“War is not healthy for children and other living things.” That consciously obvious claim—a favored bumper sticker in the 1960s—came to mind while reading a report in USA Today saying that one in four soldiers at the nation’s largest army post have been in counseling during the past year.
What was remarkable about the overturning of Proposition 8—California’s
ban on same-sex marriage—was the weakness of the case mounted by the
defense. At times during the proceedings, Judge Vaughn Walker had to
ask the legal team in charge of defending the proposition, in effect:
“Haven’t you got something better than this?”
It’s hardly news that someone counts herself in the “religious but not
part of an organized religion” camp. Or as novelist Anne Rice described herself:
she is a follower of Christ who has decided to quit Christianity.
A writer in the Century some years ago recalled in passing the
era when mail was delivered twice a day. He noted, somewhat
whimsically, how that practice ensured at least two hopeful moments in
While out of town on a recent Sunday morning I found my way to a
Lutheran church for worship. After the sermon, when it was time to say
the Apostle’s Creed, the pastor began with a question: “Who are you
people? A secular world, jaded and weary, wonders why you are gathered
In 1892 Agnes and Margaret Smith, identical twin sisters from Scot land, took a nine-day camel ride to the Greek Orthodox monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai in search of ancient biblical manuscripts. They discovered the earliest known Syriac version of the four canonical Gospels.
In 2004 the head of the Democratic National Committee, Terry McAuliffe, was introduced to megachurch pastor Rick Warren, author of the mega–best-seller The Purpose Driven Life. McAuliffe stuck out his hand and said, “Nice to meet you, Rick! And what do you do?”
Black public figures seem to fall into one of two categories: they either project a militant resistance to white racism and its pervasive legacy or a generous willingness to look past that tortured history for the sake of an interracial future. Choose your model: W. E. B. DuBois or Booker T. Washington?
Diablo Cody won an Academy Award for her screenplay for Juno, and it’s true that the film bubbles along on the strength of the snappy, frank commentary that Juno (Ellen Page) offers on the travails of being pregnant at 16.
Great works in the Western literary tradition are incomprehensible apart from Christianity. One cannot understand Dante, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Coleridge, Dostoevsky or Dickinson without understanding the Christian faith that these writers assumed, professed or resisted.
According to theologian David Ray Griffin, the attacks of 9/11 were not the work of jihadist suicidal terrorists but were orchestrated by the Bush administration to provide the pretext for its military adventures and its quest for global dominance.
“Lo and behold there is a religious left,” declared an article in Slate. “The religious left is back,” announced the Washington Post. The evidence? An increase in blogging and organizing, as well as best-selling books by Jim Wallis, Michael Lerner and and Jimmy Carter.The rise of the religious left provides a natural journalistic lead because it plays against type. The persistent assumption, at least among mainstream media, is that Christians are politically active only on the conservative side.
Toward the end of Zadie Smith’s shrewd and entertaining novel, Kiki Simmonds gets into an argument with her husband, Howard Belsey: “All you ever do is rip into everybody else,” she tells him. “You don’t have any beliefs—that’s why you’re scared of people with beliefs.”
Gearing up for a battle over the next appointment to the Supreme Court, groups like NARAL Pro-Choice America and the National Organization for Women have been warning of the imminent collapse of Roe v. Wade. Roe hangs by a thread, they assert, and a one-vote shift on the court will dismantle the 1973 ruling that defined abortion as a constitutional right.
There is a brief scene in The Great Gatsby in which narrator Nick Carraway is introduced to the man who fixed the 1919 World Series. Nick is stunned by the notion. "It never occurred to me that one man could play with the faith of fifty million people--with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing a safe."
Did God die on a hill outside Jerusalem? Was it not only Jesus of Nazareth but somehow God himself who was hung on the cross and laid in the tomb? Christian theology has answered yes to these questions, and then struggled to articulate what this strange claim means.