I’m coming to the end of a six-month parental leave. The time I’ve been able to spend at home with my son has been a major gift, though I do feel like I’ve spent the better part of it in a state of altered consciousness.
I’ve been hemming and hawing for the past couple of weeks about whether I should spend four hours on the couch watching Leaving Neverland, the HBO documentary about Michael Jackson’s alleged sexual abuse of two boys in the mid-80s.
There’s a Laurier student I know who spends his Sunday mornings at a small Anglican Church in Waterloo. I think this is a rather remarkable thing, given how much effort other churches make to get students to come their way on Sunday. The market is absolutely saturated with student-outreach initiatives: there’s a bunch of store-front church plants nearby; the big exurban non-denom churches send in their busses each Sunday to pluck souls from a foreordained spot on campus; and down University Ave is an eye-wateringly hip student-dominated church, with a fog machine and everything.
I had a roommate in college who owned a Gibson J-45 guitar. A flattop acoustic with a dark sunburst finish, famous sloping shoulders, and that perfectly plump Gibson neck. I spent hours playing it my freshman year, learning to love its reedy snap of a voice, trying to get my fingers over the changes of Led Zeppelin’s “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You.” It was so resonant that it felt alive, somehow, like I was just a conduit for what it had to say.
I spent Wednesday on the shores of Lake Huron. Sadly, not at some beachy idyll; I was at a Classis meeting instead. And yes, I guess that means technically I wasn’t on those sandy shores, but instead in the sanctuary of a church nearby.
It was actually great to be at that church this week, and just not because I actually kind of enjoy Classis meetings. It was neat because 10 years ago I was also at that church, at a meeting of that same Classis, being examined for ordination to ministry in the CRC.
It’s hard not to despair. I don’t know exactly what the road forward looks like, but I think we’d profit to work this angle – to really reckon with the lies we tell ourselves, with the darkest corners of our hearts – at least as much as we discuss managerial wisdom
The World Cup has all the goods to capture your attention and imagination: the elegance of world class athletes, with their steaming tackles, set piece wizardry, dives, flops, lung-bursting runs down the wing, their counterattacks and deadbolt defenses.
As you might imagine, a conference of some 2,000 readers and writers is a conference that is full of earnestness, awkward conversations between introverts, and the joy of discovery of new-to-you writers and books. This year’s had all that, but something else too.
I’m not very good at sitting at a desk and concentrating. Scratch that: I’m great at sitting at a desk. Maybe even world class. The concentration part is the challenge.
A couple weeks back, laid up from that daycare-derived sinus infection, my thoughts turned theological. I tend to be the sort that binges Netflix while convalescing, but occasionally a moment of mystical clarity intrudes (abetted, I’m sure, by the psychotropic properties of Advil Cold & Sinus), and well, when that happens, I let it take me by the hand.
In that light, I’ve been considering a possible resolution for the new term (or New Year, if you’re off campus): let’s avoid labels and keywords, the argot of factions, choosing instead to treat the person in front of us (whether online or in the real world) as just that: the person, not the sociological category, not the political affiliation, not the purveyor of #wrongthink.
I wonder whether we Protestants are especially susceptible to forgetting the embodied dimension of our faith – that God is someone for whom we hunger and thirst. The Christian life ought to be a mouthwatering affair, yet we so often content ourselves with chintzy simulacra, thinking that the right idea is what matters.