My Mother’s Abortion

Early in my ministry as a pastor, my mother told me she’d had an abortion. It was for medical reasons, but it had haunted her down the corridors of her mind. She knew better than most people what was involved back then because she had taught obstetrical nursing at Vanderbilt University.  . . . . Continue Reading »

Narrative Collapse?

Narrativity is collapsing, Douglas Rushkoff excitedly reports in his 2012 book Present Shock. We no longer tell traditional stories because we no longer live within ancient Aristotelian narratives with their beginnings, middles, and ends. Technology killed narrative, leaving us in an eternal . . . . Continue Reading »

Among the Snake Handlers

Years ago, I went twice to the snake-handling Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in Kingston, Georgia—about twenty miles from where I live. It wasn’t my unbounded personal curiosity that led me to that church the first time. I went with a group of Christian sociologists who were meeting at . . . . Continue Reading »

Oh, Bury Me Not

Though I was never one for cemeteries and am not in the habit of visiting the graves of family or friends, I will consent to tour the graves of those long gone, whose tombstones are abraded and lichen-covered. There is a forlorn, lonesome quality to these graves so neglected through time. If the . . . . Continue Reading »

Coriolanus Alone

Coriolanus didn’t die for Rome’s sins. But there’s a moment early on in Josie Rourke’s production of Coriolanus that might make you wonder if she thinks he did. In it, the Romans take their bloodied hero (played by Tom Hiddleston), crown him with a thorny garland, and hoist . . . . Continue Reading »

Rediscovering the Martyrology

The Catholic Church began compiling “martyrologies”—lists of saints, typically martyrs—during the first centuries after Constantine. In the pre-Vatican II breviary, a reading from the Roman Martyrology, or what we might call the Catholic Book of Witnesses, was an integral part . . . . Continue Reading »

Belief Rooted in Love

The new sexual revolutionaries have shifted focus from the legal sanctioning of gay marriage to the elimination of dissent. Around the country, so-called “non-discrimination statutes” undercut the rights of religious believers to live according to the demands of their faith when those . . . . Continue Reading »

Winning the Abortion Olympics

The Sochi Olympics are over and the medals have been counted. It was a tough winter for Team USA. We walked away with a total of twenty-eight medals, unfortunately only nine of them gold, putting us at fourth for the gold count. But there’s always another arena in which the United States . . . . Continue Reading »

The Vicar of Baghdad

If Jesus came back to the Middle East today, I think he would look a lot like the Reverend Canon Dr. Andrew White, the Anglican Chaplain in Iraq and Vicar of St. George’s Church. The “Vicar of Baghdad,” as he is called, carries out his work in one of the world’s most . . . . Continue Reading »