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Angels in the Architecture: A Protestant Vision for Middle Earth
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Angels in the Architecture: A Protestant Vision for Middle Earth

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4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  329 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Christianity presents a glorious vision of culture, a vision overflowing with truth, beauty, and goodness. It's a vision that stands in stark conflict with the anemic modern (and postmodern) perspectives that dominate contemporary life. Medieval Christianity began telling a beautiful story about the good life, but it was silenced in mid-sentence. The Reformation rescued tr ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published November 1st 1998 by Canon Press
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Jacob Aitken
Angels in the Architecture (AA) is a bold, magnificent book. And when it is wrong in factual assertions, it is magnificently wrong. Ok, seriously. The authors propose against the stale, bloody worldview of modernity a rich, robust *paleo* medieval worldview rooted in Protestant Theology. My review will come from a number of angles.



*What if Tolkien were a Calvinist?*

The subtitle suggests Tolkienesque themes. But isn't the subtitle contradictory? Tolkien was a *Catholic!* Well, stay with me for
...more
Michael
This book captures the deep angst that modernity has brought upon the modem man's soul and presents him with a road map to a richer and fuller life! Looking back to the medieval era, Wilson & Jones point out that the moderns have unfairly given the "dark ages" a bad rap. Wilson & Jones show that the medieval man was concerned with harmonizing all areas of his life to expand the goodness, truth and beauty that God has revealed and given to him in this world. Ever optimistic, Wilson & ...more
Andy Kenway
An excellent book. I didn't agree with every little thing the authors proposed, but all of it made me think. Some chapters were good, some were great, and some were tremendous. Chapter 16, "Poetic Knowledge," is one of the tremendous, and I expect to return to it many times in the future. On the whole, this is a delightfully sane and stimulating read.
Benjamin
The authors of this book present an attractive vision of a world in which we revel in the goodness of God. I was drawn to their desire to live in a world where Christianity is assumed, where we understand that beauty comes from God and he wants us to feast on his gifts. It is hard to do this book justice in a short review, the vision soars beyond that. I particularly enjoyed their emphasis on having a poetic view of the world, and I think they must have applied it well as they tackled our need f ...more
Perelandra
My favorite essays in this book are:

"A Wine Dark Sea and Tumbling Sky" - Returning to the love of beauty
"The Font of Laughter" - Where joy and gratitude overflow
"Worshipping with Body" - Feasting on food and marriage
"A Good Wife and Welcoming Hearth" -Recovering the family
"Poetic Knowledge" - Learning to be poetically active
Robin
While not agreeing with every single point, on the whole I LOVED this book. The authors paint a clear picture of what they call "medieval Protestantism" - a rich cultural emphasis on truth, beauty, and goodness, lived out in joyful Christian community; which contrasts starkly with both secular and "Christianized" versions of our ugly, fragmented modern/postmodern culture. (One of my favorite quotes from the book: "A postmodernist is simply a modernist who has admitted his cultural illiteracy.") ...more
Adam Ross
Absolutely breath-taking. Some books can ruin you by revealing how petty you really were before reading it. This book is a beautiful ruination. Literary, witty, intelligent, it splashes in waters above all of our heads and reveals a vision for what Christianity once was, and what it will be again.
Job Dalomba
Some books come along and sketch out many f the longings of your heart and say what you've been feeling better than you ever could. This book is one of those for me. A truly satisfying read. Beautiful.
Dustin
Wilson and Jones give a sketch of the gospel on the flesh. It has me wanting a full-fledged work of art. I'll be thinking back on this book all year.
Katherine Kirkpatrick
This book has two important signs of a great book: 1) as soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again; 2) it gave me a big list of other important books to read. The essays contained here are seemingly disparate, but taken together give a vision for a very rich way of life. It's an excellent read for people in the stage we are: as the parents of young children, we are trying to be very thoughtful and deliberate about the family culture in which our children are immersed. [This reminds me, th ...more
Sally
I read this book once before, when my now sixteen year old was a baby. I figured it was worth revisiting, particularly when I flipped it open to the chapter on "Poetic Knowledge", an important topic. The book is about medieval Christianity redux in this time, a "cultural vision that embraces the fullness of Christian truth, beauty,and goodness." I want my life to overflow with truth, beauty, and goodness. I want to delight in this God-made world while focusing on the ultimate joy of heaven! This ...more
Gwen Burrow
Outstanding.
Devan
Dec 25, 2009 Devan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Calvinists, Augustinians, political philosophy geeks
While the current trend in theology - particularly cut of the recent Anabaptist and/or emerging cloth - is to view Christendom and Constantine as evils of the highest order, Wilson and Jones make the case that modernism has bankrupted itself as well in its rejection of medieval virtues.

Most importantly, they set out a vision of Christendom - the City of God - as one built upon the culmination of principles that were developed in the medieval period but were not given their fullest expression du
...more
Dan Glover
A hearty AMEN to the content and the overarching worldview this book espouses. And again I say, AMEN - seven stars worth of it.

As to the presentation, it's not always even and I would give it 3.5 to 4 stars. There are some parts that readers who aren't familiar with Wilson's communication style might find confusing or off-putting. I think if someone could take the content of this book and present it in a more winsome way, and including more detail about how the present day church and culture de
...more
Brandon Halvorsen
Wow! Stirred my soul, challenged my mind, warmed my heart. A comparative look at the values of the protestant church during the medieval age verses the western world and protestant church in the modern age we find ourselves in. For all the technological advances and scientific breakthroughs we moderns enjoy, this book awakened my soul to see just how spiritually malnourished we are today.

