No, not the guy who walked on the moon!
No, not that guy that rides bikes!
Not the trumpet-player.
The ex-nun scholar-woman theologian that has written fascinating books about religion!
<-- This is her new one, and Random House graciously sent me a review copy!
[Thank you, Jessica!]
The Case For God.
And in just a little over a week's time [Wednesday the 14th] the author, the scholar, the legend -- Karen Armstrong will be giving a lecture just down the street from me, at St. Brigid's Church.
I am very much looking forward to this. I already have my ticket purchased!
I've read many of her books, and she is just incredibly astute, wise, and experientially brilliant, when it comes to "religion."
I am still immersed in Margaret Atwood's dystopia [incidentally, I saw Maggie at the same church two weeks ago... I'm on a real author-groupie roll here...] so I have not started Karen Armstrong's book, but I just randomly flipped through it a minute ago.
This excerpt from the Bible sort of caught my interest, it's on page 85:
There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, so that nobody thinks of his own interests, but everybody thinks of other people's interests instead.
This is from the Apostle Paul's advice to the Philippians. Chapter 2, verses 2 to 4.
The comment I want to make has absolutely nothing to do with Karen Armstrong's subsequent erudition in this book.
I merely looked at the Scripture and thought about it.
I conclude that it is a bit nutty.
There was a time in my life when I would have read this Scripture and immediately felt an obligation to be "self-effacing" or whatever.
Would have begun considering how important everyone else's "interests" are in comparison to my own.
But nowadays, my brain is no longer in NEUTRAL!
At least if these verses were suggesting that other people's interests were EQUAL to my own... OK... you've got my ear... but then Brother Paul throws in that last word "instead".
"Instead" means I am actually supposed to sort of jettison my own interests, I guess.
In my opinion, that is a recipe for lunacy.
Imagine the mileage that a secretly self-interested minister could get with this one verse alone!
Practically speaking, this verse needs a lot of footnotes. And if you read the rest of Philippians, the footnotes simply aren't there!
Even in theory, [and all conceit aside] there are tons of people out there in the world that just plain are not "better" than I am.
For me to tell myself that they are... well, that is called schizophrenia.
Sorry about that Paul and/or God!