Summer wanes. The heavy-headed roses
Nodding by the river path, the scent
Of sun-warmed earth and hay all mark the closing
Of the year. The warmth was only lent,
And does not last. One morning all is changed:
The hedge is silvered with a sudden frost,
The very paving-stones are furred and strange.
My steps show dark on white where I have crossed
As I set out to walk along the hill.
The winter wind cuts through the leafless trees,
A sharp and sudden cold; my eyes are filled
With water, dazzle-brightning all I see,
In earth and sky: all’s silver, gold, and blue,
A sign that spring and summer will come true.
We are our own worst enemy. We know that we don’t know everything, yet we refuse to accept that which we don’t understand. If it doesn’t square with our rational mind, we reject it as unrealistic and therefore irrelevant. The only question we allow ourselves to pray is “Why?” when we should be asking “What?” God’s answer might require action or stillness, but it invariably calls us closer to His embrace: Father, what is your will for me now?
The idea of an ultimate Authority is deeply abhorrent to the modern mind—even more so, I dare say, than the principle of original sin. Here, I do not mean simply an ultimate moral authority; it’s not necessarily unpalatable to recognize that God, in an abstract sense at least, is the ultimate moral arbiter. I mean something more subtle: that there is an authority for doctrine, and for the content of our faith as it applies to our daily lives, and that this authority does not belong to the individual. The idea of individual, personal judgment as the (hidden) final arbiter for the living out of our moral code is deep- ly ingrained into modern culture, even among Christians. We are too easily tempted into thinking that “I agree (or disagree) with this doctrine” is the last word on the sub- ject, as if our agreement or disagreement was what deter- mined its truth or falsity. Even the language of conversion can be problematic in this regard, as I discovered when I wrote my own spiritual memoir; it is all too easy to de- scribe one’s coming to the Faith in egocentric terms. Jesus Christ is Lord of all; this is a fact. My acceptance of him as Lord does not grant him any authority that he does not already have, but rather is a recognition on my part of his existing sovereignty.
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John 1: 1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Meet The Author
Dr Holly Ordway is Professor of English and faculty in the M.A. in Apologetics at Houston Baptist University; she holds a PhD in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
She is the author of Apologetics and the Christian Imagination: An Integrated Approach to Defending the Faith (Emmaus Road, 2017) and Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms (Ignatius, 2014), and she has contributed chapters to C.S. Lewis at Poets’ Corner (edited by Michael Ward and Peter S. Williams), C.S. Lewis’s List: The Ten Books that Influenced Him Most (edited by David Werther) among other volumes; she is also a published poet, with poems in Word in the Wilderness and Love, Remember (edited by Malcolm Guite).
Her academic work focuses on the writings of the Inklings, especially C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Her current book project is Tolkien’s Modern Sources: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages (forthcoming from Kent State University Press, 2019).
She lives in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and travels regularly to speak on Tolkien, Lewis, and imaginative apologetics.
Photo of Holly Ordway by Lancia E Smith