Can sports be a vocation?

David Brooks argues that the nature of competitive sports is in conflict with Christianity and, indeed, all religions.  Not just that sports can be rough–not all of them are–but that sports require pride, whereas faith requires humility.  Here is part of what he says: We’ve become accustomed to the faith-driven athlete and coach, from Billy Sunday to Tim Tebow. But we shouldn’t forget how problematic this is. The moral ethos of sport is in tension with the moral ethos of… Read more

Playing to the local yokels

We’ve posted about various kinds of condescension to Southerners and Oklahomans (not exactly the same).  Here is another kind, one seemingly more friendly and yet just as ignorant and ridiculous.  Whenever politicians of both parties visit a Southern state to which they are not native to campaign, they try to affect a Southern accent and pretend to Southern folkways!  Thus, when when Mitt Romney visited Southern states for Super Tuesday, he was all “ya’ll” and “grits” (which he called “cheesy… Read more

There’s always room at the Hilbert Hotel

I stumbled upon this series on mind-blowing math facts from a couple of years ago.  It’s by Cornell mathematician Steven Strogatz and treats things like the weirdness of pi, the quirks of probability, Zeno’s paradox, and some of the fun things you can do with calculus. (Homeschoolers and other educators, take note:  Recovering mathematics and its different applications is urgently needed today and is the missing piece of a truly classical education.  We are doing things with the language part,… Read more

An interview about “Family Vocation”

Christianity Today interviewed Mary and me about our new book: For Gene Edward Veith Jr., provost and professor of literature at Patrick Henry College, Martin Luther’s doctrine of vocation undergirds a truly Christian theology of the family. Vocation, as he describes it, is “the way God works through human beings.” In his latest book, Family Vocation: God’s Calling in Marriage, Parenting, and Childhood (Crossway), Veith looks to Luther’s ideals of loving and serving our neighbor, and to his view of… Read more

Enough with the “war” metaphor

Charles Lane is sick of the “war” metaphor in political discourse, something all sides are doing: The Democratic National Committee accuses the GOP of a “Republican War on Women,” to go along with its “war on working families” (according to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee) and “Paul Ryan’s war on seniors” (Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky). Various Republicans accuse President Obama of waging “war on religious freedom” or even, in the words of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, “a war on religion.”… Read more

Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me

St. Patrick’s Day is Saturday–a day to honor all missionaries, including the missionaries to the European tribes (like St. Patrick to the Irish, St. Boniface to the Germans, St. Augustine to the English, etc.).  (Those of us of European descent need to remember that our ancestors too were tribal pagan peoples who were brought to faith through missionaries.) To mark the day and what St. Patrick taught, I offer you a poem/hymn/prayer attributed to him, “St. Patrick’s Breastplate.”  (Some people… Read more

If you died tonight, do you know you would go to heaven? Or do you not care?

“If you were to die tonight, do you know for sure that you would go to Heaven?”  That question, or some variation, has started thousands of evangelism conversations and is the opening line for many evangelism programs (especially “Evangelism Explosion” started by D. James Kennedy).  The conversation then goes on to “how you know,” and it exposes people who trust in their good works, or perhaps are just uncertain, whereupon the evangelist can point to the finished work of Christ… Read more

Banning Dante

One of the greatest works of literature ever written, Dante’s Divine Comedy, is attracting the attention of censors: The classic work should be removed from school curricula, according to Gherush 92, a human rights organisation which acts as a consultant to UN bodies on racism and discrimination. Dante’s epic is “offensive and discriminatory” and has no place in a modern classroom, said Valentina Sereni, the group’s president. . . . It represents Islam as a heresy and Mohammed as a… Read more

C. S. Lewis on Vocation

Have you read C. S. Lewis’s “Learning in Wartime”?  It’s an address to students at Oxford on the verge of World War II.  They were wondering how they can pursue a liberal arts education–studying poetry, digging into history, thinking through ancient philosophy–when the world is seemingly coming apart and they themselves may soon have to go to war.  Lewis’s perspective on education is priceless, but I had forgotten how he also treats with great insight  the doctrine of vocation.  A… Read more

Lyle Lovett confesses his faith with his church

Three generations–all members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Klein, Texas–confess their faith in the words of the Nicene Creed, which itself goes back through generation after generation in the church of Jesus Christ. First we hear from Erich Klenk, 97 years old. Then we hear from singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett (of whom I am a big fan). Then we hear from fourth-grader Erin Pali. The effect of hearing the creed from these very different and yet very united Christians is deeply… Read more

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