July 31, 2008
Not to be scorned. The roots, and the best hopes, and the living metabolism, of human culture draw not only from enthusiasm.
Here, from the new First Things:
John Updike, discounting himself as any kind of Christian apologist, but conveying a certain faithful reverence to ordinary life:
A world in which no better [than the mundane] is imagined, and the motions of our spirits are not at all valorized, would be one without not only an religion but without any art.
Updike's father was a Lutheran deacon, rather like a character he describes.
That dogged deacon was, in a way, my father; and also the many, including clergy, who, against the modern grain, borrow light and lightness from ancient lamps, who suffer from a Sabbath compulsion, and take comfort in the periodic company of like-minded others, who -- to quote from 'The Deacon' -- 'share the pride of this ancient thing that will not quite die.'
First Things' Fr. Neuhaus, with sacramental understanding, observes:
Servants of the Lord who do not quench a flickering wick dare not despise the nostalgia-laden intuitions of those for whom that Ancient Thing may one day burst into life, and life abundant.
In the cave of certain Ancient Ways, even if the wicks sometimes flicker perilously, the Fire has never failed, and the path is illuminated even if passersby see from the sidewalk only a dark edifice. Comparisons are odious and some matters not for judging. Nor embers for trampling.