07/01/2002

In our recent "Christianity From the Outside" symposium (May 2002), Emmy Chang remarked that she is tempted by faith when she feels expansive emotions—the sight of a dearly loved friend makes her ready to believe that God exists. Yet she worries about a faith that is undermined by subjectivity and "conclusions that are arrived at [...]

In our recent "Christianity From the Outside" symposium (May 2002), Emmy Chang remarked that she is tempted by faith when she feels expansive emotions—the sight of a dearly loved friend makes her ready to believe that God exists. Yet she worries about a faith that is undermined by subjectivity and "conclusions that are arrived at [...]

Queen Elizabeth II wryly described 1992, a year of conspicuously public follies within the royal family, as an annus horribilis. So horrible indeed that in an effort to salvage the monarchy's sagging popularity, Her Majesty even consented to having her income taxed. Annus horribilis understates the moral magnitude of the scandal now afflicting the Church [...]

"He says you must go now," my translator told me. I looked from him to the official standing across from the old church ruins. "I thought I could stay until six o'clock?" I protested. He shrugged and got up to lead me out. While we were leaving, three more visitors entered the compound. I pointed [...]

"I'm going to live with my daddy," Ben Stewart said when he was eight. "Because there I have both a daddy and a mommy." Stewart's childhood was vastly different from most kids. He was constantly forced to choose between two homes: his mom's, where his sister and mom's female lover lived, and his dad's, where [...]

The door closed, and I crumbled. It was Christmas, and I was alone. I had never been alone on Christmas. Having been raised in a family of six children, I was always surrounded by siblings, wrapping paper, and Ping-Pong table-size dinners. When I married at 19, I moved into a larger family network sometimes requiring [...]

Shakespeare stands as a wonderful anomaly. It could be argued that no artist in the history of the Western world enjoys both the critical and popular esteem of Shakespeare. His poems and plays continue to enchant generation after generation; his rich language saturates modern speech—whether we realize it or not. What accounts for this enduring [...]

A witch helped me become a Christian. OK, the biographical blurbs on Tamora Pierce's book jackets don't actually call her a witch, but they do say that she's taught witchcraft; close enough. Pierce is the author of several children's fantasy series, of which the most famous is probably the Alanna series: Alanna: The First Adventure, [...]

Discontinuity with the past has become a familiar feature of modern life. In the developed nations, popular traditions of religion, family, and community have all but evaporated as people move out of settled locales and into a highly mobile and fluid new society. What most of us have lost in this process has generally not [...]

Criticism, it seems, is a risky business. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, several reviewers who panned Star Wars: Episode II—Attack of the Clones received death threats via e-mail, along with sundry other communications of somewhat lower voltage. This one caught my eye: "The mere fact that you actually get payed [sic] to write movie reviews [...]

Religious oratorios would hardly seem to be the musical medium of our times, but they are cropping up with a persistence that invites attention. In April, I wrote of American composer John Adams's new Christmas composition, El Nino, a deeply flawed but fascinating attempt to come to terms with the 21st-century remnants of Christian faith. [...]

One of the more interesting collisions waiting to happen is the coming head-on crash between those who believe in the American dogma of equality and those who believe in pure empiricism and skeptical rationalism. Often, these people occupy the same head, but they do not seem to realize that their two cherished worldviews are wholly [...]

Many of us have pulsing in our heads the Coleridge verses from the "Ancient Mariner" that are, or were until recent reforms in education wiped out learning, a staple of a child's literary education. "The feast is set, the guests are met...." One can hear the merry din. Weddings are the great feasts of life, [...]

In March, I wrote, ironically, about the "right" to be obese. It turns out that the January 9 L'Osservatore Romano carried two related items, the Holy Father's November 3, 2001, letter to the director general of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and an address of Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, the Vatican's representative to [...]

Samuel Johnson's Life of Richard Savage is among the most enigmatic of the great man's accounts of writers. As presented by Johnson, Savage is a man who was subjected to shame and humiliation by his putative mother, wandered the London streets for want of a bed, and lived off the generosity of friends, but, for [...]

MENU