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Clyde Kilby’s Resolutions to Staying Alive

Clyde Kilby’s Resolutions to Staying Alive

1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me.

Interstellar - REIMAGES

Illustration by Marie Bergeron


2. Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, middle, and an end. I think this will save me from the cynicism expressed by Bernard Russell before his death, when he said: “there is a darkness without, and when I die there will be a darkness within. There is no splendor, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing.”

3. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding 24 hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence but, just as likely, ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.

Tree of Life

The Tree of Life

4. I shall not turn my life into a thin straight line which prefers abstractions to reality. I shall know what I am doing when I abstract, which of course I shall often have to do.

5. I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.

6. I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are, but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their “divine, magical, terrifying, and ecstatic” existence.

7. I shall follow Darwin’s advice and turn frequently to imaginative things such as good literature and good music, preferably, as Lewis suggests, an old book and timeless music.

Concert - REIMAGES

San Diego, CA

8. I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, “fulfill the moment as the moment.” I shall try to live well just now because the only time that exists is now.

9. If for nothing more than the sake of a change of view, I shall assume my ancestry to be from the heavens rather than from the caves.

10. Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life on the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the Architect who calls himself Alpha and Omega.

11. I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, atleast for a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the ‘child of pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder.’


Clyde Samuel Kilby (1902 – 1986) was an American author and English professor, best known for his scholarship on the Inklings, especially J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. A professor at Wheaton College (Illinois) for most of his life, Dr. Kilby founded the Marion E. Wade Center there, making it a center for the study of the Inklings, their friends (such as Dorothy Sayers), and their influences (such as George MacDonald).

The Idol

“Life is far, far better when Jesus is at the center, and far, far worse when anyone else is.”


Friendship: Whatever It Takes

Friendship: Whatever It Takes

How’s it coming? In a previous post, I elaborated on a certain kind of friendship. In theory, encouraging your friends towards their calling sounds like a great idea. In light of the Great Commission and Christ’s radical call, this kind of friendship makes sense. A strategic and intentional approach towards growth and betterment of my friends makes sense. In theory.

Since this kind of work has eternal dividends, we can expect it to be challenging. Real relationships are simply not that simple.

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My Family Looks Different

My Family Looks Different

“So what are you,” a new acquaintance asks. “If you don’t mind me asking…”

“Well, what do you think I am?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I’m not sure… umm,” stares intently.


“So… are you going to tell me?”

“Well, give me your most educated guess. And then I might tell you.”

In past conversations, the guesses that follow have encompassed a wide variety of races. Sometimes, people tend to think that my race is mixed with something identical to theirs. Others try to think as exotically as possible. Some do not think I am a mixture of multiple races.

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How Friends with “Disabilities” Have Saved My Life

How Friends with “Disabilities” Have Saved My Life

I work at a Day Program for adults with developmental disabilities, of whom we call members and friends.

I was texting my co-coach, Scotty, one evening about a music video we were trying to put together for our members. By this time, we had spent months going on adventures with them, learning, laughing, struggling, making mistakes, and just doing life together. He wrote to me something so simple, but it sums up my entire time at this job.

“Every person in this video saved my life.”

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Tolkein’s Splintered Hues

Tolkein’s Splintered Hues

Read slowly to enjoy.

“Although now long estranged
Man is not wholly lost, nor wholly changed.
Dis-graced he may be, yet not dethroned,
And keeps the rags of lordship once he owned:
Man, Sub-creator, the refracted Light
Through whom is splintered from a single White
To many hues, and endlessly combined
In living shapes that move from mind to mind.”
J.R.R. Tolkein

Man, the Sub-creator, in this case would be the author of an imaginary world in text form. This is Tolkein’s poetic response to a critic who had described writing a fantasy story (such as Lord of the Rings) like “breathing a lie through silver.” Similar to many who have yet to discover the treasures in fiction, this critic does not see that the very means used to write something into existence is a replication of God’s own processes.

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A Trinity of Sight

A Trinity of Sight

Referring to St. Augustine, Dorothy Sayers writes the following:

He proceeds in his great treatise, to expound the doctrine [of the trinity] analogically, using again and again the appeal to experience. He says in effect: “a Trinitarian structure of being is not a thing incomprehensible or unfamiliar to you; you know many such within the created universe. There is a trinity of sight, for example: the form seen, the act of vision, and the mental attention which correlates the two. These three, though separable in theory, are inseparably present whenever you use your sight.”

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