There is “NSFW” (that means “not safe for work”, Grandma and Grandpa–thanks for always reading btw), and then there is please never ever try to talk about what you are about to read. (PNETTTAWYAATR.) I’m serious. The following is a no win conversation. You just have to trust me. (It’s all true. But measuring by the “shame” I feel writing it, I wouldn’t say this out loud if my life depended on it. Ergo, we write.)
Disclaimer: this post is going to sound like it is written to “whites”. I’m going to act like I’m revealing a secret that I learned over the past four years while a member of a black church, attempting to socialize with the Black Community. But this post is not for the “whites”. It is for the “blacks”.
With the election cycle approaching full-swing, I finally feel like I have something to contribute. Perhaps it is because I have a namesake running. Speaking of, the big headlines about Mayor Pete right now contain the basic idea that the “blacks” (of the African-American type–not the new immigrants who playfully taught me that “No, Africa is not a country. But, yes, Africa is a jungle”) the “blacks” remain one of the last voting blocks to publicly embrace homosexuals with open arms.
To the untrained eye, Mayor Pete seems to be doing all the right things. He’s tackling the problem head-on. He’s headed to the South and he’s going to grin-and-grip. To the untrained eye, Mayor Pete is going to put himself out there for the individual blacks that he meets and whom he endears to himself to inspect and stamp “worthy of our trust”. The untrained eye is wrong.
With the “blacks”, Mayor Pete, woke or not, need not aim for some consensus of individuals, no. Consensus is what he’s doing with “whites”. But the “blacks” are not merely the “whites” with dark skin.
The “blacks” are, to their shame, a group. And Mayor Pete is causing conversation within the body. But they’re not talking about issues. They are merely conducting a sounding, no different than a weather balloon full of hot air. We’re not waiting for “blacks” to think through the issues–for instance, to think through whether they still believe the Word of God is the Word of God, no.
All that we’re waiting for is the leader of the “blacks” to declare Mayor Pete to be their guy. Naturally, the question is, “Who is the leader?” And that is a fascinating question. That is the question Mayor Pete would pay to know the answer to at this point. In fact, that is precisely what he is doing right now, whether intentional or not. All he’s waiting on–all we’re waiting on–with his little hurdle is for this “leader” to declare some sort of “Mayor Pete is da man!” or some other slightly Southern or grammatically-challenged sounding phrase of approval (like “woke” itself) to be released with which the millions of “black” sheep can echo, repeat, tweet, insta, snap, and fb all over the planet. (Interesting sidebar: Is there a black social meeja app, vis-a-vis BET? I can’t think of one.)
Lastly, here’s a little known, but known enough, reminder: The leader, the one with the gift of “utterance”, will prove to be a woman. I’m betting on Michelle.
Now you know.
(In any case, my bet is on Trump.)
“So, Pete, if someone asks you what the Bible says about abortion, and you don’t think it teaches on abortion, what would you say to them?”
“First, my strategy always begins with the goal of staying as the ‘question-asker’ for as long as necessary. In this case, then, I’d respond by asking, ‘To answer your question, I’d like to pry into your knowledge of all-things-ancient a bit. What do you know about the purposes of ancient people’s writings as far as they differ from today’s purposes?’ I’d ask this with the aim of illustrating that Bible times didn’t exactly include political flyers or any other kind of contemporary-style propaganda. Then I’d ask (in sincerity), ‘What do you know about how ancient people performed abortions?’ And, ‘Do you think people alive during Bible times had more or less abortions than today?'”
“I can assume that the average person would confess they don’t know anything about ancient writings’ purposes (nor that they had much considered the notion that folks in the past used the written word with a different purpose than we do today). And the average person would confess that ancient peoples’ abortion rates were similar. But that they doubt ancient abortions were as controlled as abortions are today. Most people probably acknowledge in the old days the more common activity wasn’t so much abortion as discarding newborns.”
“Then I’d steer the conversation with the following question(s), ‘So you think at a time before literacy was widespread, before the materials to easily record information were invented and/or widespread, and before the time when the practices which we really mean to describe by ‘abortion’ were being committed were widespread, that the Bible writers–who seem to have a singular goal of declaring their god to be the only god–will have specifically addressed the practice of ending pregnancy before delivery?'”
“You see? You see. Okay. It’s not even working on you?”
“Well, let’s put it this way. Pretend you’re a preacher in front of a congregation. The people want to hear what you think about abortion, the people want to hear what you think the Bible says about abortion. What will you say to them?”
