Particulars matter

Different pieces, similar conclusions:

Jake Meador on the importance C.S. Lewis’ Anglicanism to his mere Christianity:

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, of course. Remember your Aristotle—the universal form adheres within particulars. If you set out to tell a story about Everything, you’ll get nothing. It will be so broad and ambitious that it ends up signifying nothing. But if you, for instance, tell a story about an ordinary family in an ordinary Texas town, you might end up with an incredible story of love and loyalty and duty, of courage during times of trouble, and of fidelity to people and to place, that speaks in universally accessible language. By committing yourself to a particular confessional (and orthodox) tradition, you open to yourself the full riches of Mere Christianity. To paraphrase Lewis: Aim for the particulars of a specific confessional tradition and get the universals of mere Christendom thrown in. Aim for mere Christendom without any confessional roots, and you’ll get neither.

Alan Jacobs’ criticism of The Green Bible from several years ago (Lewis also makes an appearance):

So it’s possible that The Green Bible is actually poised between two audiences: one unready for the message, one already tired of it. Meanwhile, the creation, still “subjected to futility,” continues to “wait with eager longing” to be “set free from its bondage to decay.” And we, even at our best, still strive to know what it means to hold this world in stewardship. Creation remains always too large for us, too abstract. What’s real is this furrow of black soil, that crabapple tree: These we can protect insofar as we see them, touch them, and therefore know them. But no general principle, no notion of greenness, can tell us how to care for what occupies our field of vision this moment, what sifts between our outstretched fingers.


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