Whistling Dixie

optimism

I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another. (Romans 15:14)

For the sake of argument, let’s pretend that Pollyanna Paul is not completely off his rocker.  For the moment, let’s assume that he is not a throw-back (er, throw-forward) flowerchild who spent a little too much time among the magic mushrooms at Woodstock hugging everybody in sight.  Just for a minute, let’s imagine that Paul could actually believe that this romper room of Roman malfunctionaries is “full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.”  Let’s see if we can hold on to that for a second or two.

Okay, back to detox.  I have four questions: 1) What planet is Paul on?  2) When’s the last time he saw his optometrist?  3) Has he actually met these Romans? 4) Would he be interested in buying some ocean front property in Wyoming?

Now, I could possibly consider a clan of Christians as well-intentioned, but “full of goodness”?  I might even think of them (if they were Episcopalians) as marginally intelligent, or at least capable of recognizing a book when they saw it—but “complete in knowledge”?  And, as a matter of principle, I would extend to any group the right to lead themselves into seeker sensitive succotash or theological gobbledegook.  But “competent to instruct”?  Paul’s aerial affirmation of these Roman believers seems a bit of a stretch for any of us who has actually been in such a group.  He must have made it only as far as the information booth.

There is no question that Paul’s glass is half full.  It’s so half full, in fact, that it’s spilling all over the table.  Either Paul is a lobotomized optimist—el pollo loco—or he actually knows something about us that we don’t get so good.  Paul seems to think that we have our acts together. We may think of ourselves as bumbling our way toward the New Jerusalem, but Paul believes we’re traveling first class.  In spite of all the nagging evidence to the contrary, he seems to think we’re hot stuff.

Gee.  Maybe I’m cooler than I thought.

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