Friday, September 17, 2010

Best of February 2007

It is likely better to comment here than at the original post.

I did an adult Sunday School series on Christian music through the centuries, and what the changes mean.
I have little doubt you are all fascinated by the history of lyrics of Christian hymnody. Sure you are, I can hear it in your silvery voices. Nothing would make you happier than Part One: Ancient Hymnody
Not-So-Ancient Hymnody
16th -18th C: Hymns Get Ridiculously Complicated
19th C: Jesus As Cosmic Pal
The People's Hymns: Spirituals, Camp Meetings, and Bluegrass.

God Plays Twenty Questions
I could have written this better, in particular, stressing that God’s answers are an invitation to think these things through over an extended period, not just a one-sentence response.

God starts by speaking to us but not revealing very much of Himself. We are unwilling to ask directly "tell us who You are," but we just have to keep testing and finding out. We want a simple, done-and-out answer.
Are you a local god? God answers Try that idea out and see where it brings you.
Are you an earthly king? Try that. I'll even help you, so it will be a fair trial.

Nuclear Waste. Does it hurt to point out that the "later generations" that will be around in 10,000 years are not our grandchildren and great grandchildren? This is posterity at a very far remove. Turn the telescope in the other direction: how much do you think your ancestors of 10,000 years ago were responsible to you, personally?

Hitchens And Daniels On Orwell
Christopher Hitchens and Anthony Daniels write about Orwell, and I comment on their insights.

Orwell is remembered for the brilliance of his late fiction, Animal Farm and 1984, and to a lesser extent his war essays on propaganda, simple virtue, and meaning. Perhaps his earlier work deserves more attention; Hitchens would certainly say so, though he didn’t convince me. What remained of Orwell’s socialism to the end is interesting, but not compelling and instructive any longer.

By happy chance Anthony Daniels has revisited Homage to Catalonia at The New Criterion this month. Daniels reminds us of some morally reprehensible sections of that work. Perhaps Eric Blair had not fully become George Orwell by 1938, and the incompleteness of his disillusionment should not be held against him as forcefully as Daniels does. Yet it remains that Orwell clumped Homage into the category of his later work, and did not change a word for its reprinting in the late 40’s.

Related: Throwing Darts At The Intelligentsia Reading Christopher Hitchens' Why Orwell Matters reminded me once again of the miserable record of the European intelligentsia in the 20th C. If one were to spread in a row the top three ideas shared by the elites in each decade and throw darts at it, I doubt you would hit a correct one all night.

1 comment:

Texan99 said...

I enjoyed going back to read all the posts on hymnody.