What Aristotle Can Teach us About the Power of Literature

Part of what I hope to achieve with this blog is not only a theoretical basis for cultivating a new Christian culture. I hope to show practically how it can be done. To begin that rather difficult process, I’d like to share the first half of a paper I wrote for my philosophy class in Holy Trinity Seminary. I hope this paper inspires your own input in the comment section. The Death…

St. Augustine: How to Best Engage with Secular Culture

Another week, another story about how Harry Potter books are being publicly burned by Christians. This time, the group in question included African tribal masks as well as some other objects in their bonfire. So at least it wasn’t only books. Never mind that it was in Poland, and the Polish, more than most, should remember how much the Nazis liked to burn books. I’m actually not trying to start an angry…

Scruton and Peterson on Apprehending the Transcendent

Every other Friday, I will offer subscribers of this blog videos, articles, and podcasts on the subject of culture creation. These are people who inspire with their mind, who humble with their talent, and who point a possible way forward for the creation of a Christian culture. This week, I’m happy to begin with a discussion between Sir Roger Scruton and Jordan Peterson in Cambridge University. This is a fascinating glimpse into…

A Call for a New Christian Culture

The hum of air conditioning and the drab tan walls of the hotel conference room faded into the background as soon as I entered the already buzzing atmosphere of the WMG Anthology Workshop in Las Vegas. Fifty people absorbed in conversations with old friends that they hadn’t seen in a year. A stage adorned with just as much pomp as a medieval king’s feasting table. And there I was, brand new to…

J.R.R. Tolkien, Fairy Tales, and Cultural Renewal

Recently I was having an animated conversation about literature, hagiography, and storytelling. (Yes, I do have a lot of those). During the course of a lovely evening, someone suggested that we need not more Lives of Saints, but more living examples of sanctity. “No one reads the Lives anyway,” he said. Perhaps he is right. A living, breathing saint should be a far more convincing inspiration than the (sometimes) idiosyncratic retellings of the…

The Sins of the Scientific Method

When I wrote the first version of this post almost five years ago, my friend Jonathan Pageau brought my attention to an unusual event. Pope Francis, during an appearance at the Papal Palace in 2014, had two children release two “peace doves” of purest white. What was initially an “awwww” moment turned suddenly grisly. A black crow attacked one of the doves almost immediately, and in front of everyone. When I first…

The Poet vs the Scientist: Part 1

(note: a version of this post first appeared on Orthodox Arts Journal) Anachronistic Lives One of my vivid recollections from my halcyon days in UC Berkeley was a class with a certain Dr. A. T. He was the quintessential absent-minded professor. Thick glasses, messy hair like he just got out of bed, unkempt mustache. He wore the same ratty sport coat every day. It had one pocket that was always just a…

Patriotism, Nationalism, and Cultural Renewal in our Time

Recently, in a lamentable amount of time lost while scrolling my Facebook feed, I ran across a post from a person whom I have been avoiding for a while. The reason being that this person’s politics make me angry (perhaps you can relate). Now, I try not to get involved in political debate on social media. It’s pointless and most often bad for all concerned. But this person’s comment was inspired by…

Two Ways of Writing Christian Fantasy

You might think we’re living in an age remarkable for its low level of culture and thought. People on all sides of every ideological coin focus on the negative. Doom and gloom prophecies (of vastly different styles) sound loudly on every digital crossroads. And yet, if you tune out the noise, you’ll see a lot of interesting things happening. One of them is a robust conversation about the role of the Christian…