His memberships in the American Society for Aesthetics and Council of Literary Magazines and Presses are for real. So are the small writing awards from the N.C. Press Association and the S.C. Press Association, and the one-time achievement of becoming a semi-finalist for the Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellowship.
His interviews — with Dan Akroyd, P.J. O’Rourke, Richard Brookhiser, Randy Newman of the country music group Alabama, Pat Buchanan, former S.C. Governor Jim Hodges, Peter Augustine Lawler, and the late founder of Hooters, Bob Brooks — really happened.
He has the same birthday as John Coltrane, Bruce Springsteen, and Walter Lippman.
But none of this gives an accurate picture.
The fact is, Colin Foote Burch is a mess.
He writes this blog, and wrongs this blog, because he has been in various screwed up Christian circles all his life.
As a child, he survived communal living with authoritarian neo-Pentecostal types. He lived through, and rebelled through, a high school operated by Independent Missionary Baptists. In adulthood, he got sucked into the Willow Creek movement — until he couldn’t keep up with all the how-to-fix-your-life steps in the sermons. Later, he was part of a congregation of dispensationalists led by a Reformed psychologist. Not one to break a habit, Colin continues to participate in nutty religious groups today as a member of The Episcopal Church USA.
Along the way, a few interesting things happened. He was, for a couple of semesters, a small-group leader for N.C. State’s chapter of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. He attended Summit Ministries , the right-wing yet philosophically grounded worldview camp in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Later, he largely accepted Doug Bandow’s case for Christians holding a politically libertarian stance.
He also made two trips to the Greatham, England, branch of L’Abri Fellowship, which he largely credits for salvaging his faith and introducing him, indirectly, to good beer.
Colin is a slow reader, but he still got to the end of Goodnight, Moon before his daughters fell asleep. He also spent 10 years in the newspaper business, which was just as abusive as the neo-Pentecostal commune. Colin once owned a coffeehouse with his wife; he was solely responsible for one-third of the U.S. coffee consumption from 2001 to 2003.
Today, he is a Lecturer in English at Coastal Carolina University and the Weekly Surge’s Beerman columnist, an identity he hides from his Baptist friends.
He is also a twice-elected former member of the Vestry at Trinity Episcopal Church, another identity he hides from his Baptist friends.
After some trying years, he decided he likes life, along with liberty, liturgy, and literature, so he has begun compiling a list of quotations that might (but probably won’t) expand your understanding of stuff. This is only possible because Colin has not contributed a single quote to the list; he’s totally relying on the smart people.
The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians. – George Orwell, in a letter to Malcolm Muggeridge
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. — Blaise Pascal, quoted by Daniel Taylor in The Myth of Certainty: The Reflective Christian and the Risk of Commitment
Whirlwind life of faith and betrayal / Rise in anger, fall back and repeat / Slow degrees on the dark horizon / Full moon rising lays ever at your feet – from “Far Cry” by Rush on Snakes and Arrows
Poets, priests, and politicians / Have words to thank for their positions / Words that scream for your submission / And no-one’s jamming their transmission – from “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” by The Police
Reason, unaided and untempered by poetic insight and humane feeling, turns ugly and dangerous. — Neil Postman
For me, reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning. Imagination, producing new metaphors or revivifying old, is not the cause of truth, but its condition. – C.S. Lewis, in “Blusphels and Flalanferes,” from Selected Literary Essays
Theism and atheism bear equally an idol. They are a brethren born of modernity, where God is reduced to “the supreme being” and true transcendence is lost. – John-Luc Marion
In life and art both, as it seems to me, we are always trying to catch in our net of successive moments something that is not successive. – C.S. Lewis, in his essay “On Stories”
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. – C. S. Lewis, in “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment,” from God in the Dock
