professional descendants

You could say we’re professional descendants. …You see, what no one ever realized until about two hundred years ago is that The Nice and Accurate Prophecies was Agnes’s idea of a family heirloom. Many of the prophecies relate to her descendants and their well-being. She was sort of trying to look after us after she’d […]

we know that we are dealing with material Paul chanted before he wrote it down

From Patrick Henry Reardon’s book Reclaiming the Atonement: An Orthodox Theology of Redemption (Volume 1 of 3: The Incarnate Word). [Paul] is commonly—and not inappropriately—thought of as the Church’s earliest theologian. This persuasion, nonetheless, certainly does not mean that the Church had no theology prior to Paul’s conversion. Indeed, on the very day Ananias baptized […]

each new blunder of the prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob

The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus […]

the imagination that can see what is there

From The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton: We must invoke the most wild and soaring sort of imagination; the imagination that can see what is there. The only way to suggest the point is by an example of something, indeed of almost anything, that has been considered beautiful or wonderful. George Wyndham once told […]

democracy of the dead

Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton (Chapter 4, “The Ethics of Elfland”): Tradition means giving a vote to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. …Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being […]

always just going to have a leader

Rudyard Kipling in The Jungle Book describes the “Monkey People” (or “Bandar-log”): They were always just going to have a leader, and laws and customs of their own, but they never did, because their memories would not hold over from day to day, and so they compromised things by making up a saying, “What the […]

what it means to have a past

But over the decades you have provided for us such incomparably beautiful Christmases that my thankful remembrance of them is strong enough to light up one dark Christmas. Only such times can really reveal what it means to have a past and an inner heritage that is independent of chance and the changing of the […]

deeply rooted obligation to be guardians

The rich world of his ancestors set the standards for Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s own life. It gave him a certainty of judgement and manner that cannot be acquired in a single generation. He grew up in a family that believed the essence of learning lay not in a formal education but in the deeply rooted obligation to be […]