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Why is the Catholic Church so Defensive?

The recent PBS documentary from Frontline, “Secrets of the Vatican,” was an artful mix of baroque music, sweeping cinematography, imaginative speculation, and recycled conspiracy theories. It contained a gelatinous mixture of truths, half-truths, and no truths. Still, it left me feeling . . . . Continue Reading »

Mark Driscoll’s Problems, and Ours

The recent revelation that Mars Hill Church in Seattle paid an outside company to boost sales of its pastor’s books has raised questions not simply about personal integrity but also about the very culture of American Evangelicalism.As an English Presbyterian living in the States, I am never . . . . Continue Reading »

Girard v. Genesis

Over many decades and in voluminous writings, René Girard has elaborated a theory of sacrifice, scapegoating, and violence that purports to unveil things hidden from the foundations of the world. He has become a guru, not least to Christian theologians eager to formulate non-violent versions of . . . . Continue Reading »

Taking a Back Seat at CPAC

Pot was in and social conservatism was out. That is the best single sentence summary I can give after three exhausting and sometimes mind-numbing days at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).The gathering is a media favorite partly for its colorful characters. One tall . . . . Continue Reading »

A Terrible Ruling Against a Terrible Film

It may seem hard to get upset that the Ninth Circuit recently demanded that YouTube take down The Innocence of Muslims, a poorly made, maliciously offensive, and aesthetically nil film that was the proximate cause for rioting and murder overseas. Little as I will miss it, the ruling has troubling . . . . Continue Reading »

Just War Revisited and Revitalized

Every once in a while, a truly special book comes down the theological pike: a book both scholarly and well-written, a book that stretches the imagination, a book that changes the state of a discussion, if it’s taken with the seriousness it deserves. The late Servais . . . . Continue Reading »

Taking Art Off the Street

“Street art—you mean vandalism? No, thank you.” That was the response of a friend when I invited him to join me at the Museum of the City of New York for their recent exhibit, “City as Canvas.” His scruple was understandable but a little out-of-date.” Continue Reading »



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