The present is a slippery concept. Whenever you analyze it you’re turning around in your mind something that has already just finished happening. In the water polo game of temporal experience, we’re always half a stroke behind the action. We view everything in retrospect- even the present. I imagine our minds pivot and zoom the way your eyes do to focus two binocular images into a sensible vergence every time you look at something. Clearly we can make it work fairly well (if you’re reading this, you’ve survived thus far) but it’s an interesting thing to ponder as you’re thinking about a sequence in a movie, or the strategy you’ve been using in a game, or (in this particular case) trying to chart how this person who is you is still you but is developing over time into someone who isn’t precisely the same you you were, say, seven months ago. Continuity within discontinuity, you dig?
God has been so gratuitously good to me. I know that that is always the case, but seasons come for all of us where all the ho-hum givens and axioms that form our background of understanding become epiphanies and revelations again. Reciting a confession is a good thing, but explosions of ecstasy that bubble up into hymns and choruses are even better. God is gratuitously good to me. He gives me so many good things that go beyond my necessities, and even with the necessities He goes above and beyond mere utilitarianism. And He does it for the sheer pleasure of giving good gifts that highlight just how good His goodness really is. I’m up to my neck in one of those seasons right now, where God gratuitously does me good in myriads more departments than I ever thought to ask for. The sheer volume of good gifts keeps on stretching my horizon to a wider panoramic view than ever before as things I’ve mistaken for the center get burnt away to let the real center hold everything together. That center is anchored down, keeping me anchored, even as that horizon keeps on expanding. The phony centers keep it contracted, and as they evaporate the lights turn on and holy crap, God gives me so many abilities and opportunities to use them and He uses them to make a difference! and on and on it goes. If you’re reconciled to God through Jesus, you’re complete in Christ- and the Spirit keeps on exponentially growing that completeness as God demonstrates this fundamental gratuitousness of His.
So, having said all of that, there’s about six thousand things that have been coursing through my brain like like spindles of Tesla current, shaping my thought and clarifying many of my future objectives but only about three of them are gonna be examined in a future that is so near it’s practically reading over your shoulder. Raising a son, falling more in love with Kristin, art galleries, Desiring God and Joni & Friends conferences, Halloween, lectures on Marxist literary theory, and Tron have electrified the bric-a-brac strewn about my brain, converting it into pure energy and focusing it into a coherent ray of awesome. So here’s the flight plan for the next fortnight or two:
1. I want to look back at some of the elements within my conversion that led me to question if writing fiction (or anything else within the creative spectrum) was legit for Christians- how did I get duped into thinking that it wasn’t?
2. A review of A Question of Time: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Road to Faerie by Verlyn Flieger, a study of how time and dream drew Tolkien to create a new mythology for a spiritually maimed twentieth century.
3. A diatribe about the present state of fiction in which I will level the charge that science fiction and horror are some of the only genres in which anything worth doing is being done anymore. That statement immediately causes some cankles to quiver with apoplectic rage, but… why? Why is the imaginative a four letter word to the critical culture guardians?
All of these essays are going to be a protracted midnight premiere inaugurating a new sense of purposefulness to better bind together all that goes on here. It’s not that all of a sudden I want to impose a constricting sense of order on everything- where’s the fun in that? Rather, by emphasizing order a little more, I hope to arrive at an invisible crossfade between structure and serendipity so that the dialectical interplay between the two will spontaneously combust into fantasticity on a semi-consistent basis. The stage will also be set for all future literary studies and investigations into the nature of time. #doublewin
What lies at the heart of this whole thing is an absolutely monumental development in my Christian walk- I feel like I’ve finally woken from the fever dream of thinking I was supposed to be a pastor, and the blast radius of that awakening keeps on expanding outward and detonating more idols.
The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades. Did I mention the future is now? Get used to it.