Hilaire Belloc–More Introduction than Rememberance

Image result for remembering belloc

James V. Schall is one of my favorite writers.  Hilaire Belloc should be one of my favorite writers as well.  I will blame Belloc for the distance between us.  He is out there on the perimeter of my reading world.  He is quoted by people I like.  He was a friend and peer to other authors I admire.  He wrote a host of books on a variety of topics.  He has just not intruded himself and elbowed his way past the other writers who have captured my attention.  Lord willing, there is still time, and Hilaire Belloc and I will soon become better friends, much closer, via his writings.

Until that time–soon, maybe–I will rely on Father Schall’s insistence that Belloc is one of the greatest essayists ever.  I will listen as he points to Belloc at the back of the room and tells me that I really should not wait for him to come to me, but should part the crowd and go to him.

Remembering Belloc is published by St. Augustine Press in South Bend, Indiana.  Our local bookstores, both secular and religious, do not stock publications from St. Augustine Press.  Were I to win an all expense paid vacation to Indiana, St. Augustine Press would be the first and maybe only stop on my list.  Being that the press and its books are in the Catholic tradition, some Protestants might recoil.  But as one who is celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation (October 31, 1517), I have learned to dig deeply and glean much from the rich theological, literary, and philosophical culture that produced Luther, Calvin, Erasmus, Melancthon, Zwingli, Bullinger, Bucer, and others.

Let the real and serious differences be debated elsewhere, I am willing to borrow, learn, share, and grow from great Catholic Christian thinkers like Christopher Dawson, G. K. Chesterton, Paul Johnson, Russell Kirk and his biographer Bradley Birzer, Hilaire Belloc, and James V. Schall.

Father Schall and I are old friends in a bookish sense.  I have corresponded with him in recent months, but most of the friendship is one sided.  Meaning, I have read his books.  Another Sort of Learning ranks as one of my all time favorite books on education.  All teachers should RE-read that book often.

Image result for Another sort of learning

A Student’s Guide to Liberal Learning is a part of the Intercollegiate Student Institute’s  Student Guides to the Major Disciplines series.  As the web-site says, this is “the one book you need to read as you head back to school.” I like it because you get the wit, wisdom, and reading suggestions from Schall in a short treatment.

Image result for A Student's Guide to Liberal Learning

The Classical Moment is one of the richest collections of Schall’s musings, intellectual wanderings, and thoughtful walks.  Upon reading The Classical Moment, one will question Schall’s assertion that Belloc is the best essayist.  Okay, I will take his word that Belloc was the best in his time, but Schall is pretty high up on the list for our time.  This book is also a St. Augustine Press publication.

Image result for Classical Moment: Selected Essays on Knowledge and Its Pleasures

And then there is Docilitas: On Teaching and Being Taughta recent collection again published by St. Augustine Press.  I loved that book.  How can you not like a writer who quotes liberally from Aristotle, Aquinas, Burke, Tocqueville and the Peanuts cartoons?  Schall must have started reading and thinking even before he was born.  Add to that the many years he has lived and continued reading, sharing with students and friends, and writing.  A common Schall-ism is him remembering an essay or statement he read somewhere which he might or might not be able to find and which he then composes his own essay.

Image result for Docilitas

Wait, there is Belloc still at the back of the room, and I was supposed to be talking about him.  While Schall remembers, rereads, and muses about Belloc essays, many of us are required to listen in and be introduced.  I am surprised that none of the chapters ended with the characteristic Schallism of a reading list.  But the book does contain a fine bibliography listing some twenty-five works (out of a hundred or more) that Belloc wrote.

Belloc wrote histories, some biographies, and poetry.  Primarily, he wrote essays and many of his essays, and some of his entire books, were about travel.  One of the best known is The Path to Rome.  (I am shamed to admit to owning, but not having read it.)  This work is not a theological discourse, although theology slips into Belloc’s writings, but is about actually traveling across Europe to Rome.  He often wrote about traveling, but he was not recalling the flora, fauna, and historical sites, but was using travel as the vehicle to think through matters.  Even if one is confined to a chair in the same old location, one can enjoy quite an excusion with Belloc and with his admirer, Father Schall.

Image result for remembering belloc

Hilaire Belloc, English author with a French heritage

Belloc lived from 1870 to 1953.  He is best remembered for such works as The Service State, The Path to Rome, and delightful and surprising poems gathered in such collections as Cautionary Tales for Children.  His life story is told in a short account in Joseph Pearce’s book Literary Converts and in greater detail in Pearce’s full length biography Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc (both of which I have read and loved).

