Relief on Notre Dame

"That is yielding, not fighting" (prompt from an Anne Dillard reading: "Weasel")
June 15, 2005

A thought struck me this morning as I was paying an excessive amount (obsessive) of energy noticing the stone carvings–reliefs– on residence halls on Notre Dame campus: So why did God–Yahweh– angry, stern, stoic, bossy, jealous God of the Hebrews– why did He see it necessary to carve the first set of "rules to live by in the Yahweh way" on/in stone tablets?

Coffee was stronger this morning–and it’s Wednesday–not raining–and I listened to music on the 50-minute drive opposed to reading/hearing/listening/experiencing a book on tape (well, technically, on my iPod).

Aside from the cliche–"written in stone"–was it so much that big, bad Yahweh wanted a pernament record of His social law and order or was it a beginning step? Stone, you know, does erode with time and place. So, if Yahweh–big school yard duty monitor–who according to some was also Yahweh, constructor of the universe, don’t you think He would have used material a bit more lasting?

Or perhaps it’s more metaphor and less absolute. The Moses-like author does say that the stuff of the Commandment writing should also be written on the tablets of our hearts…but that’s more individual and personable and more fleshy, human, beating-heart, fickled emotive people stuff.

And still, the Hebrews didn’t get it– and I wonder if Yahweh go it–you know, the human stuff. And I wonder sometimes if I get it.

Are these 10 rules fighting words? If I fight for them, am I fighting a losing battle? Is the cliche true and now I must fight in memory of a piece of rock which came from the same earth that I walk on each day? Is it a cosmic battle of "fight for the icon" in the name of the stamper–oops, metaphor?

Or, perhaps, is it about yielding–noticing the limestone reliefs of the ideal athlete/scholar/Catholic person from 1926. Yielding is honest respect–no, that’s to trite–yielding is pausing when a rabbit skirts in front of your path.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Belief, education, Writing

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