Exploring the extraordinary ordinary dimensions of our lives has always been John Updike’s métier, in which he is peerless among American mid-20th-century writers. His writings, perhaps his short stories most powerfully, relentlessly expose a predictable dialectic: “Discontent, conflict, waste, sorrow, fear—these are the worthy dynamic subjects.
It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love. And no, it’s not the Marine Corps. Teaching an introductory course in New Testament can be worthy of combat pay. This is especially true when most of the students are Christian.
Only one portrait of Jonathan Edwards was painted during his lifetime, a rather conventional “likeness” done by the Boston-based painter Joseph Badger. The face is severe, aloof, unsmiling and suspiciously similar to many of the other faces in Badger’s 150 or so portraits from the 1740s and ’50s.
A decade ago humanitarian intervention, defined by Brian Lepard as “the use of military force to protect the victims of human rights violations,” seemed to be a policy whose time had come. Now it is hotly debated.
Today the Roman Catholic Church in the United States is on the verge of either an irreversible decline or a thoroughgoing transformation” is the topic sentence of Peter Steinfels’s extraordinarily valuable survey of the present state of America’s largest Christian community.