November 12, 2012
My good friend Rachel Lu has published an intriguing piece on the “Mormon Moment” created by Mitt Romney’s candidacy for president on the First Things blog. Rachel’s thoughtfulness and unique perspective on all things religious, political, and cultural make her a scholar and commentator to watch. Her piece addresses the contentious question of whether Mormons are really Christians by asking, “Do Mormons really want to be Christians?” And then she goes on to explore why Mormonism presents such a unique challenge to today’s orthodox Christians.
While many of us might be tempted to simply dismiss Mormonism as a weird aberration, making jokes about the magic underwear and polygamy, Rachel points out that the Catholic Church has long benefited from serious engagement with other such “heresies of an older style.” I continue to think, as I’ve argued before, that we Catholics have much to learn from Mormonism. And when it comes to sorting out the helpful from the erroneous in Mormonism, we are fortunate to have scholars such as Dr. Lu in the discussion.
June 11, 2010
Ah, yes, change. Something that we both crave and fear. The theme of Barack Obama’s victorious presidential campaign and now the mantra of his Tea Party opponents. A more or less neutral value in itself, since change can be for good or ill.
Sometimes change is predictable (and perhaps, therefore, not really much of a change at all) and sometimes unexpected, shocking, unsettling. I experienced one such unexpected change last month when I found the most recent issue of First Things in my mailbox.
There was a picture on the cover.
What had happened, I wondered. Was this some sort of belated April Fool’s Day issue? Or a sign of the impending apocalypse? I scanned the horizon and saw no horsemen, so, gingerly, I opened the cover. Read the rest of this entry »
February 22, 2010
It has been wonderful to page through First Things 20th Anniversary Issue—and not only because of its priceless, circa-early-90s pictures of the neocon clan. The issue also features some excellent First Things essays which I have never read, like Joseph Bottom’s “Christians and Postmoderns” from February 1994. Alas, I wasn’t a ROFTER at age ten.
Reading the essay caused some latent neurons in my head to refire as I began again to consider a question I have often mulled over: Which poses a greater threat to Christianity, modernity or postmodernity?
Were I submitting this essay to a professor for a grade, I would need, at this point, to stop and define what I mean by modernity and postmodernity. But since I am not handing the essay in for a grade and want to avoid writing a many-thousand word blog post, let me omit positing a definition of modernity—and trust that the term is more or less clear—and proceed straightaway to the difficult task of grabbing the slippery fish of postmodernity and holding it still long enough to slap a definition on it. Read the rest of this entry »