Tag Archives: Christianity

The Paradox of a Good Friday

Christ in Hades

“Keep your mind in hell, and despair not.” This admonition from St. Silouan is appropriate for Good Friday, when most of Christendom commemorates Christ’s descent into hell, where he shatters its captives’ chains. Many modern Western theologians have abandoned this teaching, but even if you reject it you are still, if you are a Christian, …

On just saying no

Related to my previous post, I have an essay at Good Letters digging into the hypocrisy of evangelicals, as represented by the American Family Association, who simultaneously support the Drug War while demanding that we reject child refugees from that war. Here’s an excerpt: We sponsor both sides of this war; we constitute the primary …

Thy kingdom come

I don’t think they love their children any less than I love my own, which tells me something about what their lives must be like, to send their babies away. Their children stream northward in droves—as many as 60,000 this year—and we don’t want them. We don’t want their skin lesions and their hungry bellies, …

Gentle disagreement

I’ve been wrestling for weeks with how to be at peace with fellow Christians who also happen to be harmfully heretical (and popular) teachers. On the one hand, we’re all supposed to love one another and get along. On the other hand, love doesn’t dictate that we pretend a donkey is a unicorn, at least …

On false compassion

The challenge when debating a liberal Christian is that he is bound by neither Scripture nor tradition but sentiment. He is therefore free to embrace both sin and sinner, and thereby appear more loving, more magnanimous, than his opponents. This magnanimity carries a subtle condescension, as in the first sentence of Dave Barnhart’s recent essay, …

Blood and mystery

One of G.K. Chesterton’s arguments in Everlasting Man is that the ancient pagans never really revered their petty gods and spirits and magical tree stumps nearly as much as the modern humanist, overflowing with tolerance and reverence for any belief system that distinguishes itself by not being Christian, imagines they did. They knew there was …

Christian America?

Maybe instead of pouring all this energy into haggling over claims in watered-down, non-primary source, lowest-common-denominator, utterly de-contextualized, ponderous textbooks, we ought to try harder to get kids to read more, and read more of what matters. Does anyone really think that one sentence about Cesar Chavez or Samuel Gompers is going to be the clincher between …

Book it

I’m pretty sure that somewhere in the unofficial New Yorker film critic handbook there’s a rule that goes something like this: If Christian faith is central to a film, don’t be afraid to stoop to name-calling and character assassination. Thus it wasn’t surprising to see in what manner David Denby unleashes his ire on The …

Short-sighted

If this really is “…the best example of violation of the separation of church and state in this country,” then I think we’re all going to be just fine. And I have trouble seeing how a coded Christian verse on a rifle sight, while odd, is “literally pushing fundamentalist Christianity at the point of a gun.” …

Faith no more

I couldn’t believe, when I first read it, that Harvard’s chaplain is an atheist. Then I felt stupid for being surprised. That die was likely cast when Harvard’s overseers struck Christo et Ecclesiae from its place surrounding Veritas on the university’s seal. What need Christ and Church, after all, when we can have unadulterated truth? Somewhere in …

Christ v. Christian

Though I expected Michael Lewis’s Blind Side to do for football what his Moneyball did for baseball, I found my stomach churning as I read the story of Michael Oher, a black child neglected for years in the slums and streets of Memphis, until happenstance brought him to the doorstep of the exclusive, largely white, …