Abraham and Sarah (and Hagar)

October 9, 2012

Abraham may be the founder of a religion but he is portrayed as being very rooted in the earthly concerns of progeny.  How he handled some of these concerns did not redound to his credit.

On the other hand, perhaps Isaac can be taken metaphorically, perhaps the banishment of Ishmael can be taken as an indication of an attempt to put away such personal and earthly concerns.

In any case, I don’t see it as the final version of the story, and I don’t see the story of Jesus’s birth as the final revision either.  I do see human society putting the dice back in the cup and shaking them up again, over and over again, until the elements play out in a way that is most helpful and allows for stasis.

But unlike true dice-rolling, the dynamic of the retelling and reconfiguration includes feedback from the previous iterations; they are like the previous layers of spackle in a plastering repair.  (And Einstein’s comment about God and dice can rest in peace.)

It certainly helps to be able to view this storytelling from the perspective of an outsider, but going in as a re-enactor I don’t think is easy to do even when they have such perspective.  They can trace what is going on but not necessarily affect the iteration in which they are involved, and it takes a greater sort of patience to do one’s part without sharing in the fruits or without bending one’s role in an effort to do so prematurely — or without stepping out of one’s role prematurely for whatever reason.


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