“Introduction to Christian Anarchism Summer 2022 Seminar.” Laurie Johnson is offering an online seminar exploring the tradition of Christian anarchism: “The five sessions will center on these themes: 1. basics of Christian anarchism, 2. Christian anarchism confronts the state, 3. the strategy of non-violence, 4. praxis 1: selected history of utopian Christian communities 5. praxis 2: Catholic Worker vs. the church. Students will receive a link to readings they can do ahead of class if they want to, but reading is not required. Some of the authors featured will be Peter Chelčický, Leo Tolstoy, Jacques Ellul, Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day, William T. Cavanaugh, Eugene McCarraher, Nicolas Berdyaev, and selections from the Bible.”
“Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter Turns One Hundred.” Cat Hodge weaves together the events of Sigrid Undset’s life with the narrative of her most famous books: “Kristin Lavransdatter remains one of those books that burrows its way into your consciousness and never quite leaves you alone. For one hundred years readers have been enthralled, and at times enraged, by Kristin, a sensitive, headstrong beauty with a singular talent for choosing the complicated path.”
“Writing Home in a Global, Digital Age.” Gracy Olmstead draws on Thoreau to defend the value of writing for our homes. Contrary to popular belief, “writing or thinking in the context of a home audience matters.”
“Lessons From Russia’s Occupation of a Ukrainian Village.” Peter Pomerantsev narrates a fascinating account of a Ukranian family that found itself living with five Russian soldiers: “They would spend about three weeks with those five Russian soldiers, eating together, walking together, talking together. The Russian soldiers would make nonsensical declarations about their mission and ask alarmingly basic questions about Ukraine, yet also offer insights into their motivations and their morale; the Horbonoses would push back on their claims, angrily scream at them, and also drink with them, using that measure of trust to prod at the soldiers’ confidence in Putin’s war.”
“Numb and Numb-er.” Michael Ward parses the merits and demerits of scientific language by drawing on the work of C.S. Lewis. What kind of knowledge can numbers offer, and what kind of knowledge can poetry provide?
“Do Yourself a Favor and Go Find a ‘Third Place.’” Allie Conti writes in praise of third places and the kinds of conversation they foster: “To me, the ideal hangout has a few components: spontaneity, purposelessness, and a willingness among all parties involved to go wherever the conversation leads them.” (Recommended by T. David Gordon.)
“How to Be a Climate-Change Activist without Becoming an Alarmist.” Alastair McIntosh urges us to engage conversations about climate change from a posture that doesn’t damage truth: “both denial and alarmism take us out of truth; they undermine the very principle.”
“The Internet is Made of Demons.” Sam Kriss reviews Justin E.H. Smith’s The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is: A History, A Philosophy, A Warning and wonders whether the Internet represents a rupture from what came before or a continuation of it: “when I say I can’t entirely agree with the book’s thesis, this might be the internet itself speaking through me—but still, I can’t entirely agree. I still think that the internet is a serious break from what we had before. And as nice as Wikipedia is, as nice as it is to be able to walk around foreign cities on Google Maps or read early modern grimoires without a library card, I still think the internet is a poison.”
“The Technocrat’s Dilemma.” Alexander Stern argues that investing technocrats with more authority won’t solve the problems of a technological society: “A society cannot be made to function more rationally by ensconcing decision-making power in an elite whose actions are somehow meant to be driven by science. Instead, we need greater public understanding and input, putting science in the service of the people.”
“Manitoba’s First Medically Assisted Death in a Church was an ‘Intimate’ Ceremony.” Emily Standfield reports on a church that hosted an assisted suicide in Canada. Avis Favaro describes another case of a person driven to seek a “medically assisted death” because she can’t afford proper housing. And Yuan Yi Zhu puts these cases in a broader context, asking “Why is Canada Euthanising the Poor?”
“Literature for the Recovery of Reality: Joshua Hren and Benjamin Myers’ Christian Vision for Literature.” Josh Herring puts Hren and Myers’ recent books in conversation and charts a course for literature that enchants the real.
“Can We Be Human in Meatspace?” Brad East relies on Andy Crouch’s new book—The Life We’re Looking For: Reclaiming Relationship in a Technological World—to argue that “What we need is a recommitment to public argument about purpose, both ours and that of our tools. What we need, further, is a recoupling of our beliefs about the one to our beliefs about the other. What we need, finally, is the resolve to make hard decisions about our technologies. If an invention does not serve the human good, then we should neither sell it nor use it, and we should make a public case against it.” I pushed back a bit on Brad’s conclusion in this review, and he responded at length. I am now mulling an essay laying out some of my concerns with his line of thinking which verges, I think, toward the wrong kind of despair.
“Don’t Let a Supreme Court Leak Threaten What Consensus We Have on Abortion.” Charles C. Camosy responds to the surprising leak of a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe: “It’s more important now to highlight the fact that US citizens are not, as a whole, polarized on this issue. There are clearly people out there willing to threaten democracy itself (for what kind of democracy could function without a workable Supreme Court?) to support wildly extreme views on abortion.”
“Statement on the Leaked Alito Draft Opinion in Dobbs.” Robert George briefly but insightfully comments on the draft decision and the proper response we should have to the fact that it was leaked.
“Let the Modern World Make You Uncomfortable.” Timothy D. Padgett reviews Jake Meador’s new book, What Are Christians For?: Life Together at the End of the World. I haven’t read Jake’s book yet, but I’m pretty sure I’ll disagree with Padgett’s assessment in this regard at least: “Part of the problem, in my judgment, is that the book could use a little less Wendell Berry (a hugely influential figure for Meador) and a bit more Tom Holland, the atheist British historian and journalist known for tracing the development of Western values back to the influence of Christianity (more about Holland later).”
“Wendell Berry Taught Me to Preach.” Ryan Diaz reflects on the ways that Wendell Berry’s poem “How to Be a Poet” might help pastors craft better sermons.
“Watch with Me: The Pastors of Port William in the Writings of Wendell Berry.” Jason P. Kees draws some lessons for rural ministry from the pastors in Berry’s fiction, including both the official pastors and the unofficial ones.
“US Farmland Increasingly Controlled by Foreign Investment.” Johnathan Hettinger details what we know about the extent to which farmland is being used as an investment vehicle and the consequences of this.
“Imperial Migrations.” Vika Pechersky reflects on her experience as an immigrant and the challenges of putting down roots in a new place.