Magazine article The Spectator

Christian Thoughts

Magazine article The Spectator

Christian Thoughts

Article excerpt

New York

Oh, dear! For one brief shining moment I thought that God and Christianity were making a comeback. (Not to be confused with the Second Coming.) Paul Johnson started it with his personal pilgrimage, A Quest for God. (Incidentally, Paul also predicted two months ago that the you-know-what would first hit the fan in the Far East and then cause the stockmarket to collapse over here.) Jesus made the cover of Time, Newsweek and US News & World Report last Easter. A wonderful 'biography' of God was recently published by Jack Miles, one that examined God as a character in that marvellous creation, the Bible. Even my buddy Norman Mailer, better known for things physical rather than metaphysical, has just published the greatest story ever with our Lord Jesus doing the narrating.

Nearer, My God: An Autobiography of Faith is William F. Buckley Jr's latest and 41st book. To have written 41 books is an incredible achievement, but in Buckley's case it is only a part-time one. He also lectures, writes a nationally syndicated column twice a week, hosts a weekly nationally televised show, sails across the oceans rather regularly, skis with Taki daily during the winter months, and attends church regularly. Oh yes, I almost forgot. He also finds time to attend dinners with his very social wife Pat, and to be host to lively parties in his Park Avenue pad. Incidentally, I find there is nothing that gets closer to living sainthood than when the poor little Greek boy, blotto, engages Bill Buckley in psychobabble late at night while the latter is desperate for some sleep but even more desperate not to offend the drunk one.

Nearer, My God is the most poignant of Bill's books. One reviewer called it a small miracle. It doesn't preach and does not try to make converts. It is the best answer to secular elite hackles and suspicions towards those who despite a good education express deep religious faith without an apology. The part I liked was on the uniqueness of Christ: `Everything would be so simple if God saw fit to remove the doubt of every Doubting Thomas by, say, worldwide thunder at three in the afternoon (local time) on Good Friday, or such.'

When Bill recently lectured at a Virginia university, he was asked to pose for a picture with one of the students and his host as part of the school's record. …

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