Hanging with Q


I used to pride myself on the idea  that I was very counter-cultural.  I could present the evidence, but you wouldn’t find it to be very edifying. After all, I was a true 60’s boy, and if you don’t know much about that period of time, I invite you to do a little study on it. You can start by watching  the film Woodstock and follow it with the film,  Easy Rider.  When the mid 70s came, I did a big turn around. I entered into the Methodist ministry and became a representative of a very conservative and middle class  lifestyle.  I lived in that life for 20 years until I became Orthodox.

My mother accused me of becoming Orthodox so that I could be a hippie again. Maybe there was some truth there because I did get to grow my beard long and wear a pony tail. Talk about being counter cultural!! Imagine walking into Walmart on a Friday night in my black dress and cross! Folks in this part of the country just don’t know what to do with me. Of course, Orthodoxy is more than beards and robes. It is truly a call to be not of this world, even though we live in the world. It can be quite a struggle. So often there doesn’t seem to be much black and white in life, but a whole lot of grey.

Is it just a function of age that one moves from being a dreamer to a curmudgeon?  I promised myself that I would never let that happen, but the recent course of this world has made me somewhat pessimistic and scornful. Lately, I find that I’m spending a lot of time hanging with Q.  We talk about many things and he always seems to come to the same conclusion: its all vanity and foolishness.  We review the many paths in life that we have taken. There was a time when we sought glory and position, but it was all vanity and foolishness. There was a time when we sought the company of beautiful people, and it was vanity and foolishness. There was a time when we considered the philosophies of humanity, and it was vanity and foolishness. There was a time when we trusted in politics, and this was especially vain and foolish. There was a time when we bought into the American dream and labored  In the end, all that we labor for will be given to someone else, and this seems especially foolish.

Q is a preacher, you see, an orator, a speaker of truth. My Jewish friends call him the Qoheleth.

Q has a lot of wisdom, and I agree that there is truly nothing new under the sun and that all is vanity. Yet, there is something not quite balanced with Q. There is a Preacher greater than Q and he has shown that God  loves the world so that he has even given his only son that we all can have true and eternal life. This is something new under the sun and beyond anything that Q could even imagine or understand.  Of course, this Son has told us to be not of the world, and so Q has a point. Yet, he also said that we would be in the world just as he was in the world. There is nothing vain, nothing foolish about this love. The final conclusion that Q could reach is “to fear God and follow his commandments.”   The Son says to love God and to believe in Him, and to love my neighbor as myself.

I wonder if Q heard this from the Son he would still say vanity and foolishness.  Probably not.

So, I still like hanging with Q especially when I daily hear of the religious, political, and economic vanity of this world.  Yet, I cannot be a curmudgeon and sit in the seat of the  scornful and live as one without hope. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. That ought to impress someone like Q and keep him from becoming a bitter old man.

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