Don’t just stand there, naked ones, cover yourself!

November 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

The shuffling of a dozen church bulletins and the sudden firefly glow of phones displaying the time told R. he needed to find his ending. How to get to repentance, this was always the question. Forgiveness is the easy part: softly and gently Jesus is always calling, he could sing this until he was blue. It seemed to R., though, that if the preacher has done his job, if he’s laid out the sin and he’s described the shame, getting too specific about how to avoid either was a little redundant. Everything else about the religion was built on a surprisingly firm foundation of assumption, from the a priori beginning to the predestined end, but not this? Though it frustrated him that the church allowed no leeway or shortcuts when it came to navigating the narrow path of their salvation, he nevertheless dutifully tried to make it as difficult for them as possible.

—The renowned powders of Phrygia may have promised you vision and the oracles of Apollo portended the unseen, but I tell you this: cast your eyes newly open not outward upon the world, what it has to offer or threatens to bring, or even toward one another, be they family or foe . . . cast them, rather, downward, beyond the neck and below the waist, to your unfortunate exhibition of doughy bits and dangling pieces. Don’t just stand there, naked ones, cover yourself!

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