Tuesday, February 15, 2011

how goes the battle...

The "Transcendentalists" were offen derided as being airy headed idealists who didn't work and promoted lazy morals. The opposite was most often the case. The way of Thoreau, for instance, was not an easy one. This from "Thoreau's Ecstatic Witness" by Alan Hodder, the best book on the religious life and thought of Thoreau.

"Thoreau conceived of the warrior's life essentially in moral and religious terms, and the religious life, conversely, in heroic and military terms. Moral virtue was something to be aspired to, fought for. "Virtue is the deed of the bravest," he wrote in 1842. "It is the art which demands the greatest confidence and fearlessness. Only some hardy soul ventures upon it-it deals in what it has no experience in. The virtuous soul possess a fortitude and hardihood which not the grenadier nor the pioneer can match." Courage and strenghth were as much the virtues of the religious ascetic as the military conqueror.


1 comment:

David G. Markham said...

I don't like military metaphors. I don't think that pursuing the religious life requires military qualities and the "warrior" metaphor also leaves me cold.

I think the spiritual life is one of love and to be a lover requires faith in the best and courage in the face of the risk of being hurt and being disappointed. The greatest love is loving the person you want to become. Growing into oneself takes first of all awareness, and "consciousness raising" and the willingness to follow one's own discoveries and conclusions and not just give into the convention of one's peers and society.

This takes self knowledge and discipline and effort.

I wish we could drop the military vocabulary. I idea that being a "Soldier for Christ" has got us into big trouble.