The labor of the analytical mind which produces science is the organ in human culture which tames the physical environment. Science is the extension of civilization’s technological core. In the scientific sense, ‘true’ means that which has the chance of being employed in effective technological procedures…. Metaphysical questions and beliefs are technologically barren and are therefore neither part of the analytical effort nor an element of science. As an organ of culture they are an extension of the mythical core…. Metaphysical questions and beliefs reveal an aspect of human existence not revealed by scientific questions and beliefs, namely, that aspect that refers intentionally to nonempirical unconditioned reality…. A language which attempts to reach transcendence directly violates, to no purpose, its own technological instrumentality. It reaches transcendence in myths which give a meaning to empirical realities and practical activities via relativization. A mythical organization of the world (that is, the rules of understanding empirical realities as meaningful) is permanently present in culture. The objection that such an organization does not become true as a result of its permanence, or of the reality of the needs which give rise to it, has no argumentative power for a consciousness whose mythopoeic stratum has been aroused, since here the predicates of ‘true’ and ‘false’ are inapplicable. — Leszek Kolakowski, in his book, The Presence of Myth
The majority of mankind is lazy-minded, incurious, absorbed in vanities, and tepid in emotion, and is therefore incapable of either much doubt or much faith. – T.S. Eliot
As human beings, we are groping for knowledge and understanding of the strange universe into which we are born. We have many ways of understanding, of which science is only one. Our thought processes are only partially based on logic, and are inextricably mixed with emotions and desires and social interactions. We cannot live as isolated intelligences, but only as members of a working community. Our ways of understanding have been collective, beginning with the stories that we told each other around the fire when we lived in caves. Our ways today are still collective, including literature, history, art, music, religion, and science. – Freeman Dyson
We no longer dare to believe in beauty and we make of it a mere appearance in order the more easily to dispose of it. Our situation today shows that beauty demands for itself at least as much courage and decision as do truth and goodness, and she will not allow herself to be separated and banned from her two sisters without taking them along with herself in an act of mysterious vengeance. We can be sure that whoever sneers at her name as if she were the ornament of a bourgeois past – whether he admits it or not – can no longer pray and soon will no longer be able to love. -Hans Urs von Balthasar
Works steeped in truth and presenting it to us vividly alive will take hold of us, will attract us to themselves with great power – and no one ever, even in a latter age, will presume to negate them. And so perhaps that old trinity of Truth, Good and Beauty is not just the outworn formula it used to seem to use during our heady, materialistic youth. If the crests of these three trees join together, as the investigators and explorers used to affirm, and if the too obvious, too straight branches of Truth and Good are crushed or amputated and cannot reach the light – yet perhaps the whimsical, unpredictable, unexpected branches of Beauty will make their way through and soar up TO THAT VERY PLACE and in this way perform the work of all three. – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Nobel Lecture on Literature
Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. – Jaroslav Pelikan, The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600), Vol. 1 of The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine
If I had any indictment to make of the magisterial Reformation, it would be that it qualifies the one most crucial thing about Christianity, namely, that it is a religion of love. It tends to displace the centrality of love in favor of themes of trust and hope, even if Luther is far more guilty in this regard than Calvin. And in many ways, this is the gravest imaginable heresy. -from “Alternative Protestantism,” by John Milbank, in Radical Orthodoxy and the Reformed Tradition, edited by James K.A. Smith and James H. Olthuis (Baker Academic, 2005)
[I]f the New Testament is right, Christ did not come to pluck souls from an evil and worthless creation and transport them to an angelic existence; instead he came to announce the beginning of the world’s renewal. – Norman Klassen and Jens Zimmerman, The Passionate Intellect: Incarnational Humanism and the Future of University Education
We should love God eternally with our whole hearts, yet not so as to compromise or diminish our earthly affections, but as a kind of cantus firmus to which the other melodies of life provide the counterpoint. Earthly affection is one of these contrapuntal themes, a theme which enjoys autonomy of its own. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
