It’s time to tell a story on myself. Imagine my feelings as I began reading: “Sasha, an eight-year-old peach-colored cat, fell from the balcony of her 15th-floor condo in Alexandria, Va., sometime in the wee hours of July 21.” The story continues promisingly: “Her feline roommate went to the balcony and paced. Their human, Meagan Wilson, woke up early, surveyed the scene, and began to mourn what she assumed was Sasha’s demise.” But then the tale takes a turn. “A neighbor found Sasha outside and carried her upstairs to Wilson, who was shocked to see the cat not only breathing but walking around. A vet flushed away some debris in Sasha’s left eye but found no broken bones or trauma to internal organs. Exemplary but not exceptional in her demonstration of a feline superpower, Sasha joins a long list that includes, for example, Sugar, a deaf cat that survived a fall from her 19th-floor apartment in Boston in 2012. Outcomes tend to be worse for cats falling from lower heights of, say, four stories. Given enough time, a cat will splay its limbs to increase its already impressive ratio of surface area to weight, for a parachute effect, which distributes the impact across its body when it hits ground. Wilson calls Sasha ‘one lucky kitty.’ Sasha was lucky to be a kitty.”
What can I say but “Amen”? This: Every creature has its distinctive goodness, given it as a sign of the Good that is the Reality that is God. I repent of ever having suggested that there is no goodness in cats. Parachute instincts, impressive surface area-to-weight ratio, walking away from such a fall. I would tip my biretta, if I had a biretta, to Sasha and to her maker.
Clunkers in the inbox: An ad for a new book claims to offer “3 Biblical Strategies to Help Strengthen Your Families [sic] Faith.” I’d think one biblical strategy would be to have only one family.
And then this unintentionally provocative email from CVS Clinical Trials: “You may be able to help stop RSV in its tracks. See if you qualify.” I thought: Is the Revised Standard Version making a comeback? Has it aroused opposition that aims to stop it in its tracks? Then I wondered: Does CVS know that while I was at Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue our rector took us whole hog out of the RSV into the Authorized (King James) Version for all high altar and choral services?
As I may be perhaps the last person to know, RSV now stands for “respiratory syncytial virus.” But wouldn’t it be great if the RSV (Bible) could stop the RSV (virus) in its tracks!
The paragraph I quoted about Sasha the lucky kitty was in National Review, September 12.
Out & About. I am completely psyched about this coming Sunday, October 9, because I get to deliver the fall theology lecture, a “theology of walking” with reflections on the Camino. I was thinking about this lecture even while I was walking, six months ago. I hope you will be able to come to it. The talk starts at 5 p.m. in the Ascension Chapel of Church of the Incarnation, 3966 McKinney Ave., Dallas. There will be slides, time for Q & A, and a reception following. If you are not able to come, the lecture will be posted on Incarnation.org, but of course the questions are livelier and the refreshments tastier in person.
The following Sunday, October 16, the Good Books & Good Talk seminar will meet to discuss Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor. Anyone who reads the novel is welcome to the conversation (others are welcome to listen). This is at Incarnation, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
I consider Wise Blood one of the most fascinating Christian novels and have read it a half dozen times. But an even better book, one which I have read more than a dozen times, is Augustine’s Confessions. I’ll be teaching Books V and VI on October 9 and 16 respectively, at 10:20 a.m. at Incarnation. (My apologies to my close readers for having the wrong book numbers last week.)