Sunday, October 20, 2013

Zaphod Beeblebrox?



October 20, 2013

Dear friends,

Books—a large number of very interesting books—lie all over the house this morning in various stages of being read. 

I am rereading Phyllis Tickle’s work, Emergence Christianity, and finding it well worth the re-read. In conjunction with this I am re-reading Barbara Brown Taylor’s fine small book, Speaking of Sin: The Lost Language of Salvation.  In the context of the massive change Tickle describes, I am revisiting Brown’s idea that some words that are common coinage to Christians cannot be replaced by “new” vocabulary. What do you think?

 I have two of Alister McGrath’s work in progress—Surprised by Meaning, and The Passionate Intellect. Both are carefully reasoned, beautifully written, and a renewed challenge for me to love God with all my mind (or at least with what is left of it—smile.) How do you express stewardship of your capacity to think?


Intervarsity’s new Dictionary of the Old Testament Prophets is on the kitchen table. I am tackling cautiously selected entries broadly related to what is referred to as Second Temple Judaism by the scholarly folk. I find the story of Israel’s exile and return an unending source of insight about God’s willingness to “do a new thing," and a personal challenge to be a mindful participant in God's process. What new things are you and God doing in your life?
 
I am still working on McKelvey’s Pioneer and Priest: Christ in the Epistle to the Hebrews. I have just started N.T. Wright’s Romans for Everyone.  No information is more important than knowledge of the text.

Several of the individuals whom I am mentoring are using the Enneagram as a guide to increased self-understanding so I am reviewing Rohr and Ebert’s work, The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective.  It’s a good read.

I am using Frederick Buechner’s Listening to Your Life and William Stafford’s The Darkness Around Us is Deep to keep me aware that paying attention to life—in me, and around me—is  my first responsibility each day. 

And because laughter is a great attitude adjuster, I am reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe. This is the outgrowth of a delightful hour spent talking with a friend who quoted Zaphod Beeblebrox: “I only know as much about myself as my mind can work out under its current conditions. And its current conditions are not good.”

Isn’t that a great line? And underneath its semantic acrobatics lies a great question: To what degree does my environment limit—determine?—my knowledge of myself? What does “free will” mean in this context?

If you have not yet met Zaphod Beeblebrox, I would suggest you do so even if only for the delightful pleasure of repeating the nonsense of his impossible name.

Next week to continue the joy of serious thinking in foolish terms I plan to read The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Stop by for coffee if you can find the time.

Meanwhile, thinking with you that Zaphod Beeblebrox can be unsettling. What happens if the person that “current conditions” tell me I am is not the person my Inner Monitor describes? Who is the authority?

See you next week. 

Gay

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