Friday, June 08, 2007

Time to give the nice lady her clothes back

They say that ignorance is bliss. Whether or not this is true, it absolutely can be said that certain forms of knowledge can be a heavy, or even a poisonous, burden to those who must carry them to their final destination. Even so, people of good conscience must endure, and keep moving important information where it needs to go, no matter how much they might feel like killing themselves or killing their mind in the vain hope that this act will make bad facts go away.

The past few years have felt like a blur to me, defined only vaguely by key moments like the time I first learned about mountaintop removal, and the time I learned about the murder of Sue Daniels. I have had many moments, and many days and weeks since then, in which I wished wholeheartedly that I could shed the information burden I was carrying, and to forget all the bad facts I knew about abuses against Appalachia.

Who knows how much more functional I could have been in the past few years had I not been forced to endure the knowledge that Great Appalachia, that icon of purity and God's grace, is being continually and systematically raped in full view of the world and all the people who love and cherish her. This sickening awareness has preyed on my mind from the moment I learned about mountaintop removal coal mining, and it has not left me for a moment since.

Aside from the support of my family, friends, and pets, I have a few simple comforts that allow me to function under these circumstances. One is gardening. The other is the Book of Revelation.

Some people get a little antsy at the mention of this book but I am way past caring about that. I know better to think that such an important piece of writing should be stifled or suppressed simply based on the fact that it can be misinterpreted and used by unethical persons as a license to frighten the public with half-baked theories presented as prophecy.

I am a student of language. I know that anything that has been translated even once should be viewed carefully with the understanding that some parts may not be literally true, much less prophetic. And the Bible has been translated umpteen times and edited and re-copied by countless persons.

Some people might feel sorry for Bible readers like me because they assume, for some reason, that we are incapable of interpreting everything in it as anything but an absolute literal truth. Some Bible readers like that may exist, and I do not seek to judge them, but I am not one of them.

For example, my opinion is that God may not really be planning to literally squish an entire city until the blood runs up to the horse bridles and then make wine from the blood to serve to the wicked. I can't say it isn't a great comfort to me, though, to know that imagery like this has been served up for centuries to whoever is curious enough to read the words of St. John the Divine. Knowing this cheers me up considerably, especially now that I am older and I am carrying tons of unwanted information in my mind about the evils that man is capable of.

When I get really sad about evil I imagine some really wicked rapist opening up the Book of Revelation in a moment of boredom or whatever and getting the unexpected wake-up call of their lives. A moment of satori in which they turn their back on evil forever and can no longer move freely in the world anymore as they used to, simply because now they cannot go anywhere or do anything without consulting their newfound conscience.

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