Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dowsing in scripture

Alan Jacobs recalls a Sunday School experience from around 1972:
"A fellow wanted to know whether he should marry his girlfriend," Mr. Hutchins told his wretched flock of imprisoned teenagers, "so he decided to see what the Bible had to say. He opened a page and put his finger on a spot"—at this point I emerged from my usual stupor and sat up straight, never having suspected that anyone else did such a thing—"and it said, ‘Judas went and hanged himself.’ Well, he didn’t like that too much, so he tried again. This time it said, ‘Go thou and do likewise.’" A grin flickered. "So he tried one more time, closed his eyes, opened his Bible, put his finger on the page...." Mr. Hutchins paused for effect, with his own Bible open in his lap, his head uplifted and eyes screwed shut, his finger wavering presciently over the surface of the page. Then, suddenly, the finger plunged like a dowsing rod, he popped open his eyes, and concluded: "And this time it said, ‘What thou doest, do quickly!’"