Sunday Sermon (March 16, 2008)

¡Hola! Everybody,
Yesterday I went to the movies and decided on watching a film I never heard of. It’s called Maldeamores (Lovesickness) and it’s an excellent little independent film from Puerto Rico (Academy Award winner Benicio del Toro produced). It probably won’t be coming to your town (unless you live in a cosmopolitan city with, like, people, and buildings and shit like that). The film is a great story told well.

Actually, it’s several stories. It’s an ironic look at what we all call love. In a very sense, we look for love to escape what can be a very mundane, sometimes seemingly meaningless existence. We want our lives to have meaning and we couple because, in a real sense, that’s where we find our deepest meanings. It’s an excellent film, well crafted, and at times hilarious and at others touchingly poignant. It’s all here: love, death, betrayal…

* * *

Blind Faith
“He who knows, doesn’t say;
He who says, doesn’t know.”

The above quote may sound profound until you figure out that whoever saidknow! LOL this… didn’t

A king many centuries ago was having troubles with his ministers. They would argue so much that nothing could get decided. The ministers, following in the ancient tradition of politics, each claimed that they alone were right and everyone else was wrong. When the king organized a special public festival, however, the ministers all agreed to take the day off.

The festival was a spectacular affair held in a large stadium. There was singing and dancing, acrobatics, music and all manner of entertainment. Then for the finale in front of the massive crowd, with the ministers in the best seats in the house, the king himself led his royal elephant into the center of the arena. Following the elephant were seven blind men, known to have been blind since birth.

The king took the hand of the first blind man, helped him feel the elephant’s trunk, and told him this is an elephant. He then helped the second blind man to fell the elephant’s tusks, the third one its ears, the fourth the head, the fifth the torso, the sixth the legs, and the seventh the tail, telling each one that this was an elephant. The he turned to the first blind man and asked him to say in a loud voice what an elephant was.

“In my considered and expert opinion,” said the blind man, feeling the trunk, “I state with the utmost certainty that an ‘elephant’ is a species of snake, genus Python asiaticus.”

“You stupid fool!” exclaimed the second blind man, feeling a tusk. “An elephant is much too solid to be a snake. In actuality, it is a farmer’s plough.”

“Don’t be ridiculous!” sneered the third blind man, feeling an ear. “An elephant is clearly a palm-leaf fan.”

“Incompetent boot-lickers!” laughed the fourth blind man., feeling the head. “An elephant is obviously a large water jar.”

“Impossible!” ranted the fifth blind man, feeling the torso. “An elephant is a huge rock.”

“Bullshit!” shouted the sixth blind man, feeling a leg. “An elephant is a tree trunk.”

“What a bunch of poosies!” exclaimed the last blind man, feeling the tail. “An elephant is really a kind of fly whisk. I know! I can feel it!”

“Bullshit! It’s a snake!” “Can’t be, it’s a jar!” “No way stupid! It’s a… ”

The blind men started arguing so vehemently that soon enough the fists started flying as fast as the insults. Though they couldn’t see who or what they were hitting, it didn’t seem to matter because they felt they were fighting for principle, for integrity, for truth.

Their own individual truth, that is.

While the king’s soldiers were separating the bruised blind men, the crowd in the stadium was mocking the silent, shamefaced ministers. Everyone that was there understood too well the point o the resourceful king’s object lesson.

Each one of us can only know part of the whole that constitutes the truth. When we hold on to our limited knowledge as absolute truth, we are like one of the blind men feeling a part of the elephant and inferring that their own partial experience is the truth, all else being wrong.

Perhaps instead of blind faith, we should have a conversation instead. Imagine the consequences if the seven blind men, instead of opposing their data, had combined their experience.

Love,

Eddie

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