Sunday, April 16, 2006

The God of Small Things

Finally pushed myself to finish Roy's The God of Small Things yesterday. It's actually a rewarding work and worth the effort. It reminds a little of Morrison's Beloved, but also of Paul Scott's The Jewel in the Crown. Morrison not on account of the difficulty of the read, but because of the sinewy materiality of time in the novel: the narrative lurches forwards and backwards along an event line, like an estuary caught between mountain outflow and saline backwash. Scott in structural terms - a story which could be told in a short paragraph is turned and worked from all angles like a master craftsman working a roccoco table leg on a lathe. Most interesting of all is the way the two central taboos of the story - incest and touchable-untouchable sex - are handled with subtlety and from a interior visceral perspective.

Now onwards to Pankaj Mishra and the eternal beckoning of buddhahood also known as the emotional science of engaging with dukkha (suffering).

You'll be glad to know that in the midst of all this literature, I've managed to have a full-force argument with an evangelist (I had to, it being Easter).


grace,  12:27 pm  

I am sure you were successful in convincing said evangelist of your intellectual and moral superiority. Why don't you pick on someone your own size? Like a Harvard or Princeton Seminarian for instance. What, not kooky enough for you?

Then again perhaps you are well-suited with nigerian evangelists. There is nothing a fanatic loves more than his ideological opponent.

baba sala,  2:02 pm  

grace you appear jealous

Jeremy 3:07 pm  

I wish there were such seminarians available here (did you know that many who go through seminary school end up losing their faith?) For now, I have to do battle with those who believe in their own theological superiority simply because Jesus told them so.

Everchange 4:28 pm  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
grace,  6:36 pm  


I do know people lose their faith in seminary. I also know wonderful people who are in seminary or have graduated and are now teachers/pastors/activists, and they still have faith.

It seems to me like you have already concluded about 'evangelicals' long before you meet them. This is probably why when you do meet a christian you approve of, you praise him/her as an exception. Methinks you are just as superior-acting as the witlesses.

Styl Council 7:05 pm  

Babasala.. a ba!..Surely you can grace (pardon the pun) these discussions better than to accuse a fellow contributor of jealousy?!

However, to Grace, i say..You're presuming that Jeremey has a morals superiority...I beg to differ!

I think the safest presumption is that no mortal-being can claim a morally supriority over to another. But we can be morally -driven and aware than each - other!

Remember there's 2 sides to a story and we don;t know what wonderful retort the evangelists gave back!

Jeremy 8:26 pm  

I dont doubt there are plenty of evangelicals who do good things in the world (surely the most important test of how 'good' a faith is). The one I had an argument with over Easter, no matter how uber-opionated, is I'm sure an ethical person who tries her hardest to do good works. My beef is not with evangelicals so much, its with the logic of evangelism itself. At base, denominations that preach evangelism have an unavoidable superiority complex which has its flipside in intolerance.

Put it like this: how can you be evangelist and NOT believe your version of faith is the best? What I always try (and fail) to get evangelicals to admit is that there are other forms of belief system on offer in the theological market place that ARE EQUALLY VALID. Its incredibly difficult for an evangelical to accept this, which means that they must always be intolerant of other faiths at some conscious or unconscious level. This intolerance and lack of respect can only lead to conflict at some stage or other.

More iniquitous still is the pentecostal delusion of prosperity doctrine, which is just a cheap crack-cocaine trick to fool the gullible. It stands against mathematical logic that EVERYONE going to an evangelical church will, if only they are prayerful, be rich and famous or whatever it is they pray for. So the pastor-idols and Jesus-wannabees are peddling a dangerous illusion, when what they could say is go out there and do good works and be humble and love your neighbour and support orphanages and do voluntary work and tell me I'm wrong if I buy myself another private jet.

All of which contrasts hugely with catholics (esp Jesuit/seminarian trained ones). As a methodist-background Brit, I was brought up to distrust catholicism (not for any particular reason). But in Nigeria, I've come to see the good works they do all over the place, and I like the sermons I've been to (they follow a theme rigorously and translate it into ordinary language) - in sharp contrast to the mumbo jumbo make-it-quick incoherence spouted by Pastor Chris et al. The only thing the Catholics have seriously messed up on is HIV and the condom issue...

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