Of Oreos and Elders
Posted on May 17, 2016 by Sister Carol Perry

I have been thinking recently of the link between oreos and the Book of Revelation or, more particularly, of the similarities between the new and the old. Let me explain.

The oreo cookie manufacturer has decided to make extra thin oreos, incredibly slim chocolate cookies separated only by a very thin cream middle. Someone is forever trying to improve on the original. Why, I do not know since they were perfectly fine sturdy cookies in their own right. But, over the years, variations have turned yellow, had their creamy middles dyed green and flavored with mint etc. Now they are extra thin.

This leads to a very interesting note on the label. The suggested serving used to be two cookies. Now it is four! It seems that one has to eat that many to get the true oreo taste from these much reduced bits. Is this what we call progress? Since the number of cookies per package has not been increased, I imagine someone, somewhere, is hoping for greater profits. (I confess I have not had time to do all the math involved in a genuine package comparison.)

I was also deep into the preparation of my classes on the Book of Revelation. There I made another discovery. The reader is taken to the glory of heaven and the presence of the heavenly court. The members of the latter are the elders, since our biblical ancestors saw them as the true repository of wisdom. They had lived through it all, whatever it might be, and so their words had added weight in times of trouble.

Biblically, youth was a callow stage, something one would outgrow, by necessity, but one looked to age for true direction. I do not for one moment believe that to be universally true, but it is the way the world once was conceived. At the same time, one does not have to keep forever reinventing the wheel. Sometimes it is good to have someone who can say, “Wait, we tried that five years ago. Let’s go back and see why it wouldn’t work then.” If there are no voices of experience, collective wisdom suffers.

The new and the old. They challenge us, tantalize us, and ultimately force us into new ways of thinking. Don’t you love the possibilities involved?

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Sister Carol Perry

A gifted teacher and resident bible scholar at Marble, Sister Carol uses her extensive scholarship and imaginative storytelling skills to offer a fresh and innovative approach to exploring the Scriptures, bringing the stories of the Bible to life.

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