Wednesday, June 02, 2010


I noticed something about the Bible last night during a long bout of insomnia. Funny I never noticed it before. It's about people.

Is that obvious to you? I thought it was about me.

Pull back. Squint. Notice the frame. All about people. Everyone from charismatic culture heroes to powerful evil dudes and dudettes with brylcreem in their twisted hair, to mediocrities like tax collectors, to carpenters, fishermen, street kids and raging bedevilled women, to centurions and lepers, to harlots and criminals.

To a mildly bent out of shape sociopath like yours truly, a bit of a surprise. Sometimes I think my skull is a prison, the way Time is...

But Time at least is weird. When you sit in your car waiting for a train to cross the tracks very slowly (because you are in a small rural town, and the train has just loaded up with megatons of something good, boring and agricultural), if you are young enough and bored enough, the clacking of the train rolling over its points becomes a bit hypnotic. The train goes left to right, you lick your Dairy Queen, the train goes left to right, you ... start floating in the opposite direction!

Time and space are your own illusion, briefly, until you shake it off. All your life your Bible has been judging you, like a mirror. Now, by seeing the frame that picture is in, and forgetting it, you can see the characters in the story. You can form your own opinions.

It's not quite a jailbreak, it's not satori. But it is suggestive.

People are why I became a Catholic. The billiard ball that knocked me toward the corner pocket was my wife and child, yes. But my spin, my English, is all me. Buddhism has the Sangha, the community of Buddhist monks and lay persons. But there are not a lot of Buddhists around here.

Catholicism has the Church, another big inclusive idea. Potato, potahto, saint or bodhisattva... So, I can ignore the Pope and an extravagance of misguided clergy who pontificate on matters they are plainly ignorant of — evolution and modern biology come to mind for this century, Copernicus and Galileo for centuries past — but I can't ignore the community of believers.

Insomnia... Were you asleep? I was dreaming that the bush is Us. The Burning is something else again.



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