Reading, writing, and E. Michael Jones...

All the time I remind people that I have nothing original to say or write. I'm a hack who reads and quotes others—especially my Dad. When I read his books, particularly the compilation of his monthly columns from Eternity titled Out of My Mind: The Best of Joe Bayly, I realize they are the footers and foundation and framing and drywall and flooring and windows and trim and shingles and paint of my thoughts—understanding, of course, that God's Word is our air and bread and water.

Whom/who do I copy? Mostly dead men. I've read little Lewis, but I've devoured Chesterton and do still. Also Luther and Calvin. Augustine. When talking with younger men and women, I try to get them to have a few great influences and be jealous for their sake. Don't go for breadth. Go for depth. Pick a couple church fathers everyone agrees on and devour them. Don't stop until you're in the grave. Give yourself to them completely so you know their errors, too. Then I always recommend they take Calvin as one of their men. You can't go wrong, particularly if you're a pastor and preaching and teaching is your calling. There's no one close to Calvin as an exegete and expositor, all in one. Buy everything of his in print, including his sermons. But hey, I've got to rein in this post.

All this as prelude to saying my friend E. Michael Jones has just reprinted several of his books and I encourage you to... get them. The substance of most of them first appeared in a magazine I've subscribed to since about 1984 titled (first) Fidelity and (now) Culture Wars. Mike is an orthodox Roman Catholic with all the errors that entails, but I'd rather have Mike's errors than the stuff being written and said by almost any famous Reformed man today. Mike's original and unflinching in his cultural analysis and prophetic calls.

Start with three: Degenerate Moderns: Modernity as Rationalized Sexual MisbehaviorDionysos Rising: The Birth of Cultural Revolution out of the Spirit of Music; and Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation and Political Control. A couple weeks ago, a dear friend wanted to read one of these and could only find it for sale for several hundred dollars on Amazon. Now you can get each of them for about twenty-five dollars. Do so!

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

Libido is an extraordinarily difficult work to read, I think. 

I usually recommend the one that is alternatively titled, Monsters from the Id/Horror: A Biography. 

Thanks for the reminder that depth is more important than breadth, as long as you're reading the right stuff!  Love from Pgh.

Kamilla: I finished Libido Dominandi last year and found it very good. Yes, it was difficult to read and to finish and some parts were slow. Yet, he led me to change my mind and, at my age, that doesn't happen very often. Posts on that book will follow. I'm grateful to Tim and Mick Foster for their recommendations.

Now when you say "my friend, E. Michael Jones" do you mean, this fellow who has served you well with his writing, or do you mean you actually know him? Because I am in the former category and would be mighty happy for you were you in the latter. He is my favorite living writer. Did you see him on Lewis in Chronicles about eight years ago? I've not yet read Libido Dominandi, and so would put in my top three Degenerate Moderns. (Which paired with Paul Johnson's (who was my second favorite living writer when he was still with us) Intellectuals is like watching Romans 1 come to life before your very eyes). Also appreciated Jones' Living Machines. Gave it to my dad for Christmas a few years ago and have used its thesis to argue against building dorms here at Reformation Bible College. If you are personal friends, and if our three paths should ever cross providentially I promise not to swoon if you will introduce me.

Oops, misread. My third would be, as Kamilla suggested, Monsters from the Id. Have also recommended Dionysus Rising for reading in our Great Works program during a unit on music. Would love to know what Jody thinks of Dionysus.

My brother has been known to prod me at my use of "friend" and I admit I use it more freely than most. But yes, I've met Mike and consider him a friend. If calling him "friend" wins me any fame or fortune, I'm a three-eyed monkey.

I've subscribed to Mike's "Fidelity" (now "Culture Wars") for thirty years, and over those years I've watched the board of reference on his masthead hemorrhage names. I've grieved for the decline of men willing to stand with him. He has suffered at the hands of other purported conservative Roman Catholics much like my dear late Joe Sobran. So really, "friend" is meant to express my affection for him, hoping to leverage any affection of readers for Baylyblog in Mike's direction.

It's a stretch from ultramontane to Reformed, but I've always benefitted from reading Calvin/Puritan/Presbyterian-haters like Mike and G.K. (listened to the end of Eugenics last night: whew!).

"Intellectuals" is one of my favorites. Can't tell you how many times I've recommended it to academics and it's the reason I'm always harping on the centrality of ad hominem for the Apostle Paul's letters (esp. Galatians), and thus for all good pastoral work.

Maybe when you're up we can get Mike to come down?

Love (there I go again),

Dear Tim,

Thank you for these latest two posts. They're a great follow up to the sermon Sunday. I hope to learn to have better conversations at the table.

A few years ago, I bought Monters of the Id because Nathan recommended it via your recommendation. I have not read it yet. I will have to.

Dear RC,

For no good reason, I've been stuck somewhere in the middle of Dionysus for a long time, now. I'll endeavor to finish before your visit so we can talk about it.

From Wagner's glorification of adultery via "Tristan und Isolde", to Nietzsche's early enthusiasm for Wagner and later disenchantment, to his subsequent looking to Parisian jazz as the musical embodiment of sexual revolution...all utterly fascinating, and so unlike anything taught at music school. Don't know why I ever put it down. 

Love,

I try to read an E. Michael Jones book every year. He stretches me unlike any other author. Horror: A Biography and Degenerate Moderns are just wonderful. I do think he could use a better editor. His books are often very uneven when it comes to chapter length and have portions that unnecessarily redundant. I really noticed that in his little e-book Requiem for a Whale Rider

Here is a helpful gem from Jones: 

"In fact, one might say that all modernity, all the creators of the intellectual artifice that is the modern age, were bent on nothing more than a rationalization of apostasy, with sexual rebellion as its vehicle. What do Margaret Mead, and Bloomsbury, and Picasso, and Sarte and Freud, and the various forms of socialism, and Paul Tillich, and any number of lesser lights have in common? Precisely that: rationalized sexual misbehavior construed as liberation. In reality, it was nothing more than an attack on God in general and Christian sexual morality in particular."

Degenerate Moderns: Modernity as Rationalized Sexual Misbehavior (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993), 121-122.

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