Thursday, August 30, 2012


When I was in Winnipeg the other day, I met up with my dear friend Kevin. I truly love this guy. If anyone besides my wife would be considered one of my best friends, it would be Kevin. (I think I can safely say these things here for I do not believe he actually reads this. His attention is elsewhere.) (And if he does happen to read this, then he will appreciate the joke in that last sentence.) Anyways, suffice it to say that we seem to really enjoy our sparse time together.

For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, or who have taken the time to read previous articles, let me put a few puzzle pieces together for you. Kevin is the one who shared with me his understanding of the Book of Revelation, and to whom I asked why God changed His style in the middle.

Oops. Maybe I never published that story. I just checked for it to see if I could link it here, but could not find it.

Oh well. No time like the present.

Aside: Hey! Guess what? I am going to share a story here about my friend Kevin. (And that just gave me the title of this article.) In fact, I think I will share a number of stories about him, just for fun. (Now I really hope he does not read this.)

I first met Kevin because his girlfriend at the time wanted to learn to make chain-mail. After just a few minutes, he and I quickly discovered our mutual love of science fiction, fantasy and religion. (They do seem to go together, don`t they?) He found in me a willing, even eager, audience to hear his understanding of the Book of Revelation. As you may know, I love to hear what other people understand about religion and talk about their ideas. (If you ever want me to treat you to a cup of coffee, or tea, just approach me with the promise of a conversation like that.)

We set aside a time to get together which was dedicated to his telling me that story, that of Revelation. He said it would take a few hours. I could not imagine time better spent.

When I got to his place, he seemed a bit surprised that I had with me 3, I think, translations of the Bible. I wanted to be able to follow along, but was also prepared to ask questions for clarification regarding possible differences in translation. It never hurts to be prepared, no matter how open you are.

He made coffee, and began to go through the Book. Chapter by chapter, verse by verse, he proceeded to unfold before my eyes what would amount to a beautiful and highly exciting science fiction movie. You only need to see the "Left Behind" series to recognize that, but this was long before I ever heard of that series.

I am not going to go through that Book here, and share what he showed me, for that would take too long. But there was one point, and I forget where, when Kevin switched the method of what he was saying. Up until that point everything was quite literal. "This happens in this manner, and this literally occurs in that way." As I had never really considered this Book literally before, it was quite interesting. But then, all of a sudden, he started saying, "This means that, and really stands for this other thing, which will occur this way. And that means this which will happen in this other way." Without warning, or any change in the Text that I could discern, it switched from being literal to metaphorical. Why, I wondered.

So I asked.

"Why does God switch His method here?"

It was the only time I questioned what Kevin was saying for something other than direct clarification.

"What do you mean?"

"Why does God  go from being literal to metaphorical here?"

And it looked as if I had just hit my friend in the face with a brick.

I can not recall anything else about that day, except that it ended shortly after that moment. Later he told me that simple question, truly asked out of curiosity and not intentional malice, completely shook his world. It made him recast his entire vision of not only that Book, but his faith, too. And really, I do not think I had  anything to do with it.

From that time on, though, he has become one of my dearest friends.

But that is not what I wanted to talk about today.

No. What I wanted to talk about was our  most recent conversation.

At one point, while we were munching on poutine, he asked me why God needed us to worship Him.


"Want. Why does God want us to worship Him?"

I had never really considered this before, and before I could say anything, an image of Kevin`s garden came to my mind.

"Do you need your garden to grow?"

"No. But I like it when it does."


We went on about this for a few minutes and both realized that it was a very apt analogy. (And no, I do not think God wants to make a salad out of us when we are ripe.) We do not require our garden to grow, but truly appreciate it when it does.

But that is not what I wanted to mention either.

Instead I wanted to share a brilliant idea that Kevin had.

Kevin, in case I have not mentioned it, is something of a computer guru. In fact, my e-mail account goes through his server, for which I am profoundly grateful. (Thanks, one more time, Kevin, in case you are reading this.)

He began to tell me about the saving of data. (Perhaps not the most interesting of topics, you may think, and not related to spiritual conversation, you may guess, but, as was I, you would be mistaken.)

He said that when you have things on your computer that you love, you back them up. You make a copy so that you do not lose the data.

If you have a vast computer system, the you regularly back up your data, and even put into place systems that can do it for you.

"God", he said, with a sly grin, "loves us. And that is why Jesus saves. Often."

And now, like Kevin, I will never be able to hear that phrase again without smiling.

1 comment:

  1. Mead, this post really drives home that I have really missed talking with you over the last 20-some years! Why are you way up north anyway? I've also been wishing that I had been able to afford the wonderful mail shirt you let me wear at a con when I was in college. Its very inspiring to see you are continuing to do such beautiful work now!
    Keep up the deep thinking!