Friday, January 29, 2016

Why Protestants can't write / Christian imagination

First, of all as a Lutheran, I am not a "Protestant", and I have never called myself that.  I will happily go by Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical.  Anyways, our understanding is very much not like Zwingli's.  So, yes, Marburg is definitely the place to see the spirits dividing.

With that clarified, let's see what the writer of the article comes down to at the end.

Quote article:

O'Connor once expressed her desire to write stories that would sound “like the Old Testament would sound if it were being written today.” Her sense of what that meant was indebted to the Jesuit scholar William F. Lynch, who argued in his Christ and Apollo that “The opposition here is between Christ, Who stands for reality in all its definiteness, and Apollo, who stands for the indefinite, the romantic, the endless. It is again the opposition between the Hebraic imagination, always concrete, and the agnostic imagination, which is dream-like.”
Approaching the infinite “directly without the mediation of matter”—it describes the “modern spirit” perhaps, but equally and perhaps better it describes the spirit of Zwingli, the Zwinglian spirit that Luther could not recognize as his own. Insofar as Protestantism is infected with various strains of the Manichean virus, to that extent modern evangelicals are incapable of discerning the theophanies that surround us on every hand.
Hence: contemporary Protestants can't write. Blame it on Marburg.

For some reason, we always come to Flannery O'Connor.  It does baffle me a bit. She is said to be indebted to Jesuit scholar William F. Lynch, of whom I have not heard.  My guess is that he is an American.

From the internet:

Secondly, Lynch was suspicious of the Romantic exaltation of aesthetic imagination as something special or as a rare capacity for the privileged few, such as poets and others. Instead, he viewed imagination as incarnational: it is ordinary and universal, indeed our daily way of encountering and creating our lives. He often quoted Martin Buber as saying that the vocation of the imagination is to imagine reality, both disclosing and creating it.

Thirdly, Lynch had little patience with a tendency of imagination that he described as ‘angelic’ or ‘gnostic’. Here the danger was to cultivate unreal fantasies that avoid the drama of life. In Lynch’s words, Christ himself did not ‘march too quickly’ into ‘beauty, the infinite, the dream’, and a genuinely ‘Catholic imagination does not force me to imagine that I must free myself from all human society to unite myself with God’. In the introduction to his 1960 book, Christ and Apollo, Lynch remarked that he had three abiding friends from whom he had learned: Plato, St Ignatius and Newman. They nourished in him a certain compassionate realism. They taught him to distrust any escapist idealism in life or literature or spirituality, tendencies that he symbolised in the figure of Apollo.

Lynch wrote eloquently about Christ as ‘the Lord of the imagination’ and as having ‘subverted the whole order of the old imagination’ that imprisons us. Contemplation of Christ should give us freedom from distorted images of ourselves, whether induced by superficial culture or part of our personal woundedness.

Martin Buber, I know.  
The aversion to gnosticism, I share.
A compassionate realism is a good thing.  Plato, St. Ignatius and Newman, I don't count as close friends.
So much for now.  It's a good subject matter.

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