‘Stories are equipment for living.’ – Kenneth Burke
Blog gurus tell you never to blog “off brand,” but this one’s not as off as it might appear.
If you love the Bible and haven’t read Robert Alter’s The Art of Biblical Narrative, you really need to. One of the reasons for the Reading the Bible in 3D seminar in April was to help people understand that the tools they gain from watching quality movies and TV and reading good fiction should not be shelved when reading the Bible. Sadly, it seems most Christians really aren’t interested in understanding the Bible in a new way. They are taught by ministers who have little idea of what they are actually dealing with in the Bible, and the ministers were trained in Bible academies ruled by men without an ounce of the childlike imagination the Bible requires to be understood. Consequently they miss the beauty, the musical rhythm, the intricacies and the constant use of “plant and payoff”, all of which are understood by the best authors. This includes screen writers, who have to say everything the writer of a novel says but in less words. Robert McKee writes:
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1
One of the problems with exalting Enlightenment thinking over the Scriptures is that it disconnects theology from the real world. One is left to wade through and deal with the sometimes stimulating but mostly irrelevant tomes of philosophers who jettisoned our only source of light. The main reason modern Christians need to be up-to-speed on philosophy is to deal with godless philosophers in terms they can understand. I don’t consider myself to be up-to-speed, but from what I have read, many if not most of the questions they consider to be profound are really just the shadows left once Jesus is locked out. The average man has more pressing matters to contend with, and subsequently has a better grip on real life. For instance, we can spend hours swatting every available philosopher and lawyer on the existence or nature of natural law, and interact with all of them, or we could just ask the man on the land.
Rich Blesdoe is a man not only well-read in history and philosophy, he is able to interpret the mountains of data through a finely-focussed biblical-theological lens.
“The Left has now won, and Leftism is an auto-immune disease. It has nothing to do with any of the diseases of paganism. It is completely and wholly a reaction to Christianity.”
“Truly, truly, I say to you, (Transcendence)
the Son can do nothing of his own accord, (Hierarchy)
but only what he sees the Father doing. (Ethics)
For whatever the Father does, (Oath/Sanctions)
that the Son does likewise.” (Succession)
The premise that the entire text of the Bible has a common structure, one which operates at multiple levels, has many implications. Besides the fact that this is clearly a miracle, there is the question of why such a limitation would be placed upon the Words of God.
Bauhaus and the Bible
“What is in the nature of these materials?”
The Bauhaus, founded in Germany in 1919 by architect Walter Gropius, had a profound influence in every area of design, from graphics and typography to clothing, furniture and architecture. It is not so much a style as a method, its philosophy based on the idea that if something is well-designed it will be beautiful of its own accord. The means to this end involved the founding of an art school where every student was also a tradesman, and every tradesman was also an artist. The Bauhaus manifesto expresses Gropius’ desire to unite the trades and the arts that their works might possess the grace of an inseparable marriage of function (design) and form (beauty).
Then they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!” (Luke 23:30)
What we see
and what we seem
are but a dream…
a dream within a dream.
These lines by Edgar Allan Poe, slightly reshaped, are the first spoken words in the classic Australian film, Peter Weir’s Picnic At Hanging Rock (1975). Based on a novel by the enigmatic Joan Lindsay, it is an experience that clings to you, not merely because it is so carefully and beautifully made, but also because it is a film with secret blades: it is a mystery without a solution, a horror story without savagery, a nightmare in which all the watches stop at noonday.
On Saturday 14th February 1900, a party of schoolgirls from Appleyard College picnicked at Hanging Rock near Mount Macedon in the state of Victoria. During the afternoon several members of the party disappeared without trace…
(Spoilers follow, but feel free to read on…)
[This post has been refined and included in Sweet Counsel: Essays to Brighten the Eyes.]
“Things ain’t cookin’ in my kitchen
Strange affliction wash over me
Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire
Couldn’t conquer the blue sky…” 
Today, the Australian government’s carbon tax repeal bills cleared Parliament’s lower house. They will be voted upon in the Senate next year. To see this reported as an act of climate vandalism by the media isn’t a surprise. What is surprising is the consternation of many Christians.
“The serious magical endeavour and the serious scientific endeavour are twins: one was sickly and died, the other strong and throve. But they were twins. They were born of the same impulse.”
The Dangerous Trajectory of Those Who Seek to Be Gods
An excerpt from Joe Rigney’s new book, Live Like a Narnian: Christian Discipleship in
Reading Lewis today, it’s easy to believe that he was a prophet (or at least the son of a prophet). His analysis of education, government, culture, society, and the church has proved to be unusually prescient. One of the chief reasons for this is that Lewis understood the deep reality of narrative, of story, of progression and trajectory.
or The Murderess of Modernity
Joe Rigney has a great piece on the Trinity House website. With apologies to Joe, I’ll give it to you in a nutshell, then make some brief observations. But make sure you read the entire article.