Monthly Archives: May 2009

Observation on faith and change

Much of an individual’s “faith struggle” is internal. Great changes could go completely unspoken.


God is back?

“Religion is proving perfectly compatible with modernity in all its forms, high and low.” This conclusion by John Micklethwait, editor of the Economist, and Adrian Wooldridge, the magazine’s Washington bureau chief, seems calculated to enrage secular rationalists of all stripes.

Whether Marxian or Millian, socialist or liberal, secular rationalists have held one tenet in common: religion belongs to the infancy of the species; the more modern a society becomes, the less room there is for religious belief and practice. Never questioned, this is what lies behind the hot-gospel sermons of evangelical atheists: if you want to be modern, say goodbye to God.

At bottom, the assertion that religion is destined to die out is a confession of faith. No amount of evidence will persuade secular believers that they are on the wrong side of history, but one of the achievements of God Is Back is to show how implausible, if not ridiculous, their view of history actually is.

Read the rest of this review of God Is Back: How the Global Rise of Faith is Changing the World in The New Statesman.

On Memorial Day, an Air Force obituary

An Air Force journal recently published an obituary for my grandfather, who died last summer after a rich life:

Colin F. Burch, Jr. (1919-2008) retired from the Air Force at the grade of Colonel after 21 years of active military service. After graduating from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, VA in 1940, he was commissioned in the US Army Reserve as a Second Lieutenant, Corps of Engineers and entered active duty. He completed primary flying training at Parks Air College, IL. He graduated from the Air Corps Advanced Flying School, Maxwell Field, AL, and transferred to the Air Corps Reserve in 1941. In 1946 he became a Senior Pilot and in 1956 was awarded the rating of command pilot. He accumulated over 4500 flying hours in conventional and jet aircraft including overseas tours in Japan and Hawaii.

Col. Burch directed the program involving the first use of digital computers in air defense. He planned, organized and directed the first research and development program to provide the nation with a defense against the ballistic missile. He helped prepare the development plan for the “Man-In-Space” program handling the Lunar Reconnaissance portion. The first Joint Air Force/Army Communications Satellite Program was also under his direction, as well as the first Advanced Research and Development Program for Ballistic Missile and Space Systems for the Air Force. His survivors include his wife, Audrey Weibel Burch, 5 children, 8 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

May light perpetual shine upon him.

The Nation: Laura Miller investigates C.S. Lewis’s magic

The below excerpt is from Jordan Davis’s new article in The Nation. The article covers biographical and critical elements of Lewis’s life and work, focusing especially on a recent book:

In The Magician’s Book, Laura Miller has written an account of returning as an adult to the Narnia books, trying to understand what in them stunned her 9-year-old self into a life of wanting nothing more than to read. It is a strange, often dispiriting book, announcing itself as both memoir and literary criticism; in fact, Miller submerges her own story and never quite focuses completely on the work at hand or, for that matter, on what in Lewis’s reading helped lead him to create an imaginary place she once longed to visit. Miller’s declared goal is to illuminate the Narnia books’ “other, unsung dimensions, especially the deep roots of the Chronicles in the universal experiences of childhood and in English literature.” What Miller ends up doing is revisiting for a while the pleasure of identifying wholeheartedly with a character in a story.

Read the rest of Into the Wardrobe: C.S. Lewis’s Narnia.


Pete Gall’s new book, ‘Learning My Name,’ coming soon

Pete Gall is the author of My Beautiful Idol, and he once contributed an outstanding article, The Death of Utility-Based Christianity, to LiturgicalCredo.

His new book, slated for a July 1 release, is entitled Learning My Name. Gall says that it’s “very personal,” even moreso than My Beautiful Idol, which was his first book released by Zondervan. Look for it at Amazon. Here are the links for orders and pre-orders:

Learning My Name: Widgets

My Beautiful Idol: Widgets

Bob Dylan on morality

From Douglas Brinkley’s interview with Bob Dylan is the May 11 edition of Rolling Stone:

‘Because it is Easter weekend, I decide to push him on the importance of Christian Scripture in his life. “Well, sure,” he says, “that and those other first books I read were really biblical stuff. Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Ben-Hur. Those were the books that I remembered reading and finding religion in. Later on, I started reading over and over again Plutarch and his Roman Lives. And the writers Cicero, Tacitus and Marcus Aurelius…. I like the morality thing. People talk about it all the time. Some say you can’t legislate morality. Well, maybe not. But morality has gotten kind of a bad rap. In Roman thought, morality is broken down into basically four things. Wisdom, Justice, Moderation and Courage. All these are the elements that would make up the depth of a person’s morality. And then that would dictate the types of behavior patterns you’d use to respond in any given situation. I don’t look at morality as a religious thing.”‘

technorati tags: tags:
icerocket tags:
keotag tags:

Michelangelo’s ‘Torment of Saint Anthony’ purchased by Texas museum

Read about it here.