More From Yancey


More From Yancey

Some interesting comments on posts below--an interesting book. Admittedly, it seems, some details of presentation may be fuzzy, but then the main thrust of his point is not to present those details (C.S. Lewis) but to talk about people whose work has helped him through troubling time as a Christian. So I grant him a certain leeway--particularly because I tend to latch on to the side streams and make a big deal of them. As in this next piece.

from Soul Survivor--"Annie Dillard" Philip Yancey

On Puget Sound, she attended a tiny church in which she was often the only person under sixty, and felt as if she were on an archaeological tour of Soviet Russia. The Catholic church proved more innovative. On one occasion parishioners partook of sacred mass to the piano accompaniment of tunes from The Sound of Music. Dillard sighs, "I would rather, I think, undergo the famous dark night of the soul than encounter in church the hootenanny." She adds, "In two thousand years, we have not worked out the kinks. We positively glorify them. Week after week we witness the same miracle: that God is so mighty he can stifle his own laughter."

Several notes of moment:
(1) I never knew that Annie Dillard had become Catholic.

(2) I have never cared a bit for Ms. Dillard's writing. In fact, the whole genre that Pilgrims at Tinker's Creek is part of has left me cold since the time of Gilbert White. I don't know what to make of it. I have felt similar things in nature, but the only person who ever came close to capturing it was William Wordsworth. Obviously just a genre I don't understand. I know that Ms. Dillard has written other things, but her most famous work so thoroughly alienated me, I've never bothered to seek out others. Now, I shall try to return to the main work and perhaps dabble in others.

(3) And most significantly--I love the way she envisions God. I am so tired of the Calvinist God who has crept even into the confines of the Catholic Church--the dour, demanding, imperious, old Curmudgeon who, like some spoiled Prima Donna insists always upon His own way, in every detail and in every motion. A God who laughs appeals to me. A God who sees our feeble attempts and who out of His great love is deeply moved to laughter and to joy by them is a Father whom I can love. Just as I watched the fumblings of my young son as he tried to do things and I rejoiced in his failures and ingenuity, not because I was pleased that he was failing, but because i was pleased that he was trying, so is my image and understanding of a God who can laugh. That is the God of encouragement, hope, and joy. Not the one who sits with some large toteboard, carefully inscribing every error, every slip, every straying from the clearcut path. Obviously God does not wish us to depart from the path, and such departure grievously wounds Him. But, I think overall, my heart is inclined to a God who can look at some of the nonsense we generate, accept it for what it attempts to be--worship, after a fashion--rejoices at the attempt and shakes heaven with the thunder of His laughter.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 19, 2003 7:43 AM.

A Disagreement with C.S. Lewis was the previous entry in this blog.

One More Time--Frederick Buechner is the next entry in this blog.

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