Sunday, June 08, 2008

Marinating in the Paradoxes

Walter Shurden offers this gem from his reading:

“William F. Buckley, Jr., the conservative warhorse, died Wednesday, February 27, 2008, at age 82 .… News of his death merited the front page of The New York Times and a full page in addition to that. Moreover, the Times published a brief “Appreciations” article about Buckley by Robert B. Semple, Jr. on the editorial page.”

“Semple recalled conservative sage Peter Viereck’s rough treatment of the young Buckley. Just out of Yale, Buckley published his first book, God and Man at Yale. Viereck cavalierly dismissed it. He called the book ‘jejune,’ [I had to look it up again: “lifeless, dry, dull, barren, childish”] a word that Buckley came to enjoy himself. The critic went on, saying that Buckley’s book was “far short of the conservative manifesto that needed to be written.” To do that, Semple said, referencing Viereck, Buckley would have “to marinate in the paradoxes of the human condition and endure `the dark night of the soul.’” (NYT, February 28, 2008, A26)

Shurden concludes:
“‘To marinate in the paradoxes of the human condition!’ That would do any preacher’s preaching lots of good….”

“And, said Viereck of young Buckley, he needed to endure ‘the dark night of the soul.’”

“I once asked Frank Tupper to evaluate the preaching of a mutual friend. ‘He will be a good preacher,’ Tupper said, ‘when he suffers a bit more.’ It is true! Suffering puts you on a taller hill; you see more!”

Image: William F. Buckley, Jr.