Wisdom and Silliness

Tune your ears to a world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding.

Prov. 2:1-ish

I wonder where levity and silliness fit in to the world of wisdom? This is a non-hypothetical question because today at work we have a white elephant gift exchange.

I’m bringing a plush rainbow unicorn and a bag of unicorn farts. I’m excited about this gift because someone may like it…but probably whoever gets it will have a good eye-roll. I’m interested to see how it goes.

People are still talking about last year’s best/worst gift: an unopened Costco-sized jar of mayonnaise, just ready to expire. I am pretty excited to see what comes out this year.

Then, tonight, Ian and I are definitely not following the path of wisdom: We’re going to the opening night of the new Star Wars movie, in a theater entirely rented out to our friend Ryan and his guests.

We still have to go to work the next day, but I’m trusting it’s going to be worth it. If nothing else it’s so fun going to opening night of a movie with a crowd of people super excited to see it.

I’m not sure what world of wisdom might be found in all this, but perhaps there’s something. I’ll let you know if I find anything.

Because you hated Knowledge and had nothing to do with Fear-of-God,

Because you had nothing to do with my (Wisdom’s) advice and brushed aside all my offers to train you,

Well, you’ve made your bed–now lie in it; you wanted your own way–now, how do you like it?

Proverbs 1:29-30

My chemistry teacher in high school read a chapter of Proverbs to the class every day. When he got to the end, he’d start again.

At the time I thought it would get boring, reading the same thing over and over. Now I appreciate much better that it’s never the same thing twice. The world has changed, my life has changed, my thinking has changed since last time, even if it wasn’t that long ago that I read it last.

I’ve since read Proverbs a number of times, including the section with Wisdom calling in the street. This time it feels even more appropriate than ever before, the picture of Wisdom literally calling to people and those people blithely ignoring her in favor of their own foolishness. On a national scale, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

Of course, it’s easy to say “oh, those people are fools who are not listening to Wisdom. But I’m not among them.” But I think part of the point here is that Wisdom calls to all of us, and we all–I–continually turn away. I need to seek the places where I turn from Wisdom and change those places first: take the plank out of my own eye, so to speak.

Something to remember.

Works

So no matter what I say, and what I believe, and what it what I do, I am bankrupt without love.

1 Cor 13:3-ish

I find it interesting that this verse calls out the fact that even good works are meaningless without love. It seems like that wouldn’t be the case: doing something good still results in a good thing, even if you did it out of duty or obligation or something, right?

Maybe the point is that what’s in the heart matters, and doing something for the wrong reason hurts the doer’s heart, even if the external result seemed good.

I’m not sure. And it’s clear I’m not going to get to it today, because I have a cold and it’s a release night, which means I stay at work nice and late. Not likely to be thinking deeply. If I do come up with something, don’t worry — you’ll be the first to know.

Low

These three things remain: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

1 Cor 13:13

Yesterday I left work late and rode home in the dark with two panniers. It was about 30° F outside and a light headwind blew, pushing against the side-sails also known as panniers and freezing my (covered) ears and (uncovered) chin. I was thankful that it was dry, anyway.

I meant to do cadence training intervals, but by the time I got to my intervals starting point, I found myself utterly demotivated. I did a few of the first set, but quit when I just couldn’t get my cadence up to speed.

I don’t know if it was the cold, the dark, my tiredness after a long day, or what, but all I wanted was to get home ASAP. Yet when I got home, I had averaged a full 1 mph slower than usual.

It was all very depressing.

I have a lot more thinking to do about biking, commuting, and my goals. I’m not happy with it now, and something’s got to change.

Hope Extravagantly

Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of these three is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

I like the way The Message puts this. The idea of hoping “unswervingly” I find encouraging. It makes me think that they’re will be times I want to swerve from hope, when it seems like hope isn’t the way, and that’s okay.

It happens when things feel hopeless and dark and like there’s no redemption.

Even in these times, “hope unswervingly.”

It happens when the injustice grows, selfishness prospers, and greed gets ahead.

Even in these times, “hope unswervingly.”

It happens when I feel small and powerless and at the end of my rope, having exhausted all my resources.

Even in these times, “hope unswervingly.”

I’ll confess that it’s difficult when I hear the news:
– National monuments stripped of their land and likely opening of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling
– Likely repeal of Net Neutrality
– Likely passage of the most regressive, harmful, pork-barrel-laden “tax” legislation in generations that’s likely to add over $1 trillion to the deficit, for no reason
– Upholding of the full Muslim ban
– Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord
– Saber-rattling and completely ignorant threat-exchanging with the one nation in the world most likely to actually nuke us
– Slow evisceration of the ACA, leaving millions without health insurance
– Transparently partisan posturing and legislating only to the base, while actively harming the majority
– Loss of vast numbers of experienced bureaucrats from all departments
– Needless ripping apart of families with the deportation of (harmless) illegal immigrants
– Destruction of DACA and deportation of potentially millions of young people who know no other home than America
– Utterly unqualified …boot-licking multimillionaire Republican donors placed in positions of power far beyond their capacities to effectively manage
– Destruction of the EPA and rolling back of Clean Air Act, with likely return to the hideous haze of yesteryear
– Complete distrust for news outlets unless they, too, are boot-licking toadies willing to propagate the delusional lies of our current leader
-… I’d better stop here, because these are getting longer, the list is nearly infinite, and I’m already forgetting…

“Hope unswervingly.”

Lessons from Marley and Marley

Yesterday we had movie night with our friends, something we try to do every month. (This is aspirational; it probably happens eight times a year, with various different combinations of people showing up each time.)

Anyway, in December we always watch a Christmas movie, and although last year we deviated and watched Die Hard, we almost always watch A Muppet Christmas Carol. Personally I’m convinced this is not only the best Muppet movie, but the best movie version of Christmas Carol, too. The script holds up great, the songs are timeless, and it touches on many big, important themes.

In fact, watching it this year, with this hideous and regressive piece of tax legislation just passed in what has to be one of the biggest pork-barrel deals in recent history, the some of the lyrics from the Marley & Marley song seemed all too apropos:

We’re Marley and Marley
Avarice and greedy
We took advantage of the poor
Just ignored the needy
We specialized in causing pain
Spreading fear and doubt
And if you could not pay the rent
We simply threw you out


(full lyrics here)

In Dickensonian times, the government didn’t help people much. They offered poor-houses and prisons, as Scrooge pointed out, and that was the extent of it. Private wealthy individuals helped but they were a drop in the bucket; countless people lived in poverty and misery. I’m afraid we’re going back to those times again, when things were great for the wealthy and the rest be darned.