In today’s Sacramento Bee there is an article of compiled stories from the Associated Press called “Strange Stuff – News out of the ordinary.” One of the three included stories is of an image of Jesus appearing on a piece of sheet metal at a hardware store in Manchester, Conn. Hold on – it gets even stranger. That’s right, you guessed it, it is for sale on eBay. At last count there were 32 bids topping out at $1,025.
Here’s the point: First, seeing pictures of Jesus on everything from a piece of toast to freeway underpasses to a piece of sheet metal is akin to seeing animals in the clouds. An ordinary imagination can connect those dots, an active one… well, these recurring stories say it all. More amazing than the “visions” are the reactions to them, to say nothing of their newsworthiness.
The news should not be of yet another sighting, but rather of the irrational hype surrounding it. I try to be open-minded, to understand where another is coming from – indeed, to walk in another’s shoes, but I cannot fathom spending over $1,000 for a $15.49 piece of sheet metal with a little smudged oil on it. I tried, really I did. At least an image on sheet metal can be preserved for… whatever use it may have. A piece of toast will eventually grow into much more than an image of Jesus!
In the final analysis, perhaps the Associate Press should practice a little truth in advertising with their headlines. This is no longer “out of the ordinary.” It is an all too frequent occurrence of what is rapidly passing for ordinary. I can only assume that there are those who are so desperately searching for a sign, some sort of meaning to life, some kind of proof that they mean something that they will grasp at anything that even remotely acknowledges their existence. And of course there are those too that will capitalize on it.