But before that, one last question from Scott:
5. (I may have missed this somewhere in your posts) Have you ever considered becoming a minister?
When I was 12, and probably a year or two before and after, I was pretty much convinced of it. I had a "born-again" experience when I was nine, and it seemed like the logical path.
And now to Anthony:
1. What is the one thing that if they didn't have it in heaven you would seriously think about taking up residence in the other place because you would miss it so much?
Music. You get the sense that they'll be celestial choirs singing all of the time. If heaven is tuneless, that'd be hell.
2. What is the hardest passage of Scripture for you to accept?
Interestingly, I've a great rationalization for any of those loopy Old Testament readings such as Deuteronomy 25 as a message for a different time.
(I can even go a couple hours on Thou Shall Not Kill: what DOES that mean in terms of self-defense, war, capital punishment, war, abortion, stem cell research, et al.?)
What's harder to deal with, and this ties directly into the conversation about becoming a minister, is perhaps a core tenet of Christianity, at least as understood by many: John 14:6 - Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
At the point I was 15 or 16, I was having a difficult time with the notion that a good Hindu or Buddhist, who had never heard of Jesus Christ, was going to hell - the reason we were supposed to go out and "save those savages", in Africa and elsewhere. It was at this point I pretty much turned away from the faith of my youth, and it took over a decade before I found my way back, with the ability not to necessarily buy into the doctrinaire positions of fundamentalism. I've gotten better with ambiguity. I've talked with Christian clergy, and at least a few struggle with the same issues.
I read a biography of Mahatma Gandhi decades ago, and there was a quote in there that has stuck in my mind about why he chose not to be a Christian: "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. The materialism of affluent Christian countries appears to contradict the claims of Jesus Christ that says it's not possible to worship both Mammon and God at the same time." Don't think that was the exact quote, but close enough.
3. What do you dislike most about yourself?
My ability to go to a very melancholy place rather easily.
4. What is the most profound spiritual experience you have had?
I was in a play (Our Town), and became good friends with this woman named Rusell. She ended up contracting this rare but almost always fatal disease and was at some hospital in Boston. A bunch of us went to our church chapel in Albany, stood in a circle and prayed for Rusell. At about that time, she was cured and fully recovered; it was, the doctors said, a miracle.
Dorian reimagines Christmas.
New England 16-0. Feh.
Lenten music Friday: Leonard Bernstein’s Mass
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