Sep 30, 2008

Re-reading cataclysms

The wrath of God was the other explanation for the lake that disappeared. The sudden absence of the lake was attributed to God, connected to the Church and Ivan the Terrible. Ivan, the fearsome Tsar, apparently went to Bolotnikovo before there was a lake, built a big church, and then the lake appeared. The disappearance, then, is God taking back a blessing. I think. It was only told vaguely, with the recent events connected to other, earlier myths and magical weirdness, weaving together as a citation of God.

I understand this, though it's not a real explanation, because I grew up on sermons about the coming antichrist, sermons full of smoke, water and weird cataclysms. I read Revelations and was addicted to the most violent stories of the Old Testament, where angels kill children, whole cities collapse on unbelievers and fire eats up doubters and falls on the depraved.

So I return to these stories, these weirdly current cataclysms, with the sense I'm re-reading Exodus or Judges. I return to the images of drowned cities and smoking earth and I remember the question I always wondered as a kid reading the gory parts of the Bible, but was never brave enough to ask: How would I understand?

Read the full column @ the Clayton News Daily:
Understanding Bolotnikovo and the Bible