Last weekend, I watched “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” for the third time. As I wrote back in December, I think it’s a pretty good movie, and I really like the fact that it was willing to shake up the status quo (notwithstanding the outraged braying of a thousand fanboys). You won’t find me saying that it killed the Star Wars franchise or drained any enthusiasm for future installments…though I’ll admit the movie has certain flaws that become only too… Read more

I’ve written here before about the unavoidable tension between conceptions of “universal human rights” and the practices of individual communities. In light of that discussion, a decision today by the Supreme Court of Canada—Judicial Committee of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses v. Wall—is particularly interesting. Judicial Committee involved a member of a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation who was “disfellowshipped” after being deemed insufficiently repentant for sinful behavior. The congregant appealed the decision to a higher church body, but that committee… Read more

In the minds of a growing number of socially conservative intellectuals, classical liberalism—and, for that matter, constitutional republicanism—is beyond repair. A flurry of recent books like Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option, Ryszard Legutko’s The Demon in Democracy, Anthony Esolen’s Out of the Ashes, Charles Chaput’s Strangers in a Strange Land, and Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed (as well as Mark Mitchell’s forthcoming volume along similar lines) has, both explicitly and implicitly, called the sustainability of the current political order into… Read more

For the last couple of weeks, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this astonishing feature story in Foreign Policy magazine. The article explains that a number of indigenous tribes in Brazil still routinely kill disabled children who would (traditionally) be unable to survive under harsh jungle conditions. “Those targeted include the disabled, the children of single mothers, and twins — whom some tribes . . . see as bad omens.” As someone previously under the impression that such… Read more

Leftists and conservatives have used the term “anti-culture” to mean two very different things. On the right we have sociologist Philip Rieff, the first to coin the term, who used it to refer to the breakdown of order, discipline, and self-restraint that serve as the foundations of any civic project. In Rieff’s account, an unlimited quest for self-gratification is fundamentally incompatible with the cooperative pursuit of common goods. To put it bluntly, civilization requires rules, and “anti-culture” is that which… Read more

Over at Conciliar Post, Jacob Prahlow has an article suggesting that the emergence of nondenominational churches represents the most significant shift in institutional Christianity since the Reformation. While I’m a tad skeptical that all self-professed “nondenominational” churches are reaaaaaally nondenominational, I think he makes a very good point: within the Protestant fold, traditional denominational loyalties seem broadly to be dissolving, resulting in the proliferation of more individuated church bodies. But is the emergence of nondenominationalism really the most significant “reformational”… Read more

The name of this blog—Between Two Kingdoms—is a reference to the Lutheran “doctrine of two kingdoms,” by which Lutherans affirm a distinction between spheres of sacred and secular authority. As theologian Hermann Sasse wrote in 1930, “the secular and the spiritual are indeed to be dearly distinguished and must not be mixed one with the other, but as good gifts of God, as true orders given by God, they belong together, just as creation and redemption belong together as works… Read more

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