Why I Know so Little

As a young scholar I said trite things like, “We learned about Calvinism today,” and “I studied relativity last week”.

It turns out that Calvin’s voluminous Institutes inspired commentaries, opinions, and reactions to fill hundreds of thousands of papers, books and ministries.  It also seems that papers and experiments pursuing all Einstein laid out amount to untold billions of dollars.   Trillions if you count weapons.

I barely caught an introduction.

It helps, though, if someone reduces it for me, so I pass a short quiz or pay for a short course and skip the quiz.  In a world influenced by academia: I “learned it”.

We memorize Kubler Ross’ stages and think we know death.  We say amazing silliness like, “I got married last night!”  No, you took a first, possibly easiest step in a journey of a thousand miles and you don’t “know” marriage until you come to the end of yourself and your failings and she somehow, amazingly decides to travel on with you.

“I bought a house last week.”  So, you paid cash?

“We were in New York last month.  I love New York!”  Yes, you love the tiniest sliver, and even those who love her a lifetime cannot live a thousandth of the City.

In seminary, I was thrilled to “learn” the word for “know” is the same as a husband and wife enjoying their most intimate times together that they share with none others.  You scratch the surface of that knowing in a decade or so.

I need humility, and out of that a bent to life long learning: in this life and the next.  I know that.

Happy New Wait A Minute

Happy Epiphany.  January 6.  Wise guys visit Jesus.  12th Day of Christmas.  All of that I get, but the convention of the date is my problem.

First of all, we may have gone “around” the sun in 365.25 days, but the sun moved.  We are nowhere near the same place as this time “last year”.  This spiral arm of the Galaxy moved.  Don’t you remember that crazy day in elementary school when someone delighted in telling you the eight or nine ways we are moving, leaving you queasy!?

I have welcomed the new year watching a ball drop in Times Square, the largest outdoor restroom for a night.  Really, the ball just drops and that means something?  Are you certain marijuana was not legal in New York decades ago?

I have welcomed it on my knees praying at that exact moment when the new year began. 

I have welcomed it asleep, driving, eating in some diner, playing games, with a few hundred screaming teens, and I have welcomed it with just Jill.  My favorite.  Not your business. 

And I have made resolutions, plans, goals with attendant tasks and been moderately successful in them.

But here is my point.  Why at this point in a calendar (don’t get me started on “calendar”) do we have hope for newness?  How did that come to be?  Why not Hannukah, Christmas, Ramadan, or Easter?  Going the other way, why not Halloween or Mardis Gras? 

It is just the first day of January.  Stay with me.

All the other months have a first day, Right?  Why THIS first day of THIS month?

Random.  If you want to compare my work check with the Jews and Chinese for their first days of their new year(s) dates. 

Don’t get depressed and sappy on me, just think about it.  Some very well meaning people chose this day after all their work on their “calendar” as a day to reset the months and days and begin again.  We attached all the rest of our hopes for weight loss, working out, saving, studying more, smoking less, quitting drinking, whatever to this Random Date.

SO, if you have already screwed up, fallen short, blown the resolution — pick another date and start again.  How about tomorrow?  If there is anything Christian in applying grace practically, that would be it.  Why don’t we start our relationship, business plan, forgiveness, kindness, savings again – first thing in the morning?  Any day is as good as some January 1!

There.  See Random can work for you occasionally.  And happy Epiphany.