Image result for literary converts       Image result for Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc

The normal recommendation (which means, do as I say, not as I have done) is to go straight to the writer and not to those who write about the writer.  One should start with Belloc instead of with Pearce’s works or with Schall’s book.  Except, in this case, I commend beginning with Schall. That is because he himself is worthy of attention as a writer.  And if he, as a master essayist, says that Belloc is the best, then I am convinced and willing to move on.

In many ways, Remembering Belloc is like a conversation between Belloc and Schall.  Schall speaks, Belloc responds, then Schall adds something, and then Belloc adds something else.  I was the outsider, not always knowing the inside jokes, the depth of the story, or the allusions.  But I knew enough and recognized enough to know this:  I want to know both of these writers more and better.

Image result for james v schall

James V. Schall, political philosopher, writer, and essayist

War! Huh! What Is It Good For?

Image result for war what is it good for

War and the teaching of history go together.  It would be difficult to be a pacifist and teach history and impossible to teach the subject without covering the wars.  There are two extremes:  One is a militaristic, nationalism that exults in war and glorifies heroes.  The other is a total opposition to all wars and absolute insistence against any use of military force.

Those are, as I said, the extremes.  Between those two poles are many other points on the line.  Most people have an adversion to war in general, but a sense of support and pride for the wars and history of their own country.  There are a few cases in American history where our country engaged in wars that, in retrospect, seem totally unnecessary.  The War of 1812 is questionable, and were it not for the late battle of New Orleans, it would have to be considered a defeat.  The Mexican-American War was a resounding success, but the causes and conduct and settlement are not at all things to take pride in.  The Spanish-American War was completely unnecessary.  Vietnam was a series of blunders.

Yet it is difficult for Americans to oppose–from a historical perspective–the American War for Independence.  A case can be made, and even at the time, as many as one third of American colonials sided with the Mother Country.  It is pretty much a given that the Civil War/War Between the States was the irrepressible conflict and was necessary.  Some think it was necessary to oppose such things as slavery or secession, while others think it was necessary to support states’ rights.  Most Americans feel pretty comfortable–again in retrospect–over our engagement in World War I and World War II.  The reasons for entering the Great War of 1914-1918 are not so clear, but the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the later revelations of the extent of Nazi atrocities certain makes a strong case for U. S. entrance into World War II.

Sometimes, World War II, in spite of Ben Franklin’s saying, is called the Good War.  The crushing defeat of Naziism in Germany, the overthrow of Fascism in Italy, and the destruction of Imperial Japan were all positive things.  But the same war that crushed certain totalitarians paved the way for Soviet Communism to survive and spread throughout the world in both Europe and Asia.  Even the good guys, the Allied forces of the United States and the United Kingdom, had their less than stellar moments.  Wholesale bombings of civilians are hard to justify either morally or as a contributing factor to shortening the war.  (I don’t wish to imply that the Hiroshima bombing was unnecessary or impossible to justify, but it is up for debate.)

History teachers must not be like the overly militaristic and nationalistic teacher in All Quiet on the Western Front who is named Kantorek.  He praised the war that the Fatherland (Germany) had entered and encouraged his students to go fight.  History teachers need to raise questions.  Students may and should come away with different views on the justness of particular wars.  Jingoism, not a common word, refers to extreme patriotism, especially in the form of aggressive or warlike foreign policy.  It is unbecoming of a history teacher and theologically wrong for a Christian.

Image result for all quiet on the western front

There are lots of powerful books, songs, and movements that have been anti-war.  As referenced above, Erich Maria Remarque’s classic work, All Quiet on the Western Front, is a powerful novel.  One could wish that it had been able to stem the movement that led to World War II.  It was written by a German, but could have just as easily been written by a Frenchman, an Englishman, or a Russian.  Reading it should have convinced the younger generation and what remained of the World War I generation to never lift up arms in battle again.  But, after a 20 year rest period–enough time to grow another young batch of boys–World War II started.

Image result for young men entering world war II

Efforts to stop, limit, prevent, or soften war have been futile.  The Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawed war, but failed.  So did the League of Nations and the United Nations.  The case can be made that the greatest preventative measure to war is military preparedness, but that also opens up lots of debate.

