I grew up along the beaches of Florida and couldn’t get enough of that pounding on the sand. I swam against the tide and rolled with the force of the water. I loved the feeling of getting caught up in the turmoil of the waves until I didn’t know which way was up.
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Not long ago I was driving to a meeting in an unfamiliar town on a rainy Saturday morning.
Outside Paradise, government will never be perfect. But that's no reason to give up
on it—any more than the fact that we can't love our children perfectly entails giving up on loving them as well as we can.
I remember once defending the doctrine of divine immutability to a renowned New Testament scholar at an academic conference. I was a graduate student at the time, and had not yet decided that I would work on Augustine’s biblical exegesis for my dissertation.
There is much to celebrate in this important new book by one of the finest moral theologians writing today. Gilbert Meilaender of Valparaiso University gives us a fine example of “thinking with Augustine” about such crucial topics as desire, duty, sex and grief.
The public university at which I teach has an ethnically and religiously diverse student body. Accurate figures are hard to come by because the university doesn’t officially collect the data, but probably about half the undergraduates are Catholic, one-quarter Protestant, and perhaps 5 percent Muslim and 5 percent Jewish. This variety makes for interesting classes.
For Catholics and Protestants alike, Augustine’s views of grace and freedom have set the theological agenda. His trinitarian theology, his account of evil and his views on the relationship between the church and secular government also continue to be the subject of fierce debate.