I still maintain that the Cubs winning the World Series is not an event of theological significance. Apparently I am a minority opinion on this matter though 🙂 


Against the World

The irony would seem to be obvious: “How DARE you suggest that there is a totalitarian impulse in our behavior? You should be FIRED!”Anthony Esolen

This is a legitimately interesting transcription of an interview with a Catholic university professor. While The Manna and the Stone certainly would not endorse Catholic belief, it is worth acknowledging that, in the current cultural environment of extreme hostility to religion of any stripe, they are our co-belligerents, in many senses. Mortification of Spin had a conversation with Anthony Esolen recently that is also engaging stuff, if you are at all curious about him generally (this clip is unbelievably hilarious as well).

Regardless, what this does make absolutely clear is that the liberalizing forces in our culture are genuinely committed to using coercion to bring everyone to consent to political orthodoxy. I find it illustrative of the fact that the line coming out of the liberal camp is no longer “live and let be,” but “put up or get out.” Let this be a caution to those who would be willing to countenance nonbiblical perspectives as orthodox, for the sake of “getting along.” When the shoe is on the other foot, the liberals are proving quite willing to use their advantages to compelling effect.


Are there public, Christian intellectuals anymore?

I think that, from the Fifties to the Seventies, American intellectuals as a group lost the ability to hear the music of religious thought and practice. And surely that happened at least in part because we Christian intellectuals ceased to play it for them.Alan Jacobs

This essay is a bit older than the articles we usually cite in this column, but I confess that I only stumbled onto it recently. Please don’t take the article title to suggest that, in any way, there are no more Christian intellectuals. The author is rather clear that they are quite present. The question really revolves around the place of the Christian intellectual in society as a whole. The authors speaks with some longing of the situation after WWII, when Chrisian intellectuals maintained a certain public place as “interpreters” of the events which were happening in the world. I find myself agreeing that this species of Christian intellectual has largely vanished, and we are consigned rather to the margins of society, calling in, rather than in the agora, speaking meaningfully with others in our society. Perhaps all that can be done is mourn the passing of such a societal status, but it does beg the question “why” and seeking what may be done to address the situation.

For full disclosure, this is the article through which I stumbled on the essay cited above, and there is a compelling amount of discussion about how this relates to the large-scale collapse of American Protestantism (no, I do not believe that to be a meaningful overstatement). This article might, indeed deserve it’s own entry, as it has substantial weight, but I have grouped discussion of the two together. I strongly urge you to read both, however, to get a more fulsome perspective.


Beauty

Dostoevsky asserted that beauty would save the world. I’m entirely confident that beauty will indeed save the world because nothing could be more beautiful than the work of Jesus.Albert Mohler

This is a short article, but I think it’s a door into deeper discussions to be had on the topic. For starters, Dostoevsky’s The Idiot is one of the finest works of fiction I have ever read, and you should read it (along with any of Dostoevsky’s major works, if I’m being honest). Secondly, my experience has been that we absolutely lose beauty as a category in most Reformed circles.  We believe that it lacks the relevance of other virtues, but I find it significant that we always use the word “longing” when we discuss beauty. This article is no exception. That is perhaps the great corrective of beauty – perceived correctly, it is not merely synonymous for “good” and “true,” as the article suggests, but commends the object to our hearts as something to be desired, something that we wish to take into ourselves. If we forget that longing and only perceive our religion as “correct,” or even “satisfying,” we lose the force of the call to come. I submit we must recover beauty as central to our confessions of Christ, or our hearts (as well as those to whom we speak) will remain stale and sterile.

I actually believe music is a compelling corrective to this disposition. I would encourage you to give this a quick listen – it legitimately makes me want to weep every time I listen to it. Our hearts retain this longing, even when we have become studied in  avoiding the pressure it places on us.

Jason Waeber

Jason Waeber is an elder at Grace Bible Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, OH, where he worships with his wife and three children. He is also a seminary student, under care with the Great Lakes Presbytery. As GBPC is looking forward to planting a church with him in the next few years, he felt called to develop the online presence of the denomination, both for outreach and the doctrinal maturity of the denomination. The Manna and the Stone is his attempt to pursue this. Currently, Jason is serving as the general editor for the site.

Latest posts by Jason Waeber (see all)