Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Happy Birthday Christopher--October 12

Without distracting in the least from the well-deserved honor and holiday of Christopher Columbus’ arrival (or discovery or rediscovery) of the New World, another man also should be honored on October 12. Another Christopher, Dawson in this case, a discoverer of history, was born on that date in 1889 in Wales. Like the big man of 1492, this Christopher had a mission of being a Christ-bearer.

Christopher Dawson’s mission field was the study of history. His contemporaries included such men as G.K. Chesterton, T.S. Eliot, and C.S. Lewis. They were more than just contemporaries in a time-spatial sense; they were the intellectual and spiritual peers of Dawson. Together with a host of other writers and thinkers such as Dorothy Sayers, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Hilaire Belloc, they were a part of the “m” of I Corinthians 1:26a (“…not many wise…are called”—as opposed to ‘not any…'). In the post-Christian culture of 20th century Britain, as the sun was setting on the empire, as Matthew Arnold’s sea of faith echoed “its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,” the sun continued to blaze brightly on that kingdom greater than even Albion at its height. Of this greater kingdom, the prophet Daniel said it would never be destroyed.

Put simply God converted and commissioned a host of novelists, poets, and intellectuals from among the peoples of Britain. Some produced great novels, poems, and literary essays ... And one, Christopher Dawson, restructured a Christian interpretation of history on Europe and the world.

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