Sunday, June 04, 2006

Why Logres Hall?

Below is an introduction to my work here in Logres Hall. If you wonder what it's all about, this is a good place to start.

Ronan Coghlan's fine reference work The Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends describes Logres as 'The name of England in Arthurian Romance.' In C.S. Lewis's masterful novel, That Hideous Strength, we are given a little more, as one of the characters reveals that the great conflict in which they are engaged (for which, read the book) actually began 'when we discovered that the Arthurian story is mostly true history. There was a moment in the Sixth Century when something that is always trying to break through into this country nearly succeeded. Logres was our name for it - it will do as well as another. And then gradually we began to see all English history in a new way. We discovered the haunting. . . . Something we may call Britain is always haunted by something we may call Logres.' Lewis took part of his concept of Logres from his friend Charles Williams's great work Taliessin Through Logres, in which Logres is sort of compared with the work of the Logos, the Son of God (John 1). For Lewis's purposes, Logres became true England, the real England, the faithful sons of England huddled together, back to back, ready for battle, while the inhabitants of 'England,' or the corruption that it has become (in the novel, at least) surrounds them on every side.

In a certain sense, then, Logres is parallel to the Old English concept of Middengeard, or Middle-earth, which Tolkien incorporated so brilliantly in The Lord of the Rings. 'Middle-earth' has been decribed by one writer, reaching back to the Old English word for 'earth' or 'yard,' as 'a cultivated portion of land surrounded by wilderness. The wilderness is modernity, full of monsters, and the yard is a small and pleasant shire. While our children are little, we want to imitate our medieval forefathers and tell our children the truths in fairy tales that will keep them out of the woods. When they are grown, they will be able to fight the monsters and expand the fences of middle earth.' (Douglas Jones, from Douglas Jones and Douglas Wilson, Angels in the Architecture: A Protestant Vision for Middle Earth).

Logres, then, is Middle-earth: the Church of Christ, surrounded by the wilderness of modern unbelief, holding a torch of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty against the darkness of Error, Evil, and Ugliness. As Jones notes, we are to be 'expand[ing] the fences of middle earth.' One day Logres, the remnant of the faithful, will fill all the world with Light, but this expansion of the kingdom of God (for that is what we have been talking about) works slowly, like the growth of a mustard seed, or like yeast working through three measures of meale (Matthew 13). So we work patiently, waiting for the Lord of the Harvest to bring about the increase. We do kingdom work: laughing and feasting, preaching and praying, telling our children stories, writing poetry, chanting Psalms, developing new technology, farming and carving and painting and changing diapers and singing and worshipping and fixing cars and writing and talking and...expanding the fences of middle-earth.

Logres Hall exists as a resource, a starting point for those who wish to expand those fences, to keep out the modern wilderness, and to protect and prepare their families for such work. In the belief that one of the best ways to do this is by creating a storytelling culture in the home, wherein the stories both of Holy Scripture and great literature shape the life and character of the home, Logres Hall is committed to focusing on this aspect, in particular, of the work of middle-earth.

Welcome to Logres Hall.

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