New Here?
     
Posts tagged "Alan Jacobs"

Another Week Ends: Greenblatt's Eden, Fidget-Spinning, Fake News Biases, Mandatory Euphoria, and A Horse Named Grace

Another Week Ends: Greenblatt’s Eden, Fidget-Spinning, Fake News Biases, Mandatory Euphoria, and A Horse Named Grace

1. Well, you just can’t make this up. An urban cowboy riding through the gang-ridden streets of Fresno, California, preaching the gospel of Jesus? On a horse named Grace? Aeon covered the story here, with a video. This below is not the full video, but you’ll get the picture. Totally cool.

2. Shakespeare scholar Stephen Greenblatt is working on a new book project about the legacy of Adam and Eve, which led to his New Yorker piece this week on Augustine, a less-than-judicious reading of the man he claims “invented sex” (and sex as sin) to the literary world. Greenblatt argues…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: Angelism and Gnosticism, Hero Donors, Internal Fact-Checking, Parent Gardeners, More Fleming, and Lots of Fishing Line

Another Week Ends: Angelism and Gnosticism, Hero Donors, Internal Fact-Checking, Parent Gardeners, More Fleming, and Lots of Fishing Line

1. “Gnostic” is the dig du jour, apparently. Has anybody else noticed it everywhere? Perhaps it is because “righteousness by knowledge alone” pretty aptly describes what’s going on in the never-ending politically divisive/campus sensitive saga we can’t seem to get clear of. Another article to add to that pile came to us from American Conservative this week, about the inherent gnosticism of the term “woke.” “Woke,” which is an ever-changing, never-achievable term, represents the ideal form (or infinitude of forms) of social consciousness:

This new adjective woke is a stamp of approval, a self-congratulating label, a goal, a challenge. Most importantly,…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: Questing for Cultural Innocence, Narrating Luther, Inverting Transhumanism and Reforming One's Pets

Another Week Ends: Questing for Cultural Innocence, Narrating Luther, Inverting Transhumanism and Reforming One’s Pets

Lots of love – commingled with envy – for everyone at the Tenth Annual Mockingbird Conference in NYC! “For the rest of us” (G. Costanza), some links for the weekend:

1. First up, The Hedgehog Review here in c-ville posted a wonderful article on “The Persistence of Guilt.” Who knew that the great Sigmund Freud once quipped, “the price we pay for our advance in civilization is a loss of happiness through the heightening of the sense of guilt”? The author argues that Freud helped “demoralize” guilt, to suggest that our guilty emotions were the product of the superego and could be…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: Irrational Minds, Dangerous Parents, Anthony Weiner, Metallica References, Llama Drama, Post-Olympics Depression, and the Tastiest Fast Foods in America

Another Week Ends: Irrational Minds, Dangerous Parents, Anthony Weiner, Metallica References, Llama Drama, Post-Olympics Depression, and the Tastiest Fast Foods in America

1. This week The New York Times published an op-ed by Robert A. Burton entitled “A Life of Meaning (Reason Not Required)” which argues that most people would agree that (1) our lives ought to have a personal sense of “meaning” or “purpose” and (2) our lives should be “shaped by reason” or “rationality.” As concepts, however, reason and rationality get a little bit fuzzy when we consider the recent barrage of brain research evidencing the less-calculated “unfree” will of man. Burton explains:

“[T]he brain generates action-specific electrical activity nearly half a second before the subject consciously ‘decides’ to initiate action. Though interpretations…

Read More > > >

Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lion?

Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lion?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought people were joking at first with the whole #Cecilthelion fracas last week. I was traveling, so I only heard snippets of what had gotten people so upset. Once I realized they were serious, surely I was missing something. Alas, even after reading up on the admittedly grotesque incident, the whole thing feels too much like a send-up of internet outrage, parodic in both subject and intensity, like something Black Mirror might do. The joke was on me, I guess. Until I remembered Tim Kreider’s immortal diagnosis of the phenomenon:

So many letters to the editor and…

Read More > > >

A Few Thoughts on Righteous Minds and Religious Liberty

A Few Thoughts on Righteous Minds and Religious Liberty

I believe it was Austin Powers’ father Nigel who once remarked, “There are only two things I can’t stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures… and the Dutch.”

