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Robert Browning (1812-1889) is the second in our installment of Christmas poems or poems about the Incarnation.[1]  Browning is famous for his very romantic marriage in which he secretly wed the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861) and carried her off to Italy far away from her domineering father,  As a poet, he is especially admired for his dramatic monologues in which a person who is not the poet speaks about a vitally important moment in their life.

“The Strange Medical Experience of Karshish,” is one of Browning’s dramatic monologues.[2]   Read the rest of this entry »

In my last post http://www.billisley.com/?p=801 I criticized the all too common practice among readers of skipping passages that describe landscapes.  This “sin of the impatient reader” is especially harmful in the case of Willa Cather (1873-1947), certainly one of America’s premier novelists and probably the finest example of Great Plains regionalism.  Read the rest of this entry »

            A good way to evaluate Harry Potter is to compare it to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Taking into account the facts that Tolkien’s masterpiece is the standard for fantasy literature and that Rowling is writing a slightly different genre and for a different audience, Harry Potter holds up fairly well.  Nevertheless, Rowling falls short at a crucial point.  That shortcoming, however, is one that much Christian thinking about God and evil shares.  We desperately need to hear Tolkien in order to avoid the errors of moralism and a simplistic faith that cannot withstand the tidal waves of disappointment in the face of the hiddenness of God. Read the rest of this entry »

Truth and beauty in the Bible and theology, truth and beauty in literature, truth and beauty in history and culture (and movies are a crucial part of our culture) these will be the themes to which this blog will return time and again.  My plan is to write posts and even series of posts on the Psalms, spirituality, interpretation of biblical passages and favorite authors such as Athanasius, Anselm of Canterbury, C. S. Lewis, Chesterton, Charles Williams, and Russell Kirk, theological perspectives on contemporary culture, and help for skeptics (Doubting Thomas is my favorite apostle).  I invite you to join with me.

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