Timeless

Trembling Before the Internet

From Zackery Sholem Berger's new article at Tablet, "Hasidic Writers, Plugged In": But there are also those who have decidedly not converted, who have not fled their communities. They hew to ideals they do not support because they are not yet ready to leave, or because they never will. Such a life can be exquisitely...

The Truth About “Jim Wallis”

What does the NYTimes‘ Elisabeth Bumiller do when presented with a story that reveals cracks in the Christian right? Why, she calls Jim Wallis, of course. Wallis, who possesses the power to channel the thoughts of several million non-Republican evangelicals, has become a quote machine, a stock figure in any news story about what the...

“But Marriage is No Sacrament.”

From Gary Wills' new article at New York Review of Books:
The early church had no specific rite for marriage. This was left up to the secular authorities of the Roman Empire, since marriage is a legal concern for the legitimacy of heirs. When the Empire became Christian under Constantine, Christian emperors continued the imperial...

Islam’s Mighty Wind

From Peter Brown's review of the Met's "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th-9th Century)," at The New York Review of Books:
The exhibition takes us to the heart of this great detonation. It embraces the last century of the pre-Islamic Middle East and the first two centuries of Islam. To our surprise, we do...

The Fallen Catholic DeLillo

From the Los Angeles Review of Books, a review of Don DeLillo's The Angel Esmeralda: Nine Stories, by Cornel Bonca:
The fallen Catholic DeLillo began to find a way to write about certain inescapable promptings of "awe" and "wonder" that were so insistent that they qualified as spiritual intimations. I'd argue that it's no accident...

An Art Critic in Ethiopia

From Holland Cotter's article on his visit to the sunken churches of Lalibela:
A priest, in white, stood at a lectern and read aloud from an illuminated book as a European video crew fussed with sound checks, then asked him, please, to start again. To an outsider the general impression was confusing, disconcerting. Can this...

Our Rabbi

Rachel Barenblat at Velveteen Rabbi summarizes last Saturday’s Bloggercon session on religion and blogging.

Intubated Women, Catholic Health Care and What it Means to be Alive

The Catholic Church understands far better than patients’ rights advocates do how religion, gender and sexuality work in society. If the debate about health care were focused on men’s bodies, the Church understands there would be a resounding call to make their hospitals subject to legal and medical standards. But because it’s about...

I’m Not Religious, I Just Love Meditation

Amy Levin:  While the image of Oprah endorsing transcendental meditation is about as banal as a priest offering the sacrament, the Queen of the New-Age spiritual marketplace has sold spirituality to those in her pews again. Oprah’s bricolage-like church offered this week’s sermon via her show Next Chapter on the OWN network: transcendental meditation...

The Makings of Viral

James Curcio at Modern Mythology on Kony2012 and "virality":
You see, for something to become "viral" it has to be entirely ubiquitous, which essentially means that it must be stripped of all nuance and worthwhile content. This is an issue facing all propogandists who have any ethics at all. It must act on a common...

Catholic Church Abuses Sex Abuse Victims

It's been more than a decade since the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal rocked Boston.  In that time, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has provided national support to victims of abuse.  But recently SNAP is finding that the Church's new approach to managing national lawsuits is not apology and reparation but counter-attack....

“Could People Be Good Without Foundations?”

From Andrew Hartman's recent post at U.S. Intellectual History, "The Politics of Epistemology," in which he excerpts the following (and more) from his book Education and the Cold War:
By the beginning of the Cold War, this crisis was seemingly resolved in what Purcell terms the “relativist theory of democracy,” a stripped-down version of Dewey’s...