C.W. and I were talking …
He had been re-reading the Bible, both the old and new Testaments. “I’m confused,” he said, laying it aside. “How did the kangaroos get to Australia after the flood? And why did they not stop anywhere else for a little procreative fun?” He stopped, and two of this three faces smiled. "I've heard that both partners jump up and down when they 'do it' and I'll bet that is worth watching."
“I think the story of the Ark might be what I call an ‘Insight Myth,’ and not science or history,” I said, “more didactic than literal.”
“So what is the lesson?”
“Oh,” I said. “The story might teach us that those who make a total mess of their lives might, in fact, share a common experience with the gods themselves, and may correct things if they are willing to pay the price.”
“A sort of behavioral ‘do-over’ in fact?”
He thought. “Isn’t there a moral instruction that wouldn’t involve millions of dead babies floating around?”
I decided to shift the emphasis and delivered a short exegesis.
The so-called Beatitudes, in the Christian New Testament have always attracted my attention. Largely ignored today, they provide a great embarrassment to the apocalyptic evangelists. In fact, they pretend the Sermon on the Mount was a liberal plot, added during the "New Deal" era. Imagine a right-wing politician offering the following maxims, as expressed in the Christian Book of Matthew.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
I’ve been researching the origin of the word “blessed.” If considered at all, many so-called “Christians” today would take the commonly used definition of blessed as “happy” and say all those covered by the eight Beatitudes should be delighted with their fate and worry about other things. "Don't worry," they say, "about anything except what we tell you to worry about. Be happy."
I don’t think it is that simple. I tend to side with the theologian who defined “makarios” (the Greek word actually used for "blessed' in the New Testament) as “the opposite of cursed.”
C.W. seemed interested, so I left him with a Jewish Story worth considering in our times:
The old Rabbi said, "In olden days there were men who saw the face of God."
"Why don't they any more?" a young student asked.
"Because, nowadays no one stoops so low," he replied.
Now if that wouldn’t make Franklin Graham’s sphincter muscle dance the polka, I don’t know what would.
|Where is the part where he tells
people who to vote for? He seems
much more interest in telling folks
how to lead their own lives. C.W.