Two Sides of Paradise

terrence-malick

If one were to construct a spectrum of contemporary filmmakers, ranging from the minimalist to the fantastic, one would find Baz Luhrmann and Terrence Malick on very opposite ends of the spectrum. Where the former is loud, explosive, and flashy, the other is introspective, discreet, and nuanced to a fault. And yet, the two movies they had in theaters this summer (The Great Gatsby and To the Wonder, respectively) revolve around the same dynamic tension. In some prior reverie, a man and a woman f … [Read more...]

Miscellany and Divine Transcendence

creation

In the summer issue of Fare Forward, due out shortly, my essay on “Cancer and Divine Transcendence” will examine some ways Christians have responded to suffering, and argue that our popular conceptions of providence oft go awry when we overlook the real distinction between God the First Cause and his created second causes.  Discussing those who mistakenly speak about tragic events as if their badness were merely illusory, I’ll explain, Overlooking divine transcendence and collapsing God down int … [Read more...]

Religion, Intelligence, and Socialization

science and religion

The Independent just reported that “religious people are less intelligent.” Whatever remains of the “new atheist” crowd will argue that this study proves that education causes one to reject religion. Atheism is academic. Being enlightened or “bright” means you reject that dim-witted dogmatism of your fathers.The problem is, of course, that secularism has long been dominant in the academy. Take a group of impressionable young students— selected specifically for their intelligence—who care very … [Read more...]

Millennial Presumptions

RHE

Rachel Held Evans’ latest post at CNN's religion blog has stirred up controversy in just the way RHE knows how to do so well. See here and here for some reactions. Part of what’s challenging about her piece (and all her writing, really) is that it contains a lot of truth. In her comments on liturgy, authenticity, and a broader Christian cultural-political mandate, RHE offers or, at least, approaches some important insights.  The merits of some of her points have not been fully appreciated by some … [Read more...]

The Ear of the Heart

to_the_wonder

A friend recently gave me the autobiography of a Benedictine nun at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Connecticut, entitled The Ear of the Heart.  In the first part, Dolores Hart, also known as the girl who first kissed Elvis, tells how she left a promising career in Hollywood, and broke off her engagement to a great guy, in order to enter the convent.   The decision looked dramatic, but from Dolores’ perspective, it was a simple act of attention to the Voice that she could no longer ignore.  Over th … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: FF Writers React

Pope_Francis

Michael Hannon:Lumen Fidei is a fine title for Pope Francis’ first encyclical, but I can’t help but think that After Faith might have been even more apropos.  For in this letter to the Christian faithful, the Holy Father does for doctrinal enquiry what Alasdair MacIntyre did for ethical inquiry more than thirty years ago in After Virtue.  With a nod to Nietzsche, Pope Francis—primarily through the pen of his predecessor—begins by noting the sterile nature of contemporary understandings of fai … [Read more...]


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