Wednesday, April 01, 2015

unexpected things

I said something about a camel and the eye of a needle and she rose happily to the point.
"But of course," she said, 'it's very unexpected for a camel to go through the eye of an needle, but the gospel is simply a catalogue of unexpected things. It's not to be expected that an ox and as ass should worship at the crib. Animals are always doing the oddest things in the lives of saints. It's all part of the poetry, the Alice-n-Wonderland side, of religion."
~ Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

This selection comes from a conversation between Charles Ryder, a young Englishman visiting the home of his friend Sebastian Flyte, and Sebastian's mother, Lady Marchmain, a devout Catholic.
I liked the way Waugh portrays the gospel here, as a catalogue of unexpected things. How true it is. Nothing about the Redemption story is what one would expect, a welcome reminder this Easter season. We worship a God who does not conform to human expectations or ideals. I need to remember that more.

(I have started this book several times and each time lost my way somewhere in the first third of the books. I have restarted the book this time by way of listening to it read by Jeremy Irons. Last night, in the absence of not being able to listen, I picked the book back up and found myself reading with much more alacrity. I would not be willing to continue to pursue this book if it were not for an podcast by Andrew Kern and Tim McIntosh discussing this book among other books and topics. It inspired me to try again and again.)


  1. I think I become anethesized (sp?) to the unexpectedness of the gospel and the scriptures. What a great reminder. Thanks.

    This book is on my someday when I grow up list.

  2. 'a catalogue of unexpected things' that's so true. I've put off reading this book but then I saw this list on Circe
    Flannery O'Connor is another author on the list I've put off reading so far.


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