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The Deacon's Bench

The ridiculously funny and smart P.J. O’Rourke has just been diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer, and has penned an honest but irreverent essay about it, including some thoughts on what he’s praying for:

I can’t be the only person who feels like a jerk saying, “Please cure me, God. I’m underinsured. I have three little children. And I have three dogs, two of which will miss me. And my wife will cry and mourn and be inconsolable and have to get a job. P.S. Our mortgage is subprime.”

God knows this stuff. He’s God. He’s all-knowing. What am I telling him, really? “Gosh, you sure are a good God. Good — you own it. Plus you’re infinitely wise, infinitely merciful, but … look, everybody makes mistakes. A little cancer of the behind, it’s not a big mistake. Not something that’s going on your personal record. There’s no reason it can’t be, well … reversed, is there?”

No doubt death is one of those mysterious ways in which God famously works. Except, on consideration, death isn’t mysterious. Do we really want everyone to be around forever? I’m thinking about my own family, specifically a certain stepfather I had as a kid. Sayonara, you s.o.b.

Napoleon was doubtless a great man in his time — at least the French think so. But do we want even Napoleon extant in perpetuity? Do we want him always escaping from island exiles, raising fanatically loyal troops of soldiers, invading Russia and burning Moscow?

Well, at the moment, considering Putin et al, maybe we do want that. But, century after century, it would get old.

Read on for the rest. And let’s remember him in our prayers, too.

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