In a previous post I’ve commented on how much I like Douglas Coupland and his novels. I’ve just finished reading Hey-Nostradamus-0679312692another one of his books, Hey Nostradamus!, and while it feels like quite a departure from some of his other novels, this novel only confirms my appreciation of him and his work.

On the introduction page Coupland quotes 1 Corinthians 15:51-52: ‘Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.’ Even in the context of the rest of the novel, this is a remarkable set of verses to quote, especially for an author who claims that his greatest fear is that ‘God exists, but doesn’t care very much for humans’ (does Coupland intend this statement to be more about God or more about humans?). But these are remarkable verses to quote none the less because of the inherent hope that lies within them.

Hey Nostradamus! chronicles the journey’s of four people whose experiences are all related. Cheryl and Jason, who are high school sweethearts and are secretly married. Cheryl in confusing bout of adolescent spiritual exploration doodles on her school binder ‘God is nowwhere, God is now here’ is killed, and Jason in a similiar bout of adolescent spiritual exploration never gets over Cheryl. The third character is Reg, Jason’s father, who is still struggling years later from adolescent spiritual battles with his own father and Heather who falls in love with a lost and lonely Jason.

This book is wierd, but it’s a Coupland so it’s normative, deeply depressing, because the humanity that Coupland portrays feels too real and yet so hopeful ending with the declaration of the father of the prodigal son; ‘Awake; Everyone listen, there has been a miracle-my son who once was dead is now alive. Rejoice! All of you! Rejoice! You must! My son is coming home!’

There is a quote that sums up Coupland’s book perfectly, especially in the uncertainty of our post-modern culture: ‘This is far too wise a book to offer answers, but affirms that seeking them is a necessary part of our humanity.’ This to me is what the church needs to do a better job at…we need to stop thinking we have the answers and spend more time encouraging the search allowing the spirit to provide the answers.

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I’m a big fan of Douglas Coupland, the author. His books are crazy funny and deeply insightful in regards to culture, technology, relationships and the difference between generations.

I’m re-reading Micro-Serfs, which came out in 1994…a loooooooooooooooong time ago. It’s about a group of friends who all happen to work at Microsoft and idolize Bill Gates while they sort out their lives, make meaning for themselves and try not to self-destruct.

microserfs
Because it’s written in 1994 and deeply steeped in the culture at the time it’s a bit like a walk down memory lane. One paragraph in particular got me reminiscing….and wondering…

‘Then we digressed into a discussion of how the word ‘dialing’ is itself such an anachronism-a holdover from rotary phones. ‘Inputting’ would be more true. And who came up with the word ‘pound’ for the ‘#’ symbol. Wouldn’t ‘grid’ have been easier and more fun? I mean ‘pound’?
Or think of how dumb it is too say, ‘I’m going to the record store.’
Technology!’

It made me start wondering what things technology has made obselete that are still apart of our daily vocabulary?….technology advances far faster than language, we invent new words to keep up with technology but often don’t delete old, obsolete, archaic words from our vocabulary, as evidenced by the fact that in 2009 I still say ‘Awesome’ too much.
Whats the over/under on when Blockbuster video rental places no longer exist?

It also made me realize that I miss the experience of going to the ‘record store’ and flipping through vinyl or even CDs. Especially when the other day I was walking down Berwick Ave in Soho in London and realized that is the street where the cover art for ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’ by Oasis is from. Said record shop is the red door on the left by the second street light.

morningglory