A little fiction here now. Sermon length stuff over at http://aintsobad.typepad.com/pastorspal.
The Game That Never Ends, Finale
His wife was gone, of course, when he returned to their hut. She took only the Game, Shield-Board, little players and all. Or did they take her?
He never really knew.
The Game Master looked back, satisfied with his work. His donkeys loaded with trade goods he did not much want he could see the turmoil in the Garden-Village as he glanced over his shoulder. The careful plans of the Spirit-Guide would take a veering course now.
The Game Master was hatefully happy for the moment.
The husband was bereft now. He had no wife, no game, no home. He could not stay in the Garden-Village any longer. He could, and would, blame the wife who left him for the Game Master. She could and would blame the Game Master. The Game Master would have nothing left to say. He would hiss his venomous way through the forest, out into the plains and back up to his high mountain cave.
Strange someone so cold-blooded could live almost anywhere.
He was only one but the Game attracted many.
"How did this happen?" the husband wondered.
"How did I so quickly lose everything?"
"Where do I go from here?"
He sat in silent thought, just then.
He was no longer in prospect. The world was not new, or fresh, or even young. The forest trees started to shed their leaves. Fish died in the stream from the waste the Garden-Village washed down into the water. Children cried now. Old men withdrew from the Garden-Village.
Something had changed.
He was, they were, the Garden-Village, was no longer in prospect.
He was in retrospect. He would spend the rest of his days looking for her. He would think all his nights, wondering what might have happened if he, if he, if only he, had banished the Game from his home. He would live his life in retrospect.
Men would till the earth in frustration and curse him. Women would feel the pain of tides and moons and curse them both.
Christianity is not a way of life. It is a religion.
Christianity is a religion quite because it deals with ultimates, not just self-control or self-aggrandizement.
The ancient stories of Christianity (nee Judaism) deal with ultimates. If they are just stories they are still very, very good, meaningful stories, rich myth (which does not make them false, only not literal). If the ancient stories of Christianity (nee Judaism) are just stories they are wonderful stories the ancients used to explain why we are the way we are now. They are stories in retrospect.
If the ancient stories of Christianity (nee Judaism) are more than myth, it is because they deal with ultimates and so hold out prospect. For instance, the Garden story of original man and woman can be retold to point out somethings must have happened between Genesis 3:5 and Genesis 3:6. If the Spirit-Guide (God) is so easy to throw over in a state of innocence, why bother with innocence at all?
Is the Game Master (Peddler, Serpent) so much more powerful than God to wreak havoc in the Garden with just a contradictory statement? You will reply to this and you are welcome but don’t bring the old cliches.
If there are so many obvious questions left unanswered in the stories, does this make them less valuable? Or does the hanging query mean they are stories, rich stories, but just stories?
I may be too comfortable in my little Garden-Village where I can live with my literalisms and absolutes. The question of a life lived in retrospect over against a retrospective life lived in the anticipation of great prospect may be the essence of lost religion.