29 Oct 2021

The Enticing Sin of Ascetic Disdain

In some circles, there seems to be a movement against empathy. Two relatively recent articles demonstrate this: Joe Rigney’s “On the Enticing Sin of Empathy“ at Desiring God and Kevin DeYoung’s “What Does it Mean to Weep with those who Weep?” at the Gospel Coalition. Rigney’s piece imitates C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, in that it is an epistle from the demon Screwtape to his fiendish nephew and novice tempter, Wormwood. Pseudo-Screwtape begins by reminding his protege

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07 Aug 2020

What’s Worse Than the Devil You Know?

One of my favorite movie characters is Gus Portokalos, the patriarch in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Gus’s defining characteristic is his extreme devotion to his homeland, which is summed up in his famous line: “There are two kinds of people in this world: Greeks, and everyone else who wish they was Greek.” I love this joke because it perfectly encapsulates one of the essential characteristics of the human condition: we view the world as

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25 Mar 2015

When Aslan Isn’t Moving

As I look out my window, the ground is brown with hints of green breaking through. Without doubt, spring is arriving. Aslan is most definitely on the move. Highlighting the changing seasons is the fact that, a couple weeks ago, this same view was a sheet of white.  And it’s this sheet of white that’s intriguing to me. You see, across the road is a tree farm. The owners apparently operate under the philosophy of

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22 Oct 2014

Notes of Silence

If there is one thing that modern people are surrounded by, it’s music. Radio for the car (if you’re not plugging your phone into the speakers), streaming services for home and office, music piped through coffee shops and shopping centers – it’s not that difficult to live with a steady diet of music. In my own experience, spending the last month and a half in the middle of nowhere highlighted just how much music I

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24 Sep 2014

Participatory Community

Community. It’s one of today’s popular catch phrases. Thanks to that popularity, though, its meaning is a bit fuzzy. It usually seems to refer to an ideal interaction with others. What that ideal is, though, is hard to pin down. Recently reading Bonhoeffer and Lewis brought additional clarity to this puzzle for me. This clarity came from their comparison of heavenly and hellish forms of community. Bonhoeffer set the stage with the suggestion that, “The

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