sábado, 3 de junio de 2017

The Importance of Chesterton, Tolkien, & Lewis

Essays of the Week

by George Stanciu
Each one of us has a non-stop monologue going on in his or her head, which is unfocused, disconnected, and never arrives anywhere. It is virtually impossible to shut it off, to be interiorly silent. Yet, without interior silence, one cannot really hear other persons, experience nature, or encounter the innermost depths of being. On those rare occasions when the isolated self gives way to the loss of self, we become fully alive and life needs no justification, for to be alive is joyful. We find joy when we lose the self in activity, in those good things that are outside ourselves: making art, doing science, playing sports, educating the young, or caring for the old and disabled. Joy is nature’s way of telling us that we are fulfilling our nature...

by Joseph Pearce
C.S. Lewis Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien are two of the most influential and popular writers of the past century, affecting the culture in which we live in ways too numerous and manifold to mention. G.K. Chesterton’s popularity is also in the ascendant. One of the reasons he is so important is because of his huge influence on Tolkien’s and Lewis’ work, and his influence on Lewis’ conversion to Christianity. If it hadn’t have been for Chesterton, we might not have had Middle-earth or Narnia. Chesterton had a profound impact on the visions of both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, so much so that he could be said to have baptized their imaginations. All three of these writers enunciate timeless truths which are perennially relevant to all times and cultures...

by Robert M. Hutchins
The tradition of the West is embodied in the Great Conversation that began in the dawn of history and that continues to the present day. Whatever the merits of other civilizations in other respects, no civilization is like that of the West in this respect. No other civilization can claim that its defining characteristic is a dialogue of this sort. No dialogue in any other civilization can compare with that of the West in the number of great works of the mind that have contributed to this dialogue. The goal toward which Western society moves is the Civilization of the Dialogue. The spirit of Western civilization is the spirit of inquiry. Its dominant element is the Logos. Nothing is to remain undiscussed. Everybody is to speak his mind...

by Peter Kalkavage
In the St. Matthew Passion, Bach indulges his gypsy soul. The work's arias are the most stunning evocations of passion. In moving us powerfully, they provoke our wonder: What is music that it can move us so? What is the relation here between words and tones? What role do our passions play in the Passion as depicted by Bach? What does Bach’s music contribute to our understanding of Christ’s suffering and death? It is as though Bach, in his broad and deep humanity, his capacity for feeling all kinds and degrees of sorrow and joy, was reaching out to all his fellow human beings, believers and non-believers alike, and impressing upon them what was for him the potent truth of Christian faith...

by Dwight Longenecker
Beholding the invisible within the visible is the gift of the poet, and Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the mystical masters. So he saw the majesty of his crucified savior in a whirling Windhover, spotted the variegated nature of a fallen world in “skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings.” He was a philosopher, and not only a philosopher but a prophet, and not only a prophet but a priest, for he saw the intimate eternal reality of all created things and called us to share the vision and knowledge that the whole world is charged with the grandeur of God...

by John Macias
If by love of country we mean something like the sort of patriotism wherein the patriot is loyal to and prefers this nation over others simply because it is his, it would seem that such a habit is open to vice. This patriot is committed to supporting and preferring the actions of his country because they are the actions of his country. Surely, such unconditional support could only be irrational and vicious. On the other hand, should the time come that the individual judges that a given act by his nation, conceived as a project, is deeply inconsistent with the goal of that nation, then the patriot would not support the acts of his nation. In this regard, such a rejection of the acts of one’s nation would in fact be a virtue... 

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