A Theologian writes... Being an occasional series in which a distinguished University of Afpuddle Theologian pontificates to an uninvited audience.
#243 Original Sin: Is it Value for Money?
As a Theologian, I am often asked: Why, on Setting 6 [Couloreds*], does my Hotpoint Whirlpool stall during the second rinse cycle? And, pound for pound, are breast reductions good value for money? These are not easy questions to answer in layperson's terms, especially if the User Instruction Manual and FAQs are in Chinese and/or the cosmetic surgeon is wearing a CONTRIK-69-secure bio-mask whilst "going over" the bill.
* are we are on dangerous ground here? Can we still say coloureds? Safer to change it to Setting 9 [Cotton] or even Setting 3 [Delicates]? [Ed]. Tried that, the guy won't budge, he says he's a Theologian and it's a matter of integrity [SubEd].
At their heart, however, these and similar questions are essentially about imperfection and the related issue of insurance. To the layman, God and the always but increasingly irritating man from Go Compare! may seem odd if not incongruous bedfellows but to the trained theologian they are almost one and the same thing - "cut from the same cloth" you might say - though obviously, when it came to the choice of fabric, God had first dibs.
As St Aloysius of Cyrene reminds us: "And the Zebulunites smote the Naphtari and therein was much wailing and despair even to the bearded men, for when they rose up from the chaos nary a house, nor a stable nor anything that was made by the hand of man remained. And there was weeping also for it was seen that the Zebulunites had destroyed everything even unto their certificates of insurance".
In short, human trials [dodgy spin cycles], nature's imperfections [unmanageable breasts] and God's unfathomable yet assuredly providential plan are deeply entwined historical narratives and, in essence, "all of a piece". It is for this reason that we can say with some confidence that it is the very absence of perfection, the very presence of uncertainty and, above all, the freedom granted by God to humankind to make its own commercial or non-commercial attempts to avert, forestall or defray the costs of disaster via house, car, motorboat, holiday and personal insurance, that bind together man and God in a never-ending game of risk v reward. As again St Aloysius of Cyrene [coincidentally Dorset's Saints of the Month Magazine's current Saint of the Month] reminds us: "The Lord hath infinite wisdom and in it hath given unto us - even to a man, woman and indeterminate [Hebrew: gender fluid or נוזל מגדרי] - the gift of despair and the possibility of hope. Let every man, woman and indeterminate [Hebrew: gender fluid or נוזל מגדרי] make of it what he will and plan his estate accordingly" [Revised Orthodox Version**]
**the Unrevised Orthodox [King Brian of Dorsetia] Version gives "... make peace unto it and lay down in meekness his wife, oxen and children even unto his neighbour and his tribe".
Whilst it might be admitted that the housewife contemplating an Aquarius TCFS 93B GP 9 kg Combi Washer/Tumble Dryer - be it in White or Grey] stubbornly stuck in mid-cycle or a pole-dancer frictionally-trapped to her pole by unsuitable large mammaries is unlikely - in the moment - to appreciate the theological similarities evident in their otherwise contrasting situations, the experienced Theologian will see in each the thread of an old and continuing saga: the steady unfolding of God's plan, his hidden providential hand and the vagaries of the human condition evident in our miserable imperfections and self-inflicted*** technical and anatomical torments.
*** self-inflicted refers to the issue of original sin. This is all about Eve - see either Genesis 3 or the 6x Academy Award winning 1950 film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, produced by Darryl F. Zanuck and starring Bette Davies, George Sanders and Celeste Holm. "Smart, sophisticated, and devastatingly funny", Dorset Film Monthly.
As a wise man - I believe it was St Bernard of Matthews - once said "Legal and General might be alright in the short term, but ultimately to the Christian Soul, God is the only long-term insurance plan worth having. The down payments might be a bit steep but the payout is massive. If you are going to live for eternity, God's Plan is the only plan"****.
**** A view partially endorsed in 2018 by Dorset Which's 101 Long-term Insurance Plans Tested. [June 2018] God's Plan [Ultimate Package] received a 4 and a half stars rating just behind The Atheist Company's Have A Ball and F**k It All 2017 Supersaver Premium Plan.
And so, in a world in which extended warranties can cost almost as much as the item itself, it's good to know that God remains the answer to all things.
NEXT TIME: Is adultery a sin and if so why does it seem like fun to me?