Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Friday, February 24, 2006

I don't think you could call me a John Updike fan, exactly-- as often as not I prefer to admire him from afar is more like it. A lot of the time the rewards he offers seem too small for my effort, and a lot of the time what is is writing about so effectively is painful stuff. Just because it is beautifully done doesn't mean that I am always in the mood to be bummed out. Still, if I give him three paragraphs he's usually got me, and that's all it took for the story in this week's New Yorker. I don't even know if what I took away from it was what it was supposed to be about, but there were some astonishing moments, including this little riff on religion:

"As for Unitarianism, it seemed so milky, so smugly vague and evasive: an unimpeachably featureless dilution of the Christian religion as I had met it in its Lutheran form-- the whole implausible, colorful, comforting tapestry of the Incarnation and the Magi, Christmas carols and and Santa Claus, Adam and Eve, nakedness and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the serpent and the Fall, betrayal in the garden and Redemption on the Cross, "Why hast Thou forsaken me?" and Pilate washing his hands and Resurrection on the third day, posthumous suppers in an upper room and doubting Thomas and angels haunting the the shadier margins of Jerusalem, the instructions to the disciples and Paul's being knocked from his donkey on the road to Damascus and the disciples talking in tongues (aq practice at which the stolid churchgoers of Alton and its evrons did draw the line). Our public-school day began with a Bible reading and the Lord's Prayer; our teachers and bankers and undertakers and mailmen all professed to be conventional Christians, and what was good enough for them should have been, I think I thought, good enough for Unitarians."

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