While on vacation last week, I started and finished Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad. I have a hard time putting my head around exactly what this book is about — but that’s typically what I love about good literature. Really, it’s what I love about my sacred text. It’s never what it seems. There is always something else there. Maybe just because I see it but it’s still there.
In this book, I was most compelled by the simple question of how one gets from A to B. What would happen if you made another choice? How exactly did you get here? Was it that one decision? Or was it some event outside of your control? Or was it that you are naturally drawn to this group of people who continue to shape your life in ways that you can’t really describe? All of these questions were begged through the curious meanderings of the complex and varied characters in this novel.
This apparently has something to do with a goon — though it’s not an idiom I’ve ever heard before. Instead, it made me wonder about the parables of my own sacred text and the various complex characters that make up this story that is still being written through our Stillspeaking God. It would be an interesting question to pose through a sermon series even though I’m not so sure about the concept of a sermon series. Martin Thielen seems to think the sermon series will save the church. It certainly did something for his community but I’m not sure it’s the ultimate answer. Maybe this question about how we get from A to B would best be asked through group exploration. I don’t think there’s an answer and I really want to avoid any claim on God’s providence. But, Egan has me thinking again about my life. How did I get from A to B? It’s a good question. It’s one worth asking aloud.