Religious Fundamentalism: A Man Sits at a Table

   A lone man sits at a small, rough table. He is in a wooden, straight back chair without arms. The seat of the chair is latticed wicker. The chair itself is heavy and functional, not easily moved by one person with one casual gesture of one hand. The chair sits where it sits.

   A man sits alone at one end of a wooden table. The table is of solid, heavy wood, like the chair. The man could not move the table even if he were so disposed. The table has the requisite four legs, short and stocky, adding to the aura of the table, of function rather than form, of utility instead of beauty. The maker of this table intended to move it one time, to set it in place and never lift it again. 

   The Table Maker spent little time on smoothing the roughness off the edges of the table, or from its surface. He used milled planks, cut hard and bolted flat in place, held with iron. A man sitting at one far end of the table was not the first to sit there, which he found strange, because he had sat there for so long, he thought.

   He could not be sure. 

   The room in which he sat was a cypher to him. A bare light bulb dangled down from a single wire above the center of the table. Other than a man in the heavy, hard chair, the light was the only constant-variable in the room. The light never flickered. It went off from time to time, plunging the room into total darkness. The light went out often enough to keep his eyes from actual adjustment to either dark or light. Sometimes, for reasons he could not fathom, the light began to wave on the end of its wire. Then, his eyes felt as though they would burst into flame and his head ached for what he took to be hours.

   The passage of time had stopped for him. He still inhabited time, he knew that, for he felt the changes in his body as he sat, alone and still, in the chair. He had been told to sit still and quiet in the chair and never to rise. His somber rest was strictly enforced. He had sat there for what seemed like a long time. He was quite mad now.

   At least, he thought he might be insane. He could not be sure because he had no sensory input to determine how he ought to act. Perhaps all of Nature was an infinite series of dark rooms, with a bright, small light over the center of a rough, heavy table, where a man sat alone in a functional chair, without great discomfort but never actually comfortable, unable to move from the spot, afraid to do more than wriggle on his seat. 

   Sometimes he feared to wriggle on the seat. He felt anxiety at movement. He held as still as he could hold.

Tomorrow: A Man Himself

Opinions expressed here are my own, not those of the church I serve or any other person.

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