Ordinary Atonement

In America’s Theologian: A Recommendation of Jonathan Edwards (125-7), Jenson summarizes Edwards’s discussion of atonement. Edwards begins with notion of “merit,” but he defines it in a way that, Jenson says, “amounts to its replacement.” Merit is something in a . . . . Continue Reading »


Seamus Heaney, the great Irish poet of mud and muck, is dead. No better tribute than to cite a few of his many haunting lines, these from his poem “Anahorish”: My ‘place of clear water,’ the first hill in the world where springs washed into the shiny grass   and . . . . Continue Reading »

Not Kosovo

Intervention in Syria is being compared to Clinton’s intervention in Kosovo. Robert Kaplan doesn’t think the analogy works, and suggests that Obama’s challenge is far more dangerous than Clinton’s: “Obama faces a dilemma more extreme than the one Clinton faced in . . . . Continue Reading »

Once again

At the Guardian , Seumas Milne argues that the race to intervene in Syria is depressingly familiar: “As in Iraq and Sudan (where President Clinton ordered an attack on a pharmaceuticals factory in retaliation for an al-Qaida bombing), intelligence about weapons of mass destruction is once . . . . Continue Reading »

Who makes war?

At the NYRB , David Cole observes: “While Obama sends his representatives around the world to obtain backing and gain more legitimacy for a US-led military response, he has not sought the approval of the one body whose authority is clearly required: the United States Congress. A military . . . . Continue Reading »

Bowdlerized Bible

2 Thessalonians 1 is today’s epistle reading in the Revised Common Lectionary. Or, actually, it’s a few bits and pieces of 2 Thessalonians 1. The reading includes the first four verses, which includes Paul’s customary greeting, thanksgiving, and encouragement, skips most of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Nostalgia for Madonna

Not surprisingly, Miley Cyrus’s erotic performance at the MTV awards left Camille Paglia thinking whistfully about the young Madonna. Cyrus’s antics are “symptomatic of the still heavy influence of Madonna.” But these kids, they’re nothing like the old master: . . . . Continue Reading »