Saturday, October 15, 2005

a moment of clarity in the midst of obfuscation

"in my head and my body there's this race between life and death going on. but then isn't that the case for everybody who's ever lived, forever and always? isn't that the nature of being alive?" -douglas coupland in eleanor rigby, pg. 247.

two and a half years ago, i took a seminary exegesis class that focused on matthew. although the lectures were a little bit stiff and the professor was suffering from the power-point plague, it was good stuff.

at least i think it was good stuff. instead of reading the commentaries, interacting in exegetical conversations ("it's a subjective genitive? that's fascinating!") and honoring the prof with my attention ,i re-read the novels of douglas coupland. i found myself wrapped up in the apocalyptic visions of girlfriend in a coma, i participated in virtual picnics in the palm springs desert and i wondered why the european girls i met during my travels never showed up on my front porch sporting hot pink cowboy hats and unholstered cap guns. i read the coupland corpus in dr. ciampa's class and i felt guilty.

but i shouldn't have. i think that christians would be a lot better off and the church a bit more healthy if we were as attentive to the everyday revelations that we stumble across in novels, music, conversations and coincidences as we are to the scriptures. i fear that we will never be able to fully hear the poetic proclamations of the ancient prophets or respond to their summons until we are willing to listen to and live among the prophets in our midst.

that is all. krista, thanks for the long-term loan.


Lowery said...

When I took Matthew in seminary, one of the assignments dad had for us was that we keep a private journal of thoughts that were spinning through our heads as we read the text over and over. It ended up being one of the most beautiful assignments I've ever experienced. I will always remember long hours in a coffeehouse or at the Dixie writing and writing about what was stirring up in me as I read Matthew's words. I wrote about Pasolini's movie on the Gospel of St. Matthew which I had seen for the first time and found so startling. I wrote of the parables and how they reminded me of stories that had unfolded around me. I even wrote poetry that was really quite horrible, but meaningful to me. It seemed like one thought led to another thought and it was a really lovely mess of here, there and everywhere. One minute I was thinking on Nouwen and the next I was writing about "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." One minute I was writing a passage down in my own words and the next I was quoting a Dylan song.


g13 said...

that sounds like a beautiful experience.

there are times that i wish i would've gone to seminary at lccs. my time with your pops and dr. castelein would have undoubtedly been as, if not more, beneficial than my time at gcts. but what's done is done. as it turns out, seminary was not a time of provocative education as it was a time of thorough enculturation.

congratulations on your marriage brian. i think you've found a partner in the ministry of provocation.

g13 said...

wow, two uses of provocation in one comment. my senior english teacher never should have taken the thesaurus away from me.

Anonymous said...


Michelle said...

I read Life After God in High School and was so pissed at the ending. Now I've given the book to several people. If I'd only listened then I could have experienced the sweetness of grace, so much sooner.

g13 said...


i'm glad that you reconsidered life after god after you came of age:) i really enjoyed that volume, as well as girlfriend in a coma, which i think is coupland's postmodern apocalypse. i think that coupland has a lot to teach us about reframing the Christian faith.

i hope to, and for, God we are listening.