Read Letters


This is the latest in my series of blog entries taking a fresh look at a variety of topics over the next year. I’ve set up a page on the blog explaining the project and linking to my entries. This week’s topic is “The Sayings of King Jesus.”

Wow, what is there to say about this topic.

I mean, really, it all comes down to, that Jesus, He was a smart guy, you know? Said some really good stuff. What else can you say about the recorded spoken words of God incarnate on Earth? How do you rethink that? Uh, yeah, I still they’re pretty good.

Actually, I think there’s something to be said about how we read those red letters, but I’ve talked about some of that before. It’s easy to be oblivious to how much we assign a tone to the things Jesus said, and how much of a difference that tone can make.

We also tend to forget that Jesus talked in stories and sermons, not in chapters and verses. The man, being God and the word, was a consummate storyteller. That was how the first-person audience received a lot of His words. Along the course of the last couple thousand years, to make it easy to refer back to the stories He told, we’ve assigned them addresses. And we tend to forget that He didn’t. Each sentence that Jesus spoke wasn’t meant to be a stand-alone soundbite that could be taken as complete in itself. Don’t let the meaning of His words be changed by letting someone else take a verse and put it in a new context. Read His words the way He spoke them, in the context He gave them. Knowing the address is good, sure, but knowing what He was talking about is far more vital.

I’ll throw this out because it’s something I’ve been curious about lately, but haven’t had the opportunity yet to really study — do we have any more of His words? We generally limit our study of Christ’s words to the canonical gospels and Revelation, but there are other documents dating back to that time period that are considered, while not canon, reliable? Are there any other reliable words of Christ outside the canon? Does anyone have any knowledge about this?

Paint The Moon For You


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I just had to share this video of Stephen Colbert’s interview with Alan Bean. Good stuff. Bean is just a cool, neat guy, and it really comes across in this video.

A handful of thoughts watching it:

He talks in the video about how he cuts up his patches to put some moon dust in each of his paintings, possibly the only way normal citizens can acquire even that tiny amount of lunar material today. I’ve seen those patches, framed on the wall of his studio area of his house, and it’s bizarre. These are history, selections from a very limited number of artifacts from one of the greatest achievements of human history, and they’re gradually being taken apart until they’re gone. It would be like if someone had an original copy of the Constitution hanging on his wall that he was slowly cutting up. I’m sympathetic and possibly supportive of what Bean’s doing and why; I’m not saying he’s wrong to do it. I’m just saying, to actually see it, it’s viscerally bizarre.

Bean talks about the fact that the original Apollo astronauts won’t be around much longer, and it just drives home how incredibly fortunate I am to have met him and some of the others, and the responsibility that comes with that; the day will come when it won’t be possible to meet the moonwalkers first hand, the closest you’ll be able to come is talking to people who did, and reading their preserved histories. I’m incredibly honored and blessed to have been a part of both, and hope to be worthy of that legacy.

Alan Bean is cool. Have I mentioned that? He’s just a neat guy.

In introducing Bean, Colbert refers to him as the fourth man to walk on the moon, and even though the phrasing was different, something about the cadence reminded me of Hefner’s song Alan Bean, and how the interview belies the opening lines: “Everyone will forget soon / the fourth man on the moon.”

The song isn’t making that argument, it’s imagining what Bean would have been thinking. It’s a beautiful song, and one that I connect with several parts of:

Ever felt like giving up?
I’ve felt like giving up.
But not since 1969.

I found a greater truth,
At a godly altitude,
Won’t waste another day of my life.

As we tumbled down to earth,
We felt the capsule turn,
We saw the blue skies burn.

As we splashed down in the sea,
You were praying on your knees,
It bought a change in me.

Everyone will forget soon,
The fourth man on the moon,
But I’ve got it in my mind.

I’d like to paint your eyes,
But I’ve got to paint the sky.
Going to be a painter all my life.
As we tumbled down to earth,
We felt the capsule turn,
We saw the blue skies burn.

As we splashed down in the sea,
You were praying on your knees,
It bought a change in me.

And what you didn’t see,
I’ll let you see through me.
I’m going to paint the moon for you.

Ever felt like giving up?
‘We’ve felt like giving up’
Ever felt like giving up?
‘All the time.’

(When did “Stories …” become a music blog? That’s all I’m writing about now, apparently. This post doesn’t even have anything to do with music, but half of it’s lyrics. Hrm.)