Introduction: If you find these reviews bizarre yet orthodox, I have accomplished my goal. If you find them entertaining yet profound, I am humbled. If they brings you a little closer to classic works of the twentieth century, I am gratified. If you forward the review to friends with a kind word, I’m flattered. If you catch a whiff (but only a whiff) of Sound-and-the-Fury stream of consciousness, you’re smart. If you have troubles squaring the choice quotes at the beginning with the subsequent rambler, you’re trying to square a circle. If some of the ramblings seem disjointed, they are. Are these reviews more artistic than substantive? Most certainly. Might you find them frustrating at times? Sure. If you don’t, I didn’t meet my goal.
The Restoration of Christian Culture by John Senior (1983).
Choice quote: “Well, if unlike myself, you always do your best at honest work, practice steady prayer and accept the trials of daily life with a merry heart, the saints say that at the hour of death the walls of your interior mansion suddenly become like crystal and the white radiance of the presence of God shines through.”
Are you married? Then you owe a tithe of your time to prayer. Because we have 24 hours in the day, we owe 2.4 hours to prayer, or about two and a half hours. That’s what Senior daunts. But a quibble: Is it a tithe on gross income or net income? Is it a tithe on total hours or waking hours? On total hours or available hours? Is it my fault I need eight hours of sleep a day instead of none? Is it my fault that I have to work to pay for my children’s clothes? Net tithing for prayer is more like .8 hours, especially once you include time obligated for your kid’s little league games and to keep up with the news and field that phone call from the long-winded relative. After all that, .2 hours (12 minutes) maximum perhaps. In fact, there’s no time available for the prayer tithe. Contemporary life doesn’t make room for it. Contemporary culture won’t stand for it. If you stand against it and set aside that prayer tithe, you’re a freak. You won’t have time to attend Social Functions A, B, Y, and Z; won’t have time to read Koontz and King; won’t have time to travel every weekend. But to the freaks belong the Kingdom, I suppose, and only in a warped culture would the prayer tithers be seen as freaks. When they’re no longer seen as freaks, Christian culture will have been restored. In the meantime, all we can do is strive to become freaks. At least, ten percent of the time.