How to Hunker Down for Advent: A Review of Fleming Rutledge’s New Book

It’s Advent! In liturgically-oriented churches, tables and pulpits are draped in purple. (Or perhaps a dark shade of blue, which to my mind is a nefarious invention of the liturgical-industrial complex.) Four-candled wreaths tick off the Sundays before Christmas. In homes, Advent calendars adorn walls. And yet so much is missing. “I have never seen […]

Burning from Beginning to End with Scott Cairns

It’s all here.  Beginnings and endings.  Heaven and hell.  Divine intentions and bodily appetites.  That’s what you get with the poet Scott Cairns.  Look for the kitchen sink.  I’m sure it’s in there, too. Recently I came back for a season to Philokalia: New & Selected Poems, Cairns’ 2002 collection.  It’s as rich and evocative […]

In Praise of Bad Writing: David Bentley Hart’s New Testament

The New Testament, as translated by the influential Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart, is bad.  But that’s what makes it such a good read for Christians who need their settled understandings tweaked. Hart’s new translation doesn’t strive for literary heights. He has an ear for beautiful language, something that comes through in all of his […]

Squinting Through This Latent, Bleak Obscurity with Scott Cairns

“Just now, we squint to see the Image through this latent, bleak obscurity.  One day, we’ll see the Image— as Himself—gleaming from each face. Just now, I puzzle through a range of incoherencies; but on that day, the scattered fragments will cohere.” If you don’t recognize 1 Corinthians 13 in this translation, perhaps that good.  […]

The Power Asks Us to Consider #WeToo: A Review

Naomi Alderman’s provocative new book, The Power, is more simply described without the definite article.  Power, and how it infuses human relationships, particularly gender relationships, hums though this book like an electric current.  And just like that current, it can turn fearsome and deadly in an instant. The Power is an acknowledged heir to Margaret […]