The Transposition of my Imagination

I was listening to an audio book of C.S. Lewis’ The Weight of Glory when I blinked a few times in the striking light of his prose, realizing for the first time what it meant to look along the light and not merely at it.  I was stunned. Lewis argued logically in poetic prose. It was so rich and clear. Lewis conversed so long in the western cannon that he wrote with a Western-Christendom accent. He spoke like one who had walked with Truth in the cool of the day through the English countryside and could imitate the Poet’s cadence and tone.

I was overcome with the idea that I was listening to someone who didn’t think about God as much as He thought like God. I purchased a copy of The Weight of Glory before I was done with the audio book and devoured the print by night and audio by day. I was transported out of myself. I had been looking through borrowed contacts. The eyes of my faith were altered. Continue reading

Story as Catechism

Part 1: Blank Canvases

Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be defeated.” – G.K Chesterton

If God were to give you a series of blank canvases and instruct you to fill them with images of how you see the world in light of his blessings, what would you paint? How? Would you plan it out? Would you learn how to draw so your trees were trees?

What if He told you these panels would hang in your house in heaven? Your walls will not adorn Rembrandts or Van Gogh’s, but your own works. What kind of care would you take?

Continue reading

The God who calls

Therefore the strongest argument that can be opposed to the previous one is to be found in the fact that God made a distinction between Isaac and Ishmael and between Jacob and Esau, who were born in the same way of Abraham and Isaac. Nevertheless, Ishmael, no matter how much he desires it, cannot be the heir. No, the seed of the promise, which has the call and, over and above the first birth, has the second and regeneration, is given the preference. But this is the source of perpetual war from the beginning of the world to the end, not about trivialities but about that glorious title “church,” the people of God, the kingdom of heaven, and eternal life. Thus today we are at variance with the church of the pope, which wants to be the people of God and to have possession of the kingdom and the priesthood. They boast that they alone are the church of God which acknowledges God as the Father and worships Him properly. They condemn and persecute us as heretics and the church of the devil. This is what it means that the infants are at variance before they were born; for from the beginning there is a twofold church in the world, just as the seed is twofold: the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, which contend and are at variance with each other because of the title “church.” Paul certainly handed down an exceedingly clear and powerful dialectic when he pointed out the difference between the birth and the call. Where there is the birth alone, there is condemnation; for, as John says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” (John 3:6) and “not of blood, etc.” (John 1:13). Paul says something else. “Because of His call she was told,” he writes (Rom. 9:11-12); that is, the Word of God and the promise are necessary. Over and above the creature, he who wants to rule and be a son of God must hear Him, not as the God who creates but as the God who calls.

Luther, Martin (1966-01-01). Luther’s Works, Vol. 4: Genesis Chapters 21–25 (Kindle Locations 6816-6830). Concordia Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

Emerging from the Wordsmithy

The Old English epic poem Beowulf is written i...

The Old English epic poem Beowulf is written in alliterative verse and paragraphs, not in lines or stanzas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used to write and write and write poems. 5 a week. Sometimes I would write for 6 hours a day. I loved to draw attention to the overlooked, everyday things of life. The magical things. The deep things in the foreground of our daily lives that we just don’t see because we’re usually so busy.

Then I was converted, over a two year period, from the age of 23-25. At the time I was baptized,  I had a fellowship with Jack Straw Productions and was well on my way to a promising career as a poet. But as the months passed me by and I began to read Spurgeon instead of Rousseau and Tolkien instead of Patchen, I found that something was different. I couldn’t escape how vainglorious my work had always been. I read it with new eyes and found that it was humanistic, shallow and self-centered.

I continued to write after my conversion, but I couldn’t help it from becoming sermonic. I would pull out my pocket notebook and pen and pour drivel all over the pristine page. Though I was clothed in the white of the lamb, my words were full of kitsch christian platitudes. Continue reading

The telos of Western Thought

With Augustine and the medieval tradition that followed him, the telos of the vision of God was the goal that animated and informed his intellectual deliberations. This goal could be stated in different ways. Like Augustine, Thomas and Dante spoke of the vision of God as the ultimate telos of man. Man is on a journey to the city of God, and the climax of this journey is to one day see God face-to-face.This journey motif informs much of the Western intellectual tradition, whether in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, or even Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The telos of the beatific vision of God—the thought of seeing him face-to-face one day—impressed upon premodern Christians that the intellectual life is not simply its own end but contributes to a larger goal,the glory of God.While the notion of a telos or goal is not distinctively Christian, it certainly took root in the Christian soil of the West as the gospel spread throughout the world.

Green, Bradley G. (2010-11-03). The Gospel and the Mind (p. 59-61). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition.

The only stories worth telling

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, in instructing catechumens, wrote: “The dragon sits by the side of the road, watching those who pass. Beware lest he devour you. We go to the Father of souls, but it is necessary to pass by the dragon.” No matter what form the dragon may take, it is of this mysterious passage past him, or into his jaws, that stories of any depth will always be concerned to tell, and this being the case, it requires considerable courage at any time, in any country, not to turn away from the storyteller. – Flannery O’ Conner. Mystery and Manners. 35.