Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Clarion Mission


Welcome to the Clarion Review, a journal in the great tradition of humanistic thought and letters.

We like to call the Clarion a journal for life in the body. By this we hint at some basic commitments of ours. First, we’re quite confident that truly human existence is embodied, and always will be. Second, we believe that human flourishing is at its fullest when not only embodied, but also incorporated into the Body. Humanists celebrate the corporate body that includes all humanity; Christians, the physical and mystical Body of Christ. As Christian humanists we support both understandings of the word.

So, why the body? The fact that human existence is embodied should be so obvious as to be trivial. Yet, throughout history, those who would deny it have never been in as short supply as might be hoped. One can perhaps understand the desire to exit the body to a purer world of forms or happiness, most especially in ages when the medical sciences did little to help – and often much to harm – an already arduous physical existence. Less so in an age of prosperity: but our prophets would now have us aspire to downloadable immortality.

These dualists – from the ancient Manichaeans, to the New Soviet Man, to our contemporary Transhumanists – always promise more than they can deliver. They force us to forget the ground beneath our feet and the cultures that nurture us, the real joys of our physical life. If God really is dead, is this the best there is?

A truly incarnate view of life and culture, on the other hand, demands that we take the world and our existence in it as real, and really significant. It both indicates and participates in the world as it should be.

But Christians, for their part, haven’t always stayed down to earth. A certain dualism has gnawed at the faith over the centuries. Could this be any further from the truth of a creed proclaiming that the immaterial God took on matter for the sake of his good Creation – and not just any matter, but human flesh? There’s an earthiness to Christianity, one that can’t be raptured away: when it is, both the faith and the cultures it informs are often reduced to kitschy trivialities or ways to while away our time until we get to heaven. A truly Christian view of life and culture rejects escapism; it sees instead the created goodness in the world, and the potential for transfiguration, especially in fallenness.

The Clarion Review hopes to take a literary stand for incarnate existence. By engaging with philosophy, theology, politics, fiction, poetry, and more, we mean to make some sense of life in the body – in a world that has witnessed the death of God but is still haunted by him.

And we hope you’ll join us. Please leave your comments after reading a poem or article, and let us know what you think of our journal through snail or e-mail.

If you would like to submit an original work in poetry, fiction, literature, history, philosophy, theology, political thought, or the fine arts for publication, please write to us at clarion.submissions@gmail.com.