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 instance, he was. At… Read more

Why Fast?

  For as long as I can remember, my dad has fasted every Wednesday and Friday – eating nothing but bread and drinking nothing but water. At a young age, the very prospect of fasting seemed not only daunting but ludicrous. Human loves exist to attract us to the things that are good for us. And food is obviously good. Why would you want to deprive yourself of it? The most obvious answer to this question is that you may… Read more

Jesus and the Art of Presence

A poignant article rippled through my social media sphere three weeks ago. In “The Art of Presence,” David Brooks describes a family’s lessons on how to support those who grieve or, as he says, “how those of us outside the zone of trauma might better communicate with those inside the zone.” Brooks calls for “a sort of passive activism. We have a tendency, especially in an achievement-oriented culture, to want to solve problems and repair brokenness … But what seems… Read more

Venmo and Friendship

  I’m a fan of Venmo, an app that makes it incredibly easy to send and receive money. Instead of scrutinizing piles of dollar bills to figure out how exactly to pay the tab among a group of friends, one person can pick up the tab and charge the rest of their friends the exact amount via Venmo. However, if Venmo gets more and more popular, and Forbes’ prediction that it will be the “future of payments” comes true, then I will start… Read more

The Compound

  Following a catastrophic nuclear attack, fifteen-year-old Eli has spent the past six years living in an elaborate underground compound with his parents and siblings–minus his twin brother, who happened to be separated from the rest of the family when the first nuclear warheads were launched. Ever the sucker for dystopian and speculative fiction, I found the premise of S.A. Bodeen’s young adult novel The Compound too good to pass up when I stumbled across it a couple weeks ago…. Read more

On God’s Side

  Jim Wallis’s On God’s Side comes in two parts. In the first, he argues that biblical Christianity involves not only the personal, individual standing of the Christian before God and the individual’s relationship with Christ, but also a deeply communal element that inspires genuine concern for one’s neighbors. In the second, he fleshes out how these sometimes-competing concerns ought to inf luence Christian political thought and engagement. Wallis’s inspiration for the title of the book is a quote from… Read more

Fandom’s Final Tragedy

  I was talking with a friend recently, and I decided that her sister’s new boyfriend—who I’ve never met—is a bad person. I only know one thing about him, but it’s enough: he has always lived in Oklahoma, but claims to be a New England Patriots fan. For me, the Super Bowl is a time of reflection. After my team gets eliminated, the NFL playoffs lead me to ponder the meaning of sorrow, loyalty, and loss. This year I’ve been… Read more

The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography

  For those who enjoy biographies and love books, what could be better than a good biography… of a great book? The Lives of Great Religious Books series promises many happy hours learning more about old friends and making new acquaintances, from Augustine’s Confessions to Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison, from the book of Genesis, to the Tibetan Book of the Dead. One of the latest books in this series, Alan Jacobs’s biography of the Book of Common Prayer… Read more

The Great Agnostic

  Some biographies praise their subjects so effusively that they seem to take on the status of demigods, full of power, wisdom, and something more than mere humanity. Others do a disservice to the subject by making, perhaps unintentionally, his concerns seem narrow and his work seem uninspiring. Susan Jacoby’s The Great Agnostic is of the latter category. It recounts the life of Robert Ingersoll, the 19th-century American Freethinker dubbed “The Great Agnostic.” Relatively unknown in most popular atheist and… Read more


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