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Of things for which it is better not to prepare

May 27, 2010

Today I learned Answer 54, the halfway point in memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism. One benefit of memorizing the WSC, beyond testing the spillproofness of my brainpan, is that it provides a subtext to defuse the many bizarre and insane news items I stumble upon just scanning local headlines. Some of these are so bizarre and insane that it makes the end of the world seem a truly urgent necessity. But Day Number 21,500-something of my life goes on by, and the world does not end, and it remains one more good day to be a Calvinist, and to have a succinct outline of the faith ready at hand.

Take, as an example of something bizarre and insane, the priorities of the residents of Seattle. Like denizens of all good, green, errant democracies, Seattleites express themselves on Internet forums, like this one, and air their feelings, values, and sensibilities as to what is best for their city. They are presumed talented people, and their mayor appreciates their input and their interest in their city’s future.

Now, Rome was a great city. And Seattle is a great city, too. And apparently there are thousands of people in Seattle right now, bow in hand, fiddling in the flames.

What do Seattleites want? With over 40,000 jobs lost last year, Seattleites are willing to envision something else beyond mere work: their top three priorities are, expanding the light rail, the primary destination of which is the airport; legalizing marijuana; and nude beaches.

I have to admit, I was not prepared to know this. I am actually grateful that I was not prepared to know this. My pastor has observed that the Lord’s prayer is a prayer for the end of the world. I am prepared for the end of the world. I am not prepared for the Seattle of its citizens’ dreams.

I’m holding out for something else:

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (2 Corinthians 2:9)


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