What excuses can I possibly make for this book?
– N. D. Wilson
That’s not necessarily a bad start. But for me, this time, it should have been an omen.
If you like a crazy, whirlwind, where-the-wind-blows style of writing, you’ll love Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl. But if you don’t, well, skip it. You might get motion sick like me.
Author N. D. Wilson is a gifted writer. I can tell that. And he has valuable things to say. I can pick that out, too. But his approach here is a barrage of random thoughts. Ultimately it was dizzying to try to connect the dots, regardless of how beautifully the dots were drawn.
The last sentence?
It is time to stagger into the night.
And with that, I was glad to go.
Nonetheless, many people love this style. It is more poetry than prose, and it is artfully done (qualities I do admire). Not everybody has to have structure. So don’t reject it on my account.
Here are some things I did glean from it, here and there.
It is hard to stay focused with so much swirling around me. God is distracting. He never stops talking, and I can never stop listening.
There is a reason we sleep.
I have been given a belly so that I might hunger. I have been given hunger so that I might be fed.
. . . if God has the authority to design my teeth from scratch, then He has the authority to choose my end.
God has the authority to shape a soul with His voice, bind it to matter, and send it into history. And He has the authority to sever my soul from my body and call it to another part of the stage. He has the authority to reuse the matter from my flesh in daffodils. I’m not worried. I’ll get more.
I look at the world, and I understand the impulse of some of the mystics through Christendom’s odd and spotty past. I understand why they could feel the need to sit on poles for years on end or to fast to the point of death. It is a way of staring at the world without blinking, an attempt at getting at new layers long buried beneath the distractions of our flesh, our communities, our perceived needs. I understand their impulse, because sometimes I think I would understand reality better if I only ever looked at it through a toilet paper tube.
* * *
Do you like the crazy spinning rides at the fair? Give me an up-and-down Cyclone and keep me away from the Teacups.
My thanks to Thomas Nelson
for the review copy of this book
- What’s on your nightstand? August ‘13
- Summaries – August 2013