An article on the reading of literature by Christians A (that is, the reading by Christians of literature) is odd in that there are certainly no reasons for reading literature peculiar to a Christian’s case. Furthermore, the thing that Christians see to be supremely important about life does not attach itself to culture.
If there are reasons why any human being ought to trouble himself with literature (and by literature I mean humane letters—serious poetry, drama, fiction, essay—and not philosophy, panegyric, tracts, journalism, and rubbish), they apply neither more nor less to a Christian than to anyone else. A Christian is, first of all, a human being. This sounds like heterodoxy at first, perhaps, in that we incline to feel that the call of God to us is away from human existence to a spiritual realm where we will be free of these old evil selves. But that is exactly the point: redemption is the redemption of human nature. It is not God’s will to make us seraphim, or rainbows, or titans. It is men he seeks. Human beings. Beings who will exhibit what he had in mind to begin with—this particular kind of creature, neither angelic nor animal, this excellent thing whose glory would be to choose to love him, and to serve him under the special mode of flesh and blood. Indeed, his supreme unveiling of himself was under that mode. And there is to be no shuffling off of these dragging bodies in the end. The biblical description of the Last Things is of a resurrection—a reunion of flesh and spirit (form and content) from that grotesquery we call death, that obscene disjuncture of flesh and spirit that spoils God’s creature man, and into whose bailiwick the Son of Man ventured, and whose spoliation he spoiled. So that a Christian is ...1
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