Consider what happens to people whose night skies are spangled with constellations like The Master of Hestviken, or Moby-Dick, or The Brothers Karamazov. These people are hard to fool. They are also hard to enlist in pursuit of the trivial and ephemeral. It is as if we had given them a powerful telescope atop a high mountain, and shown them how to use it, and directed their attention to the Orion nebula, and once they had learned to do so and to love the beauty they found there, expected them to look at light bulbs on a marquee. Or, if not a telescope, Continue reading →
With all the lethality and economy of a Kurosawa film, Anthony Esolen takes apart Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale:
Clichés are easy. So we bring up our children on clichés.
Everyone knows that men are beasts and that religious people are bigots. Run with those clichés and you have Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. I might add that it’s a great book to assign to young people, if only for the imbecilic prose, in the poseur’s style of Thoughts Too Great for Complete Sentences.
I received a copy of Joshua Harris’ Humble Orthodoxygratis from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. Here are my thoughts on the book.
There is presently a palpable feeling among many in the Church that we must choose between humility and orthodoxy. On the one hand, doctrinal knowledge does tend to puff up, especially within the more theologically rigorous traditions of Christianity; the more right we believe ourselves to be, the more unbearable we can become—especially in an age of online discourse where a degree of anonymity makes arrogance even easier. On the other hand, we live in an age of serious cultural sin in which many liberal voices (even some within the Church) defend unrighteous lifestyles by couching them in language of justice and “equality,” and we are rightly aware of our biblical duty to stand up and speak up for the Lord’s truth. Josh Harris reminds us that we don’t have to choose, and offers some helpful and incredibly timely encouragement toward a “humble orthodoxy.”
In an expansion of the popular final chapter of a previous book, Dug Down Deep, Harris deals with the pastoral problem of ungracious theology, correctly identifying roots both in sinful self-aggrandizing tendencies as well as righteous zeal for God’s law. At the heart of the gospel, he argues, the two are easily reconciled. We can be humble in the manner in which we defend and present orthodox dogma without sacrificing the integrity of God’s word. As Harris aptly observes, “Instead of looking down on the unorthodox, how can we NOT want to humbly lead them toward the same life-giving truth that has changed our lives?”
This little book not only preaches humility but also practices it, being just 81 pages long (9 of which are study guide and probably not Harris’ own work), and smaller than a piece of toast. In fact, that is my greatest complaint about the book: Continue reading →