Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Book Of Awesome

My son got this book from his teacher and we passed it around the campfire and read sections of it. Interesting stuff. There is a website of 1000 awesome things if you want to get a taste of what it is like. It is great to see beauty in little things. Neil Pasricha does a good job writing them up. Selling the awesomeness of small things. Eloquently describing the even small sub-things that together make up this thing. Awesome.

Small kids don't need to awesome book. Nobody needs to tell them that the chipmunk that sometimes runs across our campsite is awesome. They get so excited. The book is almost teaching us to be a kid again. For me it was often affirming the thoughts I have had about the awesomeness of small things. Not typically the same things Pasricha highlights but knowing other people have Wow moments is good.

Still when you get to hundreds and thousands of these it kind of leaves you wondering. Can we connect this with something bigger? Can we use our minds to tackle the big questions of life and not just settle for thinking about 1000 small things?

It reminds me of communist Russia. It was a country that excelled at producing great chess players and great mathematicians. Why? Because people were afraid. How do you use your intellect and not risk drifting into political thought? Even science is dangerous. It can have military connections. It can have health or environmental connections. One might feel obliged to fight the system. When fighting the system has such dire consequences you don't want to go down any path that might lead to such an obligation. So if you are brilliant but not brave you focus all your intelligence on chess and/or math. Pursuits that can challenge the best minds but have no danger of changing the world. Not changing the world means not offending anyone.

Our society has much of the same. We are terrified of religion. We don't want to think about morals or purpose. So we think endlessly about how awesome it is to dive into a pool on a hot day. Thoughts that are inoffensive but also not very powerful.

Christians will always attempt to tie little episodes of awesomeness to big truths about God. I learned that being raised a reformed Christian and it is very much part of Catholic thought as well. All these little pieces of awesomeness that fill our lives are glimpses the infinite beauty of God. They impact us more than they logically should because at some level we know that. We long for the ultimate in awesomeness but we fear it as well. It isn't safe. As our culture becomes more and more anti-Christian we are likely to see more great minds choose to be safe.

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