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Showing posts from May, 2008

Modern man: doubly deracinated

Modern man is thoroughly marooned, and Christ is the only lifeline that can help him find a way back on to the ship.

Because man needs roots, many revolutionaries [Voltaire, Hitler, to name two] have attempted to make a shortcircuit back to a forgotten pagan age, despising the Christian legacy of which they themselves were a product. It is also the commonplace of much new age thinking.

But C.S. Lewis has an neat answer for those who think that Europe can come out of Christianity " 'by the same door as in she went' and find herself back where she was. It is not what happens. A post-Christian man is not a Pagan; you might as well think that a married woman recovers her virginity by divorce. The post-Christian is cut off from the Christian past and therefore doubly from the Pagan past." - in De Descriptione Temporum, a lecture delivered on 29th November 1954. CUP, 1955.

Shaken and Taken

Teaching the Trivium (in the guise of English, plus a little History and Latin) to boys at Chavagnes International College.

Every aspect of the learning and teaching experience in a school is -or ought to be - about growth and development. Newman observed that even the mere fact of being in a vibrant and intense atmosphere of intellectual work can itself be an agent for the intellectual, social and cultural development of the young. (He claims not to speak of the religious and the moral in the same terms, but this is only because he is writing about Protestants for a Catholic audience. It is clear that these kinds of development cannot be separated from the rest.)

When a multitude of young men, keen, open-hearted, sympathetic, and observant, as young men are, come together and freely mix with each other, they are sure to learn one from another, even if there be no one to teach them; the conversation of all is a series of lectures to each, and they gain for themselves new ideas and vie…