Page last updated May 24, 2002.
My cousin, Paul, read my diary this morning and complained about how much I talked about food in it. Then he took me out for gourmet coffee and a Cinnabon so that I'd have something to report for today's entry. We were talking about the difficulties of using the New Testament in an uncritical fashion while drinking our coffee. The bumper sticker for the literalists is: "God wrote it; I read it; that settles it." I pretty much gave Paul my whole lecture series from "Lose Your Faith 101," the introduction to Religious Studies that I teach at Canisius. The Old Testament represents stories told and re-told over a thousand years or more; the New Testament is collected from stories told in the first century of Christianity. You can't just plug in contemporary meanings of words and expect to understand the authors' original meanings.
I was explaining to Paul how we should be sensitive to the difference between "Son of God," an expression used of angels, Adam, and the King of Israel, and "God, the Son," which is used only of Jesus in orthodox Christianity. A woman from a nearby table came over to inform us that the New Testament does call Jesus Son of God. As she walked away, I thought, "Have I got a bumper sticker for you!"
We spent the afternoon and the evening with Paul's two daughters. Paul also showed me the farm that he had owned once upon a time. He now lives closer to civilization and closer to his daughters.
I stole a book by Allen Foster Dulles entitled Great True Spy Stories. When I was a student at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., I drove a huge Chrysler one summer that had belonged to Dulles and that had been inherited by his nephew, Avery Dulles. I enjoyed the true stories better than the free novels that I picked out of the library trash bin in Kalona.