Writing the best version of yourself

Writing the Best Version of Yourself

"Is there a way in which all of us are fictional characters, parented by life and written by ourselves?" asks James Wood in his book How Fiction Works. I read Wood's book several years ago now but remain fascinated by that thought -- particularly the notion that we in some sense write our own lives. There are external forces that shape us; we are "parented by life," as Wood says. But we should never lose sight of the internal forces at work; our lives are also "written by ourselves." It's … [Read more...]

Should government coerce charity?

Should government coerce charity?

When it comes to the question of social justice, there is more at play than the needs of the poor. Charity requires not only a recipient but also a giver, and that increases the issue's moral complexity. From the earliest days of the church, care for the poor was central. It's there in the New Testament writings, in Christ's own words even. It's there in the Didache, which directs Christians to spend time with the lowly (3.9) and give their firstfruits to the poor (13.4). And great pastors … [Read more...]

Are you making progress?

Are you making progress?

What does the perfect Christian life look like? When asked the question by a friend, Gregory of Nyssa said it looked like perpetual progress toward God, a thought stemming from Christ's statement that Christians are to be perfect like God is perfect. This is tricky business. Perfection is easy if we're talking about the length of a yard or the number ten, things that have attainable, comprehensible limits. But what if there is no spatial or conceptual boundary? Exactly how long is virtue, … [Read more...]