If you do crappy stuff that people blog about years later, you should probably not be a missionary.

I wear a ring in my nose. It’s freaking adorable. At least, that’s what I hear. Sometimes.
The thing about stuff like nose-rings and tattoos, and all that junk, is that people only mention them to tell you how rad they think they are. If they hate it, if it grosses them out, even if they think it flies in the face of Biblical truth and principle, they’ll keep their mouths shut. Sometimes.

I’ve had 3 people say crappy things to my face about the tiny ring looped through my left nostril. One was a relative. The other 2 were pastors.

When I walked into church with my nose pierced (this was, like, 9 years ago) one pastor (who had a booming, baritone voice) greeted me and said very, very loudly, “HI there JAMIE! Oh. Look at that. Well, LIKE A GOLD RING IN A PIG’S SNOUT IS a beautiful woman WHO SHOWS NO DISCRETION! THAT’s from PROVERBS. HEH HEH HEH!”
I was like “Ok, so I’m not sure if you’re calling me a pig, or if you’re implying that I lack discretion…or what?” And then I just stood there looking at him, and when it was sufficiently awkward, I left. So that was fun.

And then, last year, when I was studying Spanish with a mixed bag of Christian hipsters, social retards, and suburban pastors gone global, I met the biggest, most pompous bunghole that God has ever breathed life into. It got pretty bad between me and this guy because he was constantly spewing bullsh…stuff, and I was constantly (and not very lovingly) calling him on it. If you haven’t noticed, I don’t really hold a lot back, and also, I tend to wear my heart on my face, to the degree that the very worst things that I say, I say completely without words.

This guy was a self-proclaimed “expert in missions”
I think he also considered himself a leading authority in Jesus, and Truth, and the Bible, among other Christian things. Yeah, he was that guy. And I got to spend 4 hours a day, 5 days a week with him. For one of our classes we had to prepare and give a 20 minute Bible study in Spanish once a week. The teacher assigned the subject ahead of time, like, culture or food or something, and then we could prepare and present our own thoughts on the matter and lead a discussion. This guy just did whatever he wanted, though. Talked about whatever, blew-off our professor with an “I think I know better than you” shrug of the shoulders. We’re talking royal prig.

We had had a few verbal jousting matches before, so I should not have been the least bit surprised the day he launched his Bible study as an assault against me personally, my character, my ability to serve God as a missionary, and of all things, my nose ring. For real. He sat down, looked me right in the eye, and using the same pig snout/bad lady line from Proverbs that I had heard years earlier, he ranted about how worried he was that there are people going into missions that lack the “discretion” to understand that having something like a nose ring would be considered offensive to “the majority of the world”. That’s a quote. That’s why I used those little ” ” thingys…cause he actually said that!


Whooo, sorry. Thanks for letting me get that out…

Anyhoo…The bell for our 5 minute break sounded just as he was wrapping up the 40th minute of his 20 minute Bible study. And, not even kidding, everyone, all the people that had been watching the blood boil up the sides of my neck, literally ran out the door, the teacher, and everybody. Leaving just the 2 of us. Alone. Together. What a bunch of dirty sadists.

So the guy closes his Bible, and says to me, like a smug s.o.b., “I thought you might find that scripture on nasal piercings interesting.”

My mouth said, “Yes. Interesting.”
But my face said, “I’m about to punch you in your ear.”
(Or, it might have been, “I hope you double over from some bloody poop disease.” Whatever it said, it was bad. And that guy turned kinda greyish, and I could see his Adam’s apple going up and down as he swallowed hard like the guys in old western movies…right before they eat it.)
I snarled “You missed something in your ‘studies’. You should take a look at Ezekiel 16. You might find it…interesting.” Then I gave him a big forced smile, which I can totally admit was a super creepy thing to do, but at the same time, it was better then giving him the finger, right?

So right then, as if God himself was like, “Go get em’ Baby Girl!”, the break ended and my teacher announced that I would be responsible for next weeks study, and, I could choose my own topic. (Look, I’m not the only one that saw this guy as a total douche-canoe.) I like to think that our dear, sweet little professor wanted me to crush him like an ant. Using the Bible. I think she may have even winked at me, “He’s all yours tiger. Tear him a new one.” So basically, I had God, and the professor, and the other students, and pretty much all of the faculty, and all of my family and friends with whom I had been relaying stories of this guys never ending douchiness, and they were all on my side. Vengeance is sweet.

So, you wanna know what I did?