That movie came out while I was in college, and the joke struck a chord. Having been educated in proudly ‘progressive’ institutions, I grew up hearing a lot about tolerance. My secondary school, for example, hosted a semi-annual ‘Diversity Day’, where the student body took part in workshops designed to expose us to different cultures and points of view. Of course, there’s nothing more cynical than a bunch…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: Assurance Anxiety, Genesis Lessons, Tumblr Love, Lost in the Cosmos, Iron Man Prep, and Hatsune Miku's Pizza Stage

Another Week Ends: Assurance Anxiety, Genesis Lessons, Tumblr Love, Lost in the Cosmos, Iron Man Prep, and Hatsune Miku’s Pizza Stage

1. First off, a little pop theology. Phillip Cary contributed an encouraging review of J.D. Greear’s sensationally titled Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart to the recent issue of Christianity Today, under the header “Anxious About Assurance”. As he does in his book Good News for Anxious Christians, Cary gets straight to the heart of the matter:

Greear is not saying it’s wrong to ask Jesus into your heart. He’s saying it’s not the same thing as believing the gospel. And if we want to be assured of salvation, it’s believing the gospel that actually counts. We are saved by faith…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: Scary Nihilists, Repentant Starlets, Priestly Astronauts, Bad Vestments, Passive Aggressive Notes, Recovering Olympicists, Spiritual Conductors, Dylan's Blood and Rooted

Another Week Ends: Scary Nihilists, Repentant Starlets, Priestly Astronauts, Bad Vestments, Passive Aggressive Notes, Recovering Olympicists, Spiritual Conductors, Dylan’s Blood and Rooted

1. The media has been saturated this past week with stories about the Aurora tragedy, and rightfully so. Ross Douthat’s “The Way We Fear Now” was one particulary striking (and slightly scary!) example:

[Holmes’] crime has probably also solidified the Batman movies’ status as a cultural touchstone for our era of anxiety… our contemporary iconography of evil is increasingly dominated by figures who seem to have stepped out of Nolan’s take on the DC Comics universe: world-burners, meticulous madmen, terrorists without a cause.

Older enemies — Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Mao’s China — represented a different form of evil: institutional rather than…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: Gamer Grace, Baby Data, Moonrise Kingdom, Amygdalas, LEGO (and Kinkade) Infernos, Munch's Scream, more Marilynne, and Parks and Rec

Another Week Ends: Gamer Grace, Baby Data, Moonrise Kingdom, Amygdalas, LEGO (and Kinkade) Infernos, Munch’s Scream, more Marilynne, and Parks and Rec

1. Yes Please: A truly wonderful article from our friends at Kill Screen looking at video games through the lens of the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the Geek.” Richard Clark explores the crucial difference between playing for points and playing for fun, the imperative to win vs. the freedom to lose. The grounding concept is that of playfulness, which has long been a favorite subject/approach here at Mbird–so much so that I’m a little jealous that Clark nailed it so beautifully! Definitely recommended for the non-gamer:

[The Beatitudes] reward those who seek to settle competition rather than win it, and those who…

Read More > > >

Top Theology Books of 2011

Top Theology Books of 2011

The following is a list (in no particular order) of some of the most interesting theological books published in 2011. Needless to say it’s been a banner year.

Lutheran Theology by Steven Paulson

What is Lutheranism? Rather than answering this question by outlining the history and development of Lutheranism, Paulson goes back to Luther himself to rediscover its long-lost soul, using Luther against Lutheranism and its many failed representatives throughout history. By far, this book is Lutheran theology at its best. Positively, this Lutheran theology is a theology that must be preached and therefore it is the message of the justification by…

Read More > > >

The Spiritual Bourgeoisie vs The Gospel(s)

The Spiritual Bourgeoisie vs The Gospel(s)

Some profound words from the late English cultural historian Christopher Dawson, via Alan Jacobs‘ fantastic blog, more than 95 theses:

“The spirit of the Gospel is eminently that of the ‘open’ type which gives, asking nothing in return, and spends itself for others. It is essentially hostile to the spirit of calculation, the spirit of worldly prudence and above all to the spirit of religious self-seeking and self-satisfaction. For what is the Pharisee but a spiritual bourgeois, a typically ‘closed’ nature, a man who applies the principle of calculation and gain not to economics but…

Read More > > >

Book Review - Original Sin: A Cultural History

Book Review – Original Sin: A Cultural History

The best book I read in 2008 was Original Sin: A Cultural History by Alan Jacobs. Jacobs, who teaches English at Wheaton College, begins by pointing out that throughout history (and in almost every culture) humankind has always pondered the question, “if we are basically good, or at best morally neutral, then why is the world so bad?” The Christian answer to this question, of course is doctrine of Original Sin, which states that from birth we are born corrupt, guilty, and worthy of condemnation. Beginning with St Augustine, Jacobs tracks the history of this controversial doctrine, illustrating the innumerable…

Read More > > >