Reform of the Reform: The Movie

From First Thoughts

It appears I need to diversify my Google Reader, subscribe to different journals, or make some new friends, as no one in my circle of electronic, print, or human communication alerted me to the cinematic horsepower of Doubt . Granted the fault is largely my own, for I didn’t seek out any . . . . Continue Reading »

Cold-Blooded Christianity

From Web Exclusives

To scan the popular Christian publications today is to conclude that the category of heresy has not been lost, but it has been relocated. The new anathema is “cultural Christianity.” “Missional Christians” disparage it. The supposed demise of Christendom is the rallying cry of . . . . Continue Reading »

Painting and St. Paul

From Web Exclusives

In a recent book assessing the state of evangelical scholarship, Mark Noll refers to “a boomlet in evangelical art history [that] rests squarely on the work of the Dutch Reformed scholar Hans Rookmaaker.” Had Noll seen Daniel Siedell’s book God in the Gallery , he might have thought . . . . Continue Reading »

Apophatic Beauty

From Web Exclusives

In 1948, the abstract artist Barnett Newman wrote, “The impulse of modern art was to destroy beauty.” One among many impulses of recent art has been to piece it together again. It is a beleaguered movement, but promoted by a wide range of figures, from democratic populist Dave Hickey to . . . . Continue Reading »

Beyond Cheerleading

From First Thoughts

I’ll admit I was perplexed at James Panero’s account of the Classical Realist painter Jacob Collins , back in September 2006. Do not renewal movements in art need as many friends as they can get? But Panero’s assessment is now much clearer to me, for with his new review (in the . . . . Continue Reading »

Those Whitewashed Walls

From Web Exclusives

Nicosia, Cyprus touts itself¯mournfully but with a dash of pride¯as the world’s “last divided capital.” The southern side, which is muscularly Orthodox when not pedantically secular, boasts dozens of lovingly tended churches and several active, impressive mosques. On a . . . . Continue Reading »

The State of Higher Desperation

From Web Exclusives

Is there no hope? The special education section in the May 2008 issue of the New Criterion gave a pretty clear answer. The articles, focusing mostly on the state of higher education, provided something of a (perhaps justified) manifesto for giving up. Sensing this, and having chosen higher education . . . . Continue Reading »

Crazy for God

From Web Exclusives

Someone must have arranged this. It’s as if Frank Schaeffer’s book Crazy for God was designed to come out in tandem with Jody Bottum’s essay “The Judgment of Memory” in the March issue of First Things . It’s as if Crazy for God was published merely to illustrate all the . . . . Continue Reading »

God in the Gallery

From Web Exclusives

Numerous illustrations—absorbing, beautiful ones—of both the Vulgate Bible and the Divine Comedy by the Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí are now on view (and for sale) at Manhattan’s William Bennett Gallery . “The Spiritual Art of Salvador Dalí” runs through . . . . Continue Reading »

The Art of Transgression

From the December 2007 Print Edition

Contemporary art refuses any set form, content, or medium—but it does, nonetheless, insist on one sure commandment: Religion has to go. The Art Institute of Chicago’s James Elkins lays down this law in his book On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art. The art world, he says, “can . . . . Continue Reading »