Now Residing in the Blessed Realm: Chris Tolkien (1924-2020) | The American Conservative

Rivaled only by his father, he was an exemplar of piety and scholarship who understood myth like few men in history.

Source: Now Residing in the Blessed Realm: Chris Tolkien (1924-2020) | The American Conservative

A splendid tribute! I have come to the conclusion that I have, heretofore, sadly underestimated the importance – and abilities – of Christopher Tolkien. Perhaps, if God so wills it that I make it to the Blessed Realms myself, we may meet, and I can apologize!

 

President Trump’s historic 2020 March for Life speech | News | LifeSite

“All of us here understand an eternal truth: Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God. Together, we must protect, cherish, and defend the dignity and the sanctity of every human life.” – President Donald J. Trump

Source: FULL TEXT: President Trump’s historic 2020 March for Life speech | News | LifeSite

President Trump is the first sitting President of the United States to ever attend and address, in person, the March for Life. Many sources have commented that he is, in fact, the most vigorously pro-life President ever to sit in the Oval Office. Among his comments on this historic occasion, in addition to the one quoted above:

“When we see the image of a baby in the womb, we glimpse the majesty of God’s creation. When we hold a newborn in our arms, we know the endless love that each child brings to a family. When we watch a child grow, we see the splendor that radiates from each human soul.”

“Sadly, the far left is working to erase our God-given rights, shut down faith-based charities, ban religious leaders from the public square, and silence Americans who believe in the sanctity of life.”

“And to all the moms here today, we celebrate you and we declare that mothers are heroes. [applause] Your strength, devotion, and drive is what powers our nation. Because of you, our country has been blessed with amazing souls who have changed the course of human history.”

“We cannot know what our citizens yet unborn will achieve. The dreams they will imagine. The masterpieces they will create. The discoveries they will make. But we know this: every life brings love into this world. Every child brings joy to a family. Every person is worth protecting.

“And above all, we know that every human soul is divine and every human life, born and unborn, is made in the holy image of Almighty God.

“Together, we will defend this truth all across our magnificent land. We will set free the dreams of our people. And with determined hope, we look forward to all of the blessings that will come from the beauty, talent, purpose, nobility, and grace of every American child.”

One might quibble, theologically, with the statement that “every human soul is divine.” But every human soul does partake of the divine nature, in the sense of having been created by the living God; and every human soul is – at least potentially, if they own it and respond to such a great gift (or if our sovereign God, for reasons of His own, so chooses) – redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, with the promise of becoming by grace what He is by nature. So one can hardly fault the sentiment expressed!

As commented elsewhere, I was long on the fence about abortion. While thinking of myself as “pro-choice,” I always believed that it should be a last resort, never a first option: the oft-repeated (although less often and more softly, these days) mantra of “abortion on demand without apology” has always struck me as absolutely morally repugnant.

To snuff out a human life for one’s own convenience – for that is precisely what that slogan is calling for – is the very definition of murder. But I have tended to accept the traditional exceptions: rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother. I still do, to a large extent. But what I did not fully realize until recently is how vanishingly rare a truly medically-necessary abortion (the so-called “therapeutic abortion”) actually is, particularly later in pregnancy.

As Dr. Omar Hamada, OB/GYN, has stated, “I want to clear something up so that there is absolutely no doubt. I’m a Board Certified OB/GYN who has delivered over 2,500 babies. There’s not a single fetal or maternal condition that requires third trimester abortion. Not one. Delivery, yes. Abortion, no.”

And on a personal note, my sister-in-law underwent, many years ago now, what was referred to as a “therapeutic abortion.” It is that experience which did much to keep me on the “choice” side of the aisle. But in fact the child was already, sadly, dead in her womb by that time. His mortal remains are buried in a tiny coffin in the family plot, and my nephew carries his name as his middle one. Whatever that procedure was, it was not an “abortion,” as we generally think of the term!

And while I do not think that the victim of rape – or incest, which is nearly always also rape – should be required to carry the child of that rape in her body, I salute with great respect those who choose to do so. Why? Because, of course, it is not the child who committed the vile assault; yet if an abortion occurs, that child becomes still another victim of it.

So, yes, I am pro-life! And I salute President Trump for this heart-felt and encouraging speech in support of that right to life, which is enshrined in our very Declaration of Independence, the founding document of our Nation. God bless him, and God bless America – and may we grow, once again, into a people and nation that is worthy of God’s blessings!


Nota Bene: The video of the speech is embedded above; for the full written text thereof, follow the link. Thank you!

 

Sex is for male-female marriage only, Church of England confirms | Christian News on Christian Today

marriage

Sex only belongs in heterosexual marriage, a new statement from the Church of England’s House of Bishops has declared.

Source: Sex is for male-female marriage only, Church of England confirms | Christian News on Christian Today

Somewhat surprisingly, given its history in recent years and decades, the House of Bishops of the Church of England – the “Mother Church” of all Anglican Christians – has affirmed that

“For Christians, marriage – that is the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows – remains the proper context for sexual activity.”

