MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 30

Guests on Volume 30: Glenn Stanton, on the health of marriages and the health of society; Caroline J. Simon, on love, destiny, and imagination; Paul Marshall, on the theological meaning of vocation; David Lowenthal, on American Constitutional design and the need for virtue; Reinder Van Til, on Lost Daughters: Recovered Memory Therapy and the People It Hurts; John Ellis, on Literature Lost: Social Agendas and the Corruption of the Humanities; and Clyde Kilby, on C. S. Lewis and the roles of reason and imagination.

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Part 1

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    Glenn Stanton on the health of marriages and the health of society

    Why Marriage Matters: Reasons to Believe in Marriage in Postmodern Society (NavPress Publishing Group, 1997)

    Glenn Stanton, author of Why Marriage Matters: Reasons to Believe in Marriage in Postmodern Society, discusses the link private virtue shares with public office. He argues that the lives we choose to lead in private invariably affect our public personas. Stanton contends that the fidelity, commitment, and restraint which characterize a good husband or wife will manifest themselves in the other, more public spheres which that person necessarily occupies. Stanton finally considers the role of the Church in resisting this negative social trend; the Church sought to respond to the evils but did little to understand their root causes. Even today, evangelicalism places too much focus on the individual and suffers from a lack of real theology about marriage, according to Stanton.

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    Caroline J. Simon on love, destiny, and imagination

    The Disciplined Heart: Love, Destiny, and Imagination (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997)

    Caroline J. Simon, author of The Disciplined Heart: Love, Destiny, and Imagination, addresses the ways in which loving someone involves helping that person imagine what God intends him or her to be. This view contrasts with the "fiction-making" that characterizes many relationships, in which the growth of the individuals towards God is not addressed.

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    Paul Marshall on the theological meaning of vocation

    A Kind of Life Imposed on Man: Vocation and Social Order from Tyndale to Locke (University of Toronto Press, 1996)

    Paul Marshall, author of A Kind of Life Imposed on Man, discusses the development of a Christian understanding of vocation as service to God through our everday work, and how this has shaped the modern age, especially political thought. The danger of the current view of vocation, according to Marshall, is the temptation to view work either as unimportant or as overly important, without seeing its rightful place alongside rest and play.

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    David Lowenthal on American Constitutional design and the need for virtue

    No Liberty for License: The Forgotten Logic of the First Amendment (Spence Publishing Company, 1997)

    David Lowenthal, author of No Liberty for License: The Forgotten Logic of the First Amendment, describes the thinking of the founding fathers as they began to structure the new republic, and claims that their main philosophical influence was John Locke, who advocated a view of human nature that focused on the care of the self. This view stood in contrast to the classical and Christian views, which advocated the virtuous development of the self. Lowenthal acknowledges that individualism has replaced excellence as the highest aim of the American self; Lowenthal reminds listeners that freedoms were accompanied by the promise that they were to be exercised responsibly.

Part 2

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    Reinder Van Til on Lost Daughters: Recovered Memory Therapy and the People It Hurts

    Lost Daughters: Recovered Memory Therapy and the People It Hurts (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997)

    Reinder Van Til recounts the horror of his life since his grown daughter and son accused him of sexual abuse. His daughter had originally made these accusations after having gone through the experience of "recovered memory therapy," where repressed recollections of alleged parental sexual abuse are recovered and used as evidence for the claim. Van Til's book about the ordeal, Lost Daughters: Recovered Memory Therapy and the People It Hurts, chronicles his research into the phenomenon that became especially prevalent in the 1990s. Van Til is concerned that alienation of rationality occurs when people are instructed to value only the feelings they have or believe they ought to have. He laments the consequences that this attitude continues to have on families and society.

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    John Ellis on Literature Lost: Social Agendas and the Corruption of the Humanities

    Literature Lost: Social Agendas and the Corruption of the Humanities (Yale University Press, 1997)

    John Ellis, author of Against Deconstruction, is concerned with the changing views of literature which have a "stranglehold" on the academy. His most recent book, Literature Lost: Social Agendas and the Corruption of the Humanities, addresses the trends professors have followed in postmodern culture. Today's approach to literature is to read everything through the lens of race, class, and gender instead of viewing literature in its historical context as a forum for reflecting on the eternal dilemmas of man, according to Ellis. This very ideology is extremely limited in its appreciation of the depth, love, joy, and sorrow which marks the great works of literature. In the aesthetic realm, Ellis believes virtue has been displaced by mechanisms of power, both in literature and in life.

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    Clyde Kilby on C. S. Lewis and the roles of reason and imagination

    The Christian World of C. S. Lewis (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1964)

    "The brain is the organ of truth; imagination is the organ of reality."
    --Clyde Kilby

    With these words, Clyde Kilby, author of The Christian World of C. S. Lewis, sums up Lewis's view of the importance of imagination to understand reality, since reality will not submit to being apprehended simply by rational thought. Kilby compares two "ways of knowing": we may believe we can know the bird in the lab, but truly the best way to know is by viewing the bird on the wing, in its unscientific, "real" state. Lewis took this knowledge with him throughout his life, manifesting it in his imaginative works as well as his daily life. Kilby contends that the reigning view of nature is that it is nice but not necessary. Few understand that our imagination is encouraged, and our understanding of reality is thus augmented, through the opening of our senses to God's immeasurable beauty and intricate design in nature, according to Kilby.