Monday, December 20, 2010

Sufjan Eschatology

I am amazed by Sufjan Steven's latest, "The Age of Adz." I'm still taking in all of the complexities and intricacies of this incredibly rich work. As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to part from my usual ways on this blog and offer a theological response to this cd.

I'll start with the title. Given the "end times" motif of the record, I'm pretty sure "Adz" means "in the year of our Lord Z." A.D., of course, comes from the Latin phrase, "anno domini," which means, "in the year of our Lord." Since we don't know the last number (they are infinite, after all), I think Stevens used the last letter of our alphabet to signal the last day. Where infinity seems to run forever, the end is still in sight: thus, we "rot" and experience "eternal living" (two themes Stevens mashes together in the title track). Like most of his work, Stevens loves to explore the paradox of our faith.

Gloria and Victoria.

More theological ramblings (mine and his?) to come.

Friday, December 10, 2010

For Buck

I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately, and I don’t know why.

You died last May. It still hurts to think about it. When you were on your death bed—just a few days before you died—I called you and told you that you were one of the best Christians I’ve ever known; I wanted to say more. But, you were tired, and I could tell, in your usual humble way, you didn’t want to hear it. You simply said, “That’s very nice,” and then asked me how I was doing. I said I was fine and that I had been thinking a lot about you, that many of your friends had been praying for you—that God would heal you from the cancer that eventually took your life. You told me how much your friends had helped you in your last days, how your sweet wife, Pam, was there for you, that you appreciated every thing. You didn’t know it, but I was weeping uncontrollably. I said, “You’re almost there.” Then you said, “Yes. But I still have a ways to go.”

When you died I felt lonely. That’s because I always thought of you as the one Christian I could count on to be all about the Kingdom. That was you—the man who was all about the Kingdom. Of course, many knew you as a fine surgeon—the guy who single-handedly brought “laproscopy” (did I spell it right? You’d probably laugh that I asked) to Mongolia. You and Pam were always on one of your mission trips—to Africa, to Mongolia. You both loved the Mongolian people, and they loved you, too. To others, you were the guy who started the “In His Steps” ministry on the poor side of town (but you wouldn’t like it that I called it that). But that’s what it was—these were people who had little. You taught the Bible and shared your life with them. To them you weren’t “Dr. Rusher.” They called you “Buck” and “my Bible study teacher.” They loved you, too.

I miss you, Buck. I know I’m not the only one. Your lovely wife, daughter and son, son-in-law and daughter-in-law—and especially your grandchildren—they miss you more. I know once I moved to Bolivar we didn’t have much time to talk. You invited me several times to come down and duck hunt with you. I wish now I would have come every time you offered. I’ll miss your emails, too. Whenever you’d ask questions about the Bible, it reminded of the times we’d talk about our faith—your insatiable desire to know the Word of God was so refreshing. Many Christians don’t know the Bible; when I try to inspire them to read it more, their eyes glaze over, like I’m boring them to tears. But you couldn’t get enough. I loved that about you.

There’s so much more I want to say. When I think about you now—enjoying the things we wondered about—I feel better. But, I still miss you. I guess I’m still grieving. I just had to tell you these things.

I feel like I should say,”Merry Christmas!” But, that doesn’t sound right. So, instead I’ll say, “Glory to God in the Highest!” (I think you’d like that better anyway.)