Two Holidays, Two Reformations

While the broader culture celebrates Halloween at the end of this month, many Protestants will focus on Reformation Day while two days later Catholics will utter prayers as part of All Souls’ Day. It is a fitting historical tribute (or irony) that All Souls’ Day and Reformation Day occur within two days of one another with All Saints’ Day sandwiched in between. It is as though the two great reform movements of western Christianity stand as bookends to the patristic heritage. The observance of these three days reminds Christians of a common patristic heritage and the way reformation and renewal can both reshape and fracture that heritage. Continue Reading »

Take Me to Church

Dear Hozier: Your overtly theological song titles lured me in. “From Eden”? “Take Me To Church”? Once I read some of your anti-Church comments, I girded my theological loins for a smackdown; I didn’t want to like you. But, as it turns out, I think you’re really good. Your sound is hypnotic, many of your lyrics poetic (comparatively speaking). I like the fusion of blues, jazz, pop, and gospel. There is a pulse and a crackling sparseness and a dark beauty to many of your songs. I’ve had your album on repeat on Spotify for the past week, despite myself. You’ve stirred my lingering desire to become a singer-songwriter—nearly enough for me to pick up my guitar. Continue Reading »

Pushy Pilgrims

I was bemused—also mildly bruised—by the violent elbowing and shoving of my fellow pilgrims as we approached what are arguably the holiest sites in all of Christendom.

Accreditation and Religious Colleges

In an essay for the Chronicle of Higher Education—my industry’s trade journal—Penn’s Peter Conn argues that the regional accrediting agencies, which hold the keys to federal student aid, should under no circumstances give religious colleges and universities their imprimatur. To say the least, Professor Conn is hostile to religion and appears to be utterly unacquainted with what happens on most “faith and learning” infused campuses. Continue Reading »