Monday, February 28, 2011

When Dreams Die

When Dreams Die

What is a dream, but a persistent whim?
It's a flight of fancy which flits and whirls
But returns to try to assert its will
A paper tiger, which by sheer resolve
Presses itself against the seat of folly
Who dreams? Who? But the ridiculous fool
An unstable man, always looking for
The riches, fame, or friend he doesn't have
I, for one, will let them die, dreams do die
And above all, I won't be ridiculous.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Leisure

Leisure is a form of silence, of that silence which is the prerequisite of the apprehension of reality. . . . Because wholeness is what man strives for, the power to achieve leisure is one of the fundamental powers of the human soul. . . . In leisure the truly human values are saved and preserved.
- Josef Pieper, Leisure: The Basis of Culture

.The only context within which the enjoyment of human creativity and beauty can flourish is a high view of leisure. If we dignify leisure as it deserves, the place of the arts in human life will be a lot clearer.
- Ryken, The Christian Imagination, 90

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Politics

Politics are in some ways irreversibly broken by our educational system. To be in power one must have an incredible breadth of economic, historical, sociological and moral knowledge. True experts in any of these subjects don't get involved because they are specialists who fear overstepping their expertise. The majority of politicians are experts in pragmatism, i.e. lawyers.

Friday, February 11, 2011

An Evening With Lewis and Freud

This sounds very intriguing. I wish I were in New York to see it.
“Freud’s Last Session,” the off-Broadway play by Mark St. Germain, has become something of sleeper hit in recent months, playing to sold-out audiences and twice extending its performance calendar. Several celebrities have been spotted attending the play, including Woody Allen, who reportedly gave the play a standing ovation.

Neither a musical nor a star-studded production, the play’s popularity is unexpected for a drama of ideas so unashamedly philosophical in its tone. Inspired by the book, The Question of God, by Armand M. Nicholi, Jr., “Freud’s Last Session” depicts a conversation between the young C.S. Lewis and an ailing Sigmund Freud. (Freud is known to have met with a young Oxford professor after his immigration to England.) The play’s drama heightens when viewers find that this encounter between minds takes place on September 3, 1939, the day Britain declared war against Germany. The characters pause intermittently in the script, tuning into radio broadcasts for updates on Germany’s occupation of Poland, and even don their gas masks after hearing an air raid siren.

Continue reading at First Things

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Art and Theology

For centuries evangelical Christians have steered clear of art, and so lost their critical powers and any real understanding of the arts. It is only in this way that we can explain why Christians took this art to be Christian in spirit and so fit to illustrate our Bibles and teach our children. Christians saw the deficiencies of the liberal reconstructions of the life of Christ of Hall Caine and Renan, but failed to see that the same spirit was at work in these pictures.

Evangelicals have also underestimated the importance of art. They have thought of biblical pictures as being representations of biblical stories. But they did not see that the salt had become tasteless, that there was so much idealization, so much of a sort of pseudo-devotional sentimentality in these pictures that they are very far from the reality the Bible talks about. Could it be that the false ideas many people, non-Christians as well as Christians, have of Chist as a sentimental, rather effeminate man, soft and 'loving', never really of this worId, are the result of the preaching inherent in the pictures given to children or hanging on the wall? Their theology, their message, is not that of the Bible but of nineteenth-century liberalism.

Hans Rookmaaker, Modern Art and the Death of Culture, 46.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

- Robert Frost

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Thomas Merton, Seven Storey Mountain

I'm thoroughly enjoying reading this autobiography. Here's another example of why:

"At Hyeres I had to wait a couple of days before the money arrived and when it did, the letter that went with it was filled with sharp reproofs. Tom, my guardian, took occasion of my impracticality to call attention to most of my other faults as well, and I was very humiliated. So after a month of my precious liberty, I received my first indication that my desires could never be absolute: they must necessarily be conditioned and modified by contacts and conflicts with the desires an interests of others. This was something that it would take me a long time to find out and indeed in the natural order alone I would never really get to understand it. I believed in the beautiful myth about having a good time so long as it does not hurt anybody else. You cannot live your own pleasure and your own convenience without inevitably hurting and injuring the feelings and the interests of practically everybody you meet."

Thomas Merton, Seven Storey Mountain, p. 114