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I spent an hour today intellecualizing absolutely normal things. Kylee and I began to discuss and define “fun”: what is Fun? what is fun? is there a difference between fun and enjoyment? (yes: so what, then?) is there fun in the Bible? is transcendence Biblical?
Oh, it wasn’t what we’d call fun, but it was highly enjoyable. I talked for illustration about dinners and lakes and escapades, all the little moments of Fun from the last year or so that I had brandished in joy. I was talking talking talking so fast and so happy, and I said, but know, I have fun rarely and when I do it’s sometimes just me, or it’s just me who will be so rapturous. My friends tell me that nobody does things so wholly as I.
That’s fine with me, being alone in that — though oh, I want all of you “to feel the stars and the infinite high and clear above you!”1 If it’s just me who does this, though, I still want to never lose it, for very little is ever better.
We talked about fun Biblically and I said, oh, but I think it is!, with all Jesus’ feasts and celebrations and joy. And what could possibly be less fun than forty years in the desert? Those are times from which we’re freed. She asked about fun and transcendence, and I said nothing does feel more God-ly. These are the times I am gladdest, most full of belief.
We haven’t had much fun in Italy so far. It’s hard to, working all the time time time and apart from our peoples. We’ve had scraps or snatches, though. Kylee and I identified some of those: her, chasing sheep through an olive grove, and me, running towards the Coliseum at night. We like our delirious late-nights and watching Christine leap from bed to bed, smashing mosquitos swollen with our own blood all over our walls. There has been some fun and yes, we will find and make more. Fun is love, joy, worship. What else is summer — life — for?
“Christianity is something that if you really believed it, it would change your life and you would want to change [the lives] of others. I haven’t seen too much of that.”
. . .
Sincerity does not trump truth. After all, one can be sincerely wrong. But sincerity is indispensable to any truth we wish others to believe. There is something winsome, even irresistible, about a life lived with conviction.
Larry Alex Taunton, Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity
Life! Life! Life! Don’t you like it?
Last week I snuck away for an hour to the ossuary at Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini. Beyond the Colosseum, beyond the Spanish Steps, beyond the Mediterranean, this is the coolest thing I’ve seen in this country (Very close second to the sea; “there’s something about the Mediterranean,” Kylee says. She’s seen it from multiple coasts, and I trust her judgment on this one.).
The ossuary is a series of five small chapels draped and decorated with human bones. You’re surrounded by the skulls, tibias and fibulas, and vertebrae of some 3700 friars. Macabre, the internet will tell you; dark, sinister, or gross.
Me, though: it was one of the most incredible and exciting works I’d ever seen. What more wry, optimistic, and beautiful than a resurrection scene made of dry bones?! What promise, hope, joy; what cleverness; what faith and what goodness.
Oh WORLD, I have so much to say.
For now, I’m Instagramming like mad to keep up just a bit. These, for now, may just barely suffice.
A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.
That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil — this is the gift of God.
Ecclesiastes 2:24 & 3:13, NIV
When I work, I spread out and I shut off to the rest of the world. We expanded the table. Chris is across from me, researching Italian lyrics and playing and singing. Kylee’s at the end, sketching out the basics of her painting. I have my water, coffee, plain white paper and Uniball pen, and laptop and earbuds, standing to type and work and move. Christine just stopped in from the sanctuary, where she’s practicing a dance for a worship service tomorrow. “I’m sweating, guys,” she goes. “This is intense. Sweatin’ for Jesus!”
That should be the name of a dance class, I told her. Middle-aged moms, Chris and Kylee contributed. Sweat for Jesus!
I can do this forever, standing, talking on paper, working, thinking thinking going. The espresso doesn’t hurt, either.