The most important ideas and thoughts, it often seems, may only be seen sidelong, approached by means of analogies, references, and negations. Not that what is true cannot be spoken, but speaking it leaves us unsatisfied, as if we had really intended to say something else, or as if the truth exceeds the grasp of our expression. As in saying to a beloved person “I love you” does not, we feel, adequately express the full truth of the heart, we turn to poetry, the use of form and simile, to more nearly approach the subject; and perform actions of service and self-giving; which, though they do not approach as directly the expression of our love, we are more satisfied in doing. For love is not a mere fact or simple inclination of the heart, but a vital force radiating its influence in every part of our lives.
So it is often with our most dearly held religious beliefs. The central word and passion of faith resides so deeply in our hearts that we are not content to merely observe that God became a man and was revealed to us, which is sublime and true, but we cannot rest until this truth expresses itself in every way, radiating throughout all of our thoughts, words, and actions. For if the death of Jesus delivered us from sin and damnation, his incarnation and resurrection also raise us up to new life in every part. And so we try to express this, but find that the more directly we attempt to comprehend it, the less we understand it. So instead we find ourselves approaching it by way of other things. In the words of the poet Richard Wilbur, “Love calls us to the things of this world.” Hipster conservatives discover in human beings, art, literature and music, the beauty of ethics, and the glory of sacred things, a way of approaching that which is beyond our understanding.
This March issue of The Hipster Conservative features several religious meditations, including the first of a three-part discussion of Edmund Burke’s conservative philosophy from Bede, an essay against futurism from N.W. Smith, and two articles following up on last month’s discussion of marriage ethics. Our criticism includes a review of two different books on aesthetics and a review of George Marsden’s The Soul of the American University; as well as a music review. Finally, we end with brief thoughts from me about what it means to “see the world,” and part of Erasmus’s Praise of Folly. We hope you enjoy these offerings and look forward to bringing you our April issue, which will consist entirely of reviews.