Uber, But For Penance

There’s something very modern, very grim about reading church reviews on Yelp. Washington’s Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle won one from a reviewer who identified himself as True Detective’s Rust Cohle: “I come here to contemplate the moment before the crucifixion.” Continue Reading »

​Praise Be to You, Lord

The First World War lingers in the memory as humanity’s first encounter with industrialized killing on a mass scale. New weapons of the machine age obliterated forests, villages and fields—an entire way of life. This new type of war also deeply shaped the thinking of men who experienced it . . . . Continue Reading »

Who Were the Inklings?

The name they chose for their group was, J. R. R. Tolkien self-effacingly recalls, “a pleasantly ingenious pun . . . suggesting people with vague or half-formed intimations and ideas plus those who dabble in ink.” The description conjures a picture of “donnish dreaminess,” a rag-tag band of tweed-clad writers who met for a pint from time to time. Continue Reading »

A Thicker Kind of Mere

I am an avid reader and an occasional contributor to the magazine Touchstone, a periodical that describes itself as “a journal of mere Christianity.” Touchstone provides a forum where Christians of various backgrounds—Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox—can speak candidly with one another on the basis of a shared commitment to the Great Tradition of Christian faith as revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the classic creeds of the early church.The term “mere Christianity,” of course, was made famous by C. S. Lewis, whose book of that title is among the most influential religious volumes of the past one hundred years. Since 2001, more than 3.5 million copies of Mere Christianity have been sold in English alone, with many more translated into most of the world’s languages, including Chinese. We think of C. S. Lewis as an apologist, but he was also an evangelist. Many sceptics and unbelievers have come to faith in Jesus Christ by reading C. S. Lewis. One of these was the late Charles W. Colson. “I opened Mere Christianity,” Colson said, “and found myself face-to-face with an intellect so disciplined, so lucid, so relentlessly logical that I was glad I never had to face him in a court of law. . . . As I read, I could feel a flush coming to my face and a curious burning sensation. . . .Lewis’s words seemed to pound straight at me.” Continue Reading »

The Only Creatures Who Disobey God

Yesterday I took a glorious walk with my wife on one of the ridges of the Appalachian Trail. Jean reminded me, as we smelled the Christmas-like pines and gazed at the rippling rows of mountains stretched out on the other side of valleys below us, that there are only two creatures who disobey God.  The angelic (or one third of them at least) and human creatures. Continue Reading »