After the ordeal of preparing a study guide for War and Peace, I decided to tackle a shorter work. A play would be nice, I thought. While in college I had acted in Jean Anouilh’s Becket, and I thought it would be a worthwhile addition to the website. Not until I was halfway through the play did I realize that I had already written it up nine years ago. Well, that’s what comes with advancing age, I suppose. In any case, the new study guide is somewhat expanded from the original, so hopefully readers of the website will find it helpful.
God reveals Himself to His creatures in many ways, but one of the ways in which He does so is by the names by which He chooses to be called. I have just added to the list of adult Sunday School courses one on the names of God. The lessons examine each of thirteen names of God given in the Scriptures by looking at the meaning of each, the context in which it is first revealed, how that name is used throughout Scripture to tell us more about who God is, and how it points to Christ, His person and His work.
People sometimes joke about very long books by calling them doorstops, implying that they are good for little else because no one can screw up his courage sufficiently to read them. Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace is probably referred to in these terms more than any other novel. I finally decided to confront the beast and read the book, despite the fact that I’m fairly confident that no English teacher who values his or her life would actually assign students to read the novel in an era where even a book of a few hundred pages is considered too much of a burden for young people. The book is hard to categorize. It is at the same time a novel of romance, a history of the part of the Napoleonic Wars that brought Russian into conflict with France, and a treatise on the meaning of history, and indeed of life itself. War and Peace was written by an author who had not yet become a Christian and was grappling with the questions for which only Christianity provides real answers. At the same time, he was questioning the popular interpretations of history and asserting that it was controlled by a force outside man of which he understood little. If you are up to the challenge, you should enjoy the romances, marvel at the battlefield descriptions, and give serious thought to Tolstoy’s ideas on the meaning of life and history.