Inspired

Peering up, the boy chewed the inside of his cheek contemplatively.  It was uncharacteristic of him to find his attention so firmly fixed on such a still and static thing as a statue, but here he now stood.

Shifting his backpack lightly across his shoulders, the boy pondered alone as the class slowly filtered down the hall filled with canvas and ancient marble.  He’d lost interest in the droning guide and whispered chattering of his peers.

“A thing of beauty.”

The boy turned his head, taking in at a glance the gray-haired man with bright eyes who had appeared at his side.  Continue reading

State of the Union

2015-1-22 Union img01After reading Beauty by Roger Scruton, a contemporary British philosopher, I wrote to ask him if politics could be beautiful, given how ugly that art is now, and seems to have always been. Is beauty achievable in politics? Receiving a reply made me beam like a six-year-old with a new Lego set.  He explained, politics might not be the best place to hope for beauty, but that the rudimentary elements necessary for beauty could be conserved in politics, because politics could create the conditions for beauty to flourish: order and liberty.

It is in the light of those ends of politics– order and liberty – that I have since sought to approach the politics of my nation, the United States, and the discourse that defines political study through speech.

In the light of this criterion, the state of the union was bad. Continue reading

Angels and Demons, Cosmos and Chaos

2015-1-15 Gabriel img01After rereading The Man Who Was Thursday, I wondered why, when Chesterton went to the trouble of opposing an angel and the devil, he chose “Gabriel Syme” as the name for his protagonist instead of Michael the Archangel, who will defeat Satan in the Battle of Armageddon. One analyst suggested that Gabriel was chosen for its nearness to Gilbert, Chesterton’s first name, a view supported by Syme’s undeniable parallels in appearance, personality, and social background with his author.* Chesterton is a deep thinker who deserves more credit than that, however. Continue reading

Epilogue

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Do you remember the end? When the world went dark?

I do. I can’t ever forget.

We played our role well, I think. To the hilt, and beyond, we lived our parts. How could we not, after all? For us, there was nothing but our casting upon the stage.

Adventures and horrors, valor and despair, love and hate. I learned what these things mean, and I can tell you when our journeys educated me. At every point along the road, there was something worth noting, worth saying. It would be a cruel thing to believe otherwise.

But now, someone has wiped it all away. Continue reading

It’s a Wonderful Movie

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Critics try to reduce It’s a Wonderful Life to a proverb: “Virtue is its own reward.” “Money is the root of all evil.” “No man is a failure who has friends,” as the movie itself offers. The truth is, Wonderful Life wouldn’t be a great movie if it proposed simplistic answers to difficult moral quandaries. Instead, the movie introduces viewers to George Bailey, a man with virtues and failings, with grand ambitions and binding obligations. He is both heroic and human. In his struggles and growth as a character, George teaches the audience about living well. The movie achieves greatness by its compelling and believable portrayal of a virtuous character. Continue reading