Maps by Holly Ordway

map-of-the-southern-sky-with-representations-of-constellations-decorated-with-the-crest-of-1515.jpg!Large

Antique maps, with curlicues of ink
As borders, framing what we know, like pages
From a book of travelers’ tales: look,
Here in the margin, tiny ships at sail.
No-nonsense maps from family trips: each state
Traced out in color-coded numbered highways,
A web of roads with labeled city-dots
Punctuating the route and its slow stories.
Now GPS puts me right at the centre,
A Ptolemaic shift in my perspective.
Pinned where I am, right now, somewhere, I turn
And turn to orient myself. I have
Directions calculated, maps at hand:
Hopelessly lost till I look up at last.

Hear Malcolm Guite read today’s poem


In many ways, our digital world has robbed us of context. A glace at an analog timepiece yields more than the time of day.  The minute and hour hands remind you that you have 20 minutes until your noon appointment, and twice that time as passed since you began your journey at 11:00.  The digital clock simply says 11:40.

In today’s poem, Holly Ordway likens our dependence on GPS devices to a worldview which fixed man as the center of the universe.  Along with our attention span, our perspective has become short and tactical.

In his book The Word in the Wilderness, Malcom Guite says this:

We are accustomed to the sight of people whose eyes are fixed and pinned down on their smartphones as they walk, bumping into others and missing both the beauty and the clear landmarks of the world around them, and this is where the final ‘turn’ or ‘volta’ of the poem comes:

I have
Directions calculated, maps at hand:
Hopelessly lost till I look up at last.

In what way does your life need reorientation?

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Dig Deeper: Literature & Liturgy

Holly Ordway

Holly Ordway

Holly Ordway is Professor of English and faculty in the M.A. in Apologetics at Houston Baptist University.  She teachs in the Online MAA program and specialize in cultural and imaginative literary apologetics.

Her forthcoming new book is Imaginative Apologetics, due out in Spring 2017 from Emmaus Road Publishing.

Holly’s academic work focuses on J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Williams; she is the Charles Williams Subject Editor for the Journal of Inklings Studies. More details on her academic writings can be found on her “Writing” page.

Holly’s current project is a literary-critical study, Tolkien’s Modern Sources: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages, to be published by Kent State University Press. You can get a glimpse of some of her findings (an intriguing connection between Tolkien and William Morris) here.

She is also the author of a memoir,  Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms.

If you’re interested in having Holly give a talk to your organization, take a look at her speaking schedule and she will be in touch!

Malcolm Guite

Malcolm Guite
Malcolm Guite

Malcolm Guite is poet-priest and Chaplain of Girton College Cambridge, but he often travels round Great Britain, and to North America, to give lectures, concerts and poetry readings.  For more details of these and other engagements go to his Events Page

Photo courtesy Lancia E. Smith

 

51vg-xoskvl-_sy346_For every day from Shrove Tuesday to Easter Day, the bestselling poet Malcolm Guite chooses a favourite poem from across the Christian spiritual and English literary traditions and offers incisive seasonal reflections on it.

Lent is a time to reorient ourselves, clarify our minds, slow down, recover from distraction and focus on the values of God’s kingdom. Poetry, with its power to awaken the mind, is an ideal companion for such a time. This collection enables us to turn aside from everyday routine and experience moments of transfigured vision as we journey through the desert landscape of Lent and find refreshment along the way.
Following each poem with a helpful prose reflection, Malcolm Guite has selected from classical and contemporary poets, from Dante, John Donne and George Herbert to Seamus Heaney, Rowan Williams and Gillian Clarke, and his own acclaimed poetry.
ART:Map of the Southern Sky, with representations of constellations, decorated with the crest of Cardinal Lang von Wellenburg, and a dedication to him with his coats of arms and the Imperial copyright
Albrecht Durer
Date: 1515 

Paradigm Shift: Angelus by Holly Ordway

18740379_1632128180160159_1003481258552073526_nWithin 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.

From  Apologetics and the Christian Imagination , by Holly Ordway


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


Holly Ordway

Ordway author photo

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.

Dig Deeper at HollyOrdway.com and buy the book HERE.

Photo of Holly Ordway by Lancia E Smith

Seeing by Holly Ordway

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?

In her book,  Apologetics and the Christian Imagination, Holly Ordway says:

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


Holly Ordway

Ordway author photo

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.

Dig Deeper at HollyOrdway.com and buy the book HERE.

Photo of Holly Ordway by Lancia E Smith