George MacDonald–“Eli, Eli”

“He could not see, he could not feel Him near; and yet it is “My God” that He cries. Thus the Will of Jesus, in the very moment when His faith seems about to yeild, is finally triumphant. It has no feeling now to support it, no beatific vision to absorb it. It stands naked in His soul and tortured, as He stood naked and scourged before Pilate. Pure and simple and surrounded by fire, it declares for God” (C.S. Lewis, An Anthology, p 53).

Fra Angelico, “Crucifixion”

fra-angelico-crucifixion.jpg

“In the chapter-house of S. Marco at Florence, the artist-saint, Fra Angelico, has painted the patrons of the city and the founds of the great religious orders—dedicated servants of the Eternal Charity—adoring the Crucified who is their Pattern, and from whom their mandate comes. There they are: real human beings of every type, transfigured by a single costly loyalty. There is Mark, the self-effacing writer of the earliest Gospel. There is the Magdalen, completely sanctified by penitence and love. There are the holy women, whose service was of the homeliest kind. There are Cosmo and Damian, the good and honest physicians. There too are the devoted scholars, Jerome, and Augustine; and Benedict, the creator of an ordered life of work and prayer. There are Francis, lost in an ecstasy of loving worship, and Thomas Aquinas gazing at the key to that great Mystery of Being to which he had given his vast intellectual powers. All these—mystics, lovers, teachers, scholars, workers—are linked with the Crucified, the Holy and Self-given, whose agents they are and from whom they draw power and love. The whole range of human accomplishment, in these its chosen representatives, is shown to us in direct and glad dependence on the very-flowing Charity of God. That is the very substance of religion. Like an immense impetus of generosity, it powers out from the Heart of Reality; self-given through generous and adoring spirits of every sort and kind, to rescue and transform the world” (Evelyn Underhill, The School of Charity p 58).

John Chrysostom on church buildings

With all this talk lately about “church” and “emerging church” and “cell church” I thought I would archive this from one of John Chrysostom’s sermons on the Book of Acts (Homily XXIX).

Think you that to be religious is to be constant in Church-going? This is nothing, unless we reap some fruit for ourselves: if (from gathering together in Church) we do not gather something for ourselves, it were better to remain at home. For our forefathers built the Churches for us, not just to bring us together from our private houses and show us one to another: since this could have been done also in a market-place, and in baths, and in a public procession:–but to bring together learners and teachers, and make the one better by means of the other. With us it has all become mere customary routine, and formal discharge of a duty: a thing we are used to; that is all. Easter comes, and then great the stir, great the hubbub, and crowding of–I had rather not call them human beings, for their behaviour is not commonly human. Easter goes, the tumult abates, but then the quiet which succeeds is again fruitless of good. “Vigils, and holy hymn-singing.”– And what is got by these? Nay, it is all the worse. Many do so merely out of vanity.

People change, but not that much. Sermons change, but not that much.

Charles Williams’ play “Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury”

There are some people in my parish who are wanting to put on this play by Charles Williams.  They’re a talented lot, and it would be interesting to see.  I think it would require an accompanying commentary though.  I put it on here because this mildly adapted script may be of value to Charles Williams fans…  It used to be out of print, but appears now (2016) to be back in print.  There are some minor errors that occurred during the scanning process.  If any one wants a micro$haft word copy send me an email and I’ll send you one…

First produced in the Chapter House, Canterbury, as part of the Festival of the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral, 20 June 1936
THOMAS CRANMER Robert Speaight
HENRY VIII Philip Hollingworth
MARY Vera Coburn Findlay
FIRST LORD Jeffrey Leighton
SECOND LORD Frank napier
A PRIEST Sidney Haynes
A PREACHER William Fordyce
A BISHOP William Gorman
FIGURA RERUM, A SKELETON E. Martin Browne
The Commons; Singers; Executioners
The character of ANNE BOLEYN was not included in the somewhat shorter version of the play given at Canterbury
Directed by E. Martin Browne

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Kierkegaard — On Self and Passion

Follow this link to purchase the book.

Kierkegaard’s understanding of “passion” is different from many writers of the early church who sought to quell passion in the soul. Here passion does not refer to inordinate desire, but rather to the awareness of the significance of one’s existence and actions.

It is impossible to exist without passion, unless existing means just any sort of so-called existence. For this reason every Greek thinker was essentially a passionate thinker. I have often wondered how one might bring a man to passion. So I have thought I might seat him on a horse and frighten the horse into a wild gallop, or still better, in order to bring out the passion properly, I might take a man who wants to go somewhere as quickly as possible (and so was already in a sort of passion) and seat him on a horse that can barely walk. But this is just how existence is, if one becomes conscious of it. Or if someone hitched a carriage with Pegasus and an old nag, and told the driver, who was not usually inclined to passion, “Now, drive”: I think that would succeed. And this is just how existence is, if one becomes conscious of it. Eternity is the winged horse, infinitely quick, and time is the old nag, and the existing individual is the driver; that is to say, he is the driver when his existence is not merely a so-called existence, for then he is no driver, but a drunken peasant who sleeps in the wagon and lets the horses fend for themselves. True, he also drives, he is a driver, and so there are perhaps many who–also exist.

Søren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Crumbs, trans Alastair Hannay, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) 260-261.

Fukuyama on Identity and Migration

 


Francis Fukuyama is professor of international political economy at Johns Hopkins School of International Studies. This piece is adapted from an article first published in Journal of Democracy 17:2 (2006) © National Endowment for Democracy and the Johns Hopkins University Press.

Modern identity politics springs from a hole in the political theory underlying liberal democracy. That hole is liberalism’s silence about the place and significance of groups. The line of modern political theory that begins with Machiavelli and continues through Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and the American founding fathers understands the issue of political freedom as one that pits the state against individuals rather than groups. Hobbes and Locke, for example, argue that human beings possess natural rights as individuals in the state of nature—rights that can only be secured through a social contract that prevents one individual’s pursuit of self-interest from harming others.
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