Monday, December 31, 2012

Crucial Choice coming in 2013

Starting in early January I will be posting excerpts from a series of talks Gil Bailie gave in the 1990's entitled the "Crucial Choice". The first part of this series will focus on the Isak Dinesen story/film "Babette's Feast". The following paragraph from an article in the Journal of Religion and Film, 'Kierkegaard at Babette's Feast: The Return to the Finite', by Jean Schuler ( makes a point that was proposed yesterday on Gil's Facebook page about the scope of human desire that fits nicely here:
Babette's Feast achieves what Kierkegaard treated as impossible: to make the hidden movements of faith visible. A film about goodness threatens to bore its audience; a film about holiness that manages to get it right would seem to be as impossible as roses blooming in December or sitting down to a banquet fit for kings in a Jutland cottage. The usual ways of analyzing character and plot don't size up the elderly sisters who move with such grace through the quiet grays and browns of the village. A modern critic might insist: these daughters were controlled by a powerful father fixation. What a waste to have never experienced romantic love or the flowering of their talents! To try on a psychological analysis is to realize somewhat ruefully that it doesn't quite fit. Freedom, sorrow, and also joy hang together in this delicate balance. This wisdom does not belong to the stoic who trims desires to match the situation and remains tranquil at all costs. Here desire, like fine sauce, bubbles loudly; we aren't about to quench desire or diminish its searing effects in our lives. In Babette's kitchen, we hesitantly sit down to feast holding close to the promise of Psalm 85 quoted throughout the film: "Mercy and truth shall meet. Righteousness and bliss shall kiss."

Monday, December 24, 2012

A René Girard Christmas Card...

courtesy of National Review Online - Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson...René Girard (born December 25, 1923)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

From the Archives: Poetry of Truth Part 194

They returned to Jerusalem with great joy and were continually in the Temple blessing God.
Leaving behind the old sacred system but only under the impulse of a religious prompting.

There’s no way out.
you were born to waste your life,
You were born to this middle class life
As others before you were born to walk in procession
To the temple
Louis Simpson

NOTE: This is the final excerpt from the Poetry of Truth series. Beginning in January we will start a new series of excerpts from a presentation Gil Bailie made in 1993 entitled "Crucial Choice" focusing on stories by Isak Dinesen, "Babette's Feast", and Flannery O'Connor, "The Displaced Person".

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

From the Archives: Poetry of Truth Part 192

The Emmaus Road story continued..."were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the way?"
"...that same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem...they found the disciples gathered in one place."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

From the Archives: Poetry of Truth Part 191

The Emmaus Road story continued...the experience of the crucifixion of Jesus from the disciple's perspective. And then Luke's story of how the early church interpreted the cross in the pattern of the liturgy.

Friday, December 14, 2012

From the Archives: Poetry of Truth Part 190

The Emmaus Road story continued...the disciples stood still looking sad.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

From the Archives: Poetry of Truth Part 188

Another Simon who goes to find out what really William Golding's Lord of the Flies.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

From the Archives: Poetry of Truth Part 187

Simon Peter running to the tomb. He wants to find out what really happened. An example of moral empiricism.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

From the Archives: Poetry of Truth Part 185

Going back to the tomb. "Death, where is thy sting?"

Creating sacrality out of the most numinous thing around…death. The scandal of the cross.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

From the Archives: Poetry of Truth Part 184

“Vampire novelist Ann Rice launched her new book by dressing up in a bridal gown and lying in coffin in a New Orleans cemetery…”

Our fascination with death is symptomatic of our abandonment of the Biblical revelation.