I wrote this nearing the end of a summer-long Bible study where about ten of us artistic-types (musicians, writers, photographers, painters, etc) gathered to read and discuss and create our way through Ecclesiastes, with the hope of sharing our work at an art show near summer’s end. We did that, in an art show/house party in group member Helen’s backyard in Silver Lake. It was a fantastic night, and I had the opportunity to read this piece to the small crowd who had assembled to drink sangria and discuss the wisdom of the Teacher. When I shared the preliminary piece with just the group a couple weeks earlier, one said it reminded them of the letter read at the end of The Breakfast Club. I took that as a compliment.
In my Ecclesiastes Bible study group this summer, most of us are seminarians or recent seminary grads—a little disillusioned, definitely deconstructed, picking up pieces where we can and often trying not to fall into the abyss of doubt, cynicism, or whatever brand of philosophy that tells us we’re fools for believing the way we do.
Ecclesiastes is a heavy book—don’t read it if you’re in a funk, or you’ll never get out. Unfortunately, that’s where I’ve been most of the summer: in a funk. I keep stepping into little dark puddles of despair or low self-esteem or ultrasensitivity so that the pain of the world becomes too crushing for my small soul to bear. Others in our group are jobless, or wrestling with bosses, or questioning their calling and place in this world, or helping parents deal with illness, or grieving the loss of parents. Ecclesiastes is not a cure for our ailments, nor does it give us the answers we are searching for. Continue reading