Yale’s Agony Over Social Justice

Last night Yale’s campus pro-life group—after a year in which they participated in meetings and even helped raise money for the organization—became the first group in living memory to be denied membership in the Social Justice Network of Dwight Hall. Billing itself as an . . . . Continue Reading »

Easter with Flannery O’Connor

This coming August 3 will mark the golden anniversary of Flannery O’Connor’s “Passover,” to adopt the biblical image John Paul II used to describe the Christian journey through death to eternal life. In the fifty years since lupus erythematosus claimed her at age thirty-nine, . . . . Continue Reading »

Frankenstein Unbound

“Those institutions and reporters were never as good as their reputations. . . . It was largely—and this was true for decades—a small group of middle-aged, left-of-center, overweight men who decided how all of us should see politics and governance.”Jim VandeHei, co-founder of Politico, was opining about the annoying nostalgia that still persists in DC regarding the older generation of journalists. In Mark Leibovichs’ book, ThisTown, VandeHei’s Politico has an ambivalent presence in the Reality Distortion Culture of DC. “Speed, information, gossip, and buzz” VandeHei celebrates as the journalistic premiums of the “New World Order,” and Politico has set the standard on all these fronts, becoming a kind of political ESPN meets TMZ in the Beltway, and its star contributor, Mike Allen, This Town’s Hedda Hopper. Continue Reading »

Backing Down from Gregory of Nyssa’s Ascent

The early Church’s appropriation of Greek philosophy is easily caricatured as an exchange that left Christianity intellectually enriched but spiritually impoverished. In reality, the Church Fathers converted Plato before they baptized him. That is, they found Greek metaphysics useful, but they used it for their own purposes. Still, the question remains: Christians changed Plato, but how much did Plato change Christianity? Continue Reading »

The Dangers of Internet Orthodoxy

Three years ago or so I received a Facebook message from a thoughtful young friend-of-a-friend. After studying Christian history, she concluded that she knew too little about the Orthodox Church, so I answered her questions as best I could.I also admonished her to discover the Church through its . . . . Continue Reading »

Close Viewing

The seventh and final season of AMC’s Mad Men premiered last night to a viewership quite different from the one that greeted the series’s 2007 debut. The inflection point came last season—when, improbably, this slow-moving character-driven period piece began to stir its partisans . . . . Continue Reading »

Micro-Christendoms

Years ago, members of a Boulder, Colorado, ministers’ association determined that they were responsible for Boulder’s civic health. Taking a cue from the early chapters of John’s Apocalypse, they resolved to serve as the guardian angels of the city.They began to invite civil . . . . Continue Reading »

Are Christians Obsessed with Sex?

From time to time a member of the Christian left will admonish the Christian right to stop obsessing about sex. This is a clever move because in addition to undercutting traditional sexual morality it also suggests that those who are concerned with the topic are acting on some secret ulterior . . . . Continue Reading »

The Marriage that Made America

Why do we remember Martha Washington as Lady Washington? Isn’t this the kind of aristocratic pretension that Mister Jefferson taught us to reject? No. Very simply, the wives of the American generals were known as the Lady Washington, the Lady Knox, the Lady Greene, etc., simply as a way of . . . . Continue Reading »