Machen, Evangelicalism, and Worldviews

On the recommendation of a friend, I recently read through J. Gresham Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism. As one who will soon be attending a more left-leaning divinity school, I thought that going back to the Fundamentalist/Modernist controversy might be a good means of understanding that into which I will soon be stepping. While I think Machen’s work is quite prescient in its nature, I often found myself frustrated with him.For the past year and a half, I have been discussing the nature o … [Read more...]

Paddle Your Own Canoe

NickOfferman

In his 2011 essay, “The Problem With Memoirs,” New York Times critic Neil Genzlinger called for a moment of silence for “the lost art of shutting up.” “There was a time when you had to earn the right to draft a memoir,” he argued, “by accomplishing something noteworthy or having an extremely unusual experience,” and “anyone who didn’t fit one of those categories was obliged to keep quiet.” “Unremarkable lives went unremarked upon,” Genzlinger said, “the way God intended.” Well, he’s right—mostly. … [Read more...]

Grace at the Movies

TheWayBack

 In their first co-directed film, The Way Way Back (2013), Nat Faxon and Jim Rash feature fourteen-year-old Duncan (Liam James), who goes on summer vacation with his newly-divorced mom (Toni Collette), her new boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell), and Trent’s daughter from a previous relationship, Steph (Zoe Levin). The movie begins as the four of them are on the way to Trent’s beach house, with Trent asking Duncan to rate himself—his personality, looks, everything—on a scale of one to ten whi … [Read more...]

Bleeding Edge

11BOOK-superJumbo

 Is it better to seek the truth, or to accept the comfort of illusion? That is one of the central questions posed by Bleeding Edge, the latest novel from Thomas Pynchon that paints a picture of greed, ambition, and paranoia in wake of the rise and fall of the dot-com era and 9/11.Steeped in pop-culture references to Beanie Babies, Friends, and Britney Spears, the book captures the enthusiasm and recklessness of the dot-com bubble as well as the panic, uncertainty, and despair of … [Read more...]

What We Talk About When We Talk About Ambition

When it comes to ambition, it sometimes seems that feeding our egos means starving our souls. The Onion highlighted this ambivalence with an article headlined “Unambitious Loser with Happy, Fulfilling Life Still Lives in Hometown.” Quote: “Sources close to Husmer reported that the man, who has meaningful, lasting personal relationships and a healthy work-life balance, is an unmotivated washout who’s perfectly comfortable being a nobody.” This Onion piece juxtaposes the language of worldly success … [Read more...]

That They May Be One

Just last week, I met up with an acquaintance with whom I had grown up in the church, but who, after studying sociology in college, dropped the faith because it simply “didn’t help him understand the world” in a way that made a difference as to how he would live his life. Faith in Jesus was not a live option for him because it seemed that various other sociological factors could better explain the dynamics of Christianity than the self-definition that Christians themselves offered of themselves. … [Read more...]

Big Lies

american-hustle-poster-2

 As Irving Rosenfeld, the consummate con-man of American Hustle explains, people want to be conned. That’s because, broadly speaking, there are two types of personal change. There is real change, involving an internal change of disposition, and there is superficial change, involving an external change of circumstances. The former is difficult— so, unsurprisingly, we tend to be attracted to the latter. It is this desire for quick and easy transformation that the con-man feeds on. We want … [Read more...]


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