A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Friday, April 6, 2012


I have adored Sherlock Holmes for as long as I can remember. In all probability, it was Basil Rathbone chasing a large imaginary dog on a tightly budgeted, smoke-ridden set that started my lifelong love for the residents of 221B Baker St. Obviously, I'm not old enough to have seen Rathbone romping around in his heyday but I developed a quaint fondness for watching old matinee things on weekend afternoons during my impressionable years.
For me, Rathbone was always the Sherlock Holmes... even when the great Jeremy Brett came into prominence as the Victorian sleuth.

Some days when I wake up, I still consider Rathbone as my Sherlock but other days, it's the mesmerizing Benedict Cumberbatch. Neither of which, I agree, is definitively Sherlock but there's something about their performances that grabs you and draws you into the story. Rathbone's Holmes is a clever English gentleman who is heroic and honourable. A man holding onto the ideals of his day. Cumberbatch's Sherlock is an obnoxious logician for whom sentiment is a weakness. He is an iconoclast and has the gift and weakness of not caring too much what people think of him. For him, sleuthing is a sport and a challenge, winning is more important than compassion. Athough that's not to say that he has no spark of feeling. Even with all the nods to Doyle's Holmes, the modern day revival is a cynical postmodern Sherlock who has few ideals and fewer friends. The sum of his existence is to find the next big kick.

Despite his overweening arrogance and peevishness, I find this modern day Sherlock Holmes quite refreshing. A man who tells it like it is so rare in this day and age, that he's called controversial. A man who doesn't act on sentiment is rarer still.

When one is responsible for other people, it's often difficult to maintain that balance between head and heart. Our culture, however, today does tip towards sentimentality. How many times have we heard/read the mantra... "follow your heart" as if the heart is a much more reliable guide to making decisions than hard headedness? How many people have done exactly that and gone down the slippery slope of no return?

The interplay of reason vs compassion in the "Sherlock" series is fascinating, nonetheless. Although as a Christian, I don't see them as diametrically opposed to one another because the Bible doesn't.  The problem is that we often lack the third party which governs both -- divine insight through scriptures.

We rely far too much on ourselves to discern reality.

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