“Okay. Ready? Here you go. Take notes. Ahem. (Cough). ‘The Bible writers never teach about abortion. It’s not in the Bible. Every time a Christian thinks the Bible is talking about abortion, they are proof-texting. That is, they are using the collection of writings known as the Bible to defend an idea that they have, rather than letting the Bible have its own day and stand on its own merits.
“‘Does this mean abortion is unimportant or inconsequential to the LORD, the god of the Bible? No. Does that mean abortion is moral? No. Does that mean Christianity is pro-choice? No. Quite the opposite. Abortion is immoral. Abortion should be a crime. Abortion is evil. How do I know? Here’s how. Show me a pregnant woman who confesses publicly that she is filled with the Holy Spirit. (You know the Holy Spirit, right? God himself? Indwelling in people’s bodies? Acting as a conscience of sorts, guiding us along our way. Convicting us when we’re about to misstep, and encouraging us when we aren’t yet used to the feeling that accompanies righteous living? You know, the Holy Spirit.)
“‘Show me that woman who also is willing to confess that the Holy Spirit is moving her, convincing her to have an abortion.
“‘That’s how I know abortion is immoral, evil, and should be illegal. Because you will never find that woman. And if you do, everyone from both sides of Sunday will concur that she’s out-of-her-mind, no different than how the uniform public consensus forms on those highly publicized mothers drowning their kids because they say Jesus told them to. Without any subsequent knowledge or teaching on who Jesus might be or which Jesus she’s talking about, everyone knows those mothers are insane.’
“That’s my abortion sermon.”
This post is singular in its purpose. Yes, I’m still more than a little upset at Greta. And my “more-than-a-little-upset” becomes “furious” when people assert that she isn’t to be criticized because she’s a child. Given the power of social stigmas, I cannot talk about this at work, so I’m back in the Captain’s chair.
Let me repeat: this post is singular in its purpose. My goal is to persuade you–Greta, and you–Greta’s friends, and you–Greta’s parents, and you–Greta’s teachers, and you–Greta’s supporters including you–former President Obama. My goal is to persuade apparently ev-e-ry-one of you that there is another way when it comes to climate change.
Where to begin? Oh, I know. The weather. I’ve recently been elbow deep in meteorology books. I began with the FAA’s Aviation Weather advisory circular. I found a soaring pilot’s weather primer. More FAA publications followed. The USA Today Weather Book made it to my home.
Eventually I even tracked down a proper Meteorology 101 textbook that universities employ. Finally, I found a rather entertaining book on Cloud Spotting. Oh, and lastly, I picked up a book on Tides. But the book on Cloud Spotting is where I want to start my argument.
Convention has it that we call clouds by their Latin names. But, I wondered, why did the Latin-speakers use the words they used? What do these Latin names mean?
It turns out that they mean what we mean if we were to just describe the cloud. Without any meteorological training we might see a big puffy cloud and say, “There’s a big puffy cloud.” Well, that’s just what our many cloud-spotting ancestors did in their language. If that big puffy cloud is making rain, then a prefix or suffix meaning “rain” is appended. In other words, “cumulo-nimbus” are just big puffy clouds which are producing rain, whereas “cumulus” are merely big puffy clouds.
Put another way: there is no magic.
Trackin’? First question for you: What is the difference between showers and thundershowers? Ding, ding, ding! You got it! The sound of “thunder” which accompanies the shower.
Next question, new angle: What is the difference between snow-showers and rain-showers? Ding, ding, ding! That’s two in a row! Nice work. The difference is in the type of “precipitation” falling. (BTW, quick note, “meteorology” is so-named because Aristotle and friends called anything falling from the sky “meteors”. Rain. Snow. Rocks from space. You know, all things similar.)
One more softball: What is the difference between an isolated thunderstorm and a super-cell of thunderstorms? Good job. The size and probably the longevity of the storm.
Harder question: What is the difference between the high winds of a thunderstorm, the high winds of a tornado, and the high winds of a hurricane? It’s no trick question. I’m looking for “scale”. These three types of high winds are different in scale. The wind is strong in all three, but the amount of wind and the duration of the wind are the distinguishing characteristics–no different than the falling rain being both the actual and linguistic factor which distinguishes cumulus clouds from cumulonimbus clouds. But this time, it’s a total name change, not just a prefix or suffix.
Current Event question: How long were the Bahamas hit by Hurricane Dorian? Couple of days, right? How long was Hurricane Dorian called Hurricane Dorian? Maybe a couple of weeks?
