Come to Oxford with me! Launching this website to chronicle the books, poems, and podcasts fueling me along the way. This will not be a personal account of my experiences, but instead, a resource recommendation platform with unpolished musings and essays, reading lists, cozy pics, and potentially some contribution posts from friends. Just to let you know upfront, the content will be from a religious perspective, as I've lately been hungry to explore the Judeo-Christian heritage of our society and my own journey of faith. This has led me to resources on...
Church history and the spiritual formation of the medievals
Jewish theology and practice
Literature, poetry, and the Christian imagination
Re-enchanting our modern worldview
While at Oxford, my coursework will center around migration research and international development. My posts will not generally touch on these learnings but instead will delve into the curiosities listed above. If any of these are your cup of tea, please join me as I wrestle and revel.
Several years ago, I experienced a crisis of faith, or what I now realize was a typical deconstructionist moment so common these days for those raised in religious communities. I decided to intellectually dissect my beliefs to understand (1) the seeming feud between faith and reason, (2) the troublesome, even violent parts of scripture and Christian history, and (3) the simplistic answers and spiritual flatness endemic in many church communities.
The Inklings (a twentieth-century literary group in Oxford) and their influences talked me off this cliff and have been removing the contemporary Western straight jacket I strapped around Christianity ever since, helping me to see it afresh as the vibrant, peculiar, and joyful force that it is, robustly and positively shaping history. Writers like George MacDonald and poets like Gerard Manley Hopkins have opened my eyes to the necessity of clothing Truth in beauty, narrative, and myth if we hope for it to truly take root. Ray Vanderlaan, Marty Solomon, and other teachers dedicated to studying Judaism have given me permission to ask difficult questions when reading biblical texts. Only when we do this can we lay aside cold and systematized interactions with the bible and behold it with the same awe and imagination the Israelites would have exercised in the Old Testament.
These authors, poets, and thinkers have become like friends to me, spiritual guides gently and slowly prodding me towards what is good, virtuous, and filled with wonder. They have thoroughly convinced me of the need for ancient answers to solve our contemporary problems and the spirit of apocalyptic negativity at large. How can we rethink our modern cynicism and revitalize the spirit of the ancients and medievals, who were aware of the "secret festivity" of the cosmos around us, as G.K. Chesterton would say?
To feast with family and friends according to a sacred calendar
To tell and listen to captivating and vivid stories of goodness
To regularly experience the magic of nature
To create a warm and welcoming haven of hospitality
To order one’s habits and rituals around adoring God together
These are a few of the ingredients that just might make us healthy, sane, and alive again to the reality of Divine Presence.
I hope these authors can convince you of the same, and we can say, like Abraham Joshua Heschel, “Never once in my life did I ask God for success or wisdom or power or fame. I asked for wonder, and he gave it to me.”
"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
Quick now, here, now, always--
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well"
- The Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot
P.S. The Green Door is in reference to a lovely door behind one of my favorite places, the English L'Abri, a study center founded by Francis and Edith Schaeffer.