Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The established classics

I regularly browse through bookstores looking at the latest titles. It seems that every year or so, a book is published as a guide to the classics or to what books to read. I used to eagerly flip through these books to determine what was regarded a classic. Now I have read a much greater number of these great works, to my benefit, and when I see these books I hope others are drawn to the eternal books.

Speaking of books, I have been really enjoying a book by Jean Vanier: "Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John." This book literally feeds my soul with its truth and insight. Vanier has obviously not only thought carefully about this topic, but also lived it. He provides a very insightful definition between shame and guilt, which can be applied more widely to the concept of cultures. Although he places shame under a wider umbrella of guilt, he distinguishes between shame and moral guilt. Shame in an extreme sense is feeling guilty for who you are or for existing. Moral guilt, on the other hand, applies when a person does something wrong, so a feeling of guilt accompanies an objective reality lacking in shame. He wisely notes that both are intertwined, as they are when discussing shame or guilt cultures.

The other night I watched that "classic" film The Robe. I thought that it was very tastefully done, though inaccurate in some historical points, e.g. a tribune would most likely have a retinue going to the market. There was a cool quote in the movie: "It is much easier to dream of the truth than to live it." How true that ideals are always hard to live, especially by those that proclaim them.

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