Take, for instance, the sensational book Fifty Shades of Grey. It's selling by the gazillions all around the world. I have long believed that the New York Times bestseller list is among our best indicators of what is stirring at the mind and heart of American culture. So I'm quick to encourage serious, intelligent folk to read the books on the list.
If you are among the handful of people who have not read or heard about this blockbuster book, suffice it to say it is about sex. I have not read it. I have several good excuses. In the first place, I have a bunch of good friends named Grey. I don't want to be troubled by idle speculation crossing my mind whenever I am hanging out with my friends. In the second place, my friends who have read the book tell me it is unrelentingly graphic about sex. I have a pacemaker/defibrillator. And I have led a rather sheltered life. 'Nuff said?
Now, I'm no prude. Actually, I think I'm a fairly sexy fellow. Check out my picture here. Well, that picture doesn't really do me justice. And I understand the nature of the book-selling marketplace. I know the conventional wisdom is that any work of fiction is required to have a touch of gratuitous sex in it. My wife Judy has been nagging me to write some fiction. I just can't do it. The sex thing is a stumbling block for me.
I can't even bring myself to read the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament. Oh, I know there are lots of Bible scholars who can talk endlessly about the spiritual symbolism of that book. But it doesn't contain anything explicitly religious. However, by the time I get to some of the graphic description in it, I just start blushing and want to do what I do with a bunch of the "begats." I skip over it and read about something like Samson slaying a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass! Oh well, I shouldn't even be writing about a subject about which I know nothing.
So, I'll change the subject. Here's something really interesting in the soup bowl of current news: the discovery of the "Higgs Boson" — the so-called "God particle." I don't understand much about physics, but this thing sounds like it could be something big. As I understand it, this discovery could lead to a better understanding of the creation of matter.
Now this won't matter much to lots of people. The Bible begins with the words: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." I love the majestic, poetic words in Genesis about how God made the stuff of creation. And that is perfectly satisfying for me. I'm guessing most Bible lovers find this satisfying, too, although some folk find any scientific inquiry unsettling.
I don't have a scientific mind, but I admire people who do. I'm glad great intellects are probing for insights into how God made creation happen. Knowledge and truth are always liberating. For persons of faith like me, the main thing is that in the beginning was God. This bowl of soup is so big and my spoon is so small!
I spoke with God about the surprising growth of bias against science and the rise of anti-intellectualism in our time. The Lord said to me, "Tell your readers I gave them their brains. Tell them to use them! And tell them I said so!"