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April 01, 2007


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they do joe. every time we use words, they raise a complex set of contradictions, histories, and other voices. metaphors arwe a chorus of dead voices gathered. (in fact in appalchia argot, storytelling is called where the dead voices gather and nick tosches called his book about the history of race and america, in the person of emmet miller the same thing)


One of the places Augustine deals with death in the Confessions is IV.iv ff; where he recounts the death of a friend, and his own subsequent grief. His grief is heightened by his rejection of the idea of the continuation of the incarnate person, as incarnate. And it is this sort of raising from the dead which Augustine says, is at the heart of the two versions of the "Word". The Word as an abstract principle, as Wisdom, is but a part (though a true and necessary part). The movement to understanding the immutable God of the [neo] platonists as also Incarnate is what sets Christianity apart.

Contemporary (or ancient) language which reduces Christian resurrection to [mere] metaphor leaves one holding memories, re-viving ideas. I might say that metpahors resurrect, well, metaphors... Good and well, but not, I would submit, the final vision of God. Creation is good. The New Creation is very good.

And re our conversation about Matt 25; Christianity must always have 'incarnational bite'...

Mrs. Falstaff

So, what's the attraction of "think[ing] the former, without believing the latter"? That puzzles me.

Mrs. F.


Mrs F.

I believe it reduces the challege from perfection to simply knowing the Word. In the case of some it becomes a cult of knowledge, or in modern times, a cult of morality.

Any other takers?


I suspect it also has to do with the pride Augustine noted in himself when he first read Cicero. The exhortation to philosophy left him "free to pursue wisdom", whatever it might be. This is very appealing to human pride: we can think that we are in a relationship with the Divine, without having to submit to those common, everyday drudgery sorts of things like obedience, which help keep the lesser sorts of folk in line. But we are "above" that sort of thing. We are autonomous. It also frees us from incarnational responsibility to actually do something practical for our neighbours.

Mrs. Falstaff

That reminds me of the uncle in CS Lewis' The Magician's Nephew. Remember what he told Digory? That rules were all well and good for little boys, but that he was above all that....

By the way, Fr. Joe, I've been meaning to ask, how do you put those thumbnails of book covers on your blog?


the thumbnails are part of the typepad features - just plug in the link to amazon and up they pop. but I'm sure there must be something equivalent for wordpress blogs. I'll see what I can find.

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  • Copyright Rev. Joseph Walker, St Timothy's Anglican Church

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