Isaiah 7, Nativity, and the Theotokos

One of the side effects of the late vocations classes I’m taking (currently on the Old Testament), is that after each session I return with wonderful kernels of ideas from which to expand a (hopefully) interesting essay based on the discussions we have in class. Last week one of the books we . . . . Continue Reading »

With Interest

At Christmas, we think –- we, Americans who say we are Christians –- we deserve a break from the things we do every day. We deserve a rest. We deserve to sleep on the sofa, and to have a big meal, and then to sleep on the sofa again, and watch a parade or some football, or whatever it is . . . . Continue Reading »

Kill-joys at the Yuletide

So some of you are thinking, “Frank, you’re a jerk, you know that? This is the Christmas season, and you’re ignoring the fact that the Angels we have heard on High sang Glo-o-o-ria in-ex-chel-sis-day-o. They were happy – John Piper would say they were happy. John Mark Reynolds . . . . Continue Reading »

Famous Last Words

You know: when most people get ready to write a little something for the Christmas season, they fire up the Yule log, and they have a little eggnog, and toss a little tinsel, and eat a cookie, and then they have this sweet smell on their breath as they talk about how joyful a season this . . . . Continue Reading »

Church Ladies

Catholic and Feminist: The Surprising History of the American Catholic Feminist Movement by mary j. henold university of north carolina press, 304 pages, $32 Ihave never met a nun—there was a time when this would have been a truly bizarre statement from an American Catholic. Nuns were everywhere: . . . . Continue Reading »

Recovering the Bible

The Bible contains a verse that scholars like to quote. It is from the book of Ecclesiastes: “Of making many books there is no end, and much study is weariness of the flesh” (12:12). In context it serves as a warning against the vain illusion that we can study our way to the Kingdom of God. The . . . . Continue Reading »

Theology After the Revolution

Twentieth-Century Catholic Theologians: From Chenu to Ratzinger by fergus kerr blackwell, 240 pages, $29.95 Over the last decade, a Scottish Dominican named Fergus Kerr has produced a series of books designed to orient readers to contemporary trends. In the 1997 Immortal Longings, he discussed a . . . . Continue Reading »

Kierkegaard for Grownups

That extraordinary writer of stories about the “Christ-haunted” American South, Flannery O’Connor, was frequently asked why her people and plots were so often outlandish, even grotesque. She answered, “To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you have to draw large and . . . . Continue Reading »