Tolle Lege: Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl

Readability:  1

Length: 201

Author:  N.D. Wilson

How does one describe Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl? Theological mind candy? That just might work. Theology, imagination, fiction, philosophy, sarcasm, nature, science all collide here to form a wondrous Frankenstein. This book will grab your heart and mind in several ways at once pulling them several directions toward a single purpose. The big questions are answered well in a playful but serious way, more serious than those of austere academia often treat them with. 

If you enjoy the writings of C.S. Lewis or Donald Miller but long for something more theologically sound and substantive I commend N.D. Wilson to you. I can’t wait to get his children’s books – for me!

This world shaped by His words can never be tamed by mine.  But there is joy to be had in trying and falling short.

Death is that black stripe above my head on the measuring board.  When I’ve reached it, well, then I can go on the gnarly rides.

Skipping centuries to the modern Enlightenment, Descartes, the Frenchman, had a little trouble knowing that he existed.  But the he looked to the Little Engine That Could and learned that all he needed to do was to think that he was, and he would be.  Cogito, ergo sum.  I think, therefore I am.  Say it often enough, be willing to help out other trains in trouble, and you’ll be fine.  I think I am. I think I am.  Descartes cogitoed himself (and the rest of the world) into being.  Because of the mental ace he found in his mental sleeve, the modern world was built.  Its foundation? Reason can get you anywhere.

You are spoken. I am spoken. We stand on a spoken stage. The spinning kind. The round kind. The moist kind. The kind of stage with beetles and laughter and babies and dirt and snow and fresh-cut cedar.

You are made of cells. I am made of cells. My cells are built on molecules. My molecules make use of atoms. My atoms are mostly space, but the bits that aren’t are called quarks. My quarks are standing because they’re obedient. They’ve been told to by a Voice they cannot disobey.

For Berkeley and Buddhists and most breeds of Hindu, this world is illusory, sleight of hand. It seems material, the way the smoke plays with the mirrors, but it isn’t. The word is Vegas magic. Pick a card.

Kick a stone. There are no tricks here. There are no props, no prefabbed white rabbits. The magic is real, and I stand blinking on the stage because of it. I’m real. I’m heavy. I’m matter. Cut me and I’ll bleed. But I’m not made out of anything, and if the Magician, the poet, the Word, if the Singer were to stop His voice, I would simply cease to be.

In Virginia there lived a man named Roy Sullivan. He was struck by lightning seven times. I’m told the rough odds of this happening are 1.6 x 10 to the 25th (sixteen septillion). Which is like one man winning the lotto four times, though the luck is of a different stripe.

…After the fourth time Roy Sullivan was struck by lightning, he allegedly told a reporter that a higher power was trying to kill him.

That’s ridiculous. A higher power was not trying to kill him. That would have been easy. Every last one of us is bagged in the end. The more impressive trick is striking someone with lightning seven times and keeping them alive.

There is water in the world that once flew out of the mouths of guards and flecked the face of the Word Himself. There is iron that once tore at his back and iron that once coursed in His blood before it fell on the stones, left for small animals to feed upon in the night. Animals were born and spent a lifetime before being slaughtered, having their hides tanned and cut into strips, interwoven with stone and glass and lashing the skin off the One Poet’s back, baring ribs of calcium. There are proteins still, somewhere in this world, that were used in His beard before soldiers clutched, not knowing how close their fingers came to the Infinite, and tore hard.

But there is nothing now made from his flesh decomposed. That seed sprouted long ago, the firstborn, sprung from the womb of death on the first real day of Spring.

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