Oh Sight Beyond all Seeing

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.”

Sorry for the hiatus. Life happens faster than blogs do sometimes.  In any case, we are back, interrupting our more or less chronological journey through a lifetime of trying to be a poet with something seasonal:

Oh Sight beyond all Seeing

(Christmas, 1980)

Oh Sight beyond all seeing,

Light in the dark of the sun,

Fact behind the face of Being,

Second of Three in the One:

What motive could have moved you hither thus?

The Life that was ever begotten, never begun,

Began to be born, to mourn.  For us

The daring deed was done.

Traditional Site of the Manger, marked by a Star in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity

Burned by angel-light,

The shepherds’ eyes were blind

To everything except the sight

That they went forth to find.

It was a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes,

Laid in a manger: such had been the sign.

The sign they saw by then still shows

The perilous paths that wind

Between the Tree and the Tree

This much the sign makes clear:

The Light invisible we see,

The silent Word we hear.

What motive could have moved Him hither thus?

We hear pegs pounded, see the thrusted spear,

We hear, “Forgive them!”  Now for us

The day of doom draws near.

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’ other books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.   And don’t forget his newest books!  Deeper Magic: The Theology Behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Press, 2016) and An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of J. 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.”

 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

248

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)!

 

 

 

247

 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)!

 

244

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