Friday, September 4, 2015

Muggeridge

"I can say that I never knew what joy was like until I gave up pursuing happiness,
or cared to live until I chose to die. For these two discoveries I am beholden to Jesus."

“In the end, coming to faith remains for all a sense of homecoming, 
of picking up the threads of a lost life, of responding to a bell that had long been ringing,
of taking a place at a table that had long been vacant.”
Malcolm Muggeridge

I once long-ago owned the first two volumes of Malcolm Muggeridge's Chronicles of Wasted Time. Somewhere between then and now I discarded or misplaced them. R.R. Reno has been reading a new edition that combines those books and an unfinished third into a single volume. I recall thoroughly enjoying them back in the early seventies — and Reno's comment reinforces that impression — so I have ordered the new edition.

Reno:
Muggeridge was born into a democratic socialist family and married the niece of Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Leftist royalty in early twentieth-century England. But a year as a journalist in Moscow at the outset of Stalin's purges caused him to lose his faith, and Muggeridge's became one of the great skeptics of twentieth century truisms, both Left and Right—a skepticism eventually reinforced and given warmth and humanity by his conversion to Christianity. A gifted writer and acerbic wit, every page of Muggeridge's front row seat to the ideological (and military) conflicts of the last century is a joy to read.
Christian Classics Ethereal Library provides some additional information about the man:
In 1932 Muggeridge became a correspondent for the Manchester Guardian in the Soviet Union. He witnessed the Ukranian famine and wrote vivid accounts of this disaster. ....

On the outbreak of the Second World War, Muggeridge joined the Army Intelligence Corps and served in Mozambique, Italy, and France. He also worked for M15 during this period. After the war Muggeridge became a correspondent for the Daily Telegraph in Washington (1946-52). This was followed by a spell as editor of Punch Magazine (1953-57).
Having professed to being an agnostic for most of his life, he became a Christian, publishing Jesus Rediscovered in 1969, a collection of essays, articles and sermons on faith. It became a best seller. Jesus: The Man Who Lives followed in 1976, a more substantial work describing the gospel in his own words. In A Third Testament, he profiles seven spiritual thinkers, or God's Spies as he called them, who influenced his life: Augustine of Hippo, William Blake, Blaise Pascal, Leo Tolstoy, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Soren Kierkegaard and Fyodor Dostoevsky. In this period he also produced several important BBC documentaries with a religious theme, including In the Footsteps of St. Paul. ....
Muggeridge was interviewed more than once by William F. Buckley on Firing Line on PBS. This is a portion of "How Does One Find Faith?:


The full version of this episode of Firing Line is available streaming, free for those who have Amazon Prime.