
9 Evil makes ya look like what ya ain’t, for good or evil When evil takes you out of your real identity you will always be an immigrant, wherever you might be. 10 Evil takes somethin’ someone else is already doin’, puts a religious name in front of it and lowers the quality a bit. So, thet way, stuff that is religious or Christian gets to look like a cheap rip-off and people smile good-naturedly when they walk by it on the way to somethin’ better 11 Evil makes a little boy sick durin’ baseball season, so he cain’t get out and play. If ya don’t hate evil for any other reason, hate it for sick little boys who have to stay in while other kids play 12 Evil must be pretty bad, ’cause God keeps pourin’ grace all over evil but it keeps comin’ back through every opening man gives it. 13 God don’t do evil or direct man to do evil. God will not do wrong even if some lesser good might seem to come from the evil act. God has a perfect will and way. There is no evil in it. 14 Jesus didn’t seem to get mad much but He did get mad sometimes. When Jesus got mad He was always mad at religious people. Religious evil must be the worst kind, or Jesus would not let Himself be bothered by it. If you are religious, take care not to be evil. You don’t want to make Jesus mad. 15 Jesus cried out loud over a city full of people trapped in evil by religion. He grieved over a dead buddy of his who was wrapped up dead in a hole somewhere. Jesus has all the range of emotions, He could have used any at any time but He only used anger with religious people who put a religious-soundin-something in front of the Temple and made people buy it to pray right. With these people Jesus did not reason. He just put them out of business. He did it more than once. Wonder what they thought when they seen Him comin’ the second time?
16 If somebody does somethin’ nice fer ya, thank ’em. If somebody thanks ya, let ’em know they are welcome. Evil tears up a culture around its manners as much as anything. Look at the Chinese. When they hand ya back yer change, they bow a little and hold the change out with both hands. Americans jest snatch it and go; don’t even look at nobody. Do ya see that every culture has good habits that grow up around how we trade goods and services? When those good habits break down, the whole thing starts to fall apart. It don’t cost no more to be nice. Evil hates nice. 17 God seems to hate fake-nice; at least Jesus hated it. He told His guys to beware of how the fake-nice folks cooked a culture with their leaven. 18 Evil thet lasts a long time is durable and it takes a prophet to fight it. A preacher cain’t get it rid of durable evil, or she would have done so by now. No, durable evil needs a prophetess to rid the world of it, or just to fight it back for awhile. When someone asks you how God could allow this hurt or thet bad thing, be sure to tell ’em that God fights evil wherever it is, pushin’ it back, pourin’ grace all over it, changin’ the world one evil man at a time. Oh, just man, ya ask? Well, the rocks ain’t evil, ner the water, ner the birds. Man can choose, so man chooses evil and spawns some more with every breath after that first one. 19 Cut and paste is evil. Ya don’t have to think, just hit a button or two and ya can express all the hate ya ever feel. No nuance. Cut and paste is evil. 20 Grace beats evil. 21. The man who talks about grace a lot but ain’t gracious hisself is hidin’ somethin’. The only reason ya ever hide anything is if ya don’t want someone else to see it. People like to hide evil in the worst places. People hide evil in their home, their habit and their hearts. Watch out for evil.
Editor’s Note: The various modern translations of Otisian Scripture scrub up the language of Otis to make his words more readable. Otis resisted any such literary change during his life. His closest learners resisted language cleaners after his death. So closely as is possible, we try to keep his Texan in complete pieces. We note the sudden changes in editorship by bolding the passages or verses where the language suddenly changes from Deep Johnson County Texan to the King’s Own English. Otis never went to college, let alone Oxford. His life changed, not his English. Like most transformed religious leaders (Jesus is the only one of the major religious leaders who came ready made. He grew but He did not have to change His ways. All the others had to change. Look it up.) Otis had to lose his laziness. Extreme intellectual honesty, the kind that makes a man change his mind, transformed Otis, while he lay prone at the Narrow Bend in the Road.
Otis was a simple man before that time. He remained a simple man. He just became less of a complaining man. He became more active with his mind, as well as his heart. The things he gave to human religious lore were deeper in substance, not more complex in language. Like most religious leaders, the great things Otis did and taught all seemed greater in retrospect. Perhaps the worst thing that ever happened to Otis’ teachings came when they were written down in a book. The miracles seem mostly to have stopped. People spent more time arguing about who had the truest Book of Otis, who interpreted it better or who believed it more. Otis would have hated all the nonsense, so he did not write down much. He spoke and lived. Otis was in the moment.
The depth of the Otisian Teaching seems to be in and around his doctrine of Christology. He has more to say about Jesus, the Christ, than about any other Person. All Otis’ thoughts about Jesus ibn Joseph are positive and wholesome. He notes repeatedly that Jesus is the only major religious leader who does not ever have to change his nature to found his religion. Jesus is purely transformative, then, not transformable. This is the foundation for all Otis’ teachings.
Otis loves to talk about grace but it is always divine grace that transforms man and, as in Christian Scripture, grace is usually mentioned in relation to sin, fear or guilt. Grace is better, stronger, purer than all the evil Evil can throw at it but many men never know grace. Sin, fear and guilt overcome them, then, because they do not know grace, or the Source of Grace.