Sunday, January 06, 2008

Break dancing and death

Meghann and I were determined to do something fulfilling yesterday so we devoted the day to shopping at chain stores (the Gap, Macys and the peerless Anthropologie). We were thinking, just wait until the yokels back home hear about all the great stuff you can get at a New York Gap!

Turns out it's all the same.

Luckily we experienced something worthwhile while in transit, which is often the case. One of the things I like about New York is I don't have to be particularly creative about the activity that I'm setting out to do. As long as I take public transportation, I'll see something that I've never seen before. This time, it was public break dancing.

The good stuff starts at the 1:29 mark.

I work at home (lucky me) and that gives me the freedom to listen to whatever I want. Which is good because my tasks only utilize 10% of my brain. Listening to the news engages the rest of my tiny brain and staves off boredom.

I was listening to the White Horse Inn which is an ostensibly non-denominational radio show about Christian theology. I've never heard a show whose message wasn't reformed so take non-denominational with a grain of salt. Anyways, in this show they were discussing the virtues of churches who are nearly always positive. (think Joel Olsteen).

They began discussing funerals and the consensus was that funerals were not a time for celebration. They were a time for mourning. Death is not a natural part of the cycle of life. It is not the natural and inevitable last leg of the journey. Death is an aberration of God's intent, a bad consequence of bad deeds.

My life changed just a little bit. In theory (I haven't been to a funeral since I was old enough to have theories), I've always believed funerals should be a time for joy and celebration. The thought was that nothing wrong has happened. This is the way it should be and we should learn to always find joy in those things which should be. Any mourning comes from a selfish Scrooge like hoarding of all the good things that person provided.

But death is a tragedy. It is the price we pay for betrayal. Not a time to be giddy.

In retrospect, my old theory was haughty and removed from the reality of suffering because I couldn't explain why we felt the suffering. The best I could come up with was that it was motivated by selfishness but I think I knew that the suffering was more intrinsic, more fundamental than that. This suffering is caused by the second deepest reality of humanity: betrayal.

The good news? Love came before betrayal and love comes after betrayal. Love is the deepest and third deepest reality.

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