The Salem Witch Trials Revisited

From First Thoughts

So it turns out that the whole Salem Witch Trial business may have been the result of a fungus. As it happens, this theory, more like a hypothesis, similar to a hunch, probably a total waste of ink, was first made public in 1976. But it’s new to me. And if it’s new to me, it’s new to . . . . Continue Reading »

Why CNN Still Can’t Speak Christian

From First Thoughts

Well, I suppose one should be grateful that a mainstream-media outlet like CNN is interested in what Christians believe over and above the desire to either mock or marginalize. But this video , which was featured as part of a nicely designed CNN.com homepage, does more harm than good, I think. At . . . . Continue Reading »

John R.W. Stott: Defender of the Faith

From First Thoughts

If you entered the evangelical world when I did, in the 1980s, you were immediately introduced to a Hall of Fame whose inhabitants, some living, some dead, and representing a variety of denominations, had a somewhat uniform presence in the various churches: C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, J.I. . . . . Continue Reading »

Captain America: Super-Cheater

From First Thoughts

So, having accidentally warped my only copy of Transylvania 6-5000 by leaving it a tad too close to the microwave, and having nothing to watch on a simmering summer afternoon, I decided to cough up the clams for the latest Marvel adaptation, Captain America: The First Avenger . Upon arriving at my . . . . Continue Reading »

What’s in a Name? Plenty.

From First Thoughts

So Campus Crusade for Christ has decided to change its name . To Cru. Why? Because it thought the “Crusade” part too off-putting to many it was trying to reach with the gospel. Please note that the change of moniker refers only to its U.S. operations. Apparently folks in the other 190 . . . . Continue Reading »

Michele Bachmann’s No-Popery Campaign

From First Thoughts

Well, well, well. The things you learn on these here Internets. Seems that Lutherans no likey the pope. And Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann used to be a Lutheran , a WELSian more precisely (not to be confused with us Wellsians ), and so is tainted by the intolerant . . . . Continue Reading »

Promises, Promises

From First Thoughts

With the possible exception of Harold Camping himself, nobody wanted the world to end yesterday more than me. I’m thoroughly sick of the joint. War, rumors of war, politicians, lies (but I repeat myself), cancer clusters, unemployment, certified public accountants, season 7 of House . The . . . . Continue Reading »

Religion at the Sundance Film Festival

From First Thoughts

The Los Angeles Times has a feature called The Envelope in which it examines films in contest, either at film festivals or at the uber-awards, the Oscars. A recent contribution to this feature, “Sundance Film Festival: Movies look at faith in all its forms,” was struck by how many entries . . . . Continue Reading »

Protestant Syllables with Errors

From First Thoughts

William Oddie has offered in the Catholic Herald some suggestions for a Second Syllabus of Errors , playing off the original issued by Pope Pius IX in 1864 to the consternation and outrage of various and sundry regarding its reactionary and anti-modernist bent (Pius’s, not Oddie’s). . . . . Continue Reading »

Anglicans to Offer Drive-Thru Baptism

From First Thoughts

Shades of the Gorham controversy! You remember that. No? Great jumping dust bunnies: must Google do everything for you ? In 1850 a secular court reversed an ecclesiastical court’s finding that one George Cornelius Gorham was unfit for a post in the Church of England because he denied baptismal . . . . Continue Reading »