Monday, May 14, 2007

Solomon says: Don't be a duffer

The guest speaker at our homeschool support group Saturday night spoke on the subject of wisdom (as in, every wise woman buildeth her house). She talked about expert sailor Mike Plant, whose boat Coyote was lost in a storm in 1992; it was found capsized and without its keel, the weight on the bottom of the boat that would keep it upright. Her analogy was that we need to build up that solid weight of God's wisdom into our lives and the lives of our children, so that they will be able to remain upright in storms. She also talked about wisdom as making the next right choice, having the right reaction to whatever particular thing happens, when it happens.

She mentioned the idea that Solomon--otherwise so wise and having so much already--seems to gone wandering into an unexplored territory of folly--that that's what he was describing in Ecclesiastes. "Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness."--Ecclesiastes 2:13

I went home and read the next couple of pages in Northrop Frye's The Great Code, a book I've been reading for a long time but of which I can only manage a couple of pages at a time. (That's not necessarily a recommendation of Frye's theology; but this book isn't theology anyway, although its topic is the Bible. It's more about myths and typology, and where the Bible fits into Frye's scheme of things. See the comments on that Amazon link for more.) Anyway, those pages were about...Wisdom literature. Ecclesiastes.

Yesterday morning our Sunday School class was about...Wisdom. And Wisdom literature. Ecclesiastes.

Boy, I can take a hint...never mind that we've also been reading Swallows and Amazons. About messing about in boats...and if not duffers won't drown. [Update: Oh, I didn't mean to sound like such an unsympathetic clod about Mike Plant! I was thinking more metaphorically...]

[Update: Kim at The Upward Call has been thinking about wisdom too.]

P.S.: There is one big difference, though, between the way Frye looked at the end of Ecclesiastes and what our Sunday School teacher had to say about it. Frye thinks that a "nervous editor" tacked on the last few verses to make up for the preceding sort-of-negative chapters:

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."--Eccl. 12:13-14

Our teacher takes just the opposite viewpoint: that although these verses aren't necessarily the logical conclusion of the argument of the whole book, they are what's left after you eliminate all the rest. So they fit the end of the book quite well.


Kaber said...

sounds great! I need to study more in depth in the Bible.. I wishI had a group or friend to do that with.

Mama Squirrel said...

Kaber, I'm not sure what your situation is--but a lot of churches have small study groups that meet different evenings during the week--have you checked that out? We've been involved in groups like that on and off over the years, but we were also glad to find a church that offered adult classes during the childrens' Sunday School so that we didn't have to be out that extra evening.

Kim said...

Thanks for the link, Mama Squirrel!

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