Nonsense Drives Them Away

Gary Saul Morson, a professor of Slavic languages and literature at Northwestern University, teaches a popular course on the Russian novel at this renowned school in Evanston, Illinois. As such, he might be expected to welcome a defense of the humanities from any quarter. But in his review of Martha Nussbaum’s latest book, Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities, he amply shows how some self-styled friends of the humanities are to a great extent the cause of the doldrums into which they have fallen… . Continue Reading »

The First American Everyman

American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists is a book about a man who, the author readily admits, is neither an American nor a saint. Yet, writes John Wigger, Francis Asbury “came to understand ordinary Americans as well as anyone of his generation” and “lived one of the most remarkable lives in American history.” … Continue Reading »

Israel’s Gaza Boycott Saves Lives

The genius of the Israel Defense Forces has always been to wage war in the enemy’s territory, as far away as possible from the relatively small parcel of land it is charged with protecting from destruction. The Yom Kippur War of 1973 was a disastrous exception, and the surprise attack fought on its own soil resulted in terrible casualties for Israel… . Continue Reading »

“The Horror, the Horror” on the High Seas

Suicide, or as the participants doubtless dubbed it, a “martyrdom operation,” was the evident goal of the Hamas supporters on the Mavi Marmara. It is hard to draw any other conclusion from the available facts, including the Israeli military’s video footage of the raid. If you attack soldiers with deadly weapons, you expect to be shot… . Continue Reading »

The Soldier's Rough Charity

Yet we hunger for what such dismal utilitarian habits cannot supply. So we look to the soldier, who may well make his career in or from the service, yet who endures privations we can hardly imagine, and puts his life on the line for his fellows. It is a kind of rough charity, and immensely appealing… . Continue Reading »

A Few Thoughts for Memorial Day

We are servants of a disputed sovereignty. The psalmist declares, “God mounts his throne to shouts of joy.” Christ has ascended his throne, but his rule is challenged by rival thrones. For us who believe, St. Paul says it is the fact that Christ rules “far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion.” … Continue Reading »

Spirituality Without Spirits

It’s a great and self-serving mess, this claim to be “spiritual but not religious,” which we hear from almost anyone who talks about religion in public, outside those the worldlings define as fundamentalist (me, probably you, Joseph Bottum, David Goldman, Benedict XVI, Hassidic Jews, devout Muslims, religious families with more than four children)… . Continue Reading »

Lutherans in Search of a Church

In its August 2009 Churchwide Assembly, the Evangelical Lutheran Church decided formally to leave the Great Tradition of orthodox Christianity for a declining and desiccated liberal Protestantism. The decisions it made”accepting a weak and confused social statement on sexuality, allowing blessings of gay unions … Continue Reading »