A native of England, James Alison converted to Catholicism when he was 18. He studied with the Dominicans at Oxford, received his doctorate in systematic theology from the Jesuit theology faculty in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and has lived and worked in several Latin American countries and in the United States.
When I first read Wendell Berry's 1985 essay "What Are People For?" 12 years ago, I was in college preparing to do exactly what Berry says that colleges prepare people to do—move to someplace that is not home and serve the economy. I read with academic disinterest his lament for the fate of the many "country people" who moved to cities and became unemployed.
In the Feb. 3 New Republic, Alan Wolfe, the magazine's
go-to reviewer on matters of religion, seems to buy into the account of Dietrich Bonhoeffer that Eric
Metaxas gives in his new biography Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.
The Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century was fascinating because it pondered the deepest questions of how a social order can be structured to maximize human welfare. This movement explored human nature and the social institutions that would work best with the forces that really govern behavior.
Michael Sharp and Emmanuel Kambale, colleagues in the Congolese Protestant Council’s Peace and Reconciliation program, have found a way to encourage some 1,600 soldiers to put down their arms. The FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda), which has been ravaging villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo for 20 years, has its roots in the Hutu militias that killed Tutsi civilians during the Rwanda genocide. Listening to the fighters’ stories, Sharp and Kambale discovered that they were homesick for life back in Rwanda. That acknowledgment has led some of them to give up the fight. But the meager $12,000 per month Peace and Reconciliation budget is drying up in March (NPR, January 2).