Author Archives: gandalf30598

REVIEW: LAST JEDI

REVIEW LAST JEDI (generic spoilers only):
Best Star Wars film since the original trilogy, but marred by PoMo cynicism. In the original trilogy, you could celebrate the defeat of the Dark Side unironically, shout “Harelukiah!” with the Ewoks with unmixed joy after the destruction of the Death Star. Now we have to question whether there is any real difference between Jedi and Sith, whether it really matters who wins. In one way, this is an improvement, because the original’s unironic battle between Good and Evil (as if they were ultimately really different) was inconsistent with the metaphysics of the Star Wars Universe, where Light and Dark are merely two sides of the same “Force.” The latest installment is more consistent with its own premises than the original–but less consistent with the moral order of the real universe. There are positive aspects to the new perspective: It is good for a Jedi to question his own hubris–but not to the point where he questions whether there is a real difference between Good and Evil.
 
Contrast Tolkien, who is no Pollyanna. He has good people being corrupted (Theoden almost, Saruman and Denethor finally). But he does not have Gandalf ever wonder if the battle against Sauron is worth fighting or leave the readers wondering if there is really any difference between Gandalf and Sauron. That kind of moral clarity is only possible in a universe with the biblical foundations of Middle Earth. Star Wars can only get there by cheating with its own metaphysical foundations. In the 21st Century, it remains to be seen in episode 9 whether it can get there at all.

Donald T. Williams, PhD, is R. A. Forrest Scholar and Professor of English at Toccoa Falls College.  His most recent books include Mere Humanity: G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien on the Human Condition (Broadman, 2006), Stars through the Clouds (Lynchburg: Lantern Hollow Press, 2011), his collected poetry, Inklings of Reality: Essays toward a Christian Philosophy of Letters, 2nd ed., revised and expanded, and Reflections from Plato’s Cave: Essays in Evangelical Philosophy (Lynchburg: Lantern Hollow Press, 2012).

Order Stars through the Clouds ($15.00), Inklings of Reality, or Reflections from Plato’s Cave ($15.00) at https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/.

 Also, check out Dr. Williams’s latest book:  Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Square Halo Books, 2016)!

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CCXIX  

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

This poem is a double sonnet and an acrostic.  Read the first letter of each line from top to bottom and compare that with the verse in the title.  Trinity Fellowship was a church I planted in Toccoa, Georgia.  It had  a decade of good ministry in the 1990s before the reality that it was too radical for its sleepy little Southern town set in and it folded.  I had to try, for reasons the poem makes clear.  I have no regrets.

1 TIMOTHY 3:15

The Founding of Trinity Fellowship

University Church in Athens, Ga., was the model for Trinity Fellowship of Toccoa.

Hard the path of men who live alone:

Outcasts, Eliot’s Magi with their race

Uncomprehending, staring, blank of face;

Seeking—those who ought to be their own,

Easily the hardest, hard as stone;

Hearts that claim and mouths and hands that trace

Outwardly the elements of Grace—

Lacking life, corruption over bone.

Daring to believe the Message still,

Onward plodding, leaving Hope behind,

Forgetting hunger for the kindred mind.

Grace has not forgotten all its skill:

Onward plodding, shows us in the trip

Delights unlooked for:  founds the Fellowship.

Me preaching at Trinity Fellowship in the early days before we had a building to meet in–well, sort of. 😉

Supper of the Lamb together shared;

Useless baggage seen and laid aside;

Prayer from deepest need—the need supplied;

Preaching from the Text—the Text declared;

Odes of ancient praise renewed and aired;

Royal priesthood serving side by side,

Tasks imposed by Scripture not denied;

Old and new, the treasures are prepared;

Flock responding to the Shepherd’s fife;

Truth digested into will and heart,

Realized in acts—at least a start;

Unction of the Spirit bringing life;

Together finally, Boaz and Ruth:

House of God and pillar of the Truth.

The building in which we did not meet.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

OH SIGHT BEYOND ALL SEEING

The wrapping paper is burnt, the toys assembled, and the turkey or ham just about digested, as life starts returning to normal.  But after the first Christmas, life has never returned to normal.  Let’s think about what it means one more time before turning to the New Year.

OH SIGHT BEYOND ALL SEEING

Oh Sight beyond all seeing,

Light in the dark of the sun,

Fact behind the face of Being,

Second of Three in the One:

What motive could have moved you hither thus?

The Life that was ever begotten, never begun,

Began to be born, to mourn.  For us

The daring deed was done.

 

Burned by Angel-light,

The shepherds’ eyes were blind

To everything except the sight

That they went forth to find.

It was a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes,

Laid in a manger: such had been the sign.

The sign they saw by then still shows

The perilous paths that wind

 

Between the Tree and the Tree.

This much the sign makes clear:

The Light invisible we see,

The silent Word we hear.

What motive could have moved him hither thus?

We hear pegs pounded, see the thrusted spear,

We hear, “Forgive them!”  Now for us

The day of doom draws near.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, 2016, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM

Bethlehem, Beth Lechem, House of Bread:

Your white stones waited silent in the sun

For long years (long as people feel them run).

The prophets wrote no more; the Rabbis read

The old words and unraveled every thread

And found your secret out: you were the one.

And when the time came and the thing was done,

They spent the night at home asleep in bed.

 

Oh, they could put their fingers on the pages

That told the old fox Herod it was you.

But those uncircumcised, stargazing sages

Came first, and shepherds, wet with evening dew,

Had long since been there, and all had been fed

In Bethlehem, Beth Lechem, House of Bread.

 

Merry Christmas!

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, due out Sept. 1, 2016, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

 

CCXVIII 

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

The first church in the set of acrostics below shall remain blessedly anonymous–but examples are, sadly, not hard to find.  The second was Trinity Fellowship of Toccoa, Georgia, which had a significant ministry in the 1990’s before she succumbed to the fact that she was just too radical for her sleepy little Southern town.  She was formed on the pattern of University Church, Athens, GA. (www.theuniversitychurch.org), which manages still to survive as a testament to the fact that a New-Testament church is not, even in this decadent age, a complete impossibility.

ECCLESIA I

(The Generality, America, Late 20th Century)

Enemies before her would retreat,

Could find no refuge, even in their gates,

Could she but once advance; and yet defeat

Lies heavy on her face.  She hesitates,

Ever stumbling over her own feet.

She cannot lift them, cumbered by the weights.

Insane!  She thinks herself well clothed and rich—

All but naked, headed for the Ditch.

The House where University Church Meets

ECCLESIA II

(When It’s Working)

Fellow pilgrims following the Way,

Ambassadors who serve the King of kings,

Members of the Body and the Head;

Itinerants who seek a place to stay,

Listening, believing, questioning,

Yearning to enflesh the Truth they’ve read.

Overcomers through Another’s might,

Finders of the Joy that seeking brings,

Givers of their bounty: beggars’ Bread;

Owners of white robes and crowns of light

Derived from One who lives but once was dead.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD