Hugh’s Journal

The feature Hugh’s Journals appears here each Sunday. For some basic background on Rev. Hugh Bebb Jones and his notebooks click here.

Besides poetry, T.S. Eliot wrote about poetry and poetics, writing, history, and about Christianity. To quote myself in an earlier post:

There are two sides to T.S. Eliot. The first is the existential writer, of “Prufrock” and the “Wasteland.” This is the Eliot of English classes and universities, of late night discussions and coffee shops, or early morning reveries and quiet bars. This is the poetry you love and want to write when you are young and feel like a true intellectual and the world seems without meaning or direction, or at least without a meaning or direction you are comfortable with.

The other Eliot is the orthodox Christian writer of poems like “Journey of the Magi.” This poetic tension is what makes Eliot interesting as a poet and a writer. It is a tension that mirrors very closely the Modern age… and quite frankly the ubiquitously named and never-quite-adequately-defined Post-Modern age. It is a tension that everyone in the west lives with and the shadow they live under whether they acknowledge it or not: how do we talk/think about deep and important things without talking about God, faith, Christ, and the church?

Welsh Presbyterian Rev. Hugh B. Jones, of course, appreciated Eliot’s overt Christian perspective. There are in Hugh’s notebooks a number of Eliot quotes. Today’s quote comes from Eliot’s essay, “The Idea of a Christian Society.”

What jumps out to you reading these Eliot quotes that Hugh chose to highlight is a number of terms and phrases that have now become buzz-words in today’s unfortunately named culture wars. Eliot’s essay was published in 1960.

On a beautiful May morning in an election year, Eliot the poet-prophet seems like just the thing.





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