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Is That So?

Maybe it is so and maybe it is not. A story of a lovely, peaceful, lush garden. Only two human beings. One known as male, the other female. Some birds and animals and the kind of rich soil in which anything will grow. A special tree and a sneaky snake. Maybe what's written in Genesis is so and maybe it is not, but it goes a long way in explaining some things.

Many people call it the fall. Or The Fall. Not the season but the reason we humans suffer pain, struggle with faithfulness, slip and slide between being compliant and being rebellious, and generally slink in the opposite direction should a snake come into sight. It's a clever story, really, but not designed to be taken as historical, scientific fact. Yet there's a good bit of Truth to be found in it. Yes, that's capital T Truth. Some sort of deep and abiding and, for all we know, eternal reality that prompts us to say, Oh, yeah. That really helps me understand. Understand big picture stuff like human beings walking around with free will and doing all kinds of awful and wonderful and incomprehensible and tragic and secret and movingly beautiful things with it. Like human beings freely admitting being frail and in need of some Higher Power to get through the day and at least halfway through the night. Like the planet we human beings have overrun crying out for restoration, conservation, preservation, a speck of respect (you hear it, don't you?). Somehow, we who were left in charge according to the original blueprints have lost sight of more than a few things. Even way, way back, we became fearful, bloodthirsty, greedy, callous, and, for the most part, turned in on ourselves. The snake might have been the initial representation of evil, but it lurks around in all manner of forms anymore.

Maybe it is so and maybe it is not that human beings were tricked into their cataclysmic fall from grace. Honestly, it seems we don't always even engage in the tug-of-war between choosing what is best for others (which curiously makes it best for self at the same time) and what is only good for self to the detriment or deprivation of others. The potential for disobedience seems to be hardwired into our personhood. So, maybe it is an issue and maybe it is not. Maybe there's not a thing we can do about our out-of-kilter humanity. If that's so, perhaps the best we can do is struggle less over it.

Viewers of this year's Super Bowl were treated to two unusual commercials, unusual in that they didn't feature a famous face or promote a prime product. The Jesus ads have stirred a good bit of controversy. Why spend that kind of money? Who's going to be persuaded by a 30-second professionally produced portrayal? Yet in the midst of the muck and mire of our murky world, it could be a really encouraging word: "He gets us." Because if he gets us in our out-of-kilter humanity, maybe there's a catch for our fall after all.

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