Friday, July 18, 2008

In my ears, eyes, and mind (in Herodotus' absence)

Mere Christianity – I’ve finally begun reading Mere Christianity after having purposed to do so somewhere between ages 15 and 17…I will be 28 in October. My lack of motivation notwithstanding, it has been a while since I started a book with this level of expectation and excitement. I have read here and there and found works, like Lewis’ The Great Divorce, that I read at someone else’s behest and finished with excitement, but not for a long time have I began reading something anticipating its greatness and relevance from the outset…Also, an unwelcomed restructuring of my budget is calling for me to cut off my cable which means my literary intake should increase by about 4000%, and it should be this way for a while. At this, there are so many books I’ve planned to read through the years and never have…Any suggestions where to start?

La Vie En Rose (Louis Armstrong) – This is a wonderful song, my favorite version of which would be Mr. Armstrong’s…My jazz season has started early. Usually about the time the first cold spell of fall hits, I go through a personal season where my jazz collection takes center stage, but for some reason, I am there early.

Faith and Reason – I’ve been thinking a lot lately on the relationship between our ability to reason and necessity to have faith. For a Christian, my beliefs about God, humanity, etc…necessitate my “suspending disbelief”, to some degree, to accept the “absurd” idea of God taking the form of man and then dying and resurrecting to redeem humanity. So it seems obvious that, at the base level of belief, faith requires the suspension of my rational capability, but I know a lot of Christians who operate on this notion in all aspects of the faith, their argument being that, since humanity is inherently sinful, our sense of reason is polluted thus requiring the life of faith being based solely on belief in the absurd. It’s almost as if they see reason like a bent shovel no longer useful for digging. They carry this mentality into some of the very practical practices of faith like, for instance, in how they interpret and, thus, apply scripture. To me, accepting the need for and/or possibility of the absurd is very different than assuming that possibility as denouncing the practical. I guess my tendency is to see my reason not as a “bent shovel” but as a sound one needing faith to be the map that shows me where to dig. Now, I know at least one person who has been, literally, at the point of death from cancer and been miraculously, instantaneously, and wholly healed by God. I know this person well. I know that he is not crazy, and, further, I know other people who also are not crazy that can verify his story. That is absurd. I have no problem with that, but does that mean that when I read Paul’s Epistles I should forego my ability to process and apply information (i.e. reason) and rely simply on my expectation of the absurd?...Thoughts?

"Lost" – I recently decided, with some friends, to start at the beginning and work my way through to catch up on this show. I usually don’t get sucked into shows and am typically skeptical when they’re praised as much as this show has been. However, I simply had too many people with opinions I value and trust in these things recommend, almost demand, that I watch this show. Well, here I am almost done with the second season and I have two thoughts:

1. I can’t believe I haven’t been watching this show.

2. With the reality TV mess that we’ve created, it’s nice to turn on a show and actually be entertained. Call me prudish, but I am simply sick of turning on my television only to find a bunch of idiots running around in their underwear and poking holes in the moral fabric of our next generation. Not only is it raunchy, but it’s just not entertaining. I don’t watch TV to be reminded of how ridiculous life can be. I watch TV to be entertained and escape that. So, ultimately, it doesn’t matter if Michael gets Walt back or whether Jack finally realizes that Kate is the devil because they’re not real…I can get into the story then shut it off and go to sleep unlike when I see the 19 year old "reality star"getting ripped and taking her clothes off on national TV that hopefully won’t be one of my nieces, cousins, or, gulp, daughters some day.