Picket Fences, Al Sharpton on MJ, Uzzah

Here are some odds and ends for this Saturday, my day of rest:

1. On Friday, I checked out some DVDs of Brothers and Sisters and Picket Fences. Both have Tom Skerritt, though he’s usually in the flashbacks in Brothers and Sisters. Picket Fences, an Emmy-winning series in the 1990’s, usually generated a lot of debates and discussions in my family when I was growing up: about religion, about the afterlife, about school bussing, about homosexuality, about creationism and condoms in schools, etc. One of my relatives didn’t care much for Dr. Jill Brock, especially after she told a Christian Scientist, “I don’t care about your religion.” From that point on, she could do nothing right in his eyes! It’s amazing how many of us (myself included) treat TV characters like they’re real people!

2. I was watching Hardball last night. I know MSNBC is considered a liberal network, but I like Chris Matthews’ reflective way of looking at the news. It’s like he treats the people making headlines as characters in a novel, as flawed human beings with the ability to act both heroically and badly. I prefer this to Fox News’ “This party and the people in it are good, while this party and the people in it are bad” (though, to be fair, Glenn Beck goes after both sides). Does a person become virtuous once he joins the Republican Party, or evil once he becomes a Democrat? That makes no sense to me!

Chris Matthews had Al Sharpton on to talk about Michael Jackson. At first, I wondered why Sharpton had to stick his beak into this situation, but I found myself liking what he had to say. Sharpton talked about how, fifteen years after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., people from all sorts of races and backgrounds were admiring and imitating a black man, Michael Jackson. For Sharpton, Michael Jackson was a pivotal figure in the history of American race relations.

3. For last week’s weekly quiet time, I read II Samuel 6. I got to learn a little more about Uzzah, the man who died after he touched the wobbling Ark of the Covenant. I remember a documentary about the Bible portraying Uzzah as a soldier of King David, as if he were some random flunky security guard who touched the ark. Actually, Uzzah was the son of Abinadab, the man who had housed the ark for decades (see I Samuel 7:1). Uzzah grew up around the ark, since it was in his very own house!

This raises some questions about God’s anger at Uzzah for touching the ark. Should Uzzah have known the proper way to handle the ark, since it was with his family all those years? Maybe his father had told his children over and over, “The ark is holy, so you’re not supposed to touch it. God wants it to be handled in a specific manner!” In that case, Uzzah should have known better than to touch the ark!

Did familiarity breed contempt? The ark had been in Uzzah’s house all those years, so perhaps he didn’t think it was a big deal for him to touch it. For him, maybe it was a piece of furniture that he’d become accustomed to. Is there a lesson here for us?

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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