Words from the South…
“The lights drifted farther away the faster he ran and his feet moved numbly as if they carried him nowhere. The tide of darkness seemed to sweep him back to her, postponing from moment to moment his entry into the world of guilt and sorrow.”
-Flannery O’Connor, “Everything That Rises Must Converge”
Grand Forces Afoot
“Picture a soldier pinned down behind a sand dune on Normandy beach. He’s just landed; he’s behind the sand dune and can’t get to the next sand dune. He can’t achieve his next objective because he’s pinned down by enemy fire. He’s just stuck, and he’s in a bad jam.
Suppose that, at this point, we make the illustration ludicrous, that a stray sheet of paper from Eisenhower’s invasion plans for Europe got detached from the notebook and is blowing down the beach. It lands on the soldier, and he looks at it and it says, “From Gen. Eisenhower…” and the orders to Eisenhower are to establish a beachhead on the continent of Europe and to take Berlin.
He looks at these orders, and he can’t even get past his own sand dune. He could be tempted to despair, on the one hand, because “How could we do this when I can’t even do that?“, but he could also be, if he is thinking about it rightly, he could be greatly encouraged and say, “However stuck I am, there are grand forces afoot. However stuck I am, there are whole armies in collision. I’m just one small part of the puzzle; I’m just one small part of this, and the only thing I can do is be faithful at my post, be faithful where I am, and if I am, then I’ll just leave the results to a sovereign God.
And that’s how I feel. There are times when I feel stuck behind my sand dune. There are times when I feel like, “Why can’t we do more? Why can’t we communicate more effectively? Why can’t we get this done?” And then, a page out of Matthew 28 blows down the beach and, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,’ Jesus says. ‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them […] teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.’
The Christian faith is a religion of world conquest.”
-Doug Wilson, Free Speech Apocalypse (for the quotation, begin at 1:28:03)
Further Up and Further In
“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further up, come further in!”
-Jewel the Unicorn, The Last Battle