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Letters

BARTH'S LEGACY I am grateful to Phillip Cary for his admirable review of my book Reading Barth with Charity (April). I have only one demurral. I would simply like to enter a plea for greater historical consciousness. After all, it has not yet been fifty years since Barth’s death. It seems . . . . Continue Reading »

Mechanized Justice

Justice Through Apologies: Remorse, Reform, and Punishment 
by nick smith
 cambridge, 413 pages, $33 For decades, American Christians have worried about the dwindling room for religion and religiously inspired morals in public life. The church–state debates in which they engage often focus on . . . . Continue Reading »

Remember the Prisoners

“Nobody criticizes us. We have no enemies,” Warden Burl Cain tells me as the servers load our plates with Big Lou’s brisket, ribs, chicken, grits-n-shrimp casserole, and baked beans. “I have the number for the head of the local ACLU on my cell phone, and she has my number on hers.” Continue Reading »

Prison, Purgatory, and Heaven

Several years of prison ministry have convinced me that there are substantial parallels between what we think about incarceration and how we understand salvation. After all, Christians believe that we are imprisoned by sin and that, rather than trying to escape our condition, we need to undergo a personal transformation before we can enter into the full presence of God. True, sin is universal in a way that jail is not. Nonetheless, crimes against the civil order and rebellion against God overlap in interesting and complicated ways, which makes prisoners among the most conspicuous, though certainly not the most hopeless, examples of humanity’s fallen state. Continue Reading »

CPAC Behind Bars

A few weeks back, I highlighted the friction between ascendant libertarians and ignored social conservatives at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). After some time to mentally digest that red meat laden all-you-can-eat political buffet, one nutritious morsel still stands out: the . . . . Continue Reading »

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