What’s bigger than a hurricane? That’s a tough question, no? I’m thinking “droughts.” In the past there were “famines” that lasted years. Surely we all know and hear–a totally disproportionate amount of talk–about past “ice ages.” Is that it? Is there anything else that’s bigger than a hurricane in size and duration? Well, there is now. There is something of which I’m aware. It’s called Climate Change.
And I say we call this first one, “Climate Change Greta”, in honor of–well, you know. Climate Change Greta will be a larger scale than Hurricane Dorian, than hurricanes as a category of weather, in fact. (This, just as hurricanes are a larger scale than tornados and tornados are a larger scale than summer breezes).
While Climate Change Greta will affect the same area as an ice age (everywhere), Climate Change Greta’s duration and intensity won’t be scaled quite as grandly as the last ice age, the late Paleozoic.
Climate Change Greta will affect the planet as a whole. But it won’t end life, anymore than the late Paleozoic stopped me from typing this.
Here’s the thing: Anyone who’s stood under a tree, anyone who’s been in a cave, anyone who’s worn a hat, anyone who’s stood in a man-made shelter has had the experience of discovering that rain was falling all around them, after rain had started falling all around them. Every single one of us has said, “Huh. I didn’t know it was raining.”
Not everyone has worked outside, though. But some of us have worked outside. That is, some of us have labored under the sky, in the sky, on the earth, in the earth, on the seas, or in the seas. Often, that work doesn’t stop for rain. I once climbed to the top of our oil rig while it was raining and with lightning nearby–merely to get that stuff that makes your indoor job possible out of the ground. I once raced a thunderstorm–and won–to help just one of you get to a hospital. I once landed in a field which kicked up so much fine dust that after we landed it took minutes for the ground team to be able to see where their ride was so they could get on and we could go home.
And I’m arguing to you that my more adrenaline fueled experiences are no different than how you don’t stop your car and wait for the rain to end before you proceed on your merry way, no different than how you wear a raincoat, no different than how you don’t let your dog have free reign in the house after he’s been doing his business in the rain-soaked backyard until after you dry him off.
In short, then, for the same reason I didn’t care that it was raining, I don’t care about Climate Change Greta. And you shouldn’t either.
In my dying breath, that is, if my time with you had been animated with breath of my own and not simply with your imagination, in other words, if I had had a dying breath, then I like to think I would’ve thanked-
What? No! Not the acorn, never! Not that lifeless lump. Why do people always focus on the nut? I’ve always said: The nut is not the meat!
No, no, no. But where was I?
Ah, yes. I remember.
If I could have thanked anyone–call to mind that I am a character of fiction and it is quite impossible for me to offer gratitude in its proper sense–but I’m saying, if I could have, you know, hypothetically, thanked anyone, then I would thank Henny-penny.
She was a rare bird. And without her-
Well, without her, I guess I just wouldn’t have anyone to thank.
It isn’t polite to speak aloud what we privately think. So we write.
Greta Thunberg accused, “How dare you!” in her latest tantrum. For what else can her speeches be called? I can think of many places passion is welcome. The bedroom, the sports field, the battlefield, the Russian novel, the frontier, the pulpit, the wave, and the peak–just to name a few.
But the World Stage? Nope. It’s not appropriate. It’s uncivil. It’s disrespectful. It’s childish. Instead, simply deliver your message and sit down. If I adduce that your words have merit, I’ll take my time to consider your opinion. But when you bring passion to scientific discourse it makes me doubt that you have taken the appropriate amount of time to gather the data. Abstract truths are awful boring.
Greta then said, “We will never forgive you.”
Here Greta reveals her only disability. She is nearsighted. Normally this imperfection is not fatal, but considered in the light of that old sinner, Cain, and his near-sightedness, the problem is fatal indeed.
Greta’s disability would be ironic if she spoke only one time and only to her peers in speech class. But she’s on the world stage advocating the most hateful philosophy mankind has yet developed. And to applause. Have we no shame?
One thing Greta said that shows hints of her available redemption is that “humans” may not be able to fix the problem. Amen, Sister. Humans? No. Jesus? The risen lord? Yes. It’s going to be okay, child.
We able-bodied folks need to decide how to handle the Greta’s of the world. I see two ends to the continuum of response. We can debate what “1.5 degrees” means. Or we can win the long game by forgiving each other as Jesus commanded.
