The Parable of the Sort-of-Shoes image

The Parable of the Sort-of-Shoes

It's common these days for baby sleepsuits, or onesies, to come with sort-of-shoes built in. My son has several of them. The material around the feet becomes bumpy, and firmer, almost as if its very presence will enable the baby to walk quicker. So when it comes to putting the baby's flexible shoes on, you find yourself fitting the shoes, not around the baby's feet, but around the sort-of-shoes in the onesie. Which is awkward for you, and very uncomfortable for him.

The trick is, of course, to focus on the feet rather than the sort-of-shoes, acknowledging that the sort-of-shoes are helpful, and reasonably similar to the feet, but nevertheless shaped somewhat differently. But oddly, it’s easy to forget. The sort-of-shoes are so structured, so clear, so emphatic in their definition, that you are unconsciously inclined to fit what you’re doing around them, rather than the softer, more erratic, more uncontrolled, less defined, and more fundamentally human entity they are there to serve.

Systematic theologians, take note.

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