I obsess about things that aren’t things. I do this frequently. I obsess about it so frequently that I created the tag definition just to talk about the things that aren’t things and the definitions of the things that are. Because things have to be definable and definitions are important for understanding. Christian is one of those things that isn’t a thing (because there is no one set of beliefs that all christians, or even a majority of christians, will agree upon and practice in their daily lives) Comparative labeling, on the other hand, is sometimes illuminating.
I’ve been about half paying attention to the little farce that is the case of the Kentucky county clerk that refuses to do her job. It really doesn’t interest me that much as a legal question. She’s clearly going to lose; lose her job, lose her freedom, etc.
There is a perspective on this story that I do find interesting. She’s already lost her faith although not many of her fellow faithful will even notice. How’s that, you ask? Because she’s a doctrinaire, and doctrinaires are the kinds of people who killed the man she calls savior.
It really is too bad that most people do not read. If they read they might understand the subtleties of the stories that swirl around them. In this case it doesn’t even take reading to really grasp the argument. Just ingest a sufficient quantity of your preferred mind-altering substance and then watch Jesus Christ Superstar (a link to make the process easier for you) one of my favorite soundtracks, if not one of my favorite films. In fact, you probably should listen before watching. Create images in your own head for what the songs mean before polluting them with images that others have come up with.
Working for a Real Estate Developer in San Angelo (feels like a lifetime ago) the first real drafting job that I landed in that oasis in the desert of West Texas, an architect named Constantin Barbu was running the design studio there. An immigrant from Europe, he had the most amazing collection of classical music I’ve ever seen before or since, and a sound system built into the studio that an audiophile would commit mass murder to possess.
Constantin was a decent mentor. In the short time I worked there he not only convinced me that classical music was beautiful and inspiring, but he managed to teach me the value of the narrative in construction documents; something I carried forward through the rest of my years drafting and designing architecture.
He had an original vinyl copy of Jesus Christ Superstar. I forget how the subject came up, but I’m sure we got to talking about religion (no subject being taboo to me) and to prove some religious point or other he demanded that we listen to the soundtrack. Like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and then The Wall which were so different from the pop music that I had been listening to up to that time, that soundtrack opened vistas of thought that I’d never experienced before.
I had never thought to look at the story of Jesus from outside, from an artistic perspective. The stories that I had grown up with suddenly had a completely different meaning for me than they had when told in a religious setting. Suddenly the characters became characters in a play, people with feelings and dreams. The caricatures that are communicated religiously are pale comparisons to the real people who lived those moments in history, if those moments were ever real at all.
Put yourself into that time, the beginning of an age. All life is change. Jesus was an instrument of change if he was anything at all. The doctrinaires of his time, the pharisees of the bible, rejected his calls for change. they knew the law and his preaching violated that law. It was their hands, and the hands of their followers that delivered Jesus to Pilate for judgement.
We are in the midst of another time of change, and the doctrinaires who know the law would declare to us what the law says and what the punishment should be. What is good and proper and what is not, deciding for their fellow men what course they should take, transgressing on every man (and women)’s freedom of conscience.
That county clerk took an oath to execute her office. She is bound to that oath, and to what the office of a county clerk requires. If she cannot do her job, then she should leave the job. Let someone else who can cope with the change handle it. If her religion is really that important to her, then what she needs to do is go find what the teachings she claims to honor really mean. Because from where I’m sitting it is obvious that she doesn’t have a clue.