Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Conundrum of the Coconuts

I think coconuts are very interesting. I like coconuts especially when they are immature. I once visited the island of Dominica and was fed a fresh, immature coconut off the back of a poor truck. Well, the truck wasn’t poor. The man who drove the truck was poor. At least, he appeared poor. The truck was ramshackle. Hurdy gurdy. Reminded me of a hurdy gurdy. Neither this nor that, altogether. Neither here nor there. Ontologically tenuous but carrying a goodly Godly freight. A whole large load of immature coconuts that the man had taken off their trees and driven down from the mountains early that morning, when it was still mostly dark.

The man hacked off the husk of the coconut and cracked the thing open. He spooned out the white and translucent jelly-like substance, and oh. Oh my. This was a revelation. This was an experience. It was, I believe now, an example of what people call general revelation. What philosophical theologians or theological philosophers or apologists call general revelation. Maybe it should be capitalized. I don’t know. To contain the presence of God. Or point to the presence of God. To mean God’s presence.

Because that was what happened when I tasted that coconut jelly. I experienced such a rushing beauty. Such an improbable impossible altogether immense sweetness and richness and depth and height and breadth of sensation that I didn’t know where I was. I didn’t know if the world hadn’t fundamentally changed. Didn’t know if the kingdom of heaven hadn’t suddenly supplanted the quotidian world. The world of improbably poor trucks and men. I didn’t know for a moment whether I hadn’t been swept up in the hands of God and blessed by him directly.

And these coconuts, see. They’re huge things. Even the immature ones. I mean the husk and then the shell on them is big. Really big. The husk is oh. I don’t know. Like maybe the size of a galaxy compared to the black hole at its center. Like maybe the size of the human body compared to the size of its soul.

In any event, that one experience is what I think about when I think about God and coconuts. I think about the coconut having the exquisite part. The general revelation part. The God infused or God inspired or God informed or God associated part. And then I think of the waste part. The part that will go into the coconut husk heap. The Dominican Ghenna, if you will.

And sometimes I think that we are like coconuts. Sometimes I think there is the huge not-so-pretty part that will get thrown away. The part in which sin and anger and the need for justice and hate and selfishness and cruelty reside. And then I think there is the sweet part. The immature part. The part that God is in. The part that will last forever.

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