If every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights then all true and edifying writings, whether in Scripture or not, must be in some sense inspired. — C.S. Lewis, letter to Clyde S. Kilby, May 7, 1959
The natural order of religious belief is not usually to form propositional beliefs first and only later to engage in the faith life of a community. If we disengaged ourselves from the practice of faith in order to “find out” if it is justified, there is very little chance that we will ever find out. –Linda Zagzebski, in Philosophers Who Believe
To [artist William] Schickel, there is an important difference between being a conservative and being a reactionary. The conservative, he believes, must find a language in which to make timeless truths understood in the present. The reactionary, on the other hand, clings to an old language from which the spirit has fled. – Gregory Wolfe, Sacred Passion: The Art of William Schickel
Because it is a reversal of Adam’s decision to die, the resurrection of Christ is a new affirmation of God’s first decision that Adam should live, an affirmation that goes beyond and transforms the initial gift of life…. From the resurrection we look not only back to the created order which is vindicated but forwards to our eschatological participation in that order. — Oliver O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order
Knowledge does not have to be conscious. It is incredible how much the aura of a country can penetrate to a child. Stronger than thought is an image – of dry leaves on a path, of twilight, of a heavy sky. – Czeslaw Milosz, Native Realm
The mad man is not the man who has lost his reason. The mad man is the man who has lost everything except his reason. – G.K. Chesterton, in Orthodoxy
People hardly ever make use of the freedom they have, that is, freedom of thought, and instead demand free speech as a compensation. – Soren Kierkegaard
Paul has been described as a ‘man of three cultures’ taking into account his Jewish origin, Greek language, and his prerogative of ‘civis romanus,’ as attested also by his name of Latin origin. – Benedict XVI, July 2, 2008
The clarity and cogency that philosophy brings is accordingly something that has a potentially positive role to play in every impartial area of human endeavor, Christianity by no means excluded. No church can exist in easy comfort with its intellectuals and theologians, but no church can be a thriving concern among thinking people if it dispenses with their services. — Nicholas Rescher, in Philosophers Who Believe
Philosophy makes us yearn for the truth, but it does not always show us how to find it. –Linda Zagzebski, in Philosophers Who Believe
If there is something that can be learned from the study of Hume, it is the difficulty of trying to develop a philosophy by starting with some item of alleged empirical evidence. For what we call evidence is rarely some self-evident fact, but something which is interpreted within a web of beliefs. – Colin Brown, Christianity and Western Thought, Vol. 1
For Socrates philosophy was a way of life, and he existed in that way. Since he did not profess to have any theory of philosophy, he did not accept pay as a professor. He could teach only by example, and what Kierkegaard learned from the example of Socrates became fundamental for his own thinking: namely, that existence and a theory about existence are not one in the same, any more than a printed menu is as effective a form of nourishment as an actual meal. More than that: the possession of a theory about existence may intoxicate the possessor to such a degree that he forgets the need of existence altogether. – William Barrett, Irrational Man
Leonard Bernstein tells me more than the dictionary when he says that for him music is cosmos in chaos. That has the ring of truth in my ears, and sparks my creative imagination. And it is true not only of music; all art is cosmos, cosmos found within chaos. At least all Christian art (by which I mean all true art, and I’ll go deeper into this later) is cosmos in chaos. There’s some modern art, in all disciplines, which is not; some artists look at the world around them and see chaos, and instead of discovering cosmos, they reproduce chaos on canvas, in music, in words. As far as I can see, the reproduction of chaos is neither art, nor is it Christian. – Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water
Opposition to the idea that science can be the fulfillment of metaphysics does not involve in any way opposition to science. If the objectives of metaphysics are spurious, then they cannot be fulfilled by science any more than they can be by metaphysics. – Jeff Coulter of Boston University and Wes Sharrock of the University of Manchester, Brain, Mind, and Human Behavior in Contemporary Cognitive Science: Critical Assessments of the Philosophy of Psychology
