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The Good Place
12 May 2021

The Insufficient Eternity of the Good Place

Welcome! Everything is fine. That’s what the wall in front of you says the moment after you die. Or, at least, that’s what The Good Place suggests that the wall in front of you says immediately after the moment of your death. Appearing on NBC from 2016 to 2020, The Good Place is a fantasy comedy series that traces the journeys of four “Good Place” residents (along with their celestial architect friend and his AI

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07 May 2021

Jean-Louis Chrétien and the Wounded Word

Photo: Paul Gauguin, “Vision of the Sermon” (Jacob Wrestling with the Angel), https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/4940/vision-sermon-jacob-wrestling-angel …what would prayer be without this inward combat with the dumbness in us? This prayer that is so violent and at first uttered against our will— who can say if it is authentic or inauthentic? Jean-Louis Chrétien, “The Wounded Word” In his provocative essay “The Wounded Word: The Phenomenology of Prayer,” Jean-Louis Chrétien argues that prayer is the “religious phenomenon par excellence,”

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05 May 2021

Theology as Reasoning Prayer

I was recently struck by a line from Peter Leithart’s review of Vern Poythress’ recent book, The Mystery of the Trinity. At the end of the review Leithart offers what he deems to be high praise for Poythress: Each chapter of Mystery of the Trinity ends with a prayer. Poythress and Frame want theology to speak to ordinary people in ordinary language, rather than become a playground for professionals who bandy intimidating technical terms about to keep

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03 May 2021

Is God Patient?

Why this Question? In The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer writes, “We wait for the sun to move from east to west or for the hour hand to move around the face of the clock, but God is not compelled so to wait. For Him everything that will happen has already happened.” Wait.  God is not compelled so to wait? What does that mean? Does waiting even factor into His existence? If not, is

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28 Apr 2021

Book Review: Face to Face: Meeting Christ in Friend and Stranger

One Sunday last year, as I was helping set up for outdoor church, my internship supervisor passed a slim teal book called Face to Face: Meeting Christ in Friend and Stranger across the altar to me. “This is for you,” he said, “It isn’t homework.” Wells is a very well known priest, theologian, and author, especially in Anglican circles—his book on Christian ethics was the core textbook in my seminary Ethics course—but for whatever reason

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26 Apr 2021

Book Review: “The Unbroken Thread: Discovering the Wisdom of Tradition in an Age of Chaos”

In a right-of-center journalistic landscape that seems, all too often, to have collapsed into a mass of indistinguishable pundits all saying roughly the same thing, Sohrab Ahmari has long been a more interesting presence. The first book of his that I came across, The New Philistines, was a lacerating indictment of modern art reminiscent of Tom Wolfe’s The Painted Word. And in the wake of his conversion to Catholicism—a shift chronicled in his engaging memoir

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23 Apr 2021

Repentance and Resurrection

In the diocese in which I attended seminary, it is common practice to exclude the General Confession from Sunday worship during the 50 days of Easter. The argument, or so I’ve been told, is that we should focus on the joy of Christ’s Resurrection and take a break from being overly penitential. The implication, of course, is that Easter is no time to feel bad about ourselves, but to focus on Christ’s victory. The trouble

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21 Apr 2021

Three Cheers for Cultural Christianity

It is presently in vogue amongst evangelical cultural elites to decry “Cultural Christianity,” or alternatively, “Bible Belt Religion.” Ray Ortlund’s tweet from April 12th encapsulates this mood. “I rejoice at the decline of Bible Belt Religion,” he wrote. “It made bad people worse—in the name of Jesus. Now may we actually believe in Him, so that our churches stand out with both the truth of gospel doctrine and the beauty of gospel culture. To that

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