Day 6: The Memory of Water

Welcome to Day Six of my new blog series on “accepting the world.” To catch up on previous posts, or if you’re new to the party and have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the dedicated the page for all this series’ posts. Congratulations to all who celebrate the Theophany on the Old Calendar today. I’m on my way to church, so today will be a quick post. Just wanted…

Day 5: The Hero’s Journey as a Reflection of Reality

Welcome to Day Five of my new blog series on “accepting the world.” Catch up on the idea for the series and the first four posts on this dedicated page. In two weeks, Artefact Institute is presenting our first workshop/event in Louisville, KY. It’s our first event, but already there’s been a lot of interest, and we expect several hundred people in attendance at various points of the weekend. That interest has…

Day 4: Little Women and “Secular Three”

Welcome to Day Four of my new blog series on “accepting the world.” If you haven’t had a chance to read my previous posts, or if you’re confused about what “accepting the world” even means, click here to see all my posts up to this point.  Yesterday I had the “capital!” pleasure of seeing Greta Gerwig’s take on Little Women. (If you’ve seen the movie, you’ve already gotten the reference). This won’t be a…

Day 3: Is the Distracted Mind a Spiritual Liability?

Welcome to Day Three of my new blog series on “accepting the world.” If this sounds slightly scandalous (aren’t we Christians supposed to reject the world?), catch up with this intro post. In that post, I explain what Ivan Ilyin means when he says we must accept the world as God’s gift before we can begin the difficult and necessary process of transforming the world, with God’s help, through the medium of…

Day 2: To Accept the World, You Have to See It

Welcome to Day Two of my blog series about “accepting the world”, in the sense given that phrase by Ivan Ilyin. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the post that sets it all up.) Instead of over-philosophizing like I sometimes do, I just wanted to share a story with you today. “Blank Page Syndrome” As you might have already heard, there’s a group of us (Artefact Institute) that…

Day 1: Thank God for the Italians!

Welcome to Day One of a new series I’m trying out for this blog. As I mentioned in my last post, I was inspired by the daily gratitude practice of a poet and gardener named Rudy Gay. Noting a certain (Russian… ahem) tendency to see the doom and gloom, I’ve decided to take Ivan Ilyin’s advice about accepting the world as a necessary step in creating culture. If you need a quick…

What Does it Mean to “Accept the World”?

In his wonderful book Foundations of Christian Culture, Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin begins one of his most remarkable chapters with these words: Whoever wants to create Christian culture must accept Christianity, he must breathe it into the depth of his soul and turn back to the world with a new wholeness and freedom. Expressing myself in philosophical language, I would say that such a person is called to actualize within himself the religious “act”…

Favorite Books of 2019, Looking Forward to 2020

Ah, the season of retrospectives! Be honest with me, can you resist them? I tell you, I get some of my best reading done during December and January. The best book recommendation lists, the best articles of the year (I can’t wait for the annual Sidney Awards from David Brooks), the best this, the best that… For me, ’tis usually the season of realizing just how exhausted I am, just in time…

How to Achieve Artistic Perfection

People are drawn to beauty. There’s no denying it. The Greeks believed in perfection of form, a kind of harmony that had the power to objectively draw the eye and inspire people toward virtue. And yet… Have you noticed that what attracts you to your significant other is often some kind of unique imperfection? Do you love your favorite book because it is ideally structured, with perfect characters, and impeccable style? Maybe.…

The Historian as Storyteller, Worldbuilder, and Maker of Meaning

A few years ago, I stumbled across a podcast on the Ancient Faith network called Paradise and Utopia. I don’t remember what it was exactly that intrigued me, though I’m sure there were several things. I started listening to it on long drives. I remember particularly how I listened as I was driving my two kids (before #3 had showed up) to pick up some raw honey at a honey farm. The sun…