Adam Andrews Nov 12, 2017

Bible scholars and Sunday School teachers routinely divide Paul’s Epistle to the Romans into two distinct sections: the first 11 chapters, where the apostle explains the gospel in theological terms, and chapters 12 through 16, where he discusses their moral and ethical implications.

The dividing line between these two sections is verse 12:1, which reads, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (KJV)

Adam Andrews Nov 3, 2017

When I get to the end of one of J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, I want to jump out of my chair and cheer like I would for a Seattle Seahawks touchdown. I don’t usually do it, but the impulse is the same–the resolution at the end of these pieces is something like victory.

If you enjoy classical music, you probably already know what I am talking about. If you are not a fan of the genre, I will bet these masterpieces can make you cheer anyway.

Adam Andrews Apr 28, 2017

In 1939, Marjorie Rawlings helped a whole nation of readers imagine that they were young country boys just coming of age. Her Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Yearling told the story of Jody Baxter, whose family ekes out a living in the central Florida scrubland of the late 19th century. Jody’s loss of innocence and search for friendship gave America a glimpse of its own struggle to survive the Great Depression and find fellowship in the midst of suffering. It resonates today with the same power, regardless of our country’s changing circumstances.

Adam Andrews Feb 8, 2017

In his 1947 book Miracles, C.S. Lewis tells a story about two men who both think that a certain dog is dangerous. The first man holds this opinion because he has often seen it muzzled and has noticed that the mailman avoids that house. The second man fears the dog because it has a black coat, and he was once bitten by a black dog in childhood.

Adam Andrews Jan 25, 2017

The best literature teachers rely on classic books, but how can you tell a classic from a non-classic? One popular answer to this question is that you have to wait because it takes time to identify one. You must wait and see which books manage to transcend the concerns of their own time and place and speak to the hearts of people from other times and places; which books, in other words, address universal themes in universally compelling ways.

Missy Andrews Dec 16, 2016

In our online poetry class, we teach our students to read and understand poetry by asking questions. Although it sounds a bit formulaic, you would be surprised how a few well-placed questions demystify a poem: Who is the speaker? Whom does he address? What is the subject matter? What images or metaphors does the poet present to explain or enlarge his meaning? What form does the poem take?

Questions like these can illuminate John Donne’s classic Christmas meditation, “Annunciation.” 

Adam Andrews Dec 8, 2016

Anne Ridler's “Christmas and the Common Birth" is one of the most thought provoking poems I’ve ever read at Christmas time, and worth quoting in full:

Adam Andrews Nov 27, 2016

The Center For Lit crew recently welcomed YA author Gary Schmidt to an episode of our BiblioFiles podcast. Mr. Schmidt is the author of several excellent stories for young readers, including award-winners Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, The Wednesday Wars, and Okay for Now.

In a wide-ranging conversation, Mr. Schmidt offered some compelling thoughts on reading and literature, including a defense of the arts that kept me thinking for days after we recorded the conversation:

Adam Andrews Nov 11, 2016

At a crucial moment in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, protagonist Brutus bemoans the “spirit of the age,” a disposition toward tyranny that allows Caesar to assume the power of a king over Rome’s erstwhile republic. Brutus and his friends conspire to defeat this insidious evil by murdering Caesar and restoring popular government to Rome.

Adam Andrews Nov 3, 2016

Here at Center for Lit, we regularly ask students in our online Lit classes the question, “Who is the protagonist of this story?” Although the answer is often obvious, a discussion of this question almost always helps students relate to the author’s themes more profoundly.

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