What Greta is doing is forgivable. She’s just a child after all. But, like Cain pleading with the LORD after blood-soaked dirt found its voice, she probably won’t feel the need for forgiveness until after blood has been shed. Until then, we wait.
Recently, United States Senator Ted Cruz answered former-child-actress Alyssa Milano’s pointed question about Biblical support for gun-ownership.
For effect, I’m going to repeat that.
Recently, Unites States Senator Ted Cruz answered former-child-actress Alyssa Milano’s pointed question about Biblical support for gun-ownership.
In a stunning display of unguided scholarship, Ms. Milano subsequently responded to Sen. Cruz’s interpretation in exactly the same tone and with exactly the same level of literacy. (Read their exchange here.)
There, of course, is another way to read the Bible–the right way.
To get to the “right way”, I have a few questions for the reader. First: Can you imagine being someone else? Can you imagine being anyone else? Can you imagine seeing the world through someone else’s eyes? If not, then move along. This post isn’t for you.
If so, however, if you can imagine being some else, then here’s a follow-up: can you imagine being a person who can see the entire time-space universe as it is?
What do you see?
Part of my own imagination was developed while I was working at a factory. The building, like many, was essentially square-shaped. The white collars worked in offices immediately to the left and right of the perimeter hallway. The blue collars worked on the interior.
As a blue collar, I couldn’t help but notice how many office changes occurred. This person moved to that office. That person moved to this office. It was like the white collars thought that if only they sat in a different spot, we blue collars would do our job better–IE show up to work on time, not complain, care etc.
Switching gears, in the case of “guns” in America, I can imagine something similar. I can imagine it. Imagine–mind you. I can imagine being some person who can see everything and, in this role as all-seeing person, I can imagine watching us down here on Earth. We’re slaughtering each other with our own invention. I see that in response to the slaughter, one group (Milano-led) insists that the slaughter will stop when ink is applied to paper (gun-control laws). Then I see that in response to that claim, another group (Cruz-led) insists that it takes more than ink on paper (gun-control laws) to end the slaughter–but then the same Cruz-led group uses other, older ink on paper (the Bible) to defend that they are right.
The problem is not that gun-control laws don’t work. Other countries seem to have great success with them.
The problem is not that the NRA wants the slaughters to continue.
The problem is that no one has any imagination.
I have imagination. And I have more than imagination. I have more than imagination because I have my daughter. And I teach her to have imagination. I teach her that someone like me, someone very much like me, is watching this whole universe unfold. I teach her that for as long as people have lived this person has been watching. And I teach her that this person does not mess around. I teach her that, like me, he disciplines those who disobey. And I teach her that, like me, he rewards those who obey. I teach her that, like my love for her, in both situations he loves us all very much–as evidenced by the discipline and the rewards, as evidenced by the attention itself. I teach her to desire and be grateful for the attention. And I teach her that he did one additional thing to prove his love. I teach her that he became one of us, and that he walked the earth as one of us. And I teach her, that like her veteran dad who risked/s his life for other people, Jesus died for us. I teach her Jesus died for her.
Why do we slaughter? It’s not complicated. But it does take imagination to understand it. We slaughter each other because we don’t forgive each other. Okay? We don’t forgive each other. There, I said it. Happy? And don’t argue with me here. I’m sick of your bullshit denials. It’s because we don’t forgive. You don’t forgive. I don’t forgive.
We hurt, and rather than forgive, we hold tight to the pain. We nurture it. We feed it. We love it. We use it. We allow it to mature. Then, right before the slaughter, if we happen to take a breath, we sometimes have a moment of clarity–a moment that allows us to see that we’re no longer in control. It’s a spiritual moment. And, if we’re blessed, then that’s the moment when we remember words like, “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” And this recollection inspires many folks to stop and reconsider. But that roaring lion does win at times.
To stop the lion, we must teach each other. We must teach each other the truth that has been taught first to the Jews, and then to the Christians. What’s that truth? Well, let me ask you a question. Can you imagine being someone else?
These mass shootings will forever elicit comment from me. The subsequent reactions and conversations, dangerously foolish, are just too near and dear to my heart, and they are in need of the type of course correction that only a pilot, like me, (hero, really) can offer.
This post will address two ideas that I read and viewed that I believe are pointed enough and popular enough to be worth public comment.
