Some reviewers of Michael Lewis’s The Blind Side have complained about the “paternalism” of the Tuohy family who brought Michael Oher into their orbit. Well, tu quoque . Is it just possible that some lost kids, even lost black kids, might actually need a pater ? . . . . Continue Reading »

Mary Douglas, RIP

Mary Douglas has died. She began her career as a cultural anthropologist, writing seminal works on purity, symbols, food, social organization, and other topics. She collaborated with Aaron Wildavsky on a book on risk. But perhaps her greatest contribution has been to theology and biblical studies. . . . . Continue Reading »


According to Tina Cassidy’s recent Birth: A History , birth has been (in the words of the TLS reviewer) a “ripe terrain for fads” and “oftne a vigilante affair.” Not all the fads have been New Ageish; some have been scientific. The reviewer summarizes: “after the . . . . Continue Reading »

Realized Eschatology

Christians find an anchor for life in historical events, centrally in the cross and resurrection of Jesus. We are not the only ones. For some, the Holocaust becomes the key to understanding all subsequent history. For others, the Spanish Civil War. For others, the founding of the US, or the French . . . . Continue Reading »

Prayer and the weary body

Reader Angie Brennan writes: Regarding “Prayer and the Lusty Body” . . . I’m not sure I agree with Tyndale that true prayer necessarily gives comfort to the soul—and it certainly isn’t always easy on the body. Prayers offered in the midst of great anguish or despair . . . . Continue Reading »

Papist, stand up

Defending the prayer book, Hooker cleverly turns the charge of papist back on the non-conformists. According to Targoff’s summary, “By depicting the use of sermons to distribute God’s word as an act of scriptural hoarding, Hooker aims to reverse the ‘papist’ label . . . . Continue Reading »

Prayer and the lusty body

Tyndale distinguished true and false prayer in part by distinguishing the role of the body in each. False, hypocritical prayer, relies entirely on the body; hypocrites have “turned [prayer] into a bodily labor, to vex the tongue, lips, eyes, and throat with roaring, and to weary all the . . . . Continue Reading »

Cartestian Elizabeth

We blame Descartes for the divided self of modernity, but perhaps we should blame Elizabeth I. In her book on the Book of Common Prayer, Ramie Targoff notes the limits of what Elizabeth demanded of her subjects: “so long as worshippers came to services on Sunday, they were free to believe . . . . Continue Reading »

Baptized Body

As you can see to the side, my little book on baptism is now available from Canon Press, just in time to give it a quick read before the PCA General Assembly. It’s short; it’s easy to read; and each copy helps to feed small children who are much cuter than I am. . . . . Continue Reading »

Reversing the curse?

When Adam and Eve sinned, Yahweh cursed the ground on account of/in relation to Adam (Gen 3:17). Following the flood and in response to Noah’s offering, He declares “I will no more curse the ground on account of man” (ADAM; Gen 8:21). Though the word for “curse” . . . . Continue Reading »