Saint Augustine Quote of the Week: on literalism

Long story short, folks:  Augustine wasn’t a Biblical literalist.  You can look it up.

“It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation.”

  • The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1:19–20, Chapt. 19 [AD 408]

Quote of the Week: on freedom

“Things happen for reasons that are hidden from us…as long as we think they must proceed from what has come before, our guilt or our deserving, rather than coming to us from a future that God in his freedom offers to us.”

Not from Augustine this week, but from a book I read recently and loved, Lila by Marilynne Robinson, the best book I’ve read so far this year.  Here is a link to my full review: LILA

Saint Augustine Quote of the Week

Proof that I can bring liberal Christian view to anything

I attended a poetry event yesterday evening that included a man reading a poem while dressed as a bear, a poem about insects infesting vaginas, and a poem that is sure to end a marriage, if it hasn’t already.  Oh, and a painted penis (and I don’t mean a painting OF a penis).

In the age of Honey Boo Boo and Kim K’s booty, this is the level of spectacle required to get attention to poetry.  Our daughter is the absolute queen of this sort of spectacle, and my husband and I like to support her artistic endeavors, so we are frequently in the audience for this sort of thing.  Otherwise, I would probably never in my life attend an event that included penis-painting.

Now that we have ceased to be shocked by their bacchanalian shenanigans, we enjoy ourselves as outside observers of this counter-culture.  I’ve developed an affection for these young (and some not-so-young) people with their defiance of the conservative norms that I’ve lived by.  A healthy culture needs a counter-culture, a group of people who are pushing the boundaries of what society considers acceptable, who explore the mental dark corners and wild places that most of us avoid.  Margaret’s events bring a strong dose of humor to this exposure, but they are exposure nevertheless.  They are anarchic, they are sometimes offensive, they are pure spectacle.  And last night it occurred to me why this kind of art is important.  First, it is a howl of freedom.  But, more subtly, it insists on showing us the dark, messy, wild aspect of being human, the parts that we conservative, clean-living folks would rather forget about.  And it is therefore the antidote to the sin of Pride, to the notion of self-mastery, to the idea that on our own we could ever be as clean as we like to seem.

In short, it forces us to consider how desperately out of control we really are and why we need salvation.

Copyright 2014 Kathryn Bashaar | Design by | Adapted from PureType