-Charles' father, speaking of "the wearing of tall hats on Sunday", in Brideshead Revisited.
I do have a tall hat (the proper finish to a morning coat and crevat), although I have to confess that it has been some time since it wore it on a Sunday. Instead, I propose we judge a man by what he has on his nightstand. It is here that you will find a man's character: his ambitions and his failings. Rather than have human resources departments administer all sorts of psychological tests, I propose that we simply give them a list of things we have beside our beds. That will show them the true state of our lives. I would have given a full list of what is beside mine, only it toppled over in a Babelesque display a few days ago. So now I just get up on the other side of the bed. All of this does give me a chance to go through and catalogue the assorted things I've been reading over the past month. 1984 (Orwell), The Odyssey (Homer, not Simpson), Truth and Method (Gadamer), Simply Christian (NT Wright), MIssion Shaped Parish, and a few other odds and ends, not least of which is the autobiography of MIles Davis.
Over the last few weeks I've been struck again by the story of Bartimaeus. I read it and preached on it in the past, but it has stayed with me. I have found myself returning to it from time to time. It is the story of vision.
Mark 10: 46-52
Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." So they called to the blind man, "Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
"What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him. The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see."
"Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.