In Defense of Anne Rice

When Anne Rice’s Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt was published in 2005, my initial reaction was a succinct dismissal: Ridiculous. Who does she think she is, writing a life of Jesus Christ in the first person? There are four gospels, I argued to myself, and everything else is testimony. Does St. . . . . Continue Reading »

A Chronicle of Decadence

Over the years, Anthony Daniels, a medical doctor who worked for many years in an English slum hospital attached to nearby prison, has developed quite a body of cultural criticism under the pseudonym Theodore Dalrymple. Not with a Bang But a Whimper: The Politics and Culture of Decline offers a fine . . . . Continue Reading »

Liberal Creep

The intense rollercoaster ride of last year’s presidential campaign reminded me (as all elections do) of Alasdair MacIntyre’s famous lines in After Virtue : Liberalism is often successful in preempting the debate . . . so that [objections to it] appear to have become debates within . . . . Continue Reading »

Gridiron Nation

At least 60 percent of Americans will join in the festival, some with detachment, others ecstatically. On few other days will stores and restaurants be so empty and only on Thanksgiving do Americans eat more food. Every year the Internet buzzes with petitions demanding recognition of the Monday . . . . Continue Reading »

Rick ’n Jesus

Both Billy Graham and Rick Warren are ordained ministers in the Southern Baptist Convention, but their ecumenical import and stature as worldwide ambassadors for Christ have far exceeded their early success as a brash youth evangelist and a colorful church planter. From his base at Saddleback Church . . . . Continue Reading »

Samuel Adams: Brewing the Revolution

Most Americans today know the name Samuel Adams as a popular brand of beer. But according to Ira Stoll, former managing editor of the lamentably defunct New York Sun , Adams the statesman, writer, and political philosopher (and yes, one-time brewer) should be remembered instead for his vital role in . . . . Continue Reading »

At Home with Dickens

From Disney movies to the most recent bestseller, children are born to escape the confines of familial failure. No hero is worth his salt unless and until he casts off the shackles of parental mismanagement. Or so we are often told.Traditionally, the trajectory of the heroic quest has been the . . . . Continue Reading »

A Small-Town New Yorker

As a boy in the 1960s, I walked to school, knew my neighbors, could point out the building where my father was born and, a few blocks away, the place my mother grew up (they met at a parish social). I ran in parks with friends, hung out in the local boys’ club after school, played ball, and . . . . Continue Reading »

Faith & Fertility

With fertility rates dipping to almost one child per woman in Spain and other European countries, it’s hard to even imagine the future. Who will work and pay all those retirement benefits to the current and larger generation of workers? How can societies with declining populations maintain a . . . . Continue Reading »

In The Beginning

I’ve been working on a commentary on the book of Genesis, and the very first verse presents challenges. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The traditional rendering is on the outs these days. New translations shy away from the metaphysical atmosphere of an . . . . Continue Reading »