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Dylan Thomas and Giving Death Its Due

From First Thoughts

Many will already be aware that 2014 is the centenary of the start of the Great War of 1914-18. Fewer may have realized that this year contains another centenary of significance: That of the birth of the self-destructive Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. Thomas died at only 39—-older, it is true, than . . . . Continue Reading »

Newman Family Values

From First Thoughts

For the biographer, friends and family of the chosen biographical subject present perennial problems. The subject was almost certainly a public figure; the major elements of the biography will thus address public actions; but it would have been that private world of friends and family which occupied . . . . Continue Reading »

Nothing New Under the Sun

From First Thoughts

I am currently enjoying Edward Short’s delightful and learned Newman and His Family , a study of John Henry Newman’s relationships with his parents and siblings, and a sequel to Short’s equally fascinating Newman and His Contemporaries . Protestant to the core of my being, I . . . . Continue Reading »

A Significant Opinion

From First Thoughts

Earlier this year, I accepted an invitation to respond in a public forum to Kyle Duncan, a Becket Fund lawyer involved in the religious liberty cases currently addressing the provisions of the ACA. That experience turned me into something of a keen amateur legal eagle on this particular issue and, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Bad and the Beautiful

From First Thoughts

Re-reading War and Peace in recent weeks, I have been reminded of one of the most monumental pieces of miscasting in the history of the motion picture industry. For those who have never read the novel, a central part of the drama depends upon the fact that one of the major characters, Pierre . . . . Continue Reading »

I Just Ran Out of Presence

From First Thoughts

That the language of love has become utterly sentimentalized in our society is a commonplace. Once it was a hardheaded, self-sacrificial, outward looking concept which looked to the well-being and needs of others. Now it often means little more than that which makes me feel good or brings personal . . . . Continue Reading »

Areopagitica

From First Thoughts

A couple of recent events have highlighted one or two of the peculiarities of the subculture of American Christianity, specifically evangelical Christianity. First, Ergun Caner is suing a couple of pastors in an attempt to keep some material pertaining to his life from being published on the . . . . Continue Reading »

Cambridge Change, Political Style

From First Thoughts

As middle age begins to bite and life’s pleasures become either more vicarious, whereby one lives through one’s children, or less impressive, as with one’s ever-diminishing speed on a long distance run, one delight that actually becomes ever more gratifying is having one’s . . . . Continue Reading »