• There is No Such Thing as Normal

    There is No Such Thing as Normal

    The war creates no absolutely new situation; it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself. If men had postponed […]

  • How to Become a Theologian

    How to Become a Theologian

    For as soon as God’s word takes root and grows in you, the devil will harry you, and will make a real doctor of you, and by his assaults will teach you to seek and love God’s word. I myself (if you will permit me, mere mouse-dirt, to be mingled with pepper) am deeply indebted […]

  • On Personhood and Love

    On Personhood and Love

    Professor Haldane himself illustrates the present state of mind very well. He thinks that if one were inventing a language for ‘sinless beings who loved their neighbors as themselves’ it would be appropriate to have no words for ‘my’, ‘I’, and ‘other personal pronouns and inflexions’. In other words he sees no difference between two […]

  • Solemn Pleasure of the Imagination

    I am not sure that anyone has satisfactorily explained the keen, lasting, and solemn pleasure which such stories can give. Jung, who went furthest, seems to me to produce as his explanation one more myth which affects us in the same way as the rest. Surely the analysis of water should not itself be wet? […]

  • The Prison of the Present Moment

    That perhaps is why people are so ready with the charge of ‘escape’. I never fully understood it till my friend Professor Tolkien asked me the very simple question, ‘What class of men would you expect to be most preoccupied with, and most hostile to, the idea of escape?’ and gave the obvious answer: jailers. […]

  • How to Frighten A Child

    How to Frighten A Child

    Those who say that children must not be frightened may mean two things. They may mean (1) that we must not do anything likely to give the child those haunting, disabling, pathological fears against which ordinary courage is helpless: in fact, phobias. His mind must, if possible, be kept clear of things he can’t bear […]

  • The Spiritual Discipline of Fairy Tales

    I do not mean that school stories for boys and girls ought not to be written. I am only saying that they are far more liable to become ‘fantasies’ in the clinical sense than fantastic stories are. And this distinction holds for adult reading too. The dangerous fantasy is always superficially realistic. The real victim […]

  • A Child Again

    When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown-up. C.S. Lewis, Other Worlds (1975), 25.

  • A Sentence That Stretches Into Eternity

    The tension (a weak word) between the temporality of sentences and the eternity that would render them and the strivings they portray superfluous is powerfully captured in my final example, a sentence from Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678). Although I have read and taught this sentence hundreds of times, it never fails to knock my […]

  • Learning to See Through the Eyes of our Forebears

    Christian classics—such as Athanasius’ treatise On the Incarnation or Augustine’s Confessions—possess the ability to tether us to our collective past, offering us resources that not only inform us about our faith but also reveal the blind spots of our own chronological parochialism. They anchor us to a continuous tradition of reflection, allowing us to see […]