"This intolerable calling…

This intolerable calling requires courage and humility. It requires a life full of God. It also requires that the preacher become as wise as possible. Even an expository preacher has to become a kind of sage, a person who is conversant on the range of biblical topics and who can speak on them to healthy spiritual effect. In this calling, the Bible itself is the preacher’s first teacher. His experience of life helps a lot. So does the preacher’s wide reading of fine writers—storytellers, biographers, poets, journalists. Reading them tends to make the preacher wiser, which is perhaps, beyond sheer delight, the principal reason for doing so.

Cornelius Plantinga on a preacher’s reading diet.

(HT: Andy Jones)

The Coming of the King

Lewis’ good friend, J.R.R. Tokein as well understood the jovial king.

“And then wonder took him, and a great joy; and he cast his sword up in the sunlight and sang as he caught it. And all eyes followed his gaze, and behold! upon the foremost ship a great standard broke, and the wind displayed it as she turned towards the Harlond. There flowered a White Tree, and that was for Gondor; but Seven Stars were about it, and a high crown above it, the signs of Elendil that no lord had borne for years beyond count. And the stars flamed in the sunlight, for they were wrought of gems by Arwen daughter of Elrond; and the crown was bright in the morning, for it was wrought of mithril and gold. Thus came Aragorn son of Arathorn, Elessar, Isildur’s heir, out of the Paths of the Dead, borne upon a wind from the Sea to the kingdom of Gondor; and the mirth of the Rohirrim was a torrent of laughter and a flashing of swords, and the joy and wonder of the City was a music of trumpets and a ringing of bells…”
J.R.R. Tolkein, The Return of the King

Jovial Kingship


“Before the other angels a man might sink: before this he might die, but if he lived at all, he would laugh. If you had caught one breath of the air that came from him, you would have felt yourself taller than before. Though you were a cripple, your walk would have become stately: though a beggar, you would have worn your rags magnanimously. Kingship and power and festal pomp and courtesy shot from him as sparks fly from an anvil. The pealing of bells, the blowing of trumpets, the spreading out of banners, are means used on earth to make a faint symbol of his quality. It was like a long sunlit wave, creamy-crested and arched with emerald, that comes on nine feet tall, with roaring and with terror and unquenchable laughter. It was like the first beginning of music in the halls of some King so high and at some festival so solemn that a tremor akin to fear runs through young hearts when they hear it. For this was the great Glund-Oyarsa, King of Kings, through whom the joy of creation principally blows across these fields of Arbol,…. At his coming there was holiday in the Blue Room…”

C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength

Lewis captures the jovial spirit in the descent of Glund in That Hideous Strength. Notice the similar language in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Lucy asks regarding Aslan, “Is he—quite safe?” To which Mr. Beaver replies, “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Here’s Michael Ward talking about the Jovial spirit.


And the second part…

"We Teach the World We Create"

Dr. Michael Ward author of Planet Narnia gave a lecture in 2010 at the University of Kansas, Lawrence on his discovery as to the imaginative theme of the the Chronicles of Narnia. To listen to the entire two-part lecture is a time commitment, but if you want to understand the clever craft of the Chronicles, these are a great place to start.

And here’s Part 2

A Dickens of an Evening

My wife wrote the following poem after our family visited the NC Shakespeare Festival’s A Christmas Carol. She also drew the sketch to the right. She blogs and posts here work on her own blog drawn2life. You can see more of her work here.

A Dickens Eve

A gentle waterfall
spilled up and o’er the rim
finding age old crevices
to follow towards my chin.

‘Twere just a play!
a staged apparition…
Well, actually there were three
nay four! after intermission.

What magic did befall me
as costumed sorcerers did brew
with lilting incantations
and music lovely too.

Had I not sat here
a couple times before?
Yet a fortnight of years
since last I heard this score.

A fortnight of years
is enough to deepen
the heart crevices
touched here by Dickens.

As Past waves her hand
for Scrooge to view his childhood,
My own leaps up before me
memories dancing, ill and good.

Then Present laughs hearty
as I sit here with my Three-
I know the richness I’ve been given
I can scarce contain it merrily.

For that dearest family Cratchit
‘tis my own sweet family too!
The crevices are deeper now
‘tis why I see this anew.

My senior girl beside me
is poised to leave the nest
Four years at college
and then who knows the rest?

My middle boy full of life
and a heart that breaks for all
His character becomes a man
How did he get so tall?

My youngest also sweetest thing
a deadly disease has hold…
Were it not for money and medicine,
her future could not be told.

All three have known less at table
though nothing like the meager here.
Fewer clothes are in their closets
Yet the Cratchits are wearing theirs.

Though my life is abundance
in comparison with these…
Do I still hoard and miser
all I have, to live in ease?

The jocund, piercing work of actors
has undone my heart this night.
The waterfall I cannot stop
melts what I’ve held tight.

Live freely with hands held open
Give money, joy and love!
And ring throughout each blessed moment:
God Bless Us Everyone!!
-jpe

Lewis: Out of the Silent Planet

Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy, #1)Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve read the ‘excursionary’ Space Trilogy numerous times since 1992. Only recently have I been clued into the influence of the medieval cosmology which Lewis loved so much. In the past I enjoyed the book on its merits, but since, I have grown in my enjoyment of the attempt made by Lewis to let us enter a martial world in which the will stands like caryatids under the weight of necessary obedience.

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Dante’s Purgatorio

The Divine Comedy: Purgatory The Divine Comedy: Purgatory by Dante Alighieri
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The translation into rhyming verse is no doubt a daunting task. It does make the poetry more esoteric, and most likely more difficult to read and comprehend. Dorothy Sayer’s commentary, however, is gold. The book is worth reading simply for her commentary on Dante.

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