Books That Inspire 2003

Chronicles of Wasted Time; Vol. 1 The Green Stick & Vol. 2 The Infernal Grove
Malcolm Muggeridge

Books, especially those by St. Augustine and William Blake, and the power of language, inspired controversial British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge. Applying St. Augustine’s description to himself, he was a “vendor of words.” Muggeridge observed and described human tragedy and absurdity, with acerbic wit and serene gravity. His life spanned virtually the entire 20th century. At his death in 1990, a prominent magazine called him “God’s Gargoyle.”

Fluent in genres such as editorials, novels, plays, biographies, literary criticism, and multi-volume histories, Muggeridge chose autobiography to depict his life as a pilgrimage, himself a stranger in this world on the way to another, shedding his utopian certainties. His mystical experiences, his sojourn through suffering to enlightenment, and his contact with religious people of all faiths deftly unify under Muggeridge’s pen to provide a narrative of religious life as an ongoing aspiration, not an instantaneous conversion. On my own pilgrimage out of youthful certainties, Muggeridge has come alongside, teaching me that faith is the dialectical partner not of certainty, but of doubt; certainty requires no faith. Muggeridge demonstrates that a religious conversion must be a conversion of the whole person, including the intellect, to be authentic.
Lee Green
Assistant to the Director
Religious Studies