Making Ministers Behind Bars

From First Thoughts

When the ACLU approves of a Baptist Bible college in a state penitentiary, you know there is something extraordinary going on. An article in The   New York Times, “ Bible College Helps Some at Louisiana Prison Find Peace ,” chronicles the remarkable story of the Louisiana State . . . . Continue Reading »

Elegy for a Library Checkout Card

From First Thoughts

Tucked tightly in place in the back of the book, Adorned with loopy signatures, some familiar, some mysterious, The history of a volume, a confession, or perhaps a pretension, You were the dance cards in the great cotillion of the mind. Photo by Chris Blakeley via Flickr . . . . Continue Reading »

Flannery O’Connor at Prayer

From First Thoughts

When I learned that a Flannery O’Connor prayer journal was to be published, I initially pictured an empty, spiral-bound gift book with sardonic “thought for the day” quotes scattered throughout. I am relieved to report that I had the wrong idea. The journal, written by . . . . Continue Reading »

A Word About Comfort

From First Thoughts

When I hear the word comfort, the images that come to mind are macaroni and cheese, recliners, and powerful air conditioning. Comfort food and comfortable surroundings are concrete manifestations of comfort. But of course that is only one kind of comfort, a temporal, surface comfort. . . . . Continue Reading »

Strings Attached

From First Thoughts

This week, President Obama unveiled a new plan designed to make college more affordable . The plan will tie federal financial aid to college performance based a new rating system: President Obama is directing the Department of Education to develop and publish a new college ratings system that would . . . . Continue Reading »

Murder Escapes the Vicarage

From First Thoughts

Writing in The Weekly Standard , Jon Breen makes the bold claim that Christian crime fiction has come of age in the novels of J. Mark Bertrand. Three weeks and three books later, I have come up for air ready to testify to Bertand’s talent. Yet in spite of the fact that his books have a . . . . Continue Reading »

Tolle Relege!

From First Thoughts

In his column ” Personal Great Books ,” R.R. Reno invokes Augustine’s distinction between use and enjoyment, confessing his own temptation to use books rather than enjoy them. I suspect that anyone whose profession centers on texts could identify with this propensity. In The . . . . Continue Reading »

Distracted Walking Awareness

From First Thoughts

The Department of Transportation has authorized $2 million in grants to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted walking. The announcement came along with the launch of a new federal website, Everyone is a Pedestrian . According to an article from ABC News , Transportation Secretary Anthony . . . . Continue Reading »

The Unfalsifiable Christian

From First Thoughts

What is a Christian? It is either a simple question or a very complex one, depending on who’s asking and who’s answering. The question of who is a practicing Protestant or a devout Catholic should be less complicated. To be considered “practicing” there should be both belief . . . . Continue Reading »