Sherlock’s Theology

Sherlock’s Theology March 3, 2014


I was in Leavenworth, Washington over the weekend. I went at the invitation of A Book for All Seasons, the Indie bookstore in the resort town was celebrating it’s 22nd anniversary. It wasn’t my first trip to Leavenworth but it was my first event at A Book for All Seasons.

I knew about this charming bookstore, of course. It is one of the favored among Northwest authors. The staff had read Mother of Rain and loved it. I think the mountain culture in the book resonated with them.

Above the bookstore is a hotel, each room given a literary name. Rumor has it that the Secret Garden room is haunted. I was hosted in the Sherlock Holmes room, a spacious room infused with bright energy. I rose early on Saturday and wrote for a good long while.

The room has a lovely view overlooking the Bavarian-themed village that is Leavenworth. It also has an old typewriter, and on the wall hung the following typed dialogue between Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson:

Watson and Holmes Go Camping

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson went on a camping trip. After sharing a good meal and a bottle of Petrie wine, they retire to their tent for the night.

At about 3 AM, Holmes nudges Watson and asks, “Watson, look up into the sky and tell me what you see?”

Watson said, “I see millions of stars.”

Holmes asks, “And, what does that tell you?”

Watson thinks for a moment. “Well,” he says, “astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meterologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I see that God is all-powerful, and we are small and insignficant. Uh, what does it tell you, Holmes?”

Holmes retorts, “Someone stole our tent.”


Not long ago I found myself the only woman in a room with a group of theologically-minded men. I had forgotten how insignificant being the only woman in a room full of men can make a girl feel. Although the fellows were completely nice enough and polite in the most mannerly of fashions, I couldn’t help but get the sense that being  a man in that situation would have served me better.

One of the things on their agenda that day was a discussion about the upcoming release of two Christian movies: Son of God and God’s Not Dead. These theologically-minded men were discussing the pros and cons of showing these movies to the community, as part of an outreach attempt to spread the Gospel.

Mostly they were talking about the pros.

I wasn’t at the meeting as part of that decision-making so I didn’t add anything to their discussion. Had I been asked, however, I would have told them what I thought, specifically about that last movie –  God’s Not Dead pits the good Christian kid against his angry atheist college-professor.  It’s a story-line that I find particularly abhorrent. A simpleton’s approach to rhetoric. Us against them. The God-fearing against the Intellectual.

Really? Do we really want to propagate a message that seems to communicate that the educated among us are God-haters?

I wanted to ask those men, each of them, how such a message could in anyway be of benefit to our community. 

But I didn’t.

I didn’t say anything.

I just sat there thinking about what I had said earlier. The part where I told them that I thought the theologically-minded ought to be some of our communities most learned men and women. They ought to be thinkers who read widely – something other than the B-I-B-L-E. Something in addition to the B-I-B-L-E. Seems to me that last thing the faith community needs is more people who don’t read, who don’t think for themselves. 

One of those men, sitting there at that table, he asked me outright, did this book I was recommending they read, did it have a happy ending. Would it give readers hope?

So I told him – I don’t know. It all depends up on the reader and what they bring to the page, I suppose.

But what I was really thinking was: Somebody stole the tent. 

Sometimes, we Believers we get so carried away, so starry-eyed, so focused on the heavens, and the glory to come, that we forget the most practical of all things.

Like how important shelter can be in the middle of the night.


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