Monday, February 1, 2010

A House of Many Mansions

Let's start saying sacred like it means something again. Holiness, blessedness—hallowed, really. Somewhere along the line these became synonyms for don't touch that. I suppose there might be an or else attached, but I'll leave it at touch for now.

I love to be loaned books. It's the voyeur in me, but I consider it a privilege on par with being a guest in someone's home—a guest prone to snooping through the medicine cabinet. The book itself is telling enough to suggest what a friend thinks of you; any markings are like notes taken in a diary. A lent book is granted passage into the mind of another; or, so I tend to think. After a telling enough conversation with a friend, he handed me a copy of David Dark's new book The Sacredness of Questioning Everything. Inasmuch as book recommendations are my crack cocaine, I balk at an oversell; but, what the heck, right? I'd been looking for a little tea and sympathy, and received permission to flirt with a sort of nihilism—or, perhaps more aptly, get into some heavy-petting with deconstruction.

Dark, I am now certain, is of the Klosterman school of thought. That is, the school of thought that suggests all human experience can be translated into and related using the wealth of pop culture piling up around us. I like a man who suggests Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are modern prophets, while a song titled "(Antichrist Television Blues)" can actually serve to calibrate toward The Christ. In the midst of the hipster namedropping and oblique cultural references, Dark resounds with an impressive hurrah for an inquisitive spirit.

Questions of about God, religion, faith, the supernatural. Questions about the government and the media. Questions about our future. Questions are how we grow to better understand whatever surrounds us. Remember Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you (Matt. 7:7)? I don't think Jesus was talking about super-sizing or twenty bucks for the mall. Jesus tore open the Holy of Holies for everyone to commune with God. With that, I'm sure, he understood there would be a bit of curiosity on our part, snooping, like all good houseguests. And what could earnest seeking yield but more of him and less of us?

I'm not suggesting a cavalier approach to communion with the Most High. He is God, after all, not your homeboy. But an invitation is an invitation. I'm not sure I'd keep to the entryway until beckoned into the living room, then wait to be coaxed into the kitchen; just like I'm not prone to tear through the master bedroom, turning out the drawers as I go. The sacred is a posture of intimacy rather than pretense; a home with coffee brewing as opposed to a museum with velvet rope. The sacred is a lent Book. (Yeah, that last one made me a bit queasy too.)