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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Oswald Chambers, artist, pianist, and general all-round intellectual

I have heard of Oswald Chambers, and especially of, and occasionally from, My Utmost for His Highest, for many years. Kerry, of Beautiful Feet (a good blog -- a quick read -- down to here would be an average post for Kerry) suggested, a few times, during a seminar series that he was giving, that it would also be good to read a biography of Chambers.

I have now read My Utmost, and also the biography. Thanks, Kerry!

The biography is by David McCasland. It is Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God. The Life Story of the Author of My Utmost for His Highest. Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House, 1993. I expected to read of Chambers' devotional life, and about the writing of My Utmost. I did read that. But I didn't expect to read that Chambers was a bona fide intellectual, and believed in the importance of art, music, philosophy and literature as ways of reaching others, and of improving himself.

Chambers influenced a woman who turned out to be a staunch colleague by his piano playing.

Here's something Chambers said about the matter of using the intellect:
The kingdom of the aesthetics lies in a groveling quagmire, half fine, half impure; there is a crying need for a fearless preacher of Christ in the midst of that kingdom, for a fearless writer, writing with the blood of Christ, proclaiming His claims in the midst of that kingdom, for a fearless lecturer above pandering to popular taste, to warn and exhort that all the kingdoms of this world are to become Christ's -- that artists, poets and musicians be good and fearless Christians. (p. 41-42 of McCasland. from a letter written by Chambers in 1895.)

Chambers was a thinker, and read philosophy. The biography closes with a number of poems by Chambers, on a number of subjects. I am not qualified to assess them, but they seem good to me.

Thanks, Kerry! You were right, Oswald Chambers.

Thanks for reading. Read Chambers.

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