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From Contempt to Solidarity

The period from 2009–2012 saw a bizarre change within the culture of the Republican party. Party elites found it a good idea to express resentment and contempt for workers who were just on the other side of the earnings median. Republicans paid the price of this contempt in 2012, and recent signs indicate that Republican politicians have learned their lesson. . . . Continue Reading »

Accelerating Catholic Reform

Two recent books suggest that, amidst challenges and problems, the pace of authentic Catholic renewal is accelerating in these United States. Anne Hendershott and Christopher White’s Renewal (Encounter Books) was nicely timed to coincide with Pope Francis’s recently published comments on seminary reform. There, the pope stressed the imperative of integral formation, in which human development, spiritual growth, intellectual formation, and the development of pastoral skills mesh together in preparing the priests of the future. As Hendershott and White demonstrate, American seminaries, once deeply troubled by the confusions of the immediate post-Vatican II decades, are at the forefront of that renewal, in ways that might well be imitated by other countries in the West. Continue Reading »

Theological Stakes of Sexual Difference

One of the most neglected recent books on sexual difference is also one of the most important. Christopher C. Roberts’ 2007 book, Creation and Covenant, is a remarkably comprehensive and detailed theological investigation of the topic. By giving us a narrative arc that stretches from the earliest Church Fathers to Pope John Paul II and beyond, Roberts considers not only the ways in which these figures disagree with one another but how they provide resources for understanding sexual difference today. Continue Reading »

Lutheran Evangelicals

Why is Calvinism so influential among American Evangelicals while Lutheranism is not? We might describe the statistically modal convert to Calvinism—that is, the most frequently observed kind of convert—as a person like this: A young adult, usually male. Raised in a broad though indistinct Evangelical (and sometimes nominally Catholic) home. Bright. A reader. Searching for better intellectual answers to questions about God, Jesus and the Bible. Is open to becoming a pastor. Why does this young man so much more often become a Calvinist instead a Lutheran? Continue Reading »

One Teacher’s Lesson of Love

Wright’s Law is only twelve minutes long, but it has been viewed almost two million times on YouTube and Vimeo. Director Zack Conkle begins the documentary in the classroom of Jeffrey Wright, his former physics teacher at Louisville’s Male Traditional High School (now co-ed). Announcing a “test question alert” as a robot might, the innovative Mr. Wright immediately commands the attention of his students. Just when we think the film is going to concentrate on Mr. Wright’s gifts as a teacher, however, it shifts focus. . . . Continue Reading »

Eastern Europe’s Christian Reawakening

In Hungary, Croatia, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, a pro-family, pro-life revolution and a rediscovery of Christian roots is occurring. While few in the American media have noticed, this trend should challenge those who simply lament Europe’s moral malaise. Unnoticed in the shadow of a secularized west, religion’s public role has been growing in the east since the collapse of communism. . . . Continue Reading »

Apocalyptic in Ordinary

In one of his later essays, Jacques Derrida identified a “newly arisen apocalyptic tone in philosophy,” and in the decade since his death, that tone has become a tumult. René Girard’s latest is a shrill warning about the end of European civilization. Slavoj Zizek hears the hoofbeats of four horsemen: environmental destruction, biogenetics, imbalances in global capitalism, and “the explosive growth of social divisions and exclusions” . . . Continue Reading »



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