this connection between the universal and the parochial

In Landmarks, Robert Macfarlane has much to offer regarding the connectedness of place and language. Patrick Kavanagh’s insight that the local parish is our only access point to Aristotelian universals is profound (see last excerpt in this post). To share a frustration, Macfarlane’s claims often exaggerate the powers of language alone to tie our heartsContinue reading “this connection between the universal and the parochial”

I sat up late last night and have read the Geste as far as to where Beren and his gnomish allies defeat the patrol of orcs above the sources of the Narog

I sat up late last night and have read the Geste as far as to where Beren and his gnomish allies defeat the patrol of orcs above the sources of the Narog and disguise themselves in the reaf,” an Anglo-Saxon term for clothing and weapons taken from the dead. “I can quite honestly say thatContinue reading “I sat up late last night and have read the Geste as far as to where Beren and his gnomish allies defeat the patrol of orcs above the sources of the Narog”

small wonder that spell means both

Small wonder that spell means both a story told, and a formula of power over living men. From “On Fairy-Stories” by J. R. R. Tolkien. Note (from Online Etymology Dictionary) in Old English “spell” meant: “story, saying, tale, history, narrative, fable; discourse, command.” The meaning of “a set of words with supposed magical or occultContinue reading “small wonder that spell means both”

A Letter to Lupin and Tonks (and Their Reply)

Nessa Hake If they were alive this is what I’d write to them: 3-2-17 Dear Lupin and Tonks, Wotcher! My name is Nessa Ann Hake. I have a little eight-year-old brother, and my mother is pregnant! I am almost thirteen. Harriet is a family cat that I practically own because we have a bond. SheContinue reading “A Letter to Lupin and Tonks (and Their Reply)”

worth taking a long time to say

Great passage on naming and language from The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien: “Who calls you hobbits, though? That does not sound elvish to me. Elves made all the old words: they began it.” “Nobody else calls us hobbits; we call ourselves that,” said Pippin. “Hoom, humm! Come now! Not so hasty! You call yourselvesContinue reading “worth taking a long time to say”

a way to make your soul grow

The arts are not a way of making a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem toContinue reading “a way to make your soul grow”

both hands are stopped at noon

How have we invaded the moon? Is the moon’s light not as potent now that we have stepped upon its face? I love space exploration, but this poem is still profoundly true. Our imaginations wax dangerously rootless, shiny, sterilized and inhumane. Thanks to the student who taught me this poem today. The End of ScienceContinue reading “both hands are stopped at noon”

a cornucopia of scenes and images

Another one of “the most distinctive features of Christian intellectual life” is the influence of God’s word. However, Wilken stresses that the scriptures provided far more than an intellectual basis for the early church. Christian thinkers were not in the business of establishing something; their task was to understand and explain something. The desire toContinue reading “a cornucopia of scenes and images”

we might all try minding our own business

These two reminders from C.S. Lewis about minding our own business have something profound to do with the office of prophethood and the spreading of truth. This fact that bold proclamation, intimate communication and strict attention to privacy are all mutually dependent is somewhat counterintuitive but true. “Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling youContinue reading “we might all try minding our own business”