Promise and Possibility

Every Puerto Rican of my generation could nostalgically quote two TV commercial of our childhood. One is about paint, the other is about God. “El hombre del siglo 20 es un hombre solo” sternly stated the Rev. Mario Rivera Mendez senior pastor of Barbara Ann Roessler Memorial Church in Cupey, Puerto Rico through the magic of TV in the mid- 1980’s. In the commercial Rev. Rivera shared what he believed to be problems people might come across without God. At the end of the commercial Rev. Rivera invited the viewers to find the answers to all their questions in God, “Dios es la respuesta a tus preguntas.” While I understand his desire to present God as a relevant option to a struggling society, the commercial was troubling in two accounts. First, God was suggested to be merely an objective being as a choice for people to select among other options. Second, it presented God confined within the close-ended paradigm of answer. An answer, as a sentence is traditionally followed by a period. After the period the sentence is dead.

An answer serve a purpose, although when the period, its vigor is extinguished. God as an answered is consumed and discarded. By contrast, what if God then is not the answer, but the question. Questions end with an amusing little symbol reminiscent of a key. Questions unlock the possible within the expected and specified. Questions, unlike answers, do not extinguish themselves, they go supernova, radiating powerful energy bringing about possibility and promise.

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