Remembering the Sacred While Celebrating the Season

“If anyone wants to hold the end of a chain which really goes back to the heathen mysteries,” says G. K.Chesterton in his book Heretics, “he had better take hold of a festoon of flowers at Easter or a string of sausages at Christmas.” Why?

According to Chesterton — himself a convert to Roman Catholicism — everything from from science to the French Revolution is “of Christian origin.” However, he says, “there is one thing, and one thing only, in existence at the present day which can in any sense accurately be said to be of pagan origin, and that is Christianity” — or, rather, Christian ritual and aesthetics. Continue reading “Remembering the Sacred While Celebrating the Season”

The Death and Rebirth of Culture

I recently made the mistake of purchasing a used book online, not realizing that it had a previous owner’s comments scrawled inside. Although I, like probably everyone who still has a quaint attachment to paper, have seen this before, I was struck by these comments in particular.

Though short — mostly only four or five words at most — the scribbler’s nauseating snobbish personality and sense of self-importance shined through. He had dated many of his worthless comments, addressed the publisher (Oxford University Press) in several of them — as if to psychically alert them to his overblown sense of self-importance — and had concluded the 300-plus page book with, “Interesting, but reference material.” He had, of course, signed and dated this as well, as if it were equivalent to Picasso signing Guernica. Continue reading “The Death and Rebirth of Culture”

The Decline And Rise of Authentic Manhood

A friend of mine recently described a first — and last — date with a young woman he met online. Things went fine at first, but then he mentioned that he liked going to the gym and — worse still — that he felt that men should be physically strong. Although this would not offend anyone of any culture prior to the modern era, nor anyone of a non-Western culture today (masculinity is seen as normal and valuable in Middle Eastern and African cultures, for example), my friend found himself being lectured on why this was inherently evil and why he was on the wrong side of history. Continue reading “The Decline And Rise of Authentic Manhood”