Unarmed Prophets Stuck in a Chinese Room

I received a comped copy of Alone with a Jihadist through Speakeasy.Aaron Taylor spent seven hours arguing with Irish convert to Islam Khalid Kelly as part of a documentary called Holy Wars.   After the debate was over, he was troubled by Kelly's conflation of religion and the state and endorsement of war as evangelization.  This book lays out his pacifistic theology.When I signed up to review this book, I though more of it would be focused on the debate itself, but the confrontation … [Read more...]

Contra Pangloss et Oprah

I recieved a comped copy of Glorious Ruin as part of the Patheos Book Club.This may be a matter of taste, but I thought Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free was too peppy for a book on the theology of suffering.  I like small, tightly focused books, and I thought returning again and again to Job was an interesting idea, but there was a weird quality of breathlessness (and too many exclamation points) throughout.The best part of the book contrasted the Theology of Glory with the Theo … [Read more...]

Zombies are like garlic, you can never have enough of either

I've subscribed to an epistolary novel, which may be of interest to readers of this blog.  It is titled Ora et Labora et Zombies.  Ora et labora (pray and work) is a motto of the Benedictine monks; et Zombies is where the plot kicks in.The story is set in the present day.  There has been some kind of cataclysm, and our protagonist has retreated with his son to a Benedictine monastery.  His wife was out of town as the crisis broke, so he is writing letters to her, in hopes that she will make i … [Read more...]

Tell all the Truth, but tell it slant

I received a comped reviewer's copy of Beauty Will Save the World: Recovering the Human in an Ideological Age from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.I enjoyed reading Gregory Wolfe's Beauty Will Save the World, but I'm not sure that it's a book best read straight through, as I did.  The second best way to read it probably reading the first section, in which Wolfe lays out his thesis, and then dipping in and out of his profiles of writers and artists over a few months, with frequent br … [Read more...]

Sondheim Symposium [Sequence Index]

In the summer of 2012, I threw the best birthday party ever when I bribed all my friends with pizza and cake in order to get them to watch a Sondheim double feature.  First, we watched Company, Sondheim's concept musical about marriage, and then we saw Passion, which has a linear narrative but still manages to be a lot more disorienting.  And then we had an argument.Since Company was, at the time of writing, available on Netflix instant play, I invited blog readers to watch along and cont … [Read more...]

Let Augustine Move Up a Weight Class

I got to see Restless Heart, the new Augustine biopic last night.  It's not yet in theatres, but community groups can do special showings, and I was lucky enough to snag tickets to the one sponsored by St Anthony of Padua Church here in DC.  (You can put in a request to host a showing or see the list of upcoming events here).  Here's the trailer:The trailer is super dramatic, but large parts of the movie are just people in period clothes standing around talking to each other... which is j … [Read more...]

“Careful the wish you make, wishes come true. Not free”

Yesterday, in my review of inSignificant, I started teasing the next thread of the Sondheim Symposium. For Bobby to progress, he needs to make himself vulnerable and unsafe.  We think of him transitioning into the role of servant, as Christ does.  A future Bobby, we hope, won’t still be able to be described as “Exclusive you! Elusive you!  Will any person ever get the juice of you?” as he is in “You Could Drive a Person Crazy.”If Company ends with a choice to give oneself (albeit it to an as … [Read more...]