First up: Trevor Noah’s homily about how Neil Degrasse Tyson’s tweet contained things that Americans uniformly are “trying” to prevent, things which Mr. Noah believes are incongruous with mass shootings, as he doesn’t see Americans uniformly “trying” to prevent mass shootings. First question: Mr. Noah, are you going to become one of us or not? More to the point, Mr. Noah, do you see how that question operates? To be clear, at one and the same time it demonstrates that you are not one of us, while it indicates that you are invited. In other words, you’re not helping.
More in response to Mr. Noah’s outsider-yet-insider point: We’re the best. So, no, I won’t be trading that in for whatever you’re selling. It ain’t happening. It’s a non-starter. It’s moot. It’s untenable. No, thank you.
Even more: In a more academic and logical breakdown of Mr. Noah’s assertion, I submit the following. While “we” are trying to end medical mistakes, and trying to end disease, and trying to stop car accidents, we certainly do not try to end these things using the same methods twice. Put another way, past governments and other governments have removed their citizens’ abilities to wage war. This ends badly for civilizations, not just individuals. We’re talking long game, Mr. Noah. (Again, are you with us?) And so the mass shooting problem remains–but not for lack of trying.
Moreover, it strikes me as odd that we’re even in another situation where the government is trying to take weapons from its constituents. Do civil servants really lack all capacity for creativity, or is it just me?
Secondly, I read a piece which was an effort to keep afloat the fact that Latinos are afraid and have a rough time living in America. (The title of my post, btw, according to internet translate help, reads “Do not be afraid.”)
Long story short, I refuse to be afraid. When I become aware that some sensation of fear approaches, I admit it and seek to conquer it as quickly as I can. Need examples? Learned to build a fire. Learned to swim. Learned to sleep outside in any weather. Learned to sleep away from my parents as a kid. Learned to canoe. Learned to sail. Learned to tie knots. Learned to sew. Learned to shoot a gun. Learned to shoot a bow. Learned to sharpen a knife. Learned to read. Learned to write. Learned to dive. Learned to pass tests. Learned to become strong. Learned to play sports. Learned to drive. Learned to fly. Learned to fly at night. Learned to fly in combat. Learned to quit. Learned to not give up. Learned to try again. Learned to trust friends. Learned to swing a sledge hammer. Learned to trip pipe. Learned to untangle a pressure washer hose. Learned to work among low-skilled immigrants. Learned to read Hebrew שָׁלוֹם. And Greek Χριστός ἀνέστη! Learned to hablas espanol poquito. “Es viernes, y el cuerpo lo sabe!” And Amharic አመሰግናለሁ. Learned to serve. Learn(ing)ed meteorology. Learn(ing)ed leadership.
Do you see?
You’ve demonstrated poquito bravery by telling the truth, but overall–and I’m going to be blunt here–it seems like you arrive and then hold still. Porque?
Hmm. No entiendo. Yo aprendería.
My mind floods, races, rages. It swarms, billows, fills. I imagine, invent, infer. Thoughts appear, linger, fade, and grow. Then the coolness of the last drops of my morning coffee passing over my tongue reminds me that it was all most likely the caffeine and I am merely one mortal making his way along his path.
But, but! For those glorious and intoxicating moments of fullness, I do dream. Here is my dream for today.
I want you to be confident in your belief that Jesus is Lord. And that Scripture, the Bible, is coherent, true, and worth daily study–daily.
Today’s tip is inspired by my own morning study of Isaiah’s words and oracles.
We join Isaiah as he has finished asserting “bad things man, bad things.”
“Give ear and hear my voice, listen and hear my words.
“Does the farmer plow continually to plant seed? Does he continually turn and harrow the ground?
“Does he not level its surface and sow dill and scatter cumin and plant wheat in rows, barely in its place and rye within its area?
“For his god instructs and teaches him properly.
“For dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is the cartwheel driven over cummin; but dill is beaten out with a rod, and cummin with a club.
“Grain for bread is crushed, but he does not continue to thresh it forever.
“Because the wheel of his cart and his horses eventually damage it, he does not thresh it longer.
“This also comes from Yahweh of hosts, who gives wonderful counsel and great wisdom.”
Isaiah uses obvious farming techniques to clarify the fact that Yahweh is doing nothing abnormal, nothing unpredictable, nothing incomprehensible when he relents in time for there to be a remnant after judging his people.
Jesus, likewise, (not to mention all other inspired biblical speakers) uses obvious aspects of life on planet earth to clarify his points. I’m thinking specifically of the “rain falling on the righteous and unrighteous” moment of the Sermon on the Mount.
Finally we have Paul clarifying that if there’s no resurrection of Jesus, there is nothing into which to put our faith. Do you see why he says this? Why he must say it?
