I have become concerned about a recurring phenomenon in my life.

In December I received a very nice appointment calendar from my denominational headquarters. “What an attractive calendar,” I thought. “Wonder what I could use it for?”

No answer came to mind, so I gave the calendar to a friend.

“Don’t you need it?” he inquired.

“What for?” I asked, hoping for some constructive suggestion. But without answering the question, my friend thanked me, pocketed the gift, and left.

A few weeks ago I went to the bank to cash a check. At the drive-in window I dropped the check into the drawer and tried to look guileless. (When facing bank-type people, I suddenly feel that I look like a face on the post-office wall.)

The teller picked up the check, returned it to the drawer, and slid it back out to me, all in one unbroken motion. “You’ll have to fill in the date.”

“Fine,” I said with relief. “What is it?”

“The third.”

“The third of what?”

When she saw I was serious, her smile changed to that look of long-suffering which people develop through many years of dealing with the public.

Not long after that I was filling out an insurance form. “Hey, they didn’t leave room to write out the date,” I said to no one in particular.

“Just put the month number,” said a nearby compatriot.

“Good idea,” I replied. “January one, February two, March …”

“What are you doing?”

“Trying to figure out the number of the month.”

“What month?”


“July is the seventh month.”

“Do you know the numbers of all the months?”

“Of course.”


“Good grief,” she said, rolling her eyes toward heaven as though she expected some divine concurrence.

This failure to come to grips with the regular passage of time has disturbing theological ramifications. For one, how can ...

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