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September 17, 2017

In a key scene from the 2006 German movie The Lives of Others, the playwright Georg Dreymann plays a piece of music called Sonata for a Good Man to his girlfriend Crista-Maria Sieland, and comments, “how can anyone listen to music like this and be a bad man?” It’s a lot of weight to hang on music (admittedly haunting and effective music) composed specifically for the film by Gabriel Yare. (The original story that the film-maker, Florian Henckel von Donnersmark, took… Read more

September 13, 2017

My wife said yesterday, “I’d like to post this on my blog, but it isn’t in any way about the theology of work.” I said, “You could put it on my blog.”–EdwinBy Jennifer Woodruff TaitYesterday, I got into a discussion about the Reforming Catholic Confession and why I, despite having been given an opportunity to do so, had not signed it. The reasons are several, but one of the most salient is that I am married to a Roman Catholic…. Read more

May 12, 2017

For many years now, the main rival to Catholicism for me has been the concept of “mere Christianity” articulated by C. S. Lewis. Lewis’ most famous explanation of the subject is, of course, in his book of that name (based on radio lectures he gave to the Royal Air Force during WWII). Lewis’ articulation of basic Christian teaching has been extremely influential, but perhaps even more influential has been the very idea that there is such a thing. Lewis may,,… Read more

April 27, 2017

One often hears people say that the labels “conservative” and “liberal” aren’t helpful and we should drop them. In particular, in Catholic circles it’s common for pious people to claim that the terms “conservative” and “liberal” don’t apply. Many of the folks who say this are what I would call very conservative Catholics who think that there is only one possible Catholic position on most controversial topics. There are no “conservatives” or “liberals” because that would imply two legitimate groups…. Read more

April 11, 2017

A friend of mine just posted on Facebook an incident in which someone berated her for “missing out on precious moments” with her child because she was checking Facebook while the child played. Now of course, in an age of social media, it is easy for parents to become absorbed with online trivialities at the expense of building a relationship with their children. But a stranger is in no position to know if a parent is doing this simply because… Read more

March 13, 2017

William Turner, “The Slave Ship,” public domainSo the Internet went up in flames last week over Ben Carson’s insertion of slaves into the American immigrant narrative in his first speech as Secretary of Housing and Human Development. Apparently, after speaking of the work ethic of immigrants in general, Carson said, “There were other immigrants who came in the bottom of slave ships, who worked even longer, even harder, for less, but they too had a dream that one day their… Read more

February 22, 2017

John Guzlowski kindly invited me to respond to Danusha Goska’s essay on the relationship of Nazism and Christianity on his blog. You can read my response here. It’s overly long and a bit laborious due to my desire not to leave any point unanswered. Here’s the last paragraph:I don’t actually think that Danusha and I fundamentally disagree about the nature of Nazism. I think we disagree much more about how we should speak, as Christian scholars, about the role of… Read more

February 19, 2017

when he warns that calling the media the “enemy” is “how dictators get started.”I hear so many people following President Trump’s lead in labeling the “mainstream media” as “fake news.” Mistrust of the media has built for a while, and Trump has fed on it and nourished it in turn.And there are good reasons to mistrust the media. They are made up of human beings as prone to error and bias as anyone else, though hopefully with training that will… Read more

February 18, 2017

In comparative discussions of violence in Christianity and Islam, one often hears the argument that the New Testament specifically is non-violent, whereas the Qur’an contains many injunctions to violence. This of course has the benefit of side-stepping the difficult question of how we compare the undoubtedly violent parts of the Old Testament to the Qur’an. On the negative side, it seems to imply that the OT is irrelevant for Christians, which obviously is not the case in orthodox Christianity. (Denial of… Read more

January 14, 2017

This article about the Amazon series The Man in the High Castle makes me want to watch the series, but also provokes some reflections on ways in which the series appears to differ from the book (which is one of my favorite sci-fi novels, indeed one of my favorite modern novels period). 1. In the book, the metaphysical speculations about alternative reality are front and center. The book does not feel, to me at least, primarily about “what would the… Read more




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