Friday, March 07, 2008

A Dream of Falwell

I dreamed of Jerry Falwell last night, and I have no clue what exactly brought on his ephemeral visit in my sleep. Antibiotics aren’t normally known for their psychoactive properties, but maybe the stuff I’m taking for the strep that has left me with nothing more than a whisper of a voice for the past two days works a little differently. The power of the mind and all, you know.

In the dream, Falwell and I sipped coffee and munched on finger foods as he told me stories of how he knew my grandfather back when my grandfather went by Little Sam and was the featured singer of a traveling gospel group. While its true that my grandfather’s first name is Samuel (he's never gone by that name, though), he sings like a tone-deaf chicken laying an egg. Besides, my grandfather is supposedly older than Falwell, so it would have been difficult for him to have seen my oldest-living ancestor in his youth. Of course, maybe Falwell has earned the special privilege of time travel for his service to God, or maybe it’s one of the perks of being the Antichrist. We’ll never know.

Gradually the conversation turned from his perplexing connections to my past to my relationship with Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ™. Apparently, Old Jerry is an avid reader of this blog and was concerned to discover that I had fallen away from the faith and was no longer a true believer. That’s not so surprising. This is a very well-written and captivating blog and Falwell probably needs a good outlet for geeky humor after a day of red-faced outrage. It also makes sense that the founder of the Moral Majority would be concerned that I no longer really believed in his God.

No, the strange part of this dream was that Falwell and I spent an entire evening debating the virtues of faith and agnosticism, he throwing out Bible verses and anecdotes of disappearing cancers and jailhouse conversions while I mentioned my concerns with the veracity of a book written long after the death of the religion’s founder and the fact that for the most part we are followers of the religion we were raised to follow. Despite this quite contradictory set of opinions, not once did my disagreement provoke him to anger. I didn’t convince him to see things my way, and he didn’t budge me from my position either, but neither of us took offense at the other person’s disagreement. Falwell was obviously concerned for my soul, but he could take the conversation as a draw and move on secure in the fact that at least he tried. Actually, I think I would have been mortified had I actually caused him to lose faith. I’m far from an evangelical agnostic. I don’t care if someone follows in my footsteps, but I don’t want their deserting the faith to have been because of me. As for my side of the conversation, I quite enjoyed being able to have a lively little debate in which both sides left the living room perfectly happy in having enjoyed the discussion despite having agreed on nothing.

Of course I know this wasn’t the real Falwell. Jerry’s just too angry at the world and takes himself far too seriously to have managed even one expression of my doubt in his claims without experiencing a sharp rise in his blood pressure and being reduced a vitriolic diatribe about my lack of faith and my being a part of the problem of America’s descending moral character. It would have been fun had it been real, though.


Mickey said...

A mid-day post from you. Thank you, streptococcus.

Why Jerry Falwell? Does your agnosticism make you feel guilty? If it does (which I think is clear), why are you answering to Falwell? If only he had been that rational in life...

Mickey said...

Dang, It just occurred to me that if I had thought to write this all in one comment, it may have actually approached a Jacob-length comment. Of course, my comment lacks any exploration of the finer points of Walt Disney's Nazi sympathies or a dissection of the fine indie arthouse film "Bring It On," but I've never been much for research. I'd like to go longer here, because I'm starting to think that the longer, the funnier (that's NOT what she said), but I think you get the point. If I had a point. Which I clearly do not. The end.

Jacob said...

I don't really think it was about guilt. There wasn't any discomfort there and it was all really civil. It's a topic I've been thinking about a lot lately (having just come out of the closet to even my self within the past year despite it being quite obvious I was one anyway for much longer). I really think it was just processing of my own thoughts. It was a rather peaceful dream. Maybe Jesus was forgiving me for not believing without proof.

I'm still not sure what happened on Courtney's blog. I thought I left enough clues in there that I was kidding around and keeping in the spirit of her own post, and I figured she'd known me long enough to not get offended. I thought she would have known better than to take what I say seriously unless it's entirely unoffensive. I'll just tone it down a bit from now on.

You just have to be prepared for me to unleash the trash talk on The Prettiest Denny's Waitress from now on so I can be more serious on the other blogs. I'm sure you'll be able to handle it with that cool indifference that you're known for.

Chris said...

So, Jacob: was it you or Falwell that trademarked the phrase? I'm not sure which would scare me more -- a major evangelical leader/nut-job or some random school teacher from South Georgia staking claim to that.

On the subject of faith vs. agnosticism, you should read "Pascal's Wager," a biography of Blaise Pascal. It explores his scientific and mathematical experiments, as well as his religious thinking and writings. I think you'd find it interesting.

Jacob said...

Falwell did.

Actually it was more of a comment on that self-promoting form of religion that he embodies.

Julie said...

Oddly enough, my dream last night had me running from a cult leader and singing "this little light of mine" to try to convince them they couldn't have my soul. I'm not sure what you would have to sing to convince Falwell he couldn't have your soul. It was a pretty vivid dream - I actually started talking and Matt woke up and asked me if I was Ok.

On a separate note, who serves better food, Falwell or Hussein?