Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thoughts from a Random Saturday

1. Sugar Free creamer is yucky. Matt accidentally bought it instead of Fat Free creamer. We hate Splenda.

2. I am very hyper today. Matt said something about how my view of little boys seems to come straight out of Tom Sawyer... "Oh golly, here comes a steamboat." I responded to this statement by suddenly staring off into space and saying "steamboat... steamboat... yes!" His mention of the old time riverboat reminded me--almost like how one remembers an obscure element from a dream--of how I'd been meaning to google the various dinner cruises available along the Ohio River, researching possible locations for our 10-year high school reunion.

Matt found this Pavlovian-type response so bizzarre, he got up off the couch (meanwhile, I am giggling hysterically at my own wierdness) and starts hunting around the kitchen, perhaps looking for the nitrous oxide or Boone's Farm I'd presumably been recklessly downing. He finally got to the trash can, peered in, and said, "Ah, yes. Campbell's Tomato Soup...now with methamphetamine!" More psychotic laughter from me. We're a silly couple.

3. The Bible is transformative even apart from (or prior to) belief in God. I am reading The Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs, and it is hilarious, intriguing, and spiritually weighty all at once. Following up his previous bestseller, The Know-It-All, in which Jacobs reads the whole Encyclopaedia Britannica in a year, he then decided to spend a year following the Bible's commandments as closely as possible. Not just the 613, but anything that could be considered an instruction. He found 749. (I'm definitely thinking we need to come up with a gimmick like that to make a bestseller.) I seriously laughed out loud when he described stealthily stoning adulterers and his wife's revenge for his refusal to touch her (or anything she touched) during her period.

Jacobs, who is of Jewish descent but raised in a non-religious family, seeks out the advice of rabbis, pastors, and various biblical literalists to guide him on this journey. He consults with a hip, young rabbi, a retired Lutheran pastor, an Amish innkeeper, an expert in deciphering unkosher mixed fabrics (complete with microscope for examining the fibers), and the resident astrophysicist at the Kentucky Creation Museum. One evangelical Christian told him his endeavor was foolish because you cannot understand the Bible apart from belief in the divinity of Christ. (I guarantee this same person has given a Bible or a scripture-laden tract to a non-believer at some point, however, so he/she definitely has not thought through that argument totally.)

In any case, it is fascinating and beautiful to see how Jacobs is being transformed over the course of his year, finding tranquility in practices like wearing all white, keeping a tight rein on his tongue (to avoid gossip, lying, and negative talk), and writing the Ten Commandments on his doorframes. He becomes a more ethically-minded person, giving to the poor and respecting the elderly. He prays regularly, even though he is not sure there is a God to pray to, but seems to find himself more and more open to that possibility. I'm about five months of the way through, and I'm eager to see how his spirituality develops further.

4. I'm going to be a millionaire. Not really, but this morning I came up with an idea for a household item that should be patented. Seriously, a good one. We're going to work on a prototype.

5. It's gut-check time. Or, rather, soul-check time. While I was reading a more lighthearted account of biblical living, Matt was reading What Would Jesus Deconstruct?, part of the Church and Postmodern Culture series. He read this passage aloud to me: "Were Jesus to return in the flesh, he would be executed again. Not by the world, but by the church. Or left by the chruch to die in the cold, or to be shot down in the nightmare violence of America's urban warfare, because Christians support right-wing extremists who are opposed to gun control, or excluded as an illegal immigrant."

Disagree with the politics implicit in that statement all you want, but combining that image of Jesus-in-disguise with Jacobs' efforts to cultivate biblical generosity of spirit left me quite convicted. I was reminded of my latent prejudices against certain types of people, and began to connect the warnings of Matthew 25 with not just the poor and imprisoned, but with people I tend to look down upon. What if Jesus were to return as one of these people that I write off? I need to work extra hard at seeing Christ in them. Lord, help me.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

"What would Jesus deconstruct"??? REALLY?? rofl. I have no words.

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