The Danger of Abstract Words

We have a chronic problem in America with abstract words. We cannot do without them, since they are carriers of our highest ideals and aspirations: “justice,” “democracy,” “dignity,” “liberty.” But it is for precisely this reason that we should beware of them, . . . . Continue Reading »

A Man for This Season

“Your conscience is your own affair; but you are a statesman!”“When statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.” Sir Thomas More may indeed be a “man for all seasons,” but . . . . Continue Reading »

Brain Science and the Soul

We often hear that modern science requires us to reject traditional Christian views of the human person. The argument goes something like this: If we can see the physical process by which ideas are associated or feelings felt or decisions made, then surely we must admit that human beings are nothing . . . . Continue Reading »

Painting and St. Paul

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 »

Fresh from Our Kitchen

The November issue of First Things is now hot off the griddle¯a rich, tasty new issue, with major essays from the likes of Richard John Neuhaus, Gilbert Meilaender, and Stephen Barr. Book reviews, poems, letters, and Opinions¯to say nothing of another flavorful installment of the The . . . . Continue Reading »

Was Balthasar a Heretic?

Readers will no doubt remember the recent heated exchange in the pages of First Things . Alyssa Lyra Pitstick summarized her analysis of Balthasar’s provocative and dramatic (and by her reading unorthodox) vision of the depths of the paschal mystery. Balthasar scholar Edward Oakes, S.J., rose . . . . Continue Reading »

Ad limina Pauli

The first-time visitor to Rome is drawn inexorably to St. Peter’s basilica, the most famous church in the world, at the heart of Vatican City. Built above what is believed to be the actual bones of the apostle Peter, this church has been the home of the popes since the Middle Ages. Catholics . . . . Continue Reading »

The Things Deserving Debate

The Tuesday debate between Senators McCain and Obama was, it must be admitted, something of a bore. If the outcome is called a draw, it is hard to resist the conclusion that it was a win for Obama. It seems that all he has to do for the next few weeks is to keep his cool and not frighten the . . . . Continue Reading »