I figured if I let go of my grip of this net of beliefs and hopes and constructions of God, I would fall clear out of existence into cold nothingness. I thought of an astronaut severed from the spacecraft. Of course, I’m still here. – Eileen Markey, writing at BustedHalo.com
Luther, you have a huge responsibility, for when I look more closely, I see more and more clearly that you toppled the Pope only to enthrone ‘the public.’ — Soren Kierkegaard, in his journals
At a critical moment in cultural history — not that there were not various fateful moves in the history of Western theology that led to it — many Christian thinkers somehow forgot that the incarnation of the Logos, the infinite ratio of all that is, reconciles us not only to God, but to the world, by giving us back a knowledge of creation’s goodness, allowing us to see again its essential transparency — even to the point, in Christ, of identity — before God. The covenant of light was broken. God became, progressively, the world’s infinite contrary. And this state of theological decline was so precipitous and complete that it even became possible for someone as formidably intelligent as Calvin, without any apparent embarrassment, to regard the fairly lurid portrait of the omnipotent despot of book III of his Institutes – who not only ordains the destiny of souls, but in fact predestines the first sin, and so brings the whole drama of creation and redemption to pass (including the eternal perdition of the vast majority of humanity) as a display of his own dread sovereignty — as a proper depiction of the Christian God. One ancient Augustinian misreading of Paul’s ruminations upon the mystery of election had, at last, eventuated fatalism. – David Bentley Hart, in The Beauty of the Infinite
What distinguishes Judeo-Christianity in general from other world religions is its emphasis on the value of the individual person, its view of man as a creature in trouble, seeking to get out of it, and accordingly on the move. Add to this anthropology the special marks of the Catholic Church: the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, which, whatever else they do, confer the highest significance upon the ordinary things of this world, bread, wine, water, touch, breath, words, talking, listening — and what do you have? You have a man in a predicament and on the move in a real world of real things, a world which is a sacrament and a mystery; a pilgrim whose life is a searching and a finding. – Walker Percy, “The Holiness of the Ordinary,” in Signposts in a Strange Land
The Previous About Page for LiturgicalCredo.com:
“The majority of mankind is lazy-minded, incurious, absorbed in vanities, and tepid in emotion, and is therefore incapable of either much doubt or much faith.” – T.S. Eliot, from his 1931 introduction to an edition of Pascal’s Pensees
In many Christian worship services, the “liturgical Credo” is the moment when the Nicene Creed begins: “I believe….” As an online journal, LiturgicalCredo is dedicated to literary expressions of faith, doubt, speculation, and wonder that begin and end with that simple, if implied, statement: I believe.
Or, to put it another way, LiturgicalCredo opens toward struggles to believe, struggles to doubt, and struggles to imagine what we can never concretely prove but quietly suspect to be true.
Despite the connotation of the journal’s name, writers with “nothing-in-particular” belief systems have been submitting work for some time now. We think that’s because humans wonder about all kinds of stuff, and sometimes the wondering wanders into religious pastures or theological fields. If that wondering and wandering human happens to be a writer, she might write about the experience and then seek a place of publication, a place that entertains works about such things without imposing dogmatic criteria upon the works.
The mission is neither to make faith doubtful nor to make doubt hopeful. It is simply to express the complexity of emotion and experience within that singular (if murky) part of our lives where both faith and doubt exist, function, ebb, and flow.
Some of Our Notable Contributers
Peter Reinhart, winner of James Beard Foundation Awards, twice has contributed to LiturgicalCredo, most recently with an essay entitled “Food of the Gods in the City of Peace.”
Rhett Iseman Trull, editor of Cave Wall, published “Counting Miracles at the State Asylum” at LiturgicalCredo. The poem was later anthologized in After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery, edited by Tom Lombardo. Trull eventually published “Counting Miracles” in her first collection of poems, The Real Warnings.
LiturgicalCredo is always open for submissions. LiturgicalCredo publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, photography, and photographs of visual arts. To submit a manuscript or to request more information, email Colin at firstname.lastname@example.org. We prefer to receive submissions as email attachments of Word documents and JPEG photographs.
