Thou shalt not covet

Chuck Bentley at the American Thinker discusses the forgotten Commandment (some might say, the forgotten two Commandments):  “Thou shalt not covet.”  He argues that coveting–that is, envy–is at the root of many of our economic, political, and cultural problems. [Read more...]

America’s third favorite holiday

Halloween is America’s third favorite holiday,  just after Christmas and Thanksgiving. (See the whole list after the jump.)  Halloween used to be a holiday mainly for children dressing up and going trick-or-treat, but now it has been seized by adults, who also like to dress up and scare themselves.   Why do you think Halloween has become so popular in our culture?   Is there something about American individualism that makes us enjoy dressing up, putting on a mask, and pretending to be someone else?   I hear that the big Halloween dress-up thing for this year is to make yourself up to look like an Ebola victim.   The Halloween vogue would appear to be related to the aesthetics of darkness and horror that seem to be dominant in our popular culture, judging from our movies, books, films, art, television shows, and video games.  This would seem to accord with what the recent pope called our current “culture of death.”  Maybe death provides the mystery, the sense of the uncanny, the non-rational emotions even though they be horrific, that can substitute for the mystery, the sense of the supernatural, and the religious experiences associated with a transcendent faith.

I don’t intend to take an anti-Halloween stance, as such, in this post.  I’m just curious why the holiday has jumped ahead of Easter, patriotic holidays like the 4th of July, and even people’s birthdays in popularity.  What significance do you see in this? [Read more...]

Why a millennial Christian loves the liturgy

Rev. Erik Parker, who blogs at The Millennial Pastor, has written a thoughtful piece on why he and others of this millennial generation prizes liturgical worship.  He does not attack contemporary worship, and he writes in an irenic tone, summarizing the various attempts the church has made over the years to attract “the younger generation” and citing his own experience in and out of the church.  He then explains how and why “Liturgy can engage the young people.” [Read more...]

Attraction, not argument

Michael Brendan Dougherty discusses the doom and gloom many Christians feel about the church’s prospects in contemporary culture.  He disagrees that things are that bad and says that there are two ways the church grows:  by biology and by “attraction, not argument.”  He goes on to quote Pope Benedict XVI who said that “The only really effective apologia for Christianity comes down to two arguments, namely, the saints the Church has produced and the art which has grown in her womb.”

Would that the church today would grow some art in her womb that would have elements of attraction!  Is this just more theology of glory wishful thinking?  Won’t a period of cultural exile, weakness, and humiliation under the Cross do the church some good?  Or does the author make a good point?  If he does, what should change in the way the church goes about its business? [Read more...]

Our new insecurity

Terrorism, the shaky economy, and now ebola–these things make us feel insecure.  Chris Cillizza says that other items in the news–the Secret Service failures, the controversy over the Ferguson police, the rise of ISIL in Iraq despite our military’s prowess–adds a further level of insecurity, that those who are supposed to protect us can’t.  See what he says after the jump.  What do you think of his analysis? [Read more...]

The Catholic debate over liberal society

Rod Dreher describes what happened at a conference sponsored by First Things on the future of religion in the public square.  In the course of doing so, he describes a current controversy among conservative Catholics:  The “Murrayites” believe that Catholicism is compatible with American-style political and economic liberalism.  (Not so much liberalism as left-wing ideology, but the ideals of liberty, democracy, and free-enterprise economics.)  Against this view are the “radical Catholics” who believe that this liberalism is incompatible with Christianity.

Read the remarks after the jump and click on the link to Patrick Deneen’s article on the conflict.  Substitute “Christian” for “Catholic.”  Do the points still hold for Christianity in general, or does the debate hinge on specific tenets of Catholicism?  Can there be a “Murrayite” Protestantism vs. a “radical” Protestantism?  Or is Protestantism intrinsically connected to liberalism?  How about “Lutheranism,” or does the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms work for any society?

I’m curious too what the alternative is for the “radicals.”  Some kind of authoritarian regime?  The Pope at the head of an Emperor, as in the Middle Ages?

[Read more...]


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