This is how the truth works.
But not everyone agrees. Some folks want you to believe in them or their words before the event happens. That is fine, but it is no longer truth. It is speculation. It is unbiblical and unchristian. And it is usually depressing (I’m thinking irreversible climate change) and expensive (here I’m thinking of the many of you who financially support all the motivational speakers whose promise involves the future being better).
Here me clearly this day, Christian: You’re right to trust in the god who makes “righteousness the level”.
I don’t want to motivate you. I want to remind you. Jesus is Lord and Judge. “Cease to do evil. Learn to do good.”
(And read your Bible everyday.)
“Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and in the presence of all the people who were standing in the house of Yahweh, and the prophet Jeremiah said, ‘Amen! May Yahweh do so; may Yahweh confirm your words which you have prophesied to bring back the vessels of Yahweh’s house and all the exiles from Babylon to this place.
‘Yet hear now this word which I am about to speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people!
‘The prophets who were before me and before you from ancient times prophesied against many lands and against kingdoms, of war and of calamity and of pestilence.
‘The prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, then that prophet will be known as one whom Yahweh has truly sent.'” (My italics.)
A few posts ago, I shared that I was on my third reading of Jeremiah. One of the intriguing parts of Jeremiah is its candid accounts of prophet battles. The above is taken from the middle of one such scene. I used to think that Israel’s prophetic history was clean. But reading it for myself has revealed that it was anything but clean. This Hananiah claimed to be speaking the Word of Yahweh, no different than Jeremiah. Moreover, the account has Jeremiah acknowledging this fact.
So how does Jeremiah suggest, in front of all the people, that their dispute be resolved? He says to wait. But in his suggestion is the subtle claim that Hananiah should be able to see that when involved in prophesying, one sides with true prophets when one prophesies against earthly powers. Instead of this, Hananiah had just prophesied earthly peace, you see?
But here’s the tricky part. Jeremiah wasn’t suggesting that earthly powers needed to be exchanged by other earthly powers that would do better, no. He was declaring, like the true prophets of Yahweh who came before him, that the people of Israel had disobeyed Yahweh for so long that Yahweh would not stop the oncoming judgement. (War, calamity, pestilence.)
Implied in this entire scene, and Jeremiah’s claim, is the fact that Yahweh is running the show and that Yahweh expects obedience.
On this Independence Day I am thinking of this passage because it is so very different from what we hear and say today. Our prophets, the 20, all claim to be speaking against the man, capital T. But not one of them measures up to the prophet bar Jeremiah set. This, of course, is no surprise. The 20 would hardly announce themselves as prophets of Yahweh. And yet half, and perhaps more than half, of the voting public in our country is behaving like the Israelites who apparently ate up and drank up Hananiah (as indicated by their lack of repentance) and his declarations that peace was on the way.
The next president will not bring peace or liberty. You’re a fool if you believe he or she will. And Jeremiah knew this. That’s why his words are worth reading on this day.
The question that remains is do you know who has the power to bring peace and liberty?
It was the fall of two years ago, putting me shortly after my thirty-sixth birthday. I was in the midst of some men who were mostly fifty plus years old.
The particular interrogator I faced carried his ninety-seven years venerably. He was respected by all, by which I mean all jumped at the opportunity to serve him–even the seventy year olds who were twenty years his junior. Most often, if the short time I spent with him indicated anything, the service rendered was simply bringing a blanket to keep away the cold.
His topic of inquiry: Origins. Beginnings. Genesis.
He asked me because he had heard me say that I studied such things.
I didn’t know what to say.
Reader, don’t misunderstand me. I had my answer at the ready. Yet I was quieted by the emotional aspect of the stated query. This elder is about to meet his maker. Possibly that weekend. And he’s not only respecting me enough to see what I’ll say (though I have always suspected he’d cast a fool’s line), he’s maintaining his tight grip on the joy of investigation.
The content of his question eludes my memory, but it was something to do with the peoples of earth that the Bible characters met and from where they spawned. I told him, “I don’t know.” But I went on to tell him, “No one knows. Moses didn’t tell us. And we should be very careful when listening to someone who makes a claim otherwise.”
Today I will add that this, as with Paul’s comments on another profound topic within Beginnings talk, “This mystery is great.”
I couldn’t tell if he approved–of either my answer or me.
My reason for sharing this experience here is to give a glimpse into what I think is one of life’s pleasures which is unique to Christianity.