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Backing Down from Gregory of Nyssa’s Ascent

The early Church’s appropriation of Greek philosophy is easily caricatured as an exchange that left Christianity intellectually enriched but spiritually impoverished. In reality, the Church Fathers converted Plato before they baptized him. That is, they found Greek metaphysics useful, but they used it for their own purposes. Still, the question remains: Christians changed Plato, but how much did Plato change Christianity? Continue Reading »

Micro-Christendoms

Years ago, members of a Boulder, Colorado, ministers’ association determined that they were responsible for Boulder’s civic health. Taking a cue from the early chapters of John’s Apocalypse, they resolved to serve as the guardian angels of the city.They began to invite civil . . . . Continue Reading »

Are Christians Obsessed with Sex?

From time to time a member of the Christian left will admonish the Christian right to stop obsessing about sex. This is a clever move because in addition to undercutting traditional sexual morality it also suggests that those who are concerned with the topic are acting on some secret ulterior . . . . Continue Reading »

The Ass of Passion Sunday

On Passion Sunday, more years than not, I give a children’s sermon. At the conclusion of the procession with palms and the Prayer of the Day, with the kids arrayed near the chancel, I selecte a kid as Jesus. We are going to enact the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. (Scholars may quibble . . . . Continue Reading »

The Miserable Science Meets the Divine Science

On April 3–4, the Lumen Christi Institute at the University of Chicago held its sixth annual conference on economics and Catholic social thought. These conferences bring together high-powered economists with bishops and archbishops and theologians for a day-and-a-half of presentations and . . . . Continue Reading »

John Donne in Lent

John Donne, it is clear, is not everyone’s cup of tea. In a notable essay in 1990, Stanley Fish wrote this: “Donne is sick and his poetry is sick. . . . Donne is bulimic, someone who gorges himself to a point beyond satiety, and then sticks his finger down his throat and throws up.” Perhaps . . . . Continue Reading »

My Journey Into the Orthodox Church

I recall being deeply moved by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’ recounting of his journey from Lutheranism into the Roman Catholic Church (“How I Became the Catholic I Was”). It is a move that not a few have made, with denominational provenance spanning most every Protestant confession. . . . . Continue Reading »

God and Freedom

F or the better part of two centuries now, one of the standard tropes in western high culture has held that the-God-of-the-Bible-is-the-enemy-of-human-freedom. This past December, Rémi Brague exploded that myth in a lecture at the Pontifical Urban University that was, I’m willing to . . . . Continue Reading »

Poetic Theologian

Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendenceby shai heldindiana, 352 pages, $38.95Few modern theological personalities have been as widely loved as the inimitable Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. It takes a unique soul and a special voice to exhilarate at once Jew and Christian, conservative and . . . . Continue Reading »

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