Films of the Spirit

It is a truth seldom acknowledged that the most delightful art is also the most didactic. Jane Austen comes readily to mind, as does the best of children’s literature. Supposed counterexamples only prove the rule. Oscar Wilde is celebrated for his dictum that “bad art is always sincere,” but . . . . Continue Reading »

Infanticide for Beginners

It was the issue of abortion that taught me to be suspicious of the word “reform.” It was the early 1960s and all right-minded people were in favor of “abortion reform.” I assumed I should be too until it gradually dawned on me, slow learner that I was, that people speaking of abortion . . . . Continue Reading »

Abortion Facts and Feelings

The story is told of a young student from an exotic place, a colonial dependency of Britain, who was suddenly delivered to Oxford University. The word soon got about that the tradition of cannibalism had not been perfectly extinguished in this young man's tribe, and a certain concern was registered, . . . . Continue Reading »

It’s the Culture, Stupid!

What really happened in the 1992 presidential election? And what does it tell us about American politics at the turn of the century? Although postmortems are always a tricky business, interpreting the 1992 election is particularly so. The defeat of an incumbent President, the election of the first . . . . Continue Reading »

A New Heaven and a New Earth

“RE-imagining,” a conference “by women for women and men,” marked the midpoint of the World Council of Churches’ “Decade in Solidarity with Women.” Held last November 4-7 at the Minneapolis Convention Center, the conference drew 2,200 participants from forty-nine states and . . . . Continue Reading »

Christian Conviction & Democratic Etiquette

According to a bit of street wisdom that has worked its way into the national vocabulary, “You got to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.” But since the opposite of everything is frequently, if not always, true, we might, on the matter of explicitly Christian rhetoric and the American public . . . . Continue Reading »

Legal Ethics—Worlds in Collision

Chicago's financial district and the seat of its city government are only a few blocks apart, yet they belong to two different worlds. I learned this in my first few months of law practice in 1964 when, as low person on the totem pole, I had to handle routine motions in both state and federal . . . . Continue Reading »

Evil: Back in Bad Company

Most Christian thinkers have viewed evil as a privation, a derivative reality, like a shadow. Shadows are privations of light; they are real things, but dependent on the bodies that cast the shadows. They are darkness where light should have been. Similarly evil, a secondary reality, is only the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Fifties Without Soul

This is not a book review, it’s a complaint.I have been reading—and, I confess, enormously enjoying—David Halberstam’s The Fifties (Villard), yet another of his blockbuster best-sellers. It’s great nostalgia, wonderfully evocative, and above all, about my generation. Like . . . . Continue Reading »

The Limits of Reconstruction

Judaism Faces the Twentieth Century: A Biography of Mordecai M. Kaplan by mel scult wayne state university press, 433 pages, $34.95 Many of Mordecai M. Kaplan’s contemporaries and students—he had plenty of both over the 102 years of his life—considered him a brilliant religious . . . . Continue Reading »