Meditation from Brideshead

George Weigel, author of the recent National Review article linking Rex Mottram and Donald Trump, has posted some thoughts inspired by a Lenten project involving his rewatching of the 1981 Granada TV series of Brideshead Revisited

During Lent, I’ve been rewatching the magnificent 1981 BBC production of Brideshead Revisited—the best TV adaption ever made of a great novel, in part because of the stunning cast but in larger part because Evelyn Waugh’s book is the screenplay. In the second segment, the protagonist, Charles Ryder, muses on what he had once been taught about Christianity in terms that took me back to … to Rowan Williams “sitting and breathing in the presence of the question mark” while “waiting on the truth:”

“I had no religion [Ryder recalled] . . . The view implicit in my education was that the basic narrative of Christianity had long been exposed as a myth, and that opinion was now divided as to whether its ethical teaching was of present value, a division in which the main weight went against it; religion was a hobby which some people professed and others did not; at the best it was slightly ornamental, at the worst it was the province of ‘complexes’ and ‘inhibitions’. . . and of the intolerance, hypocrisy, and sheer stupidity attributed to it for centuries. No one had ever suggested to me that these quaint observances expressed a coherent philosophical system and intransigent historical claims; nor, had they done, would I have been much interested.”

The entire article appears in First Things, which is a magazine and website sponsored by what is described as an interreligious, nonpartisan organization called the Institute on Religion and Public Life.

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