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Jon Kennedy's recent book, The Everything Guide to C.S. Lewis and Narnia, from Adams Media, F&W Publications, is available for purchase in support of the Liberty Museum in Nanty Glo and can be ordered here. It is also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and in Kindle and Nook ebook editions.
   

JONAL ENTRY 1222 | February 3 2012

I've always found it exhilarating to make a "breakthrough" in my thinking; to discover, through a process of thinking things through, a new, more useful or "manageable" conception of something. When I became editor of the Journal at age twenty, part of the job description was to write an editorial every week. I resisted the idea for a while, because compared with news reports and columns consisting of chit chat about teen interests (which had been my previous main assignment for five years) writing editorials—stating an idea and expounding and defending it—was hard work entailing research and lots of rewriting.

And though "what would Jesus do?" was not a motto I'd heard then, something close to it did influence all my decisions at that time. It was more like "what would Jesus want me to do?" or "what's the 'Christian' thing to do?" And of course, the answer to that in regard to editorial writing was obvious as soon as I asked the question: "See it as an opportunity to influence the thinking of others in a godly direction."

That is an obligation every Christian shares, in my opinion (and I daresay, the Lord's), though most do it more by behaving responsibly, being kind and charitable, and "speaking words of encouragement and of faith in season" rather than writing about ideas. In other words, I had a chance to expand my Sunday school class consisting of the teen boys at First Baptist Vintondale into a "classroom" scattered all around Cambria County (the editorials appeared in all of the Sedloff weeklies, serving three sections of the county). And once I started thinking of it that way, I was thrilled to learn that none of the other company's editors liked to write editorials so they were happy to leave most or even all of that task to me as the one who "enjoyed" it. And I enjoyed it because it required me to think things through which inevitably—eventually—led to new breakthroughs or insights into the human condition.

But this is all preliminary to saying that I have just made another breakthrough in my thinking. Combining the fact that I recently wrote a chapter in my current book entitled "Christian Philosophy" and another chapter about two specific philosophies (modernism and postmodernism); that I have been reviewing, tweaking, and peddling both of those chapters as features to highly regarded magazines; and that I recently wrote several blog entries in this department entitled "a manner of speaking"; and that recently in rereading C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity I found him saying that when someone becomes a Christian, God gives him a lot to learn but also gives greater intelligence to enable him to learn it...all of these combined to help me gain a new insight.

The insight is that everyone is a philosopher or, more precisely, every sane human being "philosophizes," engages in philosophical work now and then. Before the breakthrough, I had a vague notion that philosophy is for philosophers and philosophers are people with advanced degrees from advanced educational institutions who majored in that particular science and that if I pretended to be a philosopher I would be laughed out of town. To be sure, philosopher-snobs might laugh at a neophyte like me having anything to say in "their" field, but now I'm sure it's true that everyone philosophizes; it's as basic and simple as "In the beginning was the Word (Logos, logic) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." To know God is to know the Word (God the Son). And to philosophize is to think logically and as the root of logic is logos/word, to philosophize is to think through the meanings and uses of words.

In its most basic sense, it wouldn't stretch the point to breaking to say that every time someone looks up a word in the dictionary, he or she is doing philosophy. To better understand or better know what something means is the beginning of philosophy, the two Greek logos of which mean "love" (philo) and wisdom (sophy). The "mother church" (so to speak) of Orthodoxy is the Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Constantinople (Istanbul). Though some mistakenly translate it as "St. Sophia," it literally means "Holy Wisdom," which could also be called "God's Logic."

I hope to revisit (and philosophize some more about) this theme next time. But for now, somthing to think on.

— Webmaster Jon Kennedy


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