June 22, 2010
Note: Eli is my counter-culture alter ego, who was introduced in “How Eli got his name” a couple of blogs ago.
Eli: So, what do you think about that statue of Jesus in Ohio that got struck by lightning and burned to a crisp last week? Pat Robertson said that Hurricane Katrina was a judgment against all the sins of New Orleans and the earthquake in Haiti was judgment against a pact with the devil that the Haitians made a couple hundred years ago, but when they asked him about the Jesus statue, it was “no comment” time. At least that’s what a couple of Washington Post reporters said (Monica Hesse and Dan Zak, June 16, 2010).
RR: Well, I’ll try a comment even if Pat won’t.
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June 20, 2010
RR: Eli, you challenged my position on resistance to evil and I said I’d respond, but first let’s hear the rest of the story of how you got your name.
Eli: Buying a little time, huh? Well, as I said earlier, my driver’s license read “Eli Adamov,” but the last name was just a formality. I was really just plain old Eli. One day an Indian from San Felipe Pueblo showed up at our commune. San Felipe was the nearest pueblo to us and they grew amazing blue corn. The stalks were like eight or ten feet tall, with ears eighteen inches long and loaded with shiny, blue-black kernels. They also grew crazy melons in all different shapes and colors—you’d plant the seeds and never know what you’d end up with, but they all were sweet and juicy. So, this San Felipe man came up to trade with someone and I walked by in the evening as he was sitting in his pickup, probably getting ready to return home. We rapped for a minute and then he said “What’s your name?” I said, “Eli.” “Eli,” he said. “I will call you Eli Rivers.” Well, that was it—a cool sounding name (remember, we’re in arid New Mexico, where rivers can have mystical connotations), and one bestowed by an Indian!
Eli sends his blessing
RR: So did you get Jerry to change your driver’s license?
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June 16, 2010
My friend and colleague Monique Brumbach gave me a great idea for a book—a dialogue on ethics between my current religious professional self and my fringy counter-cultural self of forty years ago. Monique didn’t know that this guy happened to go by the pseudonym Eli. So, here’s a first installment of the dialogue.
RR: Eli, I look forward to talking with you about some things that are important to both of us, but tell me again how you got your name.
Eli: Well, I can’t tell you the exact moment, but I think I was Eli from the moment I set foot in New Mexico. At least that’s what I told the hippies that I settled down with there. On the commune all rules were suspended for reevaluation and most people came up with new names in the process. In fact, Eli (which I picked just because it sounded good to me) was pretty conservative.
RR: Right, I can remember the Rainbows, Cloudbursts, various creatures benign and sinister, and one hippie woman probably in her mid-20s known only as Mother.
Eli: Yeah, so when I moved to New Mexico I was under a 1-A classification with the draft board and figured I’d have to go into draft dodging mode at any time. We’d made friends with a guy at the Bernalillo motor vehicles office, a local Hispanic guy (we didn’t say “Hispanic” back then, just “Spanish” in contrast with “Anglo”) named Jerry. He’d help us get driver’s licenses even if our driving skills were non-existent or we had no way of identifying ourselves. So, I went down to Bernalillo, passed the driving test, and told Jerry my name was Eli Adamov—like Eli, the last name sounded good and also Jewish to me. Now I was officially Eli!
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