This is the traditional teaching, albeit phrased somewhat cautiously. They go on to say that

“In its approach to civil partnerships the Church seeks to uphold that standard, to affirm the value of committed, sexually abstinent friendships and to minister sensitively and pastorally to those Christians who conscientiously decide to order their lives differently,”

which is a legitimate call to pastoral sensitivity: as a dear, excellent, and godly Anglican priest of my acquaintance put it, the duty of the Church is to “uphold the standard, and deal pastorally with the exceptions.” They go on to affirm that

“Sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God’s purposes for human beings. The introduction of same sex marriage… has not changed the church’s teaching on marriage or same sex relationships.”

The Church of England and its HOB has itself fallen what seems to be short of God’s purposes for human beings in a number of regards over, as I say, the last several decades, and they do waffle a bit on practical application. But I am a believer in giving credit where it’s due!

QOTD: “Acts of cultural secession…”

Screenshot_2020-01-22 (1) Tom Harbold cup and saucer - Facebook Search

“Using a saucer and speaking with proper grammar are acts of civil resistance, of cultural secession, examples of negative response to the demands that we participate in the forced labor of helping to dismantle our own civilization with our own hands.”

Pater Larry Beane

Indeed. Proper grooming, and dressing respectably (within the obvious limits of what one may reasonably afford), are two others.

 

Christopher Tolkien – The Last Goodbye (EN) | Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft e.V.

Christopher Tolkien – The Last Goodbye (EN)

Source: Christopher Tolkien – The Last Goodbye (EN) | Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft e.V.

“Christopher Tolkien passed away on 15th January. He was the third son of J.R.R. Tolkien, his literary heir and executor. He published 24 books by Tolkien after the death of his father, including Tolkien’s life’s work, The Silmarillion. Without Christopher Tolkien’s tireless work, Middle-earth would be a great deal smaller.”

The best and most complete account I have seen yet on the life of Christopher Tolkien, and his role in not only preserving, but even helping to form, his great father’s legacy. There are a number of things in this account which I did not know, but I found this of particular interest:

“In 1963 Christopher became a Fellow at New College, Oxford. Christopher now regularly attended meetings of the “Inklings”, the literary circle of friends around his father and C.S. Lewis. The other members felt that he could read from the evolving Lord of the Rings manuscript better than his father. Christopher was the last living member of the Inklings.”

The last Inkling has passed into the Uttermost West. The end of an age! 😥

“And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

It is sobering, somehow, to think that when I first became aware of the existence of Christopher Tolkien, he was right around the same age I am now. Perhaps even exactly! And now he has passed on, at age 95.

I have a tendency to somehow imagine that people remain ever the age they were when I first knew them, but it is not the case. As Simon & Garfunkel put it, “Time hurries on, and the leaves that are green turn to brown…”

“Farewell! Maybe thou shalt find Valimar.
Maybe even thou shalt find it. Farewell!”

— J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

 

How to lay a hedge | Gardens Illustrated

Learn how to lay a hedge using traditional craftsmanship and hedge laying skills.

“Interested in the centuries-old skill of hedge laying? Follow our guide on how to lay a hedge and learn about the traditional ways to lay a hedge.”

Source: How to lay a hedge – Gardens Illustrated

“Hedge laying is a seasonal job carried out between October and March when trees and shrubs are dormant, and birds have finished nesting in the hedges…”

Ever wondered how to “lay a hedge” in classic English style (or even what that term meant)? Here’s an excellent starting point! No reason it couldn’t be done here in the U.S., for those with the land and resources to do so! I’ve often wished I could have a place where I could recreate an English cottage garden, including / incorporating a traditional hedge.

 

Tributes paid to ‘unusually rich legacy’ of philosopher Sir Roger Scruton | Ludlow Advertiser

Investitures at Buckingham Palace

Tributes have been paid to the “unusually rich legacy” of philosopher Sir Roger Scruton, lauded as “the greatest conservative of our age,” who died at age 75 after a six-month battle with cancer.

Source: Tributes paid to ‘unusually rich legacy’ of philosopher Sir Roger Scruton | Ludlow Advertiser

A small selection, from among many:

The journalist and author Peter Hitchens wrote on social media,

“RIP Sir Roger Scruton, a man of immense courage, intellect and fortitude, whose loss we can ill afford in these narrow, conformist times.”

Tory MEP Daniel Hannan said on Twitter,

“Professor Sir Roger Scruton, the greatest conservative of our age, has died. The country has lost a towering intellect. I have lost a wonderful friend.

“There was no subject he could not light up with his effulgent prose: architecture, theology, music, fox-hunting, painting, wine, philosophy. I honestly can’t think of a wiser or more complete contemporary writer.”

And this – from author and historian Anne Applebaum,

“In the 1980s, Roger Scruton organised money and books for dissidents in Eastern Europe.

“I was one of the student couriers who helped smuggle them ‘across the iron curtain.’ I am still grateful for what Roger did for them, and for me.”

I encourage you to read this compilation of heartfelt and heart-warming tributes, memories, and reflections on the life and legacy of a truly great man!