Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Grace, gravity, and anti-grace...

Simone Weil wrote what is by all accounts a very good book on natural religion as it verges on the precincts of Christian faith. I haven't read it but it's one of those books "I keep meaning to read someday." Yeah. As it is, though, the title alone--Gravity and Grace--is enough food for thought for me at times, since I think it's brilliant to juxtapose grace with gravity. I wonder if she got the idea from "some Catholic priest she knew," since it seems like a lot of would-be Christian French intellectuals have a significant Catholic priest in their lives. Consider Albert Camus a few years before his death, or Jacques Derrida. (I can't find proper documentation for these two cases right now, but I distinctly recall reading about how both French thinkers kept up 'tempted' dialogue with Catholic figures until their demise, which of course complexifies their death vis-a-vis that thorny old question, "baptism by desire.")

But anyway. The point of this post is to riff for one moment on Weil's "gravity and grace" motif. To wit...

Grace is giving people room to breathe freely.

Anti-grace is giving people freedom to breathe as they like, in the name of 'grace', even if they are inhaling poison the whole time.

Since it was Philip Yancey--a superb Christian writer and one of my most important role models--who exposed me to Weil, I have to add, When the hell is Yancey going to peel the rest of the banana and become a Catholic already?! Sadly, I take him to be a well-meaning victim of ecclesial latitudinarianism. After all, his major influence, Dr. Paul Brand, was, if I'm not mistaken, a Middle-Wayer an Anglican. But I can dream.

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