“You have no need for anyone to teach you,” John writes, since “His anointing teaches you about all things.” Whatever this means, it certainly doesn’t mean that Christians don’t need any teachers. That would make John’s statement contradictory, since . . . . Continue Reading »

Coming soon?

It is almost universally believed among evangelicals that Jesus is coming soon. This conviction is obvious among those who think that Jacques Chirac or Vladimir Putin might be the Antichrist. But even evangelicals saner eschatologies cling to the belief that Jesus could be returning any day. In his . . . . Continue Reading »

Foucault’s eschatology

Berman offers this very sharp summary of Foucault’s work, whom he says is “about the only writer of the past decade who has had anything substantial to say about modernity” (Berman is writing in 1982). Then: “what he has to say is an endless, excruciating series of . . . . Continue Reading »

Flattened modernity

In the introduction to his All That Is Solid Melts Into Air , Marshall Berman argues that nineteenth century critics of modernity had a much richer grasp of the costs and promise of modernity than do twentieth century observers. Modern life is, Rousseau said, a whirlwind ( le tourbillon social ), . . . . Continue Reading »

Innocent abroad

In a recent issue of TNR , Alan Wolfe reviewed David Kuo’s book telling the story of his service in the current Bush administration. Kuo worked in the office of faith-based initiatives, and though he left the administration he still praises Bush because of his Christian testimony. What . . . . Continue Reading »

World Cities again

Thinking again about Mike Featherstone’s comments on the fact that multiculturalism developed first in Southern Hemisphere cities (quoted in a post from September 2006), it strikes me that one of the dynamics of the current global situation is a reversal of colonialism. That’s true in . . . . Continue Reading »

Mass culture

The point of theories of “mass culture” is not so much the “mass” as the “culture.” Goods and services may be distributed to a large number of people in economies where what is called “mass culture” doesn’t exist. When theorists use the phrase, . . . . Continue Reading »


Baudrillard sounds like a nut when he says that we are now living in a hyperreal world, a virtual world. But there is certainly something to it. We’re still physical creatures, of course, surrounded by physical objects, and that doesn’t change when we get strapped in for some virtual . . . . Continue Reading »

Community of the fearful

Postmodernity unleashes fear, Bauman says: “Modernity was a continuous and uncompromising effort to fill or to cover up the void; the modern mentality held a stern belief that the job can be done - if not today then tomorrow. The sin of postmodernity is to abandon the effort and to deny the . . . . Continue Reading »