Our annual fall appeal to our friends and supporters is both an opportunity to express our gratitude and to say how much the support we have received – whether moral or material or both – has meant to us. Each time Randy or I receive words of encouragement from our supporters or receive a donation to our efforts, we marvel again at the enduring kindness and generosity that has made our work possible over the years.
The gratitude I feel to our friends and supporters is made the more poignant by the fact that the writing project on which I have been working continues to require as much patience – mine and yours – as it does. As I told those who joined us last month for our first Florilegia teleconference, the patience this project requires of its author is best encapsulated by a remark made by the poet Theodore Roethke: “I learn by going where I have to go.”
By that I mean that each day I begin my work on the manuscript with anticipation about what unexpected twists and turns the project might take in the hours ahead. I am rarely disappointed. Even when I seem to have taken a wrong turn or when I discover complexities that promise to impede progress, I am often amazed to find that these complications lead to serendipitous surprises that I might never have discovered otherwise. Having experienced these unforeseen inspirations while writing God’s Gamble, I have come to recognize them as providential.
“Test everything,” Paul told the Thessalonians. The tool I use to test the pertinence of the book’s many themes is the working title and subtitle. And yet occasionally the surprises render this touchstone inadequate. The most enduring title and subtitle has been: Changing the Subject: From Self to Person. There is still much to recommend this choice. But it has at least two defects. First, it lacks the urgency that our present crisis requires and that recent events have so dramatically underscored. And secondly, it fails to attest as forthrightly as it should to the singular role that Christianity can play in responding to this crisis.
While it is dangerous to give too much weight to contemporary events, there are situations – such as ours – which seem to constitute a kairos moment, when pivotal events with unknown consequences occur quite rapidly, and which will have enormous consequences for future generations. When I began research on this project, I was vaguely aware of a looming crisis ahead for our increasingly post-Christian culture. Today our situation seems both more promising and more ominous. With that in mind, I am now using the following working title and subtitle (followed by three quotations which attest to the pertinence of the subtitle).
THE APOCALYPSE OF THE SOVEREIGN SELF:
Recovering the Christian Meaning of Personhood
“The knowledge of what it means to be a person is inextricably bound up with the Faith of Christianity.”– Romano Guardini
“The person both as a concept and as a living reality is purely the product of patristic thought. Without this, the deepest meaning of personhood can neither be grasped nor justified.”– John Zizioulas
“The revelation of the person is the event of Christianity.”– Paul Evdokimov
. . .
Thank you once again for all the encouragement and support you have provided. We are deeply grateful.
From the Executive Director:
We are sending our annual Fall Appeal earlier than usual this year in the hope that it might find less distracted readers ahead of what many expect to be a messy national election season. Of course, this pandemic year has been full of unwelcome interventions and few are those whose lives have not been adversely affected by it. From loved ones who may have become ill or died from the corona virus, to lost jobs, and restrictions that prevent visits to friends and family, even limits on our ability to worship together – all of this hangs over us and weighs on our spirit. While doctors and scientists work on ways to treat the symptoms and vaccines to protect us from the virus the rest of us must live each day largely from the resources accessible to us.
I believe that our work is, on the one hand, a countervailing force to the prevailing ‘spirit of the age’ in pointing to the source of hope in Christ and His Church without which ‘we can do nothing’, and on the other, an interpretive lens through which the world and our lives within it can be more clearly perceived as the canvas and channel of God’s gracious gifts of faith, hope, and love fearfully held in the freedom of the human heart. Gil Bailie’s bonding of the anthropological insights of René Girard’s mimetic theory with the Catholic theological tradition has opened the eyes, minds, and hearts of many who have read Violence Unveiled and God’s Gamble as well as those who have attended his presentations in person or via our online audio materials.
Later this year I expect the audiobook version of Violence Unveiled will at last be available on Amazon’s Audible and other audiobook platforms. This, along with all our other efforts including Gil’s current writing project, are only possible because of the support of those who find our work of value. Earlier this Summer we began an episodic online group Skype video meeting with several of our supporters. These one hour sessions we call ‘Florilegia’. In them we have been discussing draft excerpts from Gil’s current book project. Please consider joining us by following this link to indicate your interest. When the Florilegia Skype calls are scheduled you will receive an email notification and a link to the call (you do not need to have a Skype account to participate, but you will need an internet connected computer).
Again next year we will continue to provide monthly MP3 (or episodic mailed CD) audio materials from our archives as a thank you gift for responding to our Fall Appeal. For those supporting our efforts with a ‘Sustaining Donor’ gift of at least $300/yr ($25/mo) we will mail over the course of next year at least 12 CDs from Gil Bailie’s audio archives produced in the coming year as well as provide links to downloadable MP3 versions of these CDs from our website. (Note: this offer is for US mailing addresses only). Those able to make a donation of at least $60/yr ($5/mo) will receive at least 12 downloadable or streaming MP3s of these same materials.
This annual Fall Appeal is our only fund-raising outreach to help us get through the coming year so we ask that you look favorably on our request for support.