when there are no more possibilities left but only the Real

In the passage below from The Great Divorce (end of Chapter 13), the protagonist (who is clearly C.S. Lewis) holds a dialog with his great Teacher (who is clearly George MacDonald). At one point, Lewis says to MacDonald: In your own books, Sir, you were a Universalist. You talked as if all men would beContinue reading “when there are no more possibilities left but only the Real”

a light that is merciless until they can accept its mercy

Wendell Berry on Heaven and Hell: I imagine the dead waking, dazed, into a shadowless light in which they know themselves altogether for the first time. It is a light that is merciless until they can accept its mercy; by it they are at once condemned and redeemed. It is Hell until it is Heaven.Continue reading “a light that is merciless until they can accept its mercy”

though bodily Joseph was indeed a slave

Let our tears flow with those of Jacob, who weeps for his celebrated and sober-minded son; for though bodily Joseph was indeed a slave, he preserved the freedom of his soul and was lord over all Egypt. For God prepares for His servants an incorruptible crown. Bridegroom Matins (Great and Holy Monday)

a slave society which might be called either capitalist or Communist

George Orwell in “Second Thoughts on James Burnham” (1946): Chesterton predicted the disappearance of democracy and private property, and the rise of a slave society which might be called either capitalist or Communist.

God is there before me in the being of all that is not him

God gives us just enough to seek Him, and never enough to fully find him. To do more would inhibit our freedom, and our freedom is very dear to God. …Even now I look out at a cat huddled down in the adder’s fern, at a fresh wind nagging the sheets on the line, atContinue reading “God is there before me in the being of all that is not him”

you must not ask for so much

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch He said to me, “You must not ask for so much.” And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door She cried to me, “Hey, why not ask for more?” Lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s “Bird On a Wire” (recorded 26 September 1968 in Nashville and includedContinue reading “you must not ask for so much”

the implied restraints of faithfulness

For some time now, I have been growing in my understanding of how many cultural disorders are related to hatred of limits. The aspiration to limitlessness was embedded in the first temptation and the original sin, it informed the earliest docetic and Gnostic heresies, and it inspired the founding intellects of modernity. Many sincere ChristiansContinue reading “the implied restraints of faithfulness”

taking ideas especially seriously

From “The Temple,” a lecture by Roderick T. Long at the Auburn Philosophical Society’s roundtable on “The Idea of the University” (12 April 2002): The mind’s grasp of itself is valuable, not so much for what it makes possible – though what it makes possible is nothing less than the fruits of civilization itself –Continue reading “taking ideas especially seriously”