Learning Heaven

The second link is to a short story that I entered in the 2012 Irreantum Fiction Contest: "Adjustments". I didn't win a place but in all honesty, I didn't expect to. I decided to enter the contest at the last moment (ah, the fun of financial worries in the summer) and ended up writing the story in four days to meet the deadline. After I sent it, I felt a sudden, nauseous wave of panic: that's a first draft!!

It is mash-up of two stories, really, and some of the imagery is been-there-done-that (although, as Mike points out about Shakespeare, the object isn't NOT to do the same thing again but to do the same thing again fresh).

Still, it's a story that I'd wanted to "transcribe" (get out of my head) for a long time--mostly, the conversation between the woman and the priest. I find the idea of eternal ethics and morality versus socially constructed ethics and morality completely fascinating. I believe in eternal ethics and morality, but I also believe that we humans--living in our little heads, fully convinced that our time period is the WORST AND BEST time period--respond to ethical problems, correctly and by necessity, from within our social understanding.

For example, the idea of modesty shows up in all cultures. But what that means to us, the Ancient Egyptians, the medievals all sleeping in one room, etc. varies considerably.

And I thought, "Suppose the purpose of early heaven is just to train us to drop our social constructions?" Because, really, despite the Renaissance penchant for painting Israelites circa 5 C.E. in Renaissance dress, does anyone really believe that Heaven (as an ideal) will just be a reflection of OUR time period?

Well, okay, maybe if it is a cross between C.S. Lewis and Inception (a montage of different time periods and possibilities).

But does God really care who wins the next election?


a Calvinist preacher said...

In answer to your ending question, yes and no.

I'm a Calvinist, and there's more to why I say that than I really want to get into here, but if I might pose the question somewhat differently: Do you care whether a mosquito bites?

Kate Woodbury said...

Your comment about mosquitoes reminded me of the puzzle, "Will there be mosquitoes in heaven?" Well, perhaps. But if the lion can lie down with the lamb, surely the mosquito and human can reach an impasse!