Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Faith of the Early Fathers

Compiled by William A. Jurgens, I just finished volume 1 of the 3 volume set. "It is a source - book of theological and historical passages from the Christian writings of the pre-Nicene and Nicene eras." Jurgens also did the translation of the writings. It begins with the Didache, then St. Clement of Rome, an Apostolic Father writing about A.D. 80 while he reigned as Peter's 3rd successor as Pope. Volume 1 ends with Pope St. Damasus I, who reigned from A.D.366-384.

I've been reading this as part of my morning devotions. Many of the writings were to fight heresies. There is nothing new under the sun. The same beliefs still exist, it seems. Many people today are so busy making Christ "relatable" they forget His divinity. A few go the other way; so busy with an unreachable pedestal for Christ they forget the Incarnation. Denying either side of Christ is a heresy and anathema. There are so many more heresies that had to be battled. Has the Church weakened? For now no anathemas are pronounced. It would be intolerant. We apparently need to live and let live. Of course, it's a different world. Evangelization is different. Then, the only Christians were Catholic.... No. The Church hasn't weakened. Just gentle as a dove and sly as a fox.

I have been reading this for some time, since I only read and pondered one reading a day. Some were very exciting and I would wish Jurgens had included more in the book ( these are mostly just excerpts of larger works). Occasionally he included pieces so long I would have to break them down. All in all, a satisfactory addition to my devotions.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

A play, by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Throne, this book picks up the Harry Potter saga nineteen years later with the Potters' second son, Albus Severus Potter, beginning at Hogwarts. Albus has a checkered record there, making dubious friendships and getting sorted into Slytherin and not following in his father's footsteps at all. He doesn't even like quidditch! Finally, at age 14, the tension between Albus and Harry comes to a boil, causing Albus to embark with his best friend on a time-turning escapade to right Harry's greatest wrong, with disastrous repercussions.

The play, of course, is not a vehicle for Rowling's rich descriptive prose. The dialogue is short and terse. I'm not sure how the actual play was staged; the changes of scenery are many and vastly diverse. Each scene is relatively short, too. Tried my patience a bit, but the story is still strong enough to carry you along in spite of the mild irritations. The spells are left bold here, though. I think without additional words to cushion them... if all the books were in play form I don't think I would have yet allowed my children to read them. What is read stays in the head.... I don't know.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Sense of an Ending

This is a stream of consciousness novel by Julian Barnes. Tony Webster, middle aged, divorced, retired, is forced to review his life, his friendships, and his relationships when he receives a bewildering legacy from the mother of a former girlfriend.

I didn't particularly like the book. He reviews his life but makes no changes to it. No growth occurs. The twist in the story is the only insight he reaches. In my opinion, the book doesn't merit the hype on its cover. It won the Man Booker Prize in 2011 apparently. I am left wondering, "how"?