Toleration and absolutism

In his history of the idea of toleration, the late A.J. Conyers summarizes the arguments of Robert P. Kraynak on the development of Locke’s thought on religious toleration. The puzzle is this: Locke’s early works are absolutist in a Hobbesian vein, invoking the supreme . . . . Continue Reading »

Herbert on Pop Music

Zbigniew Herbert writes in a poem entitled “Mr Cogito and Pop” of a visit to a concert. “Mr Cogito,” a recurring character in Herbert’s poems, reflects on the “aesthetics of noise” and offers some penetrating observations on the character of contemporary . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon outline

INTRODUCTION John’s readers are in danger of being misled, and John writes to warn them about false teachers and deceivers. John is confident that his “little children” will be delivered from the deceivers because they have an “anointing” from God. THE TEXT . . . . Continue Reading »


Christopher Insole wants theologians who attack “liberalism” to be more careful about what they’re attacking. He favorably cites Robert Song, who distinguishes the constitutional liberalism of Locke and Kant from the laissez-faire liberalism of Hayek from the welfare liberalism of . . . . Continue Reading »

Eucharistic meditation

1 John 2:15-16: Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. When John talks about “the world,” he’s talking, as we’ve seen, about a cultural, social, and political system organized in hostility or . . . . Continue Reading »


Cultures have traditionally been rivers (Z. Bauman). The current carries everyone along in the same direction, whether or not they like where they’re going. When someone asks, “Why are we going this way?” it’s a sufficient answer to say, “We always have.” The . . . . Continue Reading »

Legitimacy of modernity

Modernity arose to tame the chaos and carnage of 16th and 17th-century European wars. To form a Europe reduced to formlessness, modern thinkers and politicians drew boundaries - the boundaries between Protestant and Catholic established in the Peace of Westphalia and the boundaries between religion . . . . Continue Reading »

High and Low Theater

Katherine Newey suggests that “a class-based divide between popular culture and literary or ‘high,’ remaining to this day, emerged in debates over the reform of the theatre [in the 19th century]. Much of what still endures of the concept of ‘legitimate’ theatre in the . . . . Continue Reading »

Shakespeare’s audience

Arthur F. Kinney writes that “Until very recently - and in some scholarly circles still today - it has been argued that the working class - the journeymen, apprentices, and men and women servants sometimes known as subalterns - had neither the money nor the liberty to attend plays. There is . . . . Continue Reading »

Shakespeare’s bawdy

A couple of selections from Eric Partridge’s book on the bawdy in Shakespeare. “Flatulence was, in Shakespeare’s day, the source and the target of humour and wit among all classes: nowadays, its popularity as a subject is, in the main, confined to the lower and lower-middle . . . . Continue Reading »