First Things RSS Feed - Matthew Milliner
Matthew Milliner (http://millinerd.com @millinerd) is assistant professor of art history at Wheaton College. en-usCopyright 2016 First Things. All Rights Reserved.firstname.lastname@example.org (The Editors)email@example.com (The Editors)Thu, 27 Oct 2016 14:48:28 -0400https://d25wp47b6tla3u.cloudfront.net/img/favicon-196.pngFirst Things RSS Feed Image
60The Virgin and The Donaldhttps://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2016/07/the-virgin-and-the-donald
Tue, 19 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0400In light of reports of Donald Trump’s
to Christianity, we have reason to hope that he will visit his home parish, Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, more frequently. (For Marble Collegiate's history, see the
of Matthew Schmitz.) As Trump pays his respects at the imposing exterior
of Norman Vincent Peale, perhaps he will notice a
that predates it. Just a few yards from Peale are the suffering Mary, Jesus, and Joseph
to Egypt—the Holy Family as refugees. This statue constitutes one of the most unexpected, and welcome, placements in Manhattan—almost as if Joel Osteen’s
I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life
contained an appendix on what it means to “fill up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” (Col. 1:24). Consider the statue a visual corollary to Adlai Stevenson’s famous quip, “I find Apostle Paul appealing, and Apostle Peale appalling.”
The Other Assisihttps://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2016/06/the-other-assisi
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 00:50:00 -0400We pilgrims pile into the Basilica of Saint Clare to see the San Damiano cross that spoke to Francis the words, “Rebuild my church.” A Franciscan brother approaches the microphone. I prepare myself for an exhortation. The journey here with two small children was not an easy one, and I anticipate an admonition to increase of charity, or a challenge to deny myself further material acquisition. I could use both. The friar’s message, amplified by modern acoustic technology, bounces off the Romanesque wall: “No foto.”
]]>Where the Icons Aren't Yet Dryhttps://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2016/05/where-the-icons-arent-yet-dry
Tue, 24 May 2016 00:00:00 -0400This monk is not letting us go without a sermon, but he’s earned it. We—a group of scholars brought together for a conference in Romania celebrating the legacy of the historian Peter Brown—have been treated well. We are standing in the Neamț
monastery library, where the
, that indispensable compendium of Orthodox thought, was first translated into Slavonic, and we’ve been permitted to hold the original translator notes. We’ve seen towering church interiors where every visible surface beams back shimmering saints. We’ve stood before a fourteenth-century icon of the Virgin Mary (miracle-working, this one), a gift from Constantinople, whose warming presence invited me to stay. We’ve stood in front of a saint’s tomb that bulged the earth above it during the communist years. Inexplicable, then or now. The scholar who told us the story, an accomplished academic fluent in eight languages, does not seem one to make up tales.
]]>On the Ground in Wheatonhttps://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2016/03/on-the-ground-in-wheaton
Tue, 01 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0500The following remarks were among several friendly responses to Professor Miroslav Volf’s presentation, “Do Christians & Muslims Worship the Same God?” delivered at the Islamic Foundation of Villa Park, IL on Feb. 27, 2016.
]]>The Cardinal Virtues & The Walking Deadhttps://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2016/01/the-cardinal-virtues-the-walking-dead
Fri, 15 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500An academic friend was visiting from abroad, and after a day of talks and teaching, we wound down around ten o’clock at night. Noticing my exhaustion, he offered a secret to decompression. “Zohmbies, Mahtt,” he counseled in his inimitable Greek accent. So it was that I tuned into my first episode of
The Walking Dead
, where Glenn—having saved multiple lives—was asked by a fellow survivor what he did before the end of the world. “Delivered pizzas,” he shrugged. For all the downsides of the apocalypse, it can also summon hitherto dormant reserves of virtue. I quickly learned that the talent of the show’s make-up artists often eclipses that of its writers—but not always.
]]>The Last Scapegoathttps://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2015/12/the-last-scapegoat
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0500The following is a sermon given last Sunday at All Souls Church (Wheaton, IL) in the wake of another Wheaton media controversy.
]]>An American Virgilhttps://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2015/09/an-american-virgil
Wed, 02 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0400 A
mong the more adventurous sallies in church décor in recent memory is the
dancing saints sequence
at San Francisco’s Saint Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, where Hypatia, Charles Darwin and William Blake among others have been drafted into the
Perhaps the program is less a declaration than a prayer, illustrating Hans Urs von Balthasar’s dictum that universalism is a hope though not a doctrine. But if so, wouldn’t a message of God’s universal love necessitate the inclusion of a figure or two who would rankle San Francisco Episcopalians? Still, there are
many in the sequence
who should long ago have been visualized in the context of Christian worship, and one especially justified inclusion is the Native American visionary Nicholas Black Elk (1863-1950).
]]>Celibacy in the Cityhttps://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2015/07/celibacy-in-the-city
Fri, 17 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400The day after the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage this summer, I was in line for the Ferris Wheel with my three year old daughter. An insufficiently directive ride attendant left me confused as to which car to enter. Do we get our own? Do we pile in with strangers? Whatever our options might have been, my daughter and I are soon knee to knee with a man and a woman in their late thirties, visiting Chicago from Georgia. Up together we went.
]]>All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Evangelicalismhttps://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2015/04/all-i-really-need-to-know-i-learned-from-evangelicalism
Fri, 01 May 2015 00:00:00 -0400 Sometime in the mid-1990s, sickened by what I perceived as the shallowness of evangelical culture in suburban Wheaton, Illinois, I launched into the post-hippie, proto-hipster nightlife of Chicago. I roamed not yet fully gentrified streets with dropouts and homeless people, under the L-tracks and along the wind-battered shores of the third coast. The counter-culture then radiated from Belmont Avenue, which I imagined to be something like what Haight-Ashbury (since colonized by Ben & Jerry’s) must have been in 1969.