When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. And she said unto him, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew!” To which he spake unto her, “Oof, I think I swallowed one of my fillings…OMG! Are you NAKED???” (Genesis 3:6, 21st Century Smartass Edition)
One thing I like about the Bible is that it’s chock full of people whose poor impulse control makes my ADHD brain look like that of a Zen master on Valium with a Demerol chaser. Let’s do a representative inventory, replete with one-line synopses:
- Cain. I’ll teach God to reject my award-winning snow peas.
- Ham. HAHAHAHA! Hey, guys! Look! Pop’s nekkid!
- Jephthah. I’ll sacrifice the next person I see…oh, shit. Tell me that’s not my kid.
- Samson. Mom, Dad, I just saw this chick. I want to marry her. Right now.
- Samson. I’ll teach that lion to roar at ME.
- Samson. You cheating SOBs, here’s a bunch of dead guys’ clothes for you. Hope they fit!
- Samson. I’ll teach my dingbat wife to marry someone else by tying 150 pairs of foxes’ tails together with a torch between each and turning them loose in a wheat field. (Extra points for creativity)
- Peter. You want me to walk on water, too, Lord? OTAY!
I would have done well to remember these icons of impetuosity when, a few days before Christmas, I got a phone call from a pastor[i] who was going to be out of town during the first five weeks of Lent. Would I like to take over for her during that time?
And I said, pulpit ho’ that I am,
Two days later, I contracted the worst case of flu/sinus infection I’ve ever had in my life, so my cunning plan to get all five sermons written between Christmas and New Year’s went out the door along with fifteen boxes worth of damp and wadded Kleenexes, twenty-five empty Campbell’s soup cans, and four empty bottles of Nyquil.[ii]
Fast-forward one month and I’m up to my neck in the heaviest course load I’ve ever had. Between now and the presentation of my first Lenten sermon, I have nine – NINE! – papers to write.[iii] Oh, not to mention my first Lenten sermon. I also (unbelievably) decided that the best thing for the first Lenten worship service would be to feature myself leading a congregational hymn sing of “Just As I Am” while playing my ukulele.[iv] You know, just to get everyone in the mood for six weeks of repentence.
So, as I sit here, bewildered and utterly overwhelmed from biting off so much more than I can possibly chew, I take comfort in remembering the most rash Biblical character of them all: Adam. Because after what appears to be careful deliberation on Eve’s part about the relative merits and drawbacks of adding more fruit to her diet, Adam’s like, “Sure, I’ll have a bite. What is this? Honeycrisp?”
Okay, okay, sure, then Adam’s eyes are opened and he goes running off into the bushes to put some clothes on. And then there’s the whole bit about miffing God and getting cursed, him and all his descendants, for all time. But, it’s important to look on the bright side. During the 5th century CE, Saint Augustine built a career on original sin, a theme that proved equally profitable for John Calvin and John Knox, fathers of Reformed Protestantism and Presbyterianism, respectively. And if it wasn’t for those guys, I wouldn’t be in seminary today, with nine papers to write in the next three weeks.
Come to think of it, they are kind of a bunch of rat finks.
[i] Not incidentally, this parish is over 100 miles away from my house. In the mountains. Being one of only two Denver natives who I know of who has never skied, I suppose I can be forgiven for not immediately considering the commute. The weather is the least of my concerns. The traffic on Sunday…oh, crap.
[ii] I’m trying to figure out how to get sponsorship for product placement as a way of offsetting the cost of seminary.
[iii] Some of you may be wondering, with this kind of to-do list, why I’m adding another writing assignment to the pile by composing a posting today. The short answer is: because I love you guys. The real answer is: if I have to spend one more frickin’ minute tonight trying to concoct a reader-response exegesis from a cross-cultural perspective about Jonah’s worm, my head’s going to explode. So, in actuality, the blog is probably saving my life. And, by extension, you are all saving my life. Which brings me back to how much I love you guys. (Don’t get mushy on me – this is just the stress talking. And about forty pieces of peanut butter fudge.)
[iv] Seriously. Not even I can make this stuff up.
© Marian the Seminarian, 2013