I didn't agree with everything the authors put forth. I strongly disagreed with a few of their positions but
...more
Gary
This book argues for the mediaevalism of the first Protestants, believing that modernism is not only sterile and barren but jaded and near to its inevitable end. After a number of introductory chapters dealing with modernism's soulless character and the reviving influence of Protestant doctrine on Christendom, the authors take a number of subjects in turn that display a Christian world of truth, goodness and beauty.

Subjects range from belly-laughter to the industrial revolution (where Agrarianis
...more
Al
Three stars because the essays are unevenly written, which is distracting when I am trying to focus on the content.

As for the content, I enjoyed this book tremendously, beginning with chapter 4 on the divide between the Christian and non-Christian worldviews. Chapter 7 was an interesting look at how meals were used in worship and how to recover that method of praising God for his bounty, without crossing into gluttony. It was a very entertaining chapter. The entire book is a very worthwhile loo
...more
John
This is a great book that outlines what a Christian culture would look like. The Doug's (Wilson and Jones) argue that the Middle Ages, instead of our perception of them as "Dark," are in fact the best model of what how Christianity would manifest itself culturally. They take it further, though, acknowledging where the medieval's fell short.

This is radical stuff, the kind of culture that most evangelicals are unprepared for, and certainly not the kind of culture the modern world is ready to accep
...more
Jacob Meiser
The first half of this book challenged and encouraged me more than almost any other book I've read this year. The authors' extolling of Medieval thought and theology was a stirring experience that I'll be contemplating for a long time.

Politics, postmillenialism and other miscellaneous things fill the second half, which I didn't find as interesting or helpful.

I do highly recommend this book, though, because it will grow any hints of discontent with modernity and awaken the medievalist to a life
...more
Stephen Wolfe
In Angels in the Architecture, Douglas Wilson and Douglas Jones provide a foundation for a Protestant medievalism. And since I am positively medieval occasionally, I naturally liked the book. I don't agree with everything, and at times I cried out for more argument. But it is refreshing to read Protestants reject political power *while* affirming cultural transformation. Too often both are rejected or both affirmed. Protestant visions of the "Middle Earth," an other-than-modern view of life, are ...more
Steve Hemmeke
A great book for recovering the "full-orbed" gospel, as it is often called. This means recovering and turning back to and treasuring beauty, the church, feasting, authority, wife and children, and more. Deep gratitude for all the gifts God has given us in this world was at the heart of the Reformation, but quickly lost by many. Medieval life actually assumed many important things that were lost in the Enlightenment. This book calls us back to them.
Kris
This is another of the books I read in 2003 that had a major impact on my world view. The authors of this book take delight in embracing what was good, true, and beautiful in medieval culture. The authors succeed in stepping back from modernity and viewing it from an angle which points out all the areas in which it has failed us. Highly recommended to those with an open mind.
John Pendergraft
Well, for once I had an entire review typed out and neglected to save it. Don't have the time nor do I feel like writing it all out again. Simply, I love the vision contained in this book of a culture that is deeply rooted in and growing out of the Gospel of Christ.

Borrowing this from another review:

"What if Tolkien were a Calvinist"

Jacob Aitken
Matt Carpenter
This book presents an amazing series of essays on what Christian culture has looked like at its highest points (through events, literature, doctrines, etc.), as well as presents a vision for the future of Christendom. It delighted my heart to read it, and the essays don't get old the second or third time around. Fantastic!
Abe Goolsby
A collected re-working of numerous articles originally published by the two authors in Credenda Agenda which explore how the modern, evangelical church could learn and benefit from the best which our medieval forebears have to offer. Great stuff.
Brian
A truly spectacular series of essays written by Jones and Wilson; while both have their concerns, they both write in a similar style that makes it feel like a unified book. Some truly good thoughts on Protestant culture that we need more of. (Also, they propagate the truth about prepositions at the end of sentences.)
Simon
What a great book! Wilson and Jones are really engaging writers, and punch modernism in the face numerous times in this one. I thought I ridden myself of chronological snobbery, but this book revealed I have a long way to go. The Middle Ages don't look quite the same, and neither does my theology.
Craig Olson
I have not read the book yet, I have just scanned the reviews. It appears to me that this book may have some substance. I am so tired of all the pablum purveyed by the mega-church leaders and populist preachers. If it is like The Casual Christian, I really want to read it.
William Newsom
Out of many great books, only a few (perhaps in anyone's life) can earn the designation "life changing." This was one for me. Sketches a vision of the Good Life, described in the evocative and paradoxical phrase "Medieval Protestantism." Must Read.
Adam
First three chapters were difficult to get through, but the chapters on feasting, parenting, the church, and marriage are worthy. Very Wilsony. But never an argument poorly constructed. If you disagree you have to come ready.
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I write in order to make the little voices in my head go away. Thus far it hasn't worked.
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“Modern evangelicals like to compare holy things to soft drinks, designer clothes, [and other products in] our modern consumerist culture. The problem with this is not ... the comparison to a created thing. The problem is that it is ... bad poetry. The Bible compares God to very mundane things, but does so with poetic wonder. God "shall come down like rain upon the mown grass; as showers that water the earth.” 2 likes
“Modernity has abandoned the household gods, not because we have rejected the idolatry as all Christians must, but because we have rejected the very idea of the household. We no longer worship Vesta, but have only turned away from her because our homes no longer have any hearths. Now we worship Motor Oil. If our rejection of the old idols were Christian repentance, God would bless it, but what is actually happening is that we are sinking below the level of the ancient pagans. But when we turn to Christ in truth, we find that He has ordained every day of marriage as a proclamation of his covenant with the church. A man who embraces what is expected of him will find a good wife and a welcoming hearth. He who loves his wife loves himself.” 1 likes
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