They will meet again on May 11, 2014 to discuss the April RG selection, Edith Wharton’s “Age of Innocence.”
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They revealed their thoughts on Wiman’s My Bright Abyss as follows:
We discussed “My Bright Abyss” with some trepidation because it is a difficult book. It is difficult in the sense of its structure as a series of prose and poetry, but also due to the themes which are hard to nail down. Because there are many ways of finding God, though, the structure of the book was thought justified. An overarching theme was the inability to fully express reality through language (creeds are suspect). This idea justified the piecemeal approach taken by Christian Wiman in talking about faith (which includes poetic language in addition to propositions and antidotes). It was said that the project of expressing faith in God in a new way is necessary now because we have had too much of the reductionistic propositional truth in the contemporary U.S. Church.
Wiman seems to think that this kind of merely propositional talking is bad for the world and bad for the artists too. “To be a Christian was death for art, which depends on an attitude of openness and unknowingness….” (page 90). This was said to be the opposite disposition of most Americans who are generally indifferent and rebellious. Wiman is rebellious too, but he is right in asserting a new disposition is needed because we are after all creatures living in time and space and here and now. We are not angels or animals and we must rediscover the language fitting to the kind of beings that we are. Poetry is the best way to bridge the gap between heaven and earth according to Wiman and we think he is right.