Sunday, June 24, 2012

Keyboard out of control

A. E. P. Wall

Bible used by my great grandparents.
             The Christian church has changed since the time of Jesus, and the Christian church has not changed.

            Those first Christians were not able to email their epistles. They knew nothing about a printing press or the great book it would someday produce, sponsored by the king of an island off the coast of France.

            They knew how to agree and they knew how to disagree. They disagreed about how much of their Jewish inheritance could be adapted. They argued about dietary laws. They argued about circumcision. Argument became an undeclared sacrament, still vigorous in the hundreds of Christian churches, traditions and denominations, which continue to divide like melting icebergs.

            Still unsettled is the question of who’s at the center of worship. Some say it is God, and the object of worship is to become more like God. That is a challenge, once you ponder what God allowed Job, Eve and any number of innocents executed in American prisons to endure.

            Others think the center of worship is the worshiper, asking favors of prosperity and health from God, who at first glance might seem to have distributed those favors randomly, with some Christians winning an impersonal game of chance and some losing. Scholars have rejected any reference to this as the bingo myth.

            I suspect that I was born with a vibrant God gene, because I have always believed in God, despite gaps in acting out that belief.

            I’ve sat in on computer chats about the name of God. I’ve heard lots of suggestions, such as the Divine, Creator, Love, Higher Power, Father, Mother, Father-Mother, a few others.  God is Just, but I pray to God as Mercy. During most of my life I have known God by familiar names, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the blessed Trinity, one God.

            My grandpa had a bunch of names. Friends called him Bill, teachers called him William, kids called him Mr. Olmstead. They were all good names, and correct, but he’s Grandpa to me. Same thing about the many names of God, who’s still God to me.

            My bingo gene card gave me loving parents of Victorian persuasion, children and grandchildren of shining character and intellect, friends with a high capacity for tolerance, all of the childhood diseases of the late 1920s, pleasure in reading and writing, a rare disease of the brain which I’ve discussed excessively elsewhere, and a belief in God which has evolved only as I’ve begun to grasp the infinity of the Infinite. God is never surprised, but God has surprises for the rest of us. Father John Loftus, an Irish Columban and close friend, was ejected from China by the Communists back in the last century. He recommended living in terms of Catholic beliefs because "even if they turn out not to be correct in all details, it is still a great way to spend your life." 

            God’s gifts to each of us include an amount of time for this life. If there’s a formula, nobody knows what it is. I appreciate most of the 87 years I’ve been given so far, and I accept changes that come with age and experience, even though I would get out of them if I could. Ever since I bought my first typewriter at age 12 I have done a lot of my thinking through my fingertips. Now there’s a coordination problem when I punch the letters on my computer keyboard. More and more my fingers touch a key I did not choose, or touch no key at all. More and more my thoughts flicker out like candles in the wind before I get them written down. So I’m cutting back my blogs. Thank you for staying with me this far, and please don't go away.

© A. E. P. Wall




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