Here's some good news: despite our short collective attention span, despite the fiscal-cliff debacle dominating the headlines shortly after the Newtown shooting, the U.S. scourge of gun violence is still part of the national conversation.
Aside from the Bible, The Chronicles
of Narnia have been the most formative books in my life. My parents hung a
Narnia map in my nursery, and my dad started reading the books to me at age
three. Soon I was reading the books a couple of times a year.
We live between Christ’s first and second advent, in what W. H. Auden called “for the time being,” which can be “the hardest time of all.” Everything has been changed by Christ’s coming, and yet to most people’s eyes, and often to Christian eyes as well, everything seems to remain the same.
A few months ago I had a visit from the college-age daughter of a friend of mine. The young woman, an exceptionally gifted linguist, had developed an interest in religion and philosophy. What books, she asked, would combine her longstanding love of Latin and Greek with her newfound desire to plumb the mysteries of the cosmos?
Gary Anderson, professor of Old Testament at the University of Notre Dame, has written an astonishing book that, in ways typical of his work, moves from close textual reading to the widest vistas of interpretation.
At age eight, Sam became totally paralyzed. A year later he emerged with brain damage, learning disabilities, complex emotional problems and severe behavioral problems. His family began to disintegrate under the strain. His mother committed suicide, and Sam was placed in a psychiatric hospital. In this horrible situation, what earthly difference can Jesus make?
In Dallas, Texas, one week prior to the assassination of President Kennedy, I heard German New Testament scholar Joachim Jeremias reminisce about his life in Israel, where his parents were missionaries. After WWII, he returned nervously to Israel to see if the treatment of Jews by the Nazi regime had severed forever his friendships there. When he knocked at the door of an old friend, he was welcomed with an embrace.