Some Context for Our Work
Our aesthetics and values steadily evolve. Still, a few works provide context for what we do. The following essays, poems, stories, novels, and nonfiction books represent a mix of faith, doubt, speculation, and wonder:
“On Stories,” an essay by C.S. Lewis, from On Stories: And Other Essays
“Recovering Evangelical: Reflections of an Erstwhile Christ Addict,” an essay by Todd Shy, from Image No. 51
“Giving Up Jerusalem,” an essay by Jeanne Murray Walker, from Image No. 40
“The Gift of the Call,” an essay by Christopher Bamford, from Parabola, Fall 2004
“Love Calls Us to the Things of This World,” a poem by Richard Wilbur, from New and Collected Poems
The Nobel Lecture on Literature by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“Prayer” and “All Souls’,” poems by Dana Gioia, from The Gods of Winter
The Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot
“501 Minutes to Christ,” an essay by Poe Ballantine, The Sun Magazine, August 2005
“Useless Virtues,” a poem by T.R. Hummer, from Useless Virtues
The Doubter’s Companion: A Dictionary of Aggressive Common Sense by John Ralston Saul
Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris
Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book, nonfiction by Walker Percy
Love in the Ruins: Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World, a novel by Walker Percy
Thomas C. Oden’s introductory essay in his collection Parables of Kierkegaard
Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle
“A Good Man is Hard to Find,” “Good Country People,” and “The River,” short stories by Flannery O’Connor, from A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories
A Stay Against Confusion: Essays on Faith and Fiction by Ron Hansen
Editor & Publisher
LiturgicalCredo is edited by Colin Foote Burch. Colin has a bachelors degree in English from N.C. State University in Raleigh, N.C., and a master of fine arts in creative writing, with an emphasis on literary nonfiction, from Queens University in Charlotte, N.C.
Colin is a lecturer in the Department of English at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., and a twice-elected former member of the vestry at Trinity Episcopal Church in Myrtle Beach. He has also been a lay teacher at Trinity.
He worked for 10 years in the newspaper business, including stints as the business editor and later the features editor at The Sun News, a mid-sized daily newspaper in Myrtle Beach, S.C. In 1996, Colin was a semi-finalist for the Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellowship. He holds awards from the N.C. Press Association and the S.C. Press Association.
Colin spent the first three months of 1998 at the L’Abri Fellowship branch in Greatham, England, where he informally studied the histories of Western philosophy and theology.
In the middle of his journalism career (2001-2003), Colin and his wife opened and operated the now-defunct Living Room Coffee Bar & Used Book Store, which featured paintings, performances, and book signings by local and touring artists, along with the best coffee and espresso available in the Myrtle Beach area.
In 2006, Colin received a scholarship to attend the C.S. Lewis Foundation’s Summer Institute at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., where he studied under poet and playwright Jeanne Murray Walker, a faculty member at the University of Delaware.
In May 2008, he taught a graduate seminar at Queens University in Charlotte, N.C., entitled, “The Role of Imagination in Literary Nonfiction Narratives.”
For six weeks in January and February 2011, Colin taught an adult education forum at Trinity Episcopal entitled, “C.S. Lewis: A Soldier’s Imagination.”
In addition to his work at The Sun News, Colin’s writing has appeared in New Mirage Journal, Circumambulations, The Charlotte Observer, The (Sumter, S.C.) Item, The (Columbia, S.C.) State, Iodine: A Poetry Journal, Appraisal: The Journal of the Society for Post-Critical and Personalist Studies, and The Weekly Surge. While features editor at The Sun News, he contributed to special travel sections that appeared in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, and several other newspapers.
Colin has a few more odd certifications: He holds Coffee Brewing and Intermediate Barrista certificates from the Specialty Coffee Association of America; he has been trained as a Level One Catechist in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd; and he has become something of an expert on imported and microbrewed beer while writing a regular column about cold brews.
Jess Glass holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Mary Washington, where she studied under Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Claudia Emerson, and a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte. As an undergraduate, she was the literary editor for Aubade, the university’s literary magazine. Her book and theater reviews have been published in The Free Lance-Star and The Caroline Progress, and her fiction and essays have been published in Surreal South, Knee-Jerk Magazine, The 6S Review, and PANK Magazine. She blogs at jessglass.com.
- T.S. Eliot and the Demise of the Literary Culture (commentarymagazine.com)