A series of fascinating books on those remarkable people called Christians, who say they have been born anew through the power of a man called Jesus Christ, and who have shaped the course of human history for the last two thousand years.
They include emperors and peasants, kings and transients, extraordinary women and challenging men, people of great wealth and people sworn to a lifetime of poverty, scientists, poets, politicians and musicians, but all holding one captivating thing in common, a deep faith in, and commitment to, the man called Jesus, who regards them all as his brothers and sisters.
Here is their story, told as it has never been told before, an epic like Lord of the Rings, but soundly historical, factual and true, with people so vibrant, so real that they will make you question the depth of your own commitments, and examine your own life in the light that shines from theirs across the ages.
See how they met the horrendous difficulties that so often beset them, how they regarded death as a triviality and life as an eternal phenomenon. But see also how they were far from infallible, frequently went astray and erred seriously. Yet they were always called back, and step by painful step laid the very foundations of the society we live in today–a society we could delude ourselves into thinking we cannot lose.
If you are a Christian, then you are one of these people, and this is your story, the story of your family, your brothers and sisters. Meet them. For you too have wars to win and souls to save, and they may show you how.
The fall and rise of Oscar Wilde
The undoubted forerunner of Britain’s debunking Bloomsbury group was the playwright-novelist-poet Oscar Wilde, who died in the year 1900 at the age of forty-six, a decade before Bloomsbury came into being. He possessed in abundance just those qualities the group would cherish, being bountifully literate, sharply perceptive, supremely cynical, contemptuous of convention, bisexual, and wittier by far than any of the Bloomsbury literati. But at the pinnacle of his career, Wilde brought upon himself a disaster that saw him publicly humiliated and abandoned by nearly all his fashionable friends. He died in exile and utter poverty, after composing one of the most moving descriptions of Jesus Christ ever penned in the English language.
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde, son of intellectually inclined Dublin parents, excelled at Oxford, then soared soon and high in the arts and in the elegant society of late Victorian England. He married respectably, and fathered two sons whom he dearly loved. By the 1890s, his comedies were the rage of the London theater and the source of epigrams still treasured a century later.
His downfall began when he met the young Lord Alfred Douglas, who (according to Wilde’s friends) led him into London’s lurid dens of homosexual prostitution. Douglas’s father, the marquis of Queensbury, a bluff man famed for codifying the rules for boxing, called Wilde “a posing sodomite.” Wilde charged him with criminal libel, and the case backfired. Queensbury was acquitted. Wilde himself was then charged with sodomy and gross indecency, convicted, and sentenced to two years’ hard labor. Within a matter of weeks he fell from the top to the bottom of Britain’s social hierarchy: imprisoned, deserted by almost all, forbidden to see even his children...
[Excerpted from a sidebar story to the chapter on the Bloomsbury group in Volume 12]
© Copyright 2010 Society to Explore and Record Christian History