As a Christian and a history teacher, I am obligated to confront the topic of wars in history.  I believe that my book Punic Wars and Culture Wars happens to mention a bit about war.  I admit to having a love/hate relationship with war, the military, military history, and conflict in general.  Having just finished Gone With the Wind, I found it much more pleasing than the books of Jane Austen (who is admittedly a better novelist) because of the Civil War and Reconstruction history in the book.

But every war from the past is stands before the judgment seat of history and ultimately before the judgment seat of God.  Every war is a sign of spiritual failure and sinful human nature.  Every war both highlights some incredible human actions (bravery, sacrifice, and even mercy) and some horrible human characteristics.

Image result for a unique time for God

A few weeks ago, I read A Unique Time of God: Karl Barth’s WWI Sermons, translated and edited by William Klempa and published by Westminster John Knox Press.  This is an outstanding book on several fronts.  In twentieth century Protestant theology, Karl Barth is one of the most influential and powerful figures.  Two of my theological/apologetic heroes–Cornelius Van Til and Gordon Clark–wrote serious critiques of Barth, warning Protestants of his theology.  Others took different positions regarding Barth.

At the outset, I am an admirer of and slight reader of Karl Barth.  I could not teach, debate, defend, or attack his theology.  I am wary, but appreciative of the man as a theologian.  This book of sermons is the first complete work of Barth that I have read.

Often, I am irritated, distracted, lost, or bogged down by long introductions in books.  To my mind, an introduction should “introduce,” not present a lengthy thesis.  But the introduction to this book, written by Dr. Klempa, is really informative in explaining Barth, World War I, and the theology of the time.  As a history teacher, I loved it.  As one who dabbles in theology, I profited from it.  As one who struggles to sort out German theological trends, I profited greatly by it.  It makes up about one fourth of the book, but it greatly adds to the book and gives lots of context for the sermons that follow.

From July 26 to November 1, 1914, Karl Barth preached fourteen sermons relating to the outbreak of World War I.  The first sermon shortly preceded the beginning of the war.  While many thought the war would be a short one, Barth’s November sermon was given as the war was settling in for its first of four winters.  Barth was living and preaching in Switzerland at the time.  Switzerland was neutral during the war, but the Swiss were, as usual, prepared for any eventuality.  Neutrality had not saved Belgium from a German invasion, and it was likely that the combination of Swiss preparedness and mountain landscape prevented Switzerland from being caught in the crossfire.

Barth’s congregation would have been very aware, fearful, and even partisan about the war as it began.  Barth saw the events as eine Gotteszeit, wie nur je eine, which means, “a unique time of God.”  He saw the war as a judgment of God, but also believed that grace would trump judgment. He was determined to use the pulpit to deal with the most relevant political issue of the time, but do so from the standpoint of a preacher in the pulpit.

Much of Barth’s motivation and angst came from seeing German theologians (some who had been his teachers) not only accept the war, but they sign petitions supporting the Kaiser (Germany’s ruler) and his war aims.  Mobilization of troops, the invasion of neutral Belgium, and the quest for domination of other European powers were all accepted and cheered on by many German Christians.

Like many sermons, Barth’s preaching varied.  Some of the sermons are great, while others were tiring.  Even some of his congregation complained (!) about his continual preaching on the war.  In some cases, he aptly applied Christian and biblical principles to the context, but at times, he was giving more political than theological commentary.  That faces every preacher when he attempts to bring relevance and current events to theological and pulpit matters.  In his book, Between Two Worlds, John Stott recommended that the preacher have one foot planted in the Word and planted in the world.

This book was instructive to me, as stated above, as a history teacher and as one who preaches.  It reminds me that often I am preaching a true message to willing hearers with no ability to impact the greater culture or change the direction of history. But preachers and history teachers have an obligation to point hearers to the truth.  For the preacher, the pointing is to the Word of God, which we try to faithfully expound and apply.  For the history teacher, the truth is not a particular opinion on World War I or some other topic, but it is a pursuit, a willingness to learn, re-learn and be corrected.  This book is an outstanding contribution to both processes.

Brief Notes on Books regarding War

War, Christianity, and the State and Other Essays Against the Warfare State was written by Laurence M. Vance and is published by Vance Publications.  This is the second and somewhat lengthier edition of this work.  Dr. Vance is a serious student of this and other Biblical topics.  He has very strong objections to America’s use, justification, and abuse of military power.  I think it would be fair to put him in the libertarian anti-war tradition.

