The Chair and the Desk, 1/15/16

From the chair:

“Passing by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon, casting a net into the sea, for they were fisherman. And Jesus said, ‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ And immediately, they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were standing in their boat and mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.”

-Mark 1:16-20


I love the breakneck pace of the first chapter of Mark, not least of which the speed with which Jesus calls his mentees once his ministry has begun. It’s a strange promise: “I will make you become fishers of men.” It has a ring of evangelism to it, but also an echo of judgment from Jeremiah 16:16 (I’m indebted to my teacher, Stephen Witmer, for this observation). They leave what they know for something very uncertain, but in Jesus they see something worthwhile. They leave it all right there, and follow Jesus Christ.

From the desk:

“The demand for ‘originality’—with the implication that the reminiscence of other writers is a sin against originality and a defect in the work—is a recent one and would have seemed quite ludicrous to poets of the Augustan Age, or of Shakespeare’s time. the traditional view is that each new work should be a fresh focus of power through which former streams of beauty, emotion, and reflection are directed. This view is adopted, and perhaps carried to excess, by writers like T.S. Eliot, some of whose poems are a close web of quotations and adaptations, chosen for their associative vale; or like James Joyce, who makes great use of the associative value of sounds and syllables. The criterion is, not whether the associates are called up, but whether the spirits invoked by this kind of verbal incantation are charged with personal power by the magician who speeds them about their new business.”

-Dorothy Sayers, The Mind of the Maker (1987 ed.), p.119

I believe this is an appropriate quote for this blog.


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