Saturday, October 23, 2004

vision and fingerprints

What would the world look like if I truly saw God in everything? A line from my all time favourite hymn asks "Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart." I wonder what it would be like if even just for a day I could see my life the way God sees it. If everywhere I turned all I could see was Him, His fingerprints all over every moment of my day? Wouldn't it be interesting if I could see God's fingerprints on the box of cereal in the morning and think "God put that cereal in my cupboard". I think it would be harder to look at the bruised places in my life and see His fingerprints there. Although I don't doubt that they are. Not the fingerprints of the hand that inflicted pain, but prints of the hands that comforted, that protected, that kept me from dangers I'm not even aware of.

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.

I wish I could wear God's perspective like Virtual Reality glasses, only in this case they would be True Reality glasses, Hyper-Reality glasses. If I could see what He sees, I wonder if my perspective couldd even handle it. If the shock of the state the world is really in would be too much and I would shatter. Maybe it would be like Moses on the mountian when God told him not to try and look in His face because he wouldn't be able to live through the experience.
"You can't handle the truth."

There is a grace and beauty to our limitations. Maybe for now I just need to learn how to see that.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

would he really do that?

I came across a joke this morning that reflected something I've been thinking for a while now about the whole WWJD thing. (As an aside let me say upfront that I am not in favour of mass market Christianity, and for the record do not wear a WWJD or PUSH bracelet.) Anyway, the joke goes like this:

A man walked into a gift shop that sold religious items. Near the cash register he saw a display of baseball caps with "WWJD" printed on them. Puzzled by what the letters meant, he asked the clerk. The clerk replied that the letters stood for "What Would Jesus Do," and that the question was meant to inspire people to not make rash decisions, but rather to imagine what Jesus would do in the same situation.

The man thought a moment and then replied, "Well, I'm sure Jesus wouldn't pay $17.95 for one of these baseball caps!"

A wise friend of mine read the joke and sent me this response:

Ah, so true!

You gotta love our current evangelical culture though: we've convinced ourselves that we're come so far from the Catholic church of Martin Luther's age of needed reformation (a la selling indulgences and handing the papacy hereditarily--even though the pope was supposed to be celibate) yet here we are marketing Jesus for all we're worth, as though reading a Christian novel or listening to a Christian CD or wearing a WWJD hat will somehow secure OUR holiness or salvation.

I couldn't have said it better myself and decided not to try. Thanks RuthAnn. Wise words as always.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

midnight and brian wilson

As I was driving into work today Brian Wilson, a classic Barenaked Ladies song from the 90s was playing on the radio. I was immediately transported back to highschool days and playing pool in my parent's basement. I remembered how my older brother and I used to play pool late into the night when he was home from University. I couldn't tell you how the tradition started, but somehow that was our time. Between midnight and two in the morning with the clack of billiard balls beating out a rythmn, Mark and I would talk and he would listen to his little sister and dispense advice. It was one of the rare times when we talked as equals, when I had his full attention. And he gave great advice. I made two of the biggest decisions of my life over those late nate games, often with Brian Wilson playing in the background.

What had me laughing today though, was that years later I still know ALL the words to Brian Wilson. I haven't heard that song in years. I haven't poured over the liner notes for half a lifetime. But there they were. I turned the radio on somewhere in the middle and barely missed a beat

Drove downtown in the rain,
9.30 on a Tuesday night
Just to check out the late night
record shop.
Call impuslive, call it convulsive
you can call it insane.
But when I'm surrounded I just can't

How is it that all of the information in the world, these are the words that are stuck in my head? What is it about song lyrics that makes them so enduring? I have this theory that if some scientist could find a way to delete all of the old song lyrics out of everyone's head that we would have enough brain power to cure cancer. Or at least figure out a solution to world hunger or global warming. Think about it -- how many hundreds -- thousands? -- of songs do you know all the words to? I wonder what percentage of the human brain is used up remembering the words to songs we'd just as soon forget.

I don't want to forget the memories that go along with these songs. I don't want to forget the late night basement pool sessions that literally changed my life, changed which province I am currently living in. But do I really need to know all the words to the Tiffany version of I Think We're Alone Now? I'm pretty sure I could live without that.

Monday, October 04, 2004


I've just finished reading Blue Like Jazz and I can tell already that I'm going to need to read it again. I think I'll need to read it slower the second time around. One thing that I've been thinking about is a chapter where Don talks about the power of metaphor.

In the book he talks about a speaker he heard at an alumni event. The speaker was talking about metaphor and how the words we use to describe something affect the way we think about it. He gave the example of cancer and how we tend to speak about cancer in war terms. People fight cancer, they battle it. No one recovers from cancer, they beat it. The speaker went on to say that there is sometimes unnecessary stress and guilt brought on for cancer sufferers because of the war metaphor. He said that sometimes people fear that they have been pushed into an evil battle that they might not be strong enough to fight.

He went on to talk about how we tend to describe relationships in economic terms and how that changes our thinking about what love is like. And all the while I was reading it I kept thinking:

what metaphor do I use to describe myself?

A metaphor is simply a comparrision, a figure of language used to help us wrap our heads around a new idea or help us imagine a place we have never seen. We use metaphor to teach, to describe, to label. I'm not sure what metaphor I use for me. What do I think about when I think about myself? An interesting question -- and not in terms of Satre and Kiekergaard and why am I here? But in a literary sense, how do I write about myself? What metaphor do I use to pen the poetry of my own life? I'm not sure. But it's a question I think I should know the answer to, a question that deep down I think I DO know the answer to. I just need to take the time to think about it. I'm going to do that.