Thursday, February 4, 2010

Phonies and the Invention of Lying

My access to the Internet is still sparse. I'm in Minnesota visiting my new-born (and first) grandson, and of curse his parents. So there are a few laptops lying around that I can swindle now and then. My son Ramsey, back in Puget Sound, says my new (used) laptop has arrived and it is incredibly small. I've always like small laptops, but this one, according to him, may be over the edge. Anyway, my point being, it still could be a couple of weeks before I'm back on line with any regularity.

I've been thinking about many things in the past few weeks. As I mentioned in the last post, is the passing of JD Salinger. His only novel was Catcher in the Rye. He also seemed to live out his views as express through the Catcher's main character, Holden Caulfield. He did move to New England and, in many ways, withdrew from society.

I think as the story broke about his death, many facts about his life came to the surface. These facts were not hidden, but only known by those who really followed him.

One story was about the cult following of Salinger by those who related deeply to the Caulfield character. One such follower was an 18 year old college dropout who traveled to his home and eventually moved in with the 52 year old (at the time) Salinger. I don't know if they ever married but they did live together for years (how many, I forgot.)

But this started me wondering about what so many people saw in Caulfield that they would be attracted to him. After all, he seemed quite miserable.

I really think the draw is the same part of Caulfield that draws me as well. That is the distaste for the Phony in the world. He simply gave up playing the game. I feel his pain, especially when it comes to Christianity, but the non-Christian world is no less of a phony world.

But Salinger went too far in my opinion (as expressed in Caulfield’s life). What I mean by that is that both of them, JD and his alter-ego, succumbed to total cynicism. They lived without hope in mankind and certainly no hope in God the creator. They were left with only avoided the pretending . . . but they didn’t have any substitute waiting in the wings.

I’ve had many Christian friends accuse me of being a cynic. I know that I walk a very precarious line at times. I too want to avoid the phony, but live in the hope that God gives, living in honestly while being covered by the blood of Christ. Being able to see the ugly truth in my own life and in the life of others, but not allowing that to leave me without hope.

Woops. It is time to give up the laptop to its rightful owner. I want to come back and talk about the movie The Invention of Lying, which relates to this phony business.


Anonymous said...

Congrats a ton on the new grandchild! :)

Agreed about the fine line. Being real, but not being bitter and cynical. It's about being real, AND that real including a view of life that allows, "thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven," instead of, "it's all gonna burn up in the end, which is what you deserve anyway, scum..." LOL...

I think Jesus was the perfect walker-of-that-fine-line. He was as real as it gets.


Anonymous said...

I agree. On the flip side, often the realists are oppressed by the Pollyannas who say, "Don't say anything that isn't edifying" meaning only smiles and pretending. So the abusers, manipulators and etc. can continue their craft.

Jesus had this great balance of showing an intense mercy on those who know that they need it, yet pulled no punches with the white-washed walls.

Computerless Mike :>)