And Never the Twain Shall Meet*

He likened the Old Testament to a grievance committee
arguing before the powers that be that this was wrong
and that was wrong and that they were being wronged,
wronged, wronged. Not much was made of the New Test-

ament except that Jesus became the means of escape —
a lamb not a goat — but as that was for after death,
all the grievances remain — strength to gain. This is
for the Biblical-sycophants — aficionados of the literal

and he would say, that while they hang their ratty hat
full of grievances on that rack, all carry grievances
in bags from the past. Then there are the aesthetes of
the church, the higher not the lower gospel gatherers,

where the creed is not so much the Apostles or Nicene
but Honeste vivre, alternum laedere, suum cuique tribuere:
To live honorably, to injure none, to render to each
his own and he would add, “have some wine and be glad.”

The church of ethics, aesthetics and one’s better angels.
A tolerant place, full of grace, not so much grievance
but rather a down-the-nose disdain and a sophisticated
Jesus, lover of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms and not

the howl of the Shofar (“Shofar show good,” cried Joshua
after the battle of Jericho,) or the mind numbing droll
of the one line repeated over and over as one evangelical
replied to the question “What is hell?” saying the seventy-

fifth verse of “Just As I Am.” — this the bane of all low
church Biblical-sycophantic literalists with grudges galore
and hate to the core. And so the internal battle goes to
be ignored or perhaps a bit to the chagrin of those outside

and not within and Jesus just hangs his head and mumbles,
“For shame,” and stealing a line from Shakespeare, “a plague
o’both your houses,” — of which the high church would
approve but the low church would say, “That’s a pox not a plague.”

*idea from Robertson Davies’ The Cunning Man

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