Friday, 12 March 2010

nostalgia and productive chat

We had Tim Keller from Redeemer Presbyterian in Cambridge last week to speak at Great St Mary's the Corn Exchange for "Passion for Life". Saturday (which I didn't hear) was the Reason for God; Sunday (which I did) was Counterfeit Gods. Each evening was loosely based on key ideas from his two best-selling books. By all accounts the Sunday one was better - I certainly found it stimulating, and it contributed greatly to the conversation started between Dave and Dave months ago, which I joined in the Panton Arms shortly before we wandered up to hear Keller.

What a great chat that was - stimulating and intimate, the history of philosophy, the perspective of faith, music, searching, questioning, formulating, reformulating, just what our brains were made for. Looking forward to continuing. Probably have to read some Schopenhauer, now...

It really took me back to the panelled rooms of Downing College at the end ofthe last century, staying up all night with green tea and my agnostic best friend and best man, whiling away the hours on everything - not to mention back to the studying itself, a historical whip-round political thought and ethics from Plato to Nietzsche (in amongst more prosaic [and poetic for that matter] stuff on medieval social history or Renaissance literature).

And that got me thinking about another friend who stayed up all night patiently trying to explain chemistry to me (in those days I was still under the impression that A-level chemistry was "true" and was pleased with myself for having done some science as well as all the arty-farty business), while writing beautiful fractals on the computer. We managed to discuss Reformed theology and the Christian life quite a bit, too, and it was great to see him again at my 30th in the summer after a gap of many years.

Praise the Lord for such wonderful experiences, and for keeping me following him since then. What a wonderful world, what wonderful creatures, what a wonderful Creator.

 O LORD, our Lord, 
  how majestic is your name in all the earth! 
  You have set your glory 
  above the heavens. 

 From the lips of children and infants 
  you have ordained praise
  because of your enemies, 
  to silence the foe and the avenger. 

 When I consider your heavens, 
  the work of your fingers, 
  the moon and the stars, 
  which you have set in place, 

 what is man that you are mindful of him, 
  the son of man that you care for him? 

 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings [c] 
  and crowned him with glory and honor. 

 You made him ruler over the works of your hands; 
  you put everything under his feet: 

 all flocks and herds, 
  and the beasts of the field, 

 the birds of the air, 
  and the fish of the sea, 
  all that swim the paths of the seas. 

 O LORD, our Lord, 
  how majestic is your name in all the earth!