I read from this book with a perspective that is almost totally different.  There is certainly a place for the rebuttal, answer, and critique of this book.  For me, that is not my particular interest.  I think that reading in order to simply reinforce your own views is dangerous.  It is also dangerous to read anything different with only an eye toward objecting, fault-finding, and overturning.  Maybe I am too generous and easy going. Or maybe I am trying to overcome years of being far too contentious.

The case can be made against many of America’s military ventures past and present.  That makes this book worthwhile.

Related image


I accidentally stumbled upon the book The Imperial Cruise: A Story of Empire and War by James Bradley.  He is most famous for his books Flyboys and Flags of Our Fathers.  I found this book at Once Upon a Time Books in Tontitown, Arkansas.  It was not in the history section, and that is why I call finding it accidental.

This is a very informative, but disturbing account of American foreign policy toward Asia during the very late 19th and early 20th century.  It is also very critical of American and British attitudes toward other non-Teutonic races.  Many men I admire, such as Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, don’t come out of this book looking very good.  That kind of pain is, again, necessary for the history teacher.  Great men were great sinners.  Our foreign policy blunders and racial attitudes of the past were terrible.  There is no golden age, apart from what God will usher in.

Image result for The Twentieth Century: A People's History

Now, I can see the friends and followers abandoning me.  I recently picked up a cheap, used copy of The Twentieth Century by Howard Zinn.  It is a excerpt and expansion of his well known, admired and denounced, People’s History of the United States.  I am reading it for the perspective.  As Paul Johnson said (or should I say, “as the great Paul Johnson said”?), Zinn is to be appreciated because he does not hide the fact that he has a viewpoint and writes with a definite opinion and objective in mind.

Don’t give up on me, readers, I will soon be back to reading Victor Davis Hansen, Thomas Fleming, John Keegan, and other less troublesome historians.




Crossing the Finish Line; Back to the Starting Line

The Finish Line

Image result for crossing the finish line

I confess that using athletic metaphors and illustrations makes me feel more physically fit.  So, instead of just sitting in a chair and reading, I am working out.  Instead of sitting at a keyboard typing, I am pumping up my heart rate.  The cup of coffee at my side is Gatorade in my mind.  Being in that mode and mindset enables me to share a few recent wins or finishes in the world of reading.  But every race won puts me in a new bracket, facing a new opponent, and needing to run harder, faster, and better.  (That last sentence nearly took my breath away.)

Image result for preaching christ from the psalms

Preaching Christ from Psalms: Foundations for Expository Sermons in the Christian Year by Sidney Greidanus was published this past year by Eerdmans Publishing Company.   With 615 pages, this book is moderately list priced at $40. Normally, I might complain about that sticker price, but I offer no objection.  First, book buyers routinely know how to search out the best prices on the market.  Check with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Christian Book Distributors, and other sources for good pricing.  Go to Allbookstores.com  for more comparisons.  I really encourage  Christian book buyers to buy from Christian book sellers and strongly urge you to make some (as in many) purchases from independent and small-fry book sellers.

That being said, $40 is a reasonable price for what all this book contains.  I started reading it last December.  I read and read, and for a few months put it aside.  Last month, I picked it back up and persevered to the end.  It is a labor, but it is the labor of mining gold.  I would buy this book just for the quotes and footnotes Greidanus included.  I would buy it just for the introductory chapters on the Psalms.  I would buy it just for his sermon expositions.  I would buy it for all the extras–theme, organization, context, uses in worship–he includes.  But a couple of Andrew Jacksons will net all of these things.

Whether one wants to use this book for preaching through the Church Calendar, or for some topic sermons, or for personal spiritual reading, this book is top shelf.  “If I were a rich man,”  I would buy a case of these books and hand them out to all preachers, teachers, and theologians that I know.  I am betting that this book wins high honors on the “Best Books of 2017” that I award each year.  I am convinced that I want to acquire and read more of Greidanus’ books.

The Taste of Sabbath: How to Delight in God’s Rest by Stuart Bryan is published by Canon Press.  Pastor Emeritus Mickey Schneider gave me this book a few years back.  It drifted from stack to stack and then was lodged somewhere in the deep recesses of my study building/book barn.  Last week, I was needing some study on the topic of the Sabbath because I was approaching two Sabbath encounters in Jesus’ life from Matthew 12.  For different reasons–some say Providence, others say disorder–I did not find this book in the study until it was too late to read through it.

