The remarkable thing about Spike Jonze’s recent movie Her are the many questions it manages to raise and then completely ignore. Perhaps it would be incorrect to call these plot holes. It’s more like Jonze and the characters he has created are simply oblivious to the intellectual and ethical challenges the plot poses but fails to address. For those who haven’t seen it, the movie is set in the relatively near future and follows the story of Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a … [Read more...]

The Good News and Humpty Dumpty


“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall Humpty Dumpty had a great fall All the king’s horses and all the king’s men Couldn’t put Humpty together again”   The story of Humpty Dumpty is as good an allegory for our predicament as any I know. Humpty Dumpty, as the rhyme goes, has had a great fall and can’t be put together again. This is the second most important fact about Humpty Dumpty, and the first is like it: Humpty Dumpty was at one point unfallen and uncracked. Once upon a time, … [Read more...]

Tikker: The Death Watch That Makes Every Second Count!


A few weeks ago, I was delighted to hear a story on the Colbert Report about Tikker, "the death watch that makes every second count!" As Tikker's Kickstarter page indicates, "Tikker is a wrist watch that counts down your life from years to seconds, and motivates you to make the right choices. Tikker will be there to remind you to make most of your life, and most importantly, to be happy. But it's not really about how much time you HAVE, it's what you DO with it." Thus, for $59 plus … [Read more...]

I Guess It’s Chocolate


  One of the misconceptions that recent literature on religion tries to take down is the idea that there is such a thing as “neutral” culture. Consider, for instance, the attention that Calvin College philosopher James K.A. Smith gives to the concept of “secular liturgies” in his book Desiring the Kingdom. There, Smith makes the audacious claim that seemingly innocent practices such as shopping at a mall actually shape us into certain types of people – people who think, feel, … [Read more...]

Christian Commitment, Symbolism, and Farming


  The Christians I am closest to tend to fall into one of two camps as regards the question of “orthopraxis” --- the question of what right Christian practice looks like. One camp sees right Christian practice as oriented “internally”: the practices that matter most before God are those which belong to my own inner life or to my individual communion with God. Prayer, meditation, the cultivation of a devotional life --- these practices stand preeminent over what might be called … [Read more...]

Why Read Middlemarch?


  Thanks to Rebecca Mead and her memoir, My Life in Middlemarch, 2014 looks to be “The Year of Middlemarch.” This has created a cultural moment both wonderful and surreal—seeing commentary on Middlemarch at Vulture, reading comments about it on Twitter, and watching friends and acquaintances pick up the book and read it feels like a dream come true.  That’s because George Eliot’s most famous novel has a hold on me so strong that whenever I encounter someone who didn’t care … [Read more...]

Letters to the Editor – Issue 6


The following letter and response pertain to this article from Issue 6. Letter: My first reaction after I finished reading Michael Bradley’s essay, “Eros Beyond Sex” in the Summer 2013 issue of Fare Forward was to grab my copy of The Four Loves and give the chapter on Eros a reread. Bradley attributed a few points about Eros to C.S. Lewis that seemed to mischaracterize his description of Eros, and I wanted to see if he was correct. Well it turns out that, in the first … [Read more...]