IVP - Strangely Dim - Good Noise

December 16, 2005

Good Noise

I'm about to become Charlie Brown. I'm playing the part in a sketch for our church's Christmas pageant. I've got the dance down, which does me no good, because the part doesn't call for dancing. Instead, I've got to figure out how to match Charlie Brown's odd speech patterns and, more than anything, how to move naturally between having no mouth and having a huge, gaping hole of nothingness as I speak.

The scene we're doing is from the Charlie Brown Christmas special--Charlie Brown is talking to Linus. It's an interesting movement from Charlie's desperation to Linus's serene retelling of the Christmas story. I was cast because I'm good at being loud; my counterpart is pretty soft-spoken and a really good dramatic reader.

We ran lines last night, and whereas my big problem was how wide to open my mouth, Linus stumbled over one phrase: "good news of great joy." This was the herald angel announcing the birth of Jesus to the shepherds keeping watch at night, et cetera et cetera. On our first pass the phrase was conflated into two words: "good noise."

There's a paradox built into the Christmas story: heavenly peace, on one hand, and really loud angels on the other. We're often inclined to equate silence with godliness, stoic impassibility with holiness. But one of most significant moments in world history--the birth of God--was a spectacle of sound and light.

There is such a thing as "good noise," I think, and particularly as it relates to "good news." The prophet Isaiah speaks to it:

How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
"Your God reigns!"

This seems as good a time as any to let you know about my new blog, which will run independently of this one. I've long been a fan of "loud time" as a way to balance an inordinate fascination with the evangelical practice of "quiet time," so I've inaugurated Loud Time as a place to explore and live out the concept of spiritual life together. Check it out and let me know what you think.

In any event, may you have good noise this Christmas, and may you sleep in heavenly peace.

Posted by Dave Zimmerman at December 16, 2005 9:21 AM Bookmark and Share


ooohhhh...fancy. Very, very nice.

Comment by: Damon at December 21, 2005 6:48 AM

Wow--you're not kidding. I didn't even know they had done this.


Comment by: dave at December 21, 2005 7:53 AM

Comments are closed for this entry.

Get Email Updates

You'll get an email whenever a new entry is posted to Strangely Dim

Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

Subscribe to Feeds