October 1, 2018

This column grows out of my recent series on the city of Ravenna, and its amazing artworks. I mentioned there the poem Ravenna by Aleksandr Blok (1880-1921), one of Russia’s greatest poets. Blok is best known though for another work, and one that really defies categorization. Just because a work addresses Christian themes does not make it Christian literature. And yet … I have written a lot about the First World War, and especially the end of that war in… Read more

September 28, 2018

September 29 is the feast of Michael the Archangel, Michaelmas, and the feasts of Gabriel and Raphael are now celebrated on the same day. October 2 marks the celebration of the Guardian Angels. In 2015, Pope Francis urged his listeners to pay close attention to the instructions they were being given by their holy guardian angels, “God’s ambassadors.” Such words startled some intellectual believers, who had largely consigned angels to the realm of greeting cards, or to New Age eccentricities…. Read more

September 26, 2018

Partly because they took church discipline so seriously, New England Congregationalists tended to act mercifully toward individuals who confessed their sins, suffered ecclesiastical penalties for them, and then begged forgiveness. Read more

September 26, 2018

Tara Westover on the context of her family’s essential oils business Read more

September 25, 2018

American evangelicals and other Trump supporters have already wasted their “Bonhoeffer moment,” argues Chris. But perhaps it’s not too late to follow the example of another, more problematic German pastor. Read more

September 24, 2018

Amid the welter of truth claims in the modern academy, one towers above all others: empire and colonialism are bad—universally bad. Since Edward Said’s landmark Orientalism (1978), study after “post-colonial” study have arrived at this conclusion. Colonizers lorded it over the colonized, exploiting them economically, socially, culturally. The “White Man’s Burden” or Europe’s mission civilatrice were sanctimonious justifications for the ruthless suppression and mistreatment of native peoples in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Integral to this outlook is the… Read more

September 21, 2018

I have been writing about a recent visit to Ravenna, a place that can have a profound impact on the unsuspecting soul. Let me describe this, and suggest that the city may shortly be preparing for yet another kind of global spiritual event. Through the nineteenth century, foreign authors visited Ravenna, and some were moved to write about it, often in really bad verse (I’m looking at you, Oscar Wilde). The number of visitors swelled in the early twentieth century,… Read more

September 20, 2018

I live in New York City, which is the greatest city in the world, but the reality is that few things are easy here. Whether it’s enrolling a child in kindergarten, riding public transit to work, or paying the rent to keep a roof overhead, completing basic tasks can be surprisingly complicated for New Yorkers. This fact of life was made especially clear to me one sunny September afternoon in 2015, when I discovered that Rufus, my beloved thirteen-year-old Italian… Read more

September 19, 2018

I have served on academic faculty since 2003. I have participated in a LOT of job searches–believe you me. I have watched candidates perform exceptionally well during interviews, and I have watched candidates fall flat on their faces. For example, the  teaching demonstration that included around 60 power point slides and was still going strong at 50 minutes when it was supposed to be limited to 20 minutes (yes this happened). Or the candidate who made so many factual errors… Read more

September 18, 2018

What is now the Mayo Clinic began with a partnership between Protestant doctors and Franciscan nuns – a partnership resented by anti-Catholic nativists. Read more

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