Here’s how the mind thinks on these early days of 2015:
Preparing for a class I’ll be teaching later this month, I was reading a bio of early American feminist and reformer Fanny Wright (a gem in Freethought history). In the 1820’s she bought the old Ebenezer Baptist Church in New York City and converted it (nice pun, I think) into a “Hall of Science.” Great story.
This got me thinking of “Ebenezer” so I looked it up in the old dusty Bible Concordance and found the origin in an ancient Palestinian village where the Israelites were defeated and the Ark of the Covenant captured (First Samuel chapter 4 if you need to know).
After the LORD (who is Mighty Pissed Off about His Sacred Gold Box) strikes the nasty Philistines with tumors (sweet), the Philistines are feeling pretty guilty so they send the Holy Box back with five gold tumors (that’s right) and five gold mice (look it up if you need to know). One large extended family of “God’s People” wasn’t so thrilled about the Gold Box coming back on an ox cart, so the LORD swatted them like flies and seventy were killed (ahh).
Anyway. . .the people were still afraid of the Philistines, so Samuel the Prophet (Pro-Sam for short) grabbed a “sucking lamb” (baby lamb at its mother’s teat) and threw it into a fire as a burnt offering (First Sam 7).
Ahhhhh. That made the LORD SO happy! The Philistines were defeated and Pro-Sam set up a big stone and called it “Ebenezer” which means, I’m told, “Stone of Help.”
Thus ends this happy story of boxes, tumors, mice, oxen, lambies and stones.
Don’t go yet (if you’re still on screen).
My brother and I took a very nice New Year hike to a series of waterfalls. From the rocks above we looked down on a large family sitting all over the rocks, with kids and dogs and loud voices. Just what we love to see at a place of natural beauty in the quiet forest. Not really. There are signs around those falls that clearly say endangered yellow-legged frogs breed there and people should not go beyond the signs and fences that protect these creatures (see photo I took a few years ago). Of course, this big loud family was having a nice picnic just beyond the signs, the dogs were barking and the kids were throwing large rocks into the pools of the frog-sanctuary. We didn’t feel like confronting them or playing ranger (maybe the mom or dad got a new gun for Christmas?), so we hiked on in disgust.
Now, as my mind is currently in a New Year state of imagination, I imagine sending down tumors, burning up a puppy, slaughtering whole families and dumping a box-full of golden mice on them. . .
No, I’m kidding. I wouldn’t do that. Maybe there are more understanding ways to teach people to live peacefully and take care of the earth.
Geez, we could sure use another Fanny Wright!