excerpt from my Sent folder: orbit

These are things I think about a lot. I can only answer briefly now, because having returned home I am in serious catch-up mode, so just a couple of thoughts: I really like the space-program metaphors Walker Percy uses in Lost in the Cosmos: the idea that circumstances can sometimes throw us, not into the world as Heidegger had it, but out of our lifeworld, out into a deep-space orbit, from which we don’t know how to return. Thus what Percy calls the problem of “re-entry”: take too shallow an angle and you bounce back out into space; take too steep an angle and you burn up.

I think a lot of people in our world are terrified of being cast out into an orbit from which they don’t know how to return, so they use social media to perform, daily, their obedience, their fealty to the Zeitgeist. Because once cast out, how could they ever get back?

In Underworld Don DeLillo has Lenny Bruce say, “Love me unconditionally or I die. These are the terms of our engagement.” (And because he didn’t get it, Lenny was cast into deep-space orbit, and burned up on attempted re-entry.) But what people today know in their bones is that love is never unconditional. So they strive ceaselessly to meet the conditions. Which would be a great opportunity for Christian witness, if we had a church that wasn’t too busy fighting the culture wars to remind people of the one who says, “Come unto me, all ye who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

May 12, 2021

In Uncategorized

# #