Circe Blog
Kate Deddens Jul 21, 2014


Last summer, I heard a conversation at a conference. It stood out because it crystallized what good conversations do: elicit epiphanies, flashes of perception that bounce off the words going back and forth like sparks that dance off pieces of flint being struck.

I have been dwelling with that conversation, off and on (like living with a small fire flickering from a few embers) for a year.

Devin O'Donnell Jul 15, 2014

First let us sympathise, if only for an instant, with the hopes of the Dickens period, with that cheerful trouble of change. If democracy has disappointed you, do not think of it as a burst bubble, but at least as a broken heart, an old love-affair. Do not sneer at the time when the creed of humanity was on its honeymoon; treat it with the dreadful reverence that is due to youth. For you, perhaps, a drearier philosophy has covered and eclipsed the earth. The fierce poet of the Middle Ages wrote, "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here," over the gates of the lower world.

Cindy Rollins Jul 15, 2014

Once a year I get to pretend I do something besides stay at home and teach my own kids. I get to pack 5 or so matching outfits, things normal people wear in public, and head out to the annual CiRCE Conference. Since I am rarely in public except to attend baseball games which require an entirely different set of clothing, this is a big deal. I don’t even put my sweats in the suitcase although I do throw in a few pomegranate chocolates to share with friends.

Joshua Gibbs Jul 12, 2014

The idea that man is a microcosm is old enough to have gathered a diverse collection of interpretations (some pedestrian, some quite exotic) unto itself. In The Wisdom of the World, Remi Brague gives a survey of these interpretations, touching on ancient paganism, Greek philosophy, as well as Medieval Christian, Jewish and Muslim thinkers. For some, the microcosmic nature of man was a purely physical reality.

Andrew Kern Jul 11, 2014

I've read that people become happier around 50 and I've wondered why. I figure it probably has something to do with time. 

Perhaps people in their later years accept that they cannot escape time, both its raveges and its potentials.

When one is younger, perhaps, he can cling to the delusion that a decision can bring something to an end, that by making some sort of big, dramatic decision, one can attain a stability. 

Joshua Gibbs Jul 10, 2014

Scripture uses a number of metaphors to describe the Christian life. Christians are like athletes who need to run so as to win the race. Christians are like soldiers, armed in virtue and piety. Christians are like aliens, whose citizenship in heaven is attained not by birth but by faith, hope and love. In the first millennium of Church history, though, the Christian imagination was captivated by nautical metaphors. The Christian was often thought a sailor, the Church a ship, and all of life a voyage into the heart of God. 

David Kern Jul 9, 2014

It's conference time. 

It's really truly conference time. Everybody panic. 

Devin O'Donnell Jul 9, 2014

In The Discarded Image, Lewis makes it very clear: “credulitas must precede all instruction” (35). In my last essay, I expounded on this theme with stories from the classroom, essentially inferring that credulitas is itself an educational virtue. I’d like to defend that idea by looking again to Lewis, who not only models credulitas but defends it as a virtue in his other works as well.

Andrew Kern Jul 8, 2014

I'm suffering from an embarrasing problem. It boils down to this: I believe that Christ makes sense of the cosmos and of life, and that without Him life doesn't end up making sense. 

Only, I don't believe this in some heartfelt, sentimental way, as in, "I believe there's a reason for everything that happens," or some such vacuous avoidance of reality that is true but not meaningful in most contexts. I'm not talking about a feeling or a shortcut to consolation.

I believe that in actual fact Christ makes sense of everything. 

Joshua Gibbs Jul 7, 2014

Seven planets. Seven virtues. Seven days of the week. While teaching Dante’s Paradise last year, I canvassed friends for connections between all three sets of seven. One friend (Jeremy Downey, whom I feel I ought to name so he can receive credit for the remarkable discovery he made, which will be detailed in a moment) commented that ancient pagan societies understood that each of the spheres were married to particular days of the week. Some of the marriages are obvious (Saturn to Saturday), although some have been obscured by time and translation (Mars to Tuesday).