Mar. 30th, 2017

arethinn: glowing green spiral (Default)
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, from a letter to his son Michael Tolkien ca. October 1968:
The 'protestant' search backwards for 'simplicity' and directness -- which, of course, though it contains some good or at least intelligible motives, is mistaken and indeed vain. Because 'primitive Christianity' is now and in spite of all 'research' will ever remain largely unknown; because 'primitiveness' is no guarantee of value, and is and was in great part a reflection of ignorance. ... Still more because 'my church' was not intended by Our Lord to be static or remain in perpetual childhood; but to be a living organism (likened to a plant), which develops and changes in externals by the interaction of its bequeathed divine life and history -- the particular circumstances of the world into which it is set. There is no resemblance between the 'mustard-seed' and the full-grown tree. For those living in the days of its branching growth the Tree is the thing, for the history of a living thing is part of its life, and the history of a divine thing is sacred. The wise may know that it began with a seed, but it is vain to try and dig it up, for it no longer exists, and the virtue and powers that it had now reside in the Tree. Very good: but in husbandry the authorities, the keepers of the Tree, must look after it, according to such wisdom as they possess, prune it, remove cankers, rid it of parasites, and so forth. ... But they will certainly do harm, if they are obsessed with the desire of going back to the seed or even to the first youth of the plant when it was (as they imagine) pretty and unafflicted by evils.

The professor is speaking here of Roman Catholicism, but it's an interesting reflection on religion in general and I think it could be quite applicable to Paganism.

June 2017

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