PARADIGM SHIFT: ANGELUS
Within the deepest silence is a sound:
Ordered, graceful, the music of the spheres
Reverberates in every atom, bounds
From star to star: a song we cannot hear,
Except in hints and glimpses: in the hush
Of twilight, crickets with their tiny words;
A smile upon a sleeping face; a rush
Of love within the heart; high circling birds
Against the burning blue of heaven; sparrows
Darting quick into the hedge; the air before
The rain and after; mossy bridges, furrows
At harvest: woven, a vast cosmic score
In secret sung. And we beneath the moon
Can add our prayers: sunset, sunrise, noon.
We need both propositional argument and imaginative engagement, continually shaped and re-shaped to show the truth in fresh ways. The Faith can never be reduced to a single knockout argument that will be convincing for all who hear it, or a single knockout work of art that will be transformative for all who see it—nor should we wish for such a thing, for it would be tantamount to saying that we don’t need the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who brings conviction. Though we should labor with all our might to develop both abstract and the concrete presentations of the Faith, we must remember that, however much we may plant and water, it is God who gives the growth.
But even more than that, the Faith can never be reduced to a single argument, or a single image, because it is a living thing. When we invite people to enter into the Church, we are inviting them to come home and, in so doing, also to explore a glorious new country, where there is always more to discover. We are inviting them to be made truly whole, as unique individuals, and also to discover the joyous fellowship of the communion of the saints, living and dead.
This is the vision we must try, as best we can, to share: that the universe is profoundly meaningful, that all things are interconnected in and through Christ, and that to be a Christian is to be fully alive, now and eternally. God is the ultimate Artist, and Author, and Composer: in his work, all creation sings, and each of us is called to join in the cosmic harmony.
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