“I have heard that in some debating clubs there is a rule that the members may discuss anything except religion and politics. I cannot imagine what they do discuss; but it is quite evident that they have ruled out the only two subjects which are either important or amusing.” — G. K. Chesterton, Introduction to Dickens’ Hard Times
Lowry, L. S. The Old Town Hall and St Hilda’s Church, Middlesbrough. 1959. Oil on canvas.
“The United States, smiling or angry, its hand open or clenched, neither sees nor hears us but keeps striding on, and as it does so, enters our lands and crushes us.” – Octavio Paz, The Other Mexico (1969)
“Read the Bible in one hand, and the newspaper in the other.” – Karl Barth
“Although frequently cited, the Barth Center has thus far not been able to discover an authoritative source for this quotation. Barth did occasionally make similar remarks.” -Princeton Theological Seminary
Van Gogh, Vincent. The Church at Auvers. Paris. Musée d’Orsay. 1890. Oil on canvas.”
“Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask the just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us not judge, that we not be judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has his own purpose.” – Abraham Lincoln, The Second Inaugural Address
Mosler, Henry. The Lost Cause. Augusta, GA. Morris Museum of Art, 1869. Oil on canvas.
“At the beginning of the war, it was possible to separate the Nazis from the Germans and recognize that not all Germans were Nazis. As the clash between the two nations wore on, and as more and more English fathers and sons and brothers died, distinguishing the difference became more difficult. Eventually the difference vanished altogether. Realizing he needed to fuel the British war effort, Prime Minister Winston Churchill fused the Germans and the Nazis into a single hated enemy, the better to defeat it swiftly and end the unrelenting nightmare.” — Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
“Winston Churchill (1874-1965), a direct descendent of the Duke of Marlborough, became Britain’s Prime Minister on May 10, 1940, the same day the German armies launched their invasion of France. In the front rank of the twentieth century’s most formidable statesmen, Churchill was renowned for his eloquence as an orator, for his gifts as a writer, and for his courage as both a soldier and a politician.” — Lapham, Lewis H., editor. Lapham’s Quarterly. Volume 1.1.
McEvoy, Ambrose. Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill. 1927.
“It seems undeniable that, collectively, the American churches have encouraged puritanism, philistinism, manicheanism, and racism. They have encouraged the cult of individual material success growing out of raw capitalism and the imperialism of a good conscience (the two fundamental ingredients of Americanism in the eyes of its internal and external adversaries). . . . At the same time, the inculcation of individualism, nonconformity, and Protestant freedom have combined to preserve the country in its whole history from the worst horrors of totalitarianism. Religion has nourished the dynamism, egalitarianism, tolerance, generosity, humanity, and idealism of this great people – the only one in history which has mixed all the major ethnic groups and built a great world power without ever falling under the heel of a tyrant or a military oligarchy. Religion has helped this immense continent, filled with all sorts of people, to acquire a soul, to forge itself into a nation, and to anchor itself in its diverse past without ceasing to look toward the future.” — Claude-Jean Bertrand
Coriolanus (2011), directed by Ralph Fiennes, is a satisfactory film. Excellent acting, sophisticated frame compositions, and decent cinematography. It’s an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s tragedy by that same name, however, the film is set in a contemporary world. The setting helps the viewers to better relate to the story in the light of our own politics and wars.
The story points out human folly, which for some reason reminds me of the words of Fyodor Dostoevsky, “Am I so stupid that, if others are stupid and I know for certain they’re stupid, I myself don’t want to be smarter?” Yes, unfortunately we rarely do want to learn and thus be smarter. To learn from history and humanities. And so it still remains that all of us are often manipulated by selfish governing, and we don’t even realize it.
“So as Coriolanus talks his way toward the customary end of all tragic heroes, we find ourselves longing for a better one. Someone who fights for us with superhuman power, yet sympathizes with our weakness. Someone who suffers outside the city gate, yet identifies with all those inside it. Someone who remains silent before his unjust accusers, and bears the blame that is rightfully ours. One, in short, whose love for us is unfeigned.” — Barry Cooper, “Coriolanus Untamed.” The Gospel Coalition.