Scraping away the barnacles — embracing contingency

At the beginning of every year I read the same book. A book Herman Melville called the, “. . . truest of all books.” A book Thomas Wolfe said was, “the highest flower of poetry, eloquence, and truth. And the greatest single piece of writing I have ever known.”

This “truest of all books” — a sort of autobiography in prose and verse — is a contemporary piece of writing that was penned over two millennia ago. This “highest flower of poetry,” in essence, is a sustained rumination on pointlessness, or better, on contingency. Contingency, meaning randomness, chance, uncertainty: life’s uncertain, arbitrary and inscrutable nature — its only fixity, death — that most perplexing shadow.

Read the rest of the article here: Prairie Messenger



  1. Excellent poetic exegesis of Ecclesiastes. People who’ve never read Ecclesiastes may now meet waiting in line at book shops to buy Bibles, or not.

  2. “We can’t hear the spirit, “fear God,” or love well, without being willing to have our regulations, our categories, our programs, our purpose-driven lives, our statements of faith and systems of theology relativized, not by postmodern notions, but by the humanity of God, who, if we believe the story, showed up in, and as, matter, and therefore as contingency — through which comes the possibility of relationship”
    Profound, Steve. I had never considered the Incarnational quality of Ecclesiastes. Of course!

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