Chest Errors by Anthony Esolen

Chest Errors

The Divine Gift of the Irascible Faculty

It is difficult today to speak of anger as the Bible speaks of it without being misunderstood, and almost impossible to speak of manly anger without alarming people who assume that you mean an abusive, self-indulgent, uncharitable indulgence in sexist rage. Christians must learn to distinguish anger and wrath. The second is a deadly sin; the first is a requirement of Christian charity.

To be charitably angry in the way our Father expects us to be, we must have the chest that wise men from Plato to C. S. Lewis have told us we must have. The Wendlings [Letters, page 8] are correct in saying that in The Abolition of Man Lewis attacks the reduction of standards of Truth and Beauty to mere subjective impressions, effectively allowing the belly to rule the head. But Lewis specifically says, following Plato, that the Head is to rule the Belly by means of the Chest.

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Anthony Esolen is the author of over thirty books, including Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church (Tan, with a CD), Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (Regnery), and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord (Ignatius). He has also translated Dante’s Divine Comedy (Random House). He and his wife Debra publish a web magazine, Word and Song (anthonyesolen.substack.com), on poetry, hymnody, language, classic films, and music. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

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