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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Love Letters

If you could get a personal letter in return, who would you like to send a letter to: The President? The Pope? A deceased loved one? What would the essence of your letter be? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 640).

This question is difficult due to the possible array of questions. My first inclination is to think of a lot of “hard” questions – whether they be about religion, politics, economics, or history. Sometimes I think that I would like to write to mankind's greatest friends. At other times I think it would be interesting to get personal perspectives of mankind's greatest enemies. For example, I would like to receive a letter from Hitler in which he candidly addressed questions from the Serendipity Bible. That is, I would not want his views on the Second World War so much as his views on human nature, and the nature of God. I would like to hear him discuss the Golden Rule and his view of its wisdom or stupidity. I would like to get his understandings of the disciplines of love contrasting them with the disciplines of hate, and why one is more realistic and preferable than another. In short, I would like to get a better understanding of how a twisted mind views the essence and principles of things inherent in everyday life. I would want to make clearer the workings of our agreement or disagreement about bedrock principles and the extent to which any type of mutual accommodation is possible or hopeless. Of course, at base I would be searching for a way to reach the unreachable; or at a minimum to better perceive areas in my own makeup fraught with danger.

Naturally, I would also like to send and receive letters from loved ones. I definitely feel I owe a letter to my father who died in 1971 when I was in my 20s. At the time, I was young and felt far superior to my father. Of course, time has changed all that! I now yearn for a thimbleful of his character. I would also like to send and receive a letter from a dear friend who killed two of his children before committing suicide. I would like to better understand the visage and abyss of pain. I would like to write my college chaplain now deceased. He was a man with the courage to live the disciplines of love. I have a very selfish question for him – what does he really think of me, of my Christian witness?

Many no doubt will think in my letters I have blown a great opportunity to find out and clarify many explosive issues, getting the straight low-down about matters that have great political and religious significance – what was the real intent of the Second Amendment? Or what did Jesus really think about homosexuality? Or what did St. Paul really think about the role of women for all time? By now you know I am fairly comfortable in all these matters. I trust that in time the disciplines of love will clarify all things. I think in this light even the likes of Hitler can help inform mankind. To think that he has no relevance to any one of us personally in my view greatly overestimates our own superiority. And as for my wasting letters by writing to my father and friends, I can only say that some priorities are more exigent than others.

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