Axe to Fall

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Fall arrived two days ago, the seasonal sages tell me, and I still feel sort of caught off guard. Global warming masked the shift into autumn so inconspicuously my only references to where we were on the calendar were a couple of weddings and the summer programs I was neck deep within at my church. On the one hand I’m pumped- fall’s my favorite season and my forecast can already make out an awesome front manifesting itself circa now, but I also know that the end of summer signifies this big closing bracket to the timetable I had set for the projects I’ve been envisioning/promising the past few months. The summer long already/not yet midnight premiere just didn’t materialize because there’s been so much going on (well… more on that later), which makes me feel like those pieces are being engulfed in this queasy, Schrodinger’s cat uncertainty. Probably not the case, but the feeling’s real enough.

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This hammer is coming down, all right.

My announcement that I had surmounted deadline anxieties at that time was just too triumphalist to ever be true. It is true that God dealt a dose of assurance that gave me some much-needed ballast for a spell but really, it was only a reprieve. It was temporary but I passed it off as final. I clutched at the narrative of onward and upward sanctification and figured, “Hey, at least that’s over, never to be dealt with again” in typical evangelical fashion; just an interesting speed bump to check off my list and forget about. So really, there’s the busy-ness of the summer that drew me away from writing all that much which is just too terrifyingly banal to waste your time going into detail over [1], but there’s also the insidious undercurrent of performance and impossible standards and all that jazz. The really murderous irony that I’m still chuckling (grimly) about stems from the fact that I’ve spent between three to four months agonizing to near-stigmata levels of consternation and delirium over that blasted Iron Man 3 essay and the David Foster Wallace piece, both of which are, at bottom, meditations on identity and justification. Poetic justice is what it is, right? The good Lord has a sense of humor, and I am pitifully messed up; it meets up in the middle superbly. Spending time with a couple of frightfully insecure dudes like Tony and David has proven fruitful all the same, and, in typical theology of the cross fashion, not in the way I had anticipated at all.

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Heartbreaker, indeed.

So, having laid all that out, what’s on the horizon? First of all, sinking on sight any quick-fix rehabilitation narratives that try to rope me in. Agreed? Agreed. Second: my reading associated with DFW’s biography has short circuited my enthusiasm for the third essay I had planned re: science fiction being the only worthwhile literature of the past half century. I will probably exposit that revelation at some point, maybe as a lead-in to the DFW piece or maybe as a brief standalone. Not sure yet. The first two, however, will almost certainly see the light of day before the clock strikes 2014, so fret not, true believers. Third: today’s September 24th, which means that Iron Man 3 1) first hit theaters four flippin’ months ago and 2) is out on DVD and Blu-Ray approximately now. With any luck (read: the blessed smile of providence) I’ll get to watch it again [2] before I post a simplified but infinitely-more-sincere-than-the-first-eight-versions meditation upon it. You’ll know when that one hits the ground from the tidal waves of catharsis emanating from this blog, so keep that on your radar. Fourth: the DFW bio “review” will be unveiled after some more reading, prayer, and revision, so don’t stay up waiting for that one. I’m not sure when that one will show up. For a while I was wigging out, trying to post it as soon as possible after I had finished D.T. Max’s biography, but as it mutated into more than just a review I just wasn’t happy with trying to rush it. Grappling with David Foster Wallace has been both unnerving as well as rewarding in almost equal proportions so I’m looking forward to distilling some of what I’ve picked up from and been alerted to by him.

Here’s the bottom line: I need prayer. I frequently do not rest in the accomplishment of my divinely ordained champion, Jesus, the most human being there ever was or will be. Instead, I contort my way, painfully, into all these counterfeit solaces and bogus identity markers that I just buy into again and again and again and again. And I know you do, too. Congratulations: you’re a sinner. Instead of grinding our consciences to dust, though, let’s exercise our priestly callings and intercede for one another. Let’s watch out for one another and embody the grace of our great high priest in each other’s lives. I know I spent most of the time here talking about writing and superheroes and whatnot, but they’re real bridges into a deeper awareness of my need for grace, and if I need it, I’m certain you do as well. Our pathetic little skull-sized kingdoms [3] are cramped and they are lonely, but they’re home, aren’t they? We hate them, but they’re what we know. Let’s find our home instead more and more with one another and with the one who said he was going away to build us all homes in his Father’s house. Let’s be torches together and burn down these shoddy shanties and walk away.

Let’s roll.

Endnotes

[1] Everyone’s crazy busy. I get it. And maybe you really are supremely more busy than everybody else- that’s a total possibility. I’m just annoyed 1) by how often I invoke the “I’m busy” formula to justify myself and 2) how every U.S. citizen has “I’m so busy!” in their arsenal of stock phrases even when I know for a fact that many of them putting that phrase to work do nothing but watch Survivor when they’re done with work. So it’s undefinable, it’s a little elitist, but also, most sadly, it’s just true too often. Annihilate busy-ness! I know, I know- “Physician, heal thyself!” And the cynics strut away, high fives blazing.

[2] Anyone wanna join in? I got a hankerin’ for some popcorn like you wouldn’t believe.

[3] DFW, natch.

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One thought on “Axe to Fall

  1. Pingback: Marvel’s Cinematic Anthropology | Glimpses Elsewhere

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