We are now 152 years removed from the 1859 publication of Darwin’s book “On the Origin of Species.” However, nothing has been settled. People, both within this valley and in the world beyond our immediate communities, are still arguing about evolution. In this wonderful age of pharmaceuticals, one might think that there would be a pill for that by now.
At its heart, the dispute is not so much about how humans came into existence on this planet as it is about biblical literalism. In the mind of the literalist, a developmental relationship between man and the animal kingdom denies the Genesis account of human creation. Never mind that some of those very Bible verses have man being created from the dust of the ground – a fairly radical form of evolution in itself. For the literalist, instantaneous creation of “dirtlings” from dust is a miracle, while biological evolution of humans over a long period of time is heresy.
Could it be that the very people who would condemn the worship of golden calves don’t even consider, much less recognize, that biblical literalism might be a form of idolatry?
Most who believe in transcendence acknowledge the extraordinary mystery that can never be fully known or understood by humans. Why is it then, that so many of those same people venerate the certainty of a literalism that attempts to demystify the means by which the transcendent might operate?
What if we consider religious explorations as being verbal equivalents of dancing with symbols, myths and metaphors? Insisting on assignment of a literal meaning to each movement would then reduce dancing to something else. One would miss all the delicate nuances and subtle shadings of the dance itself.
Again and again, the literalist either assumes or argues for a particular interpretation of scripture that supports a specific belief, rather than dancing with stories in a way that might lead to a deep sense of faith. Such people wrap a mystery that is far too large to comprehend into a very small belief package and sell if for the pottage of certainty.
With Christmas coming, we are again flooded with all those Asian goods loading the shelves at the big box stores. We can find goods and services produced right here in our country by Americans if we chose not to be brainwashed. It’s time to think outside the box. Who says a gift needs to be wrapped in Chinese-produced paper?
Everyone gets a haircut, a gym membership is appropriate, how about giving a certificate for a car detail? Or give a family member or friend a pledge to pay to have their driveway sealed or lawn mowed next summer or driveway plowed all winter or babysitting for a night.
There are many restaurants in the area. Give a gift certificate for breakfast or dinner to support hard-working American business people. Or take your family out and leave the server a big tip.
Everyone can use an oil change in the car or mom would love a cleaning lady for a day and I know my computer guy would appreciate some extra business.
Local artists produce a large variety of beautiful products.
Do we really need more Chinese Christmas lights? Instead, leave your letter carrier, trash guy or babysitter a big tip.
Christmas shouldn’t drain the American pocket on cheaply produced foreign products. There is a lot offered and produced by Americans. We should turn back to our communities and local businesses and start a new American Christmas tradition.
Once started, it can easily be carried on through the year and maybe we can begin to take back our country.
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