Wait…What would you have done? Have you ever been the recipient of someone’s reckless use of scripture to make a point? Have you done this to someone, and maybe realized later that you were wrong? How would you rebuff someone that made a personal and public attack against you?

I’ll tell you how I used my 20 minutes and the week leading up to it….tomorrow…



  1. Missionaries in La Ceiba, Honduras on December 1, 2009 at 10:20 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. mark foshager on December 1, 2009 at 11:39 am

    omg!!! ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! doubled over, rolling with laughter, taboos smashed (that need to be smashed!)….ha ha ha ha!!! PLEASE get your first book out SOON so i can buy and give copies away!!! some company WILL publish your stuff, you know. no wait, STOP – i just love forwarding your blog link free!! ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! oh man….

  3. Anonymous on December 1, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    "I've had 3 people say crappy things to my face about the tiny ring looped through my left nostril. One was a relative."

    Oh crap…now I'm worried…racking my memory…did I? No. I only thought it, right? I hope. Well, if it was me, then I hope you're big on that turn-the-other-cheek-forgiveness crap in your religion. Love ya, dad.

    BTW – didn't your buddy, Jesus, teach something about your body being "a temple", or some similar simile? Not trying to be argumentative, honestly, just repeating a view I heard back in the days when I was a believer. Is that an old wives tale? If not, how does it relate to tattoos and piercings?

  4. Jenna on December 1, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    hmmmmmmmmm i have a feeling you didn't return the favor to this guy. just a hunch.

    i've done this and had this done to me. so not cool. it seems like there must be a "right" way to do this. more than likely, as it usually is, its all about the motives in your heart. can i get an amen? can i get an i-can't-believe-you-just-said-can-i-get-an-amen?

  5. curiousceridwen on December 1, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Apparently my husband was reading over my shoulder…got to the last line and heard a loud "DOH!" He's mad you're gonna make him wait.

  6. Kirk on December 2, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Why would I (or anyone – OK, except your Mom) say something about the nose ring? I mean – it's not my nose. Who am I to even have an opinion? That said, in all candor, I would freak somewhat if my daughter came home with one. Just sayin'…cuz after all, I'm just a man.

    I'm even more, a man who hopes you never flay him alive like it sounds you did (if you fantasized about it you did it in your heart so what's the diff? 🙂 )

    I still don't think you're the worst missionary…

  7. Anonymous on December 2, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    OK, Jamie, two pastors, and I think I know the one, but I wonder: Is it I? Brad

  8. deemus on December 3, 2009 at 12:20 am

    That was some funny stuff, and very real. Being raised Baptist, I attended some pretty stuffy places and got blasted by scripture that at the time seemed to apply. It would be later that I realized it really didn't. So yeah, I have.

    My dad was a drill seargent, then a cop for years, so I learned to never talk back. Since age 20 I changed all that, and appreciate your spunk. I already read the second post, so I know what happens.

    Sometimes church folk (me included) get all stuffy and want peole to fit into our idea of Jesus. The reality is, Jesus went to the sinners. He ate with them, taked to them, and met them where they were at. I think your nose thingy will open doors that the June Cleaver version would not.

    Our mission is to draw people to Christ, not to exclude people. Keep up the good work.

  9. Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary on December 3, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Dad – i would totally LOVE to share my opinion on that very subject! Do you mind if i use the question for Ask Jamie: How Missionaries Do It? I think it could make for a GREAT post!! 😉

    deemus – "church folk" *swoon*

  10. Anonymous on December 3, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Ah crap Jamie, I can see it now…you're gonna roast me alive in the eternal fires of internet Hell, aren't ya? Well, if you feel that question merits exploration, then you go girl. I'm happy to help and I hope somebody benefits from your diatribe. Course, you already know my opinion, but then, it really doesn't matter, because I'm just one old-fashioned man with a narrow view of "body mutilation" (my POV). Although, DO agree with you, that it's wrong to use the bible to justify or condemn someone's personal artistic preference. After all, if you skin a man with a full body tattoo, the hide makes a really interesting wall hanging!

    One more thought to go with my parenthetical question: if you are trying to do "God's work", then why would you choose to wear tattoos and body piercings that could become a big barrier between you and your potential customers? Isn't that counterproductive to your ministry mission?

    luvya, body art and all, dad

  11. Anonymous on December 5, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    In my defense, Kirk, it was DEAN who commented on the nose ring not me. LOL I like it.

Leave a Comment