March 23, 2008

Deepness seen in literature

This post is part of a three-part series of posts that will explore the concepts of deepness in literature, shallowness, and the answer to the questions posed in the first two parts.

Is depth of thought a virtue? First, let us look to books for examples of deepness.

In Lucy Maud Montgomery's novel Emily of New Moon, we hear Aunt Ruth speaking about Emily:

"But the thing I dislike most in her is that she is unchildlike--and deep as the sea. Yes, she is, Laura--deep as the sea."

Emily certainly is deep. She spends her time writing letters to her dead father, making up stories and poems, and thinking her own secret, unreachable thoughts. She confounds, mystifies, and allures those around her. Yet what does her deepness accomplish? It helps her writing, certainly, but what lasting value does it have? It seems that while it may be delightful to confuse and worry others by living on a different plane, it serves no real purpose to bring glory to God.

In The Amazing Adventures of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton, Father Brown encounters a man named Kalon who calls himself a prophet of Apollo. This man is a prime suspect for a murder.

In the long and startled stillness of the room the prophet of Apollo rose...His robed form seemed to hang the whole room with classic draperies; his epic gesture seemed to extend it into grander perspectives, till the little black figure of the modern cleric seemed to be a fault and an intrusion, a round, black blot upon some splendour of Hellas.
"We meet at last," said the prophet. "Not even faintly could you understand how little I care whether you can convict me or no. The things you call disgrace and horrible hanging are to me no more than an ogre in a child's toy-book to a man once grown up. "

This "priest of Apollo" is so deep, so inaccessible, so larger-than-life. He claims to understand life so fully that even death cannot harm him. Yet Kalon, most confident of all men, is revealed to be fraud. When his scheme falls apart, his countenance and aspect are transformed, showing nothing more than a gruff, angry man. Is this the kind of deepness we strive for- a trusting in oneself and a spotless appearance serving as a facade to the sin within? Certainly not!

Finally, turn with me to the pages of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. John (a.k.a. Mr. Savage) is the only man who will not conform to the demands of the new society. He is repulsed by the rampant shallowness and submission to the desires of flesh. He understands that without a moral standard, man is empty and trapped. But his deepness and his unwillingness to give up his Shakespearean ideals only drives him to the depths of despair and misery. His suffering serves no purpose to change the culture. Why should we take the trouble to think if it will only lead us to insanity?

What are the logical conclusions of all this? Well, if deepness only bewilders and distances you from others and makes you go mad, then we should strive to live on the surface and not dare to dig deeper! According to logic,* we should shun the intellect and live a shallow life to avoid the dangers of thought.

Continued in Part 2, The option of shallowness.

*D v S Either deep or shallow
~D Not deep
Therefore, S Therefore, shallow.

March 18, 2008

What hast thou done?

"What hast thou done? thou hast mistaken quite
And laid the love-juice on some true-love's sight:"
Oberon, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act III, Scene II

Oberon blames Puck for causing the ridiculous mix-up of lovers depicted in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. Although the confusion was based mostly on Oberon's nebulous directions, he can still blame Puck for the mistake. We all know fairies are flawed beings, falling easily prey to the wiles of the magic love-juice. Puck was given the responsibility to resolve the lovers' disputes, but fails miserably and succeeds in making things much worse until the play is finally resolved.

Not so our God! Daniel 4:35 says:

All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, "What have you done?"

I love this verse. It displays so eloquently God's majesty and power. I picture God's hand, immeasurably larger than the multitudes scattered below, stretching out around the universe, controlling all things and shaping the course of history. We are unable to stay his hand or question his decisions, quite unlike the unhappy Oberon angered at his mischievous attendant. And again, the results of God's endeavors are far different than the results of Puck's well-intended interference. We have no need to to stay God's hand or question his decisions.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28, ESV

It's a comforting thought, is it not? We are not ruled by petty fairies who mistake Lysander for Demetrius. Of course, it is not that we have no part to carry out to make our actions align with God's moral or individual will, but God's sovereign will will be fulfilled no matter what. We can rest assured of God's promise to never leave us. His promise to the Israelites from Joshua 1:5 still holds true:

No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.

March 9, 2008

I am a radian

When studying rotational motion we find:

1 rev= 2Ď€rad
1 revolution (360 degrees) equals two pi radians.

However, a radian is really nothing. People cancel it out automatically. The only way a radian takes on meaning is in the context of the circle.

Take this a little farther, if you will- suppose that God is like a circle. It seems a reasonable analogy to me: He had no beginning, has no end, and is perfect.

Seeing as
"I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20), I do not live by my own power. I may try to- (and try I have!)- but my attempts to live without letting Christ shine through me have yielded miserable results. It seems much easier, of course, to live on my own strength. Yet I cannot- my life only takes on meaning in the context of Christ.

I am a radian.

March 7, 2008

My vision for this blog

God has laid a burden on my heart to begin this blog. I've been convinced that I must strive for excellence in all I do, and to "do hard things"- small and insignificant as they may seem. So I've worked on those goals- trying to serve my family, submit to my father, and be diligent in my studies. But besides improving my own character, I want to encourage you in your spiritual growth as well. Hopefully, this blog will encourage me to live deeply and to improve my ability to explain my thoughts while giving you some food for thought and a push to draw closer to your Savior.

My title is inspired by Romans 12:2. I want to separate from the world's desires and priorities, and instead to be transformed by the renewal of my mind. Clearly, it won't be easy- but I know it will be worth it.

One of my favorite verses gives me a reason to "think outside the globe":
"And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." -1 John 2:17 (ESV)