“In For the Time Being, Annie Dillard attempts to keep God around and keep Him nice (if weepy). And so she (like many others) scraps omnipotence, ‘The very least likely things for which God might be responsible are what insurers call acts of God.’
Go that route. Katrina wasn’t Him. Nothing involving fault lines is Him. Stop looking at Him like that–He’s never so much as touched a tornado. He exists, and He’s friendly, but if you’re in some kind of trouble, you might just want to make a deal with the devil. Go to the man in charge, I always say. You can renege later, and you might get really good at the guitar in the meantime.” (Nate Wilson, Notes from a Tilt-a-Whirl, p. 64)
“Tree I say and you know what I mean. You see one in your mind, or glance out your window and remember much needed pruning. Tree, God says, and there is one. But He doesn’t say the word tree, He says the tree itself. He needs no shortcut. He’s not merely calling one into existence, as though His voice creates. His voice is its existence. That thing in your yard, that mangy apple or towering spruce, that thing is not the referent of His word. It is His word and its referent. If He were to stop talking, it wouldn’t be there. Or do you think that its molecules and atoms and quarks are made of some mysterious self-sustaining matter that has always been and will always be, some infinite Play Doh or hydrogen, holy be its name?…Place your faith in the infinitude of matter if you like, and Chance will write the story. He’ll shuffle together the pages, words, scribbles from different languages, other people’s noses, and small bits of string, run it all through the mulcher, and spray it into your yard. Enjoy your novel.” (Nate Wilson, Notes from a Tilt-a-Whirl, p. 43-44)
Nate Wilson’s Book Notes from a Tilt-a-Whirl
is one of the best books I have recently read. It stirred up gratitude within me for the world God has made. He affirms God’s sovereignty over all of creation, but not with a grim countenance. Rather he rejoices in all that God has done, is doing and will do. I am not going to comment much on the book, but I thought I would post some of my favorite quotes.
After discussing various philosophers and their failure to explain the world Wilson says this:
Give me priests. Give me men with feathers in their hair or tall domed hats, female oracles in caves, servants of the python, smoking weed and reading palms. A gypsy fortune teller with a foot-pedal Ouija board and a gold fishbowl for a crystal ball knows more about the world than many of the great thinkers of the West. Mumbling priests swinging stinking cans on their chains and even witch doctors conjuring up curses with a well buried elephant tooth have a better sense of their places in the world. They know this universe is brimming with magic, with life and riddles and ironies. They know the world might eat them, and no encyclopedia could stop it…Marx called religion an opiate, and all too often it is. But philosophy is an anesthetic, a shot to keep the wonder away.