My first book on religion came from my grandparents the Christmas I was 14. Its title was What the Great Religions Believe by author Joseph Gaer. Deep discussions with my grandfather occurred most every night in those early teenage years, while he washed and I dried the dishes after dinner. Religion was a topic that interested us both, and I’m grateful that I can recall some of his wisdom.
My views were very different then: I was becoming surer of my agnosticism with each month that passed, a perspective that was to last for most of the next two decades. Part of his wisdom was accepting my 14-year-old ideas as worthy of discussion. My views now are no doubt closer to what his were then, as is my age.
I was reminded recently of one vignette in this book, and thought I’d share it here. It is one of a number of unauthenticated sayings of Jesus that were found in papyri in Upper Egypt in the late-19th century and were thought to have been written between 150 and 300 A.D. The sayings, or Agrapha, were written in Greek. So, here’s the story:
One day Jesus and his disciples passed a man who spoke evil of them in a loud voice; but Jesus spoke only good in return. And when his disciples asked him why he spoke good to him who spoke evil, he replied: “Each gives out of his store.”
I’d like to think that my grandfather and I talked about that story.
I want to give a shout-out to the reader in Hong Kong whose presence showed up today on the stat page of this blog for the first time since Typhoo Mangkhut hit in mid-September. Your frequent visits, as shown in the stats, had been a welcome sight for some months. I’m glad you’re safe and hope your city is recovering quickly.