Greetings readers. I write to alert you to a couple of recent podcasts of mine that you might be interested in. But first: some jellyfish. Inspired by my last essay, a subscriber from Florida has been busy on the designs you see above and below. Why? I’ll let them explain:
Maybe one of them can become our secret acknowledgment that we are part of the tribe, our modern-day ichthus, helping us skirt the influence of The Machine. I don't recommend tattoos but a t-shirt might be kind of cool.
The ichthus referred to here was the secret fish symbol that early Christians used, in the days of the underground churches, to signal secretly to each other beneath the eyes of the Roman authorities. Now we have our own contemporary version, suitable especially for the cooked barbarian in the Machine age. I like this idea. Feel free to download it and print off a few thousand bumper stickers.
On to the podcasts. I’ve had a couple of interesting conversations recently. Firstly, with the historian Tom Holland, author of the highly-recommended Dominion amongst other things. I’ve been wanting to talk to Tom for a long time, and our host Marcas Connolly - who is also organising my event in June with Martin Shaw and Jonathan Pageau - brought us together to talk about history, religion and the leap of faith. This turned into a moving conversation about what a commitment to Christianity might really look like, and how to unchain yourself from the shackles of modern rationality long enough to take the mystery seriously. I loved it.
Next up is a conversation with Swedish journalist Ivar Arpi, on much the same theme. Both Tom and Ivar, it turned out, wanted to quiz me about my long and winding journey into the church, from the perspective of two people standing in a place I stood in myself for a long time: Western intellectual men of a certain generation, who can feel what is enveloping them and understand its truth, but don’t quite know what to do with the enormity of the thing.
I felt like I was talking to two people standing on the shores of the river, wondering where and how and if to jump in. I don’t know how helpful I was, or if I was even expected to be, but I’ll say this: Tom and Ivar and I are just three tiny representations of something much bigger that I can feel happening out there now. It feels like the edifice of disenchanted modernity is cracking daily. Of course, when edifices crack, they can fall anywhere. They can come down suddenly. Nasty things can seep into those cracks and widen them fast. Even more reason, I think, to learn how to swim.
Good cheer to you all,
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Coincidentally, before opening this post, I just took baby cuttlefish out of the fridge to prepare for dissection in our homeschool science class tomorrow....Interesting designs - capturing the needed defence, swift movement, and adaptabilty needed to deflect the Machine.
Thanks, Paul. Some good listening ahead!