On the Road
I’ve been on the road and away from the blog the last week, traveling and airing out my brains. I’ve got my wife, a couple of books, and spotty internet connections for traveling companions on these open stretches of highway through small-town middle America.
“Journeys are the midwives of thought.”
-Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel
In case you haven’t been stricken by an early summer wanderlust, here are some thought provoking posts you can let your mind roam through.
I read an article a while back entitled, In Praise of Lo-fi. The author talks about a quickly disappearing luxury in our postmodern world- disconnectedness. With ubiquitous wi-fi and ever smarter phones that are supposed to increase productivity, the time we spend off the grid is increasingly decreasing. Airplanes used to be one of the last bastions of reflective thought. In that pressurized cabin where sound is dampened and life is paused, we could gaze out the window and gain new perspectives. Now, instead of letting our imagination wonder and speculate about the nature of clouds or the immensity of the universe, we default our queries to wikipedia and google for quick answers and cheap facts.
Religious architecture at best is a distraction to man. It may induce a self-imposed humility or silence upon its visitors but it doesn’t accomplish anything intrinsic. God is not impressed with contrived reverence upon entering a church. Neither is He impressed with magnificent works of architecture constructed in His name. He does not dwell in temples made with hands (Acts 7:48). A physical structure with other-worldly light flooding in is not going to satisfy the God who is light. He wants to shine into our heart and then make His home there. He wants to build Himself into our constitution, scatter our darkness, and break down our opacity. Because we house the God who is light we will ultimately become the city of light, the New Jerusalem.
Despite many of my friends’ enduring expositions on electronic dictionaries and their ubiquity, smallness, and freeness, I am glad that I own a physical, hardbound, full-size dictionary. The dictionary I own (and bought) is the American Heritage, 4th edition. Its usage notes nod to its prescriptive stance. The prescriptive tradition is kind of like the electoral college equivalent in the dictionary world. They’re an educated panel that attempts to inform people how to use language. Descriptive dictionaries attempt to describe how language is actually being used. Most people probably don’t even know that there are philosophies behind dictionaries. Of course, the flak that prescriptive dictionaries get is that they are handing down royal edicts to a disconnected peasantry. How can you control how people use language? Descriptive dictionaries then, I guess, carry more street cred. Although, most of this has evened out since 1961 and the fighting has ceased. The whole controversy seems passe and outmoded but it brings up a dangerous thought- what if people start redefining words?