(apologies. My “About” page needs major updating)
My name is Marc Vandersluys. I live in rural Alberta, Canada, and am the Associate Pastor at Malmo Mission Covenant Church.
Interests include my family, tea, good music (folk, alt-rock, the golden age of Rock & Roll [ca. 1968-1972], blues, jazz, classical), a good book (Bill Bryson is my favourite author; I also enjoy Tolkien and Wodehouse, among others).
“The Bird is now gloriously empty, with improved beer, and a landlord wreathed in welcoming smiles! He lights a special fire for us!…I know no more pleasant sound than arriving at the B. and B. and hearing a roar, and knowing that one can plunge in.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien on The Eagle & Child pub in Oxford, England (which he and his friends nicknamed ‘The Bird & Baby’).
I needed a clever name for my blog, something other than “Marc’s Blog” or “Vanderblog”. I can’t recall how The Eagle & Child came up, but it seemed perfect when it did.
The Eagle & Child is a pub in Oxford, England, where J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and other members of the Inklings would gather Tuesday mornings for a pint and some good discussion. They discussed their own literary works-in-progress, and I imagine theology and philosophy was also covered.
I admire both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis–Tolkien for his depth of story telling, Lewis for his insights, and both for their faith (I’ve never read any Charles Williams, but perhaps I should).
If I could go back in time, this pub at the time of the Inkling’s meetings would be one of the places I would go. I would get my own table and watch them at a distance: cardigans or tweed jackets, a haze of pipe smoke around them. I would tell the barkeep, “I’ll have what they’re having,” pointing, of course, at Tolkien and Lewis.
The concept of the Inkling’s gatherings was sort of what I had in mind for this blog. It was to be a place where people “gather” to discuss life, faith, literature, philosophy, and so on. This seems to be happening…
My wife and I spent some time in England in celebration of our tenth anniversary. While there, I had the privilege to spend a day in Oxford and, particularly, to have lunch at the Eagle and Child:
For the meaning behind the tagline (or subtitle), see “Kitchen Conversations“.