04 August 2007

of baptism and anniversaries

In his book, A Glorious Accident, Wim Kayzer quotes the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould: "Through no fault of our own, and by dint of no cosmic plan or conscious purpose, we have become, by the power of a glorious evolutionary accident called intelligence, the stewards of life's continuity on earth. We did not ask for this role, but we cannot abjure it. We may not be suited for such responsibility, but here we are." Kayzer asks Gould, "What was that glorious accident?" Gould responds, "The accident is the 60 trillion contingent events that eventually led to the emergence of Homo sapiens." (p. 92)

Certainly, Gould doesn't operate from the perspective of Christian faith, but when we tally up the number of events necessary to produce the emergence of humanity, on our planet, circling our star, spinning in our galaxy, among the billions of galaxies in our universe, obeying countless laws of physics--I guess 60 trillion is as good a number as any!

Yesterday, the 3rd of August, was the 21st anniversary of my baptism. I guess that means that I've come of age as a baptized Christian! (Unless it was three years ago at my 18th anniversary.)

I would guess that 60 trillion different things had to happen to get me into the waters of baptism. With every microsecond that passes, who can say what's going on? Who knows what will impinge upon us? Our friend Dr. Gould says, "We may not be suited for such responsibility, but here we are." Maybe we aren't suited for our responsibility, but we have been chosen. For me, baptism means at least that.

We have been chosen. In allowing ourselves to be chosen, we receive what we need. Please don't hear that as arrogance; it's a humble statement of faith.

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