Battle of the dead Russian writers

Fred Sanders examines the opposing worldviews of Fyodor Dostoevsky and Leo Tolstoy: In fact, I have long thought that there are basically two kinds of people in the world: Tolstoy people and Dostoevsky people. Sanders quotes literary scholar George Steiner on the differences between the two authors: “Dostoevsky, advancing into the labyrinth of the unnatural, …

Three things before we get started…

Before regular posting here resumes tomorrow (really–no foolin’!), there are two items I highly recommend reading: Colby Willen’s 2-part (of a promised 3) series on the “Call to Ministry.” It’s a seldom seen perspective within the church on a phenomenon that’s too often abused. Part one, and part two. Read them now. Eaten Alive: An …

Losing our souls for self

This observation by Eugene H. Peterson is noteworthy: We live in a culture that has replaced soul with self. This reduction turns people into either problems or consumers. Insofar as we acquiesce in that replacement, we gradually but surely regress in our identity, for we end up thinking of ourselves and dealing with others in …

Toward a Tolerable Tolerance

The relationship between religion and politics, always a perennial subject of much consternation, is yet again at forefront of the national discussion. One of the chief questions that always arises out of such debates has to do with whether or not faith even belongs in the public square. The faithful say “yes!,” the unfaithful “no!,” …

Whence evangelical art?

In a brilliant essay in this month’s Touchstone magazine, Donald T. Williams examines an obvious missing product of evangelical writers: good literature. Viewing this problem through the lens of one of my favorite writers, Flannery O’Connor, Williams observes: O’Connor complained that too many Catholic writers were too utilitarian in their approach, but at least their …

The Word, not words, changes the heart

Here’s a quote from Lesslie Newbigin that should give evangelical Christians both pause and comfort: The radical conversion of the heart, the U-turn of the mind which the New Testament calls metanoia, can never be the calculable result of correct methods of communication. It is something mysterious for which we can only say that our …