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Posts tagged "John Donne"

Our Grieving Hearts and the “Great Impertinence of Beauty”  (Or, Can Beauty Save the World?), Pt 2

Our Grieving Hearts and the “Great Impertinence of Beauty” (Or, Can Beauty Save the World?), Pt 2

This is the second part of Benjamin Self’s reflection on beauty. Check out part one here.

“Is it true, prince, that you once declared that ‘beauty would save the world’? Great Heaven! The prince says that beauty saves the world! And I declare that he only has such playful ideas because he’s in love! Gentlemen, the prince is in love. I guessed it the moment he came in. Don’t blush, prince; you make me sorry for you. What beauty saves the world?”

— Ippolit, in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot

I.

As I attempt to expand a little further on this whole theory that…

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Our Suffering Advent

Our Suffering Advent

This one comes to us from Matt Kroelinger.

Turn on the news station of your choice, and you will encounter a barrage of sickness, tragedy, and heartache. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen hundreds of people killed: those in Paris, those in the mass shootings in the US, those public beheadings by ISIS. Every now and then, the rarity of these “bumps” in our collective public opinion feel like we’re running over small pebbles–lately, though, it feels like we’re driving over large speed bumps at 35 miles per hour. I don’t know about you, but my suspension feels more like a ’93 Toyota…

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John Donne: Holy Sonnets (1)

John Donne: Holy Sonnets (1)

Thou hast made me, and shall thy work decay?
Repair me now, for now mine end doth haste;
I run to death, and death meets me as fast,
And all my pleasures are like yesterday.
I dare not move my dim eyes any way,
Despair behind, and death before doth cast
Such terror, and my feeble flesh doth waste
By sin in it, which it towards hell doth weigh.
Only thou art above, and when towards thee
By thy leave I can look, I rise again;
But our old subtle foe so tempteth me
That not one hour myself I can sustain.
Thy grace may wing me to prevent his art,
And thou…

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The Battered Heart of Sanctification: The Poetry of John Donne

The Battered Heart of Sanctification: The Poetry of John Donne

John Donne’s poetry and sermons speak to the deepest part of the distraught sole. His own struggles and passion take on life and, especially, take on life within the reader. Through his poems, the reader, “meet[s] a turbulent soul, grieving over his sins, questions his faith, pondering his mortality, wrestling with God, striving for humility–and in the end soaring with thankfulness and praise”. While some scholars argue that Donne merely shifted his youthful desire for women to a mature desire for God, others have argued that Donne’s poetry is incarnational. Donne’s relationship with God was heart-centered rather than mind-centered. Every…

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John Donne’s "Batter My Heart" in John Adams’ Dr. Atomic

Mockingbird’s resident opera aficionado Ken Wilson offers forth a truly breathtaking moment of beauty:

John Donne’s plea in Holy Sonnet XIV that grace will break his captive will, set to necessarily inadequate but characteristically gorgeous music by John Adams and sung by bass-baritone Gerald Finley in the Adams opera Dr. Atomic (about Robert Oppenheimer and the setting off of the first atomic bomb):

Batter my heart, three-person’d God ; for youAs yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bendYour force, to break, blow, burn, and…

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John Donne and Reformation-Anglican spirituality

John Donne and Reformation-Anglican spirituality

One of the main points of pastoral contention between Puritans, Catholics and Anglicans, at least during the turn of the 16th century, was over the question of “concupiscence,” or sin, remaining in the believer. Both the Catholics and the Puritans, although with different theological reasons, forced the Christian into a state of angst-ridden introspection. For the former, the ever-present fear of sudden death in a state of mortal sin gave rise to compulsive “Eucharist” taking. For the latter, even the genuine, heartfelt sense of being saved could be (what William Perkins called) a “real, but not effectual, calling.”
Then there…

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John Donne

John Donne

I’ve just been informed that today is the day in the Anglican liturgical calendar normally assigned to the feast of John Donne, the great English poet. But since Easter fell so early this year, everything is a bit out of whack. Still, in honor of Donne, here’s one of his more powerful sonnets, courtesy of John Stamper:

Holy Sonnet XIV

Batter my heart, three-person’d God ; for youAs yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bendYour force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.I, like an usurp’d town, to…

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