November 17, 2004

Books of the Head and Heart

In reviewing the books I listed I've found it difficult to distinguish. Many or all of them seemed to speak equally to both organs; let's say the intellect and the spirit.

The first and preeminent one for me must be the door to spiritual life-- N.V.Peale; it was simplistic, but a little child doesn't have a highly developed intellect or critical faculty.

In midlife I think George MacDonald: he had an incisive intellect, but what does most for me is the spiritual nurture- the manna that sustains me through the journey.

In later years there was C.G.Jung: he had special gifts for the many professional religionists who had lost much of the theological underpining for their vocation.
He continually spoke of God as a psychic fact, which no one can really deny. His Memories, Dreams, and Reflections, published posthumously, confirmed my suspicion that he was one of the few outstanding prophets of our age; he looked at religion in the way scientists do, open to whatever truth unfolds.

But much bigger than Jung was William Blake (Frye was my door to him). Blake's art is fraught with spiritual truth with a depth that perhaps no one else has achieved in our age. He is still waiting on us reaching a level of consciousness when we can comprehend. Just read The Little Black Boy, and tell me if that doesn't tug at your heart strings. Or the Monk of Charlemayne, or the "Quaker sacrament", where Blake speaks of his relationship to God:
Throughout Eternity I forgive you,
You forgive me.
As the dear Redeemer said,
This the wine and this the bread.


At 6:06 p.m., Blogger crystal said...

Do you mean William Blake, the artist? I haven't read his writing.

I like Jung, though, and the collective unconscious.

The book I'm reading now is interesting - by that Jesuit peace activist, John Dear, The Questions of Jesus ... goes over every question Jesus asked in the new testament. But my favorite spiritual books are Autobiography of a Yogi (read in high school) and God and You> Prayer as a Personal Relationship by William Barry sj.

At 7:00 p.m., Blogger Marjorie said...

I chuckle because as I was reading this the byline was not visible until I scrolled down, so I assumed it was kwakersaur's post. I was thinking, wow, he thinks just like Larry. Then I is Larry!

At 10:54 a.m., Blogger Larry said...

William Blake, the artist and prophet said,
"If a person is not an artist, he is no Christian."

He is not easy to read. I spent five years struggling before I began to gather what he was saying. Some of it is, of course.

I would start with the Songs and Innocence and Experience, then go on to The Marriage of Heaven and Hell; that will curl your hair.

At 2:51 p.m., Blogger Ellie15 said...

Thanks Cyrstal, for telling us about John Dear's The Questions of Jesus. The review indicates it would be well worth reading-- and studying.



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