TERRY: I have been meaning to ask you something.
GOD: Go ahead.
TERRY: Well do you remember Katharin? And how she always used to try and shut down a religious discussion by saying: "It has come to pass, the time is right; to tell the world the bible's tripe*."
GOD: We don't forget anything, remember? Yes Katharin was a delight and the angels applauded whenever she made that statement. As you can easily guess, she sat through over four thousand sermons during her life and her opinion regarding us, was never asked for, or treated with any respect.
TERRY: Yes I first met her as an elderly lady and was impressed by the way she could intelligently express useful alternative opinions. Everyone else seemed to get embarrassed and suggest that she had dementia.
GOD: That has become a real problem for you WASPs (White Anglo Saxon Protestants), you appreciate the fact that other cultures respect the traditional wisdom of their elders; but your own elders are dismissed as being senile. You cling to, and study, ancient texts for spiritual wisdom and do not recognise the current spiritual insights of those whose memes are common to your own.
TERRY: Oh so you weren't bothered by Katharin's criticism of the bible?
GOD: Not at all; she wasn't criticising us, she was just criticising the way the bible was being interpreted and taught. We discussed this last time, there is a considerable degree of overstatement when the bible is proclaimed or taught and remarks like Katharin's help bring a balanced perspective. This is why she was such a respected high school teacher. We wish you had the courage to stand up in church occasionally and pass on Katharin's message.
TERRY: Hmm it could be worth a try, but I would be thrown out.
GOD: Look you are a male; you could get away with it.
TERRY: But I would be wasting my time. They threw Jeshua out of the synagogue, because the religious authorities couldn't face new truth.
GOD: Too true. Just keep writing on your website, and then you can't be closed down so easily.
TERRY: There is a comment similar to Katharin's, found in the musical Porgy and Bess; it runs like this: "The things that you're liable to read in the bible, they aint necessarily so."
GOD: : Another meaningful comment from an oppressed people (the author Gershwin originally specified that WASPs were not to act in that musical). Now we are getting away from religion and seeing that the same problem occurs in all areas of public life.
TERRY: What problem? Do you mean self appointed experts dishing out propaganda to suit their own selfish purposes?
GOD: Yes, now that we have moved out of the sphere of religion we can start calling a spade a spade without offending sensitive religiosity. We do care for our religious followers even if they seem so short sighted and sensitive. We still delight in their activities in temples, mosques and churches.
TERRY: So what goes on in religious communities simply reflects what happens in general life.
GOD: Of course, only religious communities are more compassionate, less self-centred and more tolerant.
TERRY: Are you suggesting they are places of refuge?
GOD: Of course they should be. Why do you go to church?
TERRY: To acknowledge that I need a deeper experience of you. To listen to prayers and sermons so I can contemplate my need for you. I do all those sorts of things. It does take me out the rat race and away from the blaring, flashing media.
GOD: Do you feel a need to teach and preach in, or at, church?
TERRY: No, not any more.
GOD: Let us get back to Katharin, what did she achieve in life?
TERRY: Uh, well she raised a family and taught in High Schools for many years.
GOD: Apart from raising a family, which was her delight; was she a useful teacher?
TERRY: Obviously, she was very highly regarded.
GOD: Now what would have been more useful from our point of view: another Bible teacher or another successful High School teacher?
TERRY: I don't for one minute doubt that a High School teacher that teaches pupils to look critically at their subject is more useful than one more Bible teacher.
GOD: Quite right. What else?
TERRY: What? Oh do you mean that she managed to inspire pupils over many years without giving way to despair?
GOD: Yes, that is more than you could manage in 2009. (Forty years after training, Terry went high school teaching in 2009 and gave up after about six weeks.) Katharin is one of our heroes. She opposed nonsense where ever she found it and showed no respect for bogus authority. Go forth and follow her example.
TERRY: What go back and try teaching again?
GOD: It is a bit late for that now.
TERRY: : Do you mean that I should continue to tell the world that many authoritative statements can be deceitful and coercive and one should reflect on everything they learn or they may be absorbing TRIPE.
GOD: That is our spirit go for it!
*Tripe is the bleached stomach lining of a cow. It is considered to be cheap meat for an impoverished meal. The word also stands for ‘something of little or no value’. I used to remind Katharin that tripe did indeed have some nutritional value.
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