Over the last few years, I've read several books that seem to be beckoning me to home. Almost any of Wendell Berry's books, especially the one I've read most recently, Jayber Crow, will stir your thoughts to home and community. In June, I attended the CiRCE Summer Institute's inaugural retreat, where we read and discussed Homer's The Odyssey.
“Suddenly, right before their eyes, look, a potent marvel destined to shape the future!”
The Aeneid, Book V. ll. 575-6
For the weekend crowd, this is a sampling of what we've been reading this week.
- From CiRCE friend and longtime conference speaker, Martin Cothran:
Christians may find it comforting to look at the "world" around them and approach it with fear, believing that the troubles Christendom encounters come from that world. For example, the divorce rate among Christians is too high, and that is because we let "the world" influence us too much, or higher criticism has infected the theology of Christians, turning them "liberal," or society is ever-more relativistic and that has affected Christian moral thinking.
I returned from the conference a couple weeks ago, mind flush like an overheated thermometer, yearning to record something here, to continue the discussion, only to turn to preparations for the apprenticeship, which overflowed the whole of last week. Previously, I had traveled "home" to Green Bay to say good-bye to my family home of some 32 years.
After each event not a few reflections and reminiscences suggested themselves for duty on this blog.
We had one of those quintessentially North Carolinian evenings today, the kind where the air hangs low between the oaks and the magnolias, warm enough to be felt but cool enough to be pleasant. The sky was as blue and clear as any Carolina blue could be and the recent rain we’ve had has led to some very happy plants.
At last week's conference, the single point I was hoping to grasp and communicate was this: Only the spiritual man is able to judge all things. Since the conference was on judgment, that struck me as a significant truth.
Most assessments in our world (of children's behavior, of employee performance, of student work, of intellectual growth, and of any other human activity) are rooted in a naturalistic materialism that excludes the soul and spirit from its paradigm - even before the analysis takes place.
I had an epiphany a couple of weeks ago. Being a philosopher of sorts I enjoy those. This summer I read a book which described an ‘addiction to epiphanies’ and I recognized that I might be accused of this. Of course, if you come from a place of great ignorance there are more places for the light to shine meaningfully. I think I am not addicted, only very hungry.
I've encountered that moment in my conferencing preparations where I have to toss overboard most of my provisions so the fish can make use of them as they will. What better use for a blog, I thought to myself, before realizing how thoroughly I was insulting you. Sorry about that.
But, incorrigible as I am, I offer you these extraneous and wasteful thoughts judged, by me, unworthy of or unhelpful for the great sea before us.