Saturday, September 4, 2010


I have been sitting here at the computer off and on for quite some time, and I believe I have what actual writers call "writer's block." As I sit here, I think I will write about what is not written. Everyone has heard of the "unwritten rule." We assume people ought to know what is proper and what is improper in given situations, so we do not feel it necessary to "guide" them. For instance, everyone knows that you don't tell jokes at a funeral. Or, it is common knowledge that you don't stand up during the sermon and start singing The House of the Rising Sun. And you don't wear a bathing suit to a formal dinner. People who do such things are probably not going to get invited, or for that matter be welcomed at future events.

"But did you know...." That phrase implies that what you are about to say is not recognized as "common knowledge." It implies that perhaps there are exceptions depending upon the community's cultural make-up. In New Orleans, funerals frequently involve a jazz band leading a procession to the cemetery. Apparently those folks understand that a funeral should be a celebration of someone "graduating." And while interrupting a sermon is never permitted, it is permissible to sing before or after the pastor's message. In fact, using the words to Amazing Grace with the melody of The House of the Rising Sun is awesome. As my dear old dad used to say, "There is a time and place for everything." (I think he might have plagiarized from Solomon's Ecclesiastes). My point is, "common knowledge" is relative to the culture; it should not be seen as binding upon all of humanity.

The Bible has so many instances where silences occur that a true seeker of understanding might go "nuts" trying to figure it all out. What did Jesus do between the ages of twelve and thirty? What happened to Joseph? What went on between the writings of Malachi and Matthew? What was God doing before He began creation? Why in the case of Moses, do we hear of his birth, that he committed murder at forty, and he was called of God at eighty; what about in between? The list is endless. There are a lot more things we don't know, than things we do.

Ironically, even the things written in the Bible are often ignored. Were there really three wise guys? Was Jesus still in a manger a year after His birth? Could a town so packed with travelers actually be silent? And why do we assume there were only three nails? Isn't it possible that they used four? The Jehovah's Witness seem to picture Jesus nailed to a pole using only two nails. Obviously someone is wrong! I vote that it is the J.W., although the actual word translated "cross" is stauros which means "stake." The cross that Christians accept as the method of crucifixion, although not specifically mentioned in the first century, was accepted as the common symbol as early as the beginning of the second century. Since the Apostle John lived nearly that long, many believers heard first hand accounts of the event. If the method of murdering the Son of God was other than a cross, I am sure he would have told them. To be continued, Lord willing.

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