Mary’s Child pa ram pum pum pum


Regardless of which culture, the care of babies is inviolate. One of the lessons of the West African Ebola epidemic is the utter inability of many to be healthy enough to withstand the effects of an evolutionary viral occurrence. Eradicating a virus like Ebola is like eliminating TB and malaria germs, a futile exercise. What we need is not to stop a virus but to get human nutrition and living standards healthy enough to live with it.

A virus enables the evolutionary process to cross genetic lines, and in the case of the Ebola, a virus in the wild crosses over through bats, and perhaps other means, into the human RNA and DNA. We now know that some humans are more susceptible than others to the downside effects of the virus.

So the language of fighting the virus and eliminating it is a hangover of a mindset that sees what did not fit before as an enemy to be banished; a new condition is upon us that requires us to adapt. We would do better to focus on adequate nutrition and hygienic surroundings for everyone!

Yakov ibn Nazareth, Iesu Kristo, and Jesus the Christ to the contemporary faithful is established on the anchor data of existence, like the rest of the human race. He died. An ignominious death, crucified on a cross between two thieves in a telling that was so powerful that it pushed his followers to create a universal story true for all and all time from Genesis to Apocalypse.

I was born into a storyteller’s household within the Methodist covenant. A three-act drama began with a prelude of an incarnation from above to earth, then Act I of life as an ordinary human, Act II as one deciding to expend his life to the way life is, YHWH, a pious reference to life’s reality and mystery, and Act III, when the lifestyle of obedience to YHWH is a costly enterprise unto death, bookended in the story by the resurrection event that sent him back to heaven, to the bosom of Abraham!

This was a neat overlay on an older story that saw humanity disadvantaged at the gate (dejado), and thereby needed to be liberated, like the Israelites when they were slaves in Egypt, or redeemed from the Zoroastrian eternal battle between good and evil where humanity always found itself captive of the demon, and/or in our time, saved from the clutches of one’s own depravity, in the classic confession of Paul of Tarsus to the Romans: “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

In the name of this Jesus, many stories were created, including some cross-fertilized elsewhere other than the Levant. The one familiar to me is of the little child, pa ram pum pum pum, that emerged from Roman and Byzantium institutions to Zwingli and Calvin, Luther and Wesley of the Reformation movements, and now, post-Vatican II and contemporary theologizing enterprises.

When Thomas Malthus promoted “moral restraint” (a version of family planning) and calculated that the rate of population increase was way ahead of agricultural production, it meant as it means to today’s IMF that there is not enough food to go around, making survival of the fittest a necessary ingredient justifying competition through capitalism; some were going to die anyway in order for others to live.

Wedded to the Christ’s salvific role and added to Adam Smith’s advocacy of minimal interference in the law of supply and demand, one understands Western economy; “democracies” latched on to the Wealth of Nations.

In a reprise of Band Aid’s “Do they know it’s Christmas?” by Bob Geldof, originally performed for Ethiopia 30 years ago, now for the assistance efforts in Ebola-pocked nations, Africans are not pleased with the image not only of white folks coming to the aid of disease-ridden and pest-infested Africa, but of Christians in Islamic Africa bringing their Redeemer to save the unfortunate native Africans (read, Muslims) from their helplessness. It places Christians in an awkward position, with some ardent and overzealous members ripping off the Koran in public as part of their witness and bait for their “crucifixion”!

Obama immigration thrust focuses “on hopes rather than fears,” clearly an ethos promoted in the name of the babe in the manger, which some sectors in America fail to understand other than the need to conform to the “letter of the law” and Boehner takes this to mean following established procedures other than executive decrees, including the tactic of withholding funds from the White House.

Of the three religions from the Levant, the Jews now insist on the Hebraic-ness of Eretz Israel; the warriors of the Iraqi-Syrian deserts are dubbed the Islamic State. We know that Jefferson made sure the federation was not going to adopt a state religion, but Eisenhower’s “nation under God” understood itself as Christian, a light on a hill of exceptionalism.

Shall I play for you
Pa rum pum pum pum
On my drum

Methinks Mary’s Child would rather we do not beat the drum anymore. But we can still hum pa ram pum pum pum! Happy birthday, little one!

Jaime R. Vergara | Special to the Saipan Tribune
Jaime Vergara previously taught at SVES in the CNMI. A peripatetic pedagogue, he last taught in China but makes Honolulu, Shenyang, and Saipan home. He can be reached at

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.