Evangelical Gnosticism

I teach in a great books program at an Evangelical university. Almost all students in the program are born-and-bred Christians of the nondenominational variety. A number of them have been both thoroughly churched and educated through Christian schools or homeschooling curricula. Yet an . . . . Continue Reading »

Stealing Pears

Iniquity, O Lord, can be delicious:always in season, always tender, sweet,blushing, and aromatic. Not capriciousit always hangs low, begging us to eat.One night, I stripped a neighbor’s tree of pears—not grade A pears, but seconds grown for swine—taking them not because the fruit was . . . . Continue Reading »

The Ties that Bind

Recently I attended my son’s installation ceremony as a member of the student government at his elementary school. The passage into office was marked by a series of oaths in which students made vows to uphold the integrity of their charges and the duties that flowed from those vows. In the ancient Roman world, the term most employed to refer to the civic relationship to which such vows bound a person was pietas. Continue Reading »

Pope Francis and the Two Cities

For a class on Catholic Social Teaching this past fall, I assigned my college students Robert Hugh Benson's dystopian novel Lord of the World. I thought the book would pair well with our extensive studies of the thought of Pope Francis, in part because Francis has conspicuously mentioned Benson’s . . . . Continue Reading »