Virtual Voices

Re-building the tabernacle

Economy

The Lord said to him:

"Tell my people to make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you. Have them make an ark of acacia wood."

Ahhh . . . acacia might be a problem. These trees are the natural habitat for some rare fungi. I am so sorry but it says so in the Endangered Species Act. Perhaps we can use recycled cardboard, very eco-friendly, and we can cover it with these Chinese acacia imitation porcelain tiles?

"Make two cherubim out of hammered gold."

Cherubim? Hmmm, don't you think that it may offend the ACLU? The last thing we need is another lawsuit insisting on the expunction of religious symbols from the public square. How about if we make you a brass calf? (I don't know if we have any gold bars left. Beijing said they have enough of our IOUs so they insisted that we pay in something more scarce.)

"Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it."

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I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm but those lamps would never pass the fire safety inspections around here. Let's use some of those compact fluorescent light bulbs? They are very energy efficient, you know. Here, look at this catalog. It just arrived from China.

"Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn."

That's not going to work, I'm afraid-we have to pick a color that complies with our city's aesthetics regulations. What do you think of lavender blush? It's so avant-garde. The wife wanted to repaint our house in this color but I told her, "Why bother, our lease expires in less than two years?" Anyway, my Chinese associates tell me that the paints are certified lead-free.

"Make curtains of goat hair for the tent over the tabernacle."

Now you are asking for real trouble, Mister. Have you not heard of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals? No offense, but we'll have to use something vegan. I got these in the last shipment from Shanghai. It says "polyurethane and polyamide micro-fiber." Trust me, it will look absolutely awesome in your tabernacle. . . .

"Barack, I think it is time for me to give up on you guys. I'll go and see if the Chinese want to be my people. Good-bye."
Alex Tokarev
Alex Tokarev

Alex is the chair of the Department of Business at Morthland College in West Frankfort, Ill., and teaches at Northwood University in Midland, Mich. The native of communist Bulgaria fanatically supports the Bulgarian soccer team, Levski.

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