November 23, 2005
The holiday police are at it again–looking for violations of the nation’s new policy of separating faith and civic celebrations. The same folks who will soon be trolling courthouse squares looking for manger scenes are now calling on Americans to have a happy Thanksgiving . . . but leave God out of it.
November 22, 2005
Sex and romance remain big issues in popular culture–and for good reason. In a fallen world, issues of sexuality and romantic love are prime candidates for corruption and confusion. HBO’s Emmy-winning Sex and the City may serve as the most potent symbol of the secular distortion of romance and the postmodern confusion of sexuality that is now taken for granted in many sectors of American society.
November 21, 2005
Bookstore shelves abound with titles offering advice for parents. Various psychologists, self-appointed “experts,” and medical doctors offer advice on a range of topics, reflecting an ever broader array of worldviews. Books on parenting adolescents have been a special growth industry for some time, with puzzled and harried parents often trying to figure out what is going on in the minds of their teenagers. A new offering in this field, The Teen Code, now offers advice on parenting teens with a unique twist–the book was written by a 17-year-old boy.
November 18, 2005
The Christian vision of beauty not only tells us why the world is beautiful–but not quite. Secondly, the Christian worldview explains why the face of a child with Down’s syndrome is more beautiful than the cover girl in the fashion magazine. The unity of the good, the beautiful, the true, and the real calls us to look below the surface and to understand that the ontological reality of every single human being is that we are made in the image of God. The imago Dei is the beauty in each of us, and the rest is but of cosmetic irrelevance.
November 17, 2005
The Christian vision of beauty explains why the world is beautiful, but not quite. We are often struck by the beauty of the created order, and this feeling is validated for us in Genesis chapter 1, where the Creator’s own verdict is that the creation is good. The goodness of creation is therefore nonnegotiable, and again the unity of the transcendentals reminds us that if it is good, then it is also necessarily true, and real, and beautiful. Thus our metaphysic and our aesthetic, our understanding of truth and our evaluation of ethics, all come together in creation. The creation as God made it was good and beautiful and true and real.
November 16, 2005
There is something intrinsic to humanity that is drawn to beauty.
There is something of an aesthetic desire in us–an aesthetic appetite.
And yet beauty is in crisis; it is a contested category. In the
reigning confusion of the popular culture, the artificial is often
confused for the real, the pretty for the beautiful, and the untrue for
the true–all of which, as we shall see, are essentially one root
November 15, 2005
Our nation’s political rhetoric is filled with references to unity and national cohesiveness. Nevertheless, this unity is often more superficial than substantial, and talk of national unity wears thin when the culture appears to be ripping apart at the seams.
November 14, 2005
In the aftermath of the fall of the Iron Curtain, prominent writer V. S. Naipaul declared the dawn of a “universal civilization.” According to Naipaul’s vision, the end of the Cold War was a signal that the entire planet was moving toward a single civilizational form that would transcend ethnic differences, ideological cleavages, and the fault lines that have separated cultures in the past.
November 11, 2005
“Hostilities will cease on the whole front at 11 hours today, French time. Until that hour, the operations previously ordered will be pressed with vigor. At 11 hours our line will halt in place, and no man will move one step forward or backward.” Those were the orders released just before 9:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918 in an address to the U. S. Army’s 79th Division. That order announced the end of “The War to End All Wars,” now known as World War I. Yet in one of the most bitter ironies of this bitter conflict, thousands would die between the time the armistice was signed and hostilities ceased.
November 10, 2005
CNN founder Ted Turner once remarked, “If I only had a little humility, I would be perfect.” In a strange and almost perfectly ironic sense, this statement encapsulates the spirit of our age–an attitude that gives lip service to humility while celebrating self-promotion. C. J. Mahaney seeks to set the record straight in his new book, Humility: True Greatness.