Saturday, October 08, 2011
Friday, October 07, 2011
Notably, all but one of the books Lewis mentions are Christian. The one exception, the one permanent debt he records to a pre-Christian book, is Virgil's Aeneid, the epic poem in which the Trojan Aeneas, lacerated by war and Juno's wrath, travels to Italy under divine summons and lays the foundation of Rome. Long before Lewis became a Christian, the Aeneid acted upon him almost as a Christian epic; long after he became a Christian, the Aeneid remained central to his understanding of vocation. Lewis's debt to the Aeneid, already evident from his discussion of the epic in A Preface to Paradise Lost, is now more clear than ever, thanks to the publication this spring by Yale University Press of Lewis's "lost" Aeneid translation, skillfully reconstructed by classicist A. T. Reyes.I think this is something vitally important to remember in an age where we seek to "Christianify" everything. We take grunge rock, throw in "Christian" lyrics and voila'. We take Hummels, print scripture on them and suddenly they are sanctified.
"I've just re-read the Aeneid again," he told Dorothy L. Sayers, when she was in the throes of translating Dante. "The effect is one of the immense costliness of a vocation combined with a complete conviction that it is worth it," not only because of the harrowing ordeals Virgil depicts, but also because he wrote under duress, at a time of political violence, employing subjects and forms not entirely of his own choosing. "It is the nature of vocation," Lewis wrote, "to appear to men in the double character of a duty and a desire, and Virgil does justice to both."
Perhaps poetry would have more influence in our culture if it had this double character, which translation—inevitably an act of obedience as well as creative freedom—still retains. Lewis's unfinished Aeneid, however it may fare with critics, establishes beyond doubt his vocation as a translator to the modern world of its own forgotten traditions. Lewis understood the poetry of vocation, even if it was not his vocation to be a poet. That Virgil, erstwhile prophet of Christ, should speak again though Lewis, preeminent apostle to post-Christians, seems a fitting tribute.
God can use even the uninitiated, and often does. God speaks to us as He sees fit, not as we think He ought. We are sanctified, and anything we do can be sanctified if we bring our sanctified selves to it.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
The list goes on - read it for yourself.
- You’re uncomfortable calling other branches of Christianity “apostate.”
- You worry that those who cling to terms like “orthodox” often do so because they believe it to be synonymous with “Neo-Calvinism.”
- You have significant questions about controversial theological “hot button” issues of the day and are some-what comfortable with the subsequent cognitive dissonance.
It proves a couple of points I have been thinking about and making for a long time. The term "evangelical" really does not mean any longer what I thought it meant. It now means, at least popularly, a newly packaged type of fundamentalism. It also points out that evangelicalism has moved from an emphasis, movement and school of thought to a label adopted without much thought.
Here's what I want to make sure of in all this - that we do not lose what was good about what used to be Evangelicalism. We need an emphasis on conversion becasue culture no longer brings people to church naturally. Not at the expense of the rest of faith, but as an enhancement to it.
We need the kind of reasonableness (not hard reason mind you, reasonableness) that CS Lewis brought to so many in the middle of the last century.
We need movements that enhance the mission of the church, but without confusing themselves with the church.
We need to remember that the church serves Christ, not itself.
I want to be an evangelical, but I sure as hell fit the definition of a reject laid out here. I just want to be an old school evangelical.
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Palm Sunday - Out of Sync
The crowd went wild as they got nearer. This was the moment they'd been waiting for. All the old songs came flooding back, and they were singing, chanting, cheering and laughing. At last, their dreams were going to come true. But in the middle of it all their leader wasn't singing. He was in tears. Yes, their dreams were indeed coming true. But not in the way they had imagined.I write this on the morning after I have attended a major political event in the race for presidency 2012 and these thoughts strike me in an unusual way.
He was not the king they expected. Not like the monarchs of old, who sat on their jewelled and ivory thrones, dispensing their justice and wisdom. Nor was he the great warrior-king some had wanted. He didn't raise an army and ride to battle at its head. He was riding on a donkey. And he was weeping, weeping for the dream that had to die, weeping for the sword that would pierce his supporters to the soul. Weeping for the kingdom that wasn't coming as well as the kingdom that was.
What was it all about? What did Jesus think he was doing?
Christ was not a king in the usual an expected way. Our president is not a head of state in the usual and expected way. Christ rules, but chose to serve. Our president does not rule, but serves.
More than issues, what we need look for in a presidential candidate is an attitude of service. More than affiliation character.
Yet so often we, like the people in the streets on Palm Sunday, seek to coronate king.
Maybe this is where we ought to think about applying our faith to our politics?
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Good Friday, Old and New
Christian Pilgrims Fill Jerusalem for Good FridayNew Good Friday from MSNBC:
Tennessee church in bank building offers drive-thru Good Friday serviceOne is a pilgrimage - the other a convenience. In one case, believers step out in faith, sacrifice both time and treasure, and travel to places evocative of Christ's suffering on our behalf. In the other it is easy for people to punch the Holy Weekend church ticket.
You tell me which one is more likely to produce people that love Christ and might just change the world in His name.
Monday, October 03, 2011
Character and Faith
- Ignoring the right to get even…
- Forfeiting profit over integrity…
- Refusing personal gain for the greater good…
- Resisting temptation when no one would know…
- Forgiving when it hurts…
OK, fair enough, but why do we "count costs" in this fashion. Think about this for a minute. When you really want something - when it is of great value to you, do you worry about the cost or simply look for a way to get the cash together?
I guess the answer depends on if you are a glass half empty or full kind of person, but are we not as Christians to be glass half full types? We have a faith of promise, are we not to act like it?
Yeah, I know - I often talk about the "realistic sell" around here, but the promises are as real as the costs. When I want to present Christianity realistically, I want us to present it as something so radically different from the reality that we know that the costs will appear high, but the end product is worth so much more than those high costs that we cannot afford not to pay the price.
Some people are so afraid of disappointment that they never try to get what they want - they figure they will never have it. I am not that way, but I certainly understand the mindset, but when it comes to life with Christ we can't be disappointed. The promises of Christ are not going anywhere, all we really have to do is overcome our concern that they are.
The "high costs" Edmundson refers to are really bargains - that's the message of Christianity.