12.03.2006

Snow and Musings

Victory at last! Even in the winter of '96, when we got two feet of snow in Anacortes, it only lasted a couple of days. Today, though, for the first time in a week I actually got to drive my car. The snow has finally gotten itself under control and mostly off the roads. Honestly! I thought I'd left Montana over ten years ago, but Bellingham this week felt just like good ol' Bozeman of a January.

The drama of being snowbound has for me included riding the WTA buses to and from work, creative cooking with canned chicken, lots of MSN Messenger and telephone conversation (most other social interaction having been circumvented by the snowplow shortage), and lots of reading. Fortunately, I've had plenty of reading material.

The Saint lent me Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton, whose work I have heard quoted often but never read. Nor had I ever heard what a hilarious man Chesterton was. In the introduction, for instance, he writes "...There is in everything a fair division of labor. I have written the book, and nothing on earth would induce me to read it." That made me laugh so hard that my roommate, who was upstairs, wanted to know if I was all right.

Another quote, just a few pages in, surprised me with a perspective I'd never considered. He had been talking about the logic and reasonings of minds gone mad, and said this:

"...[The insane mind] moves in a perfect but narrow circle. A small circle is quite as infinite as a large circle, but, though it is quite as infinite, it is not so large... A bullet is quite as round as the world, but it is not the world. There is such a thing as a narrow universality; there is such a thing as a small and cramped eternity."

Perhaps this spoke to me because, as someone naturally and rather desperately analytical, I can look back over my life and see times when my own mind got caught up in an ever-narrowing whirlpool of twisted logic. None stands out to me more clearly than the time I nearly lost my faith; the sense that God might not exist, or might exist only in a less truly good form than I had believed, took me nearer clinical depression than I ever hope to be again.

If I may be allowed to meander so far into philosophy, I may admit to realizing through the above experience that the narrowest of the circles of reason is that which fails to include God--closely followed by that which attempts to strip God of His mystery and confine Him to an orderly little box.

God, however, has spent my lifetime slowly and carefully broadening my circles of understanding. I'm not talking about letting go of truth or becoming "so open-minded that the brains fall out;" I'm talking about learning that God is, and that He--not to mention His gifts of faith and life and love--is more than can be comprehended by even the incredibly complex human brain.

That's enough of my soapboxing. Whenever God shows off a bit of His infinite mystery to me, all I can really do is respond--like He did when looking over all that He had made--with this: "It's good."

3 comments:

  1. "[T]he narrowest of the circles of reason is that which fails to include God."

    Yes, yes, yes. The narrowest mind is that which denies that something might exist which is greater than it and that faith might offer truth that its unaided powers cannnot arrive at.

    The certainty of the Christian is criticized as a form of arrogance, but so often the critic only dismisses the authority and certainty of Divine Revelation to replace it with the authority and certainty of his own mind.

    In fact, the beginning of intellectual humility is to aknowledge that there is a Truth outside my mind, which is greater than it, and by which it is measured. Denying the existence of such a Truth leads me to a kind of relativism, which, in its squishiness, is often mistaken for humility, but, in truth, left without any outside measure, my mind assumes an absolute status, which it cannot honestly claim and which ultimately cripples it.

    "[F]reedom is not realized in decisions made against God. For how could it be an exercise of true freedom to refuse to be open to the very reality which enables our self-realization? Men and women can accomplish no more important act in their lives than the act of faith; it is here that freedom reaches the certainty of truth and chooses to live in that truth."
    (Johannes Paulus Magnus, Fides et Ratio 13)

    ...or as God Himself said in Psalm 13(14) (and we all know God speaks Latin):
    "Dixit insipiens in corde suo: 'Non est Deus'"

    ("The Saint"? Being descended from a man from village near a city named after a saintly Hilarius bishop hardly merits such a title. After all, what's in a name?)

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  2. Have you seen a picture of Chesterton? The man was positively ENORMOUS! He was a massive body housing a massive intellect. Think my favorite Chesterton quote is "There are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands."

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  3. I'm sorry it took me so long to come back here. I want to start visiting this blog regulary.
    GOD bless U.
    Peace.
    Hammer out.

    RC Hammer

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