Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Flag of the World - Loyalty to Life

The challenge to any literary critic is how best to explain a great text to an audience. And with a book as tremendous as Orthodoxy, you've got a real challenge on your hands.

Today at 9 am Geir Hasnes did the best job of explicating the text of Orthodoxy of anyone I've ever seen. How? By using himself as the example of the Flag of the World, of the loyalty to life, that defeats the suicide of thought and the culture of death.

Geir told the story of his biological mother who was raped, and who in the rape conceived twins, one of whom was Geir. Abortion in the cases of rape was legal in Norway in those days, but Geir's mother refused to take the path of death. She brought these children, the fruits of the rape, to term. And despite a difficult labor that nearly killed her, she gave birth to Geir and his twin sister, who were immediately placed with their adoptive parents.

Geir broke down many times on the podium, and it was difficult to watch him struggle to tell his story. He ended, in tears, with Chesterton's poem "By the Babe Unborn", a masterpiece that ties in all the themes of Orthodoxy and all the themes of Chesterton - especially the lines

I think that if they gave me leave
Within the world to stand,
I would be good through all the day
I spent in fairyland.

My friends, this was the highlight of the conference and elicited an immediate standing ovation from a very appreciative crowd.

The powers of death dwell upon the suicide of thought; but loyalty to life, to the Flag of the World, will save us from this self-slaughter. "We are sent to this world to make good come out of bad," Geir said - which is the sacramental life.

Thanks be to God for this brave Norweigan who gave this wonderful talk! Thanks be to God for his brave and loving mother and to his adoptive parents. And thanks be God for Gilbert Keith Chesterton.


Candlestring said...

Just want to say a heart-felt thank you for your posts about the conference. Thank you. Really.

Love2Learn Mom said...

It was truly beautiful and extremely moving. Certainly my favorite talk too and perfectly suited to the chapter of Orthodoxy assigned to Geir. Thanks for the commentary!