Friday, August 27, 2010

it's not poetry or a piggy postcard...

I said I would post Bess's prize soon, and here I have come through with the goods. I think she'll approve. It was between a George Eliot book and this one, and for a minute there I wavered, but then I remembered Bess's love of Agatha Christie and thought this would be better able to satisfy the ol' tastebuds. Graham Greene was apparently quite the talented guy. The Orient Express and The Third Man are known to all, but he also had some plays, short stories and quite a few novels. One of my favorites being The Power and The Glory. Here is a quote from The Power and The Glory. Does it not remind you of a certain George MacDonald or what?

They lay quiet for a while in the hut. The priest thought the lieutenant was asleep until he spoke again. 'You never talk straight. You say one thing to me - but to another man, or a woman, you say, "God is love." But you think that stuff won't go down with me, so you say different things. Things you think I'll agree with.'

'Oh,' the priest said, 'that's another thing altogether - God is love. I don't say the heart doesn't feel a taste of it, but what a taste. The smallest glass of love mixed with a pint pot of ditch-water. We wouldn't recognize that love. It might even look like hate. It would be enough to scare us - God's love. It set fire to a bush in the desert, didn't it, and smashed open graves and set the dead walking in the dark. Oh, a man like me would run a mile to get away if he felt that love around.'


Lydia said...

One of my favorite quotes from that book too. I also like the convo that he has in the jail. That's when it seemed to come together. i would be more jealous if I hadn't picked up a whopper of a GG book at the library book sale (which I need to find). Where u thinking of a particular George Mac book of passage? Perhaps All Hallows Eve?

Esther said...

I think you're mixing up 2 favorites here. Which is perfectly understandable since C. Williams(and C.S.Lewis)borrowed quite a bit from MacDonald. But I was reminded of MacDonald in this Greene passage because it sounds like MacDonald's sermon that I posted, "Our God is a Consuming Fire." Especially when MacDonald says, "The man who loves God, and is not yet pure, courts the burning of God. Nor is it always torture. The fire shows itself sometimes only as light--still it will be fire of purifying. The consuming fire is just the original, the active form of Purity,--that which makes pure, that which is indeed Love, the creative energy of God. "
I think that is what the priest is talking about.

I too really think the jail scene is key. When he is talking w/ the "pious woman" who is "full of uncharity" judging everyone in the cell but herself. She is talking about the ugliness of the place, in reference to the sin, and he tells her, "Such a lot of beauty. Saints talk about the beauty of suffering. Well, we are not saints, you and I. Suffering to us is just ugly. Stench and crowding and pain. That (a fellow prisoner) is beautiful in that corner - to them. It needs a lot of learning to see things with a saint's eye: a saint gets a subtle taste for beauty and can look down on poor ignorant palates like theirs. But we can't afford to."
To which she responds, "It's mortal sin."

Bess said...

I'm excited about my prize! I didn't expect one being in the loser's bracket and all. Thanks!