Baseball and the Soul

There is nothing inherently good about baseball, at least not in a spiritual sense. It doesn’t make men better in and of itself. There is no dogma in baseball. There is no creed. And, as we all know, there is no crying in baseball, either. But that’s not the end of it … Continue Reading »

Six Thoughts About Jesus

Over the years some have asked me why, as an evangelical writer, I so infrequently invoke the name of Jesus. My usual glib response is that I prefer not to name-drop just because I’m on a first-name basis with the Creator of the universe. But the truth is, I’ve never felt that being an evangelical required me to stuff my essays with scripture references or end my articles with an altar call. … Continue Reading »

Reforming Caritas International

Several weeks ago, the Vatican announced that it would not grant the necessary approval for Lesley-Anne Knight’s second, four-year term as secretary general of Caritas International, a global network of 165 Catholic agencies working primarily in the Third World on development and health care issues… . Continue Reading »

Bone-setting the Faith Needs the Wrap of Reason

Recently my email yielded a straightforward De profundis from a young reader pleading for reassurances; he needed to know that embracing Catholicism did not require the shutting down of his intellect or the suspension of reason. Relating what he had encountered among the comboxes at a number of Catholic websites, he was left wondering if Catholicism inhibited one’s ability to think for oneself… . Continue Reading »

Homeschooling Freedom

The other day I had one of those discussions people who home school their children sometimes have, when someone asks about your children, which in America always includes where they go to school. We home school our two youngest, and have since kindergarten, with the exception of two years early on at our parochial school. The response varies to the news that you do something still considered, even by some conservative Christians, odd, eccentric, and possibly subversive… . Continue Reading »

Polite Discourtesy

Two weeks ago, I wrote a column, “A Modest Proposal,” lamenting the Supreme Court’s Westboro Baptist Church decision, and making what seemed to me the obvious observation that it is a philosophical and historical confusion to imagine that the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech ever needed to be interpreted in so barbarically libertarian a fashion. Not that everyone would see it as obvious… . Continue Reading »

Lukewarm on Climate Change

A polemic documentary film centered on a demonized but doggedly courageous climate change crusader and his statistics-laden slide show”Sound familiar? While Cool It and its globetrotting subject, Bjorn Lomborg, author of the identically titled book upon which the film is based, offer the flattery of imitation, it quickly becomes clear this is not An Inconvenient Truth. Instead, the film positions itself as the rational middle-way between global warming denialism and Al Gore-styled catastrophism. In this it largely succeeds. Whether the middle way is the right way is another question… . . Continue Reading »

There Are a Few Good Men

Congress doesn’t get much respect. It never has. At the dawn of our republic John Adams famously muttered: “In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.” A century after Adams, citizens resonated (and still do) to Mark Twain’s assertion: “Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can.” … Continue Reading »

How Much Ruin is in a Nation?: The Spain of Philip IV

“Be assured my young friend, there is a great deal of ruin in a nation,” Adam Smith wrote to a distraught friend after the battle of Saratoga (1777). Smith’s assurance begs a large question: Just how much ruin is there in a nation? History’s stores contain food for thought. For those seeking a classic case of precipitate unraveling, it would be difficult to better the example of Spain under Philip IV (1621“1665) … Continue Reading »