Orbiting Dicta

Happy New Year!

“Aren’t we supposed to be saving the world?  I don’t want to rush anybody, of course.”


As my New Year’s gift, let me recommend reading (or re-reading) Terry Pratchett’s Thief of Time (London: Corgi, 2002).  It is not just a vastly funny and profound meditation on the nature of time and history, not to mention human fallibility, but also a good study of ministry – good ministry and bad ministry and ministry gone strangely awry. 


It isn’t necessary to understand the plot to get the point.  And if you haven’t read any of Pratchett’s other Discworld books, you probably won’t understand much of the plot anyway.  It’s a little like the Bible in that respect.


Superficially, Thief of Time is about the quest of the mystic sage and street sweeper Lu-Tze and his apprentice Lobsang Ludd to save the universe from the forces of darkness.  If you detect echoes here of the Way of Lo-Tze and the Tao Te Xing, you would not be far from the Kingdom.  Or at least from the Taoist and Zen perspective that seemingly inspires the story.  Let me warn you, however, that beneath the comic surface lurks an insidiously Christian view of the world.  Pratchett is a spiritual cousin of C. S. Lewis and much, much funnier.


Sample dialogue:


          “You can’t think about just one person while you’re saving the world.  You have to be a cold, calculating bastard.” 

“That sounded as if you are quoting somebody,” said Unity. “Who said that?”

“Some total idiot.” (p. 335)


Back to the future, folks!