May 2018
Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 11:18AM
UUCVH

Dear Friends,

 

The evangelicals who helped to elect Donald Trump often employ the expression "God uses imperfect tools" to justify their decision. While in this case that excuse seems a desperate rationalization (and is very funny when paired with the idea of a "tool"), the concept is intriguing, isn't it? It suggests, like "any port in a storm" or "the cracks are what let the light in" that we can get at the truth from a number of unexpected angles.

 

In 1884 the British educator Edwin Abbott Abbott (I know what you're saying: If he was so educated, why did he have a redundant Abbott?) wrote the book "Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions." While it was written as an allegory of Victorian England, its applications have multiplied since its publication.

 

The book describes a 2-dimensional world, Flatland, and the adventures of narrator A Square. In Flatland, the appearance of a 3-dimensional object causes consternation and panic. The residents simply cannot conceive of a being (in this case, The Sphere) with another dimension. In fact, the residents at first interpret The Sphere as a circle. Similarly, when A Square descends to the 1-dimensional Lineland, he has trouble convincing its monarch of his own existence. Then, when A Square suggests to his pal The Sphere that there might be a fourth or even fifth dimension, well, you'd think that The Sphere would be more open-minded, but he scoffs at the idea. Later, A Square encounters the sole inhabitant of Pointland, who is such a narcissist that he believes all ideas spring from himself.

 

As an allegory of Victorian England, "Flatland" is wickedly funny. As an allegory of who we often are today, unaccepting of the possibility of something outside our own dimension (or safe space, or box, or comfort zone), even when presented with evidence and even when that evidence is put in action, it's damning.

 

I don't know what to do with that Tool in the White House but, in our ministerial search and the things we have to think of going forward, let's not dismiss truth when we hear it, no matter the imperfections of its source. I hope we can add a dimension or two to this congregation.

 

Yours,

 

Marty Barrett, Board President

 

 

 

Article originally appeared on Unitarian Universalist Church of the Verdugo Hills, La Crescenta, CA (http://www.uuverdugo.org/).
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