Category Archives: Literature

TWO PEOPLE STAND OUT

There are two men who have taught me the most about the proper ways to integrate theology and literature: Ralph Wood and Roger Lundin.  I have interviewed Ralph before, and Lord willing shall be going back to Baylor for another interview.  I corresponded with Roger.  I was planning on meeting with Roger during my lecture at Wheaton, but Roger unexpectedly died a few days prior to my talk.  Jeremy Begbie of Duke collaborated with Roger.  Here is part of Begbie’s tribute:

He cared about words – or better put, he cared for people through words: his students, colleagues and readers. That was why he labored so hard to find the right ones. That was why – with that memorable sidelong glance – he paused so often in conversation. That is why he spent hours and hours revising and re-editing his essays and books. In all the years I knew Roger I can honestly say I never remember him using words carelessly. He knew that careless words could hurt, maim and wound. In a culture deluged with half-thought out words, sloppy, hollowed-out language, he saw it as his calling to hone words full of care for others, full of the winsome generosity of God. And in the corridors of the academy, few things are needed more today. We academics revel in large words – to impress, to intimidate. He inspired us to use words with largesse. And that is a legacy beyond measure.

The rest is here: http://www.transpositions.co.uk/tribute-to-professor-roger-lundin/

AYN RAND

From Ayn Rand: “Listen to what is being preached today. Look at everyone around us. You’ve wondered why they suffer, why they seek happiness and never find it. If any man stopped and asked himself whether he’s ever held a truly personal desire, he’d find the answer. He’d see that all his wishes, his efforts, his dreams, his ambitions are motivated by other men. He’s not really struggling even for material wealth, but for the second-hander’s delusion—prestige.”
It is interesting to see this in light of my present study of Jeremiah.  Jeremiah makes it clear that there are really only two options: follow God or follow idols.  If you do the latter, then shame will be your forever bedfellow. 

So Rand is correct that there are two options: caring what other folks think or not.  Her “how not to care about other people’s view of you” is very different than the Bible’s, but she gets that there is a true dichotomy.

CHRISTIANS SHOULD LEARN FROM HAWTHORNE

This is the fourth book I’ve read by Andrew Delbanco.  He never disappoints with his keen insights into literature, culture, and American history. 

I am very interested in the first half of nineteenth century America.  As a Christian, there are many significant movements of thought swirling which make it endlessly fascinating and challenging. 

Delbanco’s Melville has the author’s characteristic brilliance: great writing coupled with brilliant insights.  For me, one of the most poignant things is seeing how well Delbanco captures the tormented genius of Melville along with showcasing the compassion of his dear friend, Nathaniel Hawthorne. 

Christian ministers could learn a lot about compassion and being patient with serial doubters like Melville.

I have two seminary degrees and would love to see books like this as required reading in the curriculum.

LITERATURE’S POWER

“I think the best psychologists are actually fiction writers,” Konnikova said. “Their understanding of the human mind is so far beyond where we’ve been able to get with psychology as a science.”

The narrow focus required by scientific research can miss the big picture, Konnikova said; researchers often tinker around the edges of wisdom elucidated by novelists a hundred years ago. “You need the careful experimentation, but you also need to take a step back and realize that fiction writers are seeing a broader vista and are capable of providing you with insights or even ideas for studies.”

The rest is here: http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/33945/title/It-s-Elementary/