But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Thursday, 20 April 2017 03:48

The Death of Expertise

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Remember that famous scene in Peter Weir’s “Dead Poets Society,” in which professor Keating (played by Robin Williams) orders his English literature students to tear out the introductory pages of their poetry textbook? Those pages, Keating explains, are the soulless pontifications...

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017 01:49

Putting Down My Inner Polemicist

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I’m not a pastor, but this post by Kevin DeYoung hit me where it hurts. For the sake of clarity, “polemics” in the sense that DeYoung is using here refer to a particular mode of engaging ideas critically, with a goal of correcting bad ideas. While polemics qua polemics are...

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Thursday, 13 April 2017 05:13

The Cross vs Nostalgia

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We call it “Good Friday” now. But no Christian should want to relive that day.

On the day we call Good Friday, Jesus’ disciples were foolish. They volunteered to die with him, demonstrating that they neither understood his mission or their own hearts. Hours after pledging their...

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Tuesday, 11 April 2017 01:02

Sympathy and Suicide

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Netflix’s newest original miniseries, 13 Reasons Why, is compelling TV. It’s well-acted and hauntingly written. But while watching it, something bothered me, and it took me a while to figure out what it was. I fear that 13 Reasons Why might be the latest example of how Hollywood...

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For the last few weeks I’ve been chatting via email with pastor, writer, and Christian film critic Brett McCracken. Brett is one of the most articulate, and consistently helpful evangelical culture writers that I know. I was eager to get some of his perspective on a variety of movie-related...

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Wednesday, 05 April 2017 01:09

The Other Woman

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Thinking about this passage from Brian Jay Jones’s lovely biography of George Lucas:

What wasn’t right was that George and [then-wife] Marcia’s thirteen year marriage was quickly imploding, largely because of Lucas’s own neglect. He knew he could be difficult to live...

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Thursday, 30 March 2017 01:55

Billy Graham Rules!

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Right now the Big Thing On Twitter™ is the “Billy Graham Rule.” A new debate was flared up by news that Vice President Mike Pence practiced his own form of the rule. Some well-followed progressives wasted no time before lambasting Mr. Pence as a sexist. Some well-followed...

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Monday, 27 March 2017 11:32

The Pagans Who Will Save Christian Publishing

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I was reminded recently of one of my favorite anecdotes from Russell Moore. It’s about the day that Dr. Carl F.H. Henry told him that the next great Christian leaders were probably pagans right now:

Several of us were lamenting the miserable shape of the church, about so much doctrinal...

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Thursday, 23 March 2017 04:04

Purpose-Driven Premodernism

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I’ve finished reading Rod Dreher’s “The Benedict Option.” In my view, it’s a fine book, one that articulates a theologically faithful response to the West’s cultural moment. I’ll have more thoughts on it later (and a brief review in a forthcoming issue...

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Tuesday, 21 March 2017 10:47

Review: “Beauty and the Beast” (2017)

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When the history of Hollywood’s current creative stagnation is written, we very well might regard the new live action version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” as the quintessential movie of the era. It is a remarkably efficient summation both of nostalgia’s...

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Saturday, 18 March 2017 05:23

My Father’s Anger

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Growing up, I did not see my father angry often. But it did happen. If my father was angry with me, it was almost certainly for one of two reasons. Either I had disrespected my mother, or else I had been cruel to my younger sister. On those occasions I did witness and endure my Dad’s anger.

But...

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My issue with pieces like this one comes down to a question of good-faith. In a certain context, given some mutual assumptions and amongst people who share particular convictions, arguing from the New Testament to a certain political program can be persuasive and valuable. The trouble comes when...

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Thursday, 16 March 2017 02:08

Sitting Athwart History

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Today I’m re-upping this post from May 2016. 

Timothy George’s profile of Capitol Hill Baptist Church and its senior pastor, Mark Dever, is a joy to read. It was a joy for me personally because my wife and I are members of a church in Louisville that owes much to Dever and Capitol...

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Tuesday, 14 March 2017 06:57

Against Snark

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Snark, which the American Heritage Dictionary defines as a “snide, sarcastic, or disrespectful attitude,” is the basic currency of online writing. Without mockery, sarcasm, or innuendo, a majority of published internet writing would simply evaporate. That’s unfortunate, because...

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Sunday, 12 March 2017 11:52

The Politics of Distraction

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I think Ross Douthat is exactly right about the need for some kind of positive, strategic response to the smartphone age. “Compulsions are rarely harmless,” he writes, and therein lies the key point: Digital addiction is real, and its long term consequences, though mysterious now, will...

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Friday, 10 March 2017 07:48

Homeschooling and the Benedict Option

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While reading Charlotte Allen’s nice takedown of a fearmongering Washington Post piece about homeschooling, I was reminded again how hard it can be to extinguish certain anxieties. The anti-homeschooling activists profiled by the Post have had difficult life experiences inside...

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Look at this headline from a movie review in The Metro:

The evangelical entertainment ‘The Shack’ is almost a real movie

I’m not entirely sure why, but what struck me most about this headline was not the clever zinger, but the term “evangelical entertainment.” When I...

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Wednesday, 01 March 2017 23:56

New Atheism vs Science

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Thomas Nagel has an erudite and punchy review of a new book by “Four Horseman” Daniel Dennett. Read the whole thing here, but here’s the haymaker:

I am reminded of the Marx Brothers line: “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” Dennett asks us to turn our...

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Tuesday, 28 February 2017 05:53

Policing the Purity Police

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As someone who is generally sympathetic to the ideological quadrant from whence arguments like this one come, I am slow, usually, to critique writers who call for more purity, more clarity, and more protection for men and women in the church. That said, I think telling brothers and sisters in the...

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Monday, 20 February 2017 21:29

The Ignore Button

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So let’s recap:

Milo Yiannopolous’s career thus far consists entirely of a rhetorical con. He insists that he is a champion of free speech and that people only shut him down because they are scared by the correctness of his ideas. Meanwhile, he is silly, flamboyantly offensive,...

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Friday, 17 February 2017 16:51

4 Requests to Young Evangelical Writers

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  1. Please don’t believe, or write as if you believe, that your personal experiences are a fully reliable path to understanding. Everyone who has life has experiences, and those experiences do shape us in meaningful ways. But here’s the problem: Different people have different...

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Friday, 17 February 2017 12:57

Michael Novak Me

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Michael Novak passed away today. I owe this remarkable Catholic intellectual a debt of gratitude, because his lecture “Awakening From Nihilism” was crucially formative for me. At the First Things blog, I’ve written a brief reflection on Novak’s insights and why they are...

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Wednesday, 15 February 2017 11:34

On Moral Equivalency and Xbox

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A friend of mine got a (predictably) hostile reaction on Facebook when he recently posted this status:

If you are a young man wishing he had a young woman with whom to spend Valentine’s Day, the single biggest thing you can do to improve your prospects is to stop playing video games. I am not...

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Sunday, 12 February 2017 13:10

The Coming Polygamy Showdown

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Critics of legalized same-sex marriage have often made the point that many, and perhaps all, of the arguments in favor of what the Supreme Court in Obergefell can also be applied to the legalization of polygamy marriage and plural marriage. Proponents of marriage redefinition have...

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Tuesday, 07 February 2017 18:37

A (Very) Brief Word About the Education Debate

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For the last two weeks my social media feeds have burst with punditry on Betsy DeVos. Probably the majority of my feed think her appointment as Secretary of Education is a mistake. The rest wonder aloud when it was that so many people suddenly became education policy wonks overnight. As the...

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