Out with the Old

abri

Edith Schaeffer died this past Holy Saturday at her home in Gryon, Switzerland at the age of 98. She was a retired missionary, writer, and speaker who, along with her husband Francis, founded the residential study center L’Abri in 1955 in the small Swiss village of Huemoz. Over the next 30 years, the two would work to radically alter the shape of American evangelicalism and American Christianity more broadly.As others have noted, the Schaeffers were themselves fundamentalists when they first … [Read more...]

The Theology of Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad

 Editor’s Note: Massive Spoilers. Read at your own risk.Breaking Bad is one of the most ethically complicated dramas on television today. The series explores themes of sin, guilt, forgiveness, and damantion through the transformation of Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin. Calling the series’s thematic landscape a philosophy fails to fully appreciate its religious dimensions; in this essay, I will sketch a few tenets of what we might call the theology of … [Read more...]

Cancer and Divine Transcendence

cancer_cells1

 When your phone goes off in class, your biggest concern is usually the teacher’s reaction. But in that moment, I could not have cared less what my professor was thinking. For staring me in the face was the worst text I had ever received. One of my best friends from home had just gotten word from his oncologist that, less than a year after it had been defeated the first time, his leukemia was back with a vengeance.After reading his message—“Here we go again...”—I immediately went int … [Read more...]

Reforming Desire

Heaven

 I recently heard a priest make the following statement in a homily on the virtue of faith: “As a teenager, I thought that Heaven was essentially a mass that never ended. The very idea of sitting through a never-ending series of church hymns repulsed me. Nevertheless, I wanted to want this because I believed I should.”Putting aside the idea of Heaven as a never-ending series of church hymns, a few immensely important questions arise from this glimpse into a very common Christian exp … [Read more...]

Eros Beyond Sex

Eros

When we encounter the word eros—the Greek noun to which the adjective “erotic” corresponds—we probably assume that eros is essentially sexual love. Yet in making this assumption, we hit far wide of the mark established in the thought of the Greek philosophers and continued in the Christian tradition.What, then, is eros? Is it a purely physical love, or a love that consumes both mind and body? How does eros relate to sexuality? The traditional answers to these questions may surprise us and ent … [Read more...]

The Economy of Desire

economy

In The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer admonishes Christians who have bought into the theology of “cheap grace.” Bonhoeffer describes cheap grace as “the grace we bestow upon ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession.” In Bonhoeffer’s view, the heresy of cheap grace is founded on a false separation between faith and obedience: “...we must never forget the indissoluble unity of the … [Read more...]

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...]


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