Thursday, May 31, 2007

Quotes from Bed and Board: Plain Talk about Marriage

Robert Farrar Capon wrote this book in 1965, and some of his observations about family, home life, and roles were prophetic. He is perhaps best known for The Supper of the Lamb—a wonderful Chestertonian look at cooking and theology.

“We have drowned [children] in commercial bilge, stuffed them with TV dinners and surrounded them with the racket of four appliances running at once; we have bequeathed them insoluble problems, and precious little discipline with which to handle them. But if, on some distant day, the smell of fresh bread can still break their hearts, I do not think that all will have been too hopelessly lost. (29)”

“The Christian mind has lo, these many years been pretty well switched off as far as ordinary life is concerned. It has taken what was available without asking any questions. Of course, in religion and morals it tried to do its own cooking; but across the rest of life—schooling, housing, marrying; working, playing, spending—it has been content to buy whatever packaged mixes were available on the shelves of the secular idea market. The result is that Christians, who would like to think they were different, have only succeeded in making themselves indistinguishable. They who would like to hope they had the answers, have only the same questions as the rest of the world. And so they sit on the sidelines, capable of an occasional pious comment…(33)”

“We live in an age that, for all its multiplication of red-hot aids to living, is characterized increasingly by a singular lack of concern about how to live. Excellence has a hard time meeting competition in any age, but in ours we have made a real specialty of shoddiness and shallowness. We float with the tide. Our idea of the right direction is keeping our backs to the wind. Worse yet, our ability to mass-produce our specialties has surrounded us with more to hear, more to read, more to watch, and more to taste than even kings ever dreamed. We have arranged matters so that a man can go from kindergarten to the old-age home so surrounded by things to do that he need never decide what he is. The one question he must not ask is: Who am I? If he should happen to wonder, somebody quickly gets him a lollipop, or a new car, or another wife or a stronger tranquilizer. And the worst part of it is that the somebody, more often than not, is himself. (41)”

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