Congratulations, Peggy!

peggy-noonan-illo-0213-jqdkhr-xlgPeggy Noonan, who once wrote speeches for Ronald Reagan, just won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.  It is well-deserved.

For a list of her pieces that won, go to “The 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Commentary,” The Pulitzer Prizes (Apr. 10, 2017) [link].  My favorite is “Imagine a Sane Donald Trump,” Wall Street Journal (Oct. 22, 2016).

The other winners are also listed at http://www.pulitzer.org.

Uneasy reader

gardnerThus the value of great fiction, we begin to suspect, is not just that it entertains us or distracts us from our troubles, not just that it broadens our knowledge of people and places, but also that it helps us know what we believe, reinforces those qualities that are noblest in us, leads us to feel uneasy about our faults and limitations.

John Gardner, The Art of Fiction 31 (1983).

Of course Gardner does not hold this thought without reservation (notice the “we begin to suspect”), but he reasonably prompts us to add this to our internal lists of what fiction is for.  I had forgotten how enjoyable this book is.

Cromwell’s rule

This was a favorite saying of my Jurisprudence professor (William Powers) in law school:

I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.

Thomas Carlyle, ed., Oliver Cromwell’s Letters and Speeches, vol. 1, 448. (Harper 1855).

Even Christians who are very sure that they know the mind of God ought to reserve some uncertainty.  We all recognize that we are flawed and sinful and that we are subject to confusion and delusion.  Let us all take one small step back from certainty.  We may be unapologetic in our faith in the redemptive work of Christ without claiming that we have the final word on everything.