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Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

 Why does anti-intellectualism have such a hold on so many of the American people and so much of the American church?

C. S. Lewis–not an Anti-Intellectual

THE ROOTS OF ANTI-INTELLECTUALISM

Commentary, 1 Cor. 1:26

When I was a young and foolish boy,

I thought intelligence a gift so rare

That all those who were blessed by it would share

The hunger of the mind for thought, the joy

Of battle on the windy plains of Troy,

The Big Bang, Quarks—the search for what is there,

The Saint’s hope, the Post-Modernist’s despair,

Of Hopkins’ call:  “Have, get before it cloy!”

Tolkien–not an Anti-Intellectual

The church especially would love to trace

The Father’s hand in all He had created.

It seems that I had underestimated

How far we’ve let the Enemy deface

In us the image of the One who made

In us the very minds we have betrayed.

Dr. Johnson–not an Anti-Intellectual

A short attention span will pad the purse

Of publishers who ought to be devoted

To seeing Truth pursued and then promoted.

They take the easy way.  And, what is worse,

We justify our treason with a verse:

“Not many wise,” we’ve quoted and we’ve quoted;

“According to the flesh,” we’ve barely noted.

Thus blithely we perpetuate the Curse.

John Milton–not an Anti-Intellectual

Willing to know the Evil as the Good,

We bypassed the Instructions on the Tree.

Not eating from it would have been the key

To all its fruit, if we had only stood.

We plucked it green, and greedily we ate.

Now, gorged with garbage, we push back the plate.

Jesus of Nazareth–not an Anti-Intellectual. “Love the Lord your God with all your mind.”

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest books: Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016) and “An Encouraging Thought”: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018)!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

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Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

 In the Morte Arthur, Mallory pointedly declines to tell us whether or not Lancelot and Guinnevere actually committed adultery. They were certainly guilty of indiscretion, but whether they were actually guilty of the crime they were accused of remains a mystery.  Whether they were “abed” or not he steadfastly refuses to say, because “love was not in those days as it is today.”  It is a brilliant move, because it cuts off at the kneecaps Ascham’s charge that the Morte is an immoral book in which “the boldest knights are those who commit the foulest adulteries by the subtlest shifts.” And more importantly, it actually raises the moral bar.  You don’t have to be guilty to suffer the consequences of your foolishness.  If I were seeking a Bible verse to list as the moral of the story, it would be “Refrain from even the appearance of evil” (1 Thes. 5:22).  Indiscretion can be enough.  Don’t put yourself in a false position!

Even if Lancelot and Guinnevere refrained from the final act, their dalliance had terrible consequences, destroying the best and most noble and chivalrous earthly kingdom ever created.  It is better that we don’t know.  Here’s my take on the tragedy:

LANCELOT AND GUINNEVERE

A laugh, a word, a careless fling,

An innocent desire to please:

That such a little thing could bring

A kingdom to its knees!

 

The subtle sign, the clicking dice;

A failure to perceive the clue:

Such a small thing will suffice

A kingdom to undo.

 

A lingering look, a heart that aches,

A dainty eyebrow arching, coy:

Such a tiny thing it takes

A kingdom to destroy.

A brother’s trust, a failing nerve,

A knowing smile, a jealous frown:

Such a paltry thing could serve

To bring a kingdom down.

 

The knight his lady must obey;

An interview behind the wall:

Such petty things, to be the way

To make a kingdom fall.

 

A deadly game of blindman’s bluff–

A stroking hand, a tilting chin:

Such minute things, to be enough

To do a kingdom in!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

Look for Williams’ very latest books: Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016) and “An Encouraging Thought”: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018)!

 

 

 

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 Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

 Some contemporary translations of the Bible actually admit—proudly!—that they were translated for a sixth-grade reading level.  But was the Bible written for sixth-graders, or for adults?  Hmmm.

Written for Adults

ANOTHER ATTEMPT

TO EXPLAIN THE SPIRITUAL WIMPINESS

OF THE AMERICAN CHURCH

 

Today’s translators are a squeamish lot.

