Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tweet Theology

The recent “tweet of the year” in conservative circles was quite clever, and I don’t want to take too much away from it by being too literal.  In referring to the death of Kim Jong Il, Josh Trevino tweeted “I’d like to think God let Havel and Hitchens pick the third.”  Obviously, if you press this very far you come up against “Wait, what little-known heavenly loopholes allow Hitchens in this conversation?” Or, “Who says God is a grinning, clubbable old guy who likes revenge?” Ruins the fun – and it is fun, to think of Hitchens and Havel looking over the population and discussing who is going to be swept from the board.

I prefer to ruin this in a different way.  Who says that Havel and Hitchens were especially important souls to be given this honor, simply because they were famous here?  Far more likely that the greatest souls who died in the last few weeks, as measured by their honor when we see them in glorified form, are people whose names we have never heard, and never will in our lifetimes.  God is not a respecter of persons in that way.  The last shall be first.  I don’t say that to remind the great persons of the world of their true place – I doubt many of them drop by here - but for us, the medium and medium small people of the world, to remember that those smaller than us may be greater as well.


jaed said...

I like your second point very much. Downright Lewisian (if "Lewisian" is a word).

That being said, we don't know the "true place" of the great persons of the world either. For all we know, Hitchens and/or Havel were among the greatest souls who died these last few days. All we know about them is that we knew a little more about them than about others. We don't know their true state, much less are in a position to make comparisons - any more, really, than we know it about those whose names we have never heard.

(Also, who's to say that every pair doesn't get a like opportunity? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Aren't we missing the somewhat obvious critique? Namely that Hitchens and Kim Jong Il died before Havel. Therefore if you believe that effects must follow causes chronologically, it would've had to be Hitchens and Jong Il selecting Havel, rather than Hitchens and Havel selecting Jong Il.

Texan99 said...

Hey, the joke only works in the first place if you accept the premise that celebrities die in threes. If you can swallow that camel, why strain at the gnats? Isn't it a little like saying, "But most bars wouldn't allow a horse to walk in . . . ."?

In popular culture, no one believes in a literal, personal God; that would be unsophisticated. But everyone accepts the idea of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, dispensing justice, just as they accept the idea that anyone who seemed like a pretty good guy is going to get a fair shake. Far be it from me to judge the worth of Mr. Hitchens's soul, but I will say that he tried very hard to be on the right team, within the limits of his own understanding, and I hope that counts for something.

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