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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Love and stuff


As a staff, we are reading the Russian science fiction novel, “We” by Yevgeny Zamyatin. This novel paints a picture of a world—the One State—that is completely devoid of emotion and everyone exists for the benefit of the collective good.

Everything is described in mathematical and scientific language. Even people’s faces are described as “geometric vectors and mathematical symbols.” D-503, the “author” who is writing in diary fashion (blog?) describes the One State as a “straight line.” “ . . . a great, divine, precise, wise, straight line—the wisest of lines.” He goes on to say, “My pen, more accustomed to mathematical figures, is not up to the task of creating the music of unison and rhyme.”

This sentiment got me thinking about freedom. The freedom to create. The freedom to dream. The freedom to make a difference.

D-503 was stripped of this freedom.

I value this freedom. I love that I am in a spot where I have the freedom, license, and constant encouragement to create. If I couldn’t create, I would probably curl up and die.

But . . . probably more frightening is the concept of a world devoid of love, relationship, companionship. My family and friends are paramount.

In Michael Frost’s book, “Exiles” he talks about “dangerous memories . . . dangerous promises . . . dangerous critique . . . and dangerous songs” that move us to the kind of action that matters and somehow leaves a mark on our world in the process. It’s not enough to be creative or possess ingenuity. Especially if we become self-absorbed and paralyzed in our creative state.

Living in the One State, the narrator/author/D-503 begins to experience love—which is described as “the most disruptive emotion imaginable.”

Michael Frost says we are, “. . . called to deliver on the promise that we will share bread with one another, we will be one with each other.” This is what companionship really means. Frost also points out the word, “companions” comes from two Latin words “com panis” which mean (“with bread”).

Sidenote: Every culture has bread. Eating and sharing bread is something everyone understands. Sharing a meal not only creates community, it models community and equality. The communion table even becomes not only a place of remembering but, also one of companionship where the participants are all leveled and given the same portion.

Today, I am thinking that I would much rather be remembered for my contribution to love and community and companionship for Jesus’ sake than any creative genius or new methodology.

I also am thinking about how I value my time with my wife and kids.

Here is a picture of me and my love. We are 15 in this picture. Today is our 23rd dating anniversary. Love you, baby.

2 comments:

Brandi Chambless said...

John,

When I first saw the picture, I seriously thought it was the cover of this Russian novel. Possibly a story of two Russian lovers gone awry, etc. etc. However, after several minutes of studying the facial features, I can now see a blonde-haired Tahni and some guy with hair. This is precious. How wonderful you guys are as a couple and as people.

I, too, am studying several fictional historical accounts of varying themes right now. One is on Priscilla and Acquila and what life might have been like for them. The other is on the Tudor dynasty and the state of the church during those years. Both fictional, yet both instrumental in stimulating my thought process and gathering new ideas about how God works.

I encourage you guys to follow-up this study with specific passages of scripture that speak to the conflicts defined in this fictional account. It has been very beneficial to me to do this and caused me to have a deeper hunger for God's word. It has inspired research. Also, one last thing - there is a reference book at the library called, "What To Read Next." Basically, if you liked this book....you will like this one, etc. That has been beneficial as well.

Keep pressing on....brandi

Anonymous said...

This is exactly how I remember the two of you walking around NU holding hands! I love it. Love that you have made it so far. You guys absolutely have what it takes!