Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Black Swan: Law vs. Gospel

From First Thoughts

Among the top contenders for a Best Actress Oscar this year is Natalie Portman, formerly Princess Amidala in the goofy Star Wars: I’m Going to Drive This Thing Straight into the Ground , as Nina in Black Swan . Now I know most of you took off work opening day to make sure you got seats to see . . . . Continue Reading »

Pope Argues for Christian Names

From First Thoughts

There had been a long tradition of giving your newborn a saint’s name if you were Catholic. And so you had a slew of Dominics, a passel of Anthonys, a clutch of Patricks, a synonym for “buncha” Peters, Pauls, and Marys. (Puritans preferred more biblical names, like Prudence, . . . . Continue Reading »

“Lutherans” to Anabaptists: Sorry

From First Thoughts

So, after 450-plus years, some Lutherans*, presumably trapped in an airport somewhere, bumped from their flights to see the La Brea Tar Pits, or unable to compete in their respective bowling leagues due to wrist-lock, have decided to kill time by issuing a formal apology to the descendants of the . . . . Continue Reading »

As I Was Saying . . .

From First Thoughts

My my my my my. Everybody: My my my my …Here’s the thing: when it comes to discussing things Christian on the Web, there are certain key words or phrases that might as well be button-like icons that, when clicked on, guarantee a programmed response.Provocations include:Double . . . . Continue Reading »

Take That, Iconoclasts!

From First Thoughts

So it seems there’s new evidence that links the appearance of artwork—at least in its Paleolithic forms—with religious belief, rather than just the need to adorn the cave should company drop by and start making smart remarks. “This theory does not originate with the . . . . Continue Reading »

Either You’re In or You’re Out

From First Thoughts

Are we born damned or merely damnable? Did God choose a predetermined number of human beings to bring to ultimate bliss, and alternatively select a predetermined and far more numerous group of humans on whom to inflict incalculable eternal suffering, before the world was even made, before a fall . . . . Continue Reading »

Jesus for Sale

From First Thoughts

M. Craig Barnes is among my favorite writer-pastors. A mainliner (PCUSA) and so not as well-known, perhaps, as John Piper or Tim Keller or Mark Driscoll among evangelicals, Barnes, former senior pastor of the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., and currently same at Shadyside . . . . Continue Reading »

Taking It to the Streets

From Web Exclusives

Mark Chaves, professor of sociology at Duke University and director of the National Congregations Study, has this interesting chart detailing how broadly defined Christian groups engage politically. A close examination will show that the so-called Religious Right … Continue Reading »