Thomas Howard was a Professor of English and Literature for over 30 years. He is the author of numerous popular books including Chance or the Dance, Dove Descending: T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets, On Being Catholic, Lead Kindly Light and Evangelical is Not Enough.
Thomas Howard currently resides in Boston, in the state of Massachusetts. Thomas Howard was born in 1934.
Reviews - What do customers think about Christ the Tiger?
Not a Tame Tiger Mar 9, 2006
I read this book in an earlier edition by Harold Shaw publishers. Then Ignatius reprinted it, so this is the third edition I know of. This is Thomas Howard's Seven Storey Mountain, in the sense that Merton's book deals with a certain period of his life and drops off with his momentous decision to become a monk. Howard's book also ends at a dramatic moment in his life and thinking.
Throughout the book Howard struggles with and ruminates about his evangelical upbringing (he's related to Elisabeth Eliot, author of Through Gates of Splendor). Some readers will find echoes there while others will identify with his larger search. The final page however, prefigures what might be called a sacramental aesthetic which would appear in Howard's later work. In this view the entire creation is a sacrament (meaning mystery) and a channel for grace. This is different from sacerdotalism, the idea of earning grace by performing certain acts. Not surprisingly, Howard later wrote a book on Charles Williams, one of the two leading Anglican proponents of this view (the other is Dorothy L. Sayers).
This aesthetic would pervade his later books, particularly Hallowed Be Thy House and Chance or the Dance, and marks a shift from a directly apologetic approach to more leisurely, thoughtful meditation. Despite the inviting style of his writing and his articulate defense of his views and convictions, Howard is not, I would argue, strictly trying to pursuade anyone. And that finally, is what makes his books so inviting to readers who otherwise would have no interest in his topics. Finally, like Chesterton in Orthodoxy, Howard offers not a defense of Christianity (in any usual sense), but rather of everything else.
A Search for the Father of All, not of an elect few Jun 17, 1999
In this compelling, daring work, its young author (for this was originally published in the 60's)tells of his search for God and his initial embracement of, and later his flee from, the exclusionary dogma of his youth. A dogma which made theater-going a sin, made Catholics (and other non-evangelicals) into the "lost" of God, and which tought that only the strictest formalist belief in "Jesus" would be acceptable to God, was what this young man found himself entrenched in upon going of to college. His subsequent fervent attempt to become acceptable to the harsh task-master God of his Puritanesque youth would become reminiscent of the despair which young Martin Luther felt when trying to find his God within the cold, formalist framework in which he had been raised. During the course of the work he becomes exposed to quite an eclectic array of dogmas, all pulling in various and opposite directions, all the while fervently seeking both freedom from the futile dogmatism he had left behind after many honest efforts in college, and, ultimately, seeking knowledge of a God who could not be imprisoned in stale, restrictive regulation but who could truly rule over everyone, regardless of personal tradition or background. Yes, this thoughtful young man gave weighty consideration to achieving his inalienable right to freedom of thought and conscience by simply abandoning the whole theistic idea, finding refuge in atheism. But this would have been to miss the ultiamte truth he was seeking- a real Father of All, and it is this reader's opinion that, even in the darkest of days, he was rather hesitant to quite give up the search altogether for the liberty he would have attained would have been at the cost of his hopes. He was at last able to see, despite the very real bitterness he felt at the straight jacket religion he had been forced to endure, that God can never be defined or restricted into a set of rules and qualifying features, that he is not answerable for the botched and harmful attempts at religion so common to humankind, and that he -the Father of All- will always have somthing to offer us if we can only seperate him from those who would attempt to codify the experience of God. This powerful work takes God out of the hands of humanity in much the same way that theologian Karl Barth's Epistle to the Romans did back in 1919, and leaves him (or Her) in far more capable hands- his own. Thus in this breathtaking journey in Thomas Howard's Christ the Tiger, the reader leaves religous dogmatism in the dust and winds up -not with a hope-destroying loss of God- but with a hope-fulfilling discovery, perhaps for the first time, of an awe-inspiring, church-enraging God who speaks forever for Him(Her)self but is also forever the Sheperd of us all.