Some Words on the Church by S. M. Hutchens

Mortal Remains

Some Words on the Church

by S. M. Hutchens

As I age, the impression intensifies that one's best work has never been original, even that there has never really been such a thing as true human originality, for what is good, true, and beautiful originates in God, so that artful, kairotic recapitulation (even in technology, for every functioning use is imitative) is really what we are about, and is in fact the chief element of theosis. The rage for originality is a kind of spiritual sickness, for the more one tries for it, the more the attempts seem to produce the ugly, irrational, and inhumane—whatever good may be found in the oeuvre usually turns out to be an accidental and unacknowledged tribute to the timeless and transcendental.

I bring to witness the generality of modern art, music, architecture, theology, and every field of endeavor in which novelty is regarded as a virtue—for new goods, that is to say, goods well-recapitulated, are only produced in synthetic harmony with the Timeless Good from which they are derived. That all human art is procreative, all invention imitative is, I believe, the insight that separates conservative from liberal. This is why the "liberal," who believes himself to be the master of his own spirit and ground of his own being, does not believe in God—or at least in any God he hasn't invented himself.

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S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.

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