Wednesday, December 5, 2007

remember how it all began, the apple and the fall of man

"The Golden Compass" comes out this Friday, and I am looking forward to this with perhaps-excessive anticipation - my excuse being that this Friday also marks the beginning of a whole entire weekend off. ("Atonement" also opens this Friday, and I think I'm planning on spending a large and mindless chunk of Saturday at a movie theater somewhere.) I've been perusing the reviews - which have been, sadly, mixed - and I discovered this interview with Philip Pullman: contains some spoilers for the books but is an insightful discussion of the religious aspects of the His Dark Materials trilogy. Pullman is one of those authors (along with Kingsolver, Cunningham and Butler) who consistently articulates something very similar to my own views and convictions with much more precision and eloquence than I can manage, and I was particularly struck by this passage, which explicates exactly some of my own frustrations with my natal religion:

What on earth gives Christians to right to assume that love and self-sacrifice have to be called Christian virtues? They are virtues, full stop. If there is an exclusively religious sin (not exclusively Christian, but certainly clearly visible among some Christians) it is the claim that all virtue belongs to their sect, all vice to others. It is so clearly wrong, so clearly stupid, so clearly counter-productive, that it leads the unbiased observer to assume that you're not allowed in the religious club unless you leave your intelligence at the door.

But the whole (lengthy) interview is great: conducted via email with the film reviewer for Christianity Today. Equally intriguing, for me, is reading the interviewer's questions, which are, necessarily, from a pointedly Christian and dogmatically religious perspective. (Also amusing is how Philip Pullman seems to live under a bit of a rock.)

I'm post-call and will be going to bed just about as soon as I'm done with dinner, but I'll be catching up on emails and phone calls to everyone this weekend. (And, Ellen, I'll definitely be taking photos of my new finished objects when I'm home during daylight hours, but if you're still looking for some holiday knitting inspiration, the new issue of Knitty is up today! Also, I've been making a few of these, which are just too fun and completely jump-started my holiday knitting motivation.)


twinsetellen said...

oooh, oooh, ooh, new knitty! I hadn't checked my email yet, so didn't know, and now I don't need to because what else could be of importance?

(name change: ellen in minnetonka is now twinsetellen, after the blog I'm writing with my twin @

Jan said...

Here's a thought -- I believe it's fair to call virtues like love and self-sacrifice "christian virtues," but it's unfair to say that christian is the only true modifier for such virtues.

For example, in my kitchen belief system corn starch is a pie ingredient. It's also a gravy ingredient. Pies don't have ownership of corn starch -- but it is an essential component to the texture of the pie. It also makes a very real contribution to the make up of other very tasty foods...and some not so tasty and not edible things as well. So it can both be called an ingredient in general and be identified as an ingredient to a specific recipe.

I'd like to see more Christians step beyond listing love and self-sacrifice on their ingredients list without moving on to the actual cooking process. That's where I think the problem lies.

Just my two cents...first visit to your blog thanks to the cue from Ellen. Very enjoyable! Keep writing!