Man’s Unhappiness, as I construe, comes of his Greatness;
it is because there is an Infinite in him,
which with all his cunning he cannot quite bury under the Finite.
— Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, “The Everlasting Yea” (bk. II, ch. IX)
Sister Alma Rose Q & A
Dear Sister Alma Rose — Do you believe in Original Sin? Signed, Naughty in Nice
Dear Naughty — Sister Alma Rose believes that each of us is a child of God created not quite complete, not quite perfect, like a luscious cherry pie with a piece missing. As if God kept a small but essential part of us in Heaven… giving us freedom with a lifeline.*
The pie doesn’t feel the emptiness. It doesn’t crave satisfaction. We do, which is just as well, or, as Sister Alma Rose asks ad nauseam, why get out of bed?
We get hungry, we grow food and eat. We get thirsty, we find water and drink. We get cold, we build a house. We get anxious and fearful, we do all kinds of crazy things.
Only God can restore a broken spirit. If y’all replace the missing piece of pie with salsa, y’all don’t have a whole, perfect, restored cherry pie. What y’all have is a big mess, which y’all stick in your refrigerator on Death Row next to the Gift Box of Exotic Cheeses.
* The Fred Phelps Heresy is the delusion that God has made an exception in your case. He has filled your longing with righteousness and he has anointed you with power. You are his deputy, obligated to speak and act for him and to enforce his commandments. You are to comfort the widows of slain soldiers, for example, by reminding them that “military funerals are pagan orgies of idolatrous blasphemy where they pray to the dunghill gods of Sodom and play taps to a fallen fool.”
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