Monday, December 21, 2009

Music and Harmonia

“For all that we might smile benignly at in the mathematical clumsiness and rhetorical hyperbole of the classical philosopher of music or in the intellectual abstractions and tetchy fussiness of the medieval theorist, is there not something in the notion of being ‘cradles’ in God’s created harmonia that is worth recovering?”

Jeremy Begbie, Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thanks and Liturgy

“Religious service is essentially a work of praise, of giving glory to God. Though it is communal work, and in a sense it helps to create community, it is derived from the primordial action of the individual human being, and action more basic to us—when we are authentically ourselves—than even eating or drinking or sleeping; namely, giving thanks. For prior to everything else we do, and whether or not we think of ourselves as ‘religious,’ we exist, and liturgy begins by acknowledging that fact with gratitude.”
Stratford Caldecott, Beauty for Truth's Sake

Thursday, November 12, 2009

100 Spiritually Significant Films

While one could argue about some of the particulars, this list of Spiritually Significant Films offers a guide for viewing and discussing a wide array of movies.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Reverence in Worship

Ecclesiastes 5:1-2
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Facts and Truth

Because we come from a common origin, there’s a desire for that which is true. Myth is more powerful as a weapon for cultural renewal than math and science. When you want facts, look in an encyclopedia. When you want truth, look in songs, art, literature, and sculpture. In our rationalistic way, we think facts are truth, but facts and truth are not the same. Our desire to make them the same is why we sometimes never move on from knowledge into wisdom.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Story of Our Lives

“God has a plan—that is, a story—for each of His children. Strictly speaking, we do not shape the facts of our lives into stories; we try to discern the pattern of the story that God is telling with our lives.”
—Peter Leithart

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Power of Faerie

"Those who say that children must not be frightened may mean …that we must try to keep out of his mind the knowledge that he is born into a world of death, violence, wounds, adventure, heroism and cowardice, good and evil. [This] would indeed be to give children a false impression and feed them on escapism in the bad sense… Since it is so likely that they will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker…As far as that goes, I side impenitently with the human race against the modern reformer. Let there be wicked kings and beheadings, battles and dungeons, giants and dragons, and let villains be soundly killed at the end of the book. Nothing will persuade me that this causes an ordinary child any kind or degree of fear beyond what it wants, and needs, to feel. For, of course, it wants to be a little frightened.
"…I think it possible that by confining your child to
blameless stories of child life in which nothing at all alarming ever happens, you would fail to banish the terrors, and would succeed in banishing all that can ennoble them or make them endurable. For in the fairy tales, side by side with the terrible figures, we find the immemorial comforters and protectors, the
radiant ones; and the terrible figures are not merely terrible, but sublime. It would be nice if no little boy in bed, hearing, or thinking he hears, a sound, were ever at all frightened. But if
he is going to be frightened, I think it better that he should think of giants and dragons than merely of burglars. And I think St George, or any bright champion in armor, is a better comfort than the idea of the police."
—C.S. Lewis, On Three Ways of Writing for Children

Monday, November 2, 2009


“We no longer dare to believe in beauty and we make of it a mere appearance in order the more easily to dispose of it. Our situation today shows that beauty demands for itself at least as much courage and decision as do truth and goodness, and she will not allow herself to be separated and banned from her two sisters without taking them along with herself in an act of mysterious vengeance.”
When beauty is lost, “the whole of worldly being falls under the dominion of ‘knowledge.’ And the springs and forces of love immanent in the world are overpowered and finally suffocated by science, technology and cybernetics. The result is a world without women, without children, without reverence for love…a world in which power and the profit-margin are the sole criteria, where the disinterested, the useless, the purposeless is despised, persecuted and in the end exterminated—a world in which art itself is forced to wear the mask and features of technique.”
—Hans Urs van Balthasar

Legends and Truth

“All too often the legends old men tell are closer to the truth than the facts young professors tell. The wildest fairy tales of the ancients are far more realistic than the scientific phantasms imagined by moderns.” —Hilaire Belloc

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Glory of the Psalms

Of how many heroic characters have these old temple songs been the inspiration! Jewish saints and patriots chanted them in the synagogue and on the battlefield; apostles and evangelists sung them among perils of the wilderness, as they traversed the rugged paths of Syria and Galatia, and Macedonia; martyrs in Rome softly hummed them when the lions near at hand were crouching for their prey; in German forests, in Highland Glen, Lutherans and Covenanters breathed their lives out through their cadences; in every land penitent souls have found in them words to tell the story of their sorrow, and victorious souls the voices of their triumph; mothers watching their babes by night have cheered the vigil by singing them, mourners walking in lonely ways have been lighted by the great hopes that shine through them; and pilgrims going down into the valley of the shadow of death have found in their firm assurances a strong staff to lean upon.
—H.T. Hanna