Orthodoxy and Reticence

It has been forty years since my revered teacher Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, popularly known as “the Rav” by his followers in the modern wing of American Orthodoxy, presented his paper “Confrontation” to the Rabbinical Council of America. The paper was later published in the Council’s . . . . Continue Reading »

What It’s Like To Be a Christian

Truths are one thing, the way they are set forth is another. These words express what many have judged, for good or ill, to be the particular spirit of the Second Vatican Council. The words come, in fact, from the Council itself, from John XXIII to be precise. They are found in his opening . . . . Continue Reading »

The Risen Christ

The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright. Fortress. 740 pp. $39 paper. The past decade or so has produced numerous challenges to reading the Bible as a trustworthy historical witness. Scholars in the field of Old Testament studies question every detail of the pre-exilic corpus. As for the . . . . Continue Reading »

Christ and Nothing

As modern men and women—to the degree that we are modern—we believe in nothing. This is not to say, I hasten to add, that we do not believe in anything; I mean, rather, that we hold an unshakable, if often unconscious, faith in the nothing, or in nothingness as such. It is this in which . . . . Continue Reading »

Halfway Through the Hail Mary

A Methodist friend of mine has always been puzzled by the emphasis Catholics place upon ready-made prayers. She considers recourse to the Hail Mary to be little more than prayer on autopilot, the rote droning of words learned and memorized as children. How, she wonders, can it possibly produce an . . . . Continue Reading »

Pulpit Economics

In debates between Christian theologians and economists over the nature of capitalism, facts and figures count for almost nothing. At times the two seem to speak separate languages—perhaps most strikingly when they use the very same words. On the one hand, economists purport to be practical . . . . Continue Reading »

The End of Magic

Of a fair evening in the mythical but true world of Middle Earth, towards the end of the Third Age, a young hobbit named Frodo is holding private counsel with Galadriel. She is the queen and lady of Lothlórien, the most secret and beautiful reserve of the Elves. Frodo has been gazing into her . . . . Continue Reading »