A Child Meets Death in Charlotte’s Web

Children are often confronted with harsh realities for which they are inadequately equipped. Innocence is fragile.  Some of our earliest memories include bracing traumas of loss, and like every human being, children try to cope.  They turn to God in their own way and often find Him in His interaction with them through creation.  Just as seasons reflect in microcosm the seasons of our lives, our dominion over the animals is a means by which His watch-care over us can be better understood.  For children especially, this is high theology.  It is also a gateway to the power of literature.

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Chesterton vs Wells

H.G Wells was born on September 21, 1866. He was a brilliant thinker, but his humanistic worldview sparked a grand debate with none other than G.K. Chesterton.  Chesterton wrote The Everlasting Man in 1925 as a literary rebuttal of Wells’ Outline of History in which Wells characterized human life as a seamless extension of animal life.  In his book Defiant Joy, author Kevin Belmonte notes Chesterton’s desire to position his book as a counter-point dialog with Wells. One of the most famous passages explores the distinct differences between mankind and animals.

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Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy was born on this day, September 9th in 1828. In his essay “What is Art?” Tolstoy tells the story of the Russian painter Karl Bryullov correcting a student’s sketch. “Why you only changed it a tiny bit,” the student marveled, “but it is quite a different thing.” Bryullov replied: “Art begins where that ‘tiny bit’ begins.” Tolstoy comments: “That saying is strikingly true not only of art but of all life. One may say that true life begins where the ‘tiny bit’ begins, where the infinitesimally small alterations of consciousness take place.”

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