Orthodoxy VIII: The Romance of Orthodoxy

There are certainly plenty of keen insights as to how an otherwise stultifying, byzantine term like “Orthodoxy” can have Romantic (at lest in the classical sense) overtures and undertones and at the same time, but I have not dug up any such as of yet.

Until we get to Chapter VIII, I leave a few random thoughts and images


 Hallmark captures the earthy Venusian essence of Romance


Andrei Rublev’s Trinity (1411 – OR – 1425-1427)

Currently resides in Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

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Lewis, Tolkien, TS Eliot, Vikings, Virgil, Bill and Ted: On History

The hardy romp through theories, stages and general phenomenon of history, as provided by Mark Tiberius Gilderhus in History and Historians: A Historiographical Introduction, brings to mind the various intersections of a notion such as “historical consciousness” and a “philosophy of history” and various readings in cultural apologetics thus far.[1]  It would be nearly a crime to not begin with material from C.S. Lewis, given his significant role in modern apologetics, and so we begin, working backwards perhaps though history to find our way.

[1] And as this was written during my final course in the online MA program in Cultural Apologetics at Houston Baptist University, a number of such connections flooded my mind. Were I to have written a thesis, this might be the outline of how it could have gone.

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Beauty: A Gentle Introduction

   In speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness… I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence … We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.

– CS Lewis, Weight of Glory



Blaue Blume / Langtans Blaa Blomma (Blue Flower of Longing) from wooden flower arrangement from recent local Octoberfest vendor;

Wanderer on the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich, 1818, German Romantic

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Theological Aesthetics I: Hans Urs von Balthasar and “Seeing the Form”


“Beauty is the last thing which the thinking intellect dares to approach, since only it dances as an uncontained splendor around the double constellation of the true and the good and their inseparable relation to one another… We can be sure that whoever sneers at her name … can no longer pray and soon will no longer be able to love.”[1] – Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics

“The witness borne by Being becomes untrustworthy for  the person who can no longer read the language of beauty.”[2] – Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics

“Before the beautiful—no, not really before but within the beautiful—the whole person quivers. He not only ‘finds’ the beautiful moving; rather, he experiences himself as being moved and possessed by it.”[3] – Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics

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Beauty II: Theological Aesthetics Part Deux (Completing Balthasar)

Completing Balthasar: Garcia-Rivera and Community of the Beautiful

In developing the foundation of aesthetics, Balthasar leads us to rapture and ecstasy, beholding the splendor within the form.  But what becomes of reason? Can we be enraptured of a form which deceives us? Since all that glitters is not indeed gold, we find ourselves at the nexus of faith and reason, just as, Garcia-Rivera reminds us, Dante found himself as Virgil (classical virtue and reason) led him to the gates of Paradise, at which point he needed a more capable guide, the beautiful Beatrice (faith, with a loveliness spoken of by her beauty). Continue reading

Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment aka What Can’t You Get Away With

Essay 2.  Although Crime and Punishment was begun prior to Nietzsche’s first published work, The Birth of Tragedy, it nevertheless offers one of the finest ripostes to Nietzschean power philosophy. Consider the ways Dostoevsky answers Nietzsche’s critique of Christianity through the relationship between Raskolnikov and Sonia.


God is dead   – Nietzsche

Nietzsche is dead – God

<note:review of Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors is not contained herein, but it’s only Jan. 2 …>

the playful, t-shirt or bumper-snicker worthy sloganeering goes.  Death and life – Nietzsche posits the former (death of God) to find a place for the latter (life for man).  Jesus, of course, had his own take on the relationship: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 New KJV), “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39) and finally “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).  The nineteenth century Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky, also a Christian, embodied that life-giving power of Christ in his 1866 novel, Crime and Punishment, specifically in the love relationship between the Raskolnikov and Sonia.

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