Shuck and Jive

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Brooding in the Yellow Leaves

Reading Garrison Keillor's column today will be time well spent.
The Scripture reading in church Sunday gave me a jolt — Exodus 32, which refers to the Chosen People wearing earrings, men as well as women, and I twitched when the lector read it. Yikes! Moses got his ears pierced? What else didn’t we know?

And then a bigger jolt. God is so furious at the C.P. for worshipping the golden calf (forged from their earrings) that He talks about consuming them with fire, but Moses talks Him out of it, which sort of dents one’s faith in divine omniscience, does it not, the Lord taking a sharp turn like that? (“Oh, I hadn’t thought about that — OK, cancel the thunderbolt!”)

But I didn’t jump up in my pew and point this out — we like to keep things moving along in church, recite the Creed, confess our sins, pass the plate, sing the doxology, not stop for questions along the way — so I just brood over it, as I do about more and more these days. Walk at night down misty streets through yellow leaves and question everything and keep it to myself.
In a few paragraphs he turns to politics, which in its best sense, is the incarnation of mercy and goodness in all of our relationships:
The existence of human suffering seems to me to affirm the Christian faith. It’s the sacred duty of the faithful to uphold the Patricks of the world and their heroic parents against the prevailing Darwinist forces, but a Patrick shouldn’t be asked to sit by the roadside waiting for a kindly Christian motorist to stop — he is entitled to mercy as a basic human right, and it is merciful of Christians to expect government to carry out this duty.
More I could say about divine omniscience, evolution, naturalism, suffering, politics, kindness, and what I think it means to affirm and to enact the mystery of faith. But...I won't...for now. I think I will instead take a walk in the leaves.

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