Wednesday, August 3, 2011

And I the Lord Have Not Done it?

Death in the CityDeath in the City by Francis A. Schaeffer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My favorite section in this book was a single throwaway paragraph in which he commented on Cantica Canticorum, the Song of Songs. Overall I was surprised with how readable he is: I was expecting more of an erudite, even an elitist tone, but he would have been perfectly intelligible to anyone. He speaks from a tremendous compassion, and there is in him a humility so vast that you almost don't recognize the depth of genius behind it. Almost. Yet for all of this, he has a simple, stark, prophetic view of our culture and its relation to God that is on the knife edge of desolation.

He would have been an astonishing man to know: to see so great a genius bent in such humility, in such tenderness lowered down to the most shattered of the lives God made. This was not a man who wrote from his ivory tower, but from the filthy, smoldering ruin; his arms bloody to the shoulders. "The hippies also speak of love, but they have made Haight-Ashbury a desert," and "Orthodoxy without compassion stinks to God."

As this is the first Schaeffer that I've read, I can't say with certainty, but I would guess this to be a decent introduction. It's comprised of lectures, and while it isn't Augustin's Confessions, it isn't like wading through deep mud either. I did very much like it, and am greatly looking forward to the next time I lift him off my shelf.

"How can we speak of judgment and yet not stand like the weeping prophet with tears?"

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