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Book Review: “Angels in the Architecture” by Douglas Jones and Douglas Wilson

May 28, 2010

Seriously? A book that takes as it’s premise the recovery of medieval culture and the culture of Christendom? I thought we were past all those Dark Ages. This is what you might be thinking when you read the description of Angels in the Architecture: A Protestant Vision for Middle Earth. Well, we are, and Jones and Wilson see this as a problem. It’s what C.S. Lewis came to realize was a bad case of chronological snobbery. As the world limps into what it fondly refers to as “postmodernity,” Jones and Wilson assert that what we are really entering is the last gasp of modernity, and they are eager for the church to get past it and start building something.

They don’t propose that we abandon technology and for a militaristic group in Montana, but they point back to the Medieval period as one of profound insight for Christians seeking to escape the grasp of modernity. One of the great things about the Medievals was their complete lack of embarrassment at God and everything in the Bible. Sometimes this lack led to evil, but for the most part, it led to lives devoted to applying God’s truth to all of life.

In all honesty, this is a beautiful mess of a book, much more of a conversation starter than a finished product, but the authors are aware of this, they just want to get the ball rolling. At only 220 pages they hit on politics, economics, the family, the church, technology, poetry, beauty, child-rearing, and much more. Obviously they aren’t comprehensive, but they provide much food for thought.

Here are a couple of random, great quotes:

“The Church today is a stranger of victories because we refuse to sing anthems to the King of all victories. We do not want a God of battles, we want sympathy for our surrenders [41-42].”

“The exuberance of the early protestants wasn’t the thin fanaticism of a Finney revival, but the life changing shock of unexpected liberation, the joy of justification in Christ [63].”

“Laughter and gladness are where joy, contentment and gratitude overflow. But in an odd turn, these things proceed from an understanding of the truths of man’s utter depravity and the salvation of the Lord [69].”

“We have forgotten that celebration isn’t just an option, it is a call to full Christian living [79].”

“If we want our children to be soulful fountains of life, then we must live it first ourselves. We have to be absorbing the life of wisdom too. And we can’t fake it, just by talking about full lives. Children have scopes that can detect dishonesty instantly [124].”

“Lasting liberty can only come through repentance [154].”

“The best antidote for the spirit of modernity is gratitude [180].”

Jones and Wilson propose that Christians set out to build a world and a culture based on…gasp…the Bible! They envision a world where people love beauty and know what it is, have a deep respect and hunger for God, follow Him in covenant obedience, disciple their children, live in biblical hierarchy, practice laughter and celebration as habits of life, self-responsibility over a fading state, the predominance of poetic over rational knowledge and confidence in the triumph of the cross.

Still sound like the Dark Ages?

One Comment leave one →
  1. john book permalink
    May 28, 2010 4:10 pm

    I’m sure glad I found this blog site..
    It is a wealth of good Christian info for me.

    Up-lifting it is, indeed!

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