Mind Matters

by Rev. Robert H. Tucker

Number 245
May 12, 1997

"Good Heavens!"


"Good Heavens! For more than forty years I have been speaking prose without knowing it," says a character in a Molière play. We smile at such nonsense.

We humans create words to talk about our experiences, not vise versa. The bit of green hanging from the branch existed before the word "leaf" was formed in the mind and shaped by the tongue.

All words are created to talk about what we experience. That is true for all religious words as well.

"Faith," for example, is not "believing something that isn't true" but is the word humans invented to talk about the way we move into our lives without everything nailed down. We don't do a chemical analysis of each new tube of toothpaste to see if impurities were introduced at the factory. We drive down the road at thirty miles an hour in the faith that the person coming toward us will not cross over the yellow line. "Good Heavens! For more than forty years I have been living by faith without knowing it."

We cringe at the idea that "the blood of Jesus washes away our sins." Well, actually, it's true. Blood drenches everything of real importance--from the real blood shed for the freedoms we enjoy to the metaphorical bleeding of those who swallow pride and rage to forgive another. How else can we understand the full emotional cost of parents who forgive the person who killed their child and plead the court to give a life, rather than a death, sentence? And, think of what is has cost others to forgive us. "Good heavens! For more than forty years I have been washed in blood without knowing it."

"Religion" is not one of of Lewis Carroll's Queen's six impossible things to believe before breakfast. It is every human's experience of highlighting certain aspects of life and saying, "Among all that I experience, these are what are essential; this is what is ultimately important."

It is a true delight when eyes light up and someone says, "Good Heavens! For more than forty years I have been religious without knowing it."


--Robert H. Tucker
12 May 1997


© Robert H. Tucker, 1997.
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