Why Ecumenism is Necessary

From First Thoughts

Recent global events have highlighted the ongoing challenge of ethnic and tribal divisions. Americans have also been reminded by events in Ferguson that divisions along race and ethnic lines are just down the street. These ongoing divisions forcefully highlight the need for greater efforts at ecumenism. Continue Reading »

Ars moriendi

From First Thoughts

Despite the lower mortality rates and longer life spans of the postmodern condition, the reality of death still looms large. Globalization and the new networks of social media keep death before the mind of a global public on a daily basis. The Gothic in literature and the arts pours forth at a . . . . Continue Reading »

On Memory and Reconciliation

From First Thoughts

The pope’s apology to Pentecostals during his visit to the church pastored by Giovanni Traettino speaks to the importance of memory. As Augustine recounts in his Confessions, the memory is a vast storehouse of many chambers filled with countless images. Continue Reading »

The Taboric Light

From First Thoughts

On most Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox liturgical calendars today marks the Feast of the Transfiguration. For conservative evangelicals, the transfiguration has apologetic weight since it points toward the deity of Christ. As important as this aspect of the transfiguration might be, however, it’s greater significance resides elsewhere. Standing between Jesus’ baptism and ascension, Christian tradition interprets this event both in its iconography and doxology as a revelation of Christ’s divinity, a foretaste of the eschaton, and a pledge of the perfectibility of the human person. Continue Reading »

Time to Stand Against Rome?

From Web Exclusives

A recent joint statement by a number of Italian evangelical groups indicts the Roman Catholic Church as an “imperial” church and its call for evangelicals to “unionist initiatives that are contrary to Scripture and instead renew their commitment to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world.” Continue Reading »

We Need Freaks

From First Thoughts

When Flannery O’Connor called the south Christ-haunted, she was thinking not least of its freaks. The role of the freak takes on a theological tone in grotesque southern fiction because “it is when the freak can be sensed as a figure for our essential displacement that he attains some . . . . Continue Reading »

The Good Historian Resembles an Ogre

From Web Exclusives

On April 1st of this year, the great French medievalist Jacques Le Goff died at the age of ninety (1924-2014). There were obituaries in the newspapers of Britain and Europe, but not much in the American press. This is unfortunate. More than a mere historian, Le Goff was a strongly pro-European public intellectual whose historiography helped support the formation of the European Union. Continue Reading »