Thursday, August 8, 2013

C.S. Lewis and Christian Creativity

Now that I was reading more English the paradox began to be aggravated.  I was deeply moved by the Dream of the Rood;  more deeply still by Langland:  intoxicated (for a time) by Donne;  deeply and lastingly satisfied by Thomas Browne.  But the most alarming of all was George Herbert.  Here was a man who seemed to me to excel all the authors I had ever read in conveying the very quality of life as we actually live it from moment to moment;  but the wretched fellow, instead of doing it all directly, insisted on mediating it through what I would still have called "the Christian mythology."  On the other hand most of the authors who might be claimed as precursors of modern enlightenment seemed to me very small beer ad bored me cruelly.  I thought Bacon (to speak frankly) a solemn, pretentious ass, yawned my way through Restoration Comedy, and, having manfully struggled on to the last line of Don Juan, wrote on the end leaf  "Never again."  The only non-Christians who seemed to me really to know anything were the Romantics;  and a good many of them were dangerously tinged with something like religion, even at times with Christianity.  The upshot of it all could nearly be expressed in a perversion of Roland's great line in the Chanson--Christians are wrong, but all the rest are bores. (p. 214, Surprised by Joy)

This is great.  All the rest are bores.  Nice.

I was arguing with someone not long ago who thought that people who have catechisms are rigid sticks.  I asked him if the doctrinally more sophisticated people he had met were really less interesting than others.  He didn't answer that.  And I think it was because it is just simply not so.  Christians and doctrinal people are not more boring, and not less flexible, and not less interested and not rigid idiots.  (If we must compare.  But generally you hear the other stereotype.)

Just today someone linked this article about creativity, conservatism and Christianity.  This is all so much non-sense, it must come down from the Puritans. Honestly.

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