I did begin it last week, and since it is a short book, it is now finished.  The Sabbath issue scares me a bit.  I have been in the middle of or on the edges of such discussions for nearly 40 years.  Christians have staked out at least 4 major positions on the relevance/irrelevance, abiding validity of/ending of, acknowledgement of/seriousness of what was the Jewish day of worship as it appears in the 10 Commandments.  I have held to–with varying degrees of commitment–at least 3 of the 4 major views.  (I have never been convinced to worship on Saturday.)

In the Reformed tradition, there is a lot of weight and weighty theologians in favor of what is sometimes called the Christian Sabbath and even the Puritan Sabbath. Each and every Sabbath concern is not addressed in this book.  It is a very positive, uplifting, and informative book that holds to an abiding, but changed Sabbath.  It is convicting, without being crushing.  Pastor Schneider, well known for his love of the Christian Sabbath, described this book as one of the best on the topic.

The fact that I read the greater part of it (and it is only 105 pages long) after my sermon is indicative of the fact that our thoughts on God’s Word and application do not end with the doxology at noon on Sundays.  Fine study.

The Starting Line

Related image

Two books down.  Many more to go.

Image result for wolgemuth like a shepherd

Like the Shepherd: Leading Your Marriage With Love and Grace by Robert Wolgemuth with a foreword by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is published by Regnery Faith.

Last summer, I took my wife, daughter, and sister-in-law to North Little Rock to hear Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth speak.  My wife, Stephanie, and sister-in-law, Toni, had long been followers of Nancy’s “Revive Our Hearts” ministry on the radio and had read her books as well.  I was interested in seeing her as well, but figured it would be a meeting dominated by Christian women. It was, but I wasn’t the lone male in the crowd.

Along with having instructed women in ways of serving God for years, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, as she was previously known, surprised the Christian world by getting married at age 56.  Prior to that, she was serving in the much neglected ministry that singles can and should have in the Christian community.  For years, she had been advising wives and mothers.  Her instructions were solid and Biblical.  After all, the central figure in the Christian faith was a single man.  (Guess who?)  Paul the Apostle may have been a widower, or he may have been single.  Many great servants of God, such as Augustine from of old and John Stott more recently, were single.  So was J. Gresham Machen, and for most of his life and writing career, so was C. S. Lewis (and John Murray).

Nancy married Robert Wolgemuth, who had lost his first wife a few years earlier.  They knew each other from their Christian ministries:  Both were writers and speakers on Christian living issues.  Mrs. Wolgemuth is a powerful and convincing woman of deep faith.  But she is a small wisp of a person who is easily overlooked in a crowd.  In contrast, Mr. Wolgemuth is a large man with powerful features.  His size and demeanor are intimidating.

To my surprise, both Robert and Nancy were at the meeting and both shared some of the experiences of being newly weds!  Biggest problem seemed to be that Robert rises early in the morning to write, while Nancy is a night owl.  Both were incredibly gracious and friendly to their listeners and readers.

Last spring, I bought my wife a copy of Nancy’s book Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together.  This is clearly a “woman’s book,” but I enjoyed the few times that Stephanie read aloud from it during our family times.

Image result for wolgemuth adorned

I was glad to acquire a copy of Robert’s book when it was recently published.  I am reading it this week to help prepare my mind and thoughts for this coming Sunday–Father’s Day.  Of course, his book is on being a husband and not on fatherhood.  While those topics are different, I am convinced that the best thing I can do for my kids is to be a good–let’s hope better, much better–husband than I am.

The guiding metaphor in the book is the husband being the shepherd to his wife.  I am sure this book will not please too many feminists, but that is not the point.  I figure this book will offend, hurt, irritate, and slap me.  I need this book to sink in.  Great to be starting it now.  I will keep you posted on my progress.

Confessions Upon Discovering Robert Farrar Capon

Image result for i was wrong

I admit it:  I was wrong. I simply did not buy Robert Farrar Capon’s books or read them.  I had what I thought were good enough reasons.  First of all, I had “not heard of him.”  Of course, you cannot actually say that you have not heard of someone when you are told of them.  But there is a sense that develops that everything worth knowing about–well, I already know about it.

