Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Tale of Four Cities

Once in a faraway kingdom there was a couple who sought to immigrate, fleeing the country of Secularia. To seek a home in their new country they went to a real estate agent.

" The first thing you must decide is which of the four cities you wish to live in," stated the real estate agent.

"What is the difference?" they asked.

"Let me show you," he replied.

The first city was a city of skyscrapers. But instead of going straight up they formed complex geometric patterns. In fact, everything in the city seemed to reflect a complicated and abnormal geometry. But the streets were deserted and no one came out to meet them.

"Why is this place so deserted?" asked the husband.

"This is Scholastica," replied the agent. "It was once a fine flourishing community filled with learned professionals who knew how to dissect a hair six different ways and could explain the distinction between difficult words, like essence, existence, and substance. But most of the inhabitants left long ago for the land of Modernia. There are only a few left, mostly in the quarter of Seminaria. But there is plenty of room for new inhabitants if you are not superstitious."

They looked at each other and firmly shook their heads no.

The next consisted of conventional-looking white houses with white picket fences. Workmen moved about briskly, putting up even more nearly identical houses. Not only the workers but everyone in the city seemed in perpetual motion, in a hurry to get somewhere. All of them looked like they were late for some important appointment.

The mayor and his wife came out to meet them, seeming to stay still only with great effort. "Welcome to Activia," they said. "We took in 500 new people last year, but there are always room and jobs for all. We never run out of things to do."

"This does look like where the action is," remarked the husband.

"But it all seems so uniform," returned the wife. "Let's look at the other options."

The third city was anything but monotonous. It was full of lights and colors and music. But these seemed to follow no clear pattern. Also, the city itself followed no clear pattern; the streets seemed to be plopped down in every direction.

The mayor and his wife were pictures of enthusiasm. They did not so much talk as bubble. "We are pleased to meet you," they said, "we are sure you will love it here in Experiencia. There is always something exciting going on. Come catch the feeling."

"Well it does look interesting," remarked the wife.

"But I would prefer something a little more orderly," returned the husband. "Let's check out something else."

The fourth city was less of an assault to the senses than the other three. There was order here but also variation. There were interesting mixtures of color and architectural styles, working together.  The people seemed confident and unrushed, efficiently going about their way. There seemed a feel of underlying calm.

"What do you base this city on?" the husband asked the mayor and his wife.

"We in Scripturia base our city on the King's manual and on the work of the King in dying and rising again. We trust in that rather than in our own strengths and abilities."

The couple looked at each other. They had found their home.

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