The Late Middle Ages Rightly Blamed

From First Thoughts

The current First Things unfurls Ephraim Radner’s hard-hitting critique of Brad Gregory’s The Unintended Reformation , titled The Reformation Wrongly Blamed (subscription required).  A different Protestant response to Gregory’s book comes by way of the evangelical historian . . . . Continue Reading »

Occupy Pulitzer?

From First Thoughts

The Pulitzer granted to Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve caused me to revisit R.R. Reno’s prescient First Things review , which suggests the book offers “a justifying mythology for America’s ruling elite.” The Swerve [blusters] again and again about the beauty-loathing, . . . . Continue Reading »

Converting the Canvas

From the February 2012 Print Edition

Earthly Visions: Theology and the Challenges of Art ? by Timothy Gorringe Yale University Press, 254 pages, $45 With religion’s expiration, the great artworks of the past had to be rescued”if only for the ecstatic feelings they might still evoke. Bloomsbury bohemian Clive Bell put it . . . . Continue Reading »

Robinson’s Ressourcement

From First Thoughts

I shall now snootily subvert “the year in culture” blog post genre by linking to one from 2004.  A wonderful essay by Una Cadegan in the Confessing History volume (which I reviewed over here ), brought my attention to Judith Shulevitz’s 2004 wrap up in Slate , where she wrote . . . . Continue Reading »

God and Man at DIY U

From First Thoughts

This year was the sixtieth anniversary of William F. Buckley’s God and Man at Yale .  Here’s a taste of the bracing new proposals for higher education reform from another Yale graduate, entitled Do It Yourself University : Most people no longer feel the need to visit a large, stone . . . . Continue Reading »

Artocalypse No (Redux)

From First Thoughts

Christian complaints of being willfully misunderstood by secularists will win far more sympathy when those same Christians stop willfully misunderstanding contemporary art.  P.D. Young has some advice in that regard :   “If you cannot name five contemporary artists, you need put all . . . . Continue Reading »

An Old Enemy

From First Thoughts

In his much-discussed column last month highlighting Christian Smith’s much-discussed sociology of young adults , David Brooks laments that young adherents of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism aren’t even that moral.  “Morality was once revealed, inherited and shared, but now . . . . Continue Reading »

Salon des Refusés

From First Thoughts

Those frustrated with the art world’s prohibition of non-ironic religious art might enjoy this lecture from art historian John Walford. Walford begins by quoting a contemporary art critic who asserts the non-existence of serious art by Protestant Christians.  Walford then goes on to . . . . Continue Reading »

In Defense of a NASCAR Prayer

From First Thoughts

Everyone is loving to hate Pastor Joe Nelms’ oft-viewed prayer to open a recent NASCAR event.  I couldn’t even find an articulate condemnation—something with conviction like, “High priest of consumerism breathes oil-addicted Empire’s last pious gasp.”  . . . . Continue Reading »

John Stott: A Young Evangelical

From First Thoughts

Amidst commentary on the passing of evangelical leader John Stott has been the occasional suggestion that Stott represented the propositionalist, logic-driven, “modern” evangelicalism of the past. For better or for worse, younger evangelicals today, on the other hand, tend to prefer . . . . Continue Reading »