Then there were the two witnesses on behalf of Rev. Capon’s books.  One was Randy Booth, who praised the books to the hilt in some blog posts a few years back.  But I discounted the praise and recommendations.  Mainly it was because Capon wrote extensively about food and cooking.  I don’t care much for either.  Rev. Capon was a pastor, author, theologian who wrote about fine foods, the right wines, and proper dining.  Randy Booth is actually a chef who does theology on the side.  I suspect he devotes no more than 60 to 80 hours a week to church and pastoral duties, leaving him the rest of the time free to creating and serving up meals.  Food always makes me feel a) guilty, b) sick, or c) disoriented.  So I pushed Capon over into the list of authors that include Martha Stuart and those Frenchmen who write about cooking with wine.

Image result for robert farrar capon

In 2013 when Rev. Capon died, George Grant wrote something somewhere about Capon’s books and how good they were.  But I often find it worthwhile to disregard Dr. Grant’s book prescriptions.  Here is what I noticed:  When you randomly come up with a book and ask Dr. Grant about it, he says he read it, read several others by the same author, and prefers the works of someone else (whose works are out-of-print) to the author under discussion.  For example, I might ask, “What do you think of Orlando Figes’ book The Crimean War: A History ?”  He would answer, “It is okay, but Figes’ book Natasha’s Dance is, in my opinion, much better.  And on the Crimean War, I prefer Mark Adkins’ The Charge: The Real Reason Why the Light Brigade Was Lost.”

So, in spite of the “testimony of two witnesses,” I marched on my merry way sans Capon.  But then I was out hunting one day last winter.  In a particular place here in Texarkana, there was a store that had a selection of used books, and on this day, they were on sale for 50 cents each (or maybe a dollar–I cannot remember).  I bought several books, including a nice looking edition of Bed and Board by Capon.  It looks like the one below, except it does not have the ugly library markings.  It was cheap, in great shape, pleasant to behold, and might enable me to prove my indifference to the author’s works.

Image result for capon bed and board

In a further unprecedented situation, I started reading the book.  It is very disturbing to have one’s understanding of an author challenged by reading the author himself.  It is far better, from my personal experiences, to know about Plato, Aquinas, Edmund Burke, T. S. Eliot, John Calvin, and others by reading someone else’s extensive one page–or even better, one paragraph–description of them, especially if it is dismissive.  Reading authors is a troubling affair.

In the case of Rev. Capon, I discovered that this book, titled Bed and Board, which is about marriage and family, is witty, thought-provoking, ordinary–in the sense of the every day experiences contained in it, and totally realistic.  He actually describes the experiences of life as they are.  That sounds pretty miserable, except that he has such a facility of expression, such a different way of looking at things, and such a happy, healthy reminder of joys that the book makes you think you are seeing these things–such as having a wife, having children, living in confined quarters together–for the first time.  And, it is not just delightful prose, but solid Christian instruction as well.

Image result for robert farrar capon

I did not mark in the book, for it is too nice looking a volume, but I did note a few passages.  Consider:  “The only available candidates for matrimony are, every last one of them, sinners.”  Pretty obvious, except that nearly 26 years of marriage and over 20 years of pastoral counseling reveal that sin is quite surprising to many when it shows up in their marriages.  It gets worse (or better): “The parties to matrimony should be prepared for its being, on numerous occasions, no party at all; they should be instructed that they will need both forgiveness and forgivingness if they are to survive the festivities.”  Yep and “amen.”

Then there is a reference to old books that I found appealing–since it was in my bailiwick:  After citing several older authors on marriage matters, he says, “Keep at it (that is, reading these books) until the horse sense that makes them ageless breaks through the oddness that makes them antique.  It is a tough job, and the devil has seen to it that most of the books are either out of print or mighty unattractive.”

That is a great statement about reading “old books,” which I am sure that C. S. Lewis would approve.  Thankfully, more and more such books are back in print and often in attractive, readable editions.

Concerning the Christian mind, or the ways that Christians think (or don’t), he says, “Of course, in religion and morals it (the Christian mind) tried to do its own cooking; but across the rest of life–schooling, housing, marrying, working, playing, spending–it has been content to buy whatever packaged mixes were available on the shelves of the secular idea market.”

And that leads to this: “The result is that Christians, who would like to think they were different, have only succeeded in making themselves indistinguishable.”

I could cite page after page of the book, but this is a blog, not a reprint.

So, I was wrong–again, as those closest to me would remind me.  I now must begin the difficult, but rewarding labor of hunting and gathering the books of Robert Farrar Capon.

Image result for robert farrar capon