“Moses got his ears pierced? What else didn’t we know?”: Novelist Garrison Keillor on His Week of Religious Doubt

Garrison Keillor writing in Salon.com today:

The Scripture reading in church Sunday gave me a jolt — Exodus 32, which refers to the Chosen People wearing earrings, men as well as women, and I twitched when the lector read it. Yikes! Moses got his ears pierced? What else didn’t we know?

And then a bigger jolt. God is so furious at the C.P. for worshiping the golden calf (forged from their earrings) that He talks about consuming them with fire, but Moses talks Him out of it, which sort of dents one’s faith in divine omniscience, does it not, the Lord taking a sharp turn like that? (“Oh, I hadn’t thought about that — OK, cancel the thunderbolt!”) But I didn’t jump up in my pew and point this out — we like to keep things moving along in church, recite the Creed, confess our sins, pass the plate, sing the doxology, not stop for questions along the way — so I just brood over it, as I do about more and more these days. Walk at night down misty streets through yellow leaves and question everything and keep it to myself.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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