Legacies

March 2012

Comment Magazine - Legacies

00

. . . And the children in the appletree
Not known, because not
looked for . . .

By Bruce Herman

Cover: "With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling"

". . . children in the apple-tree . . ." (from the Four Quartets series)
© Bruce Herman, 2012
Oils on wood panel with 23kt gold and silver leaf; 97" x 69"
01

Poem: Planting a Sequoia

By Dana Gioia

02

Editorial: Mixed Reviews

By Brian Dijkema and Alissa Wilkinson

Looking graciously back on the giants before us.

06

Footprints in the Snow

By Calvin Seerveld

"Men and women resist believing that they follow beaten paths. But they really become insufferably proud when they look around and think they leave no tracks."

14

Switchfoot and St. Augustine

By David K. Naugle

"There's got to be something more than what I'm living for."

24

Jonathan Edwards and Life's Adverbial Questions

By Ray Pennings

God himself is the "what." Edwards spent his life studying the "where," "when," "why," and "how."

33

Marilynne Robinson and Hymns to the Miracle of Existence

By Kristen Scharold

Her fiction occupies an odd space, resuscitating the nerve-endings of our souls.

38

Skepticism and Witching Worries: Twin Legacies of the Fifteenth Century

By Richard Oosterhoff

Millennia of tension in Christian materiality can be instructive as we move past modernist narratives of science at war with religion.

44

Michael Polanyi: Unknown and Untapped

By Esther Meek

His legacy holds hope for returning the Western tradition to wonder, to adventure, to anticipation.

50

To Play Well With Others: A Letter of Gratitude to Jim Henson

By Jeffrey Overstreet

"Who knows? You could make millions of people happy."

57

Jacques Ellul and Technology's Trade-off

By David W. Gill

When did "hard-working, successful, creative" become our virtues of choice?

63

Suburban Origins, Suburban Legacies

By Philip Bess

We cannot afford the infrastructure and living arrangements we have built to centre our lives around the automobile.

69

For a Great Door is Opened

By Deani Van Pelt

The legacy of Charlotte Mason, prolific educational pioneer.

75

The Liberty She Won for Others

By Karen Swallow Prior

Hannah More used her pen to effect great reform.

81

Something Beautiful for God: The Gift of Jean Vanier

By Craig Bartholomew

Vanier and the L'Arche communities exemplify the "journey inward" funding the "journey outward."

86

Erasmus is an Eel: Renaissance Humanist as Hero

By Gregory Wolfe

His passion and his networking skills could make him the patron saint of the twenty-first century.

91

Loving Liz: Andy Warhol's Sacramental Vision

By James Romaine

"When I look at Warhol, what I feel is maximum redemption of lost material. He puts meaning back where there was deadness."
—Wayne Koestenbaum

98

The Political Legacy of Superheroes

By Adam Barkman

The world, including the political world, will always need saints to imitate.

106

The Dignity and Priority of Labour

By Micah Lott

Studying John Paul II's Laborem Exercens as not the "last word," but the "first word" on economics, human rights, and justice.

111

What's Under the Apple?

By Walter C. Wright Jr.

Products become obsolete; people grow. Which legacy of leadership is likely to stand the test of time?

121

The Art of Passing on Wonts

By Gideon Strauss

The true measure of our legacy is the depth of our gratitude, not the shimmer of our moral and technical excellence.

This Issue

Our culture does not know how to deal with legacies. We either treat the dead with some combination of awe and fear, or we think of our forebears as unworthy of remembrance, to be cast behind our own pursuits and discoveries.

Christians, however, can take a different tack. Ours is a historical faith, containing gifts each generation must re-open—some to be treasured, some to be viewed and sent back.

In this issue of Comment, we reject both our tendencies to ignore and to idolize the past. Instead, we seek to draw the good out of legacies, as we acknowledge that all legacies east of Eden will always be, at best, mixed.

How will you respond to the gifts of these legacies in your own life and work?

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