We are not able, by their estimation,

To handle hard words like propitiation.

Alright, the word is hard; the thing is not?

And do we need to deal with it, or what?

A simple failure of determination

To follow to its final destination

The trail left by the tittle and the jot.

 

Paul did not write for children or for fools

(Childlike and humble are another thing),

But those who loved the Lord with all their mind.

When teachers occupy the dunces’ stools,

We mustn’t be shocked if their pupils fling

The meat away to gnaw upon the rhind.

Donald T. Williams, PhDLook for  Williams’ very latest books: Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016) and “An Encouraging Thought”: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018)!

 

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Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

 Why is the modern church so spiritually impotent?  Maybe it should pay attention to the biblical idea of what it should be about, and how.

PRACTICAL ECCLESIOLOGY

Commentary, 1 Cor. 14:26, Col. 3:16

Each member has a place; each one belongs,

As seen when, gathered as a congregation

They sing their psalms and hymns and holy songs.

Whether two or three or mighty throngs,

The Lord is in their midst.  A priestly nation,

Each member has a place; each one belongs.

The Lord himself with love eternal longs

For them; each one by special invitation

Is singing psalms and hymns and holy songs.

A pincer movement, ministry:  the prongs?

A verse, a prayer, a word of exhortation.

Each member has a place; each one belongs.

How beautiful the feet, the sandal thongs

Which go to every tongue and tribe and nation

Singing psalms and hymns and holy songs.

Spectators passive in their pew?  It wrongs

The vision, suffocates the celebration.

Each member has a place; each one belongs,

Singing psalms and hymns and holy songs.

House church in India

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest books: Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016) and “An Encouraging Thought”: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018)!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

Books! We wants them, yes, precious!

Let me bring to your attention two recent books that belong in the library of every Christian college, Christian school, and Evangelical seminary—and in the personal libraries of many of their professors of English literature and theology–not to mention hordes of their students!  Not to mention yours.

First is Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016).  Diana Glyer says, “Williams has done the impossible: he has written a highly readable overview of C. S. Lewis’s theology.  He draws from the deep well of a lifetime spent studying literature and theology and Lewis.  My understanding has been greatly enriched; yours will be too.  This book is a marvel.”  Lewis was the greatest apologist and one of the most influential Christian thinkers and writers of the Twentieth Century.  Yet until now we have not had a study of Lewis’s theology that was both comprehensive and critical, asking, “What is the theology that lies behind the Narnia books, the Space Trilogy, and the popular apologetics, and what are its strengths and weaknesses as a guide to biblical truth?”  Clearly this book meets a critical need.

Then there is An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of J. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018).  Jim Prothero writes, “This book on Tolkien is not only readable, it is profound. The counter-culture movement latched onto to The Fellowship of the Ring more than a decade after its 1954 publication and never let go. The ultimate irony is that many of those young people were looking for alternative world-views to traditional values. And all the while, Professor Tolkien was a devout believer writing stories that reflected precisely traditional Christian beliefs and values. Donald T. Williams explores all the nuances of that irony here with humor and insight.”

Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings was listed as the book of the century in three separate polls, and remains one of the most popular and beloved books of all time.  And it was built on the biblical worldview of its author, as he himself said, “unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.”  That grounding in the Christian worldview is less obvious and in-your-face than in his friend Lewis’s books, but Williams brings it into clear focus here.  Tolkien’s vision is a lens that lets us see the Gospel as true in the real world too.  Williams is a good guide to why that is true and to what difference it makes.

Donald T. Williams (M.Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, PhD, University of Georgia) is R. A. Forrest Scholar and Professor of English at Toccoa Falls College in the hills of NE Georgia.  The author of eleven books and countless articles, he is a border dweller, camped out on the borders between theology and literature, serious scholarship and pastoral ministry, Narnia and Middle Earth.  These books are most easily ordered from Amazon.

Soli Deo Gloria!