Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Brazil and that Hint of Fall In The Air

Doug has been posting on Shane Claiborne and the concept of a simple life. I would like to expand on the idea that the complexities in our lives are defined by our possessions and point out our lack of simplicity also has to do with our processes. Os Guinness has repeatedly remarked that one of the most unsimple things we do in our life is keeping close track of time, whether by a watch, a cell phone, a computer icon, or a DVR readout. Guinness points out that it was a non-Westerner who first made this comment to him. We are too close to it to have noticed.

Likewise, I remember a friend whose rule in life was “Never work for a company large enough to have a personnel department.” The movie Brazil featured a man whose life was driven off course by a simple bug (literally an insect) getting in the works of an office machine at the wrong time. People who know me well know that a weak point in my witness to the Christian life is my minimal tolerance for similar "Brazil-isms" in bureaucracies and related paperwork.

Doug and I were talking about the beginning of the new school year that is coming upon us. Last week I updated my syllabi; I organized my files of lecture notes. Doug and I began preparation on some lectures he will be giving in my class. College football starts in a couple of weeks and the band practice field is already occupied. I recalled just for a moment that simple joy of myself as a young boy looking at his new lunch box. I know it irritates my wife when these things happen when it's 97 degrees and I proclaim that "there is a hint of Fall in the air". In all of this, at the beginning of a new cycle, I realize that I have a gift from God at still being joyful in what I do.

Doug was talking to me about Ecclesiastes this morning, and I guess in the category of possessions and processes I would like conclude with the following:

“Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him, --- for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work --- this is a Gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.” (Eccl 5: 18-20)

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