Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Too much to cover: Big-kid friends, "Glee", and cultural myths

Tuesdays are always a busy day because of Life Group, and last night was our turn to cook, which only compounds things further.  (Though hubby's "breakfast for dinner" appeared to be a big hit, we were a little low attendance-wise, so it looks like leftover breakfast will be for dinner for the rest of the week.)

Then, due to a juxtaposition of circumstances, we didn't have a babysitter for the kids.  So while the grown-ups talked and read downstairs, I stayed upstairs with my 21-month-old son and a just-turned-5-years-old boy I often teach in Children's Church.

The two of them had a blast, and I'm sure our friends' son crashed just as hard as mine did when he got home.  But in the course of wearing themselves out, they really wore me out.

To let me explain the level of hyperactivity we're dealing with here, first imagine the level of energy expended by two toddler boys (stuck in one room) playing together.  Then imagine that one of them is a giant not-quite-two-year-old, and is ecstatic to have a "big kid" who can keep up with his rough-and-tumble play style.  The 5-year-old "big kid" is equally thrilled to have a buddy young enough to boss around, but not so small that you can't roughhouse with him.

So, yeah, they wore me out.

And my son was so tired that he went to bed instead of staying up to watch the Prom episode of "Glee" with me, so my husband was nice enough to join me.  I wanted both Finn and Jesse and Rachel and Quinn to have real fights, instead of just high school boy posturing and pushing and one overdramatic girls' bathroom slap, but, eh, c'est la vie.  At least I got to see Blaine in a tux and Kurt was priceless with his, "Kate Middleton, eat your heart out."  (Also, cute guys who can sing covering Rebecca Black's "Friday" make the song infinitely more bearable.)

The big thing I want to talk about, which I'll probably cover more in-depth in a later posts, are the literary works of Daniel Quinn.  When I was assigned to read "Ishmael" for a college English course, I found it visionary and moving, but too naive and idealistic to be of any real effect.  I also assumed (possibly correctly) that the gross majority of evangelical Christians would reject it for its humanist overtones, unquestion acceptance of evolutionary theory, and idealization of primitive polytheistic cultures.

Also, it's about a telepathic gorilla teaching willing pupils how to save the world (or, to at least recognize that the world needs saving).

Well, I've been re-reading the sequel (which I greatly prefer) "My Ishmael", only this time around, I'm also reading my Bible every day.  And I'm realizing that the fable of the "Takers and Leavers" is not in conflict with the directives Jesus provided his disciples in how they should live.  In Daniel Quinn's writings, Takers are the people who attempt to subjugate the world and all those around them.  Their goals are accumulation and overabundance of the material.  Leavers take only what they need, not concerning themselves with how much their neighbor takes, and therefore "leave their lives in the hands of the gods" (Quinn's words).

If this is somehow different from how Jesus taught his disciples to not worry about tomorrow, what they should eat or where they should sleep, and to observe how God cared for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, I'm failing to see it.

However, our cultural myth dictates that it is not possible for us to live this way.  We live in a country that has made people like Joel Osteen and Dave Ramsey millionaires.  We don't stop to ask ourselves how much do we need, but rather, how we can get more.

Anyway, like I said, way too much stuff to try to cover all at once today.  I'll try to expound on the Christian themes wound (however unintentionally) through Daniel Quinn's works at a later date when I've had more time to research.  Until then, I strongly recommend reading anything with his name on it that you might want to pick up.  If you'd like something not quite as heavy as either of the "Ishmael" books, I'd have to recommend "After Dachau", set in an alternate future where the Nazis were successful in establishing a master race.  (Really fascinating.)

And, if anyone wants to flame me for thinking Daniel Quinn's on to something, that's what the comments section is for.  (Though I doubt anyone could top my high school Bible teacher's ability to make "secular humanist" sound like a 4-letter word.)

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