Thoroughly Alive

We must hunger after the beautiful and the good...


Riches Are for Sharing

Today I offer you a feast of fat things to watch, read, discover, consider. It's not often that I find a bevy of discoveries I want to share, but the resources and books and writers below are things I love, things that have nourished and taught me. I feel rich in new ideas and friends right now. They must be shared. Summit Semester Summer Program

Well, this one is personal, because it's where I'll be working this summer. I love this program. I loved working as a mentor with Semester a couple of years ago and I'm absolutely delighted to be part of the program this summer. In addition to a special course on the life and works of C.S. Lewis, a small group limited to twelve students will get to study theology, politics, religion, literature, etc., with teachers who bear both great passion and expertise in their subjects. L'Abri style feasts and discussions, hikes in the Colorado mountains, one-on-one discipleship with mentors (me!), and life in a lively, faithful community form the beauty of this program. If you know any college-ageish people who might be interested, tell them to take a look.



The Accessible Art Historian

My dear, brilliant friend Karen has finally answered my (and many other people's) prayer and is offering her original course in art history through a series of online books. Karen's deep love for great art and her intricate knowledge of its history has been a delight, and continuing source of education to me ever since I walked into her house and noticed the art posters on her walls years ago. Now, I cannot visit her home and lovely self without learning. I walk round her house staring at posters and paintings, asking question after question, and always getting a fascinating answer. You can read her professional history on her website, but Karen has taught online courses in art history for a state university and is now making them accessible on Amazon. She is an invaluable resource. I plan to go through each part of her courses myself and cannot recommend them highly enough to anyone wanting to understand the history, the power, and the beauty residing in art. Click the link above for the website, but you can find the books on Amazon here, and check out her facebook page here.

Cultivating the Good, the True, and the Beautiful

Lancia Smith is a new, and oh-so delightful friend whose love for beauty has already offered me an immense amount of thought, nourishment, and encouragement. Her blog, a feast of literary good things, is a place where the good, the true, and the beautiful is sought, considered, and richly celebrated. Lancia has the knowledge of an Inklings scholar, a love and insight into C.S. Lewis, his world and works, and is an incomporable resource for all things Lewisian and imaginative. Her interviews with scholars and writers such as Malcolm Guite, Alister McGrath, and Andrew Lazo are brilliant pieces of information and insight, but are also vastly heartening spiritually. You will greatly enjoy the beauty and insight she offers in her lovely home on the web. Go forth and explore.

Shakespeare Uncovered

Have you ever read a Shakespeare play aloud with friends? Have you ever encountered the sheer brilliance of his wordplay? Well, you must. But if you find him at all daunting, then I highly recommend this PBS (and BBC, I think) series of hour-long documentaries on the Bard's greatest plays. Each episode features a different play (such as The Tempest, Hamlet, the Comedies, etc.), and is hosted by a well-known Shakespearean actor or director. Educational, fascinating, literary, even poignant in their insight into the soul-deep themes that drove Shakespeare's brilliance, these are not to be missed. And they are all free on PBS. I've posted one below (but be sure to scroll on past the video for one more thought):

Watch The Comedies with Joely Richardson on PBS. See more from Shakespeare Uncovered.

And now friends, in pure fun and in honor of the Shakespearean wonders above, I leave you with the St. Crispin's day speech from Shakespeare's Henry V (1599). One thing I will say. I sincerely hope that I am part of something within my lifetime that gives me leave to remember it with the same triumph and pathos embodied in this speech. Enjoy!

WESTMORELAND: O that we now had here But one ten thousand of those men in England That do no work to-day!

KING: What’s he that wishes so? My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin; If we are mark’d to die, we are enow To do our country loss; and if to live, The fewer men, the greater share of honour. God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more. By Jove, I am not covetous for gold, Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost; It yearns me not if men my garments wear; Such outward things dwell not in my desires. But if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive. No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England. God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour As one man more methinks would share from me For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more! Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host, That he which hath no stomach to this fight, Let him depart; his passport shall be made, And crowns for convoy put into his purse; We would not die in that man’s company That fears his fellowship to die with us. This day is call’d the feast of Crispian. He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d, And rouse him at the name of Crispian. He that shall live this day, and see old age, Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.” Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars, And say “These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.” Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot, But he’ll remember, with advantages, What feats he did that day. Then shall our names, Familiar in his mouth as household words- Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester- Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red. This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered- We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition; And gentlemen in England now-a-bed Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.