Monday, July 30, 2012
Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl
Lots of people kept telling me that I had to read ND Wilson's book, Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl. I thought that the title sounded rather strange, but I decided that I'd get it and read it, anyway. I kept forgetting about it, but I finally got it. And I'm sure glad I did :D
It's incredible. The way Wilson writes...it's more like painting. Every sentence is beautiful.
ND Wilson reveals such convincing cases for so many aspects of Christianity. Wilson reminds us and makes it clear to us that we are part of a story. The infinite story. The best story. The one full of God's artistic touches. So complete and perfect that no blade of grass, or drop of water, or smile, or touch are without purpose.
"I love being in the story," Wilson writes. "Because there are beetles and my wife and my children with wide eyes and ticklish ribs and dirt that smells and hands that blister and wasps and moths and every-flavored wind. I love seeing the story because it shows me who I am and how far I need to go. Because it knocks me down and waits to see if I'll get up. Because we are always standing on a cliff's edge, and the danger is real. The choices in front of you never go away. Scene after scene is given to you and the teeming universe in the audience waits for your reaction, for your line, waits to see if you'll yell at the fat-faced child who spilled the milk, or if you'll laugh and kiss a cheek. What kind of father will you be in their story? The hump on their back that will always haunt them, the one who gave them damage to overcome? The one who's too busy? The one who drinks? The one who cheats?"
A big point in Wilson's book is that there are times in the story when you will fall down. Our bodies shrivel up and stop working. We die. Children are abused. Old people are neglected. There are days in your life when you feel like nothing is worth anything. When you think the sun will never shine again. This is not because God is being cruel or selfish. It's because he knows how to tell a good story. Truly good stories are not just happy stories.
"I have killed good people. I have orphaned children and have given villains a period of strength, a time for them to wax fat before they are struck down. I have done all this in novels for children. Am I a murderer? A predator? Of course not....I want my characters free, but my art fails. I am not as big as God, and my characters are so much smaller than His, so much more artificial. His, well, His can really pop their knuckles, really fill their lungs with air, really look goodness in the eye and spit at it...The shadows exist in the painting, the dark corners of grief and trial and wickedness all exist so that He might step inside them, so we could see how low He can stoop. In this story, the Author became flesh and wandered the stage with Hamlet, offering His own life. In this story, the Author heaped all that He loathed, all that displeased Him, all the wrongdoing of the world, onto Himself. Evil exists so that He might be demeaned and insulted, so that the depth of His love and sacrifice could be expressed as much as is possible in the small frame of history."
In short, I highly recommend this book. It's really opened my eyes to things that I already knew, but I had forgotten the importance of. Things that I never thought of before. And things that I never really understood.