Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl

Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God’s Spoken World (<—Amazon affiliate link) by N.D. Wilson has stirred my thinking about God and His creation lately. I’m about two-thirds finished with it and it surprises me with new insight each time I open it.

[On a totally unrelated note, as children my cousin and I liked to ride the tilt-a-whirl until we threw up. Thirteen times was our record.]

My daughter’s Classical Conversations Challenge III class watches small segments of the accompanying video (yep, that’s another affiliate link), or bookumentary, each week (they aren’t reading the book), and I’d like to watch it, too.

She told me about a scene from it today and I actually had to stop her because I was reading the exact same story and needed a minute to finish it. The video contained extra details and I want it all.

Here are some quotes and commentary:

True atheism is nonsense. If there is such a thing as beautiful, such a thing as good, or even such a thing as bad, then there is a transcendent standard that determines which is which. An atheist can say that society prefers mothers to murderers, but he cannot say that this is as it should be. Tell us what is, by all means. But without God, you cannot tell us what ought to be.

Without an absolute standard of good and evil, how would we know? Who judges and on what authority?

I see craft in the world. I cannot watch dust swirl on the sidewalk without seeing God drag his finger, or listen to spring rain running in the streets without hearing Him roll his Rs. For those who believe in an ex nihilo* creation, the world is inevitably art, and it is inevitably art from top to bottom, in every time and in every place. The world cannot exist apart from the voice of God. It is the voicings of God.

This book makes me think about dust particles and water droplets and metals and where they’ve been and where they will be in a mind-boggling sort of way.

Do not cry to me. I can only cry with you. I will not die for you. I am still too young in the meaning of love. Talk to the Fool, to the one who left a throne to enter an anthill. He will enter your shadow. It cannot taint Him. He has done it before. His holiness is not fragile. It burns like a father to the Sun. Touch His skin, put your hand in His side. He has kept His scars when He did not have to. Give Him your pain and watch it overwhelmed, burned away by the joy He takes in loving. In stooping.

This quote is preceded by a description of the author removing a large rock from his yard before spring mowing season begins, and the havoc he wreaks on the ant colony beneath it. This story sets up the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, so high above us that we are as less than ants in comparison, in a way that I’ve always known but never seen so fully: “Touch His skin, put your hand in His side. He has kept His scars when He did not have to.”

Even Wolverine heals himself (yes, I know the difference in fact and fiction—I’m a superhero fan and this is what came to mind when I read the quote). Have you ever thought about the fact that Jesus chose to bear this physical evidence when he didn’t have to?

If evil is that which displeases God, then it is not possible for Him to be evil. He is the standard, the ruler, the inch, the ethical metric system (assuming, of course, that the metric system isn’t evil).

Did I mention that he makes me laugh?

Have you read Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl?

*out of nothing


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