Odds ‘n Ends

First of all, I only yesterday discovered that the origin of the phrase, “the whole nine yards,” dates back to World War II.  Seems that the P-51 Mustang had nine yards of fifty-caliber bullets servicing each of its machine-guns… so when you let loose on a target until nothing more was coming out of the cannon, you’d shot “the whole nine yards”.  Wow.  I had no idea that the phrase was older than I am.  Odd that I never heard it until about the eighties or the nineties.  Could it possibly have been resurrected and popularized by some movie about fighter-pilots during the war?

I’ve also wanted to respond to an incredibly long and thoughtful commentary on one of my posts concerning Islam and Christianity… but I can do little more for now than just acknowledge the “want”.  The subject of the Trinity would require a book-length treatise from me, as it has indeed elicited many a book from theologians infinitely better educated in the matter than I.  And then, once I’d finished, the best-educated of the well-educated would be calling me an apostate, I’m pretty sure.  The thing is, I don’t have much confidence in education on such subjects.  It tends to immerse one in “bibliolatry”–abject attention to what appears in revered or honored texts–rather than to put one in touch with an inner voice that speaks a logic of humane goodness.  I have no firmer conviction on the subject of religion than that God judges us by our susceptibility to this voice, and not by our conformity to the circumstantially conditioned and institutionally processed arguments of “scholars”.  Is it not in that sense that one must become like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven?

At any rate, the Trinity to me says that, though God is inscrutable and unimaginable to such as I in His full glory,  I can nevertheless be certain of His will in specific terrestrial cases through the action of a “spirit”–of inspiration–that reaches me, often in spite of my selfish or short-sighted objectives, often also in spite of the values projected by my social circle or culture.  I know that it’s wrong to kill children: I KNOW it’s wrong.  That’s why I don’t have to sift through arguments that equivocate the murder of children as fully predictable collateral damage during drone strikes.  I also have the example of God as He choose to squeeze Himself into a mortal body and a mortal lifetime–a position which, paradoxically, rendered Him incapable of completely grasping Himself at times (cf. Christ in the garden of Gethsemane).  I have no doubt that I’ve just typed a load of heresy in the eyes of some!  But Christ himself says that they alone are not forgiven who fail to recognize, not him, but the Holy Spirit.

Some people are okay with God’s ordering a vast slaughter of the Israelites after the Golden Calf incident.  That’s not a god I recognize–I’m not “hearing it”.  “Oh, so you get to pick and choose any attribute of God that pleases you, do you?”  No… but I am obligated to reject those attributes, at least as projected by certain literally interpreted scriptures, which I know conform to the cultural conditioning prevalent during a document’s composition rather than to the immutable law of goodness.  You don’t kill children.  Period.  Not in the service of God.  Never in the service of God.

Finally, if my high school friend is reading… I wish we had been much better friends in high school.  That was my fault.  But I really do find it horrible and suffocating to be reduced to what I look like, how I measure, the income of my parents.  An average kid, average height and weight, brown coloring, a voice no one could hear, a family that registered “nothing” in the community…. that’s what my classmates saw in high school.  I graduated a year early just to escape the phone-booth claustrophobia of it all.  I would no sooner revisit the scene of that misery, even half a century later, than I would return to a concentration camp and ask bystanders to pick up where the SS or the KGB left off.  I’ve spent most of my life blotting those years from my memory.  Why would I revive them now?

To think that there are people who actually want to be known first and foremost by the color of their skin, or their sexual preference, or their obesity, or… why wouldn’t you spend you life trying to break free of the “prison of circumstance” rather than adding bars and bricks to it?

Author: nilnoviblog

I hold a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (Latin/Greek) but have not navigated academe very successfully for the past thirty years. This is owed partly to my non-PC place of origin (Texas), but probably more to my conviction--along with the ancients--that human nature is immutable, and my further conviction--along with Stoics and true Christians-- that we have a natural calling to surmount our nature. Or maybe I just don't play office politics well. I'm much looking forward to impending retirement, when I can tend to my orchards and perhaps market the secrets of Dead Ball hitting that I've excavated. No, there's nothing new (nil novi) under the sun... but what a huge amount has been forgotten, in baseball and elsewhere!

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