A collection of essays - some linked, some distinct - comprise this book, so there is some inevitable repetition of word and content. But there is also a satisfying range of broad ethical instruction and pointed diagnosis of cultural ills. Some of the essays (as the subtitle promises) expound the formation of the moral imagination - 'which the heart owns and the understanding ratifies' (Edmund Burke) - while others step into riskier territory. The author, an Orthodox theologian, ethicist and professor of literature, as a college professor also knows what the moral conventions of modern college dorms are like. So he is equally qualified to explore the contours of the moral imagination, as limned by such as G.K. Chesterton, Flannery O'Connor, T.S. Eliot and Walker Percy, and to comment on the ethical agonies of gender relations defined by the sexual revolution of the '60's, and the immediate challenge of the ongoing re-definition of marriage. Whether for direction on forming the soul (read more fairy tales) or forming the family (read the sparkling gem of the whole collection, on St. John Chrysostom's portrait of the family as a 'little Church') this book is a refresher course in what it means to be Christianly human.
An Eighth Day View:
For Vigen Guroian, contemporary culture is distinguished by its relentless assault on the moral imagination. In the stories it tells us, in the way it has degraded courtship and sexualized our institutions of higher education, in the ever-more-radical doctrines of human rights it propounds, and in the way it threatens to remake human nature via biotechnology, contemporary culture conspires to deprive men and women of the kind of imagination that Edmund Burke claimed allowed us to raise our perception of our own human dignity, or to "cover the defects of our own naked shivering nature." In Rallying the Really Human Things, Guroian combines a theologian's keen sensitivity to the things of the spirit with his immersion in the works of Burke, Russell Kirk, G. K. Chesterton, Flannery O'Connor, St. John Chrysostom, and other exemplars of the religious humanist tradition to diagnose our cultural crisis. But he also points the way towards a culture more solicitous of the "really human things," the Chesterton phrase from which he takes his title. Guroian's wide-ranging analysis of these times provides a fresh and inimitable perspective on the practices and mores of contemporary life.