Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Heresy is beautiful

One common misconception about religious people is that they are shackled by doctrines. That may be true of some. It may even be true about me at times. But I also believe that many folks who are drawn to religion are drawn to the idea of mystery. Religion (at least the religion that has captured my own soul) is about liberation from the shackles of falsehood. It is about freedom and new ways of understanding what it means to be human. It is light in the midst of darkness.

The same is true about art. Art is most profound when we concentrate on the experience of its creation and as a result our notions of reality are changed. I believe BBQ is an art. It makes no difference to me whether someone cooks a brisket on an Ugly Drum Smoker or in the oven. Either way something profoundly unique is happening, a reality is changing, and it doesn't matter to me whether people think the method is pure. What matters is that the experience has revealed something about existence that is worth knowing.

O.K., now I'm pontificating. My wife hates it when I ramble like this, and I suspect you do too. But I had to try and find some words to capture my reaction to a video I recently watched on Youtube. It is a short video of a Japanese man sharpening a knife in a way that is totally new to me. I was awestruck watching him do something I have done, in a way I would never have imagined. He has moved me beyond my fixed understanding of "how it's done" and I am a better person for it. He has taken me beyond the "doctrine" of how one sharpens a knife and revealed the art in the craft. It doesn't matter how he developed this technique. What matters is that, at least to me, something profoundly unique was captured on film and I got a chance to see it. The least I could do is post it for you to see, too.

Granted, perhaps some of you have seen this technique before. Maybe it's not all that revolutionary. Fine. Keep that to yourself. I'm grooving on this guy so give me a chance to be in awe.

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