From an Anne Lamott Facebook post in which she exhorts us to practice “…love force. Mercy force. Un-negotiated compassion force…” in response to recent horrific events:
“Jesus didn’t ask the blind man what he was going to look at after He restored the man’s sight. He just gave hope and sight; He just healed.”
I think she’s right, and I appreciate her drawing attention to a wonderful point.
I’m really bad, I know, but I wonder if that’s the same mentality behind free Wi-Fi at Baptist retreat centers.
“We’re just going to give you free Wi-Fi and not ask what you’re going to look at.”
Surprise—it’s not the same mentality. I once tried to finish a freelance column on beer at a Baptist retreat center, and a few years later at the same place I was trying to do some freelance editing work on articles about marijuana policies in the U.S. I am here to report some web browsing was blocked. And that’s within the rights of the center’s administrators.
Like I said, I’m bad, but on a better note, you can read the entirety of Lamott’s Facebook post—which reads like a short newspaper column, a cool use of Facebook for some authors—here:
Posted in Christian Humanism, Jesus, writers
Tagged Anne Lamott, Baptists, compassion, exhortation, Facebook, healing, Jesus, love, mercy, writers
Margaret Evans, writer and editorial assistant to the late novelist Pat Conroy, within her column “That’s So Conroy:”
Did you know Pat had lately become enamored of fantasy fiction? He was fanatical about George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” series, and compared Martin to Shakespeare. He had also discovered C.S. Lewis late in life, and was so enthusiastic about him – and his friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien – that he ran the idea by me, about a year ago, of getting a group together to travel to an Inklings weekend in Black Mountain, NC. (How I wish we’d done it.)
You might not know that Pat was very interested in God. Though he didn’t go to church much, he still considered himself Catholic, and he wrestled mightily. During our chats about the Inklings, he once told me he wished he had a writers’ group like that of his own. “Wouldn’t it be great?” he said. “For those guys, the question of God was always on the table. Maybe you struggled with the idea of God. Maybe you rejected it altogether. But the question was always on the table. It mattered, and it mattered a lot. So many writers I know today don’t even address the question. They’re not even God-curious. I still think that’s the difference between a great writer and a merely good writer. Great writers – whether they’re believers or not – are God-haunted.”
Pat Conroy was God-haunted. Maybe you didn’t know….
While out walking in the Cypress Wetlands last week – thinking about Pat, and how he adored this season – a cardinal zoomed across my path at warp speed, eye level, so close to my face I felt the wind on my cheek and heard its whoosh. His feathers may even have brushed my sunglasses; I’m still not sure. It was all so swift and sudden, so frightening and wondrous, I was left shaking as I watched the red bird disappear into the rookery.
They say a cardinal encounter is a visitation from a loved one who has passed….
Posted in Christian Humanism, Humanities, The Inklings, writers
Tagged C.S. Lewis, Catholics, God, J.R.R. Tolkien, Margaret Evans, Pat Conroy, The Inklings, writers
Acclaimed author Walter Isaacson on the late, great writer Walker Percy:
“I had a friend of the family, an uncle of a friend, Walker Percy…
“He was a kindly gentleman. From his face you could tell he had known despair, but his eyes still smiled. And he had a lightly worn grace to him….
“He would say that two types of people came out of Louisiana, preachers and storytellers. He said, ‘For God’s sake, be a storyteller. The world’s got too many preachers.’
“He thought that too many journalists, and writers in general, feel they have to preach. He said it was best to do it the way the best parts of the Bible do, by telling a wonderful tale, and people will get the message on their own.”
I realize I’ve been guilty of preaching, too.
Posted in Christian Humanism, Humanities, literature, storytelling, Walker Percy, writers
Tagged Bible, journalists, preachers, storyteller, Walker Percy, Walter Isaacson, writers
Of course, the best-known Inklings were C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. But they weren’t the only Inklings.
During the past year or so, I’ve re-blogged a couple of things by Sorina Higgins, a scholar of the life and works of Charles Williams.
Like Williams, another lesser-known Inkling, Owen Barfield, was a powerful intellectual and imaginative force within the group. The literary output of Williams and Barfield suggest each core member of the Inklings was extraordinary, if only two members were blessed with incredible book sales and international name-recognition.
While Higgins has reasons to call Charles Williams “The Oddest Inkling,” Barfield also might seem a bit odd to Tolkien and Lewis fans.
A couple of days ago, I stumbled upon the following short documentary film about Barfield. It includes an interview with Barfield in his older age. “Owen Barfield: Mean and Meaning” is well-worth the time of any Inklings fan.
“Writing is a concentrated form of thinking. I don’t know what I think about certain subjects, even today, until I sit down and try to write about them.”
via Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 135, Don DeLillo
A previous post, repeated here on the occasion of C.S. Lewis’s 116th birthday:
During a recorded conversation between authors C.S. Lewis, Kingsley Amis, and Brian Aldiss, Lewis is talking about science fiction when he abruptly changes the subject:
Lewis: … Are you looking for an ashtray? Use the carpet.
Amis: I was looking for the Scotch, actually.
Lewis: Oh, yes, do, I beg your pardon.
– From Of Other Worlds: Essays & Stories, a collection of Lewis’s writings edited by Walter Hooper
more about c.s. lewis:
Professor Don W. King on Ruth Pitter, poet and friend of C.S. Lewis
Revitalizing liturgical worship: C.S. Lewis on ritual
C.S. Lewis an Anglo-Catholic? Taylor Marshall considers the question
The spirit of man and spiritual men — C.S. Lewis clarifies
What ‘joy’ meant to C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis on silencing the voice of conscience
John Wain versus C.S. Lewis on the role of the writer
Finding C.S. Lewis in a peculiar place
Annihilation or Restoration? With C.S. Lewis’s reflection on depravity
The extraordinary fiction writer Pinckney Benedict was recently interviewed by Image; here’s an interesting excerpt:
Image: You have a novel titled Dogs of God, and in this story a feral dog is one of the two main characters. What do dogs have to teach us?
Pinckney Benedict: Dogs give us an excellent metaphor for our own relationship to God: We can see, from our human perspective, how limited their understanding is. And sometimes they make terrible blunders—which we could prevent them from making, if they would listen to us—because they have relatively short horizons. And sometimes they do astonishingly well, by our lights, on very little information and with no moral boundaries.
We’re something like that—magnified to the nth degree, of course—in relation to God. The way I love my dog, even though he’s a spastic moron who eats things that no one or nothing should eat, and then he comes home and vomits on my carpet: that, multiplied infinitely, is how God sees me and also how he loves me. So I can be aware of how limited and shameful I am, and not want to simply burst into flames with humiliation. What I want for my dog is what God wants for me, times one billion.
Continue with the interview here.
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Posted in arts, Christianity, Gospel, writers, writing
Tagged arts, Christianity, dogs, Gospel, Imagejournal, literary, writers, writing