What Is A Trichoplax?

A Trichoplax is one of the simplest organisms you can find. It has no discernible organs or structure, and is basically a flat blob of tissue that moves around. Is it alive? I don't know. But I thought I'd ruminate on other conundrums in this space.

I Agree

Eugene on John

As a follow up to my post about "The Road", I thought I'd pass along this little quote I read recently from Eugene Peterson in the book "Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination". In short: he agrees with me.

"The pastor is the person who specializes in accompanying persons of faith 'in the middle,' facing the ugly details, the meaningless routines, the mocking wickedness and all the time doggedly insisting that this unaccountably unlovely middle is connected to a splendid beginning and a glorious ending.... When we read a novel we have a analogous experience. We begin the first chapter knowing that there is a last chapter. One of the satisfying things about just picking up a book is the sure knowledge that it will end. In the course of reading we are often puzzled, sometimes in suspense, usually wrong in our expectations, frequently mistaken in our assessment of character. But when we don't understand or agree or feel satisfied, we don't ordinarily quit. We assume meaning and connection and design even when we don't experience it. The last chapter, we are confident, will demonstrate the meaning that was continuous through the novel. We believe that the story will satisfyingly end, not arbitrarily stop."


The most important part of the story is the ending.

I just finished reading "The Road"
by Cormack McCarthy (with NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE! emblazoned on the cover) and had some thoughts I felt like I'd share.

First, this book is a tense read. Life (that is, human life, see later) is excruciatingly fragile and you never know whether some horror lurks around the corner for our two protagonists, a boy and his father (simply called "the man" and "the boy"). It's set in a dystopian future that is complete in its grey, bleak depiction of a hellish landscape devoid of any life (and I mean any, no plants, no animals, everything is dead but a handful of men roaming the earth, eating each other or the leftovers of anything they can find) caused by a unnamed apocalypse that has scorched the earth leaving only ashes and death in its wake. The man and his boy are making their way south to the coast. They have no idea what awaits them there, only some nameless hope that perhaps it may not be so cold, or so dead. So that's the premise.

Set in this theater, I was struck by one scene where the man is described as coming upon an abandoned library. He leafs through a soggy book and looks at overturned and ransacked shelves and thinks to himself that the library is a joke, simply because it was built on the premise that generations would survive to reap its treasures. Stop and think about that idea for a moment. We build things because we presume that life will go on. If we knew that the future is only bleak existence, or no existence at all, what would we do? We live life on premise!

This why I'm always astonished at the resilience of atheists in the face of hopelessness. They live their lives, faithfully maintaining that there is no meaning beyond living and dying, and yet seemingly going about their business as usual, some fruitfully so, as though it had meaning.

In a sense, McCarthy's portrayal in The Road reflects this. The man and the boy push on to something,
anything, past horrors unspeakable, the man speaking to his boy of "carrying the fire" and "being the good guys", all the while everything they see and experience is shouting to them that "all is vanity and a striving after the wind".

But of course, that's how we're built. Those who succumb to the idea that existence is meaningless, that the end is a sharp pain perhaps, then nothing, either become like animals or simply commit suicide, or, through cognitive dissonance, convince themselves that there's some purpose despite things. Otherwise, most of us live life expecting life to continue, expecting life to have some purpose ultimately.

And that's why I love the book of Revelation. Sure, it can be confusing, but one thing it tells us is that, in the end, it'll all be set right. We finally meet God face to face, unencumbered by everything that is nasty about us and about the world. Wrongs will be made right and right will be rewarded. And somehow, though we can scarcely imagine it, it will eclipse any darkness we've every known like a million suns over an ink stain. Like the summit on a tall mountain, this gives us something to fix our eyes on as we trek along. And if we believe this is how things will go, that changes how we live our story now.

Hello, Long Time No See

Well, it's been a while since I've typed anything into this little box located in this particular corner of the internets. I don't really have anything to say, just proof that I've been doing something for the past 4 months. I don't even think I'll bother with a synopsis of the paper; I just finished writing it this afternoon so my brain is too fried. If you just want to see what spending four months studying the heck out of a small section of the Bible looks like, scroll to the appendices to see the fruits of my labor. Enjoy! (Click on the "Fullscreen" link to read it not-so-tiny).