Such was the article on 17 February, entitled "A genetic news flash: We're all a little bit broken." Here's the text that got my attention:
"We've all had cars with a bunch of broken parts that get us where we want to go for years with no obvious problem. Does the human genome have the same tolerance for permanent damage? The answer is: Sure.
A study estimates the average person goes through life with 20 genes permanently out of commission. With each of us possession about 20,000 genes, that's means 0.1 percent of our endowment is broken from the start--and we don't even know it. Whether being born with 20 broken genes is horrifying ("Get me customer service!") or reassuring ("Whew, only 20!") depends on one's expectation of perfection."
So, what if the Washington Post is right? What if we don't enter this planet in perfect working order? What if what you and I are today isn't just the culmination of our experiences once we come barreling down the birth canal or the stork dropped us off? What if we enter the scene here broken, damaged goods? What if we are "seconds" on the discount clothing rack of humanity?
Actually, I was fascinated that this bible I've been preaching through on Sundays has a thought on this topic. It tells us something very anti-cultural in the second chapter of Ephesians (New Testament). It has the audacity to say that that little spark of goodness that we all like to think we have--well, it's nonexistent, it's a mirage, it's an invention. It says that not only did we come out a little broken. It says we came out irreparably messed up. And we remain in that condition unless it's interrupted. Whoa, Nellie!! Who wants to hear that, eh?
So, I wondered. Does this make sense? And then I remembered. Yep, my granddaughter, Reese, actually did take the tortilla chip out of my hand and push me away from the chip tray at Tortilla Factory in Herndon yesterday. She surveyed the landscape and figured there wouldn't be enough, and so I needed to stop eating any more. Telling her, at almost 3 years old, that we could get more, availed nothing. I wasn't getting another chip. Now, who taught her to hoard chips? Did she see her parents doing this? Was it just her environment that taught her this? Or. . . or. . . or. . . did she come into this world a little broken--just like the rest of us--and this was just another data point for it.
Man, if this is true, it makes me think that I'd better be careful arguing that "I was born that way" as a justification for any of my behaviors. In the end, it's actually more of an admission of guilt than anything. Maybe, I should focus on the fix, zero in on what can be done to repair the irreparable, if that is possible. For me, that's where this Jesus comes into the fray. But you knew that was coming, right? After all, I'm a preacher man. But who knows? Maybe even the editors of the Washington Post would line up with me, given that we agree now that we're all broken? Here's hoping. It'll give me an excuse to check out the Post again tomorrow morning.