Most people love to revisit certain stories at Christmastime. In fact, my friend Dennis E. Powell revisits a beloved Christmas story of his in this week’s the View from Mudsock Heights column, which struck me as I had been thinking a great deal about revisited stories this week thanks to what had occupied my time ahead of Christmas. We need to hear stories told and told again; they give meaning and shape how we understand life.
Was it the pandemic? Or has society’s decline increased in velocity? Or is it just me? Christmas is close, but it doesn’t feel like it. Some of that has to do with the pandemic, I suppose, at least around here. The vague sense of being under siege remains, and the Christmas music doesn’t seem to have returned to stores, broadcasts, and elsewhere.
Tuesday was the day that got designated for me to bring in the car, which was damaged September 7 by a deer that wanted to cosplay a hood ornament. It took 10 weeks because it seems as though many people have settled upon leisurely lives following the pandemic, and because our system is currently arranged so that we have a surfeit of experts in vague areas ending in “-studies” and a shortage of people who can actually do things.
Sweat dripped into his eyes. He felt his breathing quicken as the enemy forces crested the ridge to the south, moving inexorably toward him. The sword in his hand felt ponderous. He gripped it so tightly his knuckles went numb, as he willed himself to focus on the thrill of battle over the heaviness of fear. Could he wield his weapon, when the time came? Would it be enough? Would his training be enough?
It was beautiful. It was sweet-smelling. It was deadly. For quite some time, I had ignored lovely, white-flowered vine that had begun to entwine its way around my backyard fence. Gardening has never been a hobby of mine. In contrast to my mother —- who has been known to happily steward anything from ferns to palm trees, bringing them tenderly back from the brink of death and into lush contentment —- my thumbs have always been decidedly mahogany.
A friend recently asked me to chime in on a Twitter conversation in which someone was asserting that Jesus’s disciples did not die over their belief in the Resurrection. Sometimes Twitter arguments can be completely useless, but this one seemed to include some genuine discussion and, as obscure as arguing over why someone died millennia ago may seem, in this case, it means quite a lot.
I see it on the faces of everyone I talk to. The war wearied look of two years and three months since life changed. As we peer into a fall in which COVID continues to roar along and many I know who had dodged it are now catching it, life-February-2020-style feels more distant than ever.
A few months ago, I found myself in a debate with a self-styled theological expert who made a stunning claim: sharing one’s faith wasn’t the duty of every Christian. That’s certainly what our squishy on truth society believes, but increasingly, it seems, so do the culture warrior Christians.
My first challenge in such a piece as this is to try to say what I intend to say as simply as I can, without bogging us down in too much philosophical jargon. On the other hand, one of the problems that Christians have faced is trying to describe their positions, or to combat harmful ideas contrary to them, whilst lacking the philosophical framework that makes various errors easier to see.
I suppose we are much more aware of the lives of celebrities and of strangers, on account of the Internet. But doesn’t it seem like a lot of suicides are happening?