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Friday, September 4, 2015

The Galli Report - September 04, 2014

The Galli Report newsletter
September 04, 2014

Behind the Scenes with C.S. Lewis and Friends
They are known as The Inklings—C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and the lesser-known Owen Barfield. They drank pints together, corresponded, and engaged each other's literary efforts. We tend to think of them as fundamentally like-minded. Yes, and no:
Lewis, for example, was much more of a rationalist than Tolkien. He emphasized clear-minded personal choice and thought that humans, though aided by divine grace, can decide to open or shut the gate to God. Lewis can sound almost Kantian in his insistence on individual choice. As he endlessly reiterated, the door to hell is locked from the inside. Rarely do we hear in Lewis's work anything like the cry Frodo utters as he carries out his mission in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: "Why am I chosen?" For Lewis, the war against evil could be won if the soldiers of Christ would arise and put on their apologetic armor.

Tolkien had a darker, more Augustinian sensibility. While he likened the gospel to the perfect fantasy that culminates in a paradoxical eucatastrophe—the good calamity that brings all things to a triumphant end—he never depicted that end in his fiction.
A new book, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip and Carol Zaleski, gives us some intimate glimpses into their lives and literary efforts, and this review is a nice summary.
What Does a Christian Politic Look Like?
Theologian Stanley Hauerwas can never be accused of being liked by all, but there's a reason Time magazine named him "America's best theologian." Who's really to say if he's the best? But he is good, whether you agree with him or not. In this essay, he explains why the church should not do politics but be a politic—that is, an alternate society grounded in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Along the way, we get a healthy dose of Karl Barth—what's not to like? This week's long read is not necessarily an easy read, but it is well worth the effort.
Flawed Saint
Since I was born and raised in California, my schooling included lessons on the California missions and their leading figure Father Junípero Serra. Many outside of California have never heard of him, but he was responsible for evangelizing California's Native Americans. An argument has been brewing for years as he has gone through the canonization process in the Roman Catholic Church. His champions usually say he was, well, a saint of a priest; his detractors that he was a typical and awful example of colonial hubris. As these things go, the truth lies somewhere between, as Robert Barron explains. Serra interests me because he is a saint and a flawed, sinful human being constrained by the assumptions of his age. Like the rest of us.
Plankton. Are. Beautiful.
If you don't believe me, check out this photo feature in The Behemoth: "These tiny single cells have transformed the ocean, atmosphere, and terrestrial environment and helped make the planet habitable for a broad spectrum of other organisms, including ourselves."
Enough said. Well, except, Glory be to God.
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor, Christianity Today

More froM Christianity Today
The One Percent: Why So Few Pastors Quit A 'Brutal Job'
How 1,500 ministers feel about their past pulpits and current churches.

Above All Evil: God's Purposes Through the Wild, Weird Arc of History
The unlikely rescue of Jews in China points to a Power beyond our understanding.

Should Adulterous Pastors Be Restored?
The Bible's teaching about returning fallen ministers to the pulpit.

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