Friday, October 29, 2010

The Clowns of God


All idolatry springs from a desire for order. We want to be neat, like the animals. We mark out our territories with musk and faeces. We make hierarchies like the bees and ethics like the ants. And we choose gods to set the stamp of approval on our creations. What we cannot cope with is the untidiness of the universe, the lunatic aspect of a cosmos with no known beginning, no visible end and no apparent meaning to all its bustling dynamics. We cannot tolerate its monstrous indifference in the face of all our fears and agonies. The prophets offer us hope; but only the man-god can make the paradox tolerable. This is why the coming of Jesus is a healing and a saving event. He is not what we should have created for ourselves. He is truly the sign of peace because He is the sign of contradiction. His career is a brief tragic failure. He dies in dishonour; but then most strangely, He lives. He is not only yesterday. He is today and tomorrow. He is available to the humblest as to the highest.

But look what we humans have done with Him. We have bloated His simple talk into a babble of philosophies. We have inflated the family of His believers into an imperial bureaucracy, justified only because it exists and cannot be dismantled without a cataclysm. The man who claims to be the custodian of His truth lives in a vast palace, surrounded by celibate males who have never earned a crust by the labour of their hands, never dried a woman's tears or sat with a sick child until sunrise.

The Clowns of God by Morris West, pg 258
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