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Sex and Tradition

In a few carefully argued pages in his recently translated The Crisis of Modernity, the Italian Catholic philosopher Augusto del Noce explains the “ascendance of eroticism.” Del Noce died in 1989, but his account could have been written yesterday. He illumines why Fifty Shades of Grey . . . . Continue Reading »

Transgender Delusion

Human nature does not change. Despite our postmodern sophistication and our wishful thinking about perfectibility, our nature is immutable—not least in its fickleness, its embrace of irrational ideas and practices, and its suggestibility.Charles Mackay’s classic work, Extraordinary Popular . . . . Continue Reading »

A Benign Reading of a Confusing Paragraph

When I was asked to sign the Appeal critiquing Paragraph 137, I initially agreed with the reading of the authors of the Appeal—but as I studied the paragraph more carefully, it became clear to me that it could be read in a much more benign fashion, and that the benign reading is the correct . . . . Continue Reading »

In Praise of Missionary Dating

You haven’t kissed her yet?” A classmate furrows his brow, as if trying to understand some antiquarian cultural rite. “And you’ve been dating how long?” As a conservative Christian within a libertine college environment, I have heard variations of this same conversation played out . . . . Continue Reading »

How to Preach About Bruce Jenner

Should pastors grease the Kardashian celebrity machine by mentioning Bruce Jenner from the pulpit? There are good arguments for ignoring the whole thing, but I think that’s a pastoral mistake. So much of our cultural trajectory converges on Bruce: our rampant Gnosticism, our confidence in technology, our moral libertarianism and determined flight from biblical standards, our cult of fame, our sexual self-contradictions. Bruce Jenner will be forgotten soon enough, but what he represents isn’t going away, because transgressiveness is one of the few cultural imperatives that we are not permitted to transgress.If we preach about Bruce, what should we say? When I asked the Jewish theologian David Novak how a synagogue would respond, his answer was stunning in its simplicity: First, “Jews would not recognize Jenner as a woman”; then, “Torah forbids castration.” Castration doesn’t turn a man into a woman. It only leaves him a damaged man.  Continue Reading »

Liturgy and Interchangeable Sexes

First Timothy 2:12–14 is one of the texts most commonly cited in debates over women’s ordination: “I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, then Eve. And not Adam was deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression.” Continue Reading »

The Power of “Heteronormativity”

For twenty-five years, the term heteronormativity has been a strategic usage. The basic definition isn’t complicated. Heteronormativity is the act of interpreting heterosexual desire as the normal, natural way of human being and society. The term doesn’t signify the normal-ness of heterosexuality. It signifies the disposition to normalize it.For twenty-five years, the term heteronormativity has been a strategic usage. The basic definition isn’t complicated. Heteronormativity is the act of interpreting heterosexual desire as the normal, natural way of human being and society. The term doesn’t signify the normal-ness of heterosexuality. It signifies the disposition to normalize it. Continue Reading »

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