Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

Emily Dickinson


I have mentioned Emily Dickinson before now and how I discovered her in University. She wrote 1800 poems in her life time but only had ten or eleven published. She has been brought to mind again by two media events. first, I persuaded Eleri to join me in the Phoenix, East Finchley to see A Quiet Passion the other week. I think her comment at the end  "That's two hours we'll never get back again was a trifle harsh but it is fair to say that the life of Emily Dickinson of Amherst, New England is not the stuff of movie blockbusters and so despite valiant efforts the film struggled to keep the interest up. More recently, on Radio 4, Melvyn Bragg has had some exerts in to do an In our time on her. (See here). This was a much better format for looking at this interesting woman. I found the suggestion that not all her first person poems are about her a new angle to explore. Here is an example of her simple genius.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers - 
That perches in the soul - 
And sings the tune without the words - 
And never stops - at all - 

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard - 
And sore must be the storm - 
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm - 

 I’ve heard it in the chillest land - 
And on the strangest Sea - 
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

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