Home > Life, Really?, Spirituality/Religion > The Big Book Says WHAT??

The Big Book Says WHAT??

sure1I was lying on the floor of our home office the other day listening to a podcast of a sermon from a minister in Kansas. He was talking about “When Christians Get It Wrong”. Being the sardonic Christian that I am, I take glee in hearing about other people’s screw-ups. It seems to put us all on equal footing.

img_0269Lately I’ve been dismayed at recent weight gain and have been trying to do something about it. As I lay there with the dogs, I looked beside me and saw the four big National Geographic books that Mama N inherited when she worked for them. We donated about a hundred volumes of smaller books to an elementary school recently, but saved these last four. I picked one up. 

Holy Moley! I tried bench-pressing it a few times and then thought “I wonder how much this weighs…” So I went off to the bathroom scale and discovered it weighed in at a whopping 7 lbs! Cool, I thought…  if I bench-press it and lift it over my head, etc., I could get a pretty good workout while I’m listening to the sermons! 

And then it occurred to me: I wonder what’s actually in those books. (Did I mention I have ADD?) I opened the Atlas and it revealed a map of Europe and Asia. I never took geography in school, and being the typical American that I am, I haven’t made much effort to learn about anything outside of our country. Neither have I traveled abroad, so I discovered that I was largely clueless about these continents. 

It wasn’t until I reached eastern Asia that I was truly mortified. For nearly 40 years I have been watching the TV show M*A*S*H and it had never occurred to me to find out exactly where Korea is. When I looked at the book and saw where it was, I couldn’t believe that it was nowhere near where I thought it was! 

For several more hours I explored the world and with the help of my Facebook buddies, discovered a Travel IQ interactive challenge on the computer. In the midst of a 5-ish year war, I couldn’t find Iraq on the map. 

img_0270Which lead me back to the sermons I was listening to. There’s another big book that gets updated from time to time, based on the changing vernacular of its followers who often assume that they know what’s in it so they don’t look at it very often. Again, I’m one of those people. I like to have these books so people will think a certain way of me, but I realize that I’m as big a hypocrite as the next guy. He may go on and on about the “A-rabs” but he probably couldn’t point out Saudi Arabia on the map either.

A lot of us don’t want to stir up trouble so we fly just below the radar. We may agree or disagree about where things are and how they relate to each other, but there are others who are quite sure that because they read a book published in 1981 about what Russia looks like, it looks the same way today. 

The world and its people have changed a lot since those first flat-earth maps and the stories told by ancient cultures to try to explain what a higher being expects of them. Heck, we can’t even trust the continents themselves to stand still in their original configuration. How can we expect people to respond to a changing world without finding new ways to interpret old information?

Well, my mind has been opened once again to just how much I really don’t know about the planet, about other cultures and ideas, but my pecs and my intellect are getting stronger as I lift these big books literally with my arms and figuratively with my brain. 

I don’t know that any of us can confidently argue between true or false, right or wrong, and win. All things change as we try to find better ways to shepherd our planet to a brighter day, and as sure as the earth is round, all of the books that tell us “how it is” today will have to be rewritten someday. 

Can we all at least agree that change happens…?

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  1. April 2, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Just think… if the tectonic plates hadn’t shifted, we’d all be on one big, unhappy land mass right now.

  2. April 2, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    And the way some people talk about it, you’d think we’re trying to go back to being one big, unhappy land mass!

  3. April 4, 2009 at 3:50 am

    I was mistaken when I said he was from Missouri, apparently Rev Hamilton is from Kansas. I love his sermons … it’s like taking a college course in the Bible.

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