October 10, 2018

I’ve written in the past about the fascinating rise of “exvangelical” or Christian culture—created largely by those who grew up in conservative churches but have since repudiated aspects of their theological upbringing. Maybe one reason I find this content so intriguing is that I understand where it’s coming from: as someone who grew up in 90’s-00’s Christian culture, I think there’s more than a kernel of truth in some of the critiques of American McReligion (did anyone really need a… Read more

September 14, 2018

A few days ago, I wrote for Conciliar Post about the natural law themes that underpin effective horror films. As it so happens, earlier this week I watched The Nun—the latest installment in the burgeoning Conjuring cinematic universe, and a movie that serves as a particularly interesting test case for my model. Set in 1952—a few years before the first Conjuring film—The Nun unfolds against the backdrop of a lonely Romanian abbey. When a young nun hangs herself under suspicious… Read more

September 5, 2018

You’d be forgiven for thinking that many American churches these days are desperately trying to be something they’re not. A drive through my North Texas suburb takes one past massive churches bearing names like “Freedom,” “Sojourn,” “The Ridge,” “Bent Tree,” and—my personal favorite—“fellowshipchurch.com.” Stodgy designators like Methodist and Presbyterian and Lutheran are out; sleeker, more “seeker-friendly” names are in. (Some groups conceal their crypto-Baptist sensibilities better than others.) On some level, though, these rebranding campaigns make sense. Broadly speaking, organized… Read more

August 9, 2018

There’s been plenty of commentary written about how Americans are lonely—how so many of us lack friends, communities, or connections beyond the most superficial level. And I find it hard to think of anything that better captures this reality than the rise of Twitch. In a nutshell, Twitch is an online YouTube-style site where individuals can stream themselves playing video games in real time (typically also with a webcam pointed at themselves). The concept sounds insane—who wants to watch other… Read more

August 3, 2018

Few writers are more beloved—especially in Christian circles—than J. R. R. Tolkien, the British philologist behind The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and a vast corpus of other Middle-earth materials. And for good reason: he was a genius. Wholly apart from his religious convictions, Tolkien’s impact on the entire domain of “fantasy literature” was nothing short of colossal—indeed, virtually every book in the genre today imitates some aspect of his work. Over the years, generations of young Christians have… Read more

July 4, 2018

Since I last wrote on this subject, my post discussing neo-integralism got some pushback from those sympathetic to this particular strain of postliberal political theory. In particular, I was advised to read Andrew Willard Jones’s Before Church and State: A Study of Social Order in the Sacramental Kingdom of St. Louis IX. (Yes, that St. Louis.) St. Louis’s kingdom, the argument runs, is the leading historical exemplar of the integralist vision—strong evidence that the modern distinction between “sacred” and “secular”… Read more

June 6, 2018

Last weekend, I watched “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” for the third time. As I wrote back in December, I think it’s a pretty good movie, and I really like the fact that it was willing to shake up the status quo (notwithstanding the outraged braying of a thousand fanboys). You won’t find me saying that it killed the Star Wars franchise or drained any enthusiasm for future installments…though I’ll admit the movie has certain flaws that become only too… Read more

May 31, 2018

I’ve written here before about the unavoidable tension between conceptions of “universal human rights” and the practices of individual communities. In light of that discussion, a decision today by the Supreme Court of Canada—Judicial Committee of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses v. Wall—is particularly interesting. Judicial Committee involved a member of a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation who was “disfellowshipped” after being deemed insufficiently repentant for sinful behavior. The congregant appealed the decision to a higher church body, but that committee… Read more

May 23, 2018

In the minds of a growing number of socially conservative intellectuals, classical liberalism—and, for that matter, constitutional republicanism—is beyond repair. A flurry of recent books like Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option, Ryszard Legutko’s The Demon in Democracy, Anthony Esolen’s Out of the Ashes, Charles Chaput’s Strangers in a Strange Land, and Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed (as well as Mark Mitchell’s forthcoming volume along similar lines) has, both explicitly and implicitly, called the sustainability of the current political order into… Read more

May 16, 2018

For the last couple of weeks, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this astonishing feature story in Foreign Policy magazine. The article explains that a number of indigenous tribes in Brazil still routinely kill disabled children who would (traditionally) be unable to survive under harsh jungle conditions. “Those targeted include the disabled, the children of single mothers, and twins — whom some tribes . . . see as bad omens.